Sunday, November 30, 2008


We finished getting all of the Christmas stuff out today. I am so thankful for the memories that came with each decoration as I pulled it out of the box...

The advent calendar that my Grandma made me is in place. She made it when I was a baby; I don't remember a Christmas without it. It's old, yellowed and so very sequined, but she made it...for me...I love it.

The tree is up in the boys' room. So very bright, so many lights! But we had so much fun decorating it tonight. I will always cherish moments like this.

Matt wanted to put his nativity scene on his dresser this year. I love that even though it only has seven pieces, he spent about a full five minutes placing them exactly how he thought they should go. I also love that he didn't let his (autographed) Tony Gwynn Rookie Card get too far away from the action. Precious.

I couldn't resist snapping this one. My babies are getting so big! John's on top; that's his foot. Matt's on the bottom, snuggled up in the blanket. The pink thing hanging over Matthew is a post-it; he has something that he wants to remember for tomorrow so he wrote himself a note. And the other white thing hanging..socks. In case his feet get cold in the night. Sigh. I love my boys.

Finally, I love that if you head downstairs, you'll be greeted with the "glow of electric sex". Classic.

Many more decorations fill the house, each with it's own memory. And just think...we are beginning a whole new season for memory-making!

As November draws to a close, and so does NaBloPoMo, I would like to thank you for visiting me every day. It's been fun!

Goodnight, and may you have a very blessed Christmas season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Hmmm. Once AC got our tree nicely tucked in it's corner,
he realized that he was stuck in the corner with it!

Never fear! AC made it safely out,
and I commenced with the decorating.
Sigh. I love our tree.

Yay Christmas!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flashback Friday, Thanksgiving Style

Good Evening, Friends and Fans!

While today is indeed Flashback Friday, I didn't feel right moving on to another year of pictures. It is, after all, Thanksgiving (for me). In fact, I'm still quite in the middle of Thanksgiving, Day Two! We're having a lovely day with my family. I was proud of myself yesterday...I didn't overeat. I was quite comfortable. Today? Not so much! I feel like a slug. A content slug, but a slug! :-)

I thought I'd combine a Flashback with Thanksgiving and offer this sweet picture. It is from October of 1982; I was seven years old. I was the best dressed pilgrim on the block! Note the sweet cornucopia for candy collecting? Oh yeah, baby...even my accessories matched!

I hope you're all having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Join me next Friday for my regularly scheduled Flashback. Hmmm. 1987. I'll bet I can dig up some winners!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, Day One

Well, Day One of our Thanksgiving celebration is drawing to a close. It was a wonderful day!

While getting everything ready that I needed to take with me today, I was sure to place a charged battery in the camera, and put the camera in my purse. You know, so that I could dazzle you with pictures of our festivities! Well, I never once took the camera out of my purse. In fact, the only picture that I took all day I took with someone else's camera! Oops.

As is tradition around our house, the Christmas lights had to go up this morning; I like to come home to the lights on after a long Thanksgiving. My parents came up bright and early, we enjoyed coffee and hot chocolate while we nibbled on some of the candy that I made last night, and then the lights went up. My dad messed with the electrical part (he always does that for us) while AC and I strung lights. Totally fun....first kid on my block with the lights up, baby!

We spent the afternoon at AC's mom and dad's house. It was a reasonably small gathering; there were only 18 people. Still, it was a lot of fun. There was plenty of delicious food, a time of sharing what we're thankful for, many laughs...I really do love AC's family.

This evening we went over to AC's aunt's house. Most of the family goes over there each year; we just usually skip it since I always have baking to do once I get home. Tonight, though, we went with them, and I'm SO glad we did!!! It was the perfect end to our day!

We got home a little after nine, and I set to work in the kitchen. Thanksgiving starts all over again tomorrow with my family. I have two pies and some cinnamon sugar "kisses" (as we call them) cooling on the table. The last two pies are in the oven. I just may make it to bed before 12:30am!

Two highlights from today that stand out in my mind as I think back on the day...

This is going to sound silly, but at Aunt Lissa's house, there were three golden retrievers. They totally made my day! I didn't realize just how much I missed having goldens (I grew up with them). They were gorgeous and well behaved and so much fun! If I could have gotten away with sneaking Lulu into the car with us and bringing her home with us, I think I would have! See, I told you it would sound silly.

