Category Archives: I have Friends

Never Alone.

Yesterday I had a “William Day.”  He had a field trip with his preschool, a morning thing, and after it was done, we headed over to our little local zoo.  He was off in the playground and I was observing him play while eating my lunch.  The weather was chilly, and there weren’t that many people about.  And then I heard a noise behind me, but I hadn’t sensed a presence.  At least of the human persuasion.  I turned to see what it was and … I guess this little fellow wanted to share in my lunch.

Apparently, I’m not allowed to be without a critter nearby anywhere?






Filed under I have Friends

Vacation: The Mitt (Part 3) — Kalkaska, MI

When I was in the planning stages of our trip, and after I had initially contacted my two “online” friends, I finally took the time to work out the timing of our drive to Boyne City from Holland, and I started to feel a little anxious about it, because I knew William would be operating in delirium mode. For, you see, William no longer sleeps in the car. But I really wanted to somehow meet up with my second online friend, Sarah, and her son, Kellen. We would be this.close to each other. It seemed a shame to drive right on by… and, the irony of following that busy road painting truck once we were on the road, well, I was glad we had worked it out that we would be taking a break!

Fortunately, Sarah apparently felt we were worth meeting, and she spent several hours researching parks along our route, asking her co-workers for input and ultimately finding an amazing park that none of our cumulative Google searches had revealed. Chalker Park had all sorts of bridges, swings, rooms, stairways, alcoves, lookouts, cut outs on paintings for cute pictures, rope ladders — ideal for kids (and adults!!) who had been cooped up in a car for way too long. There was even a huge painted dragon on one of the tall walls of the structure. Then, on top of all that, she hurried through her after work routine and drove out of her way to meet us there.

2016-05-26 Chalker Park Kalkaska





When Sarah texted me that she had arrived at the park, I was busy watching the line of cars behind the road painting truck! When we finally arrived, I wasn’t confident that we had actually found the right place. I was expecting a slide and a patch of grass like we have here in California. This park was so huge that I couldn’t see anyone anywhere in the structure. There were a couple kids on the swings nearest the parking lot, and their moms were ambling around nearby, but none of them looked like Sarah or her son. I sent a desperate text to Sarah, “Where are you???” and we started to leave the parking lot thinking there must be a smaller park down the road a bit, but William freaked out thinking we were leaving (instead of investigating), and after having been cooped up in the car for a couple of hours, he wanted OUT. So we pulled back into the parking lot and unloaded ourselves. Once in the structure, Sarah magically appeared from the yonder side and William was intent on running and climbing all over the place and seeing every bit of it that he could see. He did not want to “sit” in a swing or sit anywhere. He started an imaginary “Alice In Wonderland” scenario and wanted everyone to follow him while he chased an imaginary white rabbit to an imaginary tea party. I’m not certain what it was about this park that triggered that, maybe the maze-like hugeness of it? But it was quickly apparent to me that he wasn’t open to any other kind of game.





Kellen, Sarah’s son, was intent on swinging on the swings and exploring the park in a more calm and solitary manner, and suggestions to either of the boys to play together, or even in the same area of the playground, were not being met with any sort of interest. To apply a cliche to it, it was a bit like herding cats in a roomful of rocking chairs. So, for awhile, Sarah and I were kind of like two pendulums, going opposite ways as we followed our boys, and then passing each other as we briefly chatted and then going the other way.


It was interesting to see these two boys together. They are very different personalities, and I would hazard a guess to say they are actually opposite personality types. William is an extrovert, as well as an external processor (meaning that he processes what he’s thinking or feeling verbally) and, while he’s learning what’s OK to say or not say, he doesn’t always say things with intuition, tact or gentleness. Kellen tends toward being an introvert (says one introvert about another), but he also has Childhood Apraxia of Speech. As a result, he leans toward doing his processing internally, articulating his needs only. After a bit of time at the playground, it seemed that Kellen started to feel overwhelmed, so he retreated to be alone, and began requesting an item that made him feel safe. Yet, after a bit, I noticed that he began to share his “safe” item with William, but wanted to maintain ownership — which, of course, makes total sense. I’m fairly sure that the sharing wasn’t being done on Kellen’s terms and, as a result, both William and Kellen were expressing frustration with each other and Sarah and I were doing our best to help them navigate through it.



