Sunday, January 24, 2016


 Dave got his first birthday card in the mail a few weeks ago...from AARP! Yes, this year he turned the big 5-0.

Clearly AARP hasn't met Dave. Aside from a number, (and the fact that he'd support almost any cause to be nice), can you think of one thing that would align him with the mission of the Association for the Advancement of Retired People? Me either. And what AARP member has a two year old son!

That said, fifty was definitely a reason to celebrate, and that's exactly what we did.

He started the day with breakfast in bed. His two little buddies smelled food AND the chance to eat in bed, an opportunity not to be missed, so they joined in the fun. Then he took a relaxing bike ride and capped the evening off with 40+ good friends at a local restaurant for a big dinner party.

We ate from Dave's Menu that was Aged to Perfection, and enjoyed favor bags from the Candy Bar because "50 is Hot" and he can "Kiss his 40's Goodbye." The evening was exactly what he wanted - great friends, great food, and great memories. Festive faceware - glasses and photo props - were donned by nearly everyone...
 It was a perfect evening to celebrate a fantastic guy - Happy Birthday Dave!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Prince George & Rascal Gates

The Prince of England and Gates were born on the same day, July 22nd. And as luck would have it, both Prince George and Rascal Gates (I thought Gates should get a title too) started preschool on the very same day. Don't you find this a bit coincidental? I'm not saying they are the same person, but think about it - have you ever seen the two of them in the same room!?!??

Gates is doing PeeWees, just like I did a few years ago. Here's an old post that explains the general gist of how it works. It was hosted at our house the past two weeks and Gates LOVED it. The first week they did the book Little Blue Truck and the second week they did the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It's him and three of his buddies - Simon, Charlie, and Holden. The next six weeks will be hosted at the other kids' houses. Welcome to the PeeWee club little brother.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Ringing in the New Year

For Christmas, Santa gave us a mini trip to Great Wolf Lodge. I love hotels and Bodie loves waterslides - Great Wolf Lodge has both! So as New Year's approached, we headed a few hours south and began our adventure. Our room had a Cub's Den for me and Bodie to sleep in - definitely my favorite part. There were bears painted on the walls and it felt like we were in our own hiding spot - so cool.

The water park is big. Bodie was in Heaven. I was big enough to go down most of the big slides, but I had to go down on my own. I'm two. Two! What normal parent puts their TWO YEAR OLD on a 400' waterslide BY THEMSELF! Mine.Yep, they just pushed me off and down I went, spiraling to my certain death, screaming the entire way. (Remember the scene at the department store with Santa Claus in the movie Christmas Story - that was me.) Then at the bottom as I plunged into the pool of water, destine for termination, I felt my mom scoop me up before my head went under; I guess they do love me after all. Needless to say, I was not begging to repeat that experience.
Bodie, on the other hand, couldn't get enough. The more likely he was to die, the more he wanted to do it. So we spent hours spiraling and sliding down every type of waterslide you can imagine. And lucky for me, he loved every slide - including the ones I preferred.

They also had water obstacle courses - Bodie was one of the youngest kids to cross it and my dad was one of oldest - pretty awesome.

Bodie was too short to do the FlowRider on our recent cruise. But the height requirements were different at Great Wolf Lodge and he took the plunge, literally. While tons of teenagers and adults watched, my six year old brother fearlessly jumped into the wave machine and hung on for the ride. Eventually the wave ate him, but walked off like a pro and did it again...and again...and again.
Aside from the waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge also has a talking clock tower for story time, a mini bowling alley, a movie simulator, a shooting gallery, mini golf, a rope's course, an arcade, and, well, you get the idea - there is a lot of stuff. We even got to eat breakfast INSIDE a life-sized gingerbread house. It's weird eating pancakes while being overwhelmed by the smell of cookies.

Definitely a fun present, thanks Santa.

That same week my Nana and PopPop came to town and we got to hang out with them and our cousins - double bonus! We visited the Air and Space Museum and got to see my Great Uncle Nick's equipment from his attempts at breaking the world record for highest free fall. So cool. It's hard to believe he went 123,000 feet into the sky in this Styrofoam-looking box. He must have been super brave.

Speaking of outer space, we decided we'd suit up and give it a try too! My space suit makes me look taller. And sure glad my dad decided to wear his orange Miami Dolphin's hat to outer space. Not a bad way to ring in the new year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mele Kalikimaka

Aloha from the Hawaii of the east. Sure we're missing palm trees, pristine beaches and sunshine, but we have weather FORTY degrees higher than average temperatures, each day we're hitting new records - it's crazy.