Secondly...seeing how much my brother-in-law likes Spongebob seriously cracked me up. He was like a little kid! The (actual) kids were watching it on TV and Keith kept totally pausing in our conversation to pay attention to it. Keith always makes me laugh. I loved spending the day with him and Ruth!

Well, as is usually the case, I've rambled on long enough. I'll go check the pies. Then we'll sleep for a few hours, and then start it all over again!

Goodnight, folks. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My mother-in-law is doing all the cooking. (Yay!)
My sister-in-law is making all of the pies. (Double Yay!)
That leaves me with the candy.*

2pm - Gathering all of the ingredients

4pm - My kitchen table, aka: the cooling rack

8pm - The finished product.
Two trays of fudge, peppermint bark
and chocolate almond candy.

*This is for day one, tomorrow, with Andy's family.
Tomorrow night, I'll be baking for our
Thanksgiving with my family on Friday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amazing A's

Thanks, Crayl, for circling around to the beginning of the alphabet again! Very fun for those of us who weren't linking up when you started!

This week, number one really is my number one. Beyond that, they're mostly random. Here they are, my favorite A words:

1. Andy. He's my world. There aren't words to describe my love for him. In Jerry Maguire, they use the phrase, "You complete me." Corny, yes; but so very appropriate. Without AC, I truly am incomplete.

2. Avocados. While I'm not a huge fan of plain avocados, they are the key ingredient to guacamole, which is the nectar of the gods. So I am very thankful for avocados.

3. Amazon. Shopping made easier.

4. Antibiotics, Advair and Albuterol. All of them are keeping me breathing at the moment, so I am quite appreciative of them.

5. Arsenic and Old Lace. One of the best old movies around...a true classic.

6. Anniversaries. AC and I have quite a few little dates that we remember throughout the year in addition to our actual wedding anniversary. It's always fun to celebrate.

7. Aerosmith. When you think of good ol' rock and roll, you have to include Aerosmith. They're awesome.

8. Apple Crisp. My mother-in-law gave me her recipe years ago and I love it so very much. Hot, cold, with ice cream, without...doesn't matter. It's the best!

9. Arse. Yes, it's a word for, well, you know; mostly used in the United Kingdom. But it really is a great word. Especially when said by the likes of Sean Connery or Ewan McGregor.

10. Agent 007. I know, I know. I'm reaching a bit with this one. However, I saw Quantum of Solace the other night and my love for Daniel Craig was rekindled. He really is the best Bond ever. EVER.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

It seems like only yesterday that the boys were branching out and watching grown up movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.

And frankly, it seem like only a few days before that when we were watching things like the Wiggles and VeggieTales.

Tonight, for Family Movie Night, we watched The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Sigh. Where did the time go? My boys must really be growing up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Choosing Sides

Several of today's NFL match-ups left me in a bit of a quandary. I didn't know who to root for...

- Do I root for the Titans because they're undefeated and I would love to see them go all the way; or do I root for the Jets because, well, how can one not be pulling for Favre to have a good year?

- Do I root for the Broncos because no self respecting San Diego girl would dare root for the Raiders; or do I suck it up and hope for a Raiders win since a Bronco defeat would significantly help the Chargers?

- Do I root for the Chargers? I should. But how can I when I love Peyton Manning and the Colts so much?

These are the thoughts that plagued me today.

In the end, I was just happy to be watching football. This was our first baseball-free weekend; we had football on all day yesterday and all day today. I loved every minute of it!

p.s. I ended up choosing Titans, Raiders and Colts. Two out of three wins isn't bad!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Very Very Very End.

We'd been saving it for a special occasion; the last Aztec game of the season seemed appropriate. So as we sat in our seats, in a near empty stadium,watching two terrible teams play football... we opened the very last bag. Sigh. There are no more.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Greetings, Flashback Friends!

Technically it's still before midnight, so it is Friday. (Although, by the time I get my pics in and post, it may be later. Still, my buddy assured me that as long as I'm typing before midnight, it's all good...and since I was out goofing off with her tonight, I'm going to take her at her word!)

