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.

My Sunday Best…on Monday….um, Tuesday?

A day late and a dollar short! (Actually, this is 2 days late and 2 dollars short because I wrote this on Monday, but then I got distracted and didn’t post it). But I’m going to share my Sunday best anyway. Linking up with Rosie again!

I’m going to cut right to the chase and show you the Sunday best in all of its bland glory…


White shirt and black skirt…”How does she come up with these edgy styles; by looking at Oreo cookies?!?!?!? What will she wear next?! A black shirt and a white skirt?!?! We’re all on the edge of our seats!”

But just so you don’t think I’m completely lame, the white shirt does have a lace front. Pretty daring, eh? (said in my best Canadian accent)


“Wow that lace is pretty zany! She must be a lot of fun.”

Perhaps it’s more interesting to note that I let Mary Claire sit on Eli’s head while I took these pictures?


He didn’t seem bothered, she was thrilled, and wow, I need to vacuum.

Aside from the wild time I had choosing the clothes I would wear for a total of 2 hours on Sunday, we had a fairly decent weekend. One of my favorite moments was when someone else’s child was having pretty spectacular tantrum at the store. This distracted *my* children from having their own Broadway performance of “I hate the checkout line”.  (Side note: Why did I ever let my kids watch that musical?  It has so many negative messages about grocery stores.)

Anyway, I briefly considered writing that other mom with the tantrum toddler a thank you note for distracting my children.


My children looked so mild and well mannered, but they were probably just taking notes.

We also went to a birthday party where Eli wore a mustache. So that was eventful.


He would blend right in as a Frenchman. He probably wouldn’t even need a passport! So if we ever need to flee the country this is my backup.

When we weren’t out and about doing wacky things like grocery shopping, I spent my time at home.  I spent a good part of one day just walking all over the house looking for my phone….which I was carrying in my hand THE WHOLE TIME. I love it when that happens; I get to see the fruits of my sleep deprivation and disorganized multitasking. It’s so rewarding to have something to show for it.

But don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I’m still with-it enough to think of trivial things to complain about, and then write about those things on my blog. Like oatmeal…


Oatmeal is the booger of food. It has the same texture and clinging-ability of a booger. (Not trying to ruin oatmeal for anyone.  Its a perfectly delightful food… just boogery). The kids really like it, which should not surprise me, because they like to eat their own boogers.  Also, the kids probably like it just because they know that I really hate cleaning oatmeal up. It just keeps sticking to everything. I try and wipe it off the child’s face and clothes, and like a total jerk it just keeps sticking to new places. I curse and swear until I think I’ve got it all, and just when I let my guard down, and I think I’ve won the battle I’ll look down only to find “What the *bleep*!!! How did it get on my foot?!?!?” What is wrong with you oatmeal? Go home, you’re drunk. (I think this is the longest photo caption I have ever written. Setting new records everyday!)

But on the brighter side of things, I have a tooth-brushing technique for toddlers that I have been wanting to share for a while. I don’t want to brag, but its very effective. I just *gently* pin the toddler down with my legs , taking special care to make sure they can’t get their arms out. There may or may not be some crying involved with this, but don’t worry, just harden your heart and brush the teeth. Its better than cavities! I think….I do wonder which is more expensive: dentists now, or therapists in the future…we’ll just have to find out!

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I know this is an overwhelming picture of my man-ish thighs, but just look past that and focus on the technique. Mary Claire loves it. And actually, a little crying lets you get those back teeth nice and clean.

Well, we are having some company for dinner so I better go remove the note Mark left for me on the fridge…



I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we do keep our toilet paper in the fridge.  As my rich grandma from Paris would say, “You haven’t lived until you’ve used chilled toilet paper.” (Not really.  Other than the note, I made all that up.)

I have a lot more I could talk about, but I am already feeling excessive in my rambling, so I guess I will just have to write *another* blog post, to the horror of all humanity.

