Disney on Ice

21 Jan

Mike and I took Michaela to the opening night of “Disney on Ice presents Let’s Celebrate.” It was Michaela’s first time seeing a Disney on Ice show and my first time since second grade. (How cool is it that 30-ish years later, I took my daughter to the same place I saw my first ice show?) Since we’ve been taking ice skating lessons, I thought it might mean something more to her than if we’d gone to see it before… plus Michaela’s love of all things Disney just keeps growing.

She picked out a special outfit this morning before school, declaring she wanted to change into it before going to the show: an Elsa shirt and pants, a “Let It Go” sweatshirt, and Anna socks. She was so excited I couldn’t even get her to sit still for a picture!

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When the lights went down, Michaela squirmed in her seat. And when two dozen characters – princesses, Mickey, Minnie, Alice in Wonderland and many, many more – streamed out onto the ice, Michaela’s eyes were the size of saucers. She was so excited! And I was so excited to see her excitement!

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Here’s how Disney on Ice describes the show:

It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends at Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! Presented by YoKids Organic Yogurt. Join Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with your favorite Disney Princesses, including Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Tiana; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivities from around the globe. Come join the celebration you’ve been waiting for when Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! skates into your hometown!

The villains scared Michaela so she snuggled up with dad. But during the Unbirthday Party segment, she was literally bouncing in her seat.

We ended up having to leave early because it’s a school night, but since tickets are still available, we may go back to a matinee showing to see the second half. San Diego friends, I highly recommend the Disney on Ice experience!

Fun in the Sun

21 Jan

Last week I had to go out of town for a work conference and Mike was had a series of very early morning shoots. We’re fortunate that his mom and stepdad were able to come and visit to help with Michaela, spend time with us, and get out of a cold Colorado winter. And what a great time we had! Nana and Papa spoiled Michaela like nobody’s business.

Here are a few pictures from the time they were here.

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We love you, Nana and Papa!

Mediterranean-Inspired Tostadas

10 Jan

I am a recipe follower. If I’m going to cook, it’s because I saw a recipe somewhere that looked really good and wanted to try it, not because I thought, “let’s see what I can throw together that would be delicious.” In fact, Mike makes fun of me (but in a nice way) about it; that’s how much of a recipe follower I am.

Tonight, though, I decided I would make dinner using food we had at home. Maybe it’s the new year, maybe it’s the fact that I cleaned out the pantry during the holiday break, but I feel like we should be eating down our food stockpile. We had tortillas and cooked quinoa (left over from this), plus some veggies and a jar of Kalamata olives, so I thought I’d do a Mediterranean-inspired tostada.

I warmed the whole wheat tortillas in the oven for 3 minutes at 350. Then I topped two of them with roasted red pepper hummus and one with Greek yogurt (Michaela thinks the hummus is spicy and therefore won’t eat it). I topped that with some spinach leaves, then quinoa, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes and red onion, some chickpeas (drained and rinsed, from a can) and a handful of sunflower seeds. On Mike’s and Michaela’s, I added some sliced olives. Then I sprinkled on some shredded cheese (feta would have been amazing, but the point was to eat what we already had) and baked for 10 minutes. I added a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and voila, dinner!

They ended up being delicious! Light but filling and actually pretty healthy, all things considered.

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No recipe required!

Happy New Year!

1 Jan

2015? Crazy!

Mike, Michaela and I started off Dec. 31 with breakfast at a well-regarded restaurant in our neighborhood. A pancake, some bacon and eggs for Michaela; a pesto scramble with home fries and sourdough toast for Mike; a machaca scramble with beans and tortillas for me. Great way to say “adios” to 2014!

After breakfast, we hung out at home before taking Michaela to a friend’s house for a new year’s eve sleepover! She and her friend had a pillow fight, shared a bath, ate snacks, and rang in the new year at 8:45. They had a blast! Meanwhile, Rey went to our neighbors’ and we got gussied up for a night on the town.

Mike’s friend started an event production company and their second event was a NYE event in Corona headlined by Smash Mouth. You know, the band from the mid-90s that did “All Star” and “Walkin’ on the Sun.” I wasn’t that excited — going out on NYE isn’t my favorite thing, Corona isn’t exactly a hot spot, and it’s not like Smash Mouth is hot today. But we went and ended up having a really nice night!

