Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vacation: Part One

Robert and I rarely go on vacations. Other than visiting family and friends for a weekend or holidays once in a while, we've probably only been on 3 actual vacations in the 13 years we've been together. The first was to Disney World in 2002, when Mariko, Steve and Shizuka (our exchange student from Japan) were there for band competition. Robert and I drove down with Doug, Sarah & William and spent several fun-filled days there. The second was last winter when we flew out to spend Christmas with Mariko in beautiful Palo Alto, California. The third was just recently. We'd been trying to arrange time to visit with Rachel and family for nearly 3 years now, but between her busy Signing Time schedule and Robert's work schedule, it just never worked out. So when I sent a prospective schedule to Rachel at the end of July, she said she had an amazingly open time frame right then. I bought the plane tickets so fast Robert couldn't believe it. Like I mentioned in a previous post, William was more excited counting down the days to going to visit Rachel than he was to his birthday!

We flew out the day after his birthday, and to everyone who said 'hi' to him, he announced he was 'going on a plane to see Rachel'. We got in late in the evening, exhausted. Friday morning I went out to get my hair cut & styled~ my favorite style to date! Rachel had a meeting and Aaron had to work, so Robert & I took the kids and went to lunch and then bowling with Leah, Lucy and their summer nanny.

Sarah, Lucy & Leah

helping Lucy get the ball ready

Go Lucy!

Even with the kid-rail up, William managed to get the ball stuck in the gutter?!

Lucy, on her way to a Spare!!!

Sarah's turn for a spare!

Way to go Sarah!

William was so excited every time he had a turn!

Robert's strike

I was getting a picture of the screen, but caught his grimace as well~ that did a number on his back!

Leah's spare!!

Looking good Sarah!

And they all fell down... all that Wii Bowling paid off!

That evening, we brought the kids over to Rachel's sister Emilie's house for the cousin's pizza and a movie night. William was so happy to see Alex and make some new friends with Leah & Lucy's other cousins. From there, Robert & I went to dinner with Rachel & Aaron at Market Street Grill which they said is one of their favorite places to eat. I know why. It was sooooo wonderful!

The new 'do

After dinner we went to pick up the kids and ended up having a songfest at Emilie's. Such fun!

*Stay tuned~ more updates to come, including our family's preview of Baby Signing Time Volumes 3 & 4, which will be coming out in October! Meanwhile, for a sneak peek of Baby Signing Time online at and a chance to win one of the very first copies, enter the Baby Signing Time blog contest at:

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Very Special Playdate

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one" ~ C.S. Lewis

While Robert, Sarah, William & I went to Utah for vacation, we also took some time to visit some very special friends. I'd been fortunate enough in one of my previous solo trips to meet up with Christie, Brady and Tammy (Parker's mom), but I knew my name would be mud if I didn't get William and Brady together this trip out. Imagine my joy when Christie said she would bring us by to meet Tammy and Parker, the brave little hero himself!

Brady & William

Robert's new buddy, Brady

Robert & two very adorable boys!

Christie, me, Robert, Brady & William

After lunch with Christie & Brady, she drove us over to Tammy's. Parker was all smiles when he saw his impromptu playdate buddies!

Melting my heart!


Parker was all smiles and laughs

As cute as Parker and Brady are in photos, they are even more adorable in real life!


Parker pulled himself up on Robert
and they became fast friends

Robert was loving it!
and Parker looked oh so comfy on Robert's lap

Of course, I needed a Parker fix too

But Parker kept looking at Robert as though he'd much rather still be in Robert's lap
or back down on the floor with the boys

Group shot!

And before we knew it, our visit was over... for this time, anyway. I promise Christie & Tammy, we will be back before you know it!

Thanks again to both of you for taking the time to meet us!!!

William's 8th Birthday

William turned 8 last week, on the 13th. While he was excited about his birthday in the days leading up to it, he was more excited about going on a plane the following day to visit friends. His countdown of days to flying to Rachel was more important than his own birthday! He did, however, inform Daddy and me that he wanted a chocolate cake, candles, and presents.

The difference this year is that he was very specific in what he wanted for a present. This, of course, was something he didn't tell me until I'd already ordered all of the presents we had planned to get him, so Daddy had to make a stop at the store on his way home one night. We still haven't given him all of his presents, since Brittany wasn't here for the birthday celebration, so we'll be having another cake and more presents sometime soon. In the meantime....

