Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lucky Me

I had the good fortune of turning 47 years old today. I was serenaded by some of the most loved people in my life. I was awaken with a kiss and "Happy Birthday"'s from my darling husband and insomniac daughter (Josie!) My first chorus of the birthday song was sung from Virginia compliments of Meagan, Lauryn and their Mom, my dear friend Sharon.

I got a quick kiss and another birthday wish from Maddie as she jumped out of the car at school. She left for a retreat with her Sophomore classmates and will return late on Friday.

Around noon came my second singing phone call. This time it was my Mom & Dad - who are WAAAAYY too young to have a 47 year old daughter :-) Teacup roses from my Posse Moms (Lori, Sharon & Jamie) came around 2PM. Josie was so helpful in helping me arrange them! There were so many of them we had to pull out another vase! (One for each year, perhaps?!)

Darling husband arrived home bearing Tuxedo Cake (white chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate cake with buttercream icing) - makes my teeth hurt just writing about it!

James also came to dinner bearing gifts - Oh Goody!! Josie helped me unwrap this beautiful present:

Inside was a smaller version of the tote I received for Christmas. I haven't taken a photo of it yet, but I will use it right away! James has noticed me fishing around in the larger bag for my keys - always when I'm running late or HE's in a hurry! He's always been a practical and resourceful guy. He goes with what works - so now I have the smaller Burberry bag for the fall. Thanks, 'Homie D'!

My final serenade came shortly after dinner. I answered the phone to hear two of the sweetest little voices any Auntie could ask for... our nieces, Alicia and Zoe, sang their little hearts out with their Mom & Dad (my brother and sister-in-law, Rich & Ivy)

Thanks to all of you who made this day so special. I feel truly blessed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's Saturday, So This Must be Disneyland - Again!

Before I get to recounting our great day at Disneyland, I need to backtrack a bit. I've been away from my computer and most other things all week. On Monday morning I awoke with a tremendous, vicious pain between my shoulder blades. I thought I had just slept on it wrong and that the pain would subside once I was up and moving. This was not the case.

Once I got the kids off to school that morning, I practically crawled into Massage Envy, a massage chain whose services I had used in Virginia. Luckily, they had an opening at 10AM. I had the masseuse work on just my upper body, specifically where the pain had localized - pretty much from the right side of my neck, right shoulder blade and right arm. I did get a bit of temporary relief. But, by Monday evening the pain was worse. I took some Motrin and EX Tylenol then headed off to bed, where I slept, fitfully, on a heating pad. By Wednesday, with no relief in sight, I went to a chiropractor. Again, temporary relief but within a few hours, the pain was back with a vengeance. I should mention that James left for Washington, DC on Sunday and was not due to return until this (Saturday) morning. I was on my own with the kids and both were really great with helping out around the house and playing nurse.

Finally, on Friday morning, I saw a local Urgent Care physician. She prescribed a potent muscle relaxer along with a pain killer. I've finally gotten some relief - though I'm not crazy about taking the drugs. In this case, however, it seemed the only way to regain some mobility.

I wanted to be in tip-top shape for our visit to Disneyland today. My friend, Donna, had thoughtfully forwarded an invitation for a group (China adoptive parents) gathering at Disneyland. Donna, Andrew and their beautiful daughters - Maddy and Gwen - had welcomed our family to their home in Northern California two years ago. Now that we are all in the same state, I was very excited to see them all again. Josie remembered how much fun she had playing with the girls and she was excited to see them again too!

Since I was not on the computer for most of the week, I missed the email Donna had sent with her cell phone number. Murphy's Law kicked in for Donna's family too. Their flight into Orange County was cancelled and they had to switch flights and airports. We arrived at Disneyland at 10 this morning, hoping to catch up with the group. Didn't happen. We went to the restaurant where lunch was scheduled to take place, didn't see anyone there either.

Finally, as we staked our claim on a piece of curbing to watch the 3:30PM 'Celebrate Today' parade - I happened to see Donna, Andrew, Gwen and Maddy! We exchanged quick hugs - they were headed back to their hotel for naptime and we were headed home after the parade. We were able to see the whole family though only for about 3 minutes. They all looked happy and healthy and we were so pleased to just be able to say hello. I will catch up with all of them again, I hope, when I head up to Northern California in October.

So, on to the Disneyland adventure. I was thrilled to have both my girls with me. Maddie was generously taking a backseat so Josie could call the shots for the day.

We rode the carousel first and headed over to the Princess Faire to chat with the Princesses in residence. This line typically runs at about a 1 - 1.5 hour wait. While I held our place in line, Maddie escorted Josie to the princess salon to have her face painted. That killed about 15 minutes and both girls waited patiently until it was finally our turn.

Here are a few photos of Josie with the princesses:

We made a quick stop in 'Toon Town' to visit with Pluto:

After our quick visit with Donna and the family, we took our seats for the parade. Josie was absolutely thrilled to be pulled from the sidelines by one of the performers to dance. Our girl did the 'twist' and several other dances! She had a ball! The performers then pulled a rope out of nowhere and had all the kids walk through the floats and dancing characters. Josie returned to my side practically screaming that she was 'this close' to Mickey, Donald and the gang. Couldn't have wiped the smile from her face if I tried!

