Till the Wheels Come Off

No big deal birthday.
April 19, 2012, 8:26 am
Filed under: Family, Friends, Love, Photo

Let’s be honest. I have never had a no big deal birthday. Every single year of my life, the people who love me have made my birthdays so much fun and so worth looking forward to. This year it fell on Easter, and since Rocco was all about that very important day, I wanted to keep it special and celebrate my birthday before or after. Well, it worked out just fine! Friday, Saturday AND Monday were so fun! On Friday, we hung out as a family until 3:00 when we took Roc to my parents’ so that my mom could send us on a birthday date. When we left the house, we stopped at the mailbox… a package from KAYLEE! Yippee! I was so excited to see what she had sent, and let me tell you, she took care of me! An outfit for our baby girl, spring nail polish, gold Saltwater sandals, two Moleskine notepads, new pictures of the girls, Oreos (duh) and Easter treats for Rocco!

Thank you, Kaylee girl, you know me well.

Ok, back to my mom’s date. She had it all worked out: she handed me a gift bag, I opened it to find all kinds of old school candy, even Juicy Fruit gum! It also had a gift certificate for dinner, a CD of songs titled ‘A walk down memory lane,’ two tickets to see Titanic and 3D glasses! I couldn’t wait to pop that CD in and see what she came up with. You really have to know your kid to be able to recall the songs she loved 15 years ago, don’t you think? She hit the nail on the head too, the CD was filled with R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, Shania Twain, and Celine’s ‘My Heart Will go on’  made it on there of course. We just laughed and remembered making out to these terrible songs; he must have really liked making out with me to listen to Celine Dion. This date was really perfect because back in 1997 when Titanic came out, I was all kinds of ‘in love’ with the man I am now married to. When I watched it three times in the theater and Leonardo DiCaprio was on the screen, I swore that he looked exactly like Tommy; my dream was to look like Kate Winslet AND we shared the same name, I mean, you can see the similarity here, right?! When you are 17 and foolishly smitten, it’s very easy to make these connections. We took our 3D glasses, and candy (a few Oreos too, thanks Kay!) into the theater and were transported back from the first moment the movie started. My perspective was a bit different now. When Leonardo appeared, all I could think of was, “Conner looks JUST like him!” Definitely not the same when all you can see is your husband’s little brother. Let me show you what I mean.

Anyways, after the movie was over, we hit up McCormick & Schmick’s for their late night happy hour…something we used to do all the time before Roc came along. It was a perfect evening, we drove home listening to our mix CD, grateful that we, and all of the people in our life (especially our parents!) can laugh now at how incredibly immature and selfish we were as teens. We knew from a young age that we were meant for each other, but to say we could have done things differently is the understatement of the year. I’m so thrilled that Tommy was and is the one for me and that we have such a long history. We pulled into our driveway, and just had to make out, you know… for old times’ sake.

The next morning I woke up fully rested to sunshine, flowers, coffee, breakfast in bed and a love note. That is the perfect way to wake up, let me tell you!

I stayed in bed till about 10 when I knew it was time to do something: donuts, coffee and breakfast all before your feet hit the ground is just not good for a person. We went straight to the gym and ran (ok, fine… I walked) on the treadmills, did a few other exercises and left there a little after 11. It was so beautiful that we decided to go for a bike ride when we got home. We’re just a couple of regular athletes! (I wish.)

We took the afternoon easy and then met up with just a few friends for dinner. Drinks and appetizers at Earl’s and then dinner at Din Tai Fung!

Erin, we’re cute matching friends. Thank you for sharing your birthday with me. I love love love you.

The next day was Easter, and since I already posted about that here, I won’t make this post longer by repeating it. You’re welcome.

As if those fun times weren’t enough, my mother-in-law came over at noon on Monday so that the party could continue. I am so grateful, I really am. I got a massage, a manicure & pedicure with my mom and a friend, visited Kortney at the hospital, then met up with some of my favorite people at Black Bottle for a spontaneous ladies night out.

Turning 32 (yikes!) was fantastic. Party on, people. Party on.


April 17, 2012, 12:00 am
Filed under: 2309, Friends, Kid speak, Love, Photo

Easter is definitely a big deal around our house. Rocco has been looking forward to it since January. I’m not even sure why, but he was completely willing to skip Valentine’s Day and go straight to Easter egg dying. We wanted to capitalize on the fact that he was so into it, so Tom told him the story of Easter. Rocco’s recap of the story went something like this, “Yea! Jesus and God was good. He sang songs and was kind. Then bad people were mean to him and killed Him for 3 minutes, but then He came back to life so we could have EEEEAAAAASSSSTTTEEERRR! Yea!” It was in that moment that I totally understood how the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs version took off.