The cake, with a number 8 candle and a candle to grow on..

This is the present he wanted more than anything~ The Wizards of Waverly Place dvd! He seems very hooked on only 2 of the episodes in it though~

Carefully opening his main gift~ and by the way, he really wasn't all that interested in opening anything else after he opened his Wizards of Waverly Place dvd. Reminder to self: don't give him the one thing he has been asking for before the other presents.

The new Didj from Leapfrog. This game system is awesome! I can download spelling words or math facts into the games he has on it so he can learn while he's playing!

Happy Birthday my Big Boy!!! Your family loves you soooo much!

Friday, August 8, 2008

After 45 Years....

I finally went to a Red Sox game at Fenway! When I was a baby and my Dad was stationed at the Boston Shipyards (did you know I was a Navy brat?), he used to be able to buy tickets to Red Sox games for next to nothing. I think the last game my parents brought me to was a doubleheader against the Orioles when I was 2 years old~ and the Sox won 'em both!

So finally after all these years, I decided this was the year to go to a game. In January, I joined Red Sox Nation, which gave me 2 tickets to a game. Once I decided on the game, I booked a room through Recently when Mariko was getting ready to come home for a week, she mentioned she'd like to see a game while she was here. She happened to be coming home during the time I had the game tickets for. Robert asked a buddy of his if he had any extra tickets to the game, and his friend came through. We gave Mariko and her friend the tickets I had gotten through Red Sox Nation.

Last Friday we headed off to Boston and the Westin Copley Place Hotel. I love going through Hotwire for travel~ we save so much on rooms! Robert and I had a wonderful dinner at the Palm Restaurant, courtesy of a gift card from a friend, and had THE best steak ever. EVER. Seriously. It was the best Filet Mignon I have ever eaten in my life, cooked to perfection. The service was excellent, and there I was, with my best friend in the world, Robert. We walked around the Prudential Shopping Center afterwards, checking out our favorite stores, like Levenger, Sephora and Teavana. We ended up at Barnes & Noble~ for some reason, nearly all our dates end up at a bookstore. We bought books for the kids, Robert looked at music and architecture books, and I searched for Seeds of Change, which I found out isn't out yet (you can pre-order it though!). There's a story in it by a fellow classmate of Mariko's, Blake Charlton. Blake is getting some great reviews on his story, "Endosymbiont". His own novel, Spellwright, will be coming out soon!

Saturday Robert and I slept in. We had a bite to eat at Starbucks (have you tried their bacon, avocado, cheddar, & egg wrap? Yummy!) and grabbed our coffees to finish while we walked around the Back Bay. We stopped in to the First Act Guitar Studio on Boylston. Robert was like a kid in a toy store.



From there, we walked down Newbury Street, and criss-crossed the streets of Boston until we got to Fenway Park.

We bought some shirts and a new cap for Robert, then headed back to our hotel. We stopped at the Prudential shops and bought some tea, then met up with Mariko and her friend Jessica for a late lunch. After we got back to our room, it began raining, then came the thunderstorm, and right before we were going to leave to head back to the ballpark, the rain stopped.

We found our seats at the park, then went to get some paper towels and napkins to dry them off. And get some Fenway Franks and Cracker Jacks.
From our seats, I could zoom in on the Boston dugout~

I must have taken a ton of photos of David Ortiz, my favorite~

Throwing out the first pitch~ Joey Kramer, Aerosmith's drummer!

Jon Lester pitched for Boston that night.



Wonder what he's thinking~ *oh, man, they're walking me... again...*

Sox win!

We met up with Mariko & Jessica afterwards and headed back to the hotel. We stopped at The Cheesecake Factory for drinks & some food, and then off to our rooms.

Sunday we got up, checked out and drove up to the Burlington Mall to meet up with Jim and Steph so they could see Mariko. We met up at, where else, Cheesecake Factory!

Jim & Mariko

Robert & me

Jim & Steph, who celebrated their 4th anniversary yesterday!

Jim, Robert & Mariko

Mariko visited with her grandparents in Maine on Tuesday, then off to the airport Wednesday to get ready for her second year at Stanford Medical School!