Upon our return home, James was waiting for the girls - to whisk them off to watch the USC game with Uncle Fred at a local pizza joint. Last week, Josie came home covered in USC buttons and a set of Pom-Poms. (Courtesy of the Alumni Assoc!) Now that I'm finishing up this post, I'm going to enjoy the quiet and slip into a nice hot bath. Hope you all have a great weekend and a restful Sunday!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

'Loser Lover'

I'm a day late with this post - but, OMG! Did ya happen to catch the season opener for The Biggest Loser?!

I have loved this show since it premiered and watch religiously - all except last season when the contestants were so boring and whiny. I felt nothing for those folks. But this season is awesome! Controversy on the first episode! I totally disagreed with Alexandra being sent home! Julio should have lost more - and it didn't help that in every clip of him in the gym he was falling over like a sack of potatoes.

Just because Alexandra was young and single didn't mean she had less of a right to continue on. Julio played the "I've got two kids at home" card way too often. Where was his concern for his wife and children while he piled on the weight? Didn't happen overnight. I guess I'm just heartless that way. I like Alexandra - and she looked fantastic in the final clip.

Also, was it just me or did anyone else notice that Jillian is totally into having people "be my bitch" this season?! It totally cracked me up when she was yelling at those huge guys lying on the floor - she's like a ninja pixie! Also, being able to watch those folks actually puke really adds a certain 'je ne sais pas'.

Best thing about watching 'Loser' is that I feel like a goddess afterwards. Sure, I have what I consider 'serious' weight to lose - but, DAMN! I come away from that show feeling really thankful that there's a '1' as the first number in my weight. I can't wait to see who wins this time around. All of the contestants are attractive people - all have beautiful faces and great attitudes so far. I just don't want to see any whiners this season. As Jillian would say, "You need to own it, bitch!" LMAO!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Getting Out and About...

All this week I've been reading the local paper's features about the Tall Ships coming to Dana Point. Like many things lately, I figured it was something we would really enjoy doing, but we always seem to be overcome by events - so those events fall to the wayside. I'm happy to report that we actually made it to the Tall Ships both Friday and Saturday evening.

Maddie was at a football game with her friends Haley & Liz on Friday night. James had been out of town all week and was itchy to have dinner out with Josie and me. Once we got Maddie on her way, James pointed the car toward Irvine. I just didn't want to have another huge-portion meal in an overcrowded restaurant. I suggested we head toward the beach. We were about half way there when I remembered that the Tall Ships were at Dana Point.

The three of us found a parking space and actually got a table at a restaurant overlooking the Dana Point Harbour. It was a beautiful evening, with a beautiful sunset. Josie nearly jumped out of her seat as the ships began shooting off their cannons in the Harbour. Fear turned to delight when she saw the awesome sails billowing in the wind. She started asking, "Mom, where are the pirates, where are the pirates?!"

We didn't see any pirates, I'm sad to say. But it was an enjoyable evening. When Maddie found out we had gone without her, she asked if we could take her and Haley down to see the ships. So, James headed to a local pizza joint to meet up with his friend Fred. There they watched the USC Football game. I headed toward the shore with the girls.

It was a bit cloudy this evening, so my photos aren't that great... never mind that the ships were well out of the harbour - even the long lens couldn't help me much. The girls and I walked the promenade and then enjoyed a nice dinner at a restaurant with a marina view.

I was really happy to be out in the fresh, salt air. I could have walked for many more hours but little Josie's legs were wearing out and she really did work up an appetite. Here's a few photos of the evening:

Oh, and USC won their game... I think.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Josie's First Day of School in California!

Can I just tell you that she never looked back?!?!

She walked right in and went to work with her classmates. She was so excited to start school - the first thing she said when she woke up was, "Today's the day I go to school!!"

And, of course, the tradition continues... Roses from Daddy on the first day of school:

Today, I'm just going to sit and enjoy the silence. I hope when I pick Josie up that she had a fantastic first day.

And also, this is just a quick shout out to my Goddaughter Katie - who turns 22 today! I haven't seen her in quite a few years but she is beautiful, smart and just the same sweet girl I fell in love with all those years ago. Happy Birthday Katie!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The World According to Josie...

Over the weekend Josie got a hold of James' small PowerShot camera and took over 130 shots! Guess she was inspired by all the photos taken when our first visitors came on Saturday. James' Mom & Dad; brothers Ken & Rich; Sister-in-law Ivy; and most importantly, the girls' cousins - Alex, Brandon, Alicia and Zoe.

We had a lovely time on Saturday but Josie was left feeling restless. She loves her cousins, so visit is ever long enough. Here's what Josie's world looks like:

I'm very impressed that she managed to get some really fun shots. Of course, now she wants a camera "Just like Daddy's",

Put it on the list for Santa....