March 2017

March 2017

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Score!

For the last couple of months, our local Target has been in the process of a complete redo.  Supposedly it will be finished the first week of October.  But, in the meantime, it's a frustrating mess.

I shop Target at least once a week, and often more than that.  During the redo, I'm having to hunt for what I want every visit and a simple errand is taking twice as long.  I've been tempted to use the next closest Target.  But I prefer to keep my money in Ballwin, so I persevere.

Today that perseverance paid off.  I found $8 women's t-shirts for $2 and $13 tanks for $3.  I also got a pair of $17 knit crop pants for $4.  Score!

By now, some of my everyday summer shirts are looking a little sad, so I'm excited to have found replacements at such a great price.  Looks like it's time, again, for one of my favorite activities, cleaning out my closet and wardrobe :-)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Carpe Diem!

The decision's been made.  The trip is booked.  We're going to Ireland and I'm getting more excited by the minute!

I never expected we could afford a nice trip to mark our 60 birthdays after all the home improvement we did this year. But paying off the house last year has made a big difference.  No longer having that large monthly payment has allowed us to treat ourselves while still sticking to our savings plan.  Plus we've been lucky that, during a poor economy, business has remained steady.

Nevertheless, some would argue that "during these uncertain economic times" we shouldn't be spending money unnecessarily.  But, every time I think of my parents, I'm more determined that Jim and I grab every opportunity to enjoy life together while we can.

My parents saved all their lives for retirement.  But, for them, the joy of retirement only lasted a few years.  Dad often talks about how mom's Alzheimer's is particularly sad because they have the money to travel.  But mom's in a home and dad refuses to leave town as long as she's alive.

So, because I'm reminded daily that we never know what the future holds, I say -- "carpe diem!"


Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Anniversary Zuae and Daniel!

Two years ago, my oldest child and only son got married.  It took relocating to South Korea for Daniel to find his perfect mate.  Where Daniel is weak, Zuae is strong, and vice versa.  They compliment each other beautifully.

I often still can't believe that Daniel's been living in South Korea for several years now.  But I also still have trouble believing that Jim and I actually went to South Korea for the wedding.  Before that trip, we had never been so far from home or away for so long a period of time.  We are so grateful we were able to be there for Daniel and Zuae, and only have fond memories of our time in South Korea.

Happy second anniversary Zuae and Daniel!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sign of Fall

Last spring I decided to grow some vegetables.  It was more of an experiment and I didn't expect much.  The cauliflower failed and something ate the cucumber plant.  I did get a few strawberries and bell peppers.  But the peppers were green when the tags on the plants said red.

Grandma's Pumpkin Patch
My two cocktail tomato plants have produced the most fruit .  Both plants are huge and completely out of control.  I harvested fruit daily through most of July and then nothing.  But now there are hundreds of new blossoms, so it looks like I'll have a late summer crop also.

Hello Jack-Be-Little!
Of all the planting I did, however, the only thing I really wanted to succeed were my pumpkin seeds.  So I'm happy to report that I now have a small pumpkin patch in my backyard!

Currently I have three nearly full-grown pumpkins and the start of several more.  So there will be plenty of fruit for Elliott and Jonah to pick.  But, best of all, pumpkins are a sure sign that fall is on the way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lazy or Tired?

I have no plans or obligations for this weekend except mass sometime Sunday. This is such a rare occurrence I was really looking forward to it, thinking I would have plenty of time to clean and craft.  But now it's noon on Saturday and I've spent most of the morning sitting in front of the TV with my laptop.  I did workout and start a load of wash, but I don't feel like doing anything else.  I guess I'm feeling lazy.

Or maybe I'm just tired.  I actually slept until 7:45 A.M. this morning.  I was shocked when I saw how late it was.  During the week I have to get up between 6:30 A.M. and 7:00 A.M., so my body's used to that schedule and usually sticks to it even on weekends.  But the fact that I slept soundly until almost 8:00 A.M. leads me to believe my body needs rest.

Maybe I'll just listen to my body and simply take it easy today.  Because I don't watch Jonah on Mondays, I'm not as anxious about getting a lot done every day of the weekend.  So there's really no good excuse for pushing myself today, except butt pain from sitting so long!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Changes I Could Live Without

I wish my body shape wasn't always changing.  But, no matter if I hold my weight at a certain number, there's a shifting with age I can't control.  It honestly wouldn't bother me if it didn't always require new clothes.

And then there's the problem of my hair always growing.  It would be great if, once I found a style I like and can easily manage, my hair would just stay put and not get any longer.  This, too, wouldn't bother me if my stylist could always duplicate my last cut.  But, no matter how skilled she is and how well we communicate, every cut is never exactly the same as the last one.  The good news is that often it's better, so I guess I'll just continue always hoping for the best.

