Monday, November 30, 2015

Miami Getaway

Once I decided I was going to meet my friend Lance in Las Vegas back in October, it took Brent all of about 2 minutes for start plotting a getaway of his own.  He and his brother, Glenn, decided to meet up and visit his best friend, Leonel, in Miami.







While it was all rainbow skylines, beautiful beaches, trendy restaurants, hip clubs, and champagne brunches for them (with a little bit of rain, poor babies), Joseph and I held our own back at home.  The poor guy had to sit in my office while I worked Saturday morning, but we shared plenty of other quality time together, including a lunch date at California Tortilla with double steak nachos, a sleepover in Daddy's room, and lots and lots of board games.



Joe Joe has also recently become enamored with soup (weird, but true), so when I asked what he wanted for dinner and he said chicken noodle soup, we made it together from scratch.



Aside from spending nearly every waking minute with Joseph, our baby Simon was also well cared for in Papa's absence.  I know he was enjoying Stephen Amell and Arrow even though he appears to be napping in my lap.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Clean Plate Club

Thanksgiving 2015:



Such amazingly good food all around this year!  One of our many contributions to the meal, and the real reason Brent will never leave me, is this caramel pecan tart.


We also brought along salted caramel brownies, spinach artichoke dip, the famous Jones family creamed corn, and our standard andouille cornbread stuffing.  Many thanks to our hosts, Shami & Greg!



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sei and the City

With our boys in school all day and our weekends filled with tons of activities, Missy and just I don't get together anywhere near enough anymore.  I suggested we meet up downtown for lunch one afternoon last week, and we wound up choosing Sei in Gallery Place.  I'm not sure we're hip enough for "modern Asian cuisine," but it was beyond fun lunching in the city with my best girl!  No kids, no crafts, just lunch and laughs!






Sunday, November 15, 2015

Jell-eaux

The northerner in me wants to ask why on Earth this even exists, but the part of me that married into a southern family knows better than to bother.




Despite our themed Jell-O jigglers and Tigers attire, LSU lost to Alabama last weekend.  At least we can say it's not for lack of team spirit.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Counterproductive

Among the worst ways to get rid of extra Halloween candy?  Make cookies with it.  Because then you have to eat both candy and cookies, which is completely counterproductive.

I'm not really a fan of plain M&M's, but M&M cookies?  Soooooo good!  And really fun to make with your kid.








These babies are HUGE!  So big we had to share with the neighbors and freeze some for later.  Great recipe from Joy of Baking website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Class of '85

After 25 years, I finally went to my first ever college reunion last year, so it had to happen sooner or later - my first every high school reunion!  How has it been three decades since high school?!?!  I can't possibly be that old.  I surely don't feel it, and hopefully don't look it!

I went to a small, all boys' Catholic high school in northern New Jersey, which was somewhat unique in that it was separated from a small, all girls' Catholic high school by a big, thick wall and the heaviest door you can imagine.  Today it's a co-ed school, but back in the day we could only associate with each other before and after school or for 10 minutes after lunch.  The boys were never allowed on the girls' side but the girls were allowed to visit us in front of the cafeteria.  The girls had (hideous) uniforms and the boys just had a dress code - collared shirt, no sneakers or jeans, no hair longer than your collar.

As you can see in my senior picture, I pushed that rule about the hair to the limit - and you can't even see that I had a tail that was tucked inside my collar.  So bad!  But it was cool at the time, as apparently were super skinny ties and Sun-In'd hair (or maybe that was just me?).  We shopped at the cheesiest store called Chess King and wore Capezio shoes and parachute pants, and listened to Madonna, Prince, and Wham! on cassette tapes.  Maybe it is possible that I am that old.



In all honesty, I was pretty sure I was going to pass on the reunion.  I was traveling to Las Vegas the weekend before, I had to prep for Halloween the weekend after, I haven't seen a soul from high school in a good 25 years....  At the last minute I emailed 2 of my best friends from high school to see if they were considering going, confidant that there wasn't a chance in the world.  Yet within a few days we had all committed and made a pact to meet up.

