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    Halloween Hijinks

    Sunday, November 2, 2014


    Happy November, y'all! Did you enjoy the last few days of October? Fall finally settled into Southern California, and with it, our traditions. We pick our pumpkins and carve them the week of Halloween, and not a moment earlier.




    It's become an accidental habit due to our busy schedules. It works, though, and really gets us into the spirit of the week! From pumpkin patching, to Halloween parades, and carving silly-scary jack-o-lanterns before going out to get some candy, we had a very fun week.

    Halloween morning couldn't have been more perfect: foggy, overcast, and chilly. You know the kind: it seeps into your bones.


    Those wearing their costumes to school had to make sure they had warm clothes on underneath...not that everyone needed it. Jackson took his duties as Michelangelo very seriously. He was jumping everywhere and chopping everything in sight. Booyakasha!!



    The elementary school was hosting their annual Halloween parade and as soon as my little Ninja Turtle was ready to roll, we headed out. From Kindergarten to 5th grade, the costumed children were buzzing with excitement. We took our spots as the classes filed out, and while songs like "The Monster Mash" played, we clapped and waved. The parade was filled with superheros, villains, and costumes you'd never expect. I loved the first grader wearing his three-dimensional sun costume. It was pretty clever!





    Rain was expected that evening, so as soon as we were home with Madeline, Jackson picked the pumpkin we were going to carve and drew its face. It was small, and took very little time, which made getting to the main event very easy. We dressed in our costumes and were out the door by six.


    Madeline spent the evening with friends watching the original "Night of the Living Dead", while Jackson and I had an abbreviated trick-or-treat outing. Some of the decorations went from campy to creepy once the sun set, and he didn't care for it at all. Since it was getting cold I was perfectly fine with returning home and slipping into cozy pajamas.


    And that was exactly what we did. Shannon inspected the loot while we cleaned and snuggled up, then we both enjoyed a sweet treat as the night came to an end. Eventually the rain did fall, but we were all lucky to be snug under our covers for the night. The next morning I woke up to look at some pictures and prepare to grab my mother from the airport. I love looking at this picture of Jackson. He may have been wearing his mask, but you can see his eyes scrunched up in a smile.

    It was a good Halloween. Memories were made, candy was enjoyed, good sleep was had by all. I guess that begs the question: are you ready to usher in the season of Thanksgiving?

    Freshman Homecoming

    Monday, October 20, 2014


    For Madeline, getting gussied up and wearing a fancy dress is not a much loved thing. She enjoys comfortable, casual clothes. Always has, most likely always will. But there are occasions when the spirit moves her, and it becomes this wonderous moment as she embraces the posibility of the fun ahead.


    This weekend she celebrated her first high school homecoming. I'll be frank: through no one's fault, dress shopping was very difficult. As anyone who knows me is aware, I lamented~several times~about the lack of appropriate dresses for teenagers. According to my daughter, they were all too sparkly, too ruffley, or far too short. I felt sad, and not because I disagreed; she was right. Madeline was all in, participating in the shopping, excited about Homecoming, but could not find anything that suited her. You could see her becoming less and less enthused as the weeks passed without a dress.


    Thankfully, we got lucky (five days before the big event). It fit all of Madeline's criteria: simple, modest, and most importantly, comfortable. The fact she looked stunning in it was just a bonus. Her excitement picked up once again, and as she and her friends prepared for Saturday night, I made sure she indulged in some pampering at Dry Bar. She chose "Southern Comfort" for her hair style and friends, it did not disappoint. Look at those curls. If you had called her Scarlet, she would have replied with a "Fiddle dee dee!" She took my breath away.

    I'll end here and let you see the photos of Madeline and some of her friends in all their beauty. They celebrated the first of many homecomings, and watching my daughter's nose and eyes crinkle up as they do when she's especially happy, I think the dress hunt was completely worth it.









    Happy Monday, all.

    Star of the Week

    Monday, October 13, 2014


    One of the things I love about the early years in elementary school years are the little things they do to let the children shine. Star of the Week is such an occasion. For one week, one child gets to share the things they love and enjoy with their class. It's a great way for the children to learn more about one another, and it encourages them to focus and appreciate what makes them special. I think adults need one of these, don't you?


    Today marks day one of Jackson's week to shine. Over the weekend we went through years of photos and picked out his favorites so we could assemble his poster. Believe me when I say it was a real labor of love. He was so excited~overly at times~that I had to ask him to reign it in so we could get it done. This morning couldn't come quickly enough, but when it did, he raced us to his classroom at school so we could turn his poster over to his teacher. As we did, I noticed for the first time that most of his pictures had Madeline in it. My heart couldn't have been happier. Because if it wasn't clear enough already, his picture choices left little doubt as to how much he loves his big sister.


    He also enjoys looking at family photos. I've never seen a child so enamoured with them. As summer drew to a close, I compiled an assortment of pictures and made a beautiful photo book at Mpix. Jackson wanted it to be the first thing he shared with his classmates during his week as the Star, and I'm glad he did. It holds many special memories and I'm glad he can appreciate that. I'll go more into it later, but I will say this now: if you ever want to preserve an event or year with your family and friends, Mpix is the way to go.


    Friends, I hope you're all enjoying the start of the new week. So far Monday is looking up, and with my little boy enjoying his moment to shine at school, I expect the rest of the week will be just as good. Take care, and don't forget to take a moment to appreciate what makes you shine as well!

    Happy Fall, Y'all!

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014


    Happy Fall everyone! With last week's heatwave, SoCal residents worried we were in for a nasty beginning for the Fall season. Summer had been mild compared to the past few years, so the sudden spike in temperatures left some of us less than inspired when it came to decorating. And when I say some of us, I mean me.


    Our wreath and mantle trim had been up since September 1st, but as it grew warmer, it was hard to get motivated to do much more. Thankfully, after several days of unbearable heat, the temperatures resturned to normal. Cool mornings and evenings, warm afternoons~this was more like it!


    The children and I began getting in the spirit and started by sprucing up what we already had out. We retouched the decoration on our front door, Madeline added candles to the mantle, our Spode Delamere plates have been pulled out, and pumpkins appeared on bookshelves. It was enough to get this ball rolling.


    I have a special Fall scone recipe I can't wait to share with you this week, and as many of us are already in a pumpkin-y mood, I'm pretty sure you'll love it. It's prefect for breakfast or a snack, and delicious with your morning cup of coffee.


    Happy first day of Fall, everyone. Enjoy the gorgeous days ahead!

    You're Never Fully Dressed Without a...

    Thursday, September 18, 2014



    Be still my heart. Will you look at that breathtaking display of joy and good humor? Yesterday was a long time coming. Madeline endured almost 3 years of braces, two oral surgeries, then had to reschedule the removal due to a cross country meet. And if you knew how her teeth started out, well, let's just say our orthodontist had a very challenging case to deal with.


    My friends, I cannot begin to explain how much excitement has followed us throughout the week. We had a countdown going, plans to keep it a secret from her Daddy. But when Madeline woke up yesterday, she said something I know we've all thought when overly anxious: it's going to take forever until the moment arrives. The moment did arrive, though, and when the orthodontist began removing her braces (a process that took under 1 minute), I began alternating between laughter and tearing up. It was a huge moment for Madeline, and one I was glad to share with her. Much as I have always loved my daughter's smile~even with braces~I was ready to see it fully revealed. We all were!


    Can you beleive the happiness in her face? More than anything, Madeline's satisfaction with the end results were what was most important, and if you can't tell, she's okay with how it all turned out. We all are. It's another passage completed on her approach to adulthood, but oh, it's a good one. Retainers are the new name of the game, and thanks to the infinite wisdom of our orthodontist, only to be worn at night. It's a trade-off we're happy to take on, and without a doubt, one Madeline will take very seriously.


    Congratulations, Madeline! Your smile is radiant as ever!