Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for lots of things but in the interest of conserving my thumbs (I'm banging this out on the iPhone.), I'll keep it simple and just say the one thing I'm most thankful for...

Stability, hilarity, cuddles, protection, friendship and general happiness - all rolled into the compact form of the one and only Jason.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The secret's out

Monique and Murray have come and gone but they've left an imprint on Raleigh that will never be erased. And now that they're in Minnesota with Mo's family, I'm allowed to post about their visit. You see, it was a surprise that they were arriving in time to spend Thanksgiving with them so they were keeping it a secret that they were here already. Her family thought they were still in Georgia. (See? I told you guys it wasn't anything juicy.)

Since Jason was trying to work from home and the floor installer was busy ripping our kitchen and bathroom apart, I attempted to get our guests out of the house on Friday. We headed for City Market in downtown Raleigh but it was so cold out, we barely managed to stay out for more than a couple of hours. And about 1/4 of that was spent in Port City Java trying to warm up. Even Monique agreed that it was "like Minnesota cold". And if anybody knows cold, it's the girl from Minnesota.

We did, however, manage a quick photoshoot with the Raleigh acorn.

Then we stopped into The Cupcake Shop on Glenwood to sample the goodies.

That evening, Mr. Floor Guy was STILL not finished. Awesome. So we ended up spending the night dodging the toilet sitting in the hallway.

Well, everyone except Murray. So busted.

Chinese food was ordered. Wine was opened. Cookies were baked. More wine was opened. A few rounds of Catch Phrase were played. More wine was opened.

But when the boys lost Catch Phrase...

...and the penalty was to stand on the porch in the freezing cold for two minutes, the whiskey was brought out.

Saturday we waited around for Mr. Floor Guy to finish (we are truly outstanding hosts) and then took our guests to meet the infamous Katie and Anna and out for a bit of gift shopping. We even got them some even-more-infamous Chick-Fil-A.

Saturday night is where the trouble starts. On the way home from our afternoon out, all four of us were yapping about how TIRED we all were and "Oh good, we're all on the same page - a casual night out for a few drinks and then let's call it an early one... Sounds GREAT."

So we hit the Flying Saucer. Things started out tame enough. Some nice bar food and cider...

A few bottles of Raleigh brew - Hell's Belle.

Me nibbling on Jason's head. You know. The usual.

And it somehow went from that to this. Budweiser tallboys at Raleigh's most redneck bar, City Limits.

You know it's a classy joint when there are bras hanging from the ceiling.

Whoo-hoo! Double fisting!

Monique and I were literally boosted up onto the bar by Jason and Murray. (I shall call them "The Instigators".) You can tell we had absolutely no intention of going to a place like City Limits because we're not dressed like total skanks.

Mo and I were maybe the only two girls there who weren't showing either an expanse of stomach or leg or both. This is truly Raleigh's finest.

Always obey posted signs and warnings.

So we did. (Why am I the only one with full-on drunkface here??)

And then. Then came the bull. I have no idea how this happened but it did. I think this is us debating... To bull or not to bull?

At least now I can say that I've ridden a mechanical bull in my lifetime. (Unfortunately it was way past the acceptable bull riding age.)

Mo lasted way longer than me. I had nothing to hang onto except her and I didn't want to pull her down so I just let go.

Bonded for life by the bull.

You have never seen such a sorry group of people the next day. We managed to pull ourselves together to cook up a hangover cure though. Biscuits, eggs, and a pile o' bacon. After we stuffed ourselves, we headed for the couches and vegged in front of the tv almost all day. If we hadn't had to drive back into downtown to pick up our car, I don't know if we would have made it out at all.

But we had to try out the hosting gift Mo and Murray brought us - a pie plate complete with "pie bird". So the boys went grocery shopping while Mo and I spent more quality time with the sofas and flatscreen. That evening, Jason cooked up a fantastic beefstew while Murray worked on a delicious apple pie.

Although the pie bird didn't sing an aria from La Traviata as we were hoping it would, it did its job of letting the steam out so we were left with an absolutely perfect pie.

All in all, an absolutely wonderful weekend. Was I wicked hungover on Sunday? Damn right. Am I way too old to be dancing on bars and riding bulls? Hell yes. Do I regret one single minute of it? No way.

It was so so so nice to spend some fun times with our very first London friends. After not seeing them for over a year, I think we were allowed to cut loose a little bit. In fact, I think it was required of us. What else do you expect when two childless couples get together for one last blast before one of them moves to the other side of the world?

We will miss them so much and are so sad that we won't live nearer to one another. The expat life strikes again I guess... But we're so grateful that we have had the chance to become such good friends and we'll never forget all the fun times we've had in London and now here.

*I should say thanks to Murray and Mo for sponsoring today's post since most of these photos are theirs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh no she didn't

Details and photos will be up soon but due to a secret I have to help keep for another day, at this moment I can only say that I know for a fact that 31 is definitely too old to be dancing on a bar and riding an electric bull.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Magical memories: Yours for about $150 a day! Each!

Remember like ten years ago when Jason and I went to Disney World and it was Halloween and we rode a bunch of rides and hung out with our nieces for six days and ate a bunch of junk food and spent about 500 billion dollars and took about twelvity thousand pictures of the whole thing?