It had been about 30-45 minutes of running around at the playground, and so it was timely that Sarah happened to glance over her shoulder (or maybe she was looking for an escape route???) and spotted a place that advertised pizza. Ahhh, pizza, the great unifier! Alas, we had solidarity! Because who doesn’t love pizza? Plus, CONTAINMENT! We were all apparently a bit more “hangry” than we initially thought. We demolished a large pepperoni pizza (pizza!!), breadsticks and salad, and we managed to fit in some adult chat time while the boys finally settled into a bit of a groove with each other.



I was so impressed to finally meet Sarah and Kellen. It was a gift to watch mother & son together, and Kellen has a bond with his mommy that is beautiful to behold. Not surprising, because Sarah has one of the most beautiful hearts that I’ve ever seen in a person, and any person who has the opportunity to learn from her is blessed, indeed. I suppose I’m most astounded by the fact that, not only does Sarah face navigating the sea of being a voice and advocate for her son who is working hard to find his own voice through this disorder that frustrates the heck out of him, but she chooses to do so with understanding, kindness and by giving grace and forgiveness to those they encounter as they move along on their journey. I intuitively knew ahead of time that our visit might present some challenges with our boys, but I left feeling humbled and grateful for her patience, kindness & willingness to allow herself (and Kellen) to be vulnerable to us by allowing us some learning moments.



When it was time for us to get on the road again, we took some pictures and gave each other several hugs before we left each other. Once again, I felt as if I were leaving behind another friend as we traveled on.

I know Sarah is working to bring awareness to Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and so I’m linking her blog here, as well as a recent interview she did with Courtney Curtis of her local news station. For more information about childhood Apraxia, see Apraxia Kids.

— To Be Continued —

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Filed under I have Friends, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

Vacation: The Mitt — Holland (Part 2)

Prior to our trip, I had reached out to a couple of friends who live in Michigan. After having “known” them online for over 4 years, I was pretty excited to possibly meet them in-person.

I wasn’t certain what we were going to do with each other. Like, an activity to be a distraction in case we totally hated each other. First time in-person meetings can be a little scary, you know? Tony doesn’t bother with that kind of social nonsense, he just assumes everyone loves him. Which is great, because then I can go along with that mindset and pretend like I felt that way all along, all confident and happy and stuff (not neurotic and worried, nope).

So, after we landed and we were following the directions my friend (we’ll call her Amanda) sent me via text to avoid the road construction as we headed toward our hotel in Holland (but, you know, could TOTALLY have been directions to the nearest funny farm), and I said to Tony, “I sure would like to get a swim in.” Tony casually suggested we invite my friend, Amanda, and her family over for a get-together at the hotel pool. It was the perfect solution. I mean, who doesn’t love a pool party? And, if you hate each other, just dunk ’em, mess up their hair and post it to social media. If you love ’em, have your 4 year old splash ’em, mess up their hair and post it to social media. Awesome!


As it turned out, the hotel pool was pretty nice! They even had a private yard outside the pool that has trees and green grass and a side of BBQs, picnic tables and a couple hammocks to go with it. (Look! A silly selfie I found on my phone that Tony took of himself in one of the hammocks!) And, even better, the impromptu pool party invitation was well-received by my friend, Amanda (and her two kids) and they came over to the hotel to play! Also, my friend’s 4 year old son is going to be the next Thomas Edison, so he was enthralled by the light in the pool and spa which changed colors. I pretended that every time it changed color it either zapped or tickled me, but he wasn’t buying my silliness.

I guess our first date went well, because my (now) in-person friend invited us to meet her husband at Windmill Island the following afternoon for a picnic. We were so excited! The first thing we did after Amanda left us was to locate the local WALMART and shop for picnic stuff! Plus, if you know anything about us, you know we love to explore WALMARTs in any new location.

Our visit to Windmill Island was just as fun as our pool party was the evening prior. We got to hear their organ play (the 4 year old people in our party covered their ears because LOUD), we toured their windmill (they even started the windmill because there was a breeze), we had our picnic, played on their playground and the kids rode the carousel. And then, when our picnic was done, we hugged several times (because once wasn’t enough) and I silently cried inside that we had to leave each other.








