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Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

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Leaving L.A. for Another Planet

Today, thanks to the suggestion (and urging) of our son, we headed up to another world to hike at Vasquez Rocks. We’ve been there once before, 3 years ago.

This time, we left pretty early in the morning to beat the heat. We weren’t the first ones there.

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The sky is unreal

There were two photo shoots/ filming happening, so we headed in the other direction. At first, it seemed we were headed far from any cool rock formations.

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But there were a few…

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These rocks looked otherworldly to me – as if they really could be on a different planet than Earth. I suppose this is why it made for an excellent other planet in Star Trek.IMG_1564

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I love that they walk like this, still.

Even the flowers look alien.

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My older daughter needed to stop, because she felt “a rock” in her shoe… turns out it was an actual rusty nail. Thankfully, after a thorough inspection of her foot to make sure it didn’t break the skin, she was fine, and we were back on our way.IMG_1586

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Relaxin’

We went up and down and around and finally came back toward the rocks we remembered.

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The boy wanted to climb.IMG_1619

So they climbed. I was very content to stay down below.IMG_1624

Until I wasn’t.

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Once we were up top, we enjoyed the view, then headed down another side (the easier side!) and the kids found themselves some comfy little holes.

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I tried to find some Zen (with a little help).IMG_1655

They boy found his Zen as well.IMG_1660

Going down was much easier than getting up!

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We saw a couple (?) who were taking photos in their Trek outfits. (Yes, those are the same outfits my husband and I own, thankyouverymuch.)IMG_1670

Good-bye, Vasquez Rocks…. for now.IMG_1673

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We Boldly Went (to Star Trek Las Vegas)

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If you are a regular reader of my blog (or a friend, which honestly is probably one and the same), you know that our family became Trekkies about 2 years ago. I can admit that I have embraced it more than anyone in the family – except perhaps my husband, who was already a Trek fan.

I have stickers on my car.

For some reason the blue is the only color that hasn't faded.

For some reason the blue is the only color that hasn’t faded.

I have several t-shirts. I listen to podcasts. I have an Enterprise coffee mug. I designed my own Tricorder Purse, and of course I have my own Trek dress.

So, at the last minute, we decided to head to Vegas and go to the convention. (Next year is the 50th and I’m thinking we should just go and make plans early and stay more days and get better deals on hotel rooms, etc.)

We drove up on Thursday and bought tickets for Friday. So, when we got to Vegas, we had lunch, dropped off the husband, who had to work, and headed to the strip.

The Galaxy mix got me in the mood for some Trek.

The Galaxy mix got me in the mood for some Trek.

**I will most likely post separately about Las Vegas itself. I’ll try to keep to the convention on this post**

We also tried several international sodas at the Coke store, and took a dip in the pool before dinner.

The next morning we got ready for the convention.

The first face to greet us was Kirk, appropriately.

The first face to greet us was Kirk, appropriately.

It wasn't quite as nuts as Wonder or Comic Con, but it was busy!

It wasn’t quite as nuts as Wonder or Comic Con, but it was busy!

There were some great free photo ops!

My children, captured by the Borg

My children, captured by the Borg

Spock and Kirk and the Guardian of Forever

Spock and Kirk and the Guardian of Forever

You could beam up (or down)

You could beam up (or down)

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Take your picture with Tribbles

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Sadly we didn't get to go ON the bridge this time.

Sadly we didn’t get to go ON the bridge this time.

There were auction items, including costumes from the various shows and movies.

 My son with Wesley Crusher's costume.

My son with Wesley Crusher’s costume.

Some of Spock's costumes

Some of Spock’s costumes

Khaaaaaaaan!

Khaaaaaaaan!

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The boy having a drink at Quark’s.

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The kids helped activate a warp core… or a replica of a warp core.

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We saw some celebrities. I was able to sneak some snaps of a few:

Joan Collins, aka Edith Keeler

Joan Collins, aka Edith Keeler

We haven’t watched Voyager or DS9 yet, so I was surprised to see two actors from “Happy Days” at the convention.

Donny Most and Anson Williams

Donny Most and Anson Williams

We went to a few panels. The first was Walter Koenig, aka Pavel Chekov from the Original Series. He had some great stories and was very charming.

Walter Koenig

Walter Koenig

We went to a tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

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Some great photos of the original series cast.

Some great photos of the original series cast.

We went to a panel of comic book artists and writers.

The comic panel

The comic panel

They had a drawing at the end, and MY NUMBER was called first. What the what? I never win!

I won!!

I won!!

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We also saw Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, and Denise Crosby.

