Tag Archives: Life

Farewell Gramps


My grandpa is dying. Yes, he’s been “dying” for a long time. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 2 years ago and it has slowly been spreading into all of his other organs including his bladder, kidneys, and bones. He’s had a few falls and had to have surgery on his brain at least twice. Through all this he has been on almost NO medication his entire life. He has been a huge proponent of vitamins and took at least 30 of them daily for the last 30 years. Up until the last 3 years he was still going on regular cruises (with his girlfriend!), snorkeling in Cancun (for my wedding!), traveling the country to see all the National Parks, and up until about a year and a half ago — still driving! Oh, did I mention he is 98 1/2 years old? He has lived through two world wars (he was born at the tail end of WWI) and fought courageously during WWII. He served a total of 34 years of combined service as he retired from the FAA in 1973. He is an amazing man.

He has been one of the luckiest to have made it to almost 100 and not lost even a shred of who he was. He is sharp as a tack. No, sharper. He has never forgotten a name or a face, be that a person he shared his time with on his ship, the USS Portland or a long gone horse that belonged to a relative some 40 years ago. He is still there even as he battles for every breath and every beat of his heart and lies there with over 30 members of his broken but still loving and supportive family surrounding him. I sit here and I wonder if that is a blessing or a curse? Would it have been nicer to have been able to check out a while ago while waiting for your ridiculously stubborn body to finally give in to cancer? Or is having your mind 100% (maybe 98%) the way to go in the end?

Up until 2 days ago when he had a stroke and a seizure, we had to lie about giving him morphine for his pain because even at this stage of his death, he’s conscious enough that he didn’t like the idea of morphine. Until recently he thought that the 2 ibuprofen that he took every other day lasted and was all he ever needed for pain. That’s the power of the mind right there!

Despite all this and how he truly is one of the greatest persons on the earth that I’ve ever met (not without faults of course because who isn’t?), I can say that I am ready for his death. I do not like to sound selfish for for the last several years, every single holiday has been deemed his last “fill in the blank” and it has this weird cloud hanging over it. And then of course it wasn’t. I can’t imagine how that has felt for him and I’m sure that even though his body has been tough and as strong as it possibly could, it must get old to see just another holiday, another birthday, and be the last of your friends, the last of your shipmates, the last of your siblings…. the very last of everybody in your generation to survive. To have outlived your wife by almost 20 years and now your girlfriend of almost the same to be almost completely demented, might as well have outlived her, too.

Living to 100 must be an amazing “accomplishment” (is that a thing when talking about life’s longevity?) but it must also be very depressing. I’m ready for him to go. I will be sad, yes. You know I’m an atheist, so I don’t have any delusions that I’m going to be reunited with him, which is why I am glad I have been lucky enough to have had an amazing 31 years with him here on earth. I wish him peace now. And I hope that our broken family is able to get through this as peacefully and amicably as possible, although my hopes are very very small as there is a world of shit happening behind the scenes that is only going to blow up as soon as he actually does go.

Farewell, Gramps.

Finn’s 2nd Birthday Party


I’m playing a little catch-up. This year was all about simple and easy. We tried to make Finn’s 2nd birthday as wonderful and as memorable as we could make it. A big plus was that he got not shots! No shots until his 4th birthday I don’t think. I had the day off work and we went to the doctor with Grandma and then we went out to eat for Mexican food at Serrano’s for dinner because his big party with his friends wasn’t until that Friday (his birthday fell on a Wednesday). He didn’t do so well at dinner and we ended up having to leave as soon as we got our food… such is life with a newly two year old! His cousin, Annie was staying with us that week for Karate Camp so she was there that night and they had a blast outside in the parking lot! We did come home and have a little chocolate cake (because that’s his favorite).


His actual party was held at Jumpstreet… an indoor trampoline park where the kids can “monkey around” all they want. It was a relatively expensive little party, but I was thankful not to have to do a whole lot for it, unlike his first birthday which we went all out for. I made a quick Curious George (although the rest of the party didn’t have much to do with that – ha!) invitation in Illustrator which I emailed out to his best buds and family, booked it with the coordinator, and then we showed up. We brought a cake from Costco and they provided and served it along with pizza. Easy peasy.


