Thursday, October 27, 2011

Concert #2 -- (Do NOT laugh)

So, you've read my blog posts about the fun "Girls' Weekends" we have around here now and then -- two of my girlfriends with whom I grew up (Cathy and Kellie) come from MA/RI and NJ respectively and we get our party on. We've done it several times over the past few years and it's always a ton of fun.

I'm so grateful for them and love when we get together. It's special to have friends you've known for over 20 years (in fact, this year marks 25 years for me and Cathy -- I think that deserves some kind of present).


So, during one of our weekends together, we were all hanging out at our house and catching up. During this particular conversation, I learned (or possibly re-learned, since my memory stinks) that Kellie LOVES the New Kids on the Block (hereafter referred to as NKOTB) and is a total groupie (like, TOTAL groupie).

And when I say groupie, I'm talking attending SEVERAL concerts all over the country, often getting backstage passes, getting after-show party tickets, getting pictures with the boys, going on cruises with the boys . . . no, seriously, I KID YOU NOT.

See, I have enough hometown Boston pride to say, "Go New Kids!" But the truth is, Kellie is a couple of years younger than I am. And that means that as teens, that was just enough of an age difference for her to be the right age to LOVE the NKOTB and for Cathy and I to be the right age to like the NKOTB, but mostly mock those who loved them (not that we ever did that to Kellie -- remember, we love Kellie and she is our friend).

But now that we're all in our 30s (and pushing 40), we so totally did not in any way, shape, or form make fun of Kellie for following the NKOTB all over the world like a stalker we are all totally mature enough to respect Kellie's absolute adult decision to pursue a hobby that she enjoys and were all able to talk about it as adults. (Really, we were mostly mature about it, I promise).

So, during this conversation while I was picking my jaw up off the floor, I also learned that my PA friend Kristie (who I've known for a few years and who I did not know as a teen) also loved the NKOTB. She is about Kellie's age, so that would make sense. And, for the record, we were totally mature about that, too, and did not in any way, shape, or form, laugh at her description of the NKOTB poster-plastered walls of her teenage bedroom.

Well, so Kellie bought tickets to umpteen (it's a real number - look it up) concerts and each time, she'd buy 1 or 2 extra tickets because she knew she'd always find someone to go with her (and she did -- EVERY time). She, for the Hershey concert, had bought 3 tickets. I asked who was going and she said whoever wanted to. Kristie jumped at it. I couldn't even begin to imagine myself going to a NKOTB concert at all.

Turns out she had figured that she, Cathy, and I would go to the Hershey concert together, but since Cathy was already going to the Boston concert (at Fenway Park no less!) with Kellie, she opted out of the Hershey concert. That left 1 ticket and only 1 of us not going to any of the concerts.

Kristie wanted me to go and Kellie wanted me to go. They both love the NKOTB. I relented and went, less because of the NKOTB (other than the childhood nostalgia factor), and more because I wanted to see my two NKOTB-crazed friends in this setting. I could not believe I was going to do this. Until then, I could proudly say that I had only ever gone to concerts for singers I REALLY loved (Chicago, Harry Connick, Jr., and Michael Bublé), but New Kids?!?!?

Turns out? It was A BLAST. They were touring with the Back Street Boys (BSB), so it was the NKOTBSB tour. And the opening act? Matthew Morrison of Glee fame. I was actually more excited about the opening act than the show itself, but I was super excited to have fun with my two friends, seeing them happy and having fun at a concert they were so excited about.

What I didn't know is how much fun *I* would have. And I so did!

(Oh yeah, and we had WICKED close seats -- thank goodness Kellie brought ear plugs, because we were RIGHT under the speakers and totally needed them!)

Kel, me, Kristie

Me and Kellie --
look how close we were to the front!

Matthew Morrison was fun, but confused me
- he kept saying it was so hot (it was),
but he never once took off his shirt. :P

Me and Kristie


The cute lead singers of each boy band
(No offense to Kellie's heart throb, Mr. Donnie Wahlberg)

The girls went crazy for Nick Carter
(And holy moly did those boys work the stage).