1986 was a fun year for me. When I listen to Bryan Adams singing Summer of '69, my mind takes me back to '86 and '87. They were great years; I loved them!

I have a lot of pictures, and it's really late, so I think I'll just get to it!

School pictures, don't you love them???

While I met AC in 1985, I really started hanging out with him in 1986. This is his family in the summer of '86. (He's the stud in the USA shirt.)

This is me and my best friends. I'm on the left, then Dana, Debbie (now my cousin) and Nicole. We were inseparable for quite a few years!

Um, yeah. This is what happens to Jr. High girls very late at night.

Is there really any better fun than singing into a hairspray bottle? I'm actually singing the word "hell" because Stryper's "To Hell With The Devil" had just been released. I have no idea why I remember that.

Ah, yes; these pictures. There's a whole series, we got in trouble for taking them.

This is John (AC's brother), me, Nicole and AC. The reason we're dressed alike is because in the fall of '86, we were on a Christmas Album, and we went around to local churches singing and promoting the cd. One night, we took these after a concert. I liked John, Nicole and AC were a thing. In some of them, gasp, we're even holding hands!

We took this one of AC a few weeks later at a different concert. Nicole liked AC so much that we put our allowance money together so that she could get it blown up to a 5x7. We walked to the Deans Photo kiosk down the street from her house and did it. Funny thing...she later gave it to me...I have the 5x7 in an album downstairs.

This is the album cover of our Christmas album. That's my (now) Aunt Pam and some of AC's cousins. Funny how life works...

In case any of you are doubters, here you go...proof. My name, forever tied to this project.

For those who are paying close attention, you'll note that AC's name isn't on there. He wasn't in the choir...his voice had changed and he no longer sounded childlike.

It's kind of fun to bring this out each Christmas and remember the good old days.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stocking Up

While I was at Vons this morning, I decided that it was time to stock up for my holiday baking. Here's what my pantry is now loaded with:

20 pounds of flour
15 pounds of sugar
8 pounds of brown sugar
3 large cans of Crisco
6 pounds of butter
8 bags of chocolate chips
2 bags of mini M&M's
2 bags of sliced almonds
2 large cans of pumpkin
2 jars of marshmellow fluff
12 large Hershey bars (for baking)

With my pantry full and my spice rack loaded, I am ready to commence baking. These supplies certainly won't take me through Christmas, but they should get me through mid-December!

I'm off to make a pumpkin pie!

(In case anyone was wondering, this is why Susie looks amazing and I look like me! :-) I'm stocking up, while she's signing up!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just What I Needed

I had a rough day yesterday.

I had a particularly icky orthodontist adjustment that involved new wires, new chains, new rubber bands and tooth shaping. Believe me, it was (and continues to be) no picnic! I am so tired of hurting. It's been almost three years now that I've been on this road with my mouth and it's issues and I'm weary. Frankly, I was not in a happy place yesterday afternoon.

But God is good. He knew what I needed last night.

My buddies were praying for me. I love them so very much. Without their constant encouragement and support, this journey would be unbearable.

Coincidentally (I think not!), our dear friend Curt from Monterey just happened to be in town for the evening. We all went to dinner where I was able to get some soft, squishy, cheesy lasagna down. Then after a quick stop at the grocery store for ice cream (everyone agreed, it was necessary), we spent the evening at my parents house where Curt taught my boys the fine art of Table Football.

Was I uncomfortable? Ha! That's an understatement...I'm in so much pain, even now. But God has given me a beautiful family, incredible friends and sweet memories!

I will praise Him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Zany Z Words

The end of the alphabet already? Wow!

Here they are, a list of my favorite Z words. They're not in any particular order until you get to the end...#10 is my absolute favorite!

1. Zippers. I hate button fly jeans.

2. Zoinks. Always a fun exclamation.

3. Zenith. Our first color TV was a was huge...I loved it!

4. Zwiebacks. I love them. I can't chew them, but I love them.

5. Zippo Lighters. If you're going to get a lighter, get a Zippo.

6. Zinnias. So beautiful, they make me so happy.

7. Zombies. Specifically zombie movies. AC and I have seen some real winners.

8. Ziploc Bags. They must be Ziploc, never, ever any other brand.

9. Zzyzx Road. It means you're almost to Vegas, baby!

10. "I'm Looking For The Z." Can you handle the cuteness? Think so? It'll blow your socks off. Turn up your volume and check out a video of my guys from about eight and a half years ago...