Have a happy slappy day!

How did I not see that coming???

I’m going to start this post off by offering a small but important health warning for anyone (like me,) who is starting to think they are not so young anymore.  My warning: Being young at *heart* is WAY different than actually *being* young.

This realization came to me mid-cartwheel about 2 days ago. (Now I know what you’re thinking, “Wow! How young and fun of you to do cartwheels! You must be in great shape!!”…but my lower back would tell you ,”Um, no I am not.”). I was perfectly fine pre-cartwheel, and I probably would have been fine if I had just done a lack-luster uncommitted cartwheel. But no, I had to do the full starfish cartwheel, and stick the landing with both feet. How did I not see the back injury coming? The lesson here is: “if you haven’t wildly flailed your limbs around in over a decade…you should probably ease into it OR just describe the process to your children with out modeling it.”

So now my lower back has a little bit of an *ouch.* But no worries, I’m sure I will be right back in middle-aged shape again in no time!

In better news, the limo ride we took last night went fantastically. As I mentioned yesterday I went dressed in my Huckleberry Finn pants and a striped shirt and Mark went as a Tampa, Florida retiree…


In this picture I am protecting the dignity of our fellow passengers (who may not want to claim to know us,) by not showing their faces…unless of course you are an expert in knee identification…and in that case, “Yes, that is Taylor Swift’s hairy white knee!!!”

Some facts you might be interested in (probably not) about the limo ride:

1~The limo drivers name was Floyd.


2~Floyd was jovial but odd.

3~It has just come to my attention that people might also refer to *me* as jovial and odd….hmmm.

4~I felt like Floyd sometimes took the turns too sharp.

5~There has to be a better way to get to the back of the limo…conveyor belt maybe?

Wanted: Food Taster. Possibility of poisoning…high.

A few months ago I went to El Starbucks and got a coffee. It was a delicious White Chocolate Mocha, which I’m certain is low calorie and very healthy, (I set lofty health standards for myself over here). I brought it home, drank it (riveting details, I know,) then I went about my usual house-cleaning/yelling-at-children routine.

When I came back to the kitchen, I threw a handful of Sour Patch kids in my mouth, picked up the coffee cup only to find that “Hey, there’s a little coffee left in here! That’s a fantastic surprise! I thought I drank it all!” So I took a drink of the coffee, AND IT TASTED TERRIBLE. Like, we are talking, “Oh-my-goodness, get-this-taste-out-of-my-mouth-right-now-before-I’m-forced-to-surgically-remove-my-own-tongue,” terrible. I was so confused. Why did my taste buds turn against me!!?? Then I thought, “Oh! Maybe its those sour patch kids I ate! They are probably making the coffee taste weird”. So I cleansed my palette by eating a cookie, (as one does). I took another drink and it STILL tasted terrible, AND now I was starting to feel unwell.  However, I was just so confused, I decided I better take just *one* more drink before I give up on my White Chocolate Mocha. Maybe if I swish it around a bit it would taste better? NOPE. The taste still made me want to die a swift death.

I was so weirded-out, I thought I better go tell my tale of woe to Mark, and see if he could figure anything out. I started to tell him about it when I saw that look in his eyes. He stares at you with the most serious face like he is really listening, but if you look closely you can see the very corner of his lips turn *ever* so slightly up into a smile (its almost undetectable to the untrained eye). And that’s when I knew.  You see, Mark likes to “poison” my drinks, but he does it so infrequently (biannually) that I forget.  My taste buds had not betrayed me; my husband had.  It was Soy sauce. I had taken three hearty chugs of soy sauce.

I can NOT recommend taking a drink of soy sauce to anyone, and I most CERTAINLY do not recommend taking THREE drinks of soy sauce.


He thinks he’s sooooo funny. I bet Mr. Funny doesn’t know I put Nair in his shampoo….