Finn got sick literally hours before his party and had without a doubt, the biggest meltdown of his life once we got there. Part of it was him being sick, the other part was trying to keep him out of places he wasn’t old enough to go into yet, and just the combination of this big new place with lots of screaming kids and loud noises and it was a recipe for disaster. But it turned out okay. He wasn’t too keen on jumping on the trampoline but loved the giant blow up slide that looked like an alligator.

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These were the thank you’s that I made, printed at my work, and mailed out about a month afterwards. Not too bad for me considering our Christmas thank you’s were five months late!

Finn's Thank You

Mother’s Day and Curious George

I think I said all I need to say about parenting and being a mom on my previous post so here’s pics from my Mother’s Day 2014. I had this thought as we were watching Curious George the other day (as we do everyday). I’m really happy that it is Finn’s favorite show because it’s mine, too. I love that the Man with the Yellow Hat never gets mad at George even through all the mischief he causes. He never yells at him or gets angry. He’s a constant reminder to me that Finn is just curious and isn’t maliciously causing mischief. He’s genuinely curious and learning about the world because that’s his job and it’s my job to be more understanding of that. I need to do a better job of that (patience!) and be a better mom.

Dan made me, my mom, and his mom brunch. We had a yummy Mexican egg/chorizo dip, biscuits & gravy, waffles, eggs, mimosas, and iced tea. Finn started the morning off right with a chocolate donut! I got a beautiful card from Finn and See’s candy from my dad. Then we just hung out and spent the rest of the day with my brothers helping my mom remove the old bird cage and swamp cooler off of my parents’ back porch. It was a productive but familiar Mother’s Day.


Black Bear Diner

I finally got to cross off going out to breakfast off of my Summer List. A little late, but hey, we did it. We were having an open house on Saturday and had to leave before it started so we decided to go to breakfast together and as we were on our way, Dan’s mom called and so we invited her, too!

We went to Black Bear Diner. We had been there once before and I remember it being really good and so I have been wanting to go back. Dan’s mom also heard a lot about it from her friend and she had been wanting to give it a try.

It did not disappoint. Huge portions. Delicious. We all had way too much food for our bellies, and especially Finn! This kid’s meal was ridiculous (below)! Anyways, if you’re local, I do recommend giving it a try. There’s always a long line each time I’ve been there, but it’s worth it. Finn was, as always, the best behaved baby and he sure got a lot of smiles from the other diners. He also had a blast coloring/eating the crayons.


NaBloPoMo November 2013


This is post #10 of NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month is an annual event that takes place each November where bloggers commit to writing everyday in November.

Halloween 2013


This is one of those holidays that you look forward to your whole life. It never gets old. At least for us. We’ve always really enjoyed decorating our house for the occasion and passing out candy for all the adorably and ghoulishly dressed kids. And when we had Finn we looked forward so much to doing the same with him. Last year he was just a baby, only seven months old and had barely started crawling so going trick-or-treating would have looked pretty bad on our parts – “Hi, can we have some candy? We have a cute little baby dressed up as a spider for your amusement.” But this year was different. Finn is a walking, talking (kind of) kid and this experience was going to be as amazing as we could make it.

We scratched our heads for weeks before Halloween on what Finn should be. Without a lot of money or time for creativity, it’s hard to come up with something really cool. About a week before the day, Dan decides he should be a monkey, Curious George to be exact because that’s one of his favorite shows. We love it, my mom loves it, it’s approved. Then Dan decided that he should go as the Man in the Yellow Hat. Perfect! I was going to be his Scientist lady friend, but completely ran out of time on Halloween night.