After Amanda and her family left, we hurried to our car (after visiting the gift shop, using the bathroom, taking pictures, tracking down wayward family members who went in the movie room, herded everyone out, took more pictures) and got on the road. We passed 8 mile road, 9 mile road, 13 mile road, 18 mile road, 19 mile road… seriously, Michigan? What is with the roads that are in increments of miles? I kind of wanted to buy a 100 mile road and name it Million Mile Road, just to confuse everyone. That would be funny, right?

As we drove past all the mile roads, we somehow ended up behind a road painting truck that everyone was scared to pass, or maybe it is illegal to pass them? Or maybe they were afraid of somehow injuring the road worker and having to pony up to pay the $15,000 fine for seven years that the road signs threaten. I’m not sure, but everyone stayed behind that truck and … well, if I were the painter on the truck, I’d kind of be annoyed at that and would probably get performance anxiety and then all my lines would be crooked and I’d start painting in Morse code or something. The whole thing kind of made me laugh because “TRAFFIC JAM” in Michigan, people!

We did finally make it to our next stop on our road trip, albeit, a few minutes later than anticipated. Because TRAFFIC!

–To Be Continued —


Filed under I have Friends, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

More About Last Month’s Vacation.

In a previous post, I shared one of the funny moments that happened late in our vacation while it was still fresh in my mind. I also shared some tidbits of things we did while on vacation in William’s monthly post. I wanted to share an overview of all the things we did.

Our airline experiences this time were much better and on par with what I expect from Southwest Airlines. We managed to rack up $400 a person in complimentary vouchers from Southwest for the shoddy way they treated us last October, and those vouchers mostly funded our trip to San Francisco the end of May and our trip back to Nebraska. Sadly, since they did so well, that is the end of our free ride. Thank you, Southwest Airlines!

We stayed with my dear Aunt Marjorie (paternal side) for a few days while we visited the Omaha Zoo and Lauritzen Gardens again. We had visited those places last October, but our gardens visit got cut short due to a fast moving rainstorm. They have a model train garden that is quite amazing to watch, it’s so detailed! So we visited that again, and also walked up to see the two real-size, huge, famous engines they have on display.


We were well pleased with our visit to the zoo last time, except they had ended the season of camel rides and their train wasn’t running the day we went. This trip it was overwhelmingly hot and humid. While the weather wasn’t necessarily a surprise, it was challenging for me (us?) because we’re used to California’s weather. Sadly, I wilted quicker than I expected in the heat. While at the zoo, We managed to meet up with some friends, a lady I know from an online Facebook group (and her family). Fortunately, they were willing companions for our agenda and didn’t protest when we suggested going and getting lunch. She had her two boys with her, the older of them shares a birthday with William. William LOVED meeting him and I loved hanging out with her. Tony pretty much gets along with anyone, and her husband was great to converse with. So, we kind of went to get some lunch and then just never stood back up again until it was time to leave.


The timing of our trip was stipulated by a family gathering that happens annually the last Sunday of July in Albion, Nebraska. So, we did a road trip from Omaha to the middle of Nebraska, a two hour drive made longer by construction and ill-timed traffic lights on a timer in the middle of nowhere.

My uncle (maternal side) graciously hosted us in their basement, which was blissfully cool and mostly comfortable. They are gracious hosts and very accommodating to quirky travelers. I highly recommend them. I just love staying with them on their farm. They have animals galore… cats and kittens(!!), dogs, horses and ponies, goats, guineafowl, cows, and… I’m sure I’m missing naming a species here. Also, my cousin has two girls and William just loved playing with them!



The drive to the family gathering was mostly on dirt roads, which William thought was fabulous thanks to the off-roading scenes in the Cars movie. It was made more entertaining for me by texting with my cousin, who was in the vehicle in front of us. She acted like a tour guide with such things like, “This is corn fields on your right and soybeans to your left. Upcoming to your right is a house where no one famous lives.” She would switch the types of fields appropriately. As we drove, we passed a farm that had a bunch of old buildings on it. There were a couple of churches, a sheriff building, and other things. It looked like a little Western town. I later learned from my uncle that the owner of that farm had a vision of building a little town, but he passed away and now his family doesn’t know what to do with the buildings. I guess his vision isn’t theirs.