But because bodies do change and hair does grow, I'm now shopping for fall clothes and wondering if it's time for a hair cut.  Believe me, there are many other things I would much rather be doing.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pampering Myself

Yesterday I got a 60-minute massage and this evening I'm getting a facial.  Some day I probably won't be able to afford such pampering, so I'm enjoying it now.  

When I get a massage, I always request firm pressure.  I carry all my stress in my shoulders and, as a result, I get extremely tight.  I appreciate someone digging in, now and then, to loosen those muscles.  

I'm hoping regular facials will keep me looking younger than I am.  As a teen with serious acne, I was told oily skin would stave off wrinkles.  At the time, I couldn't have cared less.  But now it's nice shocking people when I tell them I'll be 60 in October, or that I'm Elliott's and Jonah's grandma not their mother.  

But mostly I get massages and facials because they feel wonderful. They're calorie-free indulgences with nice benefits.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

With a Little Knowledge. . .

I know my husband and family will agree that I've become a much better cook in the last couple of years.  I owe it all to FoodNetwork.

When I first started watching, I duplicated recipes exactly.  But over the last 6-9 months, I've begun giving recipes my own twist, or using what I've learned to come up with something unique.  One of my favorite creations is an individual Mexican chicken casserole.  I came up with this recipe while desperately looking for a new way to serve the bone-in skin-on chicken breast I cook at least once a week.


Dianne's Individual Mexican Chicken Casserole

Shred roasted chicken breast;
Toss with salsa verde and a Mexican shredded cheese blend;
Bake in a medium-sized ramekin prepared with non-stick spray.


The biggest benefit of not always needing a recipe is being able to create something from whatever's in the cupboard and refrigerator.  For example, today I have a ripe avocado and a bunch of cilantro that needs to be used soon.  Since I just bought some ground beef, I plan to toss it with a homemade taco seasoning mix.  I'll then form patties and cook them on the stove-top grill since it's too hot outside.  And, to eliminate bread calories, I'll place the burgers on a large slice of beef tomato and top with salsa, avocado, and cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.  I think I'll call it Dianne's Taco Burgers.  For a side dish, I'll toss spring greens with the Trader Joe's cilantro dressing I just bought based on Emily's recommendation.

Hmmmm. . .seems to be a Mexican theme here.  Nevertheless, it's amazing where a little knowledge can take you.  Bon app├ętit!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If the Shoe Fits

In addition to the Jillian Michaels workout, I'm now walking the neighborhood three days a week.  After Elliott gets on the bus, Jonah and I take off.  We walk 30 minutes up and down several hills.  Its only been a week, but I'm already feeling the burn in my gluteal muscles.

Fitness walking, however, is not my exercise of choice.  It usually aggravates the frozen joint in my right foot.  I've gotten good at everyday walking without forcing my toe to bend.  But when walking for fitness, it's easy to forget.  The correct shoe helps.

During the summer I live in fitflop sandals.  The sole is stiff, so it's nearly impossible to bend my toes.  They also have good arch support.  Plus, with flip-flops, there's no pressure on my left foot's bunion.

Cooler months are tougher.  I'm constantly looking for closed-toe shoes that don't bother my feet or look orthopedic.  But I'm hoping something in my closet will work for my walks with Jonah because I don't want to give them up.  I'm feeling stronger and it's a great way to entertain a restrained toddler.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And The Winner Is (Are). . .

Congrats Damian!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, The Glee Project is the best realty show on television. The first season ended last night.  As the four finalists presented their last performances, I was aching thinking about the three who wouldn't win.  They are all extremely talented and each one would be great on the hit show Glee.

From the beginning, it was understood the winner would get a seven-episode story arc on Glee.  Each contestant needed to display their ability to sing, dance, and act.  But, no matter how talented, it came down to whether or not the Glee writers could create a character for them.  That means each contestant's personality also played a key role, which is why I was cheering for Damian.

Out of the group, Damian is not the best singer, dancer, or actor, but he has a wonderful personality.  He seems to love life.  And, no matter how badly he wanted to win, Damian was always kind to the other contestants.  Of course, his Irish brogue doesn't hurt.  I could listen to Damian talk for hours.

So when Samuel was declared the winner, my heart sank, but only for a few seconds. Because it was quickly announced that Damian also won!  But then it got even better.  The other two finalists got mini-wins, two-episode story arcs!

I don't blame the judges for changing the outcome.  How could they pass on so much talent?  I'm glad they all won.  Best of all, I think the other contestants are too.