A few days before Halloween, in just our style, we got Finn’s monkey costume 50% off at Babies-R-Us. It’s a gamble going so late, but we did the same last year and got his spider costume 50% off as well. It’s worth it not to pay full price for something they’ll wear one night! Much like a wedding dress… Dan got his yellow get-up at Goodwill, Party City, and Kohl’s all for under $15! He totally lucked out that Kohl’s had bright yellow pants for 90% off right when he needed them. And a red shirt for Finn so we could draw the Curious George logo on it. :)

Halloween night I worked until 4:30 and didn’t get home until about 5:15 so we didn’t have much time to get everything together for trick-or-treating at 6. Finn didn’t mind his costume (he only minded when I took my phone away – pic below) although by the end of the night he was certainly sweating. My parents came over for pollo asada street tacos and I think we got out by about 6:30. Finn was mostly carried in Dan’s arm to each door as he was Dan’s “accessory”, as Dan put it. Lots of people got what Finn was, “Oh Curious George, you’re so cute! Perfect!” but didn’t get Dan’s until one guy turned around and said, “Let me guess, are you the Man in the Yellow Hat and your kid is Curious George? That’s so awesome!” He was the “tower” and his daughter was Rapunzel. Too clever. Towards the end we let Finn walk around while he held dada’s hand but he was mostly happy in dada’s arms or in his stroller. We just went around one loop in our neighborhood, not the whole thing because at that point it would have been out of greed. How much candy does an allergy-ridden 19 month old need?

We gave him one piece of candy – a sucker. And he got it everywhere. Himself, the carpet, his stroller. But of course it wouldn’t have been Halloween without candy! We came home and made yummy tacos (my parents didn’t understand why these “street tacos” didn’t have lettuce) with Trader Joe’s marinated pollo asada, chopped onions, cilantro, avocado, greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), and salsa.


It was a great night, a great Halloween, and Finn was the best little monkey ever!

P.S. I saw my first scorpion this night. Stuck in our garage door. Little creepy bastard.



NaBloPoMo November 2013


This is post #3 of NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month is an annual event that takes place each November where bloggers commit to writing everyday in November.

What Fall Looks Like So Far…

I wanted to make fall memorable and we’re on a roll! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous. It’s been spoiling us. I keep wanting to pinch myself. Finn’s lucky because his Grandma Jayne has a horse (named Diamond) and so he’s gotten to go to the horse ranch and see the big horses a few times. Recently, several of their mules had babies so Grandma Jayne thought it’d be good if we brought Finn by to see all the babies. We stopped by and Finn was very shy and standoff-ish due to the size of all the animals but he really enjoyed running around outside of the corral and barn. There was a lady taking photographs with her camera and she snapped a few of us. We, of course, were not dressed or expecting photos at all, but oh well!

Jane and Grandchild IIJane's Family Photograph II

Big Finn and Baby Finn

We also went to the pumpkin patch at Schnepf Farms last weekend and surprisingly, had a real good time. It was definitely outrageously priced ($17 per person) and then anything you want to do that’s worth doing costs extra. Luckily, Finn’s still a toddler and is just happy to run around. :) The food was very good, we enjoyed our overpriced cup of chili, Finn had an overpriced grilled hot dog plus a packet of butter before we realized (which upset his tummy and caused him to wake up twice that night we think), but it was still a great time because Finn had a BLAST. His favorite part was the pumpkin patch. He got to climb all over those pumpkins and get in everybody’s family pictures while doing so and he loved it!


There may be a slight overload of pictures of Finn by the pumpkins, but I just want to remember him this way. This size. This animate. This curious. I want to remember his two long pieces of hair in the back that I call his “rat tail.” I want to remember how he points to things and says, “Uhhh???” in hopes that we know exactly what he’s thinking. I want to remember how he looked at all those pumpkins and said, “ba!” for ball. I want to remember how he ran right up to all the goats in the petting zoo without a fear in the world (meanwhile I’m back gasping for air, scared out of my mind that he’s about to get kicked). I want to remember his adoration for his sunglasses and how it never gets old for him to put them on and take them off, over, and over, and over. And I want to remember his smile. It was a good day full of love. :)

NaBloPoMo November 2013


This is post #1 of NaBloPoMo.

National Blog Posting Month is an annual event that takes place each November where bloggers commit to writing everyday in November.

