Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home on the range, an Anniversary, and a Birthday...

 My wonderful, stupendous, fabuloso husband stayed with the boys in July so I could go home and see my family...BY MYSELF...for TWO WEEKS! WOOHOO! It was a blast. I slept in, hooked up with friends, GOT READY each morning, spent time with my family...I was in heaven! The best part of is all is...I feel like I got to get in touch with myself again. It helped to take a step back from child rearing every day to take a deep breath and relax. aaaaahhhh...
It was a blast hooking up with friends (had lunch at Chili's) I used to work with. I love them tons, and after 9 years everyone still looked the same!! Well, the children were new, but...
Paige and Athena. I lick them...er...I mean love them. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at El Rosal. hehe... :D
My bff since 3rd grade, Shauna, and her lil' sis, Christina with her 6 1/2 kids. Such a fun reunion!
Lindsey, Shauna, my sissy, Jennifer and myself...visiting Lindsey and eating our favorite frozen yogurt. !Viva Yogurt Mill!
Eating at the DELISH El Rosal with the family. :D This is only a few of my 23 nieces and nephews. Big families rock!
Met up with my good friend, Amy. I love her AND her energy! :D
All four of us sisters went to my oldest sister, Francine's Girl's Camp. :D It was super fun!!
Fran was busy, so Jenn, Amy and I hung most of the time. :D I got to be a life guard...and fear for everyone else's lives that were in my hands. egads...see how my back was turned to the innocent little ones? Yah...ha! It was fun times hanging with my lifeguard superior, Monica. :D :D :D
They had a dance party one night...it was so fun!!! Everyone broke open their glow-in-the-dark necklaces and splashed everyone, so our clothes had glow-in-the-dark splotches on them while we danced. :D
We went kayaking a couple of times. I loved it! I will own a kayak one day. :D When my husband's a rich doctor. :)

The day I flew back home, my dad and I did a session at the Oakland temple together...then went to the visitor's center. It was so fun and spiritual; I love my daddy!!! And I had a blast visiting home!!!
Alan's aunt and uncle, Donna and Stu, and their son-in-law, James, were in NY for a visit and came down to see us.
We went to Hershey Chocolate World and decorated cupcakes and went on the tour...and Miles fawned over Uncle Stu the whole time. :D Hilarious! It was so good to see them for we love them much. :D
I just had to add this picture of my crazy boys. :D They sure are great buddies and we love them so very much. :D
Sept 4th was mine and Alan's 7th Anniversary. :D He surprised me by taking me to the D.C. temple--which is huge and gorgeous!--and we did sealings in memory of our own 7 years ago. :D
Then he took me to a Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant in Virginia. mmmm....
The sushi was SOOOO GOOD! It was a fun and sweet date!! I love you, stud muffin!!!
Christian turned 5 on September 8th. We threw him a raging Spider-man birthday party to celebrate. ;)
We played wild and crazy games, such as "Pin the tail in the donkey"...
...and we played "keep those Spider-man villain balloons off your side of the line," which the kids loved. :D
Here's the group of crazy faces. :D It was full house with all the energy those kids have.
At the end, they decorated their own cupcakes, we sang to Christian, and everyone enjoyed cake and ice cream. :D YUM.
This is a cake our neighbor bought for Christian. :D It was really sweet (the gesture AND the cake). :D :D :D