I always look forward to fall, but this year I'm especially excited.  I'm so looking forward to seeing The Glee Project winners on the third season of Glee. Congratulations Damian, Samuel, Alex, and Lindsay!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Planning Our Fall Trip

For this school year, Grandma Daycare will be closed a week in October and February.  Since Jim and I like to travel, at 60 years of age it's important we do it more often while we're still able-bodied and not on a fixed income.  I'm now researching our fall trip.

Something simple would be a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina.  I've been there before in October with a couple of girlfriends.  The fall colors were breathtaking and something I'd like Jim to see.  But it seems a bit boring and I'm not excited about driving through "country" Tennessee.

Another option is Seattle, Washington.  Neither of us have been to the northwest and it's definitely a place we want to see.  And we might get lucky with a cheap Southwest Airlines flight.  But after doing hours of research, I realized the same budget could take us on a bigger adventure.

That's when I remembered Ireland is still on our Bucket List.  We only have a week, but I still think a nice trip to the Emerald Isle is doable.  And the beauty of Ireland over Europe is there's no language barrier, sort of.

So I'll be focusing on Ireland this week.  For my peace of mind, we need to make a decision within the next couple of weeks.  I don't mind being flexible once we get there, but I like to have my air travel and hotel stays secured well in advance.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Papa's Boy

This morning I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.  I successfully got through my first week of watching Jonah and getting Elliott to and from the bus stop.  And, by Friday, I actually enjoyed watching Jonah.  He was a lot more pleasant, not as crabby as Thursday morning.  I'm sure the fact that he ate good lunches Thursday and Friday, and took good naps, had a lot to do with it.  But by Friday afternoon, we both had fun in the play room.

Jonah still does not cuddle, however.  He also does not kiss or hug.  The best we get are blow kisses, which he does very well.  Nevertheless, it's clear Jonah favors his Papa Jim.  On Friday, Jim was able to stop by twice and Jonah's face lit up each time.  On one visit, as soon as Jim sat on the floor, Jonah ran over and plopped down as close as he could get.

I guess it would be nice for Jim to have a special relationship with Jonah since Elliott and I are so close.  But Jonah still needs to give grandma good hugs someday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lose It!

After reading a review, I downloaded the Lose It! app to my iPhone and iPad.  That was several weeks ago, but I just started using it this week.  It's similar to MyFoodDiary.com, which helped me lose 25 pounds four years ago.  One of the advantages of Lose It! over MyFoodDiary, however, is that it's free. MyFoodDiary is $9.00 a month.

Because the review I read was about the app, I didn't realize at first that I needed to set up an account at the Lose It! website.  I now won't hesitate to recommend it to people who don't have a Mac or smartphone.  But the beauty of the app is being able to log food immediately.  I might not be near my computer when I eat, but I always carry my iPhone. Plus the website and iPad and iPhone apps are in sync.  So no matter which tool I pick up, I get my total caloric intake for the day as well as my history.

If you're looking for an easy way to count calories or keep a nutritional log give Lose It! a try.  Regularly logging your food intake can be a real eye-opener.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grandma Wins!

On the three days a week I watch Jonah, Emily will drop both boys off at 7:30 A.M.  At 7:45 A.M., the three of us will walk to Elliott's bus stop.  That means I need a strategic plan for successfully getting through the 15 minutes before Elliott leaves for school. Today was day one.

I set my alarm for 6:35 A.M.  That gave me plenty of time to dress, brush my teeth, make the bed, feed the cat, and eat breakfast.  By 7:10 A.M., I was packing my grandma bag, which includes two phones (land line and iPhone), sunglasses, keys, Jonah's water and morning snack, sunscreen, and laptop.  When the boys arrived, I was all set up in the basement play room.  I had both boys go directly from the front door to the play room where we managed to kill 15 minutes without breakdowns or injuries.  At 7:45 A.M., we exited through the playroom's sliding glass door to the patio where I put Jonah in his stroller.  We then had a leisurely walk to the bus stop, arriving ten minutes before the bus was due.  Success!

Some may find all of the above over planned.  But I've had enough experience watching both boys to know that, without a plan, things can fall apart in the blink of an eye.  It definitely often feels like grandma versus Elliott and Jonah.  Today -- grandma wins!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Elliott Starts "Big" School

I'm a lucky grandma.  While mom and dad were at work, I got to wait at the bus stop with Elliott on his first day of "big" school.  I was also there when Elliott got off the bus and had the pleasure of being the first to hear about his day.  He couldn't wait to tell me that the cafeteria reminded him of the great hall in the Harry Potter movies.