We had a fun day earlier in the week, friends came over, we dyed eggs, made cookies and decorated them, and had an Easter egg hunt! Don’t look at my counters, please. We made play dough the day before and there is still flour in my grout. Tile in my kitchen? Never again. I digress.

We went to church Sunday morning, came home for a snooze, then spent the rest of the day with family. It was lovely.

We will continue to have fun every year, but I really want my son to know, to understand what Jesus did for him. There will be egg dying, and cookie baking, and chocolate hunting, but there will also be seeds planted that will one day grow into gratefulness. This song gets me every time, and reminds me of the real reason we celebrate this day each year.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

The end of an era
March 30, 2012, 1:50 pm
Filed under: Friends, Photo

This is Lucy. I have had the privilege of taking care of her since she was four months old.

Three years later, this girl, her baby brother and parents are off to Michigan to begin a new adventure.

Luce, you are full of life and we loved getting to know you.

On her last day here, I pulled out the blanket they used to play on for one last picture…

Hard to believe that they both used to fit on here with tons of extra room!

So long for now, miss Lucy.


Roc & Kate

Saying goodbye stinks.
February 23, 2012, 2:00 am
Filed under: 2309, Friends, Love

This girl is a pretty darn good blogger. She is my closest friend, but she now lives about 1,200 miles away from me as of Valentine’s Day. Nice, huh… feelin’ the love. No, I’m good. Not bitter at all. Did I mention she took my her two little girls with her? I know, rude.

I actually really am happy for her and her little family, and hey, North Dakota will be a perfect vacation destination for us! (To be filed under: Things you never thought you’d say.) This big move has been in the works for quite a while now, and I have said for about a year, “By the time you move, I want to be blogging again.” It’s such a fun way to stay connected, and I am hoping that her consistent posts will keep me on my toes.

They took off last Monday, the 13th, but not before some of her closest friends here got to share one last meal, lots of hugs, laughs, and a few tears. Since it was almost Valentine’s Day and we all love her so much, it seemed only appropriate to have a love-themed party, right?

Here was the menu:

Pomegranate fizzies, coffee and tea.

Hot crab dip with crackers.

Grape and cashew chicken curry salad on croissants.

Cherry, almond & blue cheese salad.

Red pepper & ranch veggie shooters.

Red velvet cake pops, strawberries & pound cake drizzled in chocolate, shortbread fruit “pizza”, and mini strawberry shakes.

It was all girly, all red & pink, and all delicious!

Kaylee lived here less than 4 years, but in that time she built some deep, lasting friendships. This doesn’t surprise me at all. She has an easy going personality, is fun, kind and believes the best about her friends. She is trustworthy and that is huge for me. It has been so refreshing to get to know her, watch her become a wife and a mom, and grow up together over the past few years.

Kaylee girl, you are a treasure to us all. You are, and will continue to be missed. I look forward to our friendship continuing to grow as we let our roots grow down in different soil.

All our love,

The girls.


I’m sold.
February 22, 2012, 12:00 am
Filed under: Family, Friends, Love

I just went through and re-read my blog. I get it. I get why this blogging thing is a great idea: seeing pictures of my baby boy, remembering the snotty nose (so sorry again for that) and the baby food experiment, and WHY haven’t I tried this recipe in 18 months?! I am reminded of how beautiful life is; it is certainly not perfect–and I will try not to leave out the boring, imperfect parts in the future–but I really want to be able to look back and be grateful for this life I have been given.

Yes, a lot has happened in the past 18 months. Amazing trips have been taken: Maui, Vegas, NYC.

New friendships have been made, old friendships have grown stronger, favorite friends have moved away. Birthdays have come and gone. I look at pictures of Rocco with that pacifier in his mouth that I wasn’t sure he’d ever give up, wearing a diaper and rocking that baby chub that I miss so much, and I think of the little boy I tucked in bed and said prayers with just a little while ago. The same little boy who went potty and brushed his own teeth all by himself before bed…the boy who went to preschool today.

There’s a new little one on the way. A whole new set of memories to be made.

I will start again, a sort of journal for my own safe keeping, and I invite you to our family as we continue to love each other… till the wheels come off.