To see what my buddies are thankful for, cruise on over to Beyond Black and White.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Misunderstanding

Before I tell you about a funny exchange that happened while we were dining at Claim Jumper recently, you need to know two things.

1. Our dear friends raise, then sell bison; you can find them over at Glacier Grown. They're making a run to San Diego later this month and we have been discussing which cuts of meat we'd like to purchase.

2. Due to the many, many ear infections that he had as a toddler, Matthew has permanent hearing loss in both ears. It's especially difficult for him to hear if we're in a noisy place, with lots of background noises.

Now that you are properly informed, I can continue with my story.

The waitress, Lori, came over to take our drink orders...

Lori (to me): "What would you like to drink today?"

Me: "A Lemon Drop and a glass of water, please."

Lori (to John): "How about you?"

John: "Barq's Root Beer, please." (He always orders root beer using it's brand name.)

Lori (to Matt): "And for you?"

Matt: "Dr. Pepper, please."

At this point, Matt dropped something and leaned down under the table to pick it up while Lori was talking to Andy....

Lori (to Andy): "And how about you, sir? What are you drinking today?"

Andy: "I'll have the Hefeweizen."

Lori thanked us all, and walked away.

At this point, Matt pops back up into his seat, looks at Andy with big eyes, and says, "We're going to buy HALF A BISON????"

Sunday, November 16, 2008


No, that isn't the code to disable the parental controls on our TV. Nor is it the combination to my locker at the gym. It isn't even my area code.

2-7-1 is the final record for John's fall baseball team. I realize that those numbers don't generally reflect a very good season, but before you start thinking sympathy thoughts, I need to explain a few things. While Matt's team rocked this year, so did John's team; you just have to look a bit harder to see it.

John moved up a division in August; he is now playing at the Juniors level. It's primarily thirteen and fourteen year olds, with some twelves (like JC, who will be thirteen in the spring) and a some fifteens (who will be moving up in the spring). It's on a much bigger field than he's been used to as well, they now use 90 foot base lines, the same as the major leagues.

We knew going into the season that it was going to be a time of learning, of getting used to the new division. However, there were a few things that we weren't expecting...

- We didn't expect that eleven out of the thirteen on our roster would also be newbies. We only had two players who'd played at that level before.

- We didn't expect that we would be the only young team in the division; that the other teams would be filled with travel ball players and high school freshmen.

- We didn't expect the manager and head coach of the team to quit and leave the boys out to dry after the second game.

- We also didn't expect three of our players to quit because we weren't "good enough", and two others to have to quit due to injuries. Do the math...that left us with eight players, not enough for a full team. Most days Matt ended up playing with the team just so that they wouldn't have to forfeit!

Needless to say, it became clear very early on that this was going to be a challenging season.

The first hurdle was solving the coaching problem. If no one stepped up to coach, the season would have folded after week two. Being the incredible man that he is, Andy chose to take on the team. While he never played ball himself and he doesn't have vast amounts of baseball knowledge, he loves his son and his son's friends and he didn't want to see those kids let down. So Andy became the manager of the Gray Team on September 21st. Three other dads graciously stepped up to help and together they took this group of young boys and turned them into better ball players.

And that took a lot of work! You'd be surprised how much moving to a bigger field effects their play. It's a lot longer of a run between the bases, it's a lot longer throw to get an out (especially from third over to first) and it's a longer throw from the mound to home plate. These kids, some of whom were incredible players down at the Majors level, looked like rookies out there! They really had to get down to the basics at practice. However, I'm astounded at the difference it made. We had games at the beginning of the season in which we had upwards of 15 errors in a game, and by the end of the season, we were down to just 1 to 3 errors in a game. Andy and his guys really helped those kids! I'm tremendously proud of him.

John grew personally this season as well. He's always been on winning teams, more often than not, on a championship team. This season, he learned how to lose with grace. He learned how to encourage his teammates, even when it wasn't going well. He learned that others looked to him to be a leader, and he rose to the occasion. He was the starting first baseman, an amazing catcher, he had incredible numbers, and he increased in character. I am a proud Mama.