NKOTB in their Celtics jerseys -
The Right Stuff!

Kristie totally channeled her 13-year-old self
with squeals and screams when one of the NKOTB
(and not even her favorite one)
came out near us in the audience.

One of the many things that amazed me
was how many young teens
still dig these boy bands!
I had no idea . . .

Hangin' Tough -
these boys still have all the old moves
as well as several new ones -
they made sure the audience knew
the New Kids were, ahem, all grown up.
(And don't even get me started on the BSB).

I had a GREAT time and I'm so glad I went. Thank you, Kellie, for still loving the NKOTB and sharing them with the rest of us!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Working Titles

It's that time of year again -- NaNoWriMo! There is great excitement at our house over this. I don't know what hypes the children more sometimes, this or the holidays. It's HUGE around here. Anyway, everyone is super excited. Mark and I are working on a book together this year and the kids are each working on a book themselves.

Here are the titles we have for our books (working titles anyway) -- let's play the game we played this past year with our first lines. Guess whose book title belongs to whom:

Mancer Answer Book 1: Time for School

The Secret Keeper

A Cherry Pie, an Iguana, a Silver Dollar, and a Spitball Fight

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recent Reads

Besides watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls, I've also been doing a fair amount of reading.

A few books I've recently read:

Water for Elephants -- loved it, loved it, LOVED it!

The Help
-- Excellent! Great characters -- missed them when I was done.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
-- reserving comments on this one
(it's one of the books in the SIL book club my MIL gave us all for Christmas, so I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't gotten it yet)

The Best Halloween Ever
-- fun read for this time of year; it's written by Barbara Robinson of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" fame; her Christmas book is better, but this one is okay

Currently reading:

The Book Thief -- jury's still out; I'm intrigued -- I've heard good things and it's an interesting concept, but not loving the guy's writing style so far . . .

Have you read any good books lately?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Rainbow of Random Musings


Love it! I love that Simon Cowell has the moxie to create a competing hit show and pit it against his previous hit show. Genius! This one is a keeper. They don't waste too much of our time with stupid, attention-seeking auditions. Instead, they show us real people with real stories who can actually sing. Novel concept. They have the VERY good sense to get the lovely Paula Abdul back on the panel (oh, how I love Paula Abdul!). And that L.A. Reid guy? And Nicole Scherzinger? Love them. L.A. is a class act. And Nicole is super nice. The acts are so good -- so varied and interesting. I already have favorites in all four categories.

That being said, what a petulant, spoiled BABY Simon Cowell is! He creates a show, makes the rules, and then blatantly ignores them so he can have his pet projects on his team.

He chooses whiny, obnoxious divas that he insists are good (they're not), puts them through (against the counsel of all the other judges), kicks ACTUAL talent out, then says, "Oops. I made a mistake," and invites an extra contestant back?!? No way! BABY. Such a petulant BABY.


I've been sick with a head/sinus thing AND allergies (yeah, double whammy). I hate being sick. I'm a pretty miserable sick person. I complain and whine and generally want to be babied. That's right. At least I own it.

Amazing Race

LOVE this show.
But man oh man, they have had REALLY boring teams the past couple of years.


Our school year is going SO well. We are busy and happy. I love that we can spend every day together, go on field trips as a family, do whatever we want whenever we want, get together with friends on nice days, take classes on whatever interests us, play games, cook food. I love our life! Our day-to-day studies at home are really fun -- the kids are learning all kinds of neat things and we're reading so many good books together.

Our homeschool group is awesome -- we have so many neat families in the group, so many good friends . . . we are doing a lot of fun things like field trips, cultural fairs, science fairs, service, roller skating/bowling/mini-golf/lazer tag outings, lectures/classes, parties, dances, fun projects, etc.

