Making the most of my "Dash"

Posts tagged ‘Oregon’

Whoops!

In my haste to get my post published yesterday, and in an earnest attempt at keeping it short, I completely forgot about one of the highlights of 2012!

October!

Not only is October my favorite month of the year (Hello, Halloween!!), but it’s Mister’s birthday month.  So for his birthday in 2012 we planned a trip to Oregon to bring the kids there to meet his family.  We had such a wonderful time!

The kids were able to meet his mother.  We spent time  with his sister, Jan and her husband, Mike.  The kids loved visiting with them, and they really enjoyed getting to explore their beautiful back yard… Koi pond, garden, and sweet doggies too! I’d like to say that the kids were well-behaved and using their best manners at Jan and Mike’s house, but…

Josh decided to interrupt just about every conversation by popping in with,  “Just a random thought…” and then go on with some odd thought.  Mike and Jan also served lunch and set out a veggie tray around 11:30 am.  The kids, who had eaten heartily at the Residence Inn breakfast buffet acted like I had not fed them in two weeks.  There they were, three children hovering over the vegetables, shoving them in their mouths like they were marshmallows dipped in the chocolate fountain at the Golden Corral. I gaped at them for a moment before having to shoe them away like flies.  My kids don’t even LIKE vegetables.  I really think it was some bizarre plot to make me look like a bad mother who forgot to teach social graces to her children.

On Mister’s birthday we went to our favorite pizza place in the whole wide world… Padington’s Pizza.  His sister had planned a surprise party for the afternoon, so we let him think we were just going out for pizza and “dessert” at her house afterwards. We met Mister’s other son and a few of his children there, as well as Mike and Jan and Mister’s mom.  We had a delicious lunch (Whippersnapper…Yum!), then headed to Jan & Mike’s house.

Mister is a big Jimmy Buffet fan, but he’s never been to a JB concert.  So, I bought tickets and a room in Vegas for an upcoming concert, and let Jan know what I planned.  So she decorated her house in a tropical theme and had Jimmy Buffet playing in the background when we got there.  Mike made this huge palm tree decoration, it was incredible!  I wished we could have brought it home, but there was no way to take it on the plane.  Funny thing is, Mister didn’t even put together the tropical theme or Jimmy playing in the background until he opened his present from me and saw the tickets.  Frankly, I was a bit puzzled at his initial reaction, because he did not look excited at all… more confused.  Then he admitted that he thought I was buying him tickets to Atlas Shrugged Part II in Vegas (Wha?! Seriously?!), so he was a bit uncertain as to what the tickets were.

Anyway, we had Jan’s delicious cake with a mexican chocolate mousse filling (to. die. for.), and had a pretty fantastic day.  The trip went by far too fast for us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was such a treat for the kids to get to know his side of the family and see how kind and amazing they are!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

Ready to eat some yummy food!

The other fantastic part of October was… The Jimmy Buffet Concert!! BOY HOWDY, did we have fun!!  A couple of weeks after our Oregon trip, we drove up to Vegas in the morning and I took Mister to Margaritaville for lunch.  I mean, how could we go there for the concert and NOT go to Margaritaville to eat?!

Hangin' out at the pre-concert pool party.

Hangin’ out at the pre-concert pool party.

After that we headed over to the Flamingo pool for the pre-concert party.  That was so much fun we had to take a little nap before the actual concert!  Then, it was on to the MGM Grand Arena and the concert of a lifetime (to me anyway!).

Proudly sporting our fins!

Proudly sporting our fins!

I wore my styrofoam fin hat with pride, and a whole lot of giggles.  I think Mister and I laughed and smiled and danced (he doesn’t dance normally, but everyone else was too busy dancing to notice him anyway), and laughed some more.  What a fantastic day!

Whew.  Good thing I made a separate blog post.  I am WAY too wordy!  By the way,  I changed the blog appearance.  I thought it needed a fresh look.  I hope you like it!

Have you had favorite birthday or concert experience?

I’d love to hear about it!! 

Bah Humbug!!

Kids putting the ornaments on the tree

Scrooge.  That’s me, when Thanksgiving is over and I know it’s time to decorate the house for Christmas.  I hate it.  I hate the bother of pulling out all the boxes (I’ve got it down to three Rubbermaid tote boxes, plus the tree).  I hate the annoying task of shifting things around in the house, finding places to put the Christmas decorations.  I hate the mess of pulling all the crap out of the boxes, and that they stay there for hours while you get stuff decorated. I particularly hate the tree.  Ugh.

The dreaded tree. Ugh.

Yes, I’m a huge Bah Humbuggy Scrooge when it comes to this part of Christmas.  I wake up with a headache, tense, and annoyed at the task of decorating.  I have pared things down to the bare minimum amount.  Just enough to give us the “Christmas Spirit” (that I never have at that point in the holiday season), and enough to make the kids happy.  The tree is my biggest hurdle.  Mister knows this.  Now.  Let’s just say last year gave him a steep learning curve.  Poor man.  Having been through a bit of a “trial” last year, he knows how stressful decorating day is for me.  And he does absolutely everything in his power to reduce my tension.  Not that there is much help for that.  If it were up to me, I’d have Charlie Brown‘s skimpy tree and call it a day.

