Saturday, November 27, 2010


We drove up to Connecticut at 3:30 in the morning on Wednesday. We hardly encountered any traffic at all and we were extremely pleased about that. So worth not having any sleep. Our first stop was at Steven's Aunt Ann's house. She rallied up the troops so we were able to visit with a lot of family that we just don't get to see that often. Ellie and Emma love seeing their cousins and getting to catch up... we love it too. They are so full of love and it always makes us reconsider living so far away. After our day with family, we headed to our friends Laurel and Tony's place. We stay with them every time we go home. Laurel and I have been friends for years and she makes us feel so comfortable when the four of us stay for a few days. She always has a little something waiting for the girls in their room and they have the fridge stocked with all our favorites. They are the best - such good friends - we are really lucky.

That night my girlfriend MaryAnn came out to pizza with Laurel, Emma and me. Steve and Ellie hung back with Tony so they could all go to bed early. We went to Pepe's pizza and it was AMAZING as it always is. So wish we could have something even halfway as good as this pizza in Richmond. Of course, we did a little shopping after dinner as we caught up some more.

Thursday morning Steve, Ellie and I awoke at 6:30 to get ready for the Manchester Road Race. This race is one of the biggest and most famous ones on the east coast. The race is 4.8 miles and it started in 1927 and there are 15,000 runners and about 20,000 people lining the race route. When Steve was a police officer in Manchester he had to work this race every year. Running was not an option. So this year we decided we were heading home for Thanksgiving and that it would be perfect for him to finally run. He did a fabulous job and crossed the finish line in about 46 minutes. Ellie and I stayed with some friends who have a house along the route around mile marker 3.5. I was so thankful to have a warm house to duck into with hot apple cider- it was freezing cold and my thin Virginia blood was not happy. We had a fun morning cheering on the runners and seeing all the goofy costumes too.

After the race we headed to Wilbraham, Massachusetts to Steven's sister's house. It was the perfect spot to spend our New England holiday. They have a beautiful home located on a wooded lot and inside there was a crackling fire ablaze in the fireplace and all those wonderful smells of turkey and stuffing...just picture perfect! Darlene and John were fabulous hosts and dinner was de.lic.ious. It was really great to be there with Steve's sisters and the girls' cousins. Once again we were wishing we didn't live so far away. Emma mentioned several times about how nice it would be to live back in this area, she was really enjoying all the family time over the last two days. The day was perfect and on Friday after a quick visit with my niece and a little shopping, we headed home and again there was no traffic problems at all. That in itself is amazing. We have so much to be thankful for in our lives. Healthy and happy girls, wonderful family, fabulous friends and the best part of all - realizing how thankful we are and not taking it for granted. Now if only I had some Thanksgiving leftovers....

Here are some photos from our holiday.

Steve with his Aunts Rose, Ann and Joan.

Ellie and her partner in crime, cousin Gianna

Pepe's pizza. OMG

15,000 runners ready, set, GO!

There's our runner boy! He stopped to give Ellie a kiss.

There were hundreds of costumes. I have dozens of funny photos -this one is pretty interesting... did I mention it was about 35 degrees out?


There were pilgrims, indians, many turkeys and one very large turkey head, santas, ballerinas, Teletubbies, Smurfs, chickens, tacos, french fries, angels, elmo, cookie monster, bananas, astronauts, sports players, wizards, super heroes and many many more costumes.

I have no idea how this Christmas Tree could see.

After the race. Great job!!

4 wheeling at Aunt Darlene and Uncle Johns! What fun

Ready to hit the trails

Ellie had a BLAST with her cousin Jeff

Steve and I take a spin. :)

Hold on tight Emma

The girls with their cousins Jeff and Greg. They are great kids.

Steven with 3 of his sisters (he has 4 total and one brother). Denise, Linda and Darlene

Sunday, November 21, 2010


So cute

A Sunday shout out from Phoebe and Tucker! Aren't they just the cutest?? Tucker tolerates all of his feline sisters & brothers so well. Kanye irritates him the most because he likes to bite his face...kind of cute...heh. Phoebe is Tucker's BFF. She loves to hang out with him. They are great friends.

