Thursday, September 29, 2011

viva las vegas

4 days

18 people

it is about to get real

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ready to go


Nothing says classy better than posing my new swimsuit on the stairs for the photo op and using a stock photo of my new jeans.


Clothes piled, waiting to be packed into the backpack on Wednesday night.
Yes, all those shoes are going with me.

Everything is done.  Except for one thing. 

Getting rid of this terrible head cold. 

Cuz I really don't want to bring it to the party!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Review - Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

Book Review - Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

I enjoyed it.  It is based in the PNW which made it a fun read because I could picture the locations. 
The main character is a weathly woman, happily married with three little girls who discovers her inner resilence when faced with financial crisis.  When I say wealthy, I mean WEALTHY.  It was humorous to read about income levels that I have never, or will ever, experience in my lifetime. 
I just don't know rich people!!

This book was an easy read.  The type of book that is easy to blow through and requires little thinking.   Yet, there was a deeper message if you choose to find it.  I really like books that make me think so I was surprised when I found myself asking myself questions like:

Do I know the details of our current financial status?  YES
Do I know the details of our future financial status?  YES
Do I have the skills necessary to keep our family afloat if we did face financial crisis?  YES

In my opinion, every woman should ask themselves these questions and be able to say yes. 

I'd say this is a good vacation read or simple weekend read. 
I liked it.

My Brother

My brother is six years younger than me.  He is the youngest of three and has always had two sisters  mothering hovering over him. 

What a good looking crew.

He is the peacekeeper of the family.  And a whole lot of fun.
We stayed awake the entire 36 hours we were in Vegas one time.
Yea, we're rock stars.

My brother is an incredible uncle to his nieces and nephew.

 And, in a few months, he and my sister-in-law Lissa are going to become incredible parents of their own little BOY!


Over the years, my brother has transformed from high school actor to college actor/director.  After Lissa and Patrick married, they moved to Florida.  Patrick has moved up the ranks from African Safari guide, Fear Factor host (Eric and I saw him in this role and almost pee'd our pants with laughter.  My brother is funny.) to currently residing as a fancy pants Universal Studio mucky-muck (Eric and I have not seen this role but we greatly anticipate the perks of free park tickets).

To make a long story short, my little brother is the director of Halloween Horror Night and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure at Universal Studio Orlando.  I'm not 100% sure of his title and I'm fairly certain I inaccurately described what he does but he'll forgive me for it.  He's nice like that.

He is a pretty big deal.

Last week, he sent this picture to us. 
This little gem is part of the set he is working on.  It is tucked away on a little newsstand that hardly anyone will notice. 
He may be 3000 miles away from us but he always has home in his heart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

countdown continues

The past two days of Vegas preparation included the return of my backpack and a tanning session.

And a shopping trip.

Thanks to dress #2 winning the battle for Saturday night's attire, I only have two other nights of clothing to figure out.  I figure Sunday night will be pretty laid back since we'll all be tired due to sun, booze and excessive birthday celebration.  I have a skirt and black top planned for that evening.  Or sweats if it comes to a night in the hotel room.

Friday night's attire has been bugging me a bit.  Hence, the need for my shopping trip. 
I found this shirt at Nordstrom Rack today.  The jeans and shoes were in my closet.  I figure I can glam it up even more with a chunky black bracelet and big earrings.

Yes or No for Friday night in Vegas?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

countdown to vegas - single digits style

Nine days to Vegas.

No workout or tanning session today due to a staff meeting.  I didn't do much of anything in preparation for Vegas, actually.  Well, I can't say that.  I did make arrangements for my co-worker to return my travel backpack so I can begin packing.  Are you a person who packs days in advance or are you a last minute packer?  We rarely check baggage so planning ahead is a necessity when one knows they have to pack everything in a carry on!

At this point, it appears sixteen of us are going to roll into town.  Dinner is planned for Mon Ami Gabi, a delicious French Bistro at Paris to celebrate the big milestone..  Check out their menu here...Mon Ami Gabi menu.  Doesn't it make your mouth water?  The bestest part is my sweet hubby shouldn't have any issues since they have a gluten-free menu. 

Thanks to everyone who sent a vote for a dress.  My favorite vote might have been from my friend Ann, who sent an email to my work today, with "Dress #2" written in the subject line. 

So funny. 
And dress #2 is in the lead.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the countdown begins

Vegas is in ten days.  If you are going with us, you are super excited.  If you aren't, curb your jealousy. I plan to spend the next 10 blogs telling you all about my prepping for the trip.  Will you care? I don't know. It just sounds like a fun way to spend my time blogging for the next few weeks.

