Monday, February 25, 2013

Dirty30 - The Cruise Ship.

With recent cruise news, I think it's appropriate to FIRST thank God we were not in that situation.  I'd like to also say my birthday series does not discredit the experience of those poor vacationers.

I almost didn't post about my birthday cruise... Until I remembered I still drive a car despite countless horrible accidents I see... I still fly in planes despite terrorist attacks... I still travel out of the country despite the dangers.  Matter of fact, I take a risk every time I leave my home.


Before you judge me for having a great time on a cruise, imagine a stressed mama who was long overdue for a nice time.
We departed on January 27 and, as is ALWAYS the case, I was exhausted from the prep.  It was 3 a.m. and I was knee deep in cleaning and washing and folding and--

O, hello sun.  You've finally decided to join me on this here fabulous morning!

I think the sun overslept but, aside from my grumpy attitude, I was happy.  Its sight meant departure was upon us!  

We arrived to the airport and Munchface lost it.  She sobbed saying how sad she was that we were leaving her.  Man, that sad little face messed me up... Made me consider not going... I know it sounds crazy but, times like this, a fear that this might be our last hug flashes across my mind.  For a split second, I think of the worst instance - life without her - and I hug tighter... In this case (with her tears and length of time), I also broke into a sweat...  I was a mess.  Nauseous almost. 

"Tabitha, you get yourself together.  She'll be fine... Even if Grandma doesn't get her pony tails just right, she'll be fine.  She will continue to progress in reading, she'll be fine! You'll come home.  She'll be fine." - Self

I entered the airport crying... Not snot-nosed but tears were falling.

By the time we made it to the gate, I was fine.  New birthday hair blowing in the wind:

 New sneakers on my feet:

New birthday Beats by Dre blaring my Pandora:

O and new fabulous birthday luggage in tow (thanks, Deb):

DVF makes some fabulous luggage sets and I received tons of compliments. I just LOVE this luggage!

After a quick flight, we (mom and dad, Dani and Vernon, Christina and Roland, Deb and Chaz, and me and Hubbs) arrived to sunny Miami!

We were on the Carnival Dream and it was a beautiful ship:

  If you've never been on a cruise, consider this a crash course. 

Cruise vacations require no THINKING at all.

24 hour access to food.  Good food.  Free (included in your fare) food.

Daily itineraries with on-the-hour activities and entertainment.

Amazing service.  Like, leave your towel on the floor because your personal room attendant is coming to clean your room 2-3 times each day.  The room staff also does cool things like fold towels and leave chocolates on your bed every night:

This wasn't our first cruise so we were prepared for small(er) rooms.  Rooms come with either two twin-sized beds OR (they push them together to make) one queen-sized bed.  Outside of the bed, there is walking space and enough room for luggage.  In the past, we've had window rooms. This time, however, we had an interior room (without a window) and it was actually kinda nice and helped us [over]sleep better.  My parents' room was gorgeous - top of the line everything, soaking tub and separate shower, walk in closet/vanity, sitting area PLUS a balcony.

That's my view from the bed :)

Our daily "cruise life" consisted of waking up, working out, getting dressed, eating breakfast and planning the day, cruising, docking, shopping, sightseeing, eating, strolling the dock, changing for the formal dinner, attending a night-life activity (club, karaoke), enjoying a show (comedy or cruise entertainers), group card games, midnight (or later) pizza, sleep.


It was loads of fun and I can't wait to share the pics this week.
WAIT.  Let me just say, it was fun after Hubbs and I had our annual vacation argument, lol.

YES, I said argument.  Something about prepping for vacation makes me sleep-depived, irritable, sensitive and whatever.

In this case the argument stemmed from COMMUNICATION.  O and the gym... What?! Hubbs' workout time was keeping me from breakfast! O don't give me that eye!  Clearly, you didn't see the buffet or the nice restaurant that stopped serving their fabulous breakfast early and... Well...

Anyhoo, we worked it out and we were able to enjoy the time together so don't worry.  It's just one of those things we know is going to happen every vacation.

Stay tuned for more details on the birthday cruise :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WW: Missin' the View.

Wordless Wednesdays:  I'm missing the view from the balcony on the cruise.

Updates begin tomorrow.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Real People Real Love

I know it's Valentine's Day but I need to take you back to Christmas for just a moment.

My dad is Santa.  Every year he and my mom go allll out for Christmas.  Like, ALLLL  out.  This year, dad took the lead for gifts.  He even wrapped them by himself.

Ryan got the awesome full-body mirror with jewelry storage that she wanted:

Munch got the American Girl double stroller she wanted:

We all got amazing gifts... He certainly did an amazing job wrapping...

Do you see those bows?  Crafting must run in my blood.

There was 1 tiny box left under the tree.

Dad took the box and gave it to mom. 

"Here you go, baby."

It was a small box.  Its contents? 2 beautiful diamond earrings.  Mom gasped and teared up... She needed Ryan to help her put the big ol' rocks in her ears.  While they figured out the screwbacks on the earrings, the guys seemed weird... 

Dad glanced at me and pulled another box from his pocket.  He quickly opened it to reveal a beautiful ring and shut it.


