Category Archives: I have Friends

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…

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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*)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Blogabilities – Week of 06/26/2011

* I’m ever thankful for a husband who notices small details. As a very tiny example (because there are far too many wonderful things that man does, way too many to list), when I buy the “personal-sized” watermelons at Costco, they come in a mesh bag of 2 that I hang on the corner cabinet in the kitchen. One day recently I came home and set groceries down and went back out to my car for more. I came back inside and most everything had been put away, including the watermelons hung just the way I usually do. I stared at them for a second and wondered if I had done that, but I smiled as I realized that I hadn’t, he had. He knew how I liked it. He’s always been that way… and I’m so blessed.

* I very much dislike bad marketing pictures. In fact, I’m making this a new blog category. Walking through Walmart, I saw this guy on a box for a floatie tube thing for the pool. It scared me so bad I took a picture (isn’t that what everyone does)? Then for the next two days until I cleared off my camera’s SD card, if I reviewed pictures I’d shriek and yell, “AHHHH, SCARY TUBE GUY!” And my husband would say, “Huh?” And then laugh at me.

* You may remember when my friend, Grace, had her baby … FIVE YEARS AGO. How does this happen, five years? She had a birthday party this past weekend, and I watched as Mia (her daughter) laughed and played with her friends, smiled and interacted with everyone at her party, and did crafts… and she starts school this year. I’m so baffled. From a tiny baby who stared you down with an “I dare you to make a fool of yourself!” look on her face came forth this happy, skipping child with a beautiful, engaging smile who loves dresses, Awana, Octonauts, Disneyland, princesses and (weirdly) snails. Mind boggling. Where did the time go?

* This very same friend (Grace) bought ME a gift and gave it to me at her daughter’s party. I’m not sure if this is a blessing or not, actually, because it’s a gift of the consumable nature. When she gives me these types of gifts, they’re usually highly addicting. This gift was organic/decaf corn tea. Sounds kind of weird, but it has, in just a few short days, become my new favorite warm drink. Over hot chocolate, even.

* I got a notice in the mail from my mortgage company. Worried, because I don’t like getting anything in the mail which departs from the regular mailing schedule from companies who collect money from me, I ripped it open. Happily, I discovered that they’re notifying me that my ARM is going down and I will be paying a tiny bit less each month to my mortgage company starting September. In times when money is so tight in our household, everywhere really, every little bit helps!

* The perks of having a small car… I can park all cockamamied in my parking spot to maximize tree shade and still be inside the lines of my parking spot. Bonus? No one can figure out how to park next to me without being all crooked, too.

* The pool bunnies are back. Since I’ve been swimming in the community pool again, I’ve been looking for them, waiting for them. I was thrilled (THRILLED!) to see one hop out and start grazing on the grass one evening this week. Pool bunnies are the best!

* S’mores cookies. Do you really need me to say more?

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Filed under Best Husband, Blogabilities, I have Friends, I Judge Bad Marketing

Love & Loathe — 11/24/10 (early)

I find myself in an odd place this Thanksgiving. I had to take a couple days off from work to have a minor surgery, and my doctor has ordered me out of commission for the next few days to recover… which means I’m unable to attend dinner with the family tomorrow. I’ve given my slave husband orders to bring me home some turkey and stuffing. Really, out of all the bounty prepared, those are my favorite things of it all — turkey and stuffing. Not even the desserts compare. I know, you’re gasping in shock right now!

The meds they have me on make me quite sleepy, so my wish for naps and resting has been granted in a very big way. Which is why I’m writing now, because I may very well be sleeping tomorrow away. Huzzah!
How much of my yesterday was spent, note Tug’s possessive paw on my chin?

Since it’s Thanksgiving, instead of writing loves and loathes, I’ll just share some of the things that I’m thankful for this year.

* I’m incredibly thankful for having a wonderful husband in my life. He is sensitive, thoughtful, intuitive, responsive, responsible, loving and attentive. He makes me feel cared about, loved and safe, He is also prone to fits of goofyness, and his lack of self-consciousness is not only an inspiration to me, it’s also something that garners spontaneous laughter that just bubbles right out of my soul. I love this man that I’m married to so very much.

* My close friends. I’ve said it before, but it’s so very true: Having a support system in place is critical to get through the highs and lows of life. Isolating myself, even though that’s usually my natural instinct, is the exact wrong thing to do. For those of you who have offered words of wisdom, or support, or “just the right thing at the right time” — you are more appreciated by me than I could ever express.

* Having a job. Every day I wonder why I am where I am. I wonder why they seem to like me so much. I never, ever take for granted that I have somewhere to go every day and that I get a pay check. I do like my pay check. I always try to start the day like it’s a new job, that there will be new things to learn and expect the unexpected. When I have that attitude, I find it’s much easier to take the changes that seem to come at such a rapid fire pace.