Summer Adventures [Take 5]

We just got home from a short but much needed camping trip up north. It was just what we needed to rejuvenate ourselves. Me from work and Dan going into his last week of this first summer session. The temps were, in my opinion just fine, it would get cold enough at night that I wouldn’t want to stick an arm out of my sleeping bag except, of course, when I had to make sure Finn was bundled up throughout the night as it must’ve dropped to the upper 40’s at the lowest part of the night. I got some sleep, had great conversation with my friends and family, and got to watch Finn enjoy his little heart out being outdoors in the sunshine and trees.

We left Friday after I got off of work in the early afternoon and went to our usual camping spot north of Payson near Forest Lakes, only to find that they were all full which has never happened! So, we drove a little further up the rim and found another spot which was just as well. The only downside to the whole weekend was that there were fire restrictions and so we had to cook everything over the stove and couldn’t roast marshmallows over the fire, but we found that it was still doable. I must say though, camping without a fire just isn’t the same!

Finn loved camping. He had a great time playing in the dirt with his buddy, Brayden and being with all of his favorite people. We enjoyed spending time with my parents, brother, and of course our friends, Jason and Julie. It was a nice, enjoyable, and relaxing weekend and I got to cross something off of my summer list! Next time we’ll make sure that I am actually able to take the whole day off of work so that we can leave early in the morning and make sure to get our old trusty camping spot, though, as this one just wasn’t quite as good. ;)

Some things that we were so glad to have brought camping with a toddler: the giant play yard/baby gate which was awesome for putting the kids in when we needed to set camp up and get things done around camp, shovels & buckets for digging, lots and lots of change of clothes, sunblock & vaseline lip therapy (see pics below), lots of snacks including tons of fruit, and various toys for playing including bubble machines! Camping with a 15 month old was much, much different than the last time we went with Finn when he was only 4 months – definitely harder, but definitely way more fun! I’m so glad we went and I sincerely hope that camping is a huge part of Finn’s life every summer as it was for Dan and I’s growing up.

There’s a lot of pictures of the kiddos, because let’s be honest here, they are the stars of everything we do. We’ve been on a million camping trips and this was their second. I did try to take some pics of other people, however with me being the one taking many of the pics, there are hardly any of me!

campsitecamp collagedog kissbrayden collageeating rockseating bookswater jug playguysbucketsthe whitesbraydenbubble collagekeys collagewood playfood collagefinn collageeinstein hairtent exploringfathers sons 

*Side note: All pics taken by Dan or I except for the 6th from the bottom on the right hand side, Julie took that one of her son. Isn’t it fantastic? Oh and the last one. I had to include it. :)

Also, as another side note: here’s a pic of Finn on his first camping trip last year. It was much much easier but definitely not as fun. Oh look, and he actually wore hats then! :P

one year ago

Finn’s Dino-ROAR First Birthday!

Part II.

So here’s the big day! Finn has lots of people who love him and so many good friends. His best buddy Brayden, his other bestie, Charlotte, his cousins, Annie and Katie, and his two camping buddies, Noah and Aaron all came to celebrate him turning the big O-N-E. It was a roaring good time and we felt so special that so many people came! It was a great day. We were only missing his two uncles, Justin and Jack and it would have been complete. Justin couldn’t make it and Jack had just moved to Northern California the weekend before. They were surely missed!






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And what birthday party would be complete without a picture of Gramps asleep on the couch?


Now… to get on those Thank You’s! Boy this month has been a crazy one for us and I can’t wait for this week to be over so we can find out what our new “normal” is going to be.

Baby Shower Celebration

First of all, we have some of the most incredible, thoughtful, giving friends and family in this world.  No offense to anyone else – but they really are.

