Monday, June 29, 2009

We are family

Saturday afternoon I went on my afternoon break and found that I had a voicemail and a text from my brother, Spencer, letting me know that he and Brea were having Kirk & Mary's family over for a bbq that night, asking if there was any way I could come, too. I usually work until 8:00 on Saturdays, but it was a remarkably slow day, so my boss let me off a couple hours early so I could go and hang with the fam. Since it was a last minute affair, I didn't have my real camera ... all these pics were taken with my phone, so bare with me on the size/quality of the pics.

This is my brother Kirk, eating his second ice cream cone of the night. We heart ice cream.

Told you we heart ice cream. We went through 2 cartons of Blue Bell. (That's an entire gallon of ice cream, for those of you who don't have a parent who keeps track of how much ice cream major manufacturers put in a carton. FYI, Blue Bell is the only company who still sells 1/2 gallon cartons. Trust me, we know who gives us the most ice cream for our money.)

Okay, this is a pretty HORRIBLE pic of Russell, but the kid cracks me up, so I'm including it anyway. Please note that he's holding a Batman doll while wearing a Spiderman outfit. The kid doesn't discriminate - he's an equal opportunity Superhero fan.

My four favorite boys. I so love them! It's killing me that the pic is so little, so you can't really see their faces. Trust me, they're cute.

Oh, yeah... HAD to get the high-chair shot of Baby Hazel going to town on her ice cream cone. It's in her blood, she can't help it.

Me & my fav niece. She's super cute - and she loves me. You may wonder if she loves me, since she's not smiling in this pic, but I can assure you... she DOES love me. (And she'll love me even more in a couple years when she figures out that I always have gum in my purse.)

My nephew Kirk. You can hardly see the lipstick smudge on his right cheek, but I promise it's there. (The little stinker likes to wipe my kisses off. I don't know what that's about.)

And... that's it. Some random pics from a family bbq. How Spence & Brea and their boys didn't get any up close & personal shots is beyond me. ... Lucky them, I'm watching their boys this week on Wednesday, so maybe I can make up for lost time then. (More pics of me & my nephews. Now there's something for ya'll to look forward to.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's the end of an era.

Am I the only 30-something who was oddly verklempt when she found out that Michael Jackson died today? I don't know what it was, exactly, except that he was a part of my childhood and adolescence in a way that no other musical artist was. (Don't get me wrong, I do love me some Jon Bon Jovi, but there was something about MJ that set him apart from other musicians.) I think maybe it was the posters that Mary Ann Echols' sister had plastered all over her walls. His was the first poster I ever saw, the first music video I ever saw, and he had pretty much the sweetest dance moves ever (less the quintessential grabbing of himself, which I really could have lived without... but apparently he couldn't).

I talked to Cousin Julie tonight and we reminisced about Thriller and The Moonwalk. And I talked to my friend Jo, and we were a little teary together, too. I think it must be those little bits inside of me that were around in 1987 that are oddly saddened that he's gone. And more than being sad that he's gone, I'm sad for the kids 10 years younger than me who never knew how cool Michael Jackson was. He had such an immense amount of talent. His music and his dancing revolutionized the Pop music genre.

Tonight I watched some old music videos (Bad and Beat It, with a little bit of Billie Jean and Thriller thrown in for good measure) and was amazed, again, at what a dancing machine he was. He was popping before anyone else was, but it was The Moonwalk that has always truly blown my mind. So, here's a little goodie for those of you who are old enough to remember him from the glory days when he wore a red leather jacket and one glove. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You know that I do love me a good sale.

My fave sale this week? Ben & Jerry's 2 for $7.00.

What's better than 1 pint of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer? That's easy - 2 pints of Ben & Jerr's in the freezer. And when you can buy 2 pints for $7.00, it's a no brainer. (Granted, that's only a $2 savings, but still... a deal's a deal, and in the world I live in, you've got to take advantage of a good sale when you see one.)

This has been the best day ever. I watched the last 5 episodes of Prison Break season 4 this morning, and have spent the afternoon catching up on Burn Notice season 2. I'm one pint down, but not all is lost, because I know there's another one in there if things get too dicey for me in Miami and I need some ice cream to get me through. (That last episode of Prison Break burned through almost an entire pint, all on its own. Geez Louise, I was one nervous puppy.)

And now that I've bragged to the cyber world about the frozen dairy product that I have here in my freezer, I think I'll get back to Michael Weston. He's blowing stuff up, whilst wearing a fitted T and some pretty sweet jeans - you know how much I love that. (Almost as much as I love mint cookies & cream. And that's a lot of love.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I was talking with one of my good friends this week, and the topic turned to the men in our lives. Which sounds a little funny, I know, as blatantly single as I am... but I have a lot of men in my life. I have four fabulous nephews, four pretty great brothers, and one awesome dad. (And varied and sundry other male friends and relations who I love as well - but for the purpose of this post, I'm gonna keep all the love focused towards those who are biologically bound to me.)