And the kids are involved in some REALLY neat groups:

Both are taking:
Art Classes
Tae Kwon Do
Book Clubs (they're each in their own book club)
Yoga Classes
"20 Things" Research Club
YMCA Swim/Gym Group
Dungeons & Dragons Group
Teen Night (we host it)
Glee Club

Thing 1 is taking:
Horsemanship Class
Violin (Individual, Group, and she's in a feeder group for the local symphony)

Thing 2 is taking:
Drums (he just started lessons and got his own drum set!)


We are completely taken with our dog. We absolutely LOVE her. She is so much fun, so feisty, so snuggly, so loving, SO FUN. We totally adore her. I'm so incredibly glad that we have her. I could've written a book about how I didn't want a dog. So glad we got one anyway.

A few days ago, Thing 1 came in from the backyard in tears and said, "I don't see Scout!" I said, "WHAT?!?!" and BOLTED to the backyard as all kinds of thoughts flashed before my eyes. I was literally shaking all over and running as fast as I could to jump into action. We have a fenced-in backyard and she has never gotten out. Well, apparently, one of the gates was opened a bit (seriously, never happens), and she had investigated. I was beside myself with worry and wanted to find her as soon as possible (sooner!). When I saw the open gate, I was about to totally freak out (we live on a busy street, I didn't want her getting lost, etc.), but I saw Mark saying, "It's okay. I've got her."

She had gone to the front yard and was standing by the mailbox near our car and looking at the house. Mark called her in and she came running (THANK GOODNESS!!). She wasn't fazed at all, but it scared the crud out of me. I slept horribly that night -- couldn't stop thinking about it. We were all shaken by it and are so glad she's okay. Have I mentioned we totally, totally love her?
Love. Her.

The Johnsons

We miss the Johnsons.
That is all.


My SIL Emily recently posted about an embarrassing moment (no, it's okay that I'm drawing attention to it --seriously, she's kind of excited about it, thinks it's funny . . . it's all good). So, I commented and it totally turned into me thinking out loud about it and wondering and philosophizing and I am still wondering,
"What is it (exactly) that causes embarrassment?"
I really want to know.
I've been thinking about it every since.
We get embarrassed by things we don't do on purpose (see my comment on her blog).
So, anyway, why is that?
I'd love to hear thoughts on this.

I'm done.

Gilmore Girls Tribute

So, we just finished the series yesterday. How had I missed this show?!?

We started season 1 this past summer and then watched all of seasons 2-6 in two months. I know!

I'm so glad that we didn't watch this show when it was on, because waiting a whole week between episodes? Torture! I absolutely love this show.

And though Lorelai and Rory should each weigh about 300 pounds the way they eat, there are so so so many thing to love!

I love . . .

Stars Hollow, CT.

that the dog's name is Paul Anka.

that Luke is a stand-up guy underneath all that grump.

Mrs. Kim!

to be annoyed by Taylor Doose.

the quick-witted references to everything from books to people to movies.

Luke's backward baseball cap.

Lorelai's mother-daughter-friend relationship with Rory.

town meetings.

how cute Dean is.

the road trips.

Paris's "Tie your tubes, idiot!" line.

Pretty much any of Paris's lines.

Emily's annoyance with everyone, especially her revolving-door collection of maids.

that Sebastian Bach was part of Lane's band.

the wrap-around porch on Lorelai's house.

all the Ivy-League School references.

Luke's love of his dad.

and that he keeps the "hardware" sign up even though it's a diner.

the town square.

all the family dynamics.

that I grew up near so many towns and places they mention.

that Paris and Emily Gilmore had some of the BEST lines.

being addicted to Michel Gerard.

how Lorelai calls Rory "kid."

Luke's "no cell phones" rule.

Rory's hair.

the constant coffee references.

how much everyone walks around the town.

Lorelai's (mostly) pretty dresses (except that ugly one that looked like Santa Claus).

the floorboards and closet in Lane's room.

Miss Patty hitting on every cute guy she saw.

