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 4 - Dunedin

The town that my in laws have their condo is called Dunedin.  The first few months, in my head, I called it 'Dune-den'. It is not pronounced Dune-den.  It is prounounced, 'Done-Eden'.  This has taken me some getting used to.  And I kept thinking to myself, what kind of town calls itself Dun- for Done in America. On occasion I say that I am D-U-N done, like stick a fork in me Done.   But still, it strikes me odd.  Anyway, I figured on this day, we'd explore the town, go to the Beach.  My goal was to go to the Beach at Sunset, so I could take pictures of the sunset at Florida's west coast, and then hit a sunrise on Florida's East Coast.  It didn't quite work out.

For one, it rained most of the day on Tuesday.  
We'd gotten home too late on Monday to go find the beach or a sunset.  

So we had a leisurely morning, which involved Laundry, because dang.
As it turns out, the four of us can go through a lot of laundry when we travel for four days straight.
It was also raining.
It's a good time to do laundry, in the rain.

But as we approached lunchtime, I felt the need to actually get out.
I wanted seafood, real beach fare.
And there was a break in the clouds.  

So we headed into Dunedin.  
There was a cute pub that I thought Eric would love. 
And a nifty doggie mural on the side of a building near a dog friendly advertised bar. 
Turns out the main part of town is super cute, it reminds me of Petoskey. 

We drove through town, I just wanted to find the water.  
We'd been inside all day, I'd hoped to find the beach, but it was raining off and on.  Glad I was in my car.  Turns out Dunedin is just down the way from Clearwater. 

Welcome to Dunedin!  
Guess it's a Scottish type town.   At least, judging by the Great Scot on the Welcome board. 

This was my view from the place we chose for lunch.  
It was called Bon Appetit, and was at the very edge of the street ending right in the water. 

My three sweetboy dates.  This restaurant reminded me of Rick's Cafe Boatyard.
It was classy, could be a nice date spot, but we ate outside, which wasn't as fancy, and that was fine with me.  It was still nice, and the weather for the moment, was perfect. 

The fanciest hot dog in the state of Florida.  

Jake got a super swanky peanut butter sandwich.  They even cut the crusts off for him. 

Mommy got some of the 'soup of the day' a nice southern gumbo.  
Oh yeah. Shrimp and sausage.  I can deal with that.  
Looked pretty too. 

Christopher got a cheeseburger.  
This made the fourth consecutive day he'd had a cheeseburger.  
He decided, over lunch, that his New Goal for Vacation was going to be to eat a Cheeseburger every single day.  Given what I recall of Club Med, I think that may be able to be arranged. 

Mommy's Grouper special. 
Apparently, Grouper comes from the Gulf.  So it's caught FRESH.  Right here. 
So when in Rome...
So I have decided to eat as much of the local fare as I can.  
This pan fried grouper sandwich was scrumptious!  
Even the tartar sauce was homemade from scratch. 

As we left town, we found this pretty dolphin leaping off the corner, like one of the Bison floating around Indy.  

Earlier in the day, I had told the boys we would go swimming.  When it finally stopped raining, Jacob said, "I want to go to the pool." I asked him, "Do you even know where the pool is?"  
Jacob replied, "Yes. Far."  
I giggled, for he had no more idea where the neighborhood pool was any more than I did.  We looked for it after lunch, and found nothing.  As it turns out, I wrote on FB about the conversation with Jacob, and so a reply from Aunt Teri came through, and she said, "About 20 paces out the back door."  Well, we hadn't gone out the back door, let alone opened up the window back there, we had stayed out of the the back porch and door, because there was some of Aunt Teri's stuff back there, and I didn't want it disturbed.  But upon reading that, I took a look.  
And there it was , the pool was 20 paces out our back door. Ha!   
So I showed the kids, and after flushes and whatnot, we decided to go for a swim before dinner.  I didn't eat much for dinner, since I'd had a decent size lunch, we grabbed some turkey and bread, to make sandwiches.  In theory we were planning to watch the sunset, but with all the clouds and misty rain, we decided to stay put through the sunset.  The kids were happy watching tv after our swim anyway.  

After a day indoors, the boys couldn't wait to go for a Swim at Grandma's new neighborhoood pool.  New to us anyway.  

Jacob has begun to venture out from me.  And he doesn't drown.  He makes me nervous though. 
They boys were having a great time, playing with pool noodles they found, and laughing. 
Their laughter is the Best Sound! 

Mommy has happy vacation toes.  
I hadn't had much time to do my toes before we headed out.  On Tuesday, I did. 
I did them while we had a break watching TV with Grandma and Grandpa.  
They are a lavender color with neutral tan and peach seashells, a hostess exclusive from June 2015, perfect toes for a Floridian vacation. 

And lastly, this pretty plant grows happily outside of Mom's window.  
It is called Ixora, also known as West Indian Jasmine.  
And after a long day, an evening swim was a perfect way to end.