Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today, Thanksgiving, is a day that we are asked to take stock of our blessings. To look at the positive. To be grateful. And today, I am. Not just because it is Thanksgiving, but because I am everyday. 

Everyday I revel in the fact that I am so lucky to have an amazing family: parents, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, mother and father in-law, brother and sister in-law (and their whole brood). I love each and everyone of them for the fun, quirky, interesting people that they are. I love that when we get together, we talk and laugh and have thought provoking conversation. And that everyone loves and supports each other. And that each member of the family is a wonderful complement to next.

Everyday I revel in the fact that my husband is the one true love of my life. My best friend. My confidant. My rock.  

And that my friends (you all know who you are) are beyond fabulous. I don't know what I would do without you gals. I love you all more than you know.

And, of course, everyday I revel in the pure existence of my son. Not an hour goes by that I don't think about how lucky I was to be able to conceive him. Not one moment passes that I don't realize how blessed I am to have him in my life.

Today Dashell learned the word "happy". (Actually, not just the word but also the abstract concept.) This is Dash showing off his happy face...

And you know what? I think that sums it up.

Today, I am not just thankful. Today, I am truly... 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yep, We Did It.... Again!

Just before Hallween (ok, ok I KNOW I've been really, really bad about keeping up lately), we went on another cross country trip with Dash. This time to Chicago. It was magical to see a true fall again. In California, we get a kind-of fall. Some leaves change color. Not all, but some. In fact, this year, despite the drought a few of the trees have had some of the most vibrant, beautiful red leaves I've seen out here in a long time. But, it's still not a "real" fall, like the one's I remember from my childhood, where dazzling red, yellow and oranges leaves glinted and danced in the sunlight as far as the eye could see. The landscape became a sea of warm hues. The air was sweet and crisp. And, although your nose might be cold, the sparkling sun would warm your face and hands.

Unfortunately it rained the weekend we were in Chicago, but it was still beautiful. The leaves had just reached their peak colors and Dash was entranced.

As we pulled down my parents driveway, Dash kept signing "Flowers! Flowers!", pointing and going, "Dare! Dare!" Where he was pointing, mind you, was to the trees. He had never seen so many brightly colored leaves before and he thought that the tree were covered in flowers!

One day the rain stopped long enough for us to take a walk through one of the local parks. Dash claimed a stick (the boy is still obscessed with sticks!) and set off.

Eventually we hit a fork in the road, to left was the long way and to the right the short. Which way did our nature boy choose? The long way, of course! And, much to everyone's surprise, he completed the whole loop, which was about a mile. Have stick, will walk!! Me thinks we might have a wee hiker/wanderer on our hands.


Can you believe that after hiking for a mile that boy still had energy to burn??! Well, he did. So thank goodness that there were some beautiful grass capped rolling hills by the parking lot. Absolutely perfect for running up and down!

Dash had a blast!! And afterward (when he had a containable level of energy), we were able to snap this fun picture of the three generations of menfolk...

I think Dash is pointing to the next mountain he'd like to conquer. (Either that or he's saying, "All hail my mighty stick!" I'm not sure which.)

I'm sure you are wondering, why we were in Chicago... for wedding, of course! My parents live outside of Chicago, so it worked out perfectly for us to arrive a couple days early and visit with them and with my Grandmother, who was also able to come in a few days ahead of time. For me this visit was extremely special. I miss my Grandmother very much. We only get to see her every other Christmas and even then it is mixed in with hustle and bustle of the holidays. It was so nice to be able spend a couple relaxing days with her. She and Dashell hit it off. And she was instantly a member of the "Nana Club"! (At the moment Dashy calls all of his grandparents "Nana". We have decided that the word must mean "beloved old person" in his own personal language.)

Soon Dash was running around, jumping and turning somersaults in a desparate attempt to impress all present members of the club. (He obviously didn't realize that this was completely unnecessary, as they were already quite smitten!)

And then, it was time to head off to the wedding. Although I was sad to see have our special time draw to close, it was wonderful to be able to attend my cousin Ben's wedding.

It was beautiful. The bride and groom both beamed with love and joy.  And it was fantastic to get to see almost all my cousins! (We missed you Sarah, Jeremy, Emily and Jacob.) We usually are only able to see each other every other year at Christmas, so this was very special. My cousin Jessica organized this picture and I'm sooooo glad that she did. Here's almost the whole gang...

The next day, we flew home. Our bodies exhausted...

...but our hearts full of beautiful joyous memories.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Handmade(ish) Halloween

My mother has a wonderful artistic streak and consequently my childhood is sprinkled with the memories of making party invitations, Christmas tree decorations, miscellaneous gifts and, of course, Halloween costumes. I don't ever remember having a "store bought" costume. For that matter, I don't ever remember wanting one either. Maybe they weren't as prevalent as they are now (or maybe I just led a very sheltered life.) But whatever the reason, for me Halloween costumes were things that you (or your mother) sewed,  glued, cut and pasted together. They definitely didn't come in a bag with a picture of a cute smiling kid on the front.

One year I went as Heidi...

One year I was Minnie Mouse...

And another I was....
(wait for it)
...a bottle of Hunts ketchup.

Go ahead take a minute (or two or five) to laugh, I'll wait. (And, yes, it took me a while to grow into those teeth.)

Sooooo, um, where was I going... oh, yeah. Well, chalk up another reason to feel a pang of guilt where my child is concerned. I just haven't had the time in the last two years to yank out the ol' sewing machine and whip up a costume or two for young Dash. As you may recall, last year he was a lion...

Adorable, yes. But made by mama, hell no. Not even the alterations.

And this year? Well, let's just say I did a little bit better. I did a bit of uh "handmade" ordering on the ol' internets, took the antennas off of one costume, sewed them onto a store bought hat and viola! Killer bee!!

Oh yeah, and I ordered up a little somethin' special for Dave as well...

I have to admit they both turned out cute enough to ease my anxiety a bit. And to help keep it in check, I made sure that we (hand) carved at least one pumpkin. Of course, first we had to find the perfect one.

This is Dash guarding all the potential prospects, so that no one else grabs them...

But once we found the perfect one, Dash had a blast trying to spoon out the guts. Although he did periodically become distressed when the pumpkin seeds got stuck to the bottoms of his bare feet. (Welcome to Halloween in Cali where you carve your pumpkin barefoot, in shorts, and you stress about whether your child will become overheated in their costume as the temperature rises to 90. And to think, in my mid-western days, we'd stress about how turtlenecks, long johns and coats would ruin our costumes!)

Here's a little video of our carving extravaganza...

Finally, Halloween night came along. Dash and Dave ran around the neighborhood (in costume) for a while waiting for it to get dark. And then, we took Dash to our neighbor's, Sandy and Tom's, house for a little (very little) trick or treating.

Afterward, the boys were so tuckered out (from walking all the way next door)...

...that they had to lay down and rest on the front lawn.

This is Dash pretending to sleep...

And this is him pretending to fly...

(A little like Peter Pan, don't ya think??)

All and all it was a pretty spook-tacular Halloween!

 I hope yours was scary good too!!