Lorelai's love of snow and her ability to smell it.

how the characters lived in two worlds simultaneously -- rich-privileged and lowbrow-simple.

all the town festivals and traditions.

going from total annoyance at Jess to later wishing he'd return.

how Babbette yells everything she says.

Richard and Emily Gilmore and Friday Night Dinners.

Sookie and her infectious giggle.

going through a love-hate thing with Christopher.

Rory's friendship with Lane.

Paul Anka's quirkiness.

the huge mother-daughter issues between Emily and Lorelai.

all the fantastic and obscure music references!

the name "Pennilyn Lott."

the Dragonfly Inn!

having a love-hate thing for Logan.

Jackson's major ball drop story line.

that Lorelai's "cooking" is take-out.

Al's Pancake World.

Luke's relationship with April.

the series finale (I was getting worried, but I loved it!).

What do you love about Gilmore Girls?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Concert #1 - Michael Buble (yes, again)

Only this time, we took the kids! We're officially groupies. :P Granted, I haven't been as many times as the lady in the front row, who was wearing a "This is my 7th concert - can I have a hug?" t-shirt, but I'm so doing that when I am (and yes, she got a hug, as did the guy whose girlfriend made him a t-shirt to commemorate his 13th concert).

I can't think of many more famous people I'd like to see in concert multiple times. Michael Bublé is nothing short of INCREDIBLE. Seriously, look it up. The reviews he's getting of his "Crazy Love" tour are Phe-NOMENAL. I read a whole bunch of them and every word made me sooooooooooooo glad I saw him on tour. TWICE no less!

So, Mark and I enjoyed the concert so much when we went the first time, that when we were telling friends how amazing (seriously, AMAZING!) Michael Bublé is, and looked up YouTube videos of concert clips to show them, were reminded again how great he is in concert, and decided we just had to go again and that we had to take the kids (and I don't throw the words "have to" around lightly either). This concert tour was not to be missed!

So, we looked up his tour dates and locations and contemplated many options near us (pretty much anywhere in New England or the mid-Atlantic region). We decided to travel to Wilkes-Barre, PA on June 8th and make an overnight of it. It was our first time away from Scout (and man oh man, did we miss her like crazy!) -- our awesome friends checked in on her for us both days -- they gave her lots of tummy rubs and attention, which she loves!

So! We got ready . . .

made an awesome sign for the kids . . .

and drove a couple of hours to get to our destination with plenty of time to go out to dinner beforehand.

Here we are at where we thought we would eat


Okay, funny story time (everything between the dashes is the story. If you want to skip it, scroll down). So, we go to this restaurant that we had found online beforehand. It had good reviews of its food and it was close enough that we could see the concert arena from the window while seated at our table. It was packed but they seated us pretty quickly. They brought us drinks and chips and salsa and we ordered our food (oh, were we ever excited for some good Mexican food).

Our waitress was a dipstick. She was very nice, but the whole experience was a comedy of errors. For starters, she introduced herself while grunting. I couldn't figure out what was wrong and then I realized she was trying to pull her pen out of her apron (unsuccessfully). So, she grabbed another pen to write our order and it wouldn't write. I told her she needed new pens.

After over 20 minutes of waiting for our food, I began to get nervous about time. I did not want to be late for the concert, especially since the opening act was so good. I wanted us in our seats when it started. More time went by and I really started getting antsy. We nicely told our waitress that we didn't mean to be a bother, but we were kind of in a hurry because we were trying to get to a concert. She responded that everyone was trying to get to the concert. Not helpful.

Yet more time passed and we alternated between hoping every dish being carried out of the kitchen would be ours and looking for her so we could ask her how much longer it would be.

After more time, she walked by (huzzah!), so we asked how long our food would be and she said, "I don't know."

"Well, could you find out?"

"Oh, I don't know if I could."

I didn't want to tell her how to do her job or anything, nor did I want to state the obvious, but our conversation was rapidly going nowhere, so I suggested she ask in the kitchen.

"Oh, they won't tell me."

(What?? Was it top secret? Was it a surprise? Was it too freaking much to ask??)