Since I've kept you this long, I wanted to share the scores from the games with you, just so that you can see how far they came. Our boys never gave up, they fought till the end. While most people won't see much to be proud of in these numbers, I look at them and see determination, teamwork and growth. I see a baseball team.

Game 1: Tied 9-9
Game 2: Lost 13-4
Game 3: Lost 23-3
Game 4: Lost 20-6
Game 5: Lost 12-1
Game 6: Lost 7-6
Game 7: Lost 12-1
Game 8: Won 13-4
Game 9: Won 10-2
Game 10: Lost 7-5

I didn't get a team picture of them, I wish I would have. But a blog from me just isn't complete without pictures. So here you go, a few shots of my boy this afternoon.

I love you, John. I am so very proud of you!

Andy? You're pretty swell too!

Congratulations, Gray Team, on a great season!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And Then There Were Two

For years, the older ladies in my family had a tradition: they would take one day each year, usually late November, sometimes early December, and it would be Family Shopping Day. Once all of us kiddos were dropped off at school, they would meet for breakfast at Carrows or Coco’s, someplace like that. After breakfast, they would all head to Fashion Valley for some Christmas shopping. They didn’t’ stay to together the whole time, there were too many. They’d break off into twos and threes and fours and start knocking things off their to-do list. Usually they’d meet at some restaurant in the mall at a specific time for lunch and compare progress. They must have had a blast; they all looked forward to it so much!

I remember always wishing that I didn’t have to go to school so that I could go with them. I was so excited when, in 8th grade, I started home schooling. That meant that if I worked ahead and got everything done, I could go too! So much fun!!! We kept it up for several more years.

Over time though, it started to change. Some moved away, some got too old to walk around that much, some died. It became a thing of the past, as far as the whole family goes. Grandma, Mom and I kept going, though. We’d have breakfast, shop all day, have lunch or dinner together. It was a tradition that we determined to keep up, even if there were only three of us.

Grandma died on December 1, 2006. That year, mom and I didn’t really do any Christmas shopping; we had to use our time out to buy clothes for Grandma’s funeral. Somehow, I think Grandma would have liked that; that we still got out and shopped.

It’s more difficult these days to make it out; we have to work around baseball games and other craziness in our schedule. We made it last year, though, and today, we’ll do it again. Mom and I are meeting for breakfast at 9am this morning and then we’ll hit the malls. It’s not the same with out my Grandma, I really do miss her. But we’ll have fun. We’ll do some shopping, have lunch, and maybe even hit a movie.

Some traditions you just have to keep alive…

Friday, November 14, 2008


Double digits! I finally made it to ten years old. What a milestone!

I only have a couple of pictures for you today, and they're not very exciting. I offer my deepest apologies. I promise that next week will make up for it though! :-)

Okay, let's get to it...

Can anyone guess what grade I'm in? Yep. Fourth. Here's my mission project. I remember being totally upset about this. My parents didn't help me at all, they said that it was my project so I had to be the one to do it. I don't have a problem with that, especially now that I'm a parent. However, the kid that won a prize for "Best Mission" could totally tell that his dad did the whole thing. I was quite miffed.

While this is not a spectacular picture to the casual viewer, it is special to me. This was taken in the little town of Bisbee, Arizona. My grandma moved to Bisbee from Illinois when she was just an infant, and she lived there until she got married. My granddad moved to Bisbee when he was around junior high age. My family has tons of history there, and we would often, along with many cousins, have family reunions in the cute little town.

On the right side of the picture is the town's water tank. The little house just to the left of the tank is the house that Grandma grew up in. The town has one main street, one hotel (at the time), a red light district, everyone knew my family, it was great! Good memories in Bisbee!

This is my final offering for today. Remember my cousin, Tammy, that received the matching purple sweats with me a few years back? Well, here we are again. I dare say we look more goofy here than we did in the sweats! I don't remember exactly what we were trying to achieve here. This wasn't how we normally looked, so I'm sure that we were trying to imitate the pop stars of the day. Maybe I was going for the Madonna appears that I darkened the mole on my cheek. Don't I look great?