They were fun.

They were fun.

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We bought some merchandise, met some interesting people, and learned a few things.

On the left, a book I bought and got signed by the author. On the right, the comic I won.

On the left, a book I bought and got signed by the author. On the right, the comic I won.

I bought these cute earrings.

I bought these cute earrings.

I got to meet the guys from Mission Log Podcast – a Trek podcast I love – and we got to see lots of great fans in fun costumes.

A photo taken by Leonard Nimoy on an actual corner in Canada.

A photo taken by Leonard Nimoy on an actual corner in Canada.

A Wesley Crusher inspired backpack

A Wesley Crusher inspired backpack

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WOK era uniforms

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A cute family of Starlet officers

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An awesome Borg Queen

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A Ferengi couple. (Fearing women don’t wear clothes.)

Two Kirks

Two Kirks

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In my head this is Nurse Chapel and Dr. Crusher.

I'm not 100% sure which episode these are from, but I love them!

I’m not 100% sure which episode these are from, but I love them!

And, there was a big balloon Bird of Prey

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These boots logged some steps!

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I got to field test my Tricorder Purse. I’ll post about it soon.

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Ready for a nap

It was a long day! I logged more than 10k steps in those boots I wore. We DID that Con (Khan?) and got the most out of the one day we were there. The only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been seeing William Shatner and the costume contest… maybe next year.

Until then, we will remember how fun this one is and plan for the next one.

Family Geek Day! Wondercon 2015

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My family and I geek out together. I’ve talked about it before. We’ve been to Comic Con, ComiKaze, and a Star Wars convention years ago. So when my son’s friends were heading to Wondercon this weekend, we thought we’d go, too.

**Also – if you’re someone who’s never been to Comic Con, but would like to – this is a good first stop. It’s easier to get tickets to it, and it’s smaller in scale, so it’s not as overwhelming.**

We started the day with a photo in front of a pretty fountain in the Convention Center Complex.

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Sean before going to meet his friends.

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There were some vendors who had some cute stuff! I eyed these Star Trek bags, but didn’t get one while we were there early in the day.

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I did go back later. They were sold out of my first choice, but I got this one. 🙂

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After we fed Sean and he found his buddies, we headed out to the food trucks… as did everyone else.IMG_1890

We ended up in line behind Venkmann and Zool…IMG_1892

Lunch break

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There were several gatherings of cosplayers throughout the day. Notice the abundance of Harley Quinns.

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There were surprisingly few Potter peeps.Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.12.53 AM

My crafty girl was happy to see Wool Buddies there! These are the little wool animals she felts.Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.19.07 AM

So many people on the escalator!IMG_1895

We didn’t go to any panels (if we were there today (Easter Sunday), we could have seen The Flash panel), but my husband wasn’t into that. So, we spent our time on the convention floor looking at all the comic booths and all the wares.

We looked at some cool wood-frame glasses.IMG_1898

The girls had personalized cartoons drawn – one of M the tapper IMG_1904

and G on her silks

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Someone taking advantage of pop culture… I always saw the dress as white and gold, but hey! It IS black and blue!!IMG_1911

My boy and his buddy ran into us on the floor.IMG_1910

I’m not sure what he was selling, but he made a great Vince Klortos from Ghostbusters.

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At-Ats, just hanging out.Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.11.36 AM

Lightsabers!

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Great print!!

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“Hey, Mom! Look!”

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Maddie was NOT a fan of this version of her favorite bear…Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.08.43 AM

There were a few booths with clothing. This one had leather hats – they couldn’t resist!

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There are always really cool t-shirts. This one is The Avengers – as Resevoir Dogs. (Thor, Hawkeye, Ironman, Black Widow, Captain America, Hulk)

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Of course, one of the funnest things to do at a con is to people watch and look at all the costumes.

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Padme’s so accurate! Always on her smartphone, just like the… wait…nevermind.

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I’m pretty sure this Faux Kirk was just hanging around hoping to pick up some chicks with his doomsday machine…

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2 adorable Big Hero 6 cosplayers

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One of many, many, many Harley Quinns

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Batman, Cappy, and The JokerScreen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.07.33 AM

We ended the day at another fountain. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

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2014 Year in Review

It’s been a few years since I’ve done a year-in-review. I was looking back at my blog posts and it seems that 2011 was the last one I did. So this year, I’ll bring it back.

2014 saw some good and bad. Some ups and downs. Some successes and frustrations.

The new year started with my middle child having two broken wrists.

Getting the second one.

Getting the second cast put on.

and a new car for the family!