I was so stunned, I didn't even know what to say next. So, after a while, I came up with the genius move to simply repeat what she had just said, but as a question.

"They won't tell you?"

"Nope." She had that spacey, far off, slightly frazzled, pained, dippy look again.

Desperate to get to the concert on time and to extract any useful information from this woman, I had to come up with something.

"Well, could you tell them that your table wants to know?"

"Well, I could. But they won't tell me."

"So if you go in there and ask them, they just won't tell you?"

"Yeah, they just pretend they don't see me and they don't answer."

"They don't answer you?"

"Yeah, they never do."

I just sat there, blinking stupidly. At this point, I was ready to go in the kitchen and ask them myself. I hated that I was even having this inane conversation. I'm not a belligerent person and I wasn't even sure how to have this conversation (how can you keep repeating the same thing over and over again without feeling like you're making the other person look stupid?). Plus, more time was passing and our food was still not coming out of that swinging kitchen door.

I should've clued in when I saw her take 15 minutes to split a check at the next table over. I witnessed that while we waited for our food. They seemed anxious to get on their way to the concert, too. But they were gone now and we still didn't even have our plates!

She was gone again. We had agreed on a time at which it would be too late to sit there and eat -- we figured we'd just box it and go and eat in the car while we parked. Well, that time had passed and still no food. Not even any to box!

Yet more time passed and she finally walked by again.

"Look, I don't mean to be a bother, but we really want to get to the concert and are just wondering how much longer it will be."

She shrugged with that doe-eyed look and said, "I don't know." Only, this time she added with a wave of her arm to a neighboring table, "They've been waiting an hour and a half and they still don't have their food!"

That was it. An hour and a half?!? We were so done. I just told her we were really sorry but we had to go. I felt badly. I mean, it wasn't her fault (and I told her that), but we had to go. We didn't pay good money for concert tickets to just sit there waiting for food and missing the show! We left her a tip and hoped she wouldn't get in trouble (though they'd have to talk to her to do that).

She asked if I could let them know up front. Uh, okay. We jumped up from the table and high tailed it out of there. It was a pretty full restaurant and right after we got up, I saw the kitchen door swing open and people came out carrying more food. I was following the waitress to the front of a very crowded and loud restaurant, my husband and kids right behind me. I sort of pointed to the food and wondered out loud if that was ours, but kept walking.

I told the host at the front of the restaurant, apologized, told them it wasn't our waitress's fault, explained that we have NEVER walked out of a restaurant before (never!), but we had waited for over 45 minutes for our food (they really should've told people there was that kind of delay) and we really needed to leave. They said okay, but didn't look happy. I felt justified, but also was embarrassed by the whole situation and just wanted OUT of there.

So, we stepped outside and walked quickly to our van. Well, I did. I turned, saying something to Mark, and noticed that he and the kids weren't outside with me. I was mortified. Had they stopped to use the bathroom? Had someone stopped them to talk to them? Didn't they know we were storming out and making a statement?

I texted Mark, "Where are you?!"

I was standing outside our van (Mark had the keys) waiting for a bit. I looked up and saw them exiting the restaurant, shaking their heads.

"Where were you?"

"We were sitting at our table!"

"What?! Why?!?"

"You pointed at the table. I thought you wanted me to sit there."

"What? No, I didn't."

We both quickly figured out that when I pointed at the food coming out of the kitchen and wondered out loud if it was ours, he thought I was saying to sit and wait.

Mark went on to explain, "The waitress came back and said, 'You can go. Your wife went outside.'"

We busted up laughing at how ridiculous this whole situation was. We also noticed the backed-up traffic at the arena as everyone tried to get in and park. What a fiasco our "dinner" had been!

We knew we needed to eat something since we'd be at the concert until 11 or so. We drove around a little bit looking for anything quick but healthy (a Subway, for example). We even rolled down our windows to ask locals for suggestions. All they could suggest was McDonald's. Blech. We hadn't eaten fast food in almost a year, thanks to "Food, Inc." and "Supersize Me."