I am falling short in the photo department these days... too busy with work to do much photography. We are headed to New England for Thanksgiving so I will have lots of photos to share upon my return. Family, road races, new england sights...cannot wait. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall is fading fast


The leaves are falling fast. We have had some wind and rain recently and all of the gorgeous fall colors are slowly dropping to the ground. Fall was exceptionally pretty this year in Virginia. So wish I had more time to get out and enjoy it. Soon the cold weather will be here. A little piece of me is excited for winter and all the cozying up, hot chocolate, scarves, nights by the fire and warm jackets that are to come. I am sure by the beginning of December I will be begging for Spring but for right now I am enjoying the season and looking forward to some colder air.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Justin Bieber

Finally, after months of anticipation, the night finally arrived for the Justin Bieber concert. Emma is 14 and she is obsessed with Justin Bieber. She had been waiting all summer & fall to go to this concert and the day had finally arrived. (I thought she may pass out at some point.) Emma brought her friend Jordan with us to the concert and Ellie made the cutest little sign that afternoon to bring with us.

Ellie's banner
Isn't that just precious!

When we got up to the front to have our bags checked we were told that no signs could be brought in. Poor Ellie was heartbroken but she realized when she saw the trash can full of "I love Justin Bieber" signs that everyone had to relinquish their posters. I actually had a bummer moment too at that check point. Seems my camera is too professional to bring in. Really? So we decided to go back to the car and stow away Ellie's sign and my camera. I probably could have gone to a different check point and smuggled in my camera because it was in my backpack in the way back part that usually goes unnoticed. We just happened to be in 'Mr. overly thorough pants' line. I just thought I would play it safe though and not bother so back in the car it went.

We purchased our tickets in June. It was a very long wait for the girls.

Ready to go see the concert
Outside the arena waiting to go in.

We ended up with great seats. 9 rows from the stage. Emma and her friend were across the aisle from Ellie and I so it was like they were almost on their own. I am sure they were thrilled about that. Ellie was very excited. Screaming and smiling and dancing like crazy. Everyone around us enjoyed her and her enthusiasm. Many of the young girls seated near us were clutching their chests and crying. No really, they were crying. Ellie was like - 'what's wrong with them?' They are teenage girls ,I told her, and this is their big crush.

The concert was really pretty good. I did loose some hearing from all the high pitched screaming but other than that it was quite entertaining. There were 4 acts total with one being Sean Kingston. He is the Jamacian teenager that has a slew of top 40 hits. Don't tell Emma but I liked him best. It was a night the girls soon won't forget. They all thought it was one of the best nights of their life. So glad to be there for it. Thanks Justin Bieber for making them happy!

Here is a video from someone at the concert of the last song, just in case, you know, you wanted to have the experience. I think I can hear Ellie screaming at one point. Put your volume up 27 times the normal volume and that's how loud it was. Oh to be young again!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Website Work

I am finally getting around to updating the look of Tickle Bellies. I have wanted to steamline the look for several months and have just been too busy to complete it. It's not necessarily hard to do just really time consuming. Well, I realized today that it will never get finished if I use the excuse that I am too busy because truth be told, I am always busy, so I decided today was the day to get it done. I started the transfer and incorporating the new look to all the current pages this afternoon. I had to take a break to bring Ellie to Brownies but I am now back to work and (fingers crossed) it will be finished tonight. Steve made some wonderful smelling (and tasting) pumpkin bread to keep me fueled for the long night ahead. If you could only smell the heavenly scent in the house right now. Yum....

Here is a sneak peek...simple and streamlined design.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Girls Weekend in the city

girls weekend in nyc

I left last Thursday for a weekend with the girls from high school in New York City. We had so much fun and laughed so hard. It was great to see them and hang out. We packed a lot into our 3 days. Shopping, gabbing, drinking, eating, walking, dancing, comedy clubs, rich foods, catching up, people watching and just a really fun fun time.

I am now recharged and ready to head into the next 6 weeks of holiday orders. I see lots of late nights in my future. As good as it was to go away, it's even better to come home to Steve and the girls. Corny, I know, but I miss them when I am gone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

We had a lovely Halloween weekend. Emma and Ellie's grandparents came to visit and we had a great spaghetti dinner Sunday (compliments of my mother-in-law) topped off by a fun night of trick or treating and visiting with friends.

The doctor is in
Ellie decided to be a doctor for Halloween. We already had the costume so it was a financial win-win!

Me and my honey
Steve and I enjoying a fabulous Fall afternoon on the front steps with our pumpkins.

Ellie and two of her friends at our neighborhood party.

Emma getting in the Halloween mood

Ellie & Taylor
Ellie and her friend heading out to trick or treat

Emma and Addie
Emma and her friend hand out candy so I could go visit with a neighbor. That Corona beer is mine not theirs... just wanted to mention that.