This morning I also got to visit Elliott's classroom. His school encourages parents or a loved one to spend part of the first day with their Kindergartener.  It's assumed they will be a little anxious about going to a new school.  That was not the case with Elliott, but I know he loved sharing some of his day with grandma anyway.

Some people might feel sad or old about this milestone, but I'm just happy to be a part of it.  Besides, it's tough to be down when Elliott is so extremely excited about this new adventure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of Grandma Daycare

Today was the first day of grandma daycare for the 2011-12 school year.  Fortunately, it wasn't a full day.  Mike dropped Jonah off at 9:45 A.M. on his way to Elliott's Kindergarten orientation.  Emily picked him up at 4:00 P.M.

It obviously will take a few days (or possibly weeks) for all of us to "get in the groove." Today Jonah tried to nap without "blue bear."  Since giving up the pacifier, Jonah depends on "blue bear" to console him and help him fall asleep.  Daddy forgot "blue bear" and Jonah did not nap.

Jonah didn't nap yesterday at daycare either and desperately needs sleep.  Just two days of daycare and he already has his first cold of the season.  I truly don't remember my children getting sick as often as my grandsons.  But it's probably just something I've chosen to forget.

So today was like deja vu.  Listening to a lot of crying; changing dirty diapers; wiping a snotty nose; and acting like a fool to entertain a toddler.  I hate to say it, but I just might be too old for this gig.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Beginning

Things are finally getting back to normal.  Over the weekend, I organized the hall bathroom vanity.  During the remodel, I had stored everything from the old vanity in Jonah's bed.  Now his bed is cleared and cleaned and ready for grandma daycare.

The hall bathroom is nearly completed.  All that's left is sealing the tile, getting a final city inspection, and painting the walls and trim.  The painter is scheduled for August 31.  But finally we are using the room, again, and I'm shopping for a shower curtain, towels, and artwork.

Also over the weekend, we put the play room back together.  For months we'd been dealing with a terrible smell in that area.  I thought it was a dead animal, but Jim felt it was mold under the carpet tiles.  We lifted a couple of tiles and did find mold.  So Jim trashed the old tiles, washed, sealed, and painted the floor, and installed new carpet tiles. But first we had to empty the room, and that's when we found the other problem.  We had failed to put a plate on the outlet behind the entertainment unit and a mouse had tried to use the hole.  So between the mildew and dead mouse, it's no wonder the room smelled!

The patio off the play room is also back together. When we had the driveway repaved in late June, flower pots and the outdoor toy box were moved to the patio.  And that's where they stayed during the 100+ degree weather.  When it finally got cooler last week, I cleared and cleaned the patio, so now it's also ready for grandma daycare.  The patio is under the sun room, so it's a nice spot for Jonah's swing, which he loves.

With the house back to normal and summer vacations over, I'm now looking forward to working out more regularly and eating healthy meals more consistently.  Funny how, no matter what my age, the start of a new school year always feels like a new beginning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I've Been Smurfed!

This morning I saw The Smurfs with Emily and Elliott.  After Entertainment Weekly's grade of D+, I wasn't expecting much.  Fortunately, however, it quickly became clear that the reviewers hadn't considered the intended audience.

Elliott laughed out loud through 75 percent of the movie.  At one point he yelled, "this is a funny movie!"  And, even for adults, there was some entertaining humor.  I especially enjoyed Hank Azaria's performance as Gargamel and the animation of his "real" cat.  But, without a doubt, The Smurfs is mostly a good movie for 5-year-olds and there's nothing wrong with that.

I typically don't pay attention to movie reviews unless the grade dips below B-.  At that point, if I'm still interested, I wait until it comes to the small screen.  But after The Smurfs, I'm going to be much more skeptical of all movie reviews.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cat Naps

It seems Rupert has found a new napping spot.  During the day, he used to sleep on our bed.  But now he's spending most of the day in the exercise room downstairs.

Last year when we added frames to the master bedroom windows, Rupert lost his favorite perch.  I felt bad, but just couldn't put a sticky velcro strip on my new window sill.  So when we set up the downstairs workout room earlier this year, I made sure Rupert had a perch.  I placed the bookcase under the window and put a blanket on top of it.  But he seldom used it until a few weeks ago.

Between painting and framing the two spare bedrooms and completely redoing the hall bathroom, I think Rupert simply got tired of all the noise and chaos in that area of the house.  Whatever the reason, just before we went on vacation last week, he began taking all his daytime naps on the bookcase in the workout room.  I kind of miss him, but completely understand.  For months, that room's been the quietest spot in the house. Cats