At the family gathering, the couple who hosted it are 2nd or 3rd cousins, once removed, to me, I think. I’m not really sure. Anyway, they have grandkids around William’s age, and while the kids weren’t in attendance, their toys were. William and my cousin’s girls had a fabulous time playing down in their basement. They have a pool table down there and William loved putting the balls in the holes and then listening to them rumble to the end. Best kid entertainment ever! I enjoyed seeing one of my cousins who I haven’t seen since he was 6 or 7 years old, and meeting his wife. There were also other distant relatives there and it was just an enjoyable relaxing time. The food was set up buffet style, entrees on one side of the kitchen island and various “salads” (the notion of salad is very different in the Midwest vs. California) on the other side. Also, desserts.

The days went quickly (surely a sign of a good vacation?) and before we knew it, we were headed back to Omaha to stay with my Aunt Marjorie one last night and catch our flight the next morning. Now… where do we go next?

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Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I have Family, I have Friends, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

November and Time

I don’t know where the month of November has gone.  I know they say that time seems to go faster as you get older, and then you throw a child into the mix and it really seems to fly.  I really hate being a cliche.

So, let’s catch up … late last month I was the recipient of a speeding ticket.  It wasn’t an intentional thing on my part, it was more along the lines of me getting stuck in the middle of a huge group of cars who were doing 15 MPH under the speed limit, then, somehow, at the traffic light, the 5 cars ahead of me decided to turn left, leaving me the first in line and when the light turned green, my mind was on something else. Tony was right behind me and when the light turned green I must have reveled in my freedom.  There wasn’t a real reason for me to speed, the lights are synched at that point all the way to the freeway, so no matter what speed I went, it wouldn’t have made a difference.  There I was, way ahead of everyone, and I saw that motorcycle cop.  Pretty sure it was the same guy who gave me my bicycle lane infringement ticket 5 years ago.  I wonder if, when he saw me, in his head he chanted, “Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!”  I should have asked him that, huh?  In fact, I’m gonna write a list of questions I want to ask an officer sometime… like, “Is it illegal for a motorcycle to use the double yellow lines between the carpool lane and the fast lane as a motorcycle lane, basically “splitting” lanes there?”  and “Why does no one ever ticket the guy doing 40 MPH on the freeway?”  You know, that sort of thing.  I really am making a list, you know, because it’s these types of things I always forget to ask but really want to know when I’m faced with the officer who stands just behind your shoulder so you can’t really see him, while he’s asking to see your proof of registration and insurance and your hands are shaking because you’ve gotten caught breaking the law.

In other automotive news, a month ago, I backed out of my garage, shifted out of reverse into 1st, and my neighbor backed into my car.  It took me  a couple seconds to figure out what happened… because how does one hit something if I was moving forward and there was nothing in front of me?  Then I realized I hadn’t hit anything, someone had hit me.  So weird.  I’ve lived in this house for 8 years and never even come close to this happening.  Proof, once again, that little cars are invisible to big SUVs.   He said he’d replace the broken tail light, but I’m still waiting on it.  Not without many updates on his part, because I told him I was OK with a used part because Mazda plastics have a reputation of fading.  Plus, he has a couple small children, so if he’s anything like me, money is tight and every penny counts and used parts are generally less expensive.  The thing is, I’m finding, I really just don’t care… it’s not like I ever look at my own tail light.  I guess if it’s not replaced in another couple weeks, I’ll have to ask him about it.

Thanksgiving is this week… even though we celebrated Thanksgiving early with Tony’s family this past weekend, since Steve and Marigold are moving eastward, we’ll be hosting a small “crockpot” Thanksgiving at our house on the real day this week.  I’m looking forward to it.  A three day work week is what I’m facing this week, and the first day of it (today) is almost over.

Happy Thanskgiving, then, if I don’t get on here before then.


Filed under I ♥ My Miata, I have Friends

October Time.