* The basics of life. Having a home to live in with appliances that work, in a safe neighborhood, with (for the most part) great neighbors. Pets that are healthy and some that are working their way back to health. A car that is fun to drive and reliable. Beautiful plants in my back yard that I nurture and they, in return, give me so much joy.

* My health. This is something that I’ve not always had and I’m so pleased that, for the most part, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I attribute it to two things — first, I found an exercise that I love to do. When I take my weekly day off from swimming, I miss it sooooo badly and can’t wait to get back in the pool the next day. Second, raw milk. Seriously. Unpasteurized milk has so many health benefits. (Link to read if interested.)

* Doctors that I respect and trust almost implicitly. I will never, ever stop asking questions, not after all I’ve been through with incompetent doctors, but the doctors I have now are either one step ahead of me and answer my questions before I ask them, or patiently answer my questions, and sometimes have changed the course of treatment to meet my requests… which means the respect is mutual. To finally have excellent doctors is a huge blessing.

* Fun socks. I know, this is so silly after all the Big, Serious, Deep things I’ve listed. But wearing fun or crazy socks under a conservative business suit is a fun little spot of happy in my day. Today? Cornucopias. Tomorrow? Turkeys.

With that, I wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with all the people and food that you love. If you’re in a part of the world where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated tomorrow, I still wish you lots of food and time with loved ones.

Lots of love,
Jammie J.

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Filed under Health/Endo, I feel Glad, I have Family, I have Friends, Love/Loathe, Sometimes I Sleep

55th, 20th & 50th

You know how sometimes if you break up your routine by going out and doing something on a Thursday night, Friday just kind of seems like part of the weekend, even though you still went to work? That’s kind of how Friday the 16th felt to me.

Thursday night we went to Disneyland. Our annual passes have black-out dates throughout the summer on the weekends, so if we want to go, we have to go on a “school night.” It was fun and felt like we had snuck out of the house without asking permission from someone! Tony wanted to ride Star Tours before they redesign it. I wanted to pick up a special 55th anniversary map — 55 years ago that Disneyland opened in California. We managed to stay late enough to watch the fireworks, which I always enjoy.

Friday night we hung out with Tony’s Little Bro, and a long-time friend. Later we went and saw the movie Grown Ups. It was silly and goofy and I laughed and laughed.

Saturday was a double-decker event day. We started by going to Mazda Miata’s 20th Anniversary celebration at Mazda’s Research & Development Center. That’s where it all started over 20 years ago. I remember when I first saw the Miata, a blue one… someone had parked it, and left its top down. I wanted one but figured I could never afford one. Then one of the ladies in my office bought a red one, and she made so much more money than I did, which affirmed my assumption. It took me 6 years, but I finally saved up enough money to buy a used 1992 red Mazda Miata. Oh, how I loved that car…. with its pop-up headlights and chrome fingerpull door handles.

Six years later and over 200,000 miles on the odometer, I was devastated when a truck blew off a stop sign and pulled out in front of me. I t-boned him, and my poor little car was totaled. The guy’s insurance company settled with me, which provided a hefty down payment for my next car: a red 2002 Miata. The one I currently drive.

So the 20th Anniversary celebration was like a trip down memory lane for me. They had clay design models, time line pictures, various concept models, and also the design team who imagined it and brought it to fruition were there, talking and answering questions. It was just a really fun event for me. Plus they fed us and gave us goody bags.

Concept models…

One of the clay models…

The design team…

The Starship Enterprise version (Tony’s favorite)…

Saturday afternoon, we attended the 50th wedding anniversary mass and reception for some long-time family friends. The mass and ceremony when they reiterated their vows was, simply put, quite lovely. They must have spent months planning and practicing (their adult “kids” provided the music). Every detail was attended to, the food was delicious and the reminiscing was touching.

I know the food at an event is not supposed to be the main focus, but I didn’t get permission to post any pictures of the grown-up people (I take liberties when posting pictures of my nephews), and the caterers were truly artists… so just imagine that everything else was as imaginative as the food and you’ll have a small taste of it. So to speak.

Everything in this basket was created from vegetables and fruits…

Yes, please…

Just a small taste…

I spent much of my Sunday enjoying the plants in my back yard — pruning them, splitting their roots and re-potting them. The rest of the time, I spent in the pool swimming — my hour long lap marathon in the morning, and then our nephews (and their parents) came over for some pool time in the afternoon. It’s remarkable how hot it’s been here, given how cool it was just a couple weeks ago. It’s been hot enough that I was dripping sweat while outside working with my plants (ewwww!) and the pool is running nearly 90°F.

In other news, my mom is off traveling in China. My cartoonist friend is traveling in Europe (and blogging about it), and a guy at work gave me one of the biggest zucchinis I’ve seen in about 10 years (since I grew my own).

It’s a good thing he gave me one, because I think it’d be wrong to covet thy co-worker’s zucchini.

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Filed under I did something Special, I have Family, I have Friends