Tag Archive for birthday

Today is July 3, 2013

Today my youngest son, the “baby” of the family is turning 22.  I wanted to share the post that I wrote last year for his 21st birthday.  Happy Birthday Zach! Wow!  How did this happen?  It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital getting induced, and 28 hours later Zachary Gene came into the world.  And he came into the world with a vengeance. 10 lbs, 10 oz, and 22″ long.  He set a record at the hospital for a while.  A beautiful bouncing baby boy.  Jet black hair, a broken collar-bone, and blue, blue eyes.

Zach and I went home from the hospital on the 4th of July.  I had gone  into hospital on the 2nd,  and was determined not to be in the hospital for the holiday.  I wanted to see the family, and introduce Zach to his brother and sisters.  We’re now a family with four kids, and Zach’s name started with Z for a reason.  He was the last one.

Zach was the mellowest baby of all of my kids.  A very laid back California guy.  I remember before he went to kindergarten I had let the back of his hair grow almost to his shoulders.  He really looked like a little surfer dude then.

My sons’ had some life experiences that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Diabetes at age 6, leukemia at age 9, philosopher of life at age 10.  Zach’s perspective on life after SURVIVING his battle with leukemia is something that sets him apart from his siblings.  He’s thought about dying, he’s had to learn to accept his diabetes, but he’s a survivor.  A survivor that has a unique perspective on life.

Zach’s very creative; artist, photographer, singer, actor.  He pursued all of these activities in high school.  It took a little while for him to find himself, but he did.  Two of my favorite moments when Zach was a senior in high school were; watching him perform the role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.  Outstanding performances, unforgettable.  The second moment was when he sang Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like you Were Dying” at a choir performance.  There was a moment when he looked directly at me.  A moment in time that I can recall in the blink of an eye.

We’ll be celebrating Zach’s birthday with family tomorrow on the 4th.  We’ve done that a lot on his birthday.  For quite a few years he thought his birthday was on the 4th, the fireworks were for him.

For this Mom, I’m celebrating the fact that my sons’ health is in good order. I’m usually reflecting on that fact around  his birthday time.  It soothes my soul to know he’s ok.  Happy Birthday to my son, I just can’t believe your 21.

Update: This post has been linked to the Grand Social linky.  Check it out!

My Family is Great

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and I was reminded in quite a few ways how great my family is, and how much love there is in my awesome family circle.

My Travel Man is on the road, and will not be home until next weekend.  So, he was not able to be here for my birthday. But he made me feel so special.  You see on the morning of my birthday I got a wake-up call at 6am.  It was my sweet, adoring husband on the line singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  He has such a good singing voice.

Then my day began, and here’s a list of all of the little things that made my day!

> I got a big birthday hug from my oldest son.

> I got a beautifully worded e-card from my parents.

> My baby brother called me on his way to work and sang “Happy Birthday” to me(am I a lucky sister or what!).

> I got some Happy Birthday text messages from my other kids.

>My baby sister called me to wish me a “Happy Birthday”, and we had a great chat (we call this our “coffee clatch”).

> My dear hubby called me again to see if a package had been delivered for me.  (Ooh a package!!  How fun).  Look what he sent me.  Like my Mom said, “Absolutely decadent!”

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> My Mom called me to say “Happy Birthday” and we had some girl talk for a while.

> My sons arranged to make me dinner, which was absolutely lovely.  They are quite a pair in the kitchen.  We had grilled steaks and asparagus.  Some sautéed veggies ala Zach, and some garlic bread.  Aren’t they handsome?


It was great what a treat to have them cook for me.  I had no idea they had it in them to put together a meal and get it all on the table at the right time!  Parental Success!!

For dessert we had a cheesecake, and the kids put a candle in one of the pieces, and while we were Skyping with the grandkids they ALL sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Evan was leading the group from the computer screen.  As you can see Madison was entranced by watching everyone.  It was very sweet.

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Oh and throughout the day I got birthday messages from friends and family across the country on Facebook.  That is always such a nice treat.

I’m a lucky girl.  I’m lucky to be surrounded by such a great family circle.  They take the meaning of the word family to an entirely different level.  People often tell us that our family is really different.  We’re not so different; we’re just caring, compassionate, loving souls.  We take care of each other in good times and bad.  We have been through a lot together, and we survive together.

My eternal hope for each and every one of you reading this is that you are surrounded by the same sort of amazingness.  Happy Weekend everyone.

The Party House – Our Year in Review

??????????????????????????????????????Today is New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow will start the beginning of a New Year, 2013.  This is the time of year I love to reflect back on everything that has transpired at the Party House in the course of just one, short year.

We have had numerous birthday parties for the family members who live here locally.

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Had a great family event in April at Angels Stadium.  Almost everyone in the family was able to make it to an Angels game together.  I honestly cannot remember if the Angels won or lost that day, but we  had a great time.


Hosted a great dinner party when my sister and her husband were here from Montana in May.  Laura showed us how to make her red sauce enchiladas.


A special birthday was celebrated for our baby boy in July.  He turned 21.


We actually got to celebrate Travel Man’s birthday on his actual birthday this year.  That was a fun, fun time.


October brought us the baby shower celebration for my daughter, Naomi.  We had such girly fun that day!!


November brought the arrival of Miss Madison Kay, our second grandchild.  What a delight she is.  I know I’ve said that before, but I’ll say it again, because I’m her Grandma.


And of course we celebrated Thanksgiving together, and for the first time in a long time my sister, Laura, was able to join us at the dinner table.


Christmas Day was celebrated here with the family.  We were delighted to have our nephew, Jim,  here for the days festivities.  It’s always a little more casual on Christmas Day for us.  Dinner was buffet style, with tons and tons of goodies and cookies.  A wonderful party ending to 2012.

