Blog Archives for category Birthdays

The only good thing at Chuck E. Cheese. 

Birthday party fun—spending a token on my favorite “game.”


Nic’s birthday party!

Oops! This was from last Sunday, March 12. I’ll move it to that date shortly.

Xander, Owen, and Nic (left to right) were all in kindergarten together. Jayden just moved here in January and is in Owen’s class (and lives one street over from us!)


Another birthday cake for Owen. 

Gramma made a yummy-looking cake for Owen! Grauntie Rose and Gruntie Jim came over to celebrate, too!

Time for Owen’s mini cake!

Since we’re heading out on vacation tomorrow and didn’t want any leftovers, I made a small “personal” sized box cake mix.

Birthday boy/girl gets to lick the candles!

Everyone got to pick their own sprinkles (because Tom and I hate them). :)



My plain piece, with a frosting height even Papa would love. :)

This is how they helped with the cake!


Happy 8th Birthday, Owen!

And then I had to take some of Katie because she felt left out.

Birthday shopping from Toys R Us

I belong to the birthday club for the kids so when mail came with Owen’s name on it, he was excited. It was a $3 coupon and a certificate for a crown and birthday balloon. When we turned it in, he also got a plush and a book!

He knew exactly what he wanted so it didn’t take long. He looked so grown up waiting in line…

Unfortunately we were one day early for the coupon (of course!) so daddy bought it for him and he lucks out with an extra birthday present. 

2016 USMC Birthday Ball

Lunch with friends beforehand at Succotash in National Harbor. It was DELICIOUS and we highly recommend it. (We had fried green tomatoes; pimento cheese fundido; bacon mac and cheese; collards, kimchi, and country ham; Belle’s punch and a gochujang infused bloody mary.)


My super fancy home manicure (yeah, it’s just glitter polish):


Us, before:


Before & After


And this is what it takes to get ready for the ball. :p


A few fun pics trying to get THE PERFECT shot:


And the best shot:


And my favorite fun shot:


So as we were starting to get dressed, Tom had a uniform snafu—he realized he forgot a major piece. The exchange was closest (about 45 minutes round trip)…but they were out. Home was next closest (about an hour round trip) but that wasn’t appealing, either. A few furious texts found a buddy who lived somewhat close that had extras and could bring them to him…but that took almost an hour as well! So, while he was downstairs waiting for the delivery, I was finishing getting ready and hanging out with our friends in their room and then we came back to our room to wait for Tom. Our friend Tom was having a FIT because Tom’s uniform wasn’t even prepped to start dressing…so he got everything ready for him.


Waiting longingly for his buddy:


The group shot without Tom:



It was getting to be time to be seated for dinner (we’d already missed the entire cocktail hour) so Karen and I headed down while Tom waited for Tom. They made it with a few minutes to spare.

After the ceremony was over, we booked it out to the photo line while it was still short:




Random shots of us:





And the official photo which was emailed to us before we even left the event:


We actually had other friends at the table (plus her parents!), but we somehow managed to go the entire night without taking a big group photo OR a photo of us with them! So, here’s one I snagged off Facebook (that I actually took on her phone):


And lastly, to give you an idea of the scope of the event, here’s the seating chart: 288 tables of 10.


Overall, it was a fun evening, but unfortunately, it was once again a big ol’ waste of money—we should NOT have spent the night again. Last year we had decided it had been a mistake because we didn’t NEED to spend the night—we didn’t drink enough to need to stay and we were tired and wanting to head out by 10 so we could have easily just came home. But this year we thought we’d all stay (all three couples) and have this epic night…but we were all petering out come 10:00 so we all just went our separate ways LOL. We could have actually been home by 11 and saved the $350 we spent on the room and sitter! Lesson REALLY learned. :)

My end of birthday selfie


Marcia spoiled me with a few birthday presents!

First we had lunch at the Neiman Marcus Cafe with her two daughters and the two employees who helped with the Facebook event. I actually introduced them all to the delicious wonder that is Green Goddess salad dressing (it came on two dishes and no one had ever tried it so I asked the waiter to bring a sample; they all loved it) and they let me in on the secret that the little cup the waiter brought was not tea, but chicken stock. Sounds odd, right? But it was DELICIOUS. :) At dessert time we hoped for something chocolate and surprisingly they didn’t have anything! But! The waiter said “Let me see what I can do” and he came back with a huge slice of chocolate cake! (Turns out he got it from another NM cafe on another level.) Then the table sang Happy Birthday to me. :)

Then it was off shopping at the mall. I had complimented her daughter Candace on her gorgeous necklace and she said she actually got it at Chicos…so we headed there (I usually get something “big” as a souvenir instead of a tchotchke). So I was looking at all the jewelry and Marcia and her daughter were looking at clothes. I was trying to decide between pieces to just pick one and Marcia offered to hold them for me while I was looking…and I turned around and she was buying all three for me!


