Girls’ Tripping

25 Sep

I went on my sixth annual girls’ trip this weekend. It was everything it should be– full of fun, food, drinks, shopping, laughter, and more. Each year, we pick a different city and then three of my college friends and I converge there. We’ve hit some fun spots:

2016 – Portland

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2015 – Las Vegas

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2014 – San Francisco

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2013 – Oxnard/Santa Barbara

Apparently we didn’t take a group picture this year?!?

2012 – Palm Springs

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2011 – Chicago

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Where will 2017 take us? We’ve talked about Scottsdale, Lake Tahoe, Cabo San Lucas, Seattle, and Denver. All I know is, the last weekend of September 2017, I’ll be hanging with my friends and celebrating our seventh annual trip!

Checking in on 40 Before 40

18 Sep

I turned 37 last week, so it seems as good a time as any to report on my “40 Before 40” list progress.

Granted, I still only have 37 items on my list… I have to think of a few more “to dos,” and they need to be ones I can do in the next few years!

I’ve done (or can no longer do, as in the case of seeing Prince in concert) 11 of the 37 items. That means I have quite a lot to do still! Better get busy!

Chef Michaela

18 Sep

At a previous visit to The Melting Pot (fondue restaurant), I got on their “Club Fondue” list and started getting emails about different events and deals they have at our local restaurant. Michaela and I, and some of her friends from Girl Scouts and their moms, went to a special storytime event a few months ago that was really awesome, so when I saw a note about a kids’ cooking class, I was in. I asked my friend Ruch if she and her daughters wanted to go and it was on.

We showed up at the restaurant a couple of minutes early and were treated to drinks. The kids all got Melting Pot aprons and chefs hats and then were herded into the kitchen to wash their hands and prep items for the first part of the day… chocolate fondue! While Ruch and I sipped our drinks, our three girls piled plates with pineapple, strawberries, banana chunks, pound cake wedges, brownie bites, chocolate- and graham cracker-covered marshmallows, and more. They came back to the table and we all gorged ourselves on the yummy treats. Then it was time for the girls to start the lesson part of the day. They went into a special room and made all these adorable things out of dessert items… while Ruch and I continued to chat and sip our drinks.

The kids learned to make chocolate-covered cherry mice with almond slice ears…

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And tuxedo strawberries, and fancy garnished marshmallows.

 

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We got to take all the treats home, plus the apron and hats, melting chocolates, and special color-changing cups. We also each got a coupon for a free dessert fondue course on our next visit, and they said if we come back – anytime in the future – with the kids in their Melting Pot aprons, the kids will get to go into the kitchen to “help.”

All that for only $20 per kid and $15 per adult. It was awesome! We all enjoyed it, as this picture shows.

 

 

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Happy birthday to me!

15 Sep

Yesterday was my birthday… I’m officially 37 years old.

Mike had to leave at the crack of dawn so was gone when I got up.

I woke to snuggles from Michaela and an urgent request that I go out to the dining room for a surprise. When I got there, there were a couple of wrapped presents and a card. Michaela was excited about the card, which was the same one she got me last year (“I knew you liked it last year, so I got it for you this year, too!”). The gifts were a necklace (“I picked it out for you myself because I know your favorite color is blue!”) and the board game Mancala (“I learned how to play at [my after school program] and it’s really fun! We can play together!”). It was great.

I headed to work and was surprised to find that my team had gone all out. They put up a happy birthday banner and decorated my office; made beautiful, gorgeous cupcakes; decorated our office mascot; got me flowers and a card and my favorite drink from Starbucks. They made me feel very loved! I try to be a good supervisor and mentor, and things like that make me feel like maybe I’m not doing such an awful job at it.

I had to leave work early to pick up Michaela from school. She went to my parents’ while I ran some errands before Mike and I met for dinner. We had a light, leisurely meal and then headed to a Rob Thomas and Counting Crows concert.

It was a beautiful night to be at an outdoor venue for a concert. The bands sounded great and played a lot of favorites.

Not a bad way to start a new year!

Writing Assignment

11 Sep

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I can write my name. My age is 6. My favorite crayon is purple. I love my mom and dad. I love doing art. I love [not sure what this says. Mike couldn’t make it out, and Michaela couldn’t, either, when I asked her after back-to-school night]. I love Rey Dog.

First Grade

31 Aug

Michaela started first grade earlier this week. First grade!

She liked kindergarten, but didn’t seem to LOVE it. I always adored school (and would be very upset when I couldn’t go), so it was a bit strange for me. I wasn’t sure, then, what to expect as far as her reaction to first grade would be.

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We bought new clothes and shoes and set out for the two-block walk to school on Monday morning. When it was time to leave her at school, Michaela teared up. She said she wasn’t scared, but she didn’t want us to go. Of course we did go, and she was off to her new classroom. six or so hours later, Mike and I picked her up and she was in great spirits. She likes her teacher, they made a bookmark, she plays on the big playground now, she sits at Table 1, etc. Michaela gave us a full rundown and it was all good.

