Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sunny Morning with a Sweet Baby

Corey and Keri had practice again this morning, so we had the pleasure of spending the morning with Carson. It is amazing how quickly he changes! Just in the last two weeks, he seems bigger, can sit up more steadily, and roll himself over!
We took a quick trip to Lattin's Cider Mill. He met Mrs. Lattin and told her all about how he enjoyed his visit. He loved all of the animals (pigs, goats, chickens, peacocks, ducks...), but found the other children visiting to be much more interesting! There was a little baby named Mary he was particularly taken with.
He loves playing with his soccer ball - just like his Daddy!
He loved bottle-time with Uncle Bill!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Joys of Home Ownership

Check out the small body of water that has just formed next to our fence in the last hour or so. Issues began a month or so ago with our sprinkler system, originally caused by repair work done to our dry well. The repairs ruptured our sprinkler lines causing an even larger flood. Today, the new irrigation contractor came out to the house and noticed the first attempts by the previous contractor were not going to work. The contractor left, preparing to come back in the next day or so to fix the problems. Shortly later, Bill noticed we had low water pressure and ran outside to find a small wading pool next to our fence. Lovely!

Fortunately, we have a great builder that will see to it that it will all be taken care of.

Baking Night

Last night, was major baking night. Patti, in my office, is turning 50 and we celebrated today. She loves collecting rocks and is in a "rock" band, so we had a little fun with that theme. I made her a "rock" cake with gold nugget gum surrounding it with some pop "rock"s on the side. Beth said it looked like it came from an erotic bakery. Bill thought the same thing. Ah well, good thing its the thought that counts! :-)
I also made three batches of my big, soft and chewy cookies for Dad and Corey to take on their weekend getaway. I also sent some off with Bill to work. At least no one can say they look naughty (and if you can - you are sick).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nurseries and Cookbooks - Oh My!

This weekend, a local wholesale nursery opened it's doors to the public. Evelyn called us about it yesterday, so we headed over first thing this morning. We filled up an entire cart with lilac bushes, pee-gee hydrangeas, peony trees and a number of others. Bushes that would normally be at least $40 were $8 and trees normally $75 and up were $25! It was great. They will be open again next weekend and we're going to head back to get a few more things!

Bill is out-of-town overnight for work and I went grocery shopping to make some new recipes for book group tomorrow night. I picked up this new cookbook Hungry Girl last week at Costco and am really enjoying it. Have you ever been to her website? Its great! She takes all sorts of "regular" snacks and meals and makes them as healthier lo-cal versions. I made the chocolate peanut butter fudge first - just brownie mix, pureed pumpkin and a bit of lowfat peanut butter swirled on top. It doesn't really taste like fudge to me, but it does hit the spot when you are craving chocolate! Bill really liked it so I'll definitely make it again. Tonight, I am making the spinach dip, crab stuffed mushrooms and blueberry scones. I am also making zucchini boats with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes (a recent find by Melinda and me from another cookbook). Hopefully, the gals don't mind me experimenting! Everything is done - I just have to pop it all in the oven before everyone arrives. I love that!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful & Warm May Morning

Today was a big newsworthy weather day for our area. No different than when we get an inch of snow in December it is the Winter Storm of 2007 - today brought news of a Hot Weather Warning! It reached 90 degrees here today! It is pretty unusual for this area in May and definitely a shocker when we've had hardly any nice weather and then - bang! Heat!

Keri had softball practice this morning, so Carson came over for a visit. Grandma Jo came by to see her great grandson and we sat out on the back porch. There was a perfect patch of shade for Carson to play on and we talked, played and flipped through cookbooks (Carson too, of course). My perfect kind of Saturday morning! Much better than Bill's. He layered up in clothing and went for a long bike ride over the hottest part of the morning! Yikes! While he was sweating away, we carried on in the backyard. Carson is teething and he loved sucking on our little frozen elephant designed to soothe boo-boos, named "Ella" of course. He loved bouncing on Great Grandma Jo's lap with "Ella" in his mouth.

Keri came back and I went into town with her to Costco and Wal-mart. Carson is such a helper! He seems to have visions of being a box-boy. Cool packaging appeared as yummy treats, which seem to require being stuck into his mouth before purchase. Where's Ella when you need her?

I came home and took a nap in our air conditioning. A lovely day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I have found the dress!

After all the emotion last Saturday of dress shopping day, Wednesday afternoon I returned home to find a box on the porch from Nordstrom. I'd been admiring a dress from their bridal collection on-line. We went by Nordstrom on Saturday to see if I could try it on. The saleswoman said, "We had a couple, but they sold out quickly. It is really one of the most beautiful dresses we've ever carried." She checked on-line and there were only two still available and one was my size! I ordered the dress, there was no shipping and I'd simply return it if it didn't fit. Don't you just love Nordstrom?

That Wednesday evening, Bill wasn't home so I carried the box back to my bedroom and eagerly opened it up. Tucked inside that cardboard was a dress so much more beautiful than the photos had depicted. It was well made and had beautiful details. I tried it on - and it fit!! I ran down the hall (dress still on) to grab my phone. I needed to show this to someone!! I called Evelyn and she was in Tacoma. I got Lynn and she was excited too - she said she'd be over later to "check it out." When she arrived, I first showed her the pictures of the dresses I'd tried on last Saturday. I tried on this dress and she said, "Oh, Courtney! That is it! You are so done!" I got on-line to show her the pictures from the site and it was no longer on-line. They were all sold out!

I believe that it was Mom who helped make it all come together. That prior weekend was so hard on me and the experience made me miss her so much. Not to mention May 12 passing by - just one month before the anniversary of her death. Mom knows how much this means to have the "right" dress. Over the years, we'd done a lot of searching for dresses for both of us for dances, weddings, cruises - you name it! It seems so trivial to put such importance on an item like this, but I know this was important to her. I can just feel it.

PS: You didn't think I'd actually post an entire picture of the dress on-line - did you? Nooo! It is a secret from Bill. We have to have some sense of tradition in our wedding that is breaking all the other rules! So, here is just a small peek!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy? Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day. I've been dreading it, but I'm actually doing alright. I found this picture of my Mom and I about two years ago and about a year before she passed away. It is not the greatest of pictures, but we were laughing. Actually, we were trying to pose for a picture and got to laughing so hard we couldn't stop. We didn't even know what was so funny - you know how that it is.

I decided to post this photo in particular because I want to focus on the time I had with Mom, not on the fact she is no longer here. I had this lovely intention of putting flowers on her grave for Mother's Day, but somehow it just didn't seem quite right. Plus, given my track record of teariness this weekend, I know it would've just upset me to the point of needing to come straight home and go to bed. Instead, I want to focus on my good memories of my Mom. Remember how thankful I am for the time I had with my her. Be thankful for the other Moms I have in my life now.

We celebrated Mother's Day today at Tom and Molli's. I made a chocolate layer cake for Francie. I ate a hamburger and held Tanner on my lap, while he read me his favorite silly story. I watched little Maggie propped up on a dining room chair helping her Mom make fruit salad.

Yes, that's how I think I'll end this day. I will visit my Mom in my heart, instead of her grave.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wedding Dress Shopping

I have carried this clipping from Victoria magazine around with me since high school of my ideal wedding dress - layers of fabric, beading, even little orange blossoms sewn onto the top edging. I have to say - I still love it. Only one problem. It just won't work for my wedding. See, my new plan requires manicured toes squishing into the sand, gardenias tucked into upswept hair and salt spray on my cheeks. I'm getting married in Fiji!