Monday, July 18, 2011

The 4th, my Bday and Brandon Sanderson

A lot has happened since I wrote a mere 2+ weeks ago. :) On July 4th we had a picnic at our apartment complex. A lot of people showed with lots of good food. :D It was fun. Alan bought a bunch of Pop-it's and shared them with the kids.
He also bought some sparklers and shared them with all the kids. The boys loved them. ;)
July 5th we hung out with Alan's childhood friend, Andrew, and his family. :) Here we are walking across a bridge in Harrisburg. :D We ended up on a little island and found a fun park with batting cages and arcade games at one end and a place to swim at the other. I need to toss those shorts. SO unflattering. ;)
July 6th we drove up to Canada to visit my brother and his family. My sister-in-law, Sarah, is AWESOME and made me an Italian cream cake. It was sooooo good!! :D She also bought me a cute white Avon watch and a Schick razor which is a DREAM on my sensitive pits. hehehe... ;)
Drooling here just thinking about that yummy cake. mmmmm... :)~
Later that day we drove a couple hours away to a beautiful campground. It was really nice because my brother let us stay in his huge trailer. :D
The mosquitoes were the size of HORSES, but it was so beautiful and serene! We made YUMMY s'mores and tubed down the river and fished (I didn't have a license, but I gutted one my nephew, Branden, caught with a friggin dull knife). My nephews pretty much thought I was the coolest after that. It was a fun camping trip!
One of the days our little family went swimming at this query. It was fun and beautiful! I swam to the other side of it, overcoming my fear of open waters. ;) Go me! It was an awesome day.

We also had family pictures taken. Here's the best of the worst. :D HA!
 lol, there were NONE where we were all looking and/or smiling. ;)
 I sure love my babies. :D Precious boys.
 Alan taught Christian to do the hand/chest slap from Psych. HA! It's the cutest thing to see.
Our feet are all ugly, except the boys' of course, but I like it anyway. ;)
I'm having a hard time deciding which picture I like of Alan and I most...What do YOU think?
For the finale....drum roll please..............on Saturday (July 16th) I went to a Polaris 25 Convention. Yes, I went to a geek convention. ;) One of those where people dress in strange costumes and many don't understand the importance of personal hygiene. I went, however, and had a blast. I am willing to do just about anything once, though it was so fun I'd do it again...if Brandon Sanderson were there. :D He is one of my favorite authors and was a guest of honor. He taught on a few panels (where I learned valuable info about writing), and in the evening he played Magic, a card game, with his fans. I learned and watched and chatted with him. It was so fun! He's down to earth and all around coolio. ;)
He was posing with a close-lipped smile. I told him to show some teeth. :D HA! And boy did he. :D HA! Funny guy. Aaaaah, there we go. ;) That's all folks, I hope you enjoyed the show! ;) Tomorrow I'm off to California to see my family and have many more adventures. What a busy and blessed summer!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I like New York in June, How 'bout you?!

Frank Sinatra knew what he was talking about when he sang "How About You" way back when. :) I've wanted to go to New York City since we moved here over a year ago. It's a mere 3 hour drive away, after all, but it hasn't happened. Mainly because Alan doesn't have the desire I have. ;) My friend told me about the fun trip she and her husband took and I thought, "We have two somewhat independent kids, Alan is having his last summer break ever, and I'm not pregnant or nursing. It's the perfect time to go!" So I decided to plan a trip, tell him it's happening, and use my birthday as an excuse. And it worked! We grabbed a babysitter--an amazing 18 yr old girl we know from church--and headed out on Wednesday. It was our first vacation away from the boys overnight (and it went way too quickly)! ;) It was a blast, and though it put a huge hole in our pocketbook, it was way worth the memories. Here's a picture diary of most everything we did. ;)
Straight off the subway. I'm so excited to be in NYC! ;)