This weekend we went to the local farm where they grow seasonal items (Christmas trees, pumpkins, watermelons, etc.) as well as garden variety types of plants (kale, lettuces, carrots, etc.).  They have tractor pulled wagon rides, a corn maze, a hay bale maze, a pumpkin shootin’ cannon, as well as a petting zoo (lots of goats and sheep, as well as an imu or two).  Usually it’s a dusty and dirty affair, and no matter how cold it is, it somehow always manages to feel about 10° hotter than it really is, and there’s always lots of people there and photobombs are pretty much guaranteed.  They claim all the pumpkins are organically grown on site, and there are boxes and piles of pumpkins, as well as the ones still attached to the vines.  We were there for the experience, not to buy — we grew our own pumpkin this year at Tony’s parent’s house.





Since a pumpkin farm just isn’t enough pumpkin viewing for us, Sunday evening we headed out to the Orange County Great Park to see the “pumpkin” in the sky!  They were sold out of tickets for the ride, but the carousel was there and William really, really, really liked riding on that. Unlike Tony, who turned an interesting shade of green after the first round on it.

So, William first rode the “Biggest Horsey” then the Zebra!! and then the Ostrich.  I was trying to pick the most unique of the animals to ride, and so I built up the excitement about riding the Ostrich.  The Ostrich, William!  Can you imagine!!  An Ostrich!  By the time the ride stopped, he was leaning off the Zebra and ready to go see this mystical and amazing creature, the Ostrich!  His legs were stiff with excitement, his smile wide as can be.  We got there, he took one look at it and said in a no-nonsense tone of voice, “It’s a duck.”  No amount of persuasion tactics could change his mind.





In his eyes, the thing was clearly a duck and, while he enjoyed it, he really would have rather ridden on the “Scary Cat!”  Unfortunately, we closed the carousel party, and all the animals had to go to bed, so he only got to pet the scary cat as we exited the ride.


Filed under Entertainment can be Cheap, I have Friends, Our Kid is Cute

1 Wheel Old Birthday Party.

A party for a first birthday?  Really?  He won’t even remember it, for goodness sakes, so just keep it simple if you’re going to have one!  That has always been my thinking.  Plus, I’m not much on social events (hello, extreme introversion!), so a birthday party that I’m in charge of planning sounded like a nightmare to me.  Yet, I was so … reclusive while pregnant, so reticent to embrace publicly the quiet joy I experienced every day while I was carrying this child within me, next to my heart.  Because of that, I kind of felt like I owed it to everyone, not an obligation, really, but more to share this boy who brings so much joy to everyone he sees.  I’ve wondered how weird it would be to add “Joy” as a third middle name, because I don’t think Merriam Webster would be willing to change the definition in the dictionary to read: Joy — (noun) William John.

Then there’s William.  A kid who loves wheels.  I leave for work in the mornings and instead of looking at me longingly as I leave, his eyes are downcast, his lips are smiling, as he looks at the wheels on my car as they turn, and the faster they turn the bigger his smile gets.  We go for walks and he gets upset if we turn around before we get to the main street, because he can hear those wheels driving by on the street, and he wants to see them!  If a truck goes by, “Oh, WOW!!” he says.  His head turns, eyes tracking them.  Trucks have really big wheels, you know?

I wasn’t really looking, well, not looking very hard, I guess I should say… when I came across The Perfect Invitation.  “No way!” I said to Tony when I found them.  “Check these out!  Should I order them?” I asked.  Wheel Have Lots of Fun!  Cute and cheesy and sooooo William.

P1030931So we confirmed the date and time, and I ordered them.  Embrace it and own it, I decided.  So, I browsed the Internet for food ideas.  Hostess Ding Dongs were going to be “spare tires”, but then Hostess went into bankruptcy, and suddenly there was a shortage of Ding Dongs (who would’ve thought??), so Oreo cookies became the spare “spare tires.”  Pretzel rings became “bicycle tires.” Pinwheel sandwiches, or wraps, were next… Costco would have been the easy thing to do, except I don’t care for cream cheese with deli meat, I much prefer hummus.  Costco wasn’t able to modify their recipe (yes, I asked).  I would have made the things myself, except I was already doing the cakes (see the next paragraph), so I called around and found a grocery store who would custom make them for the same price.  Various other “wheel” shaped foods made it on the menu…


The cakes should have been the easy part, right?  I mean, cake pans are generally round.  The problem was, I’m not a huge fan of cake, especially the ones that have sugary frosting.  Yet, what’s a birthday party without cake???  So, I decided to take a day off from work and bake all the guests their own individual mini pineapple upside cake (aka “Tractor Wheels”).  Crazy much?  (Reminds me of a woman who was 7 months pregnant and stayed up all night before her baby shower baking cookies for her guests when she was supposed to be taking it easy, because she’d just been in the L&D unit for having contractions!!  Hi!! *waves & grins*)


For William, I decided that a smash cake wasn’t a smash cake unless it had frosting, and since his favorite fruit to date was banana, I made a sugarless banana cake sweetened by apple sauce, and the frosting was Cool Whip with a banana mixed in for flavoring, and colored with blue food coloring.


