Sunday, January 24, 2010

Go Avs!

After living in Colorado for 6 years, we finally went to a Colorado Avalanche hockey game!

I was lucky enough to win four tickets, so the whole family went. We drove to a Park-n-Ride and met up with Daddy to take the train to Pepsi Center. Once we picked up our tickets at will call, we were surprised to see how awesome the seats were! We made our way there, and the kids were in awe. Daddy left to find food, and I explained to the boys which team we were cheering for. Elijah (4.5) pointed out everyone wearing hockey shirts, and when the zamboni came out, the boys cheered. Their excitement grew even more when a Chipotle burrito blimp appeared and floated through the arena, followed by a Denver Post blimp. They grew sad when the blimps finished dropping their coupons and disappeared, but by then Daddy was back with food.

The game started, and the boys continued to eat their cheeseburgers and fries. With the food done, they stood up to watch the game. Elijah declared his favorite number was 26, and that we were going to root for him (Stastny). After the first period Miles (2.5) was ready to leave, but I assured him there was more game to see, and hey the zamboni will be back. Thankfully there was also Mighty Mites hockey, little kids from Arvada playing on the ice. Elijah got a kick out of that.

Miles got antsy in the second period, so we took a walk around the arena. We made our way downstairs to the kids store, and picked up the boys some Avalanche shirts of their own. Miles proudly carried them back to his brother, at which point we put them on.

Elijah asked excitedly, "what number is on the back of my shirt?" Daddy explained that numbers cost more, but we can look into it for the future. Both kids were happy to have their new hockey shirts.

After the second period, we made our way to the exit, as Miles showed he'd had enough. One more burst of energy when we saw Bernie the Mascot, but the line was very long, and tears came when we wouldn't stand in line. "Next time, okay. We'll see Bernie next time." The tears ended pretty quickly, and they had enough energy for the train ride back to the car.

I doubt we'll ever have tickets so nice as these. It was a great experience for all of us, having been ages since either Geoff or I had been to a hockey game. The boys need to be a little older before they get into it, Elijah still complaining the game takes too long. But I'm thankful for the chance we got to go.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Failed Again

I know. I woke up on Thursday morning (reluctantly) and realized Wednesday went by without a post. And then I just didn't care if I posted on Thursday.

I failed NaBloPoMo for January.

Rather than dwell on that, I'm gonna let it go.

Today is not a real post either. It's mostly just an acknowledgment of my failure. :)

Tonight I'm excited that I'm going to my first Colorado Avalanche hockey game! The whole family is going, courtesy of tickets I won from Mile High Mamas. I had planned to get the whole family shirts to wear, but evidently no stores in my immediate area carry any. Or if they did, they were sizes way too large for us. So, my hope is to at least buy some shirts for the boys to wear.

Go Avs!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


At 4:30am this morning, I realized, I didn't blog yesterday.


Okay, letting that go.

Today's news: I woke to find out my nephew has pink hair! What?

He is participating in Hair Massacure 2010. People dye their hair pink, then shave it all off before Valentine's Day to raise money for two great causes: Stollery Children's Hospital Pediatric Oncology (in Edmonton) and Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta.

Let's show some love to my 10 year old nephew for doing this, donate here!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Adventures In Eating

I'm sure it is a documented fact that Melissa & "experimental eater" are not words often found in sentences. I even blogged back in November about my picky palate.

Reading through a Whole Foods newsletter, I was struck by the idea of eating sausage, beans & rice. I had never thought to try it before, and once I committed to the idea, I still wasn't sure how it was going to be prepared.

I always cook my rice in my Zojirushi rice cooker (it's awesome!). As for beans, I usually eat them from a can, and even then they are only ever red or kidney. When my husband suggested black eyed peas, I was a little frightened. What would they taste like? Would they taste like peas? Or worse?

To add further experiment to the dish, I picked up some andouille sausage at the meat department. Never tried it before, always a little afraid it might be too spicy. Which might scare me, but worse, might turn off Elijah, who won't eat anything remotely spicy.