We were VIP, so we had seats that were close to the stage but not too close.

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(I know, I’m old! It reminded me of the “How I Met Your Mother” when the gang goes out with Barney’s brother and all the people who’re part of a couple immediately flock to the few seats in the club.)

The drinks were large — Mike’s beer came in a quart-sized Mason jar– and they had Malibu, so I was happy.


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We looked cute.

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I was especially happy because I wore a dress I haven’t been able to fit into for four years.


There was champagne at midnight and we all counted down with Smash Mouth.

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And, being old, we decided to leave at about 12:30 a.m.. We headed to a hotel and crashed. The next morning, we saw the lead singer of Smash Mouth in the hotel lobby before making our way to In-N-Out for some fuel for the drive home.

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Can’t complain about that– I hope all of 2015 is this good!


Thank You

25 Dec

We had a great Christmas today. Michaela woke up not too early then ran out to the living room to see what Santa brought her. An Olaf doll, a giant (as tall as she is) dollhouse, a Hello Kitty sleeping bag and pillow, a marble tower, plus tons of wrapped presents from her family. She got several dolls to go with the dollhouse, games, books, plenty of “Frozen” stuff, art supplies, clothes, and more.

Several hours later, Michaela asked me how to spell “thank.” A little after that, she asked me in the sweetest voice if I would please help her by opening a letter she made for me. When I opened it, it was a card that said “Thank Mom” on it and had a smiling person. I asked her, “thank you for what?” and in return, she gave me a big snuggle and said “for a great Christmas morning.”

Cute, polite and all mine. I love her so much!

Christmas Eve Tradition

24 Dec

Growing up, my family always spent Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. Sometimes my grandma would come over, sometimes she wouldn’t, but my aunt Jerry was a constant. I adored her and Christmases with her and my parents and brother are some of my most fond childhood memories. We’d watch the Lakers play, open presents, and, starting around my tween years, order pizza and rent (non-Christmas) movies. One year we watched “Pulp Fiction!”

Jerry died 14 years ago and I still miss her terribly. It helps, though, that each year we’re home (when we don’t have guests), Mike, Michaela and I spend Christmas Eve making pizza and watching Christmas movies. It’s slightly different than my childhood, but making it our own is part of the charm.

Whatever you’re doing tonight, here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Hospital Food

10 Dec

Way back when — five years ago — Mike and I wrote the story of how Michaela came to be born. She wasn’t due until January, but my doctor decided to induce on Dec. 10. It had been a long, crazy morning and Mike and I found ourselves at the hospital not having eaten anything, knowing we were in for a long haul (although I don’t think either one of us thought it would take as long as it did; we ended up being in the hospital for nearly a week). We were able to run to the hospital cafeteria for lunch before I was admitted… which is why Michaela and I had lunch there today!

Mike’s and my lunch in 2009:

last meal

Today’s lunch. Mine and Michaela’s:

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The end result of that fateful day. Michaela, not wanting to have her picture taken, at lunch:

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Best five years ever.



Disneyland Day

10 Dec

Disneyland is so beautiful at the holidays. That’s why I was excited to be able to take a ay off to head up there with Michaela, just a few days before her fifth birthday. d

Mike was going to go with us but ended up having to travel to San Francisco for work, so it ended up that just Michaela and I went. She and Mike used to go (just the two of them) all the time because they had annual passes, but I’d never taken her alone. My goal, therefore, was to make it a great Mom-Michaela trip where we could do things she and Mike didn’t typically do.

And that’s exactly what we did! We stood in line to meet characters after I bought Michaela an autograph book. Merida, Snow White, Cinderella, Mickey and Minnie, Pooh, Eyore, Tigger, Woody… We met ‘em all (and have the autographs to prove it). We watched a Disney Junior show at California Adventure that featured Sophia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang. We paid an outrageous amount for a dinner at Ariel’s Grotto that came with fastpass tickets for World of Color. It was great.

The trip exceeded my highest expectations. I walked almost 23,000 steps according to my Fitbit, meaning Michaela walked at least twice that. In spite of that, she didn’t complain AT ALL about her feet being tired. She didn’t complain AT ALL about standing in line for rides or meet and greets. She didn’t complain AT ALL about not buying a ton of merchandise. We were there from about 11 a.m. until Disneyland closed at 10 p.m., plus almost 40 minutes of waiting for a tram and traveling back to our car. There was NO COMPLAINING THE WHOLE DAY!

