Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 15, 2017

It was Good

Yes, we saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night.  
It was Good!  
As usual, if you give a Mike and Kathleen a Star Wars movie, we're going to have to go out for drinks afterwards to discuss it.   So we got home kind of late.  I'm Exhausted this morning.  

I'm not giving any Spoilers, but let me just say, bring a tissue.  
My eyes leaked every time Leah spoke.  

It was a little dark when I took my required selfie. 
Remind me not to sit in the first three rows anymore.  My eyes are getting old, and just can't take it. 

I Rey'd my hair!  
The boys loved it.  
And I did my nails with Star Wars Jamberries. 
Perfectly appropriate, I thought.  

Did I mention the movie was good? 
We're already planning on when we're taking the Boys. 
But can I wait that long to see it again. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Something I learned about Trish when she was visiting, she loves trees, and every night she feels Called to go out and watch the sunset.  
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for us to gear up for Christmas. 
But God has sent us some beautiful weather this week, and beautiful sunsets. 
I like watching the sun set from my front porch. 

Meanwhile, inside, Eric got the big family tree up and lit this past weekend. 
But it's a little hard to get the kids all together, and behaving enough to put on the ornaments. 

So Mommy gets to play with her phone, with bokeh, background lights.  

I'm happy to break out the big guns this holiday. 
I love my Christmas Spirit, it's a wonderful combination of Orange, Cinnamon, and Black Spruce. 

This is my new favorite picture from this week. 
My phone wasn't focusing on the Christmas tree, so I got a screen full of bokeh lights, and I hit Snap, and got this beautiful shot!  I have no idea how it happened.  But I like it!

I did get the upstairs snowflake tree decorated today. 
I was rather proud of myself, since I had a bunch of other kid drama (one kid to orthodontist, and the other requires daily visits to the school to give him eye drops.) I haven't been able to get much done this week.  Still, I love this blue and silver tree. 

And I unpacked our Disney tree decorations after Eric set it up. 
It seems to me, there could be more room on this tree for Disney ornaments. 
On this day, in 2009, we took the kids on their first trip to Walt Disney World, to celebrate all Christopher's tube and ostomy triumphs. It doesn't seem like it's been 8 years, but it has. 

It must be time to go back.  

Thanksgiving, Part Deux, at Nana's House.

It's the Shirts! 
There's a story.  My sister bought this shirt from Old Navy. My Mom liked it so much, she decided to get herself one.  They accidently sent her two, so she gave the extra to me.  Now we're all cute and crazy and have matching fall-ish shirts.  
I think it's hysterical. 
We've not done this since a few decades ago, when Mom got us all matching jammies when we went to Michigan with my Grandparents and Uncle Bob.  

Mommy had a pretty bouquet on her table too! 

I loved these happy fall daisies. 

The spread all laid out in the dining room at my Mom's new house! 

All the grownups actually getting ready to eat! 
*Picture by Christopher

My Sister and Mom decided that dinner would be in two shifts.  The kids were having such a fine time that they completely missed dinner as it was being set up.  Rather than interrupt their happy play, we just let them play.  We got to eat our entire dinner, and chat, sentences and all.  Take note, that was TWO Days in a Row!  Dogs and Cats! 

The kids having their Thanksgiving dinner. 
Note that Sam was not present. 
Sam woke up with Pink Eye on Friday morning.  His eye was cemented shut.  So I ran him over to CVS Minute Clinic and they gave him some eye drops.  But they said he was communicable for 24 hours.  So Eric and I split up. Divide and Conquer.   Eric stayed home with Sam, and I took the other boys to my Mom's for dinner.  We were able to also stay the night, since we didn't have to worry about Daddy's allergies.  Slumber Party!  
The kids were so stoked, totally beside themselves. 

After dinner, Uncle Rick broke out the big guns. 
He always brings the niftiest drinkies.  He brought margarita mix, but he made mine with the glass dipped in watermelon sugar.  Watermelon sugar?!  Have you ever tried this?  It was great!  Normally, tequila and I are not friends.  But on this day yes please!   That sugar made the margarita perfect.  By the end I was licking it up like a lollipop, I swear it was so yummy.  And I only had the one, so tequila and I stayed sympatico. 