What?! I told you she’s awesome.

Then we walked around some more and we ended up at Sundance where Candace tried on a bunch of clothes. The stuff was way too expensive for me, but I tried on a few things for fun (I mean, that’s what you do when you’re out shopping with the girls, right?!). And then they both tried on this coat—which I had noticed and thought was cute but figured there was no way I would be buying it so why tempt myself—but peer pressure got me and I tried it on and it was SUPER cute…and Marcia immediately said “Excellent! I’ll get this for you, too! Happy birthday!” WHAT?! Holy crap. I told her she couldn’t but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I now own this coat. And, actually, all three of us now own that coat!! :)

And then it was off to get all our nails done…another birthday treat! I opted for a basic French manicure. I forgot how much I LOVE them…

And then it was off to dinner at Gloria’s Latin Cuisine with Marcia, her daughter, and another coworker/friend! It was delicious, and I enjoyed a strawberry margarita and fish and brisket tacos for my birthday!



On the way home, Marcia said (paraphrasing) “I was going to get you dessert and have them sing happy birthday, but they get crazy with it so I changed my mind.” See? LOVE HER.

The live Facebook Q&A with Naturally Slim!

So the Live Facebook event was actually going to take place at the combined offices of Holmes Murphy and ACAP Health, both new partners of Naturally Slim. I was VERY anxious about the event, but Marcia assured me I would do just fine. I was put a little more at ease when she told me it would only be about 20 minutes long—I had thought it would be an hour or something! Phew!

We got there early and Marcia showed me around the offices and introduced to many, many people…most of whom were all like “Oh, wow! I know you! You’re Jennifer Hudson! I recognize you!” It was VERY surreal. They were just as excited to meet me as I was to meet them! The offices were super fun and trendy, with named meeting rooms like the Vineyard (with a wall of bookcases and wine racks) and the Bead Room, which is where we ended up filming—yes, a “room” in the middle of the office space with floor-to-ceiling hanging beads encircling four chairs and a table!

Getting ready to start!

Our view during the event:

And then we were off and running…

Live Q&A with Marcia Upson, President of Naturally Slim
[iOS users, if Safari isn’t showing the Facebook video below, try Chrome]

And suddenly it was over! What?! Already?! Wow that went fast! I had a lot of fun and the time just flew by—I probably could have answered questions for an hour! Of course watching the video later I noticed things I didn’t like (like my roll of belly fat and a few strange looks I made) but overall I think I did pretty well!

And then on the way out, I got to meet Todd (Todd Whitthorne, President, ACAP Health—he’s in quite a few of the program videos)!! And just like Marcia, he was just the same as in the videos, too. And boy was he tall (I’m 5’9″ and you see how he towers over me)! :)


What a memorable way to spend my 43rd birthday!!

Happy birthday to me, selfie style with Marcia!

The best way to wake up on my birthday. 

This was waiting for me in my texts. :)

Happy early birthday to me!

It started out as post-swim lessons dinner but turned into my birthday dinner because Tom is sneaky. :)

Not Your Average Joe's Peanut Butter Thing Dessert

Peanut Butter Thing: joe’s claim to fame – peanut butter and chocolate chunks folded into vanilla ice cream and rolled in oreo cookie crumbs, topped with fresh whipped cream and drizzled with hot chocolate and caramel sauces tableside

We all really enjoyed it and we learned Katie doesn’t like caramel sauce and Owen’s favorite is hot fudge. (I was partial to the hot fudge myself, though the caramel was better all by itself.)

On our way out, the kids saw other kids getting their picture taken on the PF Changs horse so they had to do it, too. :)




What’s a birthday celebration without a burnt cake, sloppy joes on the ceiling, and a toddler tantrum/early bedtime?