I haven't seen Mike or Cara in ages, but we've been reconnecting these past few years with email and Facebook, and I could not wait to see them again.  Mike was my best friend, and I *might* have had a serious secret crush on him and followed him around like a puppy dog; Cara and I became close because I dated her best friend, Jackie, whom no one has heard from, ever again.  We tried to get Cara and Mike together, but that wasn't happening.

It's amazing that after so many years of not being in touch, there was still an incredible ease about our friendship.  We met up in advance and talked like no time had passed, even though we've pretty much lived full lives in the interim, with college, grad school, careers and families.  I must say, the three of us have aged pretty well!  Different clothes, different hair, same personalities.  How was I ever that skinny?






We were all so excited to hear that "Stan the Man," another of our closest friends, was rumored to be reappearing too.  Stan, Mike and I had all toured Boston College together, but Mike went off to Weslyan while Stan and I headed to BC.  We were even supposed to be roommates Sophomore year, but the week before school started Stan dropped out and vanished into thin air, and I was never able to track him down again.  You have to remember, back then we kept in touch by writing letters.  As in "snail mail."  We had to wait weeks to hear from one another.  We also had to pay for a long distance phone call.  There were no cell phones, text messages, Skype or Face time, no emails, Facebook, or any kind of social media.  Jeez, there was no internet! It's amazing we survived what with all the dinosaurs still roaming around.

My friend Darlene (all the way on the right) found this old picture of us with Stan, lined up in the same order (with Cara in the upper picture and Rob and Monica in the lower).  Stan looks fantastic, and he is still the most genuinely nice guy.  Turns out he lives near where my parents now live, so hopefully we'll meet up again.  Darlene had brought some of the old letters we had written to her, and we had so many good laughs over those.  Monica brought our yearbook and had everyone at the reunion sign the back cover.





One more person I was so happy to see was my friend Frank, who was one of the people that organized the reunion.  He and his partner Vinnie were such fun to hang out with that I'm sure we'll be keeping in touch.  It was great catching up with so many other people, especially when I didn't even think I had that many friends in high school.  (I was valedictorian and voted most intelligent, which generally = nerd.  At least people knew who I was to vote for me, right?)  I do wish a few others had made it, like my friend Jim who had sent me the picture below of us with Mike.  I had dinner with him a few years ago when he was in DC on business, and he's still a great guy as well.  What would life had been like with all of us if it was as easy to keep in touch as it is today???



Here's the class of '85, then and now.  If you enlarge the top pic, you might be able to make out me holding up the "Y" in "crazy."  Yes, Purple Rain was the a big part of the soundtrack of our youth, and Let's go crazy! was a perfect song for a graduating class.



Mike, Cara, Stan, Rob and I were just about the last people to leave.  We went back to our hotel and shared more wine and memories, then even went out to the diner at 3AM.  I cannot even process how much fun I had with them! We drank way too much, danced like fools, and stayed up half the night talking about life.  It was all the joy of my formative years but without any mean girls, bullies or teenage angst.  I think we're all thrilled to be back in touch and may have to plan some regular mini-reunions of our own from now on.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

B & C

There are so many kids on our block and so many of them with October birthdays.  As the kids get older it's been getting harder for their parties to be inclusive of everyone, as they are all in different grades and have different school friends, and (although it's sad but true) the boys don't want to hang out with the girls so much anymore.  We haven't had as much of an issue with Joseph having a summer birthday since all the school kids are not so keenly aware of his party, and a lot of them are out of town anyway.  Many of the neighbors are starting to just have the all the kids over for cupcakes or something on their child's actual birthday, and handling the party separately.  I missed a bunch of parties this year due to travel, but at least I was here for Ben and Chloe's actual birthdays.  They're like Joseph's brother and sister from another mother and father.



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Baller

Mimi was here for a visit over Columbus Day weekend last month, but I was stuck working most of the time and didn't take any pictures while she was here.  On her way back home, Mimi very sweetly stopped and bought Joseph a much needed basketball and football.  (On her way here, she brought him a new Saints shirt, which he is wearing here, and about a million more times since.)



Joseph has decided he wants to sign up for basketball this winter, so we've been practicing some skills here and there when the weather is nice, using the hoop in the alley behind Ethan's house.  As you can see, we're also working on some football skills.  Check out that little move he does with his leg every time before he throws the football.