Friday, November 28, 2008

Apple Turnovers From Scratch

One of the nice things about Dave working at the Fire Department is that everyone seems to be a good cook, and he comes home with yummy recipes. This last time he decided to make apple turnovers from scratch. He learned it from Mark on his crew.

Putting the sliced apples on the turnover dough

adding the spices and sugar

So right when David got home, he got dressed in comfy clothes and Caiden and him set off to make apple turnovers for us from scratch.

lathering them with yummy goodness

Taa daaaa!!!!!!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Halloween 2008

So I know I am a little behind in my blogging. I mean, Thanksgiving has come and gone and I am just now posting some pictures of Halloween. Frankly, a lot has been going on and I just haven't found the motivation to blog.

Anyway, my lack of posting abilities as of late is actually a good thing for you. See, I figure that you will have to exercise your brain power by reminiscing about your Halloween experience. You see. I wasn't slacking at all. I was concerned about you. I wanted to ensure that your mental facilities were in tip top shape :) I am also allowing you the unique opportunity to go back in time and experience the thrills of Halloween all over are quite welcome :p

So close your eyes for a brief moment, relax and let your mind travel back about a month ago to the days of jack-o-lanterns and scary costumes :) Are you there yet? Good.

Caiden decided this year that he wanted to be Spiderman, and Kiya while I am sure she is filled with strong opinions (after all she IS my daughter) was a tulip fairy (as far as I can figure...the costume was cute).

Kiya as the tulip fairy with the dancing ghost that sings "I want candy"

Caiden as Spiderman and Kiya as the tulip fairy

Dave wanted to stay and pass out candy, but Caiden was ready to go scour the neighborhood in search of Halloween goodies and trick and treat adventures. After much cajoling and a number of visitors later. Dave compromised and put some candy out for people to grab while we ran around the neighborhood with our munchkins. We loaded the kids up with glow sticks and off we went into the night to explore what Halloween had in store for us this year.

Caiden helping Dave pass out candy

Caiden on the phone with Grammie and Papa Jim...this is the first year we didn't go to their house
The compromise :p

Now this was the first Halloween since the kids have been born that we stayed at our neighborhood. It was GREAT!!! We are going to stay put EVERY YEAR!!! There were SO many people. Loads decorated their houses and really went ALL OUT! People even dressed in costumes to answer their doors, and some even had their pets dress up. Everyone was very nice, and it was nice to see the neighbors that we haven't met quite yet. We really do have a great neighborhood.
Walking down the neighborhood
Approaching the door
Stopping for a picture :)
Even the pets got into the Halloween spirit

Cade and I
Caiden, Kiya and myself :)

Kiya and Dave

The following is a video of one of the houses. If you listen closely, you will hear me tell Dave to go up there with Caiden because I am scared and am not going any further. I completely admit that I am a total wuss when it comes to scary Halloween stuff. When Dave mentions the spider, my voice quivers. Thank goodness my kids are braver than me. :)

We had a lot of fun, and when the night was over, Caiden stayed up and helped Dave pass out candy until it was gone. He loved it!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Remembering Lynne Custer...

On November 6th, the world changed. This is the day that we lost Lynne Custer, my boss and my friend. I received the information at 5am, clearly in a state of disbelief.

She was not ill, she had been feeling just fine. As you can see I am still trying to wrap my brain around the loss. It was determined that Lynne succumbed to a massive cerebral aneurysm early in the morning. My only consolation is that it would have been quick, and she would have felt no pain.

As I was trying to make sense of everything, I wrote down some thoughts that I had when remembering Lynne. I figured I would share some of them with you. I have written a letter to her husband and daughter, but I will keep that part between us.

As is the case when anyone is taken from us too soon, I think that it makes you remember what is important in your life. Hug your kids. Not to take people for granted. Share your thoughts with your loved ones. Remember to tell people you love them. Stop for a moment and listen to the world around you. Take a moment to breathe in the life that surrounds in the moment.

I will miss Lynne. She touched my life and the impression she left will remain on me as I journey through the rest of my days.

It is very rare that someone comes into our life, and instantly makes you feel welcome, inspired, confident, and happy all at the same time. It is even rarer that this would be a description of someone that one would work with. However, this is exactly how Lynne Custer made me feel…instantly.

While I have known Lynne for years, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work under Lynne since December of 2007. From that moment on, I felt like I had been welcomed into an exclusive family with arms wide open. I know it sounds strange to say something like that about someone you work with, especially someone who works so many thousands of miles away from you…but with Lynne, there were no miles between us. She created this family type atmosphere with her supervisors that I don’t think I have ever experienced before.

Lynne was the only person I know that could challenge the thought that there were 24 hours in a day. She was ALWAYS available via IM, phone, or email, no matter the time, and I DO mean, no matter what the time. She has this incredible, undaunting work ethic, commanding presence, ability to make quick and difficult decisions, uncanny sarcastic nature, and the ability to melt away any barriers or walls that one would erect to get the heart of the issue or person. Lynne makes me want to be a better person, not only for myself, but so that she is proud of me as well.

