I like a little spice in my life, and even more spice in my cooking. Since Isla has been eating solid food, I can't help but feel bad for feeding her stuff that is totally bland. Don't get me wrong, I love my vegetables. But come on, who eats oatmeal without a few raisins or some brown sugar? So I finally threw in the towel on the whole feeding her one food at a time for 4 days to see if she has an allergic reaction and just trusted that she has my good genes. I made some hummus and fancy rice (basically just rice with a bunch of meat, mushrooms and spices) the other day and decided to give her that for dinner. She loved it. It totally gives me hope that there may be an ethnic bone in her body even if she does have light skin and blue eyes.
She's still trying to figure out that nothing
comes out of the bottom of the cup
We had a date night on Friday night. We went to Mexicantown for dinner and then went to the casino. Dave had me playing video roulette after I lost my first $20 at Wheel of Fortune. I promptly cashed out of roulette once I won my $20 back and earned $3 more. We walked away winners. Conservative winners, but winners nonetheless. On Saturday we both used gift certificates from last Christmas to get massages. They were amazing. We ate pizza for lunch then headed to my nephew's first birthday party. I think we sang him the "Happy, Happy Birthday" song at least five times. Isla cried each time. I'm hoping she gets used to it by the time her birthday comes along.
Dave and I have both been on a bit of a workout kick lately. For sustained motivation, THE Dorm crew decided that we would run in the Annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. It was a 10k and there were 14,000 people in the race. Some ran. Some walked. Some with dogs. Some with double strollers. Some with iPhones. And some with barely any clothes. In order to run in the race, we had to be in Detroit by 7 a.m. After somewhat of a sleepless night, we were up at 5 a.m. and out of the house by 6:30 a.m. For anyone who knows my struggle with getting out of the house in a timely manner, it was somewhat of a Thanksgiving miracle. Dave and Greg were nice enough to pace with me during our run (despite the fact that their legs are nearly twice as long as mine), and we all crossed the finish line together. My running friends tell me that our time of 1 hour and 1 minute was "respectable," especially considering the crowd.
The brining of the Turkey on Thanksgiving Eve
After the big race, we headed to Dave's parents house, showered and started cooking. I made pumpkin cakes (recipe courtesy of the Great Baker, Heidi DeKorne) and butternut squash risotto (recipe courtesy of Megan Clark via her personal chef, Jens Shroyer). They were both a huge hit. The meal was so good that everyone promptly passed out afterwards. We went to bed as soon as we got home. I was at my sister Melanie's house by 10:00 a.m. the next morning to have brunch with our dear friends, Marie and Monty. After we cleaned up brunch, we started making dinner for the Arabs. We ate around 5, cleaned up, grabbed some quick dessert and headed home totally exhausted.
Although he didn't know it at the time, Saturday evening was Greg's 30th Surprise Party. For those of you who missed it, we had the best raffle prizes in true Dorm fashion including a gallon of Tabasco, the Snuggie, a mini-keg of Heineken (oddly enough won by my mom), a bottle of Dom Perignon and Keurig Coffee maker...just to name a few. Greg was thankfully surprised despite his sneakiness. Although his birthday isn't until 2010, we partied like it was 1999. If you missed the momentous occasion, you still have a little over a month to find the perfect gift.
Now begins the time of year where we are booked with events every single weekend, every day of the weekend and many weeknights until after the first of the year. We are totally blessed to have a huge family, and no one ever said that we don't know how to celebrate. And celebrate we do...everything.
That being said, we actually didn't celebrate anything in particular this weekend. We bought a new Christmas tree on Saturday night. I'd post pictures of the tree, but its not totally decorated yet and I wouldn't want to do it an injustice. On Sunday we went to Ritz for the 25th Annual Chocolate Jubilee to benefit the Greater Michigan Alzheimer's Association. Isla put on the glam with her cute flower headband. She was a real show stopper, but her cousin Timmy gave her a run for her money in his dapper little suit.
Another beautiful baby girl joined the family. My sister Dana gave birth to her second daughter, Jenna Roma VanderLaan, on Thursday, November 12. Its hard to believe that Isla was even smaller than Jenna when she was born. Dana looked fabulous as usual, and Jenna takes after her Mommy in the looks department.
Its not too often that I get to hang out with my friends without having to time my outings around nursing (TMI?). This week was an exception. On Wednesday, the Oakland Christian School Class of 1998 (man we're old), had a small reunion at THE Dorm. In attendance physically were Erin AKA "E-Dub", Amanda AKA "Attitude" and in attendance via Skype was Amanda Muiter, AKA "Big Baby." We had a fabulous time debating which one of us should be the sacrificial lamb to stand in line at H&M when the new Jimmy Choo shoe line is released. It was so great to just sit and talk and laugh.
On Friday night, Isla and Dave spent some daddy/daughter time together while I headed to East Lansing to hang out with my sweet Rose. We had a "traditional" night as it exists between us. I arrived. Rosie had already been getting ready for 40 minutes. We ran to Forever 21 where I acted like a kid in a candy store...yes, I shop there and I intend to keep shopping there until I turn 61. We picked up our favorite dishes from Bravo and ate them. We took an additional hour and half to get ready while debating at least 10 outfits. Then, at about 11pm, we hit the town making a tour of East Lansing and downtown Lansing. We ended the night by eating frozen pizza and Cool Ranch Doritos. Aahhhh the good ole' days. You know you're getting older when people think its a phenomenon that you are married with a child and refer to you as "mama" for the rest of the night.
How did these faces not make homecoming court Senior year?
My wild Irish Rose on the far right
On Saturday, I acted as the "photographer's assistant" for Dave while he photographed my gorgeous niece and nephew. I think I might have gotten fired for doing such a poor job. Thank goodness Dave doesn't need any help to take amazing pictures.
Isla has started accessorizing. I know some may not approve of body piercings at such a young age, but you can't help but admit that she looks pretty cute. Did I feel bad when the doctor did it? Yes. I felt terrible for the two minutes that she was hysterical. But after that, we both got over it. I'm not a huge fan of gold, but I'm a huge fan of diamonds which happen to be her birth stone. Lucky girl.
And speaking of cute, our little barley Arab princess was a monkey for Halloween (I was Jasmine and she was my little Abu.) We carried our basmati rice bag to about 6 houses. We went out with Elijah, Kate and some really large dude with scary hair. THE Dorm handed out 150 full size candy bars. Once we ran out of the candy bars, we gave out Baked Lays and Rolled Gold Pretzels to some lucky Trick or Treaters. You know the kids in your neighborhood are spoiled when they approach your doorstep, peer into your bowl and say "No thanks. You don't have anything I like." Next year I guess we'll just give out cash.
That's what we did this weekend, and it was awesome. I can't remember the last time that we were able to just stay home all weekend. I think it has been years, literally. We rented movies, ordered pizza and laid around. I can't wait to do it again...soon.
Sunday was our most adventurous day. We went to church and had a photo shoot with Isla. Considering that she has a bit of a cold, it probably wasn't the best parenting decision to have her roll around barefoot in the leaves, but we had to take advantage of the colors while we could.
We were also able to squeeze in a visit to Yates Cider Mill with Grandma B earlier in the week. We got there about 15 minutes before they closed, but just in time to get cider and doughnuts. I should also note, that we do eat things other than donuts and waffles. We just don't talk about them nearly as much.