A Baker’s Dozen Anniversary

Since a bakers dozen is my favorite number of donuts, I am naturally presuming it will also be my favorite year of marriage. We’ll see.

Mark and I celebrated our 13th anniversary this summer. And by “celebrated” I mean I forgot our anniversary was coming up so I planned a trip to Colorado *without* Mark. Whoops! I guess its a good thing we aren’t hopeless romantics, or Mark might be crying in a pool of his own heart-shaped tears.

I gathered a few pictures from our professional photo album to share. It should be noted that we were married *juuuuuuust* before digital photography became the standard, so we got to enjoy all the perks of film photography. The part I miss most about film photography was how you could *click* *click* *click* all day long and then sit down at the end of the day and go “Well, I’ll be curious if any of those turned out…..wait, nope. I didn’t load the film correctly.”

Mark and I were really curious how the wedding pictures would turn out because we didn’t know our photographer all that well. As we were taking pictures there were poses that seemed pretty standard, and then there were plenty that left us feeling…weird? Mark and I like to think she must have been referring to a “Don’t be afraid to try something new” wedding pose book that said things like…

“If you encounter a short Groom, have him stand on your high heels so he can live his tall dreams through his wedding photos”…


Mark is the same height as me…but not when he’s wearing heels!!!!! I think we both had a hard time acting natural with Mark standing on our wedding photographers heels. It felt like a lie.

Then there was the “Have groom rub brides knuckles on his chin” picture…


I can most certainly guarantee that in all the years we have been together, we have never found ourselves naturally in this pose. Ever.

There was also a whole series of pictures that could be filed under “A Bride who only has eyes for her flowers”.


I seem more in love with the bouquet than I do with Mark. “Excuse me, can my flowers and I just have a few more moments together?”

The photographer took I don’t know how many pictures of me just staring at my flowers. If a stranger were to pick up our wedding album and flip through it he would think I was a clinically diagnosed narcissist.


My parents looking at me LOOKING AT MY FLOWERS.

The flower obsession culminated with the “Bride fires Bridesmaid’s. Drags flowers to altar by herself” pose…


Based on these pictures, how can we be certain I didn’t in fact marry my flowers? Am I even aware of the world around me?

In all seriousness, I did like my flowers, just not as much as the pictures might make you think. There are eventually pictures in the book where I am not in a flower coma.

In my pictures with my bridesmaids I managed to take my gaze off of my flowers, mostly because we were all trying to figure out what to do with the scarfs that came with the bridesmaid dresses. No one could seem to figure it out…


“Show me more leg!!!” is what the photographer kept saying to me. Apparently all of our scarf antics inspired her to tell me to pull up my dress. I felt weird about that. But I obliged. 

And I think the leggy scarf picture must have given the photographer the confidence she needed to throw her “comedian photographer hat” on in full force.


“Oh my goodness. WHAT time is it?!?!?!”

Followed by…


Mark trying to run away…only to be captured by the smiliest group of men who would force him into marrying a flower obsessed narcissist.

She totally nailed that comedy.

But maybe even better than her comedy was her ability to shoot unflattering action shots…


Was there an earth quake during the wedding? Is Mandy protecting me from an assassination attempt?

But I’ll tell you what, I’m sure she was just as perplexed by us as we were of her. Because this next picture was 100% our idea…


I know its traditional to have the groom get all handsy under the brides dress and pull out a garter, but we really thought that could make people uncomfortable…so we decided to have Mark take the garter off the best man instead. Because that won’t make anyone uncomfortable….

Happy belated 13th, Mark!!! I’d love to hire the same photographer for our *20th* Anniversary and do this all again!…buy maybe that’s just a pipe dream.

Why didn’t I think of the Medieval Time Out?

I don’t know why, but I seem to always miss out on that million dollar idea.   It occurred to me that I had missed yet another opportunity to make millions, while on a trip to the children’s museum.  There I was, once again, bitterly kicking myself, when I came face to face with the “Medieval Time Out”.

Come on Big Hair! Put your thinking cap on! How did I not think of this?

The medieval time out also had signs to hang around the offenders neck, such as, “vandal”, “disorderly conduct”, etc.  I didn’t find the signs all that creative. Where is the “she bit brother’s shoe” sign? What about, “ignored parent’s request to brush teeth”? Skip the sign and just get the tatoo gun for “whined non-stop about having to eat a tomato.”

But really, all-in-all the children’s museum was full of good ideas.  Shocking, I know.

It looks like Eli is giving a thumbs up. I think its funny.

This trip to the museum was while my parents were in town visiting.  As they often do, they come and provide all sorts of fun for the kids that Mark and I don’t.

Gabe got to watch his pants glow in the medieval castle.

Recently, I have noticed a change in myself (that sounds like I am going to talk about menopause, I assure you I am not).  I am referring to when I take the kids out, I find myself taking joy in watching THEM have fun. Crazy, I know!  Apparently, I am turning into an old person.  Those geriatric tendencies just crept up out of nowhere!  Seriously though, watching their little faces makes me so happy.  I guess you can just hand me my walker, get me one of those industrial toenail clippers, and slap on a bib.

The old lady in me particularly enjoyed watching the kids build things in the room pictured below.  It was filled with wooden pieces for you to make towers, buildings, etc.  Just like in the game jenga, but with less cursing.

Michael was determined to build a super tall tower…until he bumped it with his elbow and  knocked it over.  He followed that up by stating loudly,  “Well, I’m not doing THAT again”.