Who does that?  Now, I'm tearing up... I'm biting my lip.  My brothers are telling me to get it together and I can't.  Mom has her face turned away from dad (head slightly tilted) because she's putting on her earring.  I guess my reaction made dad quickly get on one knee so when she turned to show the earrings, he was waiting, ring in hand, and lovingly said,

"...Because sometimes you have to do it again."

She asked for his glasses to see it better.

He asked for them back to see it better too. It was a cute moment seeing them pass the glasses back and forth.

Mom explained that she washed her hands at work and left her ring on the sink just-about 2 years ago.  She's been wearing a fake ring ever since.  Dad said she wasn't getting another ring (just for the principal) plus, after 30+ years of marriage, the ring does not MAKE them a married couple. 

It's one of those interesting things about marriage.  Some plan a great wedding and buy a fabulous diamond but don't have a great and fabulous marriage to match.

A great relationship is not in the sparkles and bling; it's in the choice 2 people make to work things out.


Just a little reminder that bumps and bruises will come but LOVE is enjoying the ride together.

Happy Valentine's Day... May you enjoy your perfectly imperfect loved ones today and everyday!


A "Berry" Yummy Combo

I pulled together some quick treats for Munch's class.  I also baked some sweets for us to enjoy.  I tellya, if you haven't joined Pinterest, you should. It's a great place to find something new to try...

Looking for recipes?  You're one click away!

While browsing on Pinterest, I saw a pic of neopolitan cupcakes. 


I never visited the original site BUT I think I figured it out bc my variation turned out fab SO I'll share my version with you guys...

Brownie Batter (mixed to package instructions)
Strawberry Cake Batter (mixed to package instructions)
Cupcake wrappers


1.  Place the cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan
2. Fill each cupcake wrapper with 2 tablespoons of brownie batter
3. Cover with strawberry cake batter  until 2/3 full (many of mine had more)
4. Bake according to cupcake cooking times
5. Let cupcakes cool 15 minutes 
6. Top with vanilla icing

I let Munchface place valentine's cake decor on each cupcake.  I was nervous the lines wouldn't be crisp because I didn't read the original post BUT... It worked just fine.  Check them out:

Chocolate gooey brownies with the super sweet and light strawberry cake?  The perfect combo!  Hubbs loves strawberry cake so I used the leftover batter to make plain strawberry cupcakes and he HAD THE NERVE to be mad when I took them to work.  AH WELL, I'll make more sweets on Valentine's Day.

Do you have any quick ideas for Valentine's Day?!  

Do share in the comments!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{Inaugural} Ballin' Like a Big Shot

Nena's hubby, Chris, was chosen as the Ft. Lee representative to attend the President's Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball.  Yes, it was an amazing opportunity and no, they couldn't take me with them. I was on babysitting duty and you know I loooooove kissing on little cheeks so it was a welcomed fun way to spend recovering the day after my birthday.  Check out my cool friends at the once-in-a-lifetime event:  

Do you see that CAKE?! I love.

Awesome, right??!!

Gilly is very close to her parents so I expected as the evening approached us, she would start to miss them.  

I HAD TO DO SOMETHING! Kids shall not be sad while visiting with me (I'm the cool play auntie).

It hit me, we would host our very own Inaugural Ball! While the girls got cute (with makeup and jewels), I dug in my closet for something to wear... I reached wayyyy into the back and found my PROM dress.  It's not a typo.

In celebration of my 30th, I put my PROM dress on and it fit better than it did when I originally purchased it more than 10 years ago!

I was SO excited the dress fit that I Facetimed Deborah to brag. I guess Gilly was in the background because Chazity snatched the phone and asked, 

Tabby, WHO IS THAT?!

UH, Chazzy, I'm babysitting and she's Gilly and-


If you've been on the island before, you have probably met our sister-cousin, Chazity.  She's an extension of the family and we never do anything without making her aware.  Needless to say, I invited Chazity to attend our ball from MD.  We made it a Facetime party and she rushed off the phone to get ready.

I pulled party supplies from the stash and created a quick tablescape.  I also called Hubbs to call in reinforcements helping Juni get ready (because he's a boy and claimed I couldn't help with his attire).  20 minutes later, the table was set:

The kids were ready:

Chazity called all dolled up:

Tati came with food!

We were ready to get started!
Sidebar:  Juni only wanted to wear a blazer (no shirt, no tie... just a blazer) so Hubbs changed his outfit to match (a vest, a bow tie, basketball shorts and sneakers).  Chazity found it hilarious!

Nena and Chris had a serious process to gain access to the event.  Some fancy I-can-confirm-who-you-are-when-I-scan-your-ticket kind of stuff.

OF COURSE, all of the kids got special tickets to the ball and were offered fruit snack appetizers (I opened a few packs and put them on a tray for them to eat while they mingled).  The stylish little ones took their seats around the table and the formal ROYAL introductions commenced.  

We made quick crafts (cards), ate a yummy dinner and then turned on the music to open the dance floor!  

She said grace from Maryland.

Chazzy and her mommy baked a fancy cake to celebrate.

After an impromptu balloon fight, it was time to end the ball.  NO ONE wanted the night to end, including Gilly.  I hoped this would help to make them fall asleep... Well, it helped everyone except Gilly.  She stayed up until she passed out (on me) at 3:00 a.m. (I was exhausted and almost didn't make it):

It was a great time!!

Have you had a fabulous impromptu party recently? NO?! You should! There's always a reason to celebrate.


Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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