Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Glorious, Wondrous, Long Weekend

I haven't taken a lot of days off this year. I started to once in June. But it didn't work out. So having 4 days off in a row this week has been, well, pretty glorious.

We spent Thanksgiving with family. Eating, watching football (well, they watched football), playing mah jong and other games, and generally enjoying each other's company. We let Casey do the toast this year. He began by clearing his throat several times, followed by an "um" or two or five (sure couldn't tell his mom was a speech & debate coach from the slow start). And then, he began: "Um, my birthmom died? In a car . . ."
I cut him off at that point and reminded him that we were toasting something he's thankful for. He restarted, and this was his toast: "I'm thankful for food!" Who couldn't raise their glass to that?

And on Thanksgiving, we were risky-- we let the kids stay up until (gasp!) 10pm, knowing that it typically backfires on us and causes an even earlier wake-up than the usual 6:30 a.m. weekend wake-up calls we get. But this year it didn't. And we slept in (again, gloriously) until 7:00 a.m. the next day.

Last year we spent Black Friday at a nearby mall. We didn't get to the mall this year, but we did hit the movies. No crowds. We saw Fantastic Mr. Fox. We brought along two of Casey's best friends, and they played Indiana Jones Wii for a while afterward, while Marcie and I picked out pictures for her birthday card thank you notes.

On Saturday we woke up to rain. Again, glorious. It hadn't rained in something like 160 days days. That's insane. Even for Southern California. We headed out in the rain to a nearby bowling alley (doing recon for Casey's birthday party in January), and we played some ball. Our lane glitched, and it kept clearing the pins after the first bowl. And even with the bumpers, a 9 or 10 pound ball didn't always make it all the way down the alley without some help. But the kids still had fun:

Then today we braved the mall. And we were pleasantly surprised. We hadn't planned to go to the mall, but we had some returns and the kids practically begged. So there we were. We went to the mall last weekend, too. And caught up with Santa early this year. Marcie said hello to him but refused to take any pictures. Casey was a bit braver:

And we put up the Christmas tree early this year, too. I suppose it's not that early. I mean, Christmas is only a month away-- not even a month away.

This year flew right by me. Must faster than any year before. Jason says it's because the older we get, the smaller the percentage of our lives each year is. Maybe that's it. But it does feel, sometimes, like it's going too fast. And I need to remember to stop and enjoy it-- to tell people how grateful I am to know them, to make sure I take pictures (at least mentally), to enjoy and experience what the world has to offer. And remembering all this on Thanksgiving weekend is perfect.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Few Things I Am Thankful For . . .

  • The freedom to choose when it comes to just about everything;
  • A warm roof over my head;
  • Plenty of food to fill my belly;
  • A soft pillow and plenty of sheets and blankets to snuggle into at night;
  • The love of a good man;
  • The sound of laughter and bickering filling my car and home;
  • Good-night routines;
  • The company of a good book;
  • The option of watching television on TV or online;
  • Cuddles and hugs and small arms wrapped around me even when I don't ask the kids;
  • Fresh water to quench my thirst;
  • The health of family and loved ones;
  • Medical and dental insurance to help keep us healthy;
  • An engaging job and interesting people with whom to work.

I am truly, truly blessed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Marcie's Birthday Cakes

As you might well imagine when it comes to me, there is a saga behind each of Marcie's birthday cakes. She has two because she asked me for a Dora face, and I knew it wouldn't be enough to feed a full party of kids. So then I bought a Costco sheet cake and threw some decorations on it.

No time to write about the sagas, but here are my "masterpieces" for you to enjoy:

Monday, November 02, 2009

Ten Bullet Bio

Johnny over at So It's Come Down To This has sort of challenged me to complete a meme. It's pretty easy because it's not too long, and it's all about me. (Two great things!). To help readers new to this blog (and there sure can't be many given how terrible I've been about posting), I'm summarizing my "life story" in ten bullets.