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My husband and son both celebrated birthdays – and my son became a teenager. How on earth did that happen?!

The big 1-3

The big 1-3

He also participated in a local Science Olympiad invitational, started playing basketball, and gave his first tour at the Gamble House as a junior docent.

In February, my second book was released!

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It’s always exciting to find your own book on the local bookstore shelves.

On Valentine’s Day, my son gave a tour to my youngest daughter’s class. Here he is talking about the grounds.

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In February I also started substitute teaching. My first day I had to go into town to get lunch, and they were filming something. They turned our little town square into Breezy Shore, NJ.IMG_2333

We also finally finished our backyard by tiling the bbq area!!IMG_2531

In March I finally got to see the Space Shuttle. Amazing.IMG_2676

And the boy competed in Math Field Day for his 7th grade team.IMG_2776

In April, we celebrated my father’s retirement.

My dad is adorable.

My dad is adorable.

and celebrated Easter

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My 10-year-old made a from-scratch coconut cake and it was delicious!

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The brownies went camping in covered wagons.IMG_3812

In May, my darling girls performed in their 3rd musical.IMG_4162

and the 5th grader performed in her last dance show at school.IMG_7435

She also “graduated” from 5th grade.

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In June, she turned 11.IMG_4430

We started swimming again.IMG_4599

We also headed out of town and went on vacation.IMG_4744

We saw snow in June!IMG_4760

We visited Seattle and saw my brothers and sister-in-law.IMG_4840

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We went sailing.

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After Seattle, we headed down to Ashland, Oregon.

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The kids saw “Into the Woods” and “The Coconuts” and Wayne and I saw “The Tempest.” We met my parents there, which was fun – and they watched the kids while we had a date! 🙂IMG_5239

We also explored Lithia Park together, after a picnic.IMG_5290IMG_5303

In July, the youngest and I marched in the 4th of July parade with the local Brownie chapters.

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We saw a few shows at the Hollywood Bowl – one of our favorite summer traditions.IMG_5965

And my best friend since 4th grade came to visit – and brought her oldest daughter. ❤IMG_5931 IMG_5927

In August, we did more swimming, and went to the beach (it’d been years).

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We also went to Legoland.

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The kids started school (it’s earlier every year, it seems) and started 8th, 6th, and 4th grades.IMG_9241

In September, the girls started silks and gymnastics. It’s a change of pace from tapdancing, and they’re loving the new classes.

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We made our annual trek to Oak Glen for apple picking with friends.IMG_9355

We saw dinosaurs.

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In October, I participated in an Author Fair at Art Night, which was fun. I only sold one book, but it was a good experience.

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We went to JPL’s Open House, which they haven’t done in a few years. Here’s Sean posing with “Mohawk Guy” (aka Bobak Ferdowski).

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The 4th grade performance.

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And, all 3 of my kids participated in the local window painting contest. My middle child’s group won 2nd place in their age group.

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Halloween is one of our favorite times of the year. My kids went as a zombie baker, Marty McFly, and young Maleficent.

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November brought a wonderful trip to Disneyland. It was our first time going for 2 days and staying in the hotel. Love seeing the Haunted Mansion decked out for the holidays!IMG_8829

My youngest had a birthday, and turned 9, two days after my birthday, where I turned a much bigger number than 9.

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And Thanksgiving was fun – somehow my kids convinced the family to do improv together. Here’s my husband and my sister-in-law doing a scene together.IMG_9433

Finally, in December we met a brand new baby, Riley Sophia, born on 12-13-14.

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The girls performed in another musical – this time with bigger parts! Here they are, each getting ready to go on stage.

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We also had a wonderful Christmas. Each of my kids made each other – and Mom and Dad – special gifts. Every year they blow me away with their thoughtfulness.IMG_7983

We saw my family, too. Here we are after brunch before one brother and his wife went back to Seattle. It’s almost everyone – missing brother Terry, who’d already gone home, and the husband, who’s taking the photo.IMG_8105

These are all mostly good things. Each year brings sadness and tragedy. This year was no exception. We said goodbye to my husband’s uncle, to a dear family friend, to a work friend of Wayne’s, and a friend from our world of preschool and community. Each loss was felt deeply, and always brings on reflection of how we live our own lives, how we hold our dear ones, and makes us remember others we have lost.

I hope for everyone that 2015 brings many wonderful things. I know there will be sadness, but I wish for nothing but love and peace and happiness for all those dear.

Happy New Year.

It’s Almost Haunting Time!

