Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two Wonderful Men

I sat here for what seems like forever trying to think of a title for this post.  I think that is a big indicator as to how hard it is for me to verbalize and express my feelings in regard to losing two dads. TWO. Not just one.

My step dad was my dad for 20 years.  He never attempted to replace my biological dad when he died in 1995.  I always called him by his name, Don. For most of my life, he was the male figure in my life that supported me in any way a dad is supposed to. He was a typical man with bad jokes ranging from just plain stupid to mildly and very offensive! I remember as a kid I was a total klutz and he used to always ask me "well, did you hurt the pavement?"  Of course, he said this about whatever I fell or crashed into... ha!

I have so many wonderful memories of this man and he would have done anything for me at any time. I miss him dearly.  We lost him in February of last year.  I can still hear his voice talking to me about the Superbowl game.  It must have been one of the last times I had a conversation with him before he was intabated at the hospital.  I also remember our nightly ritual when I was a little girl.  I gave everyone a hug and said goodnight and Don used to always say:  "See you in the booty head!" I have no idea where it came from but we used to always say that before bed time.  This was one of the last things Brandon and I said to Don before he passed.  He had been pretty unresponsive as he was on a lot of pain medications and sedatives at the end.  But, when we said that before leaving the hospital the last night he was alive... he nodded his head. 

I love you, Don. Brandon and I talk about you every day and wish that we could have done more to keep you with us. But, we need to focus on the happy memories and stories that we have to remember you by... and there are a ton!

I always feel like I have more to say about Don than I do my real dad.  I hate that saying "real dad." As if Don were a fake?  Anyway, you know what I mean.  My real dad was an adventurous man.  He was a rally car enthusiast, lover of living on the edge and loved me with all he had.  I have recently been running into many of my dad's old friends and they all awkwardly stare at me. It's kind of weird, really.  But, I look just like him.  I even have his stalky wide calves. *great*  I am glad I look like him.  I love being a lot like him. I love hearing all of the great stories that these people have to tell.  But... it's hard.  Some days I can listen to them and some days I can't.  In the end, I want to know things.  But, it's hard to know that I will never know the man that they are talking about.  It is even harder when I realize things like the love of my life will never meet him or my kids won't meet him.  It kills me.  But, I hate being a whiner.  I have become VERY good at being strong and willing away emotions when it comes to his death.  I wish with all my might that he could be here one more time to meet Brandon.   I wish he could see how much I'm like him... how often I crash into things at work or knock my head on a door.  Or, how often I'm LATE! He was always late.

Anyway, I hate to be a downer post on a wonderful day.  I had a good friend tell me after Don died to just be thankful that I had two great dads because his dad sucks.  I agree, to a point.  But I still am stuck in a train of thought that tells me its not fair to have to lose TWO dads before at the age of 24. I am thankful to have had two wonderful men in my life and I cannot wait to see them again someday.

Happy Father's Day to everyone out there!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Paradise Island

I have been so lucky this weekend to skip out on work (sorry, Hubbs!) and get away to a Puget Sound island with three other girls.  One of the girls is a BFF of mine, Shandy.  We are about an hour and a half from home on the OTHER side of the Puget Sound from Olympia. It is so peaceful and beautiful here!Yesterday started off as an adventure when we missed the private ferry that only runs every couple of hours... well the nice ferry man came back to get us anyway! I'm SO notorious for being late! Anyway...

It was a beautiful day yesterday and once we got onto Herron Island we started eating, drinking and having fun! I'm pretty sure I've gained 5lbs in the last 36 hours... but whatev.  I'm starting a program with Jen on Monday... I'll work it off!  We have played Apples to Apples, Taboo, LRC (dice game,) and Yahtzee (how is that spelled!?!) Of course, we've spent time wandering the shores as well!  Today was less than stellar weather... which sucked because Shandy and I planned on using the kayaks, but oh well.  We spent some quality time napping, sleeping, buying B.Makowski purses off of QVC and eating some more! A WONDERFUL Saturday, if you ask me!

The cabin is on the south side of the island and it has a GORGEOUS view of my personal favorite mountain range, the Olympic Mountains.  I will share more pictures later this week! Tata for now, I'm going to go finish watching Knocked Up with the girls and enjoy my last 12 hours of relaxation!
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

I think I forgot to mention...

Yes, it's true. I am a follower of the one and only, P-Dub.  She cracks me up every time I take the time to browse her posts.  I fell in love with her step by step instructions that are included with her recipes long ago.  Then, she introduced Tasty Kitchen, which is similar to All Recipes and the like.  However, I just have a thing about supporting an every day mom type of gal that has put so much time and effort into something like this!

Anyway, she released a cookbook sometime last fall and I remember being very disappointed when I realized there were no book signings close to me.  Thankfully, after the holidays she finally came to the PNW!!! Then, my heart sank when I realized she would be in Seattle on a Saturday night. *gulp*  I work each and every Saturday night and there is no way that my husband  my boss would be down for the idea of me having to cover a shift to meet P-Dub.  He'd say... P-Who? In fact, he did say that.  I had to remind him kindly that she is the famous blogger that writes about her ranch, cows and her basset hound! Then, he remembered.  He has a soft spot for farm animals.  Well, it must have been my lucky week because she was coming to a suburb of Portland that same week on a MONDAY which happened to be my full day off that week.  Whoooo Hooo!  So, I coerced  asked my mom to join me on my two hour trek south and she obliged.  But, she had the same reaction that my husband did:  P-Who?

We arrived at the Powell's bookstore in Beaverton, OR a whole three hours early as I had read blog posts from the signing in Seattle saying that the lines were outrageous.  Lucky for me, we ended up being the 19th & 20th people in line! My mom patiently waited with me, running for Starbucks and also reading her new cookbook that I bought as a thanks for coming with me. :)  There ended up being a LOT of people that turned out to see her so I was so glad we showed up early.

I have a couple of pictures to share... but unfortunately my camera died RIGHT BEFORE I went up to meet her.  A nice lady a few seats down offered to take my picture and email it to me, but I have yet to receive the email.  :o(  Oh well, I still met Ree, listened to her talk to all of us about her regular ol' life and shook her hand. Oh, AND she signed MY cookbook! Ok, I had her sign three cookbooks.  Whatever, they weren't ALL to me... and who is really counting?

Here are the few photos that I have of the day:

Mom holding my Starbucks... so I could take a picture of her!
From April/May/June 2010

See? Lots of people love P-Dub! We were at the very FRONT of all these people! Yessss!
From April/May/June 2010

She took about 15 minutes to answer a bajillion questions from the audience.  She was so gracious!
From April/May/June 2010

Thanks Mom! I had fun! I'm glad you love P-Dub now too! :o)
From April/May/June 2010

Now, if you haven't heard of her... or read her blog I suggest you do.  It's worth it, I promise. :o)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Family Gatherings

**If you came here earlier this evening... this post was a mess! I apologize! I thought I left it in draft form, I'm blog-challenged!**
We make an effort (especially on Brandon's side) to get together for everyone's birthdays.  Of course, sometimes we have to wait a week here or there... but we're pretty good about getting together for a dinner to celebrate birthdays.  My SIL's birthday falls on Memorial Day weekend so we didn't do a dinner until this last weekend.  BIL/SIL made home made Chinese dishes (yum!) and I made a yummy chocolate peanut butter cake for dessert.  Little Nickolai is getting so big, he'll be three months next week.  His mama is going back to work and his daddy gets to take 6 weeks off with him! Then, I get him all to myself! I can't wait to hang out with the little man!

Here's the yummy cake I made!!! Find the recipe here! It was REALLY good! I loved the frosting! It didn't really fit the Chinese theme, but I got that memo a bit too late!
I had to fill in for Irina while she breastfed... Making some noodle dish.

Sous Chefs... Wine, Sake & Gyozas in the background (you know, the important stuff..!)

From April/May/June 2010

Our  final dinner spread! Delish!!!

From April/May/June 2010

The Birthday Lady and I

Grandpa holding little Nickolai... he had a grin on his face for a reason.  That reason landed us in the next picture with Grandma doing the dirty work.
But... that's ok! Nickolai likes Grandma best!!! He talks WAY more to her than anyone else! Maybe he knows that she spoils him rotten already.  Her most recent purchases have him all decked out in new duds for his swim lessons this summer.  He has so many different outfits those kids at the pool will be SO jealous! I mean, what baby can be seen in the same swim trunks TWICE, anyway? ;o)
While it is sometimes hard to find time in our busy schedules to all get together, at the end of the day, I am so glad we do.  Family is certainly important to Brandon and I and we want to raise our kids (someday) with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents!!! Plus, this is the reason I can never lose weight... This family revolves around food!!! The family biz is a bar and grill for goodness sakes! Okay, okay... I just like to blame them!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shoes On... or Off?

This will probably seem like a silly question.  There, fair warning.  I'm a totally random type of person.

Brandon comes from a "shoes in the house" family.  I come from a "shoes left at the door" family.  What a predicament!  I have gotten lazier as the years go by... But I recently made a very friendly sign to hang on our garage door that states: "DON'T BE LAZY! Take your shoes OFF!" to remind us to do so! Usually, I find that I just forget because I'm so used to waltzing into the house and straight into my closet to change my clothes! Our house was brand new, two years ago when we bought it.  TWO YEARS! Wow, that snuck up on me... Anyway, the carpet definitely looks older than that! We walk through our laundry room which leads to a hallway to the main part of the house on one side and then our master bedroom on the other side.  Well, the majority of our house is carpet, which isn't favored by most these days, but I actually prefer.  However, our carpet is builder grade carpet and is not wearing so well. We are not going to replace the carpet any time soon... so we need to preserve it!  So, I have two questions...

What kind of storage system do you use (if you do) in your laundry room/mud room/garage to store shoes?  Right now I just use a wicker basket but it really isn't the best solution.

How do you politely ask guests to remove their shoes?  I can't help but notice when people don't take their shoes off... they may as well be wearing big glowing green alien shoes because they stand out so much to me!!! I don't want to be rude, I just want to keep my carpets nice! Our weather out here tends to be wet... which equals mud... ick! Even if its not muddy, I just don't want people's dirty shoes on my carpets OR my furniture!!!

So... that was random.  But any advice would be welcome!!! :0)