Here goes:
  • Met (my husband) Jason when we were freshmen in high school. We were friends, but we didn't date in high school or while we were in college.
  • Taught English and Spanish at my high school alma mater right out of grad school.
  • Reconnected with Jason when I planned to set him up with a friend in 1997.
  • Engaged a year later. Married a year after that, in 1999.
  • Did the fertility treadmill and a couple months later started the domestic adoption process in 2002.
  • Son Casey was born in January 2003 during a snowstorm in Ohio. Three days after I ran a marathon in Florida. We fell in love with him (and his birth family) pretty much immediately.
  • Started law school in August 2003. Because I'm crazy. Finalized Casey's adoption the next month.
  • Gave up on fertility drugs for good in 2005 and headed for China. Adopted Marcie my last year of law school, in 2006.
  • Began paperwork for #3 even before Marcie's adoption was finalized in our home state (in July 2007).
  • Got lucky and started a job as a big fancy lawyer.

That's my life in a nutshell. (But boy could I embellish if the bullets didn't limit me-- I suppose that's the point.)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Good-bye October

October was a relatively quiet month. It started with a birthday celebration for my brother. Let's not talk about how old he is now. I'll just say he's my younger brother, and I'd prefer not to think about his age, mainly because I consider myself frozen at that age. In any event, we were treated to the Pope room at Buca di Beppo. And I caught this great shot of Casey and his cousin Joey:

We also headed off to a local pumpkin patch relatively early in the month this year because of soccer and church commitments. We've traditionally used our family photo at the pumpkin patch on our Christmas card, but Marcie got brave (and got her face painted), so we probably won't this year. Still, it's not a bad photo of us:

We were invited to a fantastic bicycle birthday party in October. The kids made name plates and rode in a bike parade. One of the crazy things about October in Southern California is that you just never know if it will be freezing or we'll get a heat wave. Last week, it was in the mid-60s one day and then it hit almost 80 degrees the next. We got lucky most weekends, and that birthday party weekend was one of them. This is me and Casey getting goofy at the party (and it's not lost on me that I'm pretty lucky that Casey isn't embarrassed by me already, let alone that he will still act silly with me in public):

Casey picked out his Halloween costume weeks (and maybe months) ago. Marcie was less settled. At first she wanted to be a zebra. Eventually, though, she settled on a panda. She was adamant, though, that she did not want to be Kung Fu Panda because she wanted to be a girl panda. Finding a regular panda costume proved to be difficult. And taught me not to trust the pictures on the ads. Because the picture was of a regular panda costume. But what we got was a Kung Fu Panda costume. Which we modified by giving the panda a skirt to cover up the shorts and make it truly girly. I must admit, I was especially proud of Marcie when I arrived at her school's annual Halloween parade to discover that she was the only girl in her class who did not dress as a princess of some kind or as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Don't get me wrong- if Marcie had wanted to be a princess, I would not have fought her. It's her costume after all. But I felt a little bit proud that Marcie was more creative than that (and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that she's got a big brother for a role model around).
Here's me with Marcie at her class Halloween parade:

And here is Indiana Casey . . . I mean Indiana Jones and Marcie as a panda the weekend before Halloween, when we took them to a Parents' Night Out costume party (while we went to dinner and go-kart racing):

When the big day finally came (and it was a big deal- Casey counted down the days all week), Marcie decided she didn't want to wear her hood. Which was fine, because it turned out it was a pretty warm night. So we painted her face like a panda to match the costume instead. Jason and his dad took the kids trick-or-treating, and they had a blast. Here they are, just a little before the sun set:

Today, of course, marks All Saints' Day. Both kids dressed up as St. Patrick for church. I dressed as St. Clare, sporting my mother superior nun costume, which I used for a work costume contest (and won with!). And now these costumes reside in our costume box, where I hope they get plenty of wear and tear over the next 12 months.
As a side note, Casey is getting quite creative. Today, he stood at the front window and narrated what he saw across the street (a gentlemen visiting the girls who live there). The funny thing was that he used voices for the guy and what he anticipated the girls would say. And the window was open, so not only did Jason and I get a good chuckle, but I'm pretty sure the guy could hear the whole thing-- and laugh along with us, too.