To prevent you from feeling TOO good about yourself, the museum had professionally built structures (probably built by a seasoned jenga stacker) placed around the room.  That way you can look at YOUR tower and think “Hey, did a dog eat a jenga game and poop it out over here?”

Seriously though, wouldn’t this be a lot more fun to play jenga with…

Another possible million dollar idea?

After our short experience with jenga architecture we moved onto one of the most stressful games I have ever experienced. (Aside from the game “Operation”; that buzzer was nerve wracking, not to mention the added pressure of operating on a clown).   The stressful game involved putting a puzzle together on a moving conveyor belt.  It is impossible to win with toddlers.

“The pea’s go in the small triangle Gabe! The SMALL triangle!”

We even had the setting on “slow”.

I’m telling you, Gabe couldn’t tell the mashed potatoes from the corn.

Eli just stared with his mouth hanging open…which is what he does all the time anyway, it was just especially fitting in this situation.

The pumpkin bib is brought to you by Gianna, the 9 year old.

The one section of the museum *I* was most interested in was the puzzle section.  Unfortunately, my children have not experienced the old person syndrome yet, where they enjoy watching ME have fun.  They were also not tall enough…

You’re not tall enough, Ann.

Don’t worry too much about Ann’s disappointment, we made up for it in the “flight” section.

Its just cute.

 The kids were really well behaved until shortly after the “tornado simulator”.

Something tells me that an *actual* tornado is less comfortable and more terrifying.

Things started to get a little dicey around the “farming section/ veterinarian section”.  Ann and Gabe had a little trouble sharing the combine…

Moments after this picture was taken, Ann actually bit Gabe’s shoe. “???”

My children then went on to become the worst veterinarians in the western hemisphere.  There was a sign that clearly said…

It was not long after reading this sign that I over heard my children shouting “Get in your jail cell little doggy!!!  You will be sentenced later!”, followed by slamming the cage door.  Mind you, there were other people present.

Ann’s face says everything you need to know.

Gabe tried to be severe with his animals…but Gabe is too nice.

Gabe’s version of ‘laying down the law’ involved him saying “I’m putting this fluffy cow in his house”, in a serious voice.

It was a good day.  And that is how I am ending this post.  I can’t come up with any brilliant conclusion.  Sorry if this leaves you feeling like you need blog closure.


I just have to get this off my chest.  There are currently 2 things that I find ridiculously overpriced.  The first is frozen yogurt and the second is homemade art by my children.  It has taken me a few years, but I am learning to not get caught up in the hype, or fall for a sales pitch by a child under the age of 9.

We recently had the opportunity to go to “Orange Leaf,”a frozen yogurt bonanza!  If you have never been to one before, and you are like me, this is what your experience will be like:

You, a sugar addict, will walk in for the first time grabbing the largest cup, putting a small amount of yogurt in it, and then ferociously filling the rest of the cup with toppings.  It will not be until you go to pay that you tragically realize the prices are determined by weight.  I will let you guess what weighs more, yogurt… or millions of snickers, butterfinger bars, gummy bears, twix, etc. You get the idea.  Suffice it to say, when the lady at the register asked me to place my large, heavy cup on the scale, I hesitated for many seconds.  I actually thought about trying to replace toppings.  Unfortunately though, the toppings were already covered in hot fudge.  After having the sugar pile weighed, I think I heard the check out lady say, “That will be lot’s of dollars, ma’am”.

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When all was said and done, I am not certain if Gabe got more yogurt in his mouth or on his shirt.

Ann had no idea what her yogurt cost.

Ann had no idea what her yogurt cost.

Orange Leaf did have one redeeming factor…

Dividers!  For all those people who don't like their various foods to touch.

Dividers! For all those people who don’t like their various foods to touch…Oh, and they had cool spoons.  Its like eating with a tiny, expensive garden shovel.


Why hello Michael’s new smile.

One last word of caution (after you have used part of your retirement to pay for the yogurt), watch out for the chairs in this place.  They are very sleek and may have been stolen from Captain Kirk.

Frozen Yogurt is not the only expensive food with low nutrional value though.  Welcome to the Arnold Kid Bistro. The children (especially Gianna) will try to sell you just about anything to make a quick buck.  I am regularly presented with opportunities to take advantage of this “one time deal”, to buy…

Blue Raspberry popcorn...now there's a predictable combination!

Blue Raspberry popcorn…now there’s a predictable combination!

Or perhaps you have a hankering to grab some pancakes.  Just $1.00 a piece….for paper…

I will give the little entrepreneurs points for that cool electric skillet!

I will give the little entrepreneurs points for that cool electric skillet!

Are you sure you don’t want any paper pancakes?…They come with personalized bottles of syrup…

The smallest syrup bottle was for Eli...obviously.

The smallest syrup bottle was for Eli…obviously.

No, on those last options?  Well consider coming to this show, its just $1.00 a person!

Here's the program.  How could you resist.

Here’s the program. How could you resist?!!!  Please note: that in addition to the clowns, magic, fairies, and hero’s, there will be fireworks (as pictured on the right hand side of the program).

Still no?  Would you come if you knew that for just $1.00 more you could have some “Coke with a hint of mint”?

That's quality labeling right there.

That’s quality labeling right there.

You can pick a prize out of the prize box for, you guessed it, $1.00.  Just follow Gianna into that small tent back there to get your turn at picking a prize out of the “prize bucket”.

Eli is giving me the "you are not seriously going to do this" face.

Eli is giving me the “you are not seriously going to do this” face.

But don’t worry.  We’re mean, and we make our kids do actual work to earn money. We are not total suckers….unless we are in place named after fruity foliage.