To all our friends and family – thank you thank you thank you. Endlessly and forever.  For all of you who traveled to come to our shower  regardless of the long drive or traffic and gave up an entire Saturday to be with us.  For all the gifts that were far beyond any expectations.  To Julie who spent weeks planning this celebration for us and hours executing it like magic.  Your dedication to this and attention to every little detail did not go unnoticed.  To my parents who put so much time and thought (not to mention $!) into the food preparations and making sure that it was as huge of a hit as it was.  The entire day was absolutely perfect and we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate Finn’s arrival.  And to all of you who stuck around to clean up the park with us so that Julie and my parents didn’t feel stuck doing it all themselves, as well as all the guys who helped Dan pack our car full of all the wonderful gifts.  You are incredible.  We love you all so much.

I will say, in the midst of us all having such a  fabulous time (and Dan and I sitting so high up on cloud nine) – we did not get hardly any pictures of that day.  That was the only bummer of the entire day.  I remembered about half way through to snap a few pics with my camera, of course that meant there were no pictures of me, though, and the beautiful tablescapes that Julie set up were already well enjoyed (i.e. moved around).  My Aunt Andi took a picture of me posing with my giant belly at some point and I am hoping that I can get her to email it to me so I have at least one picture of me that day!  But alas, none of Dan and I, the happy couple posing to commemorate this truly amazing day.  But that’s okay, we still have many mental pictures of it in our hearts.

So, the details – I’ll do my best to narrate with what few pics I do have:

Theme: Underwater, whales, and the nursery colors of aqua, yellow, and coral.

Decorations: Yellow, aqua, and orange table cloths covered in confetti, vases filled with water, aqua marbles, and real GOLDFISH, vases filled with sand that had pictures of our nursery mounted on sticks stuck in them, our coral tree (from the nursery), whale plates as well as yellow & aqua ones, and little cupcake toppers with the same whale theme as the plates, save-the-dates, and confetti.

Location: Under a 9 table ramada that sat on a lake (with ducks, geese, and fish) at Discovery Park in Gilbert, AZ.

Food: Taco buffet!  We had ground beef and chili verde pork tacos (corn, flour, and crunchy).  All the fixins’ – cheese, authentic Mexican salsa, homemade guacamole, sour cream, cheesy bean dip, tortilla chips, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.  For dessert, instead of traditional cake we ordered cupcakes from my co-worker (Pirate’s Booty, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, & Margarita to go with the Mexican food theme) and Julie and Jason lovingly made and decorated a few dozen delicious sugar cookies.  Drinks there were soda, water, lemonade, and iced tea.  Everything was sooooo good.

Games: Baby Bag Mystery (essential baby items like pacifiers, etc. were put in brown paper bags and numbered and people had to guess what was in each one – Dan and I got to keep the loot!), Clothing Decoration (people decorated onesies and bibs using fabric paint, permanent markers, and puffy paint – Dan really got into this one!), and the Celebrity Match Game (using an online program, each of our faces were combined with a celebrity [or animal!] and people had to guess which one – this was a hard game but so awesome!) – I *believe* prizes were gift cards but I could be wrong as I didn’t participate in the games since my prize was all the loot on the gift table!  hehehe

Guest Participation: On the invitation we asked people to bring a book to start Finn’s library and we were so thrilled with all the books we got and can’t wait to read them to him!

And we got gifts galore.  We were seriously stunned.  Every time I looked around at the whole set up, I wanted to cry.  We had all of our closest family and friends there and they all were just as excited about Finn as we were that they spoiled him rotten.  It was remarkable.  Here I was, afraid nobody was going to even come (shows how much I think of myself, eh?) and I think there were over 30 adults, 1 kid, 3 babies, and 1 dog who showed up!  We have a lot of great, loving, and special people in our lives – we are so lucky.  We did sincerely wish that our out-of-town relatives could have been there, too.  Having my grandparents from Georgia, and all my mom’s sisters’ family (my aunties, uncles, and cousins!) there, Dan’s aunts, uncles, & cousins from Colorado, Chicago, and Texas – and of course my BEST FRIEND FOREVER, Crystal – really would have topped this day and probably sent us over the moon to where we’d still be stuck up there!