Beyond my magazine clipping, I had not a clue what I really wanted for a wedding dress for my island ceremony. I recently met a new employee at work, Nancy, who made wedding dresses - this seemed to be fate! She suggested we go wedding dress shopping to see what styles fit me well and looked good and either go home with the perfect dress or she would make me my "new" perfect dress. She suggested I invite someone along that knew me and could help out with their advice.

I invited a friend that I learned wasn't able to come at the last minute. I found myself driving to Tacoma, feeling absolutely sorry for myself, tears streaming down my face. I was a blubbering mess. I honestly didn't realize until that morning how important that day would be to me and how much I really needed someone close to me to be there for support. What was I thinking scheduling this shopping trip the day before my first Mother's Day without my Mom? I made some futile attempts to try to find someone else to accompany me. Francie - Why did I not invite my future-mother-in-law in the first place? She was busy. Evelyn - my second Mom. Got her voicemail. Lynn - my good friend. Preparing dinner for a crowd that evening. Sue was working. OJ would come in a flash as soon as she figured out I was crying, but I couldn't let her drive that far. I'd just have to do this on my own. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this!

I arrived at Demetrio's and Nancy asks, "Where is your friend? Oh, that is too bad, it would have been helpful to have a good friend with you." Tears return. Things didn't get much better as I started trying on dresses. We didn't want to "let on" that we weren't there to necessarily buy a gown once we saw the price tags - $1,500.00, $2,200.00, $3,000.00! There was no way I could fathom spending that kind of money on a gown that would become sandy, sweaty and wet with salty ocean water! I began the process of trying these gowns on. I learned that wedding dresses run small, so the size I was sure would be too big resulted in me "sucking it in" and them still not zipping closed. Even my Spanx were no consolation! I knew I'd soothed my grief more than once this past year with calorie-laden goodies, but this was ridiculous!

David's Bridal. This was an experience. I can see why it is popular - the prices! While I was relieved to see these smaller price tags, the experience here was more reminiscent to shopping trips at Wal-Mart, chaotic and frustrating, but for which I continue to brave simply for the fabulous prices. David's was filled with young girls in dresses chatting with their groups of bridesmaids, Moms, Aunts, sisters, cousins... Girls repeating, "Oh, that is way too big on you!" Mothers rushing to the cashier with their credit cards. And the men! What were all the men doing there? Am I the only one that thinks that is weird?

Overall, the day turned out OK. Nancy was an incredible help and very encouraging. I didn't come home with "the" dress. But, I tried on some decent ones. Dresses that didn't make me feel like a giant satin sausage. We have some definite possibilities and even picked out some patterns. It is going to be OK. Fact is, Mom was with me all the time and in just four short months, Bill is going to love me no matter what I'm wearing when we finally get to say, "I do."

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Wild and Crazy Night

We had Tanner and Maggie for an over-nighter. We had a good time. Lots of coloring. Stickers. Hot dogs, salad and strawberries for dinner. Bill made a fire in the pit outside for s'mores. Morgan from next door came over as did Sue and Scott. They played in a bubbly bath with lots of pecan pie scented bath wash. We cranked up the stereo and danced to 27 Jennifers. Tanner danced around with a painted moustache and beard created by a little washable eyeliner. He was really into it. Boy, has he got some dance moves!

Tanner asked if he could "please" sleep with his moustache and I obliged. We read The Little Engine that Could and they went to sleep. Before we said goodnight, Tanner whispered, "Can my moustache come off in the morning, please Courtney. But make sure to show my Mom my picture." That - I can do.

Saturday we got up early and went down to the Capitol for walk/run challenge. We met up with my agency and took pictures just in time for it to start raining. It really started coming down, so Bill left with Maggie and Tanner stayed with me for the walk. We went to Wagners for a treat beforehand and then got in line for the two-mile walk. He did a great job. We were pretty much soaked at the end. We stopped at Lattin's and Johnson's on the way home. Came home and changed into dry clothes. More coloring and stickers and then back to Daddy. It was a great morning!


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