For kid entertainment, Tony found a great deal on the internet for a bouncy house, and after a couple of foibles on their part they threw in a Cars banner for free.


We asked William’s cousin, Huck, to accompany us on the piano when we sang “Happy Birthday,” and he did an amazing job!  He even played it again later so we could hear him better.

Oh, and all the guests were required to take their picture with the race car upon entering the party.  Which meant that someone had to stand out there and greet everyone, which actually turned out to be a great idea, because Tony’s parent’s house is kind of hard to find if you’ve never been there before.  Turns out, a birthday party greeter is a great ice breaker!  Plus, the pictures taken are a great keepsake of all the people who were part of this celebration to show him how thrilled they are that he’s been in the world for an entire year.


I know I’ve said it again and again, but this child is such a blessing.  Even though I know he won’t remember it, I realized that we will.  And this?  This was a great memory.


More pictures can be seen here:  Link

Special thanks to my friend, Grace (William’s Godmother), for taking her Saturday morning and spending it setting up for the party.  Tony also was an enormous help in coordinating things and helping set things up.  Tony’s mom also helped set up and frosted William’s smash cake.  Tony’s parents provided the party venue.  Thanks to his cousin, Huck, for playing Happy Birthday.  I’m also so grateful to all the guests who celebrated with us.


Filed under Best Husband, I did something Special, I have Friends, Our Kid is Cute

Home for the Holidays.

We would like to announce the arrival of our son.

He burst forth into this world on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 at 10:53 AM.

We named him William John, in honor of my father and both of our grandfathers (respectively).

He tilted the scales at 10 lbs 11 ounces, and measured 21 inches in length.

Our son is healthy and came out with the most incredible, perfect nursing latch, with a piranha like suction and ravenous appetite.

My husband is the most amazing labor coach and baby support person I could have ever asked for. He did and is doing an absolutely amazing job. I am so, so proud of him and so humbled to be able to share this new little person with him every day.

My doula was absolutely perfect with me, with us, and was a great guide through the entire process. She is also a lactation consultant and is continuing to guide me. I am so grateful that I found her.

My labor started at 4:11 AM, I called my doula at 6:00 AM, we left for the hospital around 7:15 AM. We had an incredible team in the room to help deliver him, from the labor & delivery nurse who had had her two children in home births and therefore completely supported my desire for a natural childbirth and assisted in getting this kid’s enormous shoulders out of me, to my doctor who did an incredible job making sure she followed my birth plan to every detail possible.

I am sore in my breasts due to our son’s aforementioned appetite, and in my forearms due to the labor position I used, but otherwise completely fine and “injury” free. Yes, that means what you think it means.

I’ve been told I am the talk of the hospital since I delivered such a large baby completely drug, epidural and intervention free. Truth be told, I’m pretty proud of myself, too. I worked really, really hard to be as healthy and strong as I could be — eating healthy, preparing and researching for natural childbirth in a hospital setting, lap swimming every day for an hour, even the night before I went into labor! I was even at work on the 7th, the day before I delivered.

Oh, who am I kidding? No one really cares about all that crap. So… on to the fun stuff. Pictures!

Going home from the hospital…

I don’t suppose it needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. We are completely, over the moon in love with this little boy.


Filed under Best Husband, I have Family, I have Friends, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

Two Big Things

The first Big Thing around our house this time of year is Halloween (in case you’ve forgotten or couldn’t guess). Our tradition of decorating for Halloween (our home and my work space), carving our pumpkins while watching Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin DVD, and my annual Barbie Doll outfit are things that we always look forward to doing!