7QT~ The time I lived in a men’s dorm for 3 years…

Linking up with Kelly again for 7 Quick Takes (7QT). I will just keep doing this on Friday’s until she tells me I can’t anymore.

1. After Mark and I graduated college and got married in ye old 2003, Mark’s first job was as a Resident Manager at a college. So naturally, we lived in a men’s dorm. But I didn’t care! Because I was just excited to be moving in with Mark Arnold…ah, young love.


2003: Before digital photography was readily available . There were so many pictures of people blinking…and you didn’t even know it until it was too late.


My parents were so proud of me on my wedding day.

2. I quickly learned that College boys smell like microwaveable burritos and dirty socks. Perhaps it was because the dorm was built when my parents were in grade school, and the smell had built up over the years, but either way the smell was hard to shake.

3. After a month of marriage I found out we were expecting baby numero uno. I’m not going to say living in a men’s dorm was the *most* awkward way to transition into newlywed life and pregnancy. When considering Mark’s other probable job prospects, (prison island guard, carnival worker, or shrimp boat skipper,) I suppose there are jobs with more awkward or smelly environments to live in, but the dorm certainly wasn’t the *least* awkward. Was I mildly nervous I was going to end up delivering my baby in front of a bunch of stunned freshman boys? No. I was petrified. But all turned out well, and baby Gianna was delivered in a hospital miles away from the microwaveable burrito-socks.


A fond remembrance of Mark’s full head of hair…except for that one forebalding patch.

4. Speaking of the smell of dirty microwavable-burrito socks…when I was first pregnant, God bestowed upon me a VERY heightened sense of smell accompanied by extreme nausea. So, every time a college boy would throw one of those fragrant burritos into the lobby microwaves, the smell would come wafting through the air vents sending me into a nauseous panic.  During my panic I would desperately try to open all 4 rusty metal windows at the same time to get some fresh air. Fortunately, the college boys only microwaved burritos ALL THE TIME.

5. Part of Mark’s salary as a Resident Manager included free passes to the cafeteria! 3 meals a day! For 3 years! I never really minded college cafeteria food…. for the first 4 years when I was actually in college. But then as the years kept passing, and I kept eating cafeteria food, it kind of lost its luster. (Of course I don’t mean literally lost it’s luster; one of the hallmarks of a good cafeteria is deep-fried food complete with a strong grease sheen…”kitchen luster” is the culinary term I believe.)

Don’t get me wrong, I was very grateful to have food. I could always make a tasty meal out of Fruit Loops. But it was becoming more and more difficult to identify the meat, “Is it a beef patty? No, its too grey. Is it chicken? No, its too grey. Maybe it’s duck?” Even now, as I struggle to make dinner with a bunch of kids yelling at me (they are worse than Gordon Ramsey on Hell’s Kitchen), I am just glad to know what type of meat I’m eating and what exactly is in my casserole.


Our mostly unused kitchen. Don’t let yourself become consumed with jealousy for all that counter space OR cabinet space OR 1950’s appliances.That mini fridge smelled terrible….but at least my ironing board was handy.

6. One of the downsides to this incredibly-perk filled environment that I have described thus far, is that as a Resident Manager you have to enforce rules upon large college boys who don’t like rules. So, when students would come knocking on our apartment door looking for Mark (when he wasn’t around,) I would hide. I would sit motionless, without breathing, until they left. I always presumed they were mad at Mark for something, and I hate confrontation.


For the last 2 years of our college dorm life Mark and I slept in a loft bed. Since we only had one bedroom we had to make room for us, the dressers, and baby Gianna. The loft became a little tricky to navigate during my second pregnancy, and clearly we never made the bed.

7. Overall its amusing to look back on. Although, I’m not so sure the college boys who lived next door to us with our screaming baby were all that amused, but at least they got a little taste of night time parenting…


Gianna. 3 months old. Learning the in’s and out’s of college life early on, and apparently eating her fill of cafeteria food.

A jolly Friday to  you and yours!