Monday, June 27, 2011

BFF Baby Shower

Over two decades ago I met a pretty blonde and for some reason we hit it off.  Back in Jr. High that meant sleepovers and parties, football games and comparing lists of boyfriends.  
Flash foward through two weddings, three houses and any number of birthday parties between us, she's still one of my dearest friends.
So it was quite a thrill when she called me to tell me she was expecting her 5th little bundle of joy!  
And if you can't tell by now...I'll do anything for a party! 
Fortunately, I knew exactly who I was planning for:
And with a little boy in mind I bust out the toys and lions and tigers oh, MY!
I used many of the same tricks as I did for my sister's shower...but this time with a retro circus vibe.
There was the candy bar:
...with Snakes and Snails (gummy worms) and puppy dog tails (marshmallow twists)
and 1000 Grands in the College Fund jar.
Another highlight was the sock monkey filled with ....
blessings written by the shower guests. 
And I even tried my hand at some silly silhouette's on the wall, um that one's supposed to be a tiger.  
On the tables was a plethora of goodies.
A tub of peanuts propped up the party masks, which were a fun addition to the day.
 And the party bags were filled with homemade carmel popcorn.   
The cups were adorned with animal noses so that when you held them up,.....well I'd better just show you: 
 Originally, I had wanted to place giant peacock feathers in the centerpieces...but with budget constraints, I opted for peacock napkins.
And spent more on prizes: 
Ang's mom always goes all out for parties.  So I'll just say this affair was catered by SUE ;)
She literally makes over a dozen hordourves that are delicious!
We split dessert duty, where she went traditional:
And I went the cupcake route.  
This was my first time filling the cakes.....
I made two types, Lemon with cheesecake filling and creamcheese frosting: 
And chocolate, chocolate with strawberry jam inside:
I did loosen the reigns a bit and let Ang's daughters add the frosting.
And that's all I'll say about them ;) besides they were delicious.
I had a blast decorating for this shindig...and I'll post more about the actual shower next.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Anniversary Getaway Part II: Sleepless in Seattle

We love a good road trip and this one was no different.  Even better, we didn't have to worry about 'kid' music or frequent potty stops since we were sans kids.   But even in the middle of all the mind wandered with expectations.  Our agenda for Seattle was wide open, and I am a planner.  I had messages out on FB for good eateries, and we were scouring the web for creative ideas.  
Yet somewhere in the middle of that 2.5 hour car ride I started to brood.
So much so that the minute we stepped foot in Seattle.....
....our trip went downhill.
I've put off this post for over a week because it's difficult to publish our issues without throwing either one of us 'under the bus.'   As in all relationships we both have our pet peeves.  One of mine is wanting everything planned out, while his is wanting to 'go with the flow.'
You can bet that is a source for many 'discussions' in our world.
But why would this even come up during our weekend away?
Well, I'll be the first to admit that I have high expectations.
And when those internal goals aren't met, I tend to get a bit testy.
Worse yet.....I might just get mad and stew about it, and not even vocalize those thoughts.
(right about now you've got a LOT of empathy for my hubby huh?)
Part of my frustration was our hotel.  Compared to our first night's stay in the heart of the city....this place was off the beaten path, near the congested University.  It was a dank little room with few perks.  A far cry from the Marriot.  Now I'm starting to sound spoiled....but I'm just keeping it real here folks!
So we checked into this hotel, unloaded and I was left to figure out our dinner plans.  All of that is fine....but bratty ol me is feeling less and less 'showered' with affection.
And after 11 years of marriage, during an anniversary getaway, 
the last thing a girl wants to feel is neglected.  
Enter the silent treatment.
Or something close to it.  Which was unfortunate because we ended up dining on some delicious sushi fare at the poshy Wasabi in Seattle.
After the meal I wanted to go out and explore.  He wanted to stay in.
In the end we went back to the hotel with an obvious chip on my shoulder.
At this point, I must add, he was more than willing to go on a drive or do whatever I wanted....but I was too busy fuming. 
It was SUCH an unfortunate mood swing I was having! (to say the least)
I'm obviously omitting some of our major issues here.  Both for the sake of our privacy and for the fact that some of them are just plain laughable!  You know?  Those things that, in hindsight, should never really have mattered!  But I'm pointing out the 'easy' complaints to give you an outline.
So we stayed up all night....alternately talking and not talking.
Wasting away our precious time together. 
But here is where I get philosophical. 
If we wouldn't have had all that time talking....we wouldn't have brought up a lot of issues.
Sometimes it takes the heat of anger to say what you've been too polite to say.
So we let it all hang out.  And we walked the whole..."our relationship is doomed" road.
And I wanted to share that because maybe we come across a little too 'peachy' at times.
We fight, and our fights can get ugly, but in the end we really do get stronger for it.
And to keep it real, I'll tell you we wasted most of the NEXT morning still duking it out.
So much so that I fully regret our time in that hotel room.
We finally checked out at noon and yet we still had a 4pm flight to catch.
We spent our final hours in Seattle down at Pike's Market which was crowded with Memorial Weekend tourists.
We met this filet-guy:
and watched them throw the fish: 
But our happiest thought was when we looked up Molly Moon's for ice cream.
I would seriously fly back to Seattle just.for.a.scoop of their homemade Salted Caramel! 
It took us over half an hour doing circles around city all their one-way madness, but it was worth EVERY lick! 
To summarize:
 our whole mood in Seattle was somber.  The crowd at the Market was overwhelming.  Our lunch was overpriced.  Our time was limited.  And we both felt like fools.
Poor Seattle deserves a do-over. 
But I guess the best part was recognizing that Jarrod and I are still in this together.
Even if we didn't sit next to each other on our flight home.
Even if every second of our weekend wasn't spent oggling each other with stars in our eyes.
It's good to know we haven't got it all figured out.
Even after 11 years we can fail together.  
The two things I am sure of.....
Jarrod loves God more than anything.
He loves me.
And with those things in mind I don't have to dwell on the negative.  
Here's to making more memories together!
My dear husband of 11 compliment me in all my human ways, 
and in so blow all of my expectations out of the water.
Thank you for putting up with me.
Tomorrow we wake up for our next adventure. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The anniversary getaway Part I