Mister topping the tree with our Angel.

With Mister by my side, we were able to get the decorating done fairly easily.  I only had one moment that reduced me to tears, and it was over the way he was spreading the tree branches.  Yes, really.  It was stupid, but it wasn’t the way I had done it in the past. However, it was the way he had always done it, and the way “all the real trees in Oregon” are.  Whatever.  I couldn’t argue with that.  However, I knew that the next task was to put on the despicable lights.  I couldn’t see any way they were going to be wound around branches, if all the branches were flat.  I like a  “full” tree look, and he likes a sparse see-through-the-branches look.  While trying to fight back the annoying tears, I figured he was the one putting the tree up, and going to be putting the dreaded lights on… so he should do it his way.  And, it turned out nicely.  Especially since I didn’t have to fight with that stupid tree and lights all by myself.  Or at all, actually, since my job was simply to keep the untangled light strand from tangling while he wound it around the flat branches of the tree.

I love my lighted garland and poinsettia's!

I do have a favorite part of this dreadful decorating day, though.  It’s my green lighted garland, and the little red poinsettia flowers I decorate it with.  It’s usually the last thing I put up, because afterwards I look at it and it makes me smile.  At that point I know that the awful decorating is done, the garland is up, and the cheeriness of the flowers wipes the Bah Humbug right out of me.   I can feel the warmth of the Christmas season starting to spread throughout me, and I can happily go on my way shopping for gifts and making yummy goodies that will “fluff” us up for winter.

Do you like decorating for Christmas? Is there a part of decorating that you particularly enjoy or dislike?

Company’s Coming!!

Absolutely!

It’s been pretty quiet around here with the kids gone for Fall Break. Although, it’s gonna end on a pretty exciting note!  I must quickly digress tho…

Most of you have probably noticed that Brad and I are a May-December couple.  While my entire family supports that by no longer speaking to me (and really, that IS supportive whether they want it to be or not), Brad’s family has been incredibly welcoming, warm and wonderful to me.

His Mother very kindly welcomed me to the “group” last year when she first met me, and then gave another very warm-hearted “welcome to the family” after Brad and I married in May.  She also guided Brad and I into hugging one another and reminded us to be good to each other.  Very special words that I will always take to heart.  His sister, Jan and her husband Mike, are so down to earth and the sweetest people.  Not to mention TALENTED!! Jan has a green thumb the most accomplished horticulturist would envy, and Mike is such an amazing craftsman with wood… He just built a real-size wooden FISHING BOAT so they can enjoy the Oregon lakes (and possibly ocean?!)!! It is beautiful!

The Slaughter's

Brad’s son Brian, and wife Jill, and their daughters are AMAZING.  We spent our summer in Oregon, where Brad’s family lives, and I really was able to get to know them.  We had so much fun together, and I can honestly say that Jill is my best friend (right after Brad) whether she wants to be or not.  I pretty much stalk her.  I hope they don’t get mad at me for putting their picture in here, but I LOVE it.

Now, because of the age difference between Brad and I, Brian is actually older than me. [That makes me laugh, just so you know…]  We all have an inside joke about me being a step-“Grandma” to the kids, but we all crack up when we say it.  That pretty much started because Jill couldn’t stop referring to us as “Grandpa and Grandma” to their girls.  At lunch one day their oldest daughter was saying the prayer and as she was praying she said, “…and thank you for Grandpa and Grandma…” [long pause] and I burst into laughter.  So his granddaughters will jokingly say “Grandma” every now and then.  I think it’s hilarious, because in NO WAY am I a grandma nor ready to be one (do you HEAR ME, Megan?!).  Brian jokingly refers to me as “lil’ mom”, and that cracks me up too.  If he’s gonna call me anything I certainly prefer that to Big Momma or Lil Muther, or any myriad of other “names” that could be chosen, if you know what I mean.

Back to company… Brian works hard for his family as a long-haul trucker.  He has never met my kids, but they are anxious to meet their “step-brother” and he seems to really want to meet them as well.  A very rare occasion has come up where Brian just happens to be heading our way and can stay overnight for a visit.  The kids aren’t here right now, but the day we head out to pick up them up from their Dad, Brian is heading the same way too.  We just might be able to have the kids meet him!

I am fairly excited because we are so far away from Brad’s family and now we’ll have a chance for a visit!  Although, I have to say I am bummed I won’t get to see Jill this trip.  (Gotta put that out there, Jill!! I’m missing you!!)  But that’s ok, I’ll get to see her soon enough. Brian will also get to see the garage project his Dad is doing now too.  Way cool!

I baked another batch of those Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies for Brian to take with him, hopefully some of them will make it to Jill! [Hint, Hint!]  Thank goodness I just put the last batch in the oven, so I no longer have to use all my willpower to keep from getting into the cookie dough!

Completely enjoying the surprises my “dash” holds!

Christine

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