First thing we did was ate lunch at Gray's Papaya--one of the many famous hotdog joints. The dogs were long and skinny and weren't my favorite. We had papaya juice to go with it. Very papaya-y, and not very impressive, though 2 dogs and a drink for $5 was a good deal.
Then we went inside the Manhattan Temple area briefly...time constraints didn't let us do anything but check out the tiny distribution center, but it's beautiful! The elevator held all the gold-trimmed NYC grandeur.
The guy tried to charge us $2 for taking a pic of his bananas, so Alan-the-sucker bought some fruit from him instead. ;) I was annoyed that he fell for the dirty trick, but it was such a good, healthy snack and gave us energy for all of the walking, walking, walking...I had a nectarine and Alan had a banana. ;)
Here we are after picking up tickets for the Late Show with David Letterman. I had pre-ordered them, answered their dumb trivia question, and what do we get for planning head of time? Seats up in the balcony where we were blinded by the bright lights and basically didn't exist. They asked people to come in off the street last minute and they got to sit down below (with a closer view). hmpf...It was overall a bit disappointing and annoying, but I'd still recommend anyone travelling to NYC.  :D
To kill time before the Late Show taping, we played at FAO Schwarz Toys (from the movie "Big"). I love Captain Jack Sparrow, even when he's made out of Legos. ;D teehee...
I think Ms Liberty has B.O. Yah, that's deep.
That's me on The Big Piano. "Outta my way, kids!" I was the only adult, but I wanted to do it so badly. Yes I played chop sticks. If only Tom Hanks were there to make it complete. :)
It was fun. Until we meet again, FAO Schwarz...
After The Late Show, we hit the busy (in more way than one) streets of NYC. Times Square was packed (below), full of weirdos like the old, chubby Spiderman who harassed everyone near him with strange noises...ha!

For dinner we ate from one of the many Rafiqui's Halal street vendors. Tip: never order from one that doesn't show prices unless you ask what they are first. They just might rip you off. Just sayin'...
We ate our food at a nearby park. The lamb gyro I got was goooooooooo-ood...and I didn't even die from it.
Fountains in front of 30 Rock...the area was beautiful!
 We thought those fountains were nice, then we saw THIS...I love the show "30 Rock," which made being there even more fun.
Smooches, 30 Rock! I would've loved to see Tina Fe, but alas, she apparently didn't get the message I was there. ;)
We ended Wed night with the Broadway show "Wicked". Here we are inside the theater, where no one's supposed to take pictures. Oops. The show was awesome! I loved it lots and lots. ;) Now I'm more psyched to see Phantom...some day, my friends. Some day...
We started Thursday with 4-5 hours of sleep and a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It's free and goes right by the Statue of Liberty. Few tourists are aware of this, so it wasn't crowded. It's a BEAUTIFUL ride.
Can't you see how happy we are? ;) Windblown hair and all.
Once off the Ferry (back in Long Island), there were some street performers. They discouraged drugs and though they were pretty obnoxious, it was a good show. We gave them $5 for all their good cause and cool flippy-flips (look closely and you'll see the guy flipping over those people's backs). ;)
I said HI to my friend Sponge Bob and gave him $1. ;) Reminds me of San Francisco. People do anything for a buck. ;)

Here's that bull I always see in movies...I wanted to get a better pic at the front or back, but there were so many people I jumped on the poor thing's hoof for a quick pic. ;)
We walked the Brooklyn Bridge. It was fun, free, and beautiful! I would urge anyone to do it if they have time, very cool. There was a guy selling cold water bottles for $1. Score!
Then we walked back over the Manhattan Bridge which was MUCH more ghetto, but it was nice to see the different views. ;)
The Manhattan Bridge dumped us off at China Town where people sell funky looking fruits and tons of Hello Kitty trinkets. Gotta love it. ;)
We stopped at Tai Pan Bakery. The little chocolate torte that looks like a mouse was SO GOOD. It was $1.10 and worth every penny. The fruit torte was very good for a fruit torte, but they aren't my thing. The bread had custard in the middle and was super tasty. Everything was really good!
Then we ate lunch at Wo Hop. The food was phenomenal up to the orangey flavored fortune cookie that told me the business I just started will boom. I didn't even know I'd started a business.
We ordered shrimp chow mein (with veggies, not noodles) which was amazing, and pineapple duck. I don't like duck much (it's half meat, half fat), but they did a good job with it.
Here we are on the New Jersey Transit train, on our way home. The trip was exhausting and we both had head colds, but it was a blast! I want to return with the kids some day! See you soon, NYC!