Well, let's jump right in.  We spent Halloween with The Incredibles.  They were like celebrities.  All night, people would yell out "Hey!  Look!  Check it out!  It's The Incredibles!"  Not just kids either.  Adults were doing this.  I wanted to be all "Pssst.  It's not really them.  It's my family.  Dressed up.  You know.  On Halloween."

Katie's "Violet" wig didn't last very long.  I didn't get a very good photo of our costumes but we were a 20's couple.  Here's part of Jason (minus his fedora hat)...  He used nearly my entire Bobby Brown eyeliner pencil for that beard stubble.

And me in my flapper dress...  Katie was obsessed with the fringe and long necklaces.  I took the opportunity to school her on the art of buying vintage jewelry. You can never start them too young, you know.

Nana and Papa the pirates.  Anna wasn't so sure.

First day in the Magic Kingdom... 

See the name of this ride?  Snow White's Adventures?  Well, look closer and you'll see that it actually says Snow White's Scary Adventures.  I don't know what they're playing at by trying to disguise the scary part in the pink scroll-y decorative bit in the middle but let me tell you - Anna was NONE too happy.  Anna is scared of three things:  monsters, ghosts and witches.  

This ride should have been called "Remember the witch from Snow White?  Well, here she is about a thousand different times.  Also, it's dark in here and there are lots of witchy cackling noises.  So if you have a kid that's scared of witches, maybe give this one a miss, eh?"  I think they'll need a bigger sign.  She screamed and buried her face the whole time.  

Ice cream break!

To me, one of the highlights was watching the girls during their first ever 3-D experience.  The first time stuff came flying out at the audience, they both jumped up and tried to grab it.  So cute!

Turkey legs for the boys.

On this trip, we learned that Katie is an adrenaline junkie.  Which doesn't match her personality at all because she's always so careful and concerned with safety.  But she freaking LOVED the fast rides.  This was her first time on Splash Mountain, which turned out to be her favorite ride.  I think she ended up riding it like five times.

Jason and I were smart to wear our North Faces.  

While the girls went back for naps, Jason and I headed to Epcot for a little while.  Of course, we had to make a stop in Great Britain in the World Showcase.

Later that evening, we met back up at the Magic Kingdom.

 Jason and Katie dueled it out after the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Next up - Big Thunder Mountain.  

Katie was excited but a little nervous.  She was hilarious when it started whipping around the curves.  She yelled to Joe "Hold on to me Daddy or I'm gonna fly out of this thing!"  She was dead serious too.

My turn with Katie's mouse ears...

After one more go on Splash Mountain, she was DONE.  Passed out cold all the way back to the hotel.

The next day was Animal Kingdom.  I think Anna spotted her first wild animal - Jason.

She was so cute waving at all the animals.  

Anna was very suspicious of her face painter.  She kept her head perfectly still but she wouldn't take her eyes off what the girl was doing.

Katie was a little more trusting.

Katie took up photography as a way to amuse herself while waiting for the Nemo show to start.

Post-chocolate happiness.

Anna spent about 3/4 of the trip on Jason's shoulders.

This was a big moment for Katie.  She says her favorite princesses are Mulan and Pocahontas because they don't need a prince to kiss them.  Totally uncoached.  She just randomly said that to Amy one day.  

This was one of the most hilarious moments of the trip.  Jason took off with Anna and when he came back, he was holding on to her and a margarita with one hand and she was eating a churro out of his other hand.  Apparently, he experienced the "Chaos of Anna".  She dropped the first churro and when he went back to get her another one, she bent down and was sipping his drink through the straw while he was trying to pay.  That's why he's "Fun Uncle Jason".

In awe on the ride through Mexico.

Fun with props after the Maelstrom ride in Norway.

There was a hostile takeover of my popcorn bucket.

Anna did not like it when Katie got on Jason's shoulders.  That was HER spot.  So she totally used me by climbing up on mine and then trying to take Katie out.

On our way to Chef Mickey's for Anna's birthday breakfast.

Teaching Katie how to be a gangsta.

The great thing about Disney is that you can play with all the stuff in the stores and take photos with all their crap on and no one yells at you.

Dance party in the Magic Kingdom.  While it was not captured on film, I taught Katie a dance of great cultural significance - the Cabbage Patch.

With Rafiki - Anna kept saying "He nice.  He no scary." like she was trying to psyche herself up.

Jason made the mistake of teaching Katie how to use the iBowl app on his iPhone.  Every time we had to wait for anything, she wanted to play it.

A pre-lunch roaring session.

Katie was the photography director of the Funny Faces Photo Shoot...

Big Thunder Mountain after lunch may have been a mistake.

Say what you will about the Corporate Disney Money Machine, but those mo-fo's sho' do know how to put on some fireworks.

Like our new hat?

Katie showing me her "scared" face for Tower of Terror.

Another iPhone favorite was the Lightsaber app.  It came in pretty handy during the Star Wars exhibit at Hollywood Studios.

Then it was time for Jason and I to make our exit.  I got so worked up and totally lost it.  I cried all the way back to the hotel.  It was just so nice to spend so much time with the girls after being away for three years.  I feel like we were finally able to make somewhat of a dent in all the lost time.  Plus, being the jaded adult that I am, it was great to see Disney through the eyes of a kid.  More than anything though - thank you, Katie and Anna, for making us feel like we were never gone.