We were opposed to the idea, but with no options left (how has this country not yet demanded healthier food from a window?!?), we very reluctantly decided to just get something there at least to "take the edge off."

Here we are getting "dinner" (gag)

The kids and I all got a dollar burger and a value fry to share. Mark, wisely, passed on all of it. His plan to go without food rather than eat this crap was so much smarter than ours. I was trying to be positive about it, but this really did smell and look (and taste) gross. Our kids each took one bite and that was it. Thing 1 said, "The meat of a thousand cattle!" (a fact we learned in Food, Inc.). I said, "Oh man! Thanks a lot. I had forgotten that!" She thought she was so funny. Thing 2 looked sick and just shook his head and said, "I feel like I have a brick in my stomach." I had taken a bite and promptly wished I hadn't.

Anyone who knows us KNOWS that I am loathe to throw out food. I will go to great lengths to save leftovers and spruce them up, if needs be, to make another meal and not waste food. So you know it's bad when I say we threw all 3 burgers (and the fries) into the trash. And we all felt disgusting. We popped mints and figured we'd just get something after the concert. I was totally envying Mark at that point. By choice, he hadn't eaten any of it. I wished I hadn't.

One good thing to come of this was learning how truly done we are with fast food. Between watching those 2 movies (seriously, watch the movies -- you won't eat there either), followed by a year of not eating fast food, we were officially done with the golden arches. And it was totally our kids' choice! We've told them that if they want to eat it once in a while, they can. But they choose to opt out. Amazing!


Anyway, the food that night? Quite an adventure. But on to bigger and better things. Namely, MICHAEL BUBLÉ!!

First off, let me say we got tickets for some pretty great seats on the floor (Stubhub is awesome). While Thing 1 and I used the restroom before the show, a nice couple offered 2 front-row seats to Mark and Thing 2. (Well, they thought they were front row -- turns out it was a few rows back from that, but still! They had gotten comp tickets from their buddy who works security). We stayed in our regular seats for the opening act -- Naturally 7. GREAT a cappella group. Lots of fun. Thing 2 especially loves that kind of music, so he enjoyed them a lot.

Since it was their first big concert experience, I wanted to capture their reaction to the loud music and excitement of it all. Here's what I got:

LOL! They seemed a bit overwhelmed at first. But in no time, they totally got into it and were dancing and moving and having a great time.

I'm pretty opinionated about concert behavior. I don't understand the logic of going to a concert to just SIT THERE and not move! If that's all people want to do, why don't they just buy a DVD of the singer and watch it in their living room?!? It's a CONCERT. It's loud. It's live. You're there. The performer is there. It's an experience. Move. Stand up. Dance. Yell. Sing. Drives me crazy when people just sit there. Dull, dull, dull, boring people. GET UP! (And can you imagine how crappy it must be for the performer feeding off that "energy?" Yikes.).

I'm pleased to say that as the night wore on, the kids got into the spirit of things (which is more than I can say for most of the rest of the crowd--I had noticed this at the first MB concert and was starting to get perturbed by PA audiences). While I love to be in a place where the group energy matches my own excitement and enjoy being with people who get into things, when surrounded by dull and boring people, I don't let it get me down -- I just ignore them and have a good time (and quietly feel homesick for Boston folk).

And at one point in the concert, when Thing 1 and I were totally dancing and having a good time, Michael Bublé himself pointed at us from the stage and widened his eyes and opened his mouth with a happy, surprised look to see us having so much fun. Yeah, that's right. He loves us.

Anyway, after Naturally 7 (great opening act) . . .

. . . there was a short break.

So, we got a picture of our family
and then decided that two of us would go ahead
and grab those seats that we had been given
on the front row (well, closer anyway).

Some of our concert photos

In Michael Bublé's own words, his concert is "bombastic" and it's true! It's easily the most amazing show I've ever seen. Ever. (To read more about the concert itself, check my earlier post -- it was basically the same format with only a few minor differences: he was scruffier this time and he had switched out one of his set list songs to include his latest single "Hollywood."). LOVED it!