Yesterday, the second day of school, Mike dropped her off and picked her up solo. I talked to her after school and she was chipper and positive. We went out to dinner and on the way home, she filled me in on the routine. “In the morning, we do independent reading while Mrs. Evins takes care of classroom chores.” “After lunch, we read Mrs. Evins read us a book called ‘Woof’ about a farm for independent animals. INDEPENDENT ANIMALS! It’s like a tongue twister!”

And today? Outside of some crabbing about still being sleepy, Michaela was pumped to go to school.

I don’t know what it is that’s clicked for her, but I’m so glad it did. I think it’s going to be a good year!

Wrapping Up Summer

23 Aug

I can’t say enough how much I have LOVED Michaela’s summer vacation!

Not having to wake up at 6 a.m. each day to make her breakfast and lunch and to get her ready for school?

Not having to come home and deal with homework?

Not having to coordinate appointments and events around her schedule, Mike’s schedule, and my schedule?

Priceless.

We do a good job of taking lots of trips, so it’s not (just) that I’ve enjoyed being able to travel this summer. I have, though– Michaela and I went to New Mexico, the three of us went to Chicago and Wisconsin for a family reunion, and Michaela flew to Colorado to spend more than a week with her Nana and Papa. That’s on top of other fun summer things like zoo camp, the symphony, playdates with friends, and more.

Maybe because summer has been so, so nice, I felt like we should do something special to say goodbye to what’s been a lovely nine weeks. That’s how last week ended up being an epic “goodbye to summer” week!

Wednesday: Michaela and I went to the Living Coast Discovery Center, where we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and got to feed the turtles.

Thursday: Michaela and her friend A went to a trampoline place, had Sonic for lunch, and then celebrated A’s birthday with dinner and playtime at Corvette Diner.

Friday: Mike, Michaela and I went to Disneyland! We rode more than 25 rides between Disneyland and California’ Adventure in about eight hours. It was fantastic! That night, we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort, so Friday night, we squeezed in some water slides and lazy river time.

Saturday: The three of us spent all day at the waterpark, having a blast!

Sunday: I’m old and had to recover.

This week, Michaela is doing her second week of zoo camp. That ends Friday; I’ll be in Sacramento on Saturday and Sunday, but will be back in time to make her lunch for her first day of first grade on Monday, Aug. 29.

Goodbye, summer!

Gray Hairs

13 Aug

I got my hair done yesterday. Straightening treatment and a hair cut. It looks great.

I came home and Michaela looked at it intently. She said she liked it… Then she announced, “I see a gray hair, Mommy!”

I pounced, ready to give her a hard time about being the reason for my gray hairs.

“Do you know WHY I have gray hairs, Michaela?”

“Yes, Mommy. Because you’re OLD!”

What have I gotten myself into?!?

Maxin’ and Relaxin’

7 Aug

With Michaela being out of town, I find myself with fewer responsibilities and ample free time. I am definitely making the most of it, too.

Yesterday, I didn’t get out of bed until 9:30 a.m. I spent the whole day in my PJs, watching the Olympics. Woke up, had breakfast, watched sports. Had lunch, watched sports, took a nap. You know, because I was tried from all the lounging around and watching TV. Woke up from nap, watched sports. Got ready for and went to my high school reunion. Got home around 2:30 a.m. and went to bed.

Woke up this morning around 9 a.m.. Had breakfast, read the newspaper, watched the Olympics. It’s now 12:30 p.m. and, well, I’m in my PJs watching the Olympics. Later today, I’m going to see “Bad Moms” with friends and then I’ll come home and watch some more Olympics.

And while there are lots of things I could be doing – like yard work or finishing our taxes (which we still haven’t filed for 2015) or cleaning out the closet in our guest bedroom – I’m choosing to do nothing.

I NEVER have weekends like this, and it’s so, so nice. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed.

20-Year Reunion

7 Aug

Last night was my 20-year high school reunion. Attending it was on my “40 before 40″ list, so of course I went– and it was actually fun!

I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I didn’t enjoy the 10-year, but on the other hand, we’re older now…and many of us are connected on Facebook. So there’s a sense that you know some people, or at least some things happening in the lives of some people. I just didn’t know if that would make getting together in person easier, harder, weirder, or none of the above. And honestly, I’m still not sure.

That being said, one of my best friends from high school and I went together. Kevin picked me up, just like when we were in high school (when he drove and had a car and I didn’t), and we had a drink before the reunion. We talked about who we were looking forward to seeing, who wasn’t on the guest list, compared notes on who we keep up with. Then we headed into the venue and started to mingle.

The presence of cocktails helped take the edge off, as did seeing some old friends and caching up in more detail. There were some people who seemed excited to see me, who I wasn’t expecting to be excited, and that was nice. And of course there were people who didn’t say anything to me and who I didn’t say anything to. I guess some things never change.

We ended up staying until the very end, when the venue kicked us out. A group of very disparate people went out for 1 a.m. Mexican food– always the sign of a good time!

Kevin said after, it was a lot more “social” than he was expecting. That sums it up pretty well. I knew people would be there and we’d see people, but it was more convivial and friendly than I would have predicted. It makes me look forward to (gulp!) the 30-year reunion!