Today, I worked out for the first time in almost a month.  The ladies at Curves were surprisingly enthusiastic to see my return to the gym.  Am I that witty and fun during a workout that my antics are enough to make someone I don't know well miss me?  I say yes. 

After the workout, I went tanning.  I didn't enjoy it.  It was a stand up bed.  Not a fan.  Which reminds me that there wasn't a fan in the room which is why I must have ended up so sweaty after 15 minutes.

I am stinking and sweaty.  And drinking a cocktail to prep my body for the onslaught of alcohol that will occur in Vegas.

In the meantime, I started packing this weekend.  I want a fun black dress for the birthday dinner on Saturday.  I have two options for dresses.  Anyone who knows me, knows I will pack both but I thought I'd get YOUR opinion.

Forgive the crappy lighting and phone pics.  And ignore the messy, messy bedroom.

Option #1:
Purchased at Ross for a whopping 18.99.  Had a toddler in tow who said Mommy looked pretty.  It was an obvious purchase after that compliment!

Option #2
Purchased about a million years ago for a cruise Eric and I went on in 2001.  I had completely forgotten I had the dress.  Eric and Alexander were reorganizing Alexander's closet and Eric came across it.  He reminded me of how much I loved this dress.  I did...and still do. 
 10 years later.

  So, now I need your input.
Which dress should travel to Vegas when I celebrate the big 4-0?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

roller coaster week

As predicted, last week was crazy busy.  It was one of those weeks where I didn't have time to reflect on an event because I had to pivot and face the next thing.  Meeting after meeting.  Back to School night. Endless stream of students in my office throughout the days.  Dad was in the hospital.  Friday night football tailgate, game and dance. 
I literally felt like I was on a roller coaster.

Whoa, Michelle, what's that you said? 

Dad was back in the hospital?  Yep.  Blood pressure was low on Tuesday for no apparent reason so the docs put him in the hospital overnight to be observed.  He is home now and feeling better. 
With this last trip to the hospital, Dad decided it was time to stop announcing the high school football games.  For the first time since I was in high school (almost 25 years), Dad's voice wasn't booming through the speakers.  It was weird.  Super weird.  Even one of my high school friends said it was like going to the first Mariner game without Dave Niehaus announcing.    

It is definitely the right decision, even if it hurts.  The entire community supports Dad and will miss him.  I was asked over and over again how my dad was doing, if there was anything they could do for him, and was told everyone is praying for his health.  I fully admit that I was an emotional mess but one thing was clear:  Liberty's got your back, Daddio.  No doubt about it.

Thankfully, the weekend has been much calmer than the past 7 days.  I think I've slept 26 hours since I walked in the door Friday night.  We've watched the final episodes of Glee: Season 2.  I've cleaned, done laundry and basically hunkered down at home.  

I think the roller coaster has leveled out.
For now.

Monday, September 12, 2011


There are two events in my life that have left me feeling haunted.

One:  Titanic (the movie)
Two:  9/11

Two completely different experiences but the same feeling comes over me when I think of either one.

I can't explain why I feel so haunted by Titanic but I swear to you, I had goosebumps through the entire movie, sobbed like a baby for most of the movie, and was left with a sense that I may have drowned on that ship in a former life.  I can see visions from that movie in my head right now as vividly as if I was watching it on TV.  That movie haunted me and I've never been able to watch Titanic again.    I have never been able to read a story about it or see a exhibit on it without feeling totally haunted by the story.   It's like nothing I have ever felt before.  Have you ever felt that way or am I totally crazy?  Not the drowning on the Titanic part but the part where you've felt like you have been in a situation before but it is impossible because it happened a long, long time ago. 

I also used to think the little old lady that owned our former home before us used to watch me work in the yard and then, on a day when all my rose bushes were in bloom, she disappeared. I'm not kidding.  The sense of her watching me simply wasn't there any more.   Imagine my surprise when I found out she died before we bought the home.  I know.  Weird.

9/11 is the other haunting event that left a lasting impression.   I wasn't going to post about it on the actual date because I often feel sick to my stomach and can't put together coherent thoughts.   I'm actually surprised I'm writing about it now...but not surprised that I feel haunted as I write the words.