Something quite important happened in 1985 that unfortunately, I don't have a picture of. During the 1985 holiday season, I met AC. Little did I know then that in less than ten years, I'd be married to him!

Be sure to tune in next week for my 1986 pictures...I promise there are some good ones!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bring It On, Starbucks. I'm Ready.

Last year, I wrote a post (back when I was blogging on MySpace) about the amount of work that goes into receiving the perfect Gingerbread Latte. It should not be the ordeal that it is. Sadly, my struggle continues.

This year, instead of topping said latte with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg, Starbucks has decided to call it a Gingersnap Latte and top it with whipped cream and crystallized ginger flakes. (I call them ginger pebbles, because they're totally the size and shape of Fruity Pebbles.)

While I was unsure about the change, I gave it a try. The other day, when I had my first Gingersnap Latte of the season, I drank it with the ginger pebbles. You know what? Not a fan. They sink into the drink when the whipped cream melts and while they probably do enhance the ginger flavor, they don't dissolve, so when you get to the bottom you have chunks that fit through the hole in the lid. And seriously, who wants chunks in their mouth when they're drinking coffee?

So, I've now had to add another instruction to my drink order.

I would like a Nonfat, Extra-hot, Gingersnap Latte with whipped cream, no ginger sprinkles, add nutmeg.

What a mouthful.

I ran into another problem last year after the latte post. Several of my local Starbucks stores ran out of nutmeg. And not for a day or anything, for like, several weeks. I asked about it and was told that the supplier ran out. I'm thinking, what the heck? Go to Vons! Buy nutmeg! But apparently, they can't do that.

SO, in an effort to avoid any further problems with my Gingerbread Lattes in the future (that's right...I said "bread", not "snap") I have solved the supplier-running-out-of-nutmeg problem.

On Monday, while at Vons, I purchased the following:

Yes, folks. My very own, purse-sized container of nutmeg. I will never again be subjected to an incomplete Gingerbread latte.

My family's thoughts on this matter:

AC: While he's not thrilled with the cost of my continual visits to Starbucks, I think my determination and creativity have impressed him.

John: If I go, it means there's a chance that he'll get a frappuccino, so he's all for it.

Matthew: "Mom, you're obsessed."

I think Matt's probably right.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great Illustrated Classics

No, I'm not talking about the book series. I'm talking about when one of my favorite, classic movies coincides with everyday life and makes for a perfect illustration. Let me explain...

Today in U.S. History, the kids and I were discussing Andrew Jackson and some of the decisions that he made during his presidency. Among other things, he hated banks, and he targeted the National Bank, trying to bring it down.

It turned into a discussion on how banks work; how banks don't just have money in the vault to cover all of their accounts. I was trying to explain it clearly, and how if everyone wanted all of their money at the same time, the bank would be in trouble. And then it hit me! I had the perfect illustration sitting right there on my DVD shelf.

Please observe:

This morning, three of my favorite things collided in my living room: Christmas, movies and history! Loved it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yippee! It's Y Day!

Things that I am thankful for that begin with the letter no particular order...

1. Yeast. Without it, bread just wouldn't be nearly as yummy.

2. Yahtzee. A classic.

3. Yellow Roses. My favorite flowers.

4. Yankee Candles. They really do have the best candles. The gals that work at the Yankee store in the mall totally know me. That might not be a good thing!

5. Yodeling Veterinarian of the Alps. One of the best silly songs ever.

6. Yarn. I know that this is going to be used my several people today, but that's okay. Yarn is worth mentioning repeatedly.

7. Yellow Brick Road. (Not the magical road from the Wizard of Oz.) There used to be an arcade upstairs, above the ice rink at UTC. When I was a kid, it was a BIG deal if your mom gave you a few quarters and let you go hang out in Yellow Brick Road. That's where all the cool, older kids were.

8. Yard Sales. Most people call them garage sales, but in my family, they're yard sales. And no, I don't like shopping them. I would never shop them. But I like having them. I have some sweet memories of our huge, family-wide yard sales from when I was a kid. My grandma always let me be in charge of the money!