Things We Got:

  • books
  • NB-3 month clothes (mittens, shoes, hats, onesies, rompers, & sleepers)
  • blankets
  • bath toys & organizer, wash cloths
  • bottle drying rack, dishwasher basket, bottle brush, pacifier holder
  • diaper bag
  • waterproof crib pads & changing pad liners
  • diaper sprayer
  • swing
  • bouncer
  • toys & stuffed animals
  • diaper cake with all kinds of stuff attached to it (size 2 diapers)
  • activity gym
  • laundry basket
  • boppy cover
  • pack n’ play
Things We Still Need (and are working on!):
  • infant car seat
  • seat protectors for cars
  • baby monitor
  • prefold diapers for burp cloths
  • California Baby shampoo & diaper rash cream + Badger Baby sunscreen
  • wipes warmer
  • feeding set
  • high chair
  • humidifier
  • wireless camera (for nursery)
  • more cloth and disposable diapers
  • pack ‘n play sheets
  • more BOOKS – we want to collect all the classics from this list :)
  • clothes (3-6 month shorts & pants, 9 month winter clothes, and 12 month summer clothes)
The before and after:

It was a happy ending to the very somber week we had losing Dan’s grandmother.

Today I am finishing up sending the rest of our “thank yous” to everybody.  I just love handwritten thank you notes, there’s something about them. I sent out about half throughout the week, filled out a few each night when I got home from work and mailed the next day – now today I just need to finish them up.  And then of course do something special for Julie, Jason, and our parents as an extra special thank you for creating such a special and truly memorable day!



I don’t know what else to call what we’re having other than a BABY CELEBRATION!  From the beginning I knew I wouldn’t want a traditional baby shower where it’s just the girls.  I really thought that a pregnancy is something for the couple to enjoy and celebrate together.  I wanted Dan to be a part of everything we did, and I think he’s really glad of that.  He would have been fine if I wanted it to be just a girls thing, but I think he’s really excited about being included and able to celebrate with everybody as well.  We’re pretty non-traditional anyways, hence why we decided to get married in Cancun.

Our very good friends, Julie and Jason, who we went to Europe with and we pretty much do everything with, so generously offered to throw us a “shower”, along with our parents.  We are so thankful and can’t believe that Julie was so willing and happy to do this for us.  And in such a short time!  We decided to have it on the 21st because Dan’s aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins will be visiting then so it worked out perfect.  This is such an amazingly generous gift, considering that she had just had a baby on December 17th and is a brand new mom!  She made the cutest invites (seriously, they blew me away – I may just have to take a few pics to show them off!), sent save-the-dates, and has been doing all the planning.  I just can’t begin to express how grateful we are.  My parents and Jayne are taking care of all the food and prep.  Dan and I are just really, really lucky to have the best friends and family out there!!!  We are so looking forward to this Saturday.

Anyways, so we invited all our close friends and in-state family.  I would have loved to have had our entire family from out-of-state as well be there, but my mom felt really leary about sending invitations and having it look like we were just asking for gifts when we knew they wouldn’t be able to come.  Ugh, but I also really did want them to get an invitation because they were ADORABLE!  When really, if we did send them, it would have been because we wanted them to know that we would have LOVED for them to be there, not about getting a gift at all.  It would have been AWESOME if my mom’s sisters, all our cousins, and my grandparents could have been there to celebrate with us.  Oh and Crystal, too!  We’re just so excited about Finn and want to share that excitement and this celebration with everybody!!!  That’s what this is about for us.

We’re having a BBQ in a park, except it’s not a barbeque.  We’re doing a “taco bar” where people can make their own tacos and that way nobody is stuck being responsible for grilling for the whole event.  My parents will cook/prep everything at home, load it up in crock pots to keep it warm, and wah-lah!  For desserts we’re doing cupcakes.  My good friend/co-worker, KT started a cupcake business and so we’re supporting her new business venture and getting yummy cupcakes out of it, too.  They’re so good, I can’t wait to share them with everybody!

Again – we’re just so excited just to celebrate with anybody and everybody that can come, that’s just how we are!!!  And you know I’ll make sure to update the site with pics from the celebration!

I snapped a couple pictures of the adorable invites – Julie put so much time into them: