Friday, September 27, 2019

it's been nineteen years...

i realize it's probably silly to still acknowledge your dating anniversary when you've been married for over a decade, but whatever.  you already know what a sap i am anyway.

and i always love an excuse to trot this old photo out...


look at those kids!  so young, so full of enthusiasm and promise, such great skin.  heh.

19 years and still so in love.  i'm grateful every single day for the life we've built together and the family we love so much.  it's been a crazy whirlwind, and i can't wait to ride it out and see what happens next.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

playdate at the parks

after our carthay circle lunch extravaganza, we headed out into the park to burn off some calories and get some playtime in.  the first fastpass we secured was for toy story mania, and with a few minutes to kill before our window opened we hung out on pixar pier.  miniDG and mini cee were buried in some sort of pokemon go-related "raid," so the bean kept herself occupied watching the action on the waterfront.


the toy story ride is always a good time.


from there we headed over to the incredicoaster.  lilcee wasn't feeling it, so she hopped through when we walked on and took this for us:


i always love official ride photos.  and since i was riding solo in my row, i went ahead and posed for it when we approached the camera.  i got the eyeroll from the bean, but everyone else thought it was as funny as i did.



we snagged a picture on the pier before making our way over to the disneyland side.  lilcee and the bean got lots of giggles in as she kept blocking her in the photos.


it was pretty busy on the other side, not to mention hot and humid.  almost felt like we were at disney world instead of disneyland.


we wanted to recreate a picture off to the side of the castle, but there weren't any photographers there.  so we settled for taking it right in front instead.


because of a few issues she's currently dealing with, lilcee is still able to use the disability access service.  this gave us the equivalent of a fastpass at the millennium falcon: smuggler's run ride - which was pretty cool because they aren't offering regular fastpasses for that ride at the moment.  and so we got to walk through a queue i hadn't been through before and pretty much walked right onto the ride.




afterwards, we took advantage of the short lines for photo ops.




for this one, the photographer told us to give him our "most sinister look."  i really just look like i have to poop.


we took another ride on smuggler's run and then some delicious fried chicken for dinner at the plaza inn, and then called it a night.  the main street electrical parade was just about to start as we were leaving, so we knew our timing was good.  the tram was practically deserted, and we were outta there in no time.  it was about 9:15 when we left, and that's probably the longest day at the parks that the bean and i have had in a long time. 

and guess what?  we're heading back this weekend for another birthday extravaganza with three of her best school friends.  this time we get to stay at the hotel, which i'm always excited for.  gotta love celebrating birthdays at the 'land!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

bean's birthday party, take 1

we kicked off the bean's birthday celebrations a little early with a fun playdate at disneyland with our friends lilcee/mini cee and dailygluttony/miniDG.  because she has several circles of friends who don't really know each other, it's always nice to plan hangouts with them separately so that everyone can have a good time and she doesn't feel pulled in 30845713098 different directions.  and since i fully believe that birthdays at any age are a special occasion, i decided to take everyone to the carthay circle restaurant at california adventure for lunch.

the reservation happened to be right when they opened for the day, so there was a little bit of a line to check in.  it went quickly though, and in no time we were seated in a lovely booth upstairs perusing the menu.


our server informed us that we were seated at one of just eight parties that had extra magic built right into the table.  she pointed out the evil queen and her magic mirror in the woodgrain, and i think i got them both.  i'm not gonna lie, i totally don't remember which is which and i think at least one of them is upside down.  or sideways.  maybe you can tell:



we kicked off our meal with an order of their fabulous bacon/jalapeƱo/cheese biscuits, and of course there are seven in an order...like the dwarfs.


because it was early in the day and we knew we'd have plenty of time to burn them off, the ladies and i opted for adult beverages.  lilcee had a spiked wildberry lemonade topped with berry foam, while dailygluttony and i both went for the pimm's cup.  i order it every time i come here.


lilcee and dailygluttony ordered two entrees to share.  these are the chicken meatballs with tagliatelle pasta:


and the bone-in pork chop.  i got a bite of this and it was probably the best pork chop i've ever had.


the kids were unimpressed with the options on the adult menu, so i suggested that they do what the bean had done at lamplight lounge a few weeks ago - order two items from the kids' menu.  the portions are pretty small and they've got adult-sized appetites, so it worked out perfectly.  while miniDG went for a double serving of pasta and marinara sauce, the girls both went big and ordered a petite filet and alfredo pasta.  this is a terrible photo, but i literally had like two seconds to snap one before their hungry asses dug in.


my order was pretty boring - their angus burger served on a soft pretzel bun - so i didn't bother with a photo.  and after everyone had polished off the last bites of their entrees, the girls ordered up some dessert.  the bean opted for whatever had chocolate in it, and it came with a "happy birthday" plaque with a candle to make a wish on.  she endured our singing before blowing out the candle and posing for another two seconds before going in.



mini cee ordered up the birthday cake push pop, and it looked pretty tasty.


a few group shots, and then it was time to head out to the park, brave the insane humidity, and ride some rides.




yay for early birthday parties!