9. Yardley Soap. It's the soap that they use at Outback Steakhouse. I love the way it makes my hands smell.

10. York Peppermint Patties. Never any other brand, always York.

To see what everyone else is thankful for today, visit Beyond Black & White.

Monday, November 10, 2008

He No Nuts, He's Crazy!

A few months ago, AC started a running program. It's some thing that he found online; you run three days a week, for several months, and by the end you're a runner. Seemed like a great plan. He's stuck with it, he's doing great, I'm very proud of him.

We talked about it and decided that it would be a good thing for him to do with the kids. He'd still do his own running on other days, but three days each week, he'd lead the boys through it. It would give us needed P.E. minutes and get them in better shape. AC decided that they would start it today, thinking that they could be a good deal into the program by the time the Spring baseball season starts.

Now, I need to lose weight, get in shape, blah blah blah. I've been lazy about going to the gym lately, so I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to get back to it. I would get up with them at 6am and I would go to the gym while they run.

That was my plan.

Until yesterday, when I had the following conversation with Matthew.

Me: "You need to get to bed at a reasonable time tonight, you 're going to get up at 6:00 and run with Dad in the morning."

MC: "Aren't you going to do the program with us?"

Me: (trying not to laugh out loud) "No."

MC: "Why not?"

Me: "Well, I've got a weak ankle, you know that. I'll go to the gym while you guys run."

MC: "You know, Mom, your ankle is only weak because you never use it. You should come with us."

Nice, kid. I talked to AC about it later and we agreed that I would give it a try for a week and see how it went. I promised that I wouldn't give up due to normal muscle soreness, but that if my ankle gave me problems, I would return to my plan and just go to the gym.

So, I did it; I went with them this morning. My legs were sore after the first 60 seconds, but I stuck with it. I went at my own pace, slower than the rest of my family, but I did it! I'll do it on Wednesday and Friday, and then decide what I'll do from there.

One unforeseen issue, it kind of made my jaw pain flare up (I'm on a several year journey, dealing with severe TMJ issues.). I don't know if that will put an end to this quicker than my ankle, we'll have to see.

But for today, I made it.

However, I think Matt, and Andy for that matter, are both crazy for thinking that I'm actually going to be able to complete this program. Absolutely insane.

*Bonus points to anyone who can tell me who said the quote that I used as my title.
**An extra million points to anyone who knew it without looking it up.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Missed It By That Much!

If you've been following along, you'll recall that last Sunday was not the best of days. Since I gave you a list of everything that didn't go according to plan last week (I really do love lists!), I thought I'd list for you all of the things that went right today. It was absolutely fabulous; it was just what I needed.

- 8am: I woke up. I love sleeping in!

- 8:01am: I realized that it was a rainy day. I enjoyed my cup of coffee while watching the rain fall outside our bedroom window.

- 9:30am I chatted with my brother. While I am truly thankful for this, I'm mostly throwing this in to see if he's really going to start reading my blog like he said he would (he'd better be).

- 10am: I watched the Titans win again. I spent the whole time on the couch, under the blanket, thoroughly enjoying the rainy day.

- 11:30am: I got word that John's baseball game was officially called due to the weather. I was so excited that I got up and did a little dance. (Come on, sports moms...who doesn't love a rain out every now and then?)

*I spent the next few hours watching football, feeling cozy and working on my scarf.

2pm: I found out that Matt's thumb is not broken after all. (He'd injured it in yesterday's game.)

3pm: I took a little snooze.

5:30pm: Andy and I had dinner with our best friends; just us grown-ups, woo hoo!

7:30pm: I got a super-sweet, melt-your-heart smile from Nate the Great

8:30pm: We ended the night with lots of good, old-fashioned fun watching Get Smart.

As I said, it was exactly what I needed. Nothing overly exciting in the grand scheme of life, just a bunch of little things that, when added up, made for a great day. It was the best Sunday I've had in a long, long time.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

They. Could. Go. All. The. Way.

And they did!

Matt played his last baseball game of the season a few hours ago. He was on a fabulous team with the best coach ever (we've had him for years, he's usually been John's coach though). They were 9-0 going into today's game. We were a bit nervous because we were going to be missing players today, but they really stepped up and took care of business. They won 17-4, completing their perfect season.

The coaches gave everyone nicknames; I'll use them to introduce the 2008 Fall Ball Champions.

Back (L to R): Coach Pat, Coach Ross
Middle: The Rat, T-Bone, Lefty, X-Man
Front: Lu, Coast to Coast, #5, Woody, Pec, Matty (aka Cup-o-Coffee)
Missing today: E.O., The Doctor, Scraps

Here he is:
the starting shortstop,
the backup catcher,
a big hitter,
an amazing athlete,
my boy.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Good morning, everyone.
(At least it will be once I get this cup of coffee in me!)

Today we find ourselves heading back in time, to the totally rad year of 1984. I have a couple of pictures for your consideration.

Here we see quality leadership in action. My parents have taken some of the kids from their Sunday School class to the zoo. (I have no idea why....contest winners, illustrations on creation, who knows.)

I would like you to note the following:

- My dad's large belt buckle and the pen in his pocket. (You never know when you might need a pen.)
- Most of us are dressed in summer attire, but there is one who is wearing long pants, and long-sleeved collared shirt and a sweater. Did she get a memo that we didn't?
- You can't see much of me, but if you look closely you will note that my pink knee socks are pulled up all the way. Way to go, Michelle!
- Both of the boys have on nifty striped socks (again, pulled up all the way) and sweet, two-strapped velcro shoes.
- There are two pairs of jelly shoes; one with jeans and socks, the other with shorts and no socks. Whichever look you prefer, we've got you covered.
- The vest. OH the vest. With the sweater-looking tank top under it. The vest.

You've gotta love fashion in the 80's!

1984 was a big year for me. My dad was not at all happy with this decision, but once he made his feelings clear, he left it up to me and my mom.
In 1984, I went from this:

To this:

I was thrilled. He wasn't.
Yes, that is a crocheted cat in my lap in the before picture.
No, my eyes aren't green, for those of you who are very observant. It's just the coloring in the picture.

Lastly (I really need to start cleaning my house), I have a quick picture from Halloween.

Who am I? Oh, come on, isn't it obvious? I'm Julie, a resistance fighter, from the tv show "V". (Hence, the big V on my sweater.) Alas, there is no Donovan with me, just a cowboy-with-a-mask and his little brother.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for joining me. See you in '85!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crocheting 101

Scarf season is upon us.

So much lovely yarn.

So little time.

Armed with my grandma's trusty crochet hooks, I'm off!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Time

Since several of my buddies have Halloween themed posts today, I'll jump on the band wagon and share our Halloween with you.

I mentioned a few days ago that we were planning to break tradition this year and spend Halloween at Disneyland. It seemed like a good idea. The kids didn't want to dress up, they're kind of big to go out and trick or treat, and no one was thrilled with the harvest festival idea. So AC game home from work at around 11:30am last Friday, and we headed up to the Magic Kingdom.

It was perfect; we had so much fun. We ended up staying until midnight (I'm getting too old for that!). It was a bit crowded for a while, but not too bad.

Here are a few pics that I took. Enjoy!

We started out in California Adventure. Note the sincere smiles. Ha! They were actually quite irritated at me for bringing the camera; we'd just spend the whole previous evening smiling for our annual family pictures. So when I made them stop for a picture about ten feet from the entrance, they weren't thrilled.

Have you been on the new Toy Story Mania ride? It's so much fun! Especially the sweet 3D glasses they give you!

Not bad for a self portrait.

Matthew loves the water rides. We even talked AC into going on the Rapids with us!

After a few more rides at California, we decided to get the real party started and head over to Disneyland.

When I walk through the tunnel and round the corner onto Main Street, I can literally feel the happiness. I love it.

So cute!

My three men, on a mission to get to the restaurant. Apparently, everyone was hungry.

Snow on the castle, proof that Christmas is coming.

Ah, tradition. Dinner at the Village Haus.

I love the decorations.

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness!

Fall Flowers Everywhere

I don't really like the Haunted Mansion when it's decorated with the Nightmare Before Christmas stuff. Matt wanted this picture; we were trying to catch it mid-transformation between nice snowman to spooky pumpkin man.

A tired John, trying to get comfortable while Matt and I went on Splash Mountain.
It was about 10pm.

Happy Halloween, Disneyland!