My husband travels. A lot.
And last weekend we decided to take advantage of his frequent flyer miles.
Executing that getaway proved to be much more emotional than I had bargained for.
First off, in the weeks leading up to our vacation, we decided to write a Living Will.  This was the first time both of us had been away...just the two of us and on a plane no less.  We wanted to make sure everything was 'in order' in case there was a catastrophe. 
Well if you know me, then you know I went all 'worst-case-scenario' and wrote "Read this if I'm Gone" letters to each of the kids.  I KNOW, I'm a big ol ball of drama!
As you can imagine, those letters had me in tears all week.  
I mean really.....what would YOU say to your loved ones if you knew you were no longer going to see them?  It's a heavy task, not for the faint of heart!

So when I was finally sitting alone in the airport, having dropped off the kids, and ready to board a plane to meet Jarrod....I STILL couldn't shake the emotions.
I point all of this out, just to frame the bittersweet moments of our actual reunion.
It was glorious, and blissful, and just a tad melancholy all at once.
But I am smart enough to know that this was a good thing. ;)  We needed time away.
And that perspective was a gift.
It was a reminder to treasure every second we DO have together, as well as ALL the time I have with our kids.  (however exhausting/disorganized/mindnumbingly busy that time may be!)

I am a full, FULL time momma, and I needed to remember that I'm also a FULL time Lover.
(am I the only one singing Stevie Wonder right now?  Bah, I digress!)
So back to Oregon...
My hubby of ELEVEN wedded years booked us a spot at the Portland City Grill.  This hot spot is perched on the 30th floor of a building in the heart of the city. The view was amazing.  And the staff indulged us at every turn. We had one of those Loooong, drawn out, 5 course meals.  
They were expecting us, and they treated us like royalty!
And it's hard not to feel like we deserved this prize.  The whole getaway felt a bit overdue!  We had held off on taking a big trip in honor of our 10 year milestone.  Last year, it was difficult to plan anything around the time of Merrick's surgery.  And  as soon as he learned to walk again; we started househunting.
(But that's a story I'm sure you followed minute by minute ;)
Truly, though, a decade together is nothing to sneeze at.
We're finally beginning to feel 'seasoned' at this relationship stuff.
But this weekend away would test that 'seasoning.'
Even fireworks over dinner, and fancy hotels can't sugarcoat relationship issues.
I'll get more into that in our next post....and for now I'll highlight our happiest leg of the trip.
 After dinner we made our way to Portland's downtown Marriot.  
The ambiance was gorgeous....and in the morning I found the view from our window SO charming:
All in all, it was fun to hang out with my sweetheart.
He makes me laugh like no other.
And he enjoys picking my brain to find the quirky for me...
You they say....Two heads (or four or six?) are better than one:
For instance, he was very excited about finding this gem of a breakfast spot.
A walk up window where we ordered THE yummiest Waffle fare!
He's happier about his research than it looks here.....
He had this caramel banana concoction to look forward to:
I opted for a savory dish.  Prepare yourself folks;
this beauty consisted of a crispy, sweet waffle topped with jalapenos, perfectly cooked bacon, guacamole, and cheese.  It. was. UNIQUE. And quite perfect!
An absolute treat for my tummy.
And the fact that our food was served up on grandmas old eclectic china and eaten at a bistro table on a street corner in was completely, beautifully memorable!

We spent the rest of our time, in Portland, at two Powell's Bookstores.  One hundred and fifty dollars later, we owned the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (his thrilling surprise for our kids) and had a half year's worth of hard-to-find books for school!
After lunch we jumped in the company Rent-a-car and headed up to Seattle.  The two hour drive was peaceful until the end.  But like I said, that will have to be outlined in another post.
Goodbye Portland, and hello conflict.