I love Fridays.
July 30, 2010, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Family, Friends

Fridays in general are great, but this summer we have been part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and that has been extra wonderful.  The fresh, straight out of the ground that morning produce is awesome, but more than that, it’s the experience.  We all go together, Rocco runs around on the farm, plays with “his” dog and pets “his” little piggy (oink), we take lots of pictures and chat with friends. 


Summer of 2010 is going just fine, it won’t be forgotten.

American Idol…Courtney’s Version
February 9, 2009, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Friends, Photo

Since a few of you have asked for more stories for Omaha, I asked Courtney if she would be willing to do a guest blog and fill you all in a bit more. So, without further ado, I give you Courtney….

First off I want to say how honored I am to be the first “guest blogger” on Katie’s closely followed blog… I’m here to give you more details on our American Idol trip. Katie says she doesn’t remember the details so I’ll fill everyone in. Tommy drives us to the airport and while we are on the road they are still discussing what song she should be singing! I have to admit I panicked a little that she didn’t even know what song yet, but I was assured that this is the Hallstrom’s normal process, so we jump on a red eye that of course connects because a direct flight from Seattle to Omaha doesn’t exist. But we did get first class the majority of the way so that really helped.

We had to get to the stadium in Omaha, Nebraska a day before the competition to sign up and get a bracelet. Let me tell you: trying out for American Idol is quite the processes. Orange Bracelet = Auditioning. Green Bracelet = Guest (each contestant only gets one guest). So now it’s 9am and we are all checked in for American Idol with bracelets that we cannot take off or we will not be let in and the two of us are staring at Omaha, Nebraska thinking, “Now what?”

I believe we checked into our hotel and slept for many hours trying to recover from our glorious red eye. Then we decided to take on the town. Seven minutes later, we were done wondering what else there is to do. The whole time we were wondering where all the people were?


Katie continues to practice her song as we find a Cracker Barrel for dinner. We met a couple other A.I. contestants (easily spotted with orange bracelets) at our hotel, and then got some sleep because the big day was ahead of us. I don’t remember what time we got in line that day, all I remember is that the sun wasn’t up yet and there were tons of people in front of us and behind us. We ended up standing around with all kinds of interesting people, but luckily Omaha is extremely HOT and HUMID, so we didn’t freeze or anything. By the time we got into the stadium and sat down with the other ten thousand people, we were all sweaty messes.

They start the day off with all the crowd stuff: they had us singing “Born in the U.S.A.” by Springsteen and making us yell things for the promos like, “I’m the next American Idol!” or whatever. A few local contestants that had won radio contests got to audition before the masses and these people were really good. We were far away but you could still hear them and I think only one of them got the yellow piece of paper that you get to go to the next round.

Right then I had this horrible feeling come over me and I thought to myself, “What am I making my friend do?” These auditions aren’t real and there is no reason behind who they pick. Each judge gets a certain amount of picks and that’s that. So if they let 100 people get to the next round, 50 of those people are the absolute freaks you see on TV. People dressed in bath robes and singing in pitches only dogs can hear.

So here I am sitting with thousands of people feeling completely guilty for putting my friend up to this… After the contest winners went, there were 12 stations where 4 people audition at a time. This means at least 12 people are singing at the same time divided by a cloth. Katie was a champ! We waited in that stadium for over 6 HOURS and then it was her turn. Her group went and no one got through, but she was MY American Idol and it was a lot of fun to see how everything really works. And trust me, it is not like you see on television. Amazing singers go home and crazy people get through. I never once heard Katie complain and I hope I never let on that I felt so bad.

Walking out of the stadium I gave her a hug, made a few jokes at American Idols’ expense and explored Omaha a little more. I know this sounds crazy but my favorite part of the whole trip was when we were on our way to the airport. I stopped at the only Starbucks I saw to try and get a mug for Kana Crealock who collects them. As I’m walking back to the car Katie is laying on the horn in the most annoying fashion. She is mimicking the movie “The Waitress” (have you seen it?). Where every time the husband comes to pick up his wife he starts honking his horn over and over and over again from like half a mile away until she gets in the car. It’s not funny in the movie, but for some reason when Katie was doing it, I thought I might pee my pants…

OR…when we were at the gas station and I saw the biggest bug in the entire world! And as I was scared, but creeping towards it to take a picture of it, Katie made this loud noise and for some reason I thought it was coming to get me and that time I think I did pee a little bit!


I love you Katie and next time we aren’t taking “No” for an answer!  – Courtney