I left it to Geoff to find a recipe, and he did (thanks Emeril!). I left the entire dish to him to concoct, save the rice, which I can make.

Here's the finished product:

End results? Not bad. The first bite threw me a little, because I wasn't sure what to expect. But I cleaned my plate, as did everyone else. A new dish to add to the recipe binder!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's winter here, so naturally my mind is already thinking about a vacation.

Actually part of me is still mad that this year's vacation never happened.

December 2008, we started to form plans to do a family trip to DisneyWorld in January of 2010. We were going to have my brother's family & my mom join us, Geoff & I were going to run the marathon & half marathon, and it was going to be wonderful.

But it never happened.

We registered for the race (with non-refundable race entries), I ordered Disney information, bought books & products to ready us for a family trip to DisneyWorld and spent HOURS on Disney websites.

Despite my brother's family dropping out of the plans mid-January, I held hope that we'd still go with my mom.

Then hail trashed our roof and the roof needed to be replaced. Taxes needed to be paid. The car needed new tires.

The dream officially died by September. I pouted for a very long time.

There is a part of me, my cynical part, that thinks I should stop making plans, and dreaming dreams. Because money always seems to be a factor.

But the optimist in me, says without dreams, life would suck.

So I'm dreaming, of going somewhere this summer. Now I need to find a way to make my dream come true.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Do Something

My heart is heavy for those suffering from the devastation in Haiti. I know it's not much, but I donated a little to one of many charities pledging to help. I urge you to as well.

Even if it's $5, that's gotta help. Here are some links.

Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross
Mercy Corps

And above all, keep these people in your prayers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Delurker Day!

Image courtesy of Aimee

Alright- time to come out. Let me know you visit!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Could Go Without...

Ever hearing the song My Favorite Things for the rest of my life. Seriously. I can't stand that song.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Cost Of Education

Today I was lucky enough to hang out w/ my girlfriend Kirsten. She's a mom of 4, and her youngest is a month old than my youngest. She's very down to earth, laid back, and shares similar ideas with me.

I asked her today about kindergarten, because I couldn't find any information on the cost of it. I had heard from other moms that kindergarten enrichment would cost extra, but that it was necessary (according to those moms). My big concern was whether we could afford to send Elijah to full day kindergarten *and* send Miles to preschool next year.

Kirsten shared with me that one of the teachers she spoke to said that by 1st grade, there was a big difference between kids who did full day kindergarten and those who did not. As a result, Kirsten put her son through the full day, but at the cost of her daughter not going to preschool for a year.

My heart is heavy, because I want both my boys in school next year. I feel that Miles could really use preschool 2 mornings a week. I think it would enhance his speech skills, and he badly wants to go. I worry that Elijah might have a hard time adapting to full day 1st grade if he only goes to kindergarten for half a day.

I'd really like some feedback here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me

'Tis true, it is my birthday.

Having you birthday fall on Monday can seem a little dull. I opened my gifts yesterday so I could enjoy that with my family without people dashing off to work and school. But today I was able to enjoy a birthday nap with my little fellas, and after dinner tonight we went to Coldstone.

I got a lot of lovely gifts, but wanted to share with you what my young sons bought me:

Elijah picked them out himself. He said, I love you and I know you like pretty flowers.

Here's hoping 2010 is a great year for us!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Best Fail?

Alright, here it is. I'm giving up on NaBloPoMo's theme for January.

I'd much rather post what I feel inspired by rather than being obligated to "bests", and I'm struggling being held to a theme.

I am going to do my *best* to continue to post each day, because I know how you all will feel lost without my posts.

Hubby is making shepherd's pie again for dinner. If you read my posts on Facebook, you'll know that I was never a fan of the dish. But the last batch turned out pretty yummy, so we're giving it another go.