I can’t believe Halloween is merely 3.5 weeks away! Usually by now we’re well underway with the costume-making and the shopping and whatnot. This year, we at least got the decorations up, thanks to Maddie. As far as costumes… only two of us know what we’re doing and exactly zero of us has all the pieces for the costumes.

In the past few years, my kids have had amazing ideas for costumes that we’ve been able to realize.

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Jan and Cindy BradyIMG_5566

A cute little cupcakeIMG_6894

Luke (and Yoda)

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Emily, the Corpse BrideIMG_9680

Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas

This year, my youngest wants to be young Maleficent.

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I love that my girls are so creative! I only wish I could sew. That would make this process infinitely easier.

My son, the oldest, doesn’t like Halloween nearly as much as the rest of his family. He rarely makes a decision about his costume without suggestions, and never before October. Two months ago, after we started watching “Mork and Mindy” after Robin Williams died, I suggested he go as Mork.

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I think he could pull off either one of these!

As for my middle child, who usually has half her costume finished by now? She doesn’t know. I suppose that’s the middle school girl in her who just can’t make a decision, but we’ve given her several ideas.

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Elsa, only as a zombie!

(any Disney princess as a zombie, actually)

Monster Mash-up : part Mummy, part Frankenstein, part Werewolf, part Dracula

Fire queen: kind of the opposite of the snow queen. Would work well with her red-tipped hair.

(Apparently I’m not the only one who has thought of this: this is a smattering of images that comes up when I googled Elsa Fire Queen.)

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But, she doesn’t like most of my ideas. She’s 11. I suppose that’s par for the course. 😦

I will say that I found the base piece of my costume this year. I found it by happenstance while looking for clothes for the kids.

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If you’re not sure who I’m going to be, it’s Emma Swan, from Once Upon A Time.

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Granted, it’s not the exact jacket. Actually, she’s had several versions of that same jacket. But I think if I do my hair, wear skinny jeans and boots, and maybe a sheriff’s badge, I think Oncers will know who I am.

As for my husband, I’d love it if he dressed as Emma’s love interest, Captain Hook:

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but he’s not down with that. 😦

However, he can always be his favorite go-to costume, the Jedi

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OR, if Sean decides to go for Marty McFly, he can be

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1.21 gigawats!!! Dr. Emmet L. Brown.

What are YOUR plans for Halloween? Do you buy or make your costume? Have any ideas for my picky pre-teen? I’d love to hear it!!

Birthdays Just Aren’t The Same When You’re Old

Yesterday was my birthday. 44. There it is – out there in the universe.

When I was a kid, I LOVED birthdays. I couldn’t wait for presents and when I could have a party I was so happy! My birthday is only 6 days after Halloween, so I had Halloween Birthday parties a few times.

 

One of my early birthdays - maybe 6 or 7. I'm the witch.

One of my early birthdays – maybe 6 or 7. I’m the witch.

And when you got to a certain age, you could have a slumber party!!

 

I’m the one in the awful Miss Piggy mask. Welcome to the 80s.

Notice how our Snoopys are in costume as well.

When you’re a kid and you’re sick on your birthday (or any holiday), it’s the end of the world, and elicits responses like this:

One of the worst Halloween AND birthdays I ever had was when I got the chicken pox in 5th grade.

One of the worst Halloween AND birthdays I ever had was when I got the chicken pox in 5th grade.

Now that I’m an adult, and a parent, birthdays are different. They’re spent with my husband and wonderful kids. Friends don’t celebrate it with me, really. It’s just different.

As an adult (and a parent), you go about your day as usual. If you’re really lucky, someone will take you out to lunch. Otherwise, you go about your day, whether it’s at the office or at home cleaning and running kids around, going grocery shopping… whatever your daily routine is.

As an adult nobody bakes you a cake. You don’t bring cupcakes to work to share with your friends. You don’t have slumber parties.

As an adult, you hope your spouse remembers the day, and that maybe a few of your friends might wish you a happy birthday.

These days, facebook makes it almost impossible for you to go a day without getting a wish from a friend, near or far. For that, I’m thankful. (Without facebook, would any of us remember anyone else’s birthdays?)

So, yesterday my day kind of sucked until around 2:20pm.  Even though I don’t expect cupcakes or big shows of love on my birthday, I felt incredibly lonely most of the day. While having lots of lovely facebook “happy birthdays” there was exactly one birthday wish by a friend “in real life.” (Thanks, Lizze!)

Once I got home from picking up kids, I got calls from my brother and my mom, which were lovely. I got a text from a faraway friend and one from a friend who lives a block away. And I got a great email from my best friend and an amazing write-up from my brother.