I love my nephews - they're a lot of fun, each in their own way. They're completely open and honest, and so much fun to be with. I love those boys, they're such great kids.

My brothers, all four of them, are incredible men. They each have strong personalities, each of them as different from each other as the the day is long, and I love them all. They help me when I need them, they make me laugh when we're together, and I know that any one of them would go to the ends of the Earth for me if he knew I needed that. They're all good brothers.

My dad... my dad is amazing. He loves me, and my five siblings, unconditionally and without bounds. My whole life, I've known that he would sacrifice anything for the good of others, that he loves the Lord, and does his best to be a good and honest man. He's always loved and supported the six of us kids, even in all of our different personalities and pursuits. He's such a great example of Christlike love. He's such a great father.

And this week, I realized (for probably about the 32nd time, but every time it hits me, it's like a whole new revelation) that my nephews are such great kids because their dads are such great dads - and that my brothers are such good men (and fathers) because their dad, our dad, was so good with them.

I'm so incredibly grateful for the men in my life - for my nephews, for my brothers, and especially on Father's Day, for my dad. I've heard it said many times that the relationship between a father and a daughter is unlike any other - that if a girl grows up knowing that she is loved and protected by her father, it serves her sense of self in a way that no other relationship can. The picture above is one of my favorites. It's a random snapshot of my daddy looking at me the way he always has - like I'm smart and funny and fabulous. I'm so lucky that I've always had that. I'm so grateful for his example, for his influence, for the value he has given me just by loving me and accepting me for who I am.

Thanks, Dad, for being the man and the father that you are. I love you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I am holding WalMart personally responsible...

See, it started like this. Yesterday Burn Notice Season Two came out on DVD and I went to WalMart to buy a copy - and they didn't have any copies left. (I went after Institute last night, so it was after 9:00 PM before I got there. I knew I should have gone first thing in the morning - I just knew it.)

So, I left the store last night all kinds of bitter that I wasn't going to be able to catch up with my boy Michael Weston, which is how I'd planned on spending my Tuesday night. Argh.

I woke up this morning, bound and determined to go and pick it up, and went first to do some returns at Michael's. (I'd spent about $12 on some little candle things that I ended up not using a few weeks ago.)

Armed with $12 more than I had been when I woke up this morning, I decided to stop in at Ross and see if they had anything fun that I could buy with my $12. It turns out that they did have some things that were very fun - these two dresses, for example. (And yes, I know, they're the same exact dress, just in different colors. I couldn't make up my mind, and since they were both only $15, I got both of them. And yes, before you bring it up, I know that $15x2 does not equal the $12 that I'd planned to spend. But listen, they were only $15 and the retail version of a DKNY sundress goes for about $295, so I figured that getting two of them for $30 vs one original for almost $300 was a steal I couldn't pass up.)

After I left Ross, I had to stop in at Ulta and get some new eye primer. My last tube of the original Mary Kay formula is on its last leg, and well... no one wants to see me with eye makeup creases. So, at the advice of one of the Ulta sales girls who was wearing a lovely combination teal and cream eye shadow (insert eye roll here), I picked up this little guy. (Per the sales girl, it keeps her makeup crease-free for 14 hours. As her makeup was about the most intense thing I'd ever seen, that was a good enough endorsement for me.) I'll report back to ya'll on how it works.

After leaving Ulta, I drove across the parking lot to Best Buy, where sure enough, they had Burn Notice Season Two - for $39.99. Which, as much as I do love Michael Weston, seemed like a bit much. I held him in my hands for just a moment, had the thought "I'll bet I could get this cheaper online", and then decided to come home and go to amazon and/or and see what I could find.

On my way from Best Buy to my car, I saw the BOGO sign at Payless and had to run in, just to see if there was anything fun.

Uhm, yeah... there was something fun. Chocolate brown peep-toe wedges, hello! I'm in love with these stupid shoes. Who cares if they make me 6'1?! Not me, that's who! I'm in love with them. In love, I tell you.

And then, because it was buy-one-get-one-half-off, I had to get these cute little flip-flops. I'm grooving on the buckles. (I know, between buckles and bows, I'm so blinking predictable when it comes to new shoes.)

After all that shopping, I was feeling the need for some liquid refreshment. Lucky for me, Danny's is right there. Danny's with its crushed ice and Cherry Coke. Oh, and Hostess products, too. (I am unable to go into a convenience store and NOT buy a Hostess and/or Nabisco product.)