My parents with almost all of their grandkids!

My parents with almost all of their grandkids!

We are always grateful to be able to host the family events.  It’s always a wonder that we can get so many of the kids and their significant others together in the same place at the same time for the same event.

Every year I am equally amazed that even though my husband (aka Travel Man) is on the road for a good amount of time during the year, we are still able to sneak in as many short trips as we do.  And before I get to the trips – do you know that my Travel Guy was in the air for well over 160,000 air miles this year?  I could not believe that number, I’m still in shock as I am writing this.  That’s a lot of travel.  I am ever so grateful that he takes such good care of us, and always keep us laughing with his travel stories.

Our trips together this year included-

A trip to the Reagan Library.


A trip to Reno to visit my parents while my Dad was going through some chemo treatments.


A trip to Las Vegas in June (this was the second time), so my daughters and I could attend a Celine Dion concert.  Travel man drove us there and home.


A trip to New York in August to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.


And a trip to Montana to visit my sister and her husband.


More trips than I could have imagined we would could possibly take this year.  Thank you Travel Man.  You never cease to amaze me.

1-DSC01296And finally, I would like to give a standing ovation to my Dad.  My Dad is battling lung cancer (actually he’s kicking it in the butt!).  He was told in January of this year, that there were no additional,  conventional methods of chemotherapy or radiation available to him that would be helpful in diminishing his tumors.  My Dad, he’s a fighter, and he never, ever gives up.  He got on the computer, researched some alternative therapies, found a doctor first in Reno, and then in Carlsbad, and never gave up on living.  My Mom keeps telling us that since my Dad was an engineer in his working life he just has the mentality that this problem he has needs to be solved, and he’s going to solve it.  And by the way my Mom, she’s a rock star.  She definitely deserves the “Stand By Your Man Award” for 2012.  The love and compassion she shows for my Dad is a priceless gem.

I am completely elated, overjoyed and ecstatic to tell you that because of my Dad’s hard work, perseverance, and his never give up attitude in this year of 2012, his tumors have diminished over 40%!!  It is hard to express in words what a wonderful feeling it is that my Dad has seen such a tremendous improvement.  It’s happiness, relief, joy, and a great big WHEW!  This man, my Dad, has redefined the word perseverance.

It reminds me of my favorite Winston Churchill quote: “Never, never, never, give up.”

From the Party House to yours, wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year, and may all good things come to you and yours in 2013.

Fluffy Lemon Cheesecake – No Baking Required

As I promised you all earlier in the week I wanted to share my cheese cake recipe that I made for my daughter’s birthday bonanza last weekend.  Hilary had originally requested a lemon cake with cream cheese frosting.  But being the persuasive mother that I am I asked her if she would rather have lemon cheesecake, and she said Yes!

Oh and by the way, I also had two graham cracker crust staring at me from my pantry just calling out to be used.  See what I mean about be persuasive. 

So the ingredient list looks like this:

  • 1 graham cracker crust – store-bought or from scratch, whichever you prefer.
  • 1 (8oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 (8oz.) container of Cool whip, thawed
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest

Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice together until smooth.  Fold in the Cool Whip and about 1½ tbsp of the lemon zest, save a smidge for a garnishment.  Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust, and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest on top.  Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  This is a very light and yummy cheese cake.

A few variations of this recipe- some food for thought so to speak:

  • You could use lime juice and lime zest.
  • Leave out the citrus flavorings all together and garnish with fresh fruit – strawberries or kiwi.
  • Use no flavorings in the cheesecake, and top with a thin layer of sour cream.
  • This is a great recipe for making individual mini cheese cakes – my niece loves to make these.  You can purchase the mini graham cracker crust at your local grocery store.

This a fabulous summertime recipe since there is no oven time required.   With spring and then summer just around the corner hang onto this recipe for the warm weather to come.

Happy Friday everyone.  Enjoy!  P.S. Photo credits to Elaine Zee.  Thanks Elaine!

My Baby Girl is 25

My daughter, Hilary, turned 25 this weekend, and when it’s the birth day of one of your children you somehow always get in reflection mode.  I justed wanted to share a little bit about Hilary and her birthday weekend.  We had a wonderful grilled pizza dinner Saturday night and a fluffy lemon cheesecake for dessert (recipe on that one later).  Plus, Travel Man made it home for one night to celebrate with us.  Yay!!

Sunday was Hil’s actual birthday, not the fake one from the celebration the night before,  that’s what Evan would call it.  So when we got up on Sunday morning we decided to go to Disneyland for a few hours and have some lunch.   It was a gorgeous Southern California day.  Sunny and about 90 degrees by the time we got to Anaheim.

So, we’re standing in line for the Toy Story Mania ride and Hil’s,  Auntie Laura calls to wish her a Happy Birthday.  After that, and mind you we are still in line for the ride, we start reminiscing a little more about the day Hil was born.   I told Hilary that when we got the hospital bill for her, we were charged for a circumcision (!), and of courses I had to call the hospital and tell them we had a girl.  I so clearly remember the billing office person telling me, “Oh my gosh the doctor has her marked down as a boy!”. I still laugh to this day when I tell that story.  Hil was cracking up when I told her this one today!!  Also I remember Hil’s big sister Naomi and her Aunt Jan sneaking me some homemade Chinese food into the hospital soon after Hil was born,  Naomi thought it was so cool to be sneaking the yumminess into me.

When I was on the phone with my sister this afternoon she reminded me about coming into the hospital to see me after Hil was born, and she says to me ,”Yo Adrienne, I can’t believe you done dis!!!”.  Such good memories, such a great family.  We are so lucky.

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