Here we are well into the concert. The crowd was also more into it. How could you not be? PHENOMENAL!

Thing 2 and Mark --
turns out there were empty seats right behind
where Thing 1 and I had moved up
to those seats we'd been given.

Me with Thing 1 -
having SO much fun!

Me, with the couple who had given us the tickets -
they were super nice and a lot of fun

Remember how I touched Michael Bublé at the first concert?
Well, Thing 1 got a turn this time!
We're so excited!
He held her hand while singing and totally smiled at her.
(In the picture, he's messing with one of the girls who gave us the tickets --
apparently, he loved her hat).

My and Mark's absolute favorite part of the concert -
at the end, while you're distracted by the trumpeter
in the back playing in the audience
(so your back is turned to the stage),
they draw the curtains to hide all the staging
and lights and set
and it is simply one light on one person --
and Michael Bublé stands there
and belts out a solo
with no amplification at all
It's incredible.
Plus, he's singing "Song for You"
so the lyrics are so so fitting.
Totally gives you chills.
You just stand there, awestruck.

I'll show you a video clip of it -- seriously, the guy is a consummate performer. He's easy on the eye, has a crazy, confident, sexy stage presence, and he interacts with HUGE audiences as if he mingling in a crowd of close friends. He finds a way to make it feel intimate. LOVE this guy. DO NOT MISS a chance to see him. I can't say that enough. He's just amazing. Love him!

(Sorry it's sideways, but you get the idea).

We had a fantastic time and it's the kind of concert you're always sad to see end. We reluctantly left and found our hotel. Everything was closed, but we found a pizza place that would deliver after midnight, so we got some pasta primavera bowls, cheesy breadsticks, and wings, and had our own after-party in our hotel. It was fun. We all went to sleep SUPER tired, but very happy.

All in all, a GREAT 1st concert experience for the kids . . . despite the lousy dinner. :P

One more number . . .


The number of concerts I have to report on.
Oh yes, it's been a fun, eventful summer.
More to come . . .

House Guests and Concerts - the numbers

Yep, that sums up our summer pretty nicely -- that and a very nice week at the beach.

I'll post about concerts in the next post.

I've posted some about our house guests (though, really, there's so much more to share and post!). Mark and I did a little number crunching just out of curiosity and here's what we came up with:

For 2011 (so far) . . .

We've had 23 unique house guests.

Number of nights we've had guests (nights/person): 167 nights

Number of days we've had guests (days/person): 237 days

We've got more coming, too -- possibly some more cousins (we hope!) and definitely Mark's parents for Thanksgiving, so that's 4 more unique house guests and several more days and nights.

We say BRING IT! We really enjoy it. I've had some friends groan and tell me how miserable and stressful they think it must be to have all these guests, but honestly, we love it.

Sure, it can be a lot and, if you don't like your guests, I'm sure that could be annoying (reminds me of an old Portuguese wives' tale/trick I learned in Lisbon -- if you have guests that you wish would leave, simply stand a broom upside down behind a door and it is believed they'll leave). But I am happy to report that we have not turned our broom upside down a single time.

I'm not going to lie -- September has been kind of nice and quiet and relaxing, but we really, truly enjoy having everyone visit. It's a lot of fun! I'm glad we have the space and flexibility (and great location- so much to do and see here) to make it work so well.

Anyone else care to visit? :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Things Kids Say


"I’m glad we have a family where we all treat each other nicely." – (On 9/15/11, as I helped him clean up an "owie" -- not his word there; just have no idea what a grown-up word for "owie" is anymore). :P


“There are good and bad things about growing up. The good things are things like having more responsibilities, like being able to make cookies by yourself. The bad things are things like having to shower every day.” – (On 10/2/2011, while making a batch of cookies by herself).

I LOVE that she can make cookies by herself for all of us!! This is AWESOME!