We decided to find our own cold and went to ICE!. If you've never been, it's basically a gigantic freezer filled with enormous ice sculptures. Some of you may remember when my dad accidentally karate chopped the Grinch's hand off doing a jumper a few year's back (Ice & Other Breakable Stuff). The theme this year was Santa Claus is Coming to Town, based on the classic TV special. We wandered around their 28 degree freezer in the issued giant blue coats, admiring the creations and sliding down the ice slides. Then we froze and exited the tent into the biggest plume of warm air outside - so odd.
The warm temps didn't dampen our Christmas spirit. We cranked the air conditioning up, snuggled up in footy pajamas, and waited for Santa's arrival...and he came. Whew. My brother had been a bit of a stinker on Christmas eve and I guess was a bit nervous. He ran out Christmas morning, read the note, and screamed with excitement - "MOM! Santa says we have been VERY GOOD boys!!! He's not mad about yesterday!"

Our family continued my mom's family tradition of crazy stuff at the breakfast table. This year it was Christmas tree glasses, antlers or Santa headbands, and racing cars. We FaceTimed with my grandparents and cousins while they ate breakfast - they got clown noses! We love this tradition. Another family tradition is to read from Luke 2 on Christmas morning. This year was kind of special because my big brother was able to read part of the verses in the scriptures about Jesus's birth - pretty cool.

Here are three photos highlighting the morning - Bodie opening a present wearing his new Chicago Bears gear (I got the NY Jets), me, celebrating as I opened a bus, and my dad wearing his footy pajamas, new Dolphins hat, and his new "statement" blazer. I think the minnon to the left captures how we all felt about this outfit - our eyes were popping out.

Hope your Christmas was filled with the merriest of memories and your own fashion statements.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Shenanigans

Tis the season to be kind, wear funny stuff, and have fun for no reason at all - hey, that sounds like every day life to me! We had our annual Christmas brunch which filled our home with 400 cookies, 200 friends, one dozen casseroles, 3 spiral hams, and a mess we didn't mind cleaning up. (hmm, maybe this should be a song...)

We also joined a few dozen friends as team "Sweaty Santas" for the Snowball Stride 5k. Clearly we have fast friends because our team had the winners for the 9 and under boys and 40-49 women. This was my first real race as a runner, so a few days before the race I started strategizing about how I would win. I got my "lap time" around our yard down to 14 seconds and ate a big pasta dinner the night before, I was set. My mom might have mentioned (a few thousand times) that 3.2 miles is a bit further than a lap around our yard and there would be a need to pace myself, but I was mentally prepared for the challenge...

Then the gun went off and I left my mom and Gater in the dust. About a mile in, my shoes got MUCH heavier and my dad trotted on. The "dust" and my mom caught up to me and I slowed them to a screeching halt. "Let's go Bodie," I was told. I watched my dreams of first place whiz by me, one person after the next. How could my intense "house lap" training fail me? And I ate pasta?!?! Okay mom, remind me what "pacing yourself" is again? She explained as we jogged, then she drug me along, then we walked, then jogged, then she drug me along, then we jogged, that the finish line??? BYE! I have never run so fast in my whole life. I gave no indication of my intentions. I saw that finish line and didn't want to loose to anyone else, I had already lost the race, at least I would beat my family, and I did. They had cared for me and ruined their own race times, all to ensure I would finish. I repaid their kindness with selfish victory and boy, was it sweet.

Fortunately for me, my parents are awesome and didn't kill me. They are, as you know, both responsible for my competitive genes. I may have also mentioned after the race - a few dozen times - that I beat them. So I guess my house lap training DID pay off! We celebrated after the race with hot chocolate and fudge - like all good runners do!

We were also lucky to have a December visit from my Nana and PopPop, do Christmas crafts with our awesome neighbor JoAnn, eat Christmas cookies, visit with our cousins, plan and participate in our church's Christmas party, eat Christmas cookies, attend friends' Christmas parties, and visit the national Christmas tree. Lucky, lucky us.

And this has nothing to do with Christmas, but it's a daily activity, so my mom wanted to capture it - perhaps also as proof for any medical insurance claims that may need to be filed in the future. We have grass around the majority of our yard with one strip of concrete that provides a walkway to the curb. My new game - and I'm teaching Gates the game too - is to throw and catch a football WHILE leaping over the concrete. It's a challenge because I have to look up for the football, which usually means I miscalculate the jump, which often leads to impressive wipeouts. It's awesome.