Not only that, but we had fun! I showed her the things I like to do, she showed me her favorites. We giggled together on the Teacups, held hands on Soarin’ Over California, and I took her on Astroblasters and she actually enjoyed it (normally it’s too loud for her). We sat outside at Arial’s Grotto and watched the nighttime lights while eating and chatted. She told every person who commented on her “Happy Birthday” button, “Technically, it’s not my birthday. My birthday is actually Friday.” It was a hoot.

If this is what 5 is going to be like, it’s going to be a very good year.

Best Surprise Ever

1 Dec

Mike and I decided to make a surprise last-minute trip to Denver for Thanksgiving, to spend the holiday with his family. Mike’s stepdad knew, but we kept it a secret from his mom.

We left Tuesday night before Thanksgiving and arrived in Denver on Wednesday night, driving the vast majority of that time. Michaela did great, by the way, and we had a really nice time. Utah has some beautiful parts, and the Rockies are gorgeous at this time of year. Even from the passenger seat of a moving car!

It was dark when we got to Denver. We had Michaela ring the doorbell and, since Mike’s stepdad knew we were coming, he had Laura open the door. This was the result.

As I posted on Facebook, it was the #BestSurpriseEver.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. We were able to spend lots of time with Mike’s mom and stepdad, plus his grandma and great aunt, both of whom are dealing with some health challenges. We left on Saturday afternoon, which was pretty quick, but somehow it seemed like the perfect amount of time.

After a night in St. George, Utah, we drove to Vegas. Michaela got to experience the pinball museum and wandering around downtown Las Vegas and the strip a bit (her favorite? the M&M store!). We stayed Sunday night in Vegas, in an awesome suite at the Wynn.

Then it was back in the car and back on the road. For us, Thanksgiving lasted six days. Considering how much we have to be thankful for, that’s about right.

Lost and Found

15 Nov

Michaela and I went to Target today. It’s a huge three story building at a mall. Not our usual Target, but it was on the way home. I needed to return something and wanted to look at their clothes, to see if I could find something cute for the family pictures we’re having taken on Tuesday. We each tried some things on, but one of the shirts I liked for Michaela was too big so we headed off to find a smaller size. I didn’t make her hold my hand, because she doesn’t usually stray and because she’s getting older and I want her to be independent. Well, today that went awry.

I was searching for the shirt when I noticed I couldn’t see Michaela. She often likes to hide among the racks of clothes, so I assumed that’s what she was doing. I called her; no answer. I looked around and didn’t see her. I made a wider circle in the girls’ section. No sight of her. I called her again, a little more urgently, a little more loudly. No Michaela. I knew then that she was lost.

When we went into the Target, we passed a play area on the second floor of the mall that Michaela really wanted to go to. So when Michaela went missing, I had a moment of panic. What if she’d tried to make her way to the play area?!? I knew the chances of that were slim because really, she isn’t a wanderer. I made a last-ditch attempt: went to the infant/toddler clothes section, because we’d also looked at some clothes there. I thought maybe she got lost and tried to find me there. But no. Michaela wasn’t there, either.

I was heading to find a Target worker to make an announcement over the loudspeaker when I saw two women (customers) and a Target employee. They saw me, too, and asked, “Are you Music?” I said yes and one of them said, “We found someone who is looking for you.” And it was Michaela, who was tearful. She ran into my arms and I gave her a big hug.

Michaela said she’d gone to look at something and then realized she was lost. I asked her what she did, if she did what we’d talked about, and she said yes. “I found a grownup and asked for help.” Good girl! I am not happy she wandered, but am so glad she knew what to do.

Michaela was mortified by the whole thing. She asked me to keep it a secret just between us, told me I can’t tell her dad. When I asked her why, she hedged. Finally she said, “I think he’ll be concerned.” She wouldn’t tell me concerned about what, or what that means to her. I tried to get her to tell me more (what she went to look for, how she felt when she was lost, how she is feeling now), but she’d have none of it. She told me, “I don’t want to talk about it, Mommy” and that was that.

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