Monday, September 23, 2019

last chance of 2019 for fried stuff

this was the final weekend of this year's l.a. county fair.  seemed to us like it was shorter this time around, because i always remembered it running through at least the end of september, but there you go.  we'd been talking about hitting up disneyland for dinner, but instead we decided to stay closer to home, use those season passes one more time and grab a final round of deep fried food on a stick.

instead of dealing with the traffic and parking on a friday night, we uber'd to the fairplex.  we hadn't done that yet, and so none of us really knew where we were going to get dropped off.  it seemed like our driver was heading away from the fair when we arrived at the designated dropoff spot, but as it turned out we were just a few steps away from the dodger-sponsored blue gate.


without any real plans and nothing specific we were looking for, we found ourselves wandering around aimlessly for awhile.  and then through a slightly convoluted line of communication, we received some sobering news that changed the tone of the evening somewhat.  the hub's uncle, who'd been given a pretty devastating cancer diagnosis barely a month ago, had just passed away.  the hub was at the hospital with his aunt, his dad was scrambling to book a trip back and we were left feeling sad but without anything we could really do about any of it.  and so we decided to continue on with our evening.

i try to grab a picture of the old lady and her special friend in front of the giant ferris wheel every year, but for some reason we couldn't get it together to find the right spot to take it from.  the first one i took had the wheel in the background but the giant beer depot sign isn't super picturesque.  after a couple of tries, we gave up.  heh.



they hadn't seen the l.a.-themed pop culture exhibit yet, so we did a walk-through with them and took a few silly pictures.



we all cracked up when the bean wanted to take a "jumpy" picture, not expecting the special friend to give her a shove once she got airborne.


the old lady finally gave in to her craving for grilled corn, and while we stood in line to place her order we glanced up and found "bubba" on the balcony above us.  apparently bubba is lookin' for love.


she had a good number of topping options for her cup of corn (corn on the cob is always better, but so messy and there's just no graceful way to eat it in public), and opted for hot cheetos. she found that the cheeto dust was not only on top, but also mixed in with the corn and savored every bite.


knowing this was my last chance for a whole year, i went big and did not only the bacon-wrapped chicken legs but also the bacon-wrapped deep fried pickles.  in my defense, i shared it all with both girls.


and the special friend, who's usually a pretty healthy eater, got himself talked into the chicken IN a waffle on a stick.


we were pretty much over it by then, and so we headed back to the blue gate and requested another uber to pick us up and take us back home.  it was a lot easier than i'd expected and about the same if not cheaper than paying for VIP parking, so we'll keep it in mind for next year.

see ya in 2020, l.a. county fair!



Thursday, September 19, 2019

checking off all the birthday list boxes

birthday princess day 2019 was pretty darn great, i've gotta say.  i managed to check off pretty much everything from my list of things i wanted to do.  i say "pretty much" because - well, let me explain.

the first one was "sleep in."  that one kind of didn't happen as the hub and i both woke up around 5:30 from all sorts o'racket coming from the kitchen.  the bean had apparently set her alarm so that she could get up and make me something special to jump start my birthday, which was super sweet.  i was kind of hoping she was baking me a cake because i was really craving some, but i knew whatever she was doing would be great.

although neither the hub nor i was really expecting her to come barreling into the bedroom right at 6, flipping on the light switch and shouting "SURPRISE!" as she placed a tray on my lap.  that light is pretty damn bright, and even more so when you're not expecting it and it's not quite the crack of dawn yet.  my eyeballs. 


but i couldn't resist this sweet face, beaming with pride over the sweet surprise she'd put together for me.


she and teddy sat on the floor and played while i got started on my delicious breakfast in bed.


later, after i dropped her off at school, i checked off the next item: a free birthday drink at starbucks.  and i made it a venti, because why not?


i went home, got myself cleaned up and headed off to get my lashes done.  and when they were done, the old lady handed me this pretty bouquet of pink flowers and some sweets from trader joe's.


my mani/pedi was lovely and relaxing.


for my "terrible for me but super delicious" junk food lunch, i went here:


and then i headed back home to admire my lashes and enjoy my corn dogs and chili cheese fries.


the puppies were in the back yard, and i stayed out of sight in the living room to grub down uninterrupted.  yes, i was definitely hiding from my dogs.  heh.  except that i hadn't gotten anything to drink and i was dying of thirst.  just as i was about to get up and see if i could find some water or something in the garage, the hub came home and handed me this:


it was a fun combination of him helping me with my dilemma and also getting rid of that lowbrow glorified grape juice out of the wine fridge.  and then he was off to run an errand before picking up the bean from school for me so that i could get in some sewing time.  i got to hunker down with my machines, working on some projects i'd wanted to get started, and before i knew it it was time to get dressed and head out to dinner.  but first - present time!


i got some cute new tops for fall, a new pair of my favorite jeans, and what amounted to damn near an entire lululemon store's worth of new gear.  the old lady and her special friend presented me with a sweet necklace that had a little silver pawprint charm and an "M" on it...for our sweet mollydog.  i put it on right away as we headed out to union on yale in claremont for dinner.


champagne cocktail?  yes, please!




we ordered a handful of starters, including poutine:


caramelized brussels sprouts topped with burrata:


and a mason jar with layers of marinated cherry tomatoes, olive oil and more burrata, served with toasted flatbread.


the bean and the special friend both opted for fried chicken and pasta:


this was the old lady's heirloom tomato pasta and chicken:


the hub's grilled pork chop:


and my "union" pizza with bacon, arugula and - yup, you guessed it - burrata.  clearly i can't turn down any opportunity for burrata whenever it presents itself.


the kids and i headed over to the local ice cream shop on the corner while the hub stayed behind to pay the check, and headed back when he texted that the server had brought me a birthday dessert:


the last two items got checked off almost as soon as we got home.  comfy pajamas?  yes.  friends on tv?  check.  even better?  FRIENDS THEMED PAJAMAS.


and that concludes the recap of this year's birthday princess day.  it was fantastic, full of fun and love and food, spent with my beloved family.  just the way i wanted it.
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