Sometimes I struggle planning my meals, not wanting to grow bored or tired with having something too often. I map out all my meals on shopping day, and buy accordingly. A better way to shop might be to buy what's on sale, and then plan meals around that. But if I'm craving gyros, I'll buy gyro meat, regardless of the price. Well, maybe not regardless. I am after all part Scottish.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm still sick. The cough I hoped wouldn't come, arrived on Friday. And I've been pretty sad ever since. Thank you Tylenol Cold for helping me make it through the day. Now if I could only sleep through the night...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Best Chocolate Cake

First let me say I was truly touched that my friend Kelly made me a birthday cake for my party tonight.

It was very tasty, but the best chocolate cake I ever had was last year's cake, made by Geoff, recipe by Food & Wine and it required a lot of work.

Photo courtesy of F&W Magazine

We had invited our good friends Chad & Khara to come to dinner, and since Chad & I both share January birthdays, I could justify the need for a cake. It was rich, almost too rich, as only one slice was needed before you felt overwhelmed by chocolate.

But it was sooo worth it. Nothing beats a homemade cake!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Best Restaurant

I like to eat. I like yummy food. I also like a restaurant that fixes problems well. My vote for Best Restaurant goes to Jim 'N Nick's BBQ.

The food is awesome. Southern BBQ, yes please! While we don't eat in often we've experienced great things from them while using drive thru and call ahead.

Before they opened their doors at Southlands, I walked by there with my girlfriend and they just so happened to be handing out coupons to come try the food, for free, so the waiters & cooks could get some experience. Uh, hell yeah I want free food! The experience was great. The food blew me away.

The first time we used the drive thru it was a blizzardy night and we arrived home to discover one of the orders was missing. I called the store, they apologized and sent a cook to my house with the missing item and a $20 gift card.

Another time, we called ahead to place our order and the computer was down when we went to pick it up. We waited close to 10-15 minutes when the hostess finally came out with our food and gave it to us, free of charge. This was $100 worth of food, that we got for free because we had to wait a bit.

I praise Jim 'N Nick's to everyone I know. We want them to stay around, and with customer service like that who could blame us?

Seriously delicious food. Find one and go!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Best Friend

My best friend is Lisa. We've known each other an insanely long time. Seen each other through teenage years, bad relationships, fights, and losing parents. WE talk on the phone several times a week. When I'm upset, she's the first one I call (after Hubby). When she's upset, she's calling me. We live far apart, but I feel closer to her now that I ever did as kids.

I love her like family. She's is family to me. I'd do almost anything for her.

Lisa & I with our husbands in Vegas, 2004

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Best Cat

My cat, Honey, is seriously the best cat I know.

She's low maintenance. She only meows at her meal time. She almost always coughs up her hairballs on the kitchen floor, not the carpet. She lets us clip her nails, and has only tried to scratch the furniture once.

She gives kisses (when she feels like it), and she tolerates the boys tormenting her.

When people spend anytime with her, they are swayed to get cats of their own.

We adopted her at age 4 from the Irvine Animal Center. She was the only cat to come to me when I called. All the other cats were snobby. She was a 3rd try cat, meaning if we hadn't adopted her, she would have never found a home. We never changed her name, because Honey suited her.

Honey is now 13 (I think) and while not as playful as she used to be, she's a very sweet cat.

Honey Cat, asking for her breakfast

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Best Dream

For some reason, I have always been able to recall my dreams. Even years later, I can recall dreams I had. The best dream I had was of me performing on a stage. I was singing Stupid by Toad The Wet Sprocket, and I hit every note, and it was amazing.

I don't know I chose that song in my dream, or what it all means, but when I think about it, I get a peaceful happy feeling inside.

And that rules.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Best Vacation

I'm hard pressed to pick the best vacation I ever took. I can think of three trips, one solo, one with Hubby, and one with the family. Rather than cop out and list them as three separate posts, I'll post them all here.

Best Solo Trip: Washington, D.C.

me at the Lincoln Memorial

Hands down, this was the most successful trip I took alone. Geoff graciously let me leave him with two small children for a weekend so I could finally visit Kelly in D.C. Wow, what a city. 3 days there wasn't enough time to see everything I wanted to see, and spend enough time with my favorite cousin. Aside from all the fun I had with her, my favorite moment was walking alongside the empty reflecting pond (it was January), just me and a cold winter wind. It was peaceful, and a wonderful experience.