Like everyone, I remember where I was on 9/11/2001.  I was teaching at a middle school.  Just as I pulled in to the school parking lot, the first plane hit the towers and the story was instantly all over the radio.  I sat, completely stunned and listened to the reports about the second plane.  I decided I would run into the building to watch the rest and hear the reports.  Only I had forgotten that it was a brand new school and most of our technology was still left undone.
  No cable.  No internet.  No radio reception. 
  The rest of the day was very surreal.  All I knew was this terrible tragedy had occurred, I had to teach school, coach a volleyball match, and I felt completely cut off from the rest of the world.  I called Kate and Eric when there were breaks between classes for the latest news but had after a few hours I couldn't take another report.
 It was 11PM before I finally SAW any footage. 

I totally freaked out and  I have never watched another minute of footage after that night.   The images I can recall are vivid and painful.  So much pain.  In 2006, Eric and I visited the Twin Towers memorial site in New York.  I just remember feeling silent inside, despite all construction noises going on around us, as we looked into a cement hole in the ground.  It was the eeriest feeling I have ever had.

I'll never watch Titanic again in my life.  I'll never watch footage of the towers again in my life.
Two completely different experiences that left lasting impressions on me.
For reasons I will never be able to explain.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Club

Last night, I hosted book club.  Or, as some call it, wine club.
Jennifer brought this one, which describes why so many of us look forward to this girl time.
Super funny, right?

After much discussion, we came to the consensus that very few of us enjoyed our last book.
Remember my super awesome review of it? 
We dissected the book for a bit, chose a new book (State of Wonder by Ann Patchett), chose another meeting date and THEN we got down to business.
Talking and laughing about girl stuff.
We talked kids.  Husbands.  College days.  And typical girl stuff.

It was a smaller group than normal.  It was a combination of my worlds colliding but that's to be expected.  I'm the one who sends out the invites, right?!   

It was a great night.  Followed by a great day of house projects.
Which you can read about on our other blog:  Us 3...Under 1 Roof.

This week is going to be a busy week.  I have meetings on two nights, Curriculum night and the first home football game. 
It's gonna be a long one!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

missing out

I try not to dwell too much on the guilt I feel from being a working mommy.

Most days I'm pretty successful at supressing the guilt.
But then are days when the guilt overwhelms me.
  Like today, for example.

Alexander had his first day of Pre-K!

And I missed it.

Logically, I know he was just fine without me.  All I would have done is ride shotgun in our carpool drive and held his hand as he walked to the front door. 

Emotionally, I'm so not fine with missing the day. 

I wasn't home to take pictures (which is why there are none for this post).  I wasn't home to watch the excitement build or help him pick out his first day of school clothes.  I wasn't home to listen to his first day of school chatter on the way to school.  And I wasn't home to listen to stories upon his return home from school.

Instead, I came home (late) to a sleeping toddler who, upon waking from his late nap, didn't want to tell me anything.  As in, "I want to have secrets, Mommy, and what I do at school is a secret".


Fortunately, this working mom spends her days prying secrets out of unruly teens so his four year old tricks are no match for a seasoned vet like me.  Fast forward a few hours and you'll find us sitting on the couch. He's wrapped in blankets and in between episodes of Dirty Jobs, I ask question after question about his day.  I'm not ready for pre-k secrets.  Alexander is tolerating me well enough but in his little 4 year old way, he's done with me.  And my questions.  But I'm winning.

Sometimes, I simply want to go back to the days before mommy guilt.

Can you blame me?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hanging out in Chelan

Oh, the fun we had on our ROAD TRIP to CHELAN!

Upon arrival (almost immediately), we jumped into the pool to cool down. 

This little guy couldn't get enough of jumping into that pool.

After a couple of hours in the pool, someone was REALLY hungry.
And tired.

 We wrapped up the first night by playing trains, solving puzzles on Mom's phone, and playing Go Fish with Karolyn.

Day 2 began with us in the pool by 9AM.
A massive meltdown may or may not have occured by 10AM.

Followed by a nap in the warm sun by 11AM.

And a phone call to Daddy, who made Alexander feel so much better.

So, we spent a few more hours by the pool, until naptime.

Not all our time was spent in the pool.
Alexander had a chance to explore a bit with John.

Upon his return, he and Karolyn headed to the lake steps. 
And that's when Alexander found this....
A log that became a boat.

When he had enough of the waves splashing him, we jumped back in the pool for a little more fun.
By 7PM, Alexander had put himself into pajamas and decided it was time to kick back and enjoy the view.
And then it was time for bed.

On our final morning, Alexander joined Umma and Karolyn on a canoe ride.

 It was a weekend of relaxing in the sunshine and the perfect way to wrap up the summer.

Thanks for the fun weekend, Umma, Karolyn and John.
Same time next year?