Meanwhile, after the kids ate, Uncle James had a gift for Chris. 
It's his old Compass.  
This thing has been all over the world, doing an Army job of direction. 
And now it belongs to the next generation.  Chris was so excited, and I got teary. 
I tried to record James explaining some of it.  Apparently, this thing is Old, like Grenada era old, maybe Vietnam, and he grabbed it from the supply closet in TX, and took it to Ethiopia and Jordan, and elsewhere that he might be able to tell us in 50 years or so.  

Uncle James gives Chris the Army Compass. 
Not only does it give directions, but it will do this fancy triangle thing, to tell triangulate position by degrees.  It was fascinating.  I hope Chris understood, because I didn't. 
Chris put that thing on his belt immediately, and didn't take it off for three days!

The next morning, I got up with Jacob at a reasonable hour, because we had to go to Gymnastics.  
Turns out Gymnastics is a quick hop from my Mom's house.  I like walking around the track while the kids do their thing.  Jacob was quite well behaved, and his class size was extra small because of the holiday weekend.  So that all went well.  
After that, we had brunch. Eric and Sam came up (by 11, Sam was non-communicable) and joined us.
My Mom and Lisa had made this casserole, and Aunt Debbie brunch casserole, with layers of potatoes, cheese, cream of mushroom, sausage, topped with bacon and cheese.  My children all ate some, and I couldn't believe it.  I ate well, and drank coffee.  Turns out I'd broken into my Christmas present, a bag of Thanksgiving blend coffee from Starbucks.  I've been dying to try it, and James gets one free bag a week.  Apparently, he's been acquiring.  So, I opened it, made a pot, and Loved it!  
It's a nice gently spiced coffee.  So what if I got it early, now I'm all set with coffee for the Season!  

So then we sat around for like two hours and chatted while the kids all played.  
It was nice. 
Uncle Rick and Trish wanted to 'do something'.  It took us forever to figure out what to do. 
Much research was done. 
Eventually we decided to go check out the new Carmel Christkindlmarkt on the lawn by the Palladium. It's kind of like a European fair, with a new ice skating rink.  
The going was free, but none of the stuff was. 

We did NOT avoid the crowds.  

Nana and all her Grandkids
We found the ice rink was hopping. The line for it was crazy.  
Luckily, the kids were ok with us not spending a bunch of money on it. 
Actually, my reply when they said I want to skate, was Oh, did you bring money for that? 
I didn't.  I came for hot cheese.

All the grandkids, proving they are a bunch of turkeys. 

Uncle Rick and Trish turn out to be a couple turkeys. 

Eric's leg was giving him fits, and he couldn't stand long, so anywhere he could sit, he did.  
The boys curled up with him, while I was taking photos of Rick and Trish. 
They are cute together, it reminds me of the days way back when  Eric and I were dating.

It was a little chilly outside, but not bad, high 40s. 
They had these firestops along the journey up and down aisles.  
But it was so crowded, there was no room for all of us to sit and get toasty. 
We liked walking all around and checking out all the various shops and seeing what they were selling. If I had $, I could've gotten pretty crazy. 

OK, the real reason we went to this thing. 
I'd seen a video of hot cheese.  
They serve up this cheese on a loaf of bread and spread it like butter.  
I wanted to try it.  
And not surprisingly at all, so did my entire family! 

I mean come on, this is how they cook the cheese.  
By heating a half a wheel of cheese! 
Oh man! 

Mommy and the girls want Hot Cheese too! 
We waited in line almost an hour for this hot cheese.  
I was impressed the kids didn't lose it entirely.  But my Mom and I were hot stressed messes by the time we got to the front of the line.  Did I mention we did NOT avoid the crowds on Thanksgiving Saturday at the Kindlmarket?!  Oy.  

Our crew orders their sandwiches.  Turns out you don't have to just eat cheese and bread, you can get ham and cheese, or salami and cheese, with cheese, German mustard and gherkins.  It sounded weird, but then I tasted, and Oh Mama! 

Sam in a happy place. 
He has cheese. 

That would be mine.  Cooking. 
Hot Cheese. 

Eat your heart out! 
This is a man happy to have a hot cheese baguette.  So Good!

Trish had hoped to see some snow coming North. 
We found some. 
But I suspect these were the droppings of the zamboni from the ice rink.  
No proof though. 
The bit of snow made Rick and Trish smile. 