Best Trip As A Couple: Glasgow, Scotland

Botanical Gardens

I still can't believe that I went to Scotland! Even with the misfortunes we had: missing the first day of our trip due to bad Colorado weather and being ill most of the trip (morning sickness unbeknownst to me), Glasgow was everything I wanted it to be. Man it was green! I loved the old buildings, seeing the Clyde river out of our hotel room, the funny restaurant that had pancakes displayed in their front window, and lunching at The Willow Tea Room. If it weren't so pricey, I'd be back in a heartbeat. Sigh, someday.

Best Family Trip: Laguna Beach, California

Group shot on the beach

Renting a cottage 6 blocks from the beach, with a deck that could see the ocean, and 3 rooms that held 4 adults & 4 kids was well worth the price we paid! It was also worth the price to be able to have my boys meet and play with their cousins. Living in Orange County for 4 years, we never took the chance to explore the neat places Laguna Beach offered. This trip we found it wonderful to be able to walk down to the main street and see the unique shops, and dine in new places. It was a wonderful time for all of us.

I hope that in a few years, I'll be able to revisit this list and hopefully have some new competition for best vacation.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Best Job

I've held about eight jobs in my life, but I think my favorite job was working at Hallmark.

I held my position there for about year before we moved away to California. I really enjoyed the people there, and I enjoyed helping people find good cards for people they loved.

The pay was above average, and I hardly ever dreaded going to work. I often think if I ever went back into retail, Hallmark would be one of my top five picks.

My initial boss, Linda, was likely the reason I was so happy there. She recruited me from another job I had, appreciated my skills and was one of the nicest ladies I ever knew. You wouldn't have known that she had lupus, or that when she left her long shifts at Hallmark, she went home to take care of her sick husband. I also made good friends with a girl there name Melanie, who was married the day before Geoff and I. And when her marriage was hitting a rough spot, I was happy I could be her shoulder to cry on.

I've had crappy jobs, crappy bosses too, but Hallmark was always a highlight for me.

Me, working at Hallmark. Apologies for my coworker's bad spelling.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Best Book

I couldn't possibly pick one book as my favorite book. Some books that had affected me in my youth, don't stand up to the woman I am now. At the time, those books captured how I felt, what I was going through, or dreams I had.

The last book that I read that touched me was Between Here And April by Deborah Copaken Kogan. The story dealt with a woman who discovered in therapy she never really understood what had happened to a childhood friend. What I related to most in the book was a mother who felt overwhelmed by motherhood. A woman who would hide from her children because she just couldn't deal with them, and who struggled with post-partum depression in a time when the solution was to medicate it.

I am not sure I ever suffered from PPD, but I felt like if I didn't have a supportive husband, I could have ended up like that woman. Feeling overwhelmed and having nowhere to turn. The writer made me feel for that poor woman.

A book to recommend to anyone? No I would reserve recommending it to other mothers. There are times I am afraid to let people know how overwhelmed by motherhood I get. And too often I think women are afraid to share that with other people, for fear of judgement.

As you can see, the book left an impression me. It left me thinking about it for days after I read it. Was is the best book I ever read? No, but it was the best book for me to read at a time when I needed it.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Month Of Bests

The theme for January's NaBloPoMo is Best. Not intimidating at all, is it? To look over your life, and pick out your best moments, your best achievements and try to do them justice by putting them into words.

I often wish I could express myself by showing someone what is in my head. The images, the feelings, sometimes even the song that is playing through it all.

Forgive me if some days my list seems cliche. For me, this month is to motivate me to write, and hopefully a few posts will be well written and gain me more readers.

Best New Year's Eve? 1998, DisneyWorld with my husband. My wonderful in-laws paid for us to join them & my sister in-law on a vacation to Disneyworld! Hubby and I spent it in Hollywood Studios, and I got to meet one of my fav characters-Eeyore. It was a pretty wonderful time for a pair of poor newlyweds.

Your best New Year's?