For a special treat, I decided to make a Tres Leches cake for Tom’s cake—I’d never made one before but it didn’t seem too hard and it was a Pioneer Woman recipe so you know it’s fairly easy and should be delicious. I’m talking from scratch here, people. Like whipping egg whites and making my own whipped cream. I set the cake timer for the minimum stated time…and it was obviously too long and the edges were burnt. GRRR. I always set the timer for 10 minutes EARLIER than the minimum just in case but not today. I trimmed them off and hoped for the best.

One of Tom’s favorite meals is sloppy joes so that was an easy dinner as well—and they were delicious. After dinner I got out the cake and poor Tom lit his own candle. :)


And then I excitedly tried the cake and MEH—it was nothing special. I think the cake was just too dry from being overcooked and I had only put the suggested two cups of liquid into the cake when I should have tried for more because of it being overcooked. Oh well. Tom liked it and the kids loved it but now I want to make it again and try for better!

So then we were clearing off the table and loading the dishwasher…when suddenly Tom trips and I see something flying through the air. WHAT THE…?! Turns out, it was sloppy joes. Yes, sloppy joe meat was all over the place. Tom’s flip flop caught on the edge of the gel floor mat and he tripped. The dishwasher door was fully open so he was violently trying not to fall into that so while trying to catch himself, he slammed his hand down on the kitchen island/stove…RIGHT on the spoon that was still in the sloppy joes on the stove…which sent sloppy joes catapulting across the kitchen and then, as Owen noticed minutes later…on the ceiling as well! Keep in mind we have like 10′ ceilings in the kitchen.


Maggie cleaned up all the chunks off the floor and I wiped up after her while Tom got out the ladder and wiped down the ceiling. Then it was a matter of looking around and discovering all the tomato sauce speckles all over the place…on the cake, on the stove, on the refrigerator, on the wall… Hoo boy. I’m sure we’ll be discovering them for days to come.

Of course, I posted about it on Facebook…and I love our friends:


So we got that cleaned up and then it was time for the kids to Skype with Uncle Rob (which had been temporarily postponed to clean up the mess). Well, Owen asked if they could put on their Halloween costumes to show Uncle Rob. GRRR. A simple request, right? Except they’d both been asking me ALL DAMN DAY to wear their costumes and I had already told them at least four times that I’d let them wear them before Halloween…just not today. So of course I was annoyed but agreed. Well, Katie had taken hers off like a kid does so it was completely inside out. She knows how to fix it, but she didn’t want to. I was still busy in the kitchen so was talking her through it—but it wasn’t good enough for her. She actually had it about 95% of the way fixed when she started stomping her feet at me. That’s never the answer, so she got a warning that she would be going to bed if she continued. She continued. So she got taken up to bed and she was a HOT MESS. (She really needed an early night—she hadn’t caught up from the late night when we had friends over for dinner plus being at the pool for three hours…)

So…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOM! Burnt and dry cake, a kitchen mess, and a tantrumy toddler. What better way to celebrate, right? :heart:

Watching the first game of the season in style!

Grannie Lin and Papa sent these anniversary/birthday PJs—just in time! Love them!


Owen’s half birthday pool party!

Once again this year, Owen decided to have his birthday party at the community pool with Costco pizzas and cake (which I forgot to get a picture of)! The trade off is that many of his friends are away on vacations…but even though we had a small turnout and it was about 110°, everyone had fun!









After his party, one of his friends came back to spend a few hours. They had fun playing Xbox and then building Legos.


After he left, Owen opened his gifts and was COMPLETELY GEEKED to get some Ninjago Legos, a bunch of Pokemon cards, a Nerf bow and arrow, a Star Wars board game, and $15 cash. This was my favorite card he got:



And it didn’t take long before Owen and Katie had their noses buried in Pokemon cards.


Pool and pizza birthday party with friends!


Lobsters for Gramma’s birthday!

When the kids saw these driftwood lobsters at Marshall’s, they said we had to get them for Gramma Jean! So we have them to her for an early birthday present!

Decorating the box so we didn’t need to wrap it. 


Katie’s 4th birthday party!

Katie’s party was on July 13, but I forgot to get the pictures off my big camera—whoops! I’ll move this post to the right date later.

Once again, we had a gathering/pizza party at the Ramada pool!










I was kicking the ball back into the pool…and kicked my shoe right off! I watched it land on the side of the pool…and tumble right in. :)






The cake design Katie picked out!





And then back at Gramma Jean’s to open presents!


And she had to put on one of her new dresses!