Tony changed things up a little bit this year with the decorations on our home. He set up the flashing light and scary sounds CD so that they broadcasted through the vent of our garage, instead of on our front stoop. That made it a much more pleasant experience for us while we carved our pumpkins and watched Charlie Brown. He also moved the scary grim reaper closer to our front door making it appear as if he wanted to welcome our visitors with a warm embrace. The motion sensor "Welcome" was a big hit (to us) because it scared my mom every time she entered the house. Gotta love that! ha

Even though I didn’t win the decorating contest at work this year (like I did last year), personally I think the decoration of my work space was BETTER than last year’s decorations… and I even baked a shit-ton of pumpkin cookies to bribe my co-workers! ha I think we waited too long to decorate this year, since my area doesn’t get the foot traffic that the other departments get. But, Tony and I had fun decorating and my mom had fun watching us. We all had fun taking it down yesterday!

Cookie bribery for co-workers — Pumpkin caramel chocolate chip, Pumpkin oatmeal raisin and Pumpkin date:

Tony getting ready to carve his pumpkin:

Me getting ready to carve my pumpkin:

Carved pumpkins… Tony did the werewolf pumpkin. I did the "Best Friends" pumpkin:

Last, but not least, I decided to wear my favorite Halloween t-shirt to work this year and go with the whole Boney Barney theme, with my work space, me and Barbie. This necessitated the creation of a t-shirt for Barbie that matched mine. As you may recall, I go through this every year and am usually up until the wee hours of the morning hand stitching a tiny outfit for her. I was quite proud of myself for digging out Barbie’s wardrobe and assessing the situation early this year, which enabled me to create a matching outfit with a little less stress in preparation that reaped a TON of compliments and amazement due to the tiniest details that matched.

Barbie’s outfit:

My outfit:

The second Big Thing is my birthday, the day after Halloween… or All Saint’s Day. Because I’m just that saintly!

If there’s such a thing as ordering up a perfect birthday, I somehow must have done so yesterday! With a quiet, relatively stress-free work day, getting bright autumn colored flowers from my bosses, briefly seeing my friend, Grace (always a bright spot, no matter how short the time), discovering that our community pool was still being heated last night, sweet birthday cards from my loved ones, and dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world with family… on a Tuesday night, meaning everyone felt I was special enough to come out and play on a school night.

Pretty birthday flowers:

Oh — and it’s not over yet, we still have a weekend in the mountains that we’re anticipating!

P.S. I know the pictures won’t display correctly — sorry! I’m posting by e-mail, so I’ll fix them later this evening.


Filed under I did something Special, I have Family, I have Friends, We Love to Decorate

Blogabilities – Week of 08/14/2011

* I went to Costco today and at check-out, the cashier applied a coupon (which I didn’t supply him with) for $2 off one of my items. In fact, I didn’t even know he’d done it until I was already back at work reviewing my receipt. That was really nice of him. So, I give a virtual “thank you” to cashiers who are kind to their customers, even when the customer is oblivious to their kindness.

* I found out this week that a friend of mine and his wife are expecting after an 8 year battle with infertility. I am truly speechless with joy for him and his wife. They have worked so hard for this. With a long, long road ahead of them, every time they cross my mind I pray that the road they’re facing will be smooth and enjoyable. So much I want to say, but … speechless. It really made my week when he shared their news with me!

* On the pet front, all the fish seem healthy for now. The bird is moulting, so she’s just a little bit cranky. The cats? Well, we discovered tonight that one of them has diarrhea with blood. We’re not sure if it’s just a weird thing, like maybe one of them ate something he shouldn’t have and he’ll be OK after a couple days or what. So we’re just observing for now.

* We went to Disneyland on Tuesday night. We got Tony a “Happy Birthday” pin (it was Wednesday) and also a “Happy Anniversary” pin (coming up on Saturday). It was fun, although I totally think the Buzz Lightyear ride is rigged. Otherwise, how to explain the HUGE gap in points?

* No glamorous sunrises to go with my sunrise swims this week. It’s been really foggy in the mornings, which brings the gift of really fresh smelling air and makes the pool feel warmer once I’m in. I continue to revel in my outdoor swims (vs. indoor). *happy sigh*

* A mountain trip is on the agenda for this weekend. Really looking forward to that.


Filed under Blogabilities, I have Friends, Kid Substitutes, Mermaid Envy