In addition to her presumably chaotic work schedule, she always made time to volunteer her time – whether that is to church, a charity or a cause that was near and dear to her heart. She knew the importance of giving of her time and energy to others and with Lynne this was seen in her actions, not just in her words. She also knew the importance of balancing work life and personal life and spoke with a fierce sense of pride and love when speaking about her family. She KNEW her priorities and encouraged us to know ours as well.

When I first traveled out to Farmington Hills, MI it was a difficult journey for me, as it was not only the first time I was leaving my newborn infant daughter, but it was also my first week back to work. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a sand pail of Michigan goodies (with my name on it) that Lynne had prepared for each of us “newbies”. At dinner that night, she presented us with personalized, yet hysterical certificates that she co-created with the existing Michigan supervisors. I cannot tell you what that meant to me.

Lynne made you feel like a person FIRST rather than just an employee. She would ask about your day, your thoughts, perspectives and feelings with a genuine interest that is often not seen anymore. She would remember the smallest things that you said to her in passing, and use them as an opportunity to send you a special card or note (snail mail no less)– just when you needed it….to show she cared, she valued you and she listened. Lynne made me feel special, appreciated, and respected. Lynne was not only my boss, she was also my friend….A friend that will be forever missed.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

An Irvine Halloween

This past Friday was Halloween, and of course Team Irvine could not pass up this opportunity to come to work all dressed up. Here are the looks that many of the Irvine Crew arrived with...

The Guys: (Back row: Jerico, Gio, Manny, Josh. Front Row: Michael S)

The Gals (Back: Rene, Kate, Shanel, Camille, Shannon, Brittany. Front: Cathy, Esther)

Rainbow Brite, Queen of Hearts, Alice In Wonderland, Kitty

Shannon and Brittany (Alice and the Queen)

Shanel and Camille (Cat and Rainbow Brite)
Giovanni the Golfer
Manny the Scarecrow
Michael...Mc Hammer
Josh is "misunderstood"

Ok, so the video is sideways. Now I actually did fix that, but frankly I am too tired to upload again, so I will ask you to take a moment to stretch your neck to the side. See...doesn't that feel good. You are getting a work out while watching this video. :) (The method behind the madness)

Now of course Michael and I could not let the Irvine crew dress up without their leaders. Now both of us were not quite feeling it, and we didn't think we could top the Britney and K-Fed of last year, but here we are the Spartan SNL Cheerleaders.

You have NO idea what it took for me to get Michael to do this...

But he admitted to me later that he had just can't fake that smile :)
Go Team!!!!
The Grand Finale :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pumpkin Patch With Kiya & Caiden

Well, this year I just haven't been really feeling it ya know? I mean, I actually waited until the LAST possible moment before taking the kids to the pumpkin patch. Normally, by this time we would have logged at least 5-6 trips already.

Not this year. In fact, the only reason I went at all at this point was because I was afraid I would not have pictures of Kiya's first Halloween and pumpkin patch pictures. (Shh...don't tell anyone. We actually did get pumpkins, but never carved them. This is the first year since having kids that Dave and I didn't carve the pumpkins. Maybe the kids won't notice, or if they do maybe we will carve them AFTER Halloween.)

Caiden the pumpkin man :)
Kiya getting cozy with the pumpkins

Anyway, out of desperation to get some pictures of Kiya and Caiden at the patch, I loaded the kids in the car, and off I went. Now, I was solo, so it was quite challenging to get pictures of all three of us. However, some kind pumpkin people took pity on me (as I tried to take pictures of the three of us myself) and took a few shots of us. Of course my camera died early on, so there are only a few pictures that I will be sharing.

My attempt at getting a picture of the three of us...

and some nice pumpkin patron took pity and took our picture.

Caiden actually volunteered to take this picture.

Kiya was more fascinated by the hay than the camera.

Nope this picture is not upside down. She was looking up at me, and I was looking down at her. :)

My sister and her husband eventually joined us, but by that time I was ready to go. I'd already been there for over 1 hour and 1/2.

Caiden did get to go on the spider man bounce house, and the petting zoo. Although I tried to get Kiya to feed the animals, they seemed more interested in her...I had to keep moving her away from the chickens especially. The chickens and ducks seemed extremely interested in Kiya, to the point that I was practically running away from them. They were a bit grabby. The sheep and goats were much more docile. No pigs this year. Boo...I like the pigs. I would have taken a picture of the turkey (reminded me of Tom the turkey), but remember how my camera died. Yep...that's right. No Tom the Turkey picture for you (well, frankly there wouldn't be anyway as the real Tom was killed and eaten for Thanksgiving a few years ago...NOT by me).

The Spider man bounce house
Caiden giving his 6 tickets - that's right...6 tickets for this...
Caiden sliding down...
Kiya was So impressed. Can't you tell?