And then, after I had taken all my new things out of their bags/boxes and put them away, I sat down (coke in hand) to do a little online shopping. And, would you lookie there... had Seasons One and Two for $39.99 - and because it's more than $25, it qualified for free shipping. Eat your heart out, WalMart and/or Best Buy, I got both seasons for less than I would have had to pay you for Season Two alone PLUS I went on quite a shopping binge, to boot. Man, I love this day!

I love my Cousins (with a capital C).

I was looking through my photo files this morning, looking for something that I'd thought was taken around Christmas 2008, and ran across this little beauty and it made me smile. It made me smile because these girls (and their mom) always make me happy.

I remember that the day it was taken, Julie, Beth and I were gorging ourselves on homemade chicken salad croissant sandwiches. (Oh, my, that chicken salad was fabulous. Probably the best I've ever had. Suffice it to say, one of the ingredients was whipping cream. I know, it sounds weird, but my cousin Christie made it, and one thing I learned a long time ago is not to doubt Christie when she's in the kitchen, making up recipes.) The girls were begging me to watch Wall-e with them, but at the same time demanding so much attention that it was impossible to actually watch the movie. I remember drinking so much egg nog that I thought I would explode.

There are so many things about this afternoon that made me happy then, and make me happy now, too. I love my family. I love memories like those that I have of that day, sitting with my cousins as we ate and talked and giggled like we're still 14. And I love these little girls.

That's all. I just wanted to show you this pic - and tell you all how happy I was that day - and today, too. I'm super lucky!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What am I getting for my birthday this year?

That's right... another niece. Wahoo!

I had called Brea this morning, just to say hey, and she leaked that they were going to the doctor's this afternoon for the ultrasound to find out if the baby's a boy or a girl. I didn't quite invite myself along, but... I did have a pretty big reaction to the news that today was their big day, and I'm pretty sure that's what got me invited along. Brea told me that the breakfast prayer this morning included a very specific "and bless that the baby will be a girl" clause. Good news, folks, my nephews don't have to wonder why their prayers weren't answered. This baby will be a girl. Wahoo! I'm so excited that I can hardly stand it.

Here are some shots of Seth & Connor with their baby sister. Super cute, right?

After going to the doctor, we went out to eat at Cheesecake Factory. Yes, Cheesecake Factory, where they don't have banana splits on the menu, even though that's what Connor wanted to eat. (Brea had told me that the baby was roughly the size of a banana at 20 weeks, which led to Con obsessing over bananas and really, really, wanting to eat a banana split.)

Here are the happy parents.

And the happy aunt & big brothers.

Also, a shot of the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake that Brea figured was occasion appropriate, since it had a pink ribbon running through it.

Yay for baby girls! Only 4 months (and a few weeks) to go and we'll have a new sweet little baby girl in the fam!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The latest & greatest snack food to come into my life...

You know you're getting old when you find yourself in love with a food that has Fiber in the name of it. Seriously, these granola bars are to die for for. I mean, they're so freaking good that I'm wanting to eat the whole blasted box. The only thing that's stopping me? Each bar has 35% of my daily fiber needs... and I'm thinking that eating 10 might put my digestive system over the edge. (I'm not great at math, but I do know that 35% x 10 = 350%, and that's got to be too much fiber for a girl in one day.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two little love birds...

Yeah, you'd better know that "two little love birds" rhyme has nothing whatsoever to do with me and my love life. (Sorry, Mom, I know you'd like to have an electrician in the family... but so far, no dice.) It's all about Kathy & Paul - who were SUPER CUTE at both the ceremony and during the pics on Saturday. So cute, in fact, that I had to dedicate another post to them and their extraordinary cuteness. I love these kids.

This would be Kathy & Katy U., two of my favorite people in the whole, wide world. I'm so bummed that they aren't both looking at the camera, but hey... you take what you can get. (And I'm pretty sure the photographer they were paying to be there and take good pics got a good one of the two of them together, so I'm not gonna worry too much.)

Kathy wanted a group pic with all her nieces and nephews. This is not actually all of them. Two little boys came running up and dove in about 3 minutes after most of the pictures had been taken. My favorite kid of the bunch is the little boy in the vest who's up front. He was blowing spit bubbles through the whole photo shoot. It was alternately hilarious and disgusting. Honestly, little boys... they're so... boy. Ugh.

And this (as I'm sure you can tell) is me with my Kathy. There was a super cute goofy pic that Katy got that I really wish I had (it was showing more "personality", let's call it), but this was what I had on my camera, so it's what you're stuck with.

Saturday was such a fabulous day. Of course I got lost every time I had to drive myself from one place to another, but I had sirius radio and enough time to allow for getting off & on the freeway twice, so it was all good. :-)

I'm so happy for my friend and for her husband. They were such a cute, sweet, happy couple, and it just thrilled me to get to see them get hitched and start their life together.