Perhaps the best part of the day was after 4, when my children gave me their homemade gifts and cards. My daughters had a dance class at 7:15 (I know, right?), and my husband wanted to take me out, so we met at a restaurant, squeezed in a quick but delicious dinner, and then rushed off in two separate directions to get the girls to class and the boy to shower and finish his homework.

My husband got me a beautiful gift that means a lot to me, as it supports my knitting, which has been an arguing point a few times in our marriage. And upon the insistence of three cake-loving children, he ran to the store to get a ridiculously rich and chocolatey cake.

So while birthdays aren’t the same anymore, they are good in their own ways. While I don’t like being reminded of how old I’m getting, knowing that I am here another year with the people who love me, and whom I love more than anything, is good. And as long as I don’t have the Chicken Pox, I should just rejoice in the dawn of another year on this Earth.

Make a wish...

Make a wish…

 

Halloween Hangover

When my firstborn was a baby, Halloween was easy. We got his costume as a gift from my brother, and he had a cute pair of Halloween jammies he wore when not in costume.

My little bubby, 9 months old.

The following years we bought costumes from online shops and the Disney store – we had pirates, princesses, Jedis, and fairies.

There was one year we bought my son’s costume and built our own around his theme, for a party we attended. He was the Tinman.

My little Tinman and kind of sad little Lion.

My little Tinman and kind of sad little Lion.

This was my first go at “making” a costume.

My husband went all out for his, and outshined us all.

My husband went all out for his, and outshined us all.

As the years go by, my kids get more creative and they want homemade costumes that take a lot of effort.

There was the bat wings and cupcake costume, made by me with LOTS of help.

Gracie's awesome batwings a friend helped me with.

Gracie’s awesome batwings a friend helped me with.

Le Bat, Cuppiecake, and 2 homemade Jedis.

Le Bat, Cuppiecake, and 2 homemade Jedis.

My husband made both of those Jedi cloaks, as well as the tunic he wore.

Last year’s undertaking for my then 9-year-old was, well, ambitious. She wanted to be the Corpse Bride, and I didn’t like the costumes online, so I decided to make it myself.

We started with a simple dress I bought at a thrift store.

We started with a simple dress I bought at a thrift store.

I took a scissors to it.

I took a scissors to it.

I mean, I really cut it up!

I mean, I really cut it up!

My daughter and I spraypainted floral trim.

My daughter and I spraypainted floral trim.

And we painted the dress.

And we painted the dress.

She and I painted details.

She and I painted details.

It was starting to look good!

It was starting to look good!

We needed to sew on the trim and do a little tailoring, so I asked my husband for help.

He's so much better with the sewing machine than I am!

He’s so much better with the sewing machine than I am!

It was starting to come together!

It was starting to come together!

We also had to figure out the makeup, so we did some tests.

Test one - needs work.

Test one – needs work.

Test two, looking a little better.

Test two, looking a little better.

A friend of mine, and fellow knitter, offered to do her makeup for trick-or-treating.

Kristy is amazing!

Kristy is amazing!

Wow!

Wow!

Finished product!

Finished product!

This year she wanted to be another Tim Burton character. Again, we looked online for Sally costumes, but I really didn’t like how cheap they looked from all the costume shops, so of course, we tried to make it ourselves.

I bought a simple black dress from Old Navy for $8. We found colorful quilt squares to use. I cut them out and looked at photos of Sally to get it as close as I could.

I cut and pinned the best I could.

I cut and pinned the best I could.

My husband, attempting to sew together my mismatched pieces.

My husband, attempting to sew together my mismatched pieces.

Dress before sewing.

Dress before sewing.

We also made her a yarn wig. I cut it and placed it and he sewed the seam.

We also made her a yarn wig. I cut it and placed it and he sewed the seam.

We got M's outfit from a woman on Etsy. She's Ethel from I Love Lucy.

We got M’s outfit from a woman on Etsy. She’s Ethel from I Love Lucy.

The boys wore Trek costumes.

The boys wore Trek costumes.

Last year we didn’t make it to the costume contest, so we wanted to make sure that if she wanted to enter, we’d make it happen.

After all the work put into the costume, she entered the contest, and was one of the winners!!

After all the work put into the costume, she entered the contest, and was one of the winners!!

We had a great Halloween complete with the contest, trick-or-treating, seeing friends, and lots of candy. We’re all still suffering from a bit of a Halloween Hangover, especially since we went to the Convention on Saturday.

Here’s to a calmer November!