It was a good visit, just an hour or two outside the house.  
That was enough for me.  
I was so stressed out by the crowds.  I'd kept Chris close so he didn't get too crazy, but I did. I get so frazzled when I anticipate a situation that could go  bad. And there wouldn't have been an easy out, it took us 15 minutes just to get into the parking garage. Oh well, we had our cheese sandwiches, and headed back to Mom's.  Shortly after the sun set, the boys and I all went home.  I was exhausted. 
It doesn't look like we did much, but I can tell you, I didn't gain any weight over those couple days. 
That's a Thanksgiving miracle too!  

Thanksgiving Day Festivities

Happy Thanksgiving! 

I hope that wherever you are, this finds you well. 
It's been a while since I blogged.  

So I thought I'd start with what we did over Thanksgiving, before backtracking to finish our vacation stories and what has happened since then.  I keep starting blog stories and not finishing them.  Oh well, at least I'm all caught up on Game of Thrones and working on my yarny Christmas gift.

We had such a wonderful day, it was so good, I was Thankful for all the high points.  But there are so many.  

Thanksgiving morning was Thursday, and the boys blessedly slept in. 
That right there is a Gift!
Eric made breakfast of a great cheesy potato casserole, pumpkin cinnamon rolls and grilled ham. 
Too bad the pumpkin rolls had Red 40.  Sam did ok without, he was happy to have a cinnamon poptart I'd found at Costco the other day.  
Eric was working outside, since the weather was in the low 50s, and there was a ton of yard work to do.  He hasn't been feeling well, so he was outside most of the day, while he had energy. 

Meanwhile, the boys had to clean their rooms. 
That took all morning.  Ugh. 

For lunch, we didn't want to do much, so we curled up to watch Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.

This was our lunch. 
Sliced Hawaiian bread toast (the greatest thing since sliced bread, as it turns out is Sliced Hawaiian bread!), jelly beans and popcorn, just like Snoopy makes! ;)

I needed a nap, and the boys had some work to do.  
But just before we curled up to rest, I took a selfie.  
We're all in shades of brown and orange.  
It turned out to be the only picture of me and the boys all day.
 After naps we headed to Oma and Opa's house. 
They always put on the most amazing spread!  
We got to eat in the dining room, with the fancy dishware and everything.  

The view upward from the dining room table. 

You'd think I'd get a picture of the food.  But no, this light intrigued me. 

Lisa had brought MB the happiest bouquet, I love happy flowers! 

The Kids table. 
Annie wasn't feeling well, so we didn't get any group pictures. 
But about halfway through dinner, she opted to join the other kids. 
Her energy didn't last, but the boys energy sure did.  
After some outdoor laps, the kids opted to watch a movie downstairs. 
They were so well behaved we were able to stay and chat like grownups with Dan and Kaye, Daddy and MBs best friends.  We told great stories like how we met, and the kids actually behaved so we could have dessert together and coffee, and it was fantastic.  
It was a late night, but it was so good to be with such great company. 
I had Plenty to Thankful For!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Epic Vacation Day 7 - Friday at Club Med

I have to write down the days of the week, when I tell our stories about our trip, because I won't remember otherwise. Isn't that the sign of a great vacation, where the days all blur together, and simply make us smile?!  Well, Mission Accomplished.

Another Beautiful day at Club Med.  
After Breakfast we walked back to our room, which is the corner on the second floor on the brown building in the lower left corner.  It had been an oddly quiet morning.  Chris had spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's room, so they got him ready for camp.   Technically our room only sleeps 4, however it is possible to get 3 into the Kind  And let the big kids have  the couch beds.  It turns out getting only two children ready in the morning doesn't take as long. 

This pretty little fella was parked on the roof just outside our room door as we returned from breakfast. 

We decided that this was a Red Shoulder Hawk, because of that rusty shading, and those black and white marking on the tail. I love website for bird identification.  

It's the tail that gives it away.  That black and white tail with the rust (red chest and shoulders) make it a Red Shouldered Hawk.  He was probably 3 feet away from me as we went to the door of the room.  He just sat there looking at us.  The kids would've thought that was Awesome, but they were already in Kids Club.  

It was going to be a hot day, and it occurred to us that we needed to get Christopher a hat the day before.  When we bought one for Chris, I found one that I liked.  I kept thinking of it.  So when we walked by the shop, looking for postcards, I bought the hat for myself.  

Like it, it's Autumn Sunrise? 
One of my favorite lines from Ghost.  
I think the rule is you can't wear white after Labor Day, unless you are at the Beach in Florida and it's 80 degrees.  Because I saw a lot of folks wearing white.  
And I got a new happy hat! 

We went to the family pool to hang out with Mom and Dad.  While we were there, we saw the boys playing down at the other end. 

My sweetboys came over to pay us a visit.  They were with their Kids Club Crew, swimming, but since they both aren't really in danger of drowning, as they are better swimmers, they are allowed to come and go as they wished.  We even gave them permission to roam.  I thought they'd use it to go get a smoothie, but No, they wanted to go swim.  All the time!

Mom and Aunt Teri doing the Water Aerobics class. Aqua Gym.
They talked me into it.  Moments before, I was out in that water too. 
It was actually a fun class, except it focused a lot on having my arms out of the water.  
My arm strength is crappy, and my knees aren't too hot either.  
I have to watch it, and not overdo it too much.  

Play I Spy.  Do you spy a Sweetboy?
We snuck into Kids Club early, to take the kids Paddleboating.  Only they were having such a great time, they didn't want to leave.  

Sam shoots new friends with a water pistol from the right.  

While Sam shoots, Jacob runs under the giant water mushroom.  He didn't want to leave, not even for yellow boats. 

Now Chris takes a turn shooting at his brothers and cousin Cole coming down the small water slide.  
They didn't want to leave early to go Paddleboarding.  They wanted to play.  
So we let them.  

Bryce made it through a few hours at Kids Club!  
He got pretty upset the day before, but on this day, we bumped into Karl and Erica going to pick up the kids.  We'd been able to have lunch together.  

He's not too sure about what's going on.  

If you're going to recover from a giant meltdown about not being able to go Paddleboarding, sitting in a big tropical chair is the way to do it.  This made him smile.  Although, he'd been so upset, it was a very Mona Lisa sort of smile. 

Jacob finds the " fuzzy wheats".  
He thought they were pretty fun.  
Mommy just loved the lighting.  A sunset. A sweetboy. 
Life is Good. 

After we changed from the pool, the sun was setting as we headed to supper.  
Wow God! 

As the sunset over our lagoon, some nifty birds come out to play.  
I think this was a Little Blue Heron.  
But he was so pretty tapping along, exploring for snacks at sunset. 

The wore this sweetboy out.  
And check it out.  He let someone hold him.  Lately, he's been in a Mama only phase.  
That was another reason that Kids Club was a bit of an adjustment for him.  
So sweet as he sleeps. 

After dinner, Mom and Aunt Teri talked us into going to the 'Circus Show'.   
It was the staff working their own mini-cirque de soleil.  
Pretty nifty.  
The bummer was it was terribly loud.  
It was neat seeing my water aerobics up there swinging on the flying trapeze, but at the same time, obnoxiously loud, I couldn't talk to the kids, Chris was getting so upset at the noise. 
He's just not cut out for that. 
And who would think of bringing noise cancelling headphones to Club Med.  We didn't. 
Jake and Sam stayed with Daddy to go to the Dance Party after the show. Chris and I needed to Get Out of there.  We couldn't take the noise.  (It's very chicken and egg, which came first, Chris hating loud crazy places or me?  Or was it because of Chris that I now hate that sort of thing?)

Can you see who is behind the tree? 
It's a Great Blue Heron!  
He was 5 feet tall and walking along the waters edge.  
We were maybe 20 feet away from him.   He didn't fly away, he just watched us warily with one eye. 
It was actually beautiful. 
Chris and I just sat there watching him walk. 

He walked on past us.  
My phone camera didn't want to take anymore pictures.  Too dark, there wasn't enough ambient light.  I refused to let it use the flash, because I didn't want to scare him away. 
Once past us, we watched.  You can see his silouette in the golden light reflected on the water. 
Very Cool. 

There is just something inheritantly peaceful about watching animals by the water, or just sitting by the water.  It's easier at night, one isn't as likely to get sunburned. ;)  

For Chris and I, it was a perfect note to end on.  We sat there so long, Daddy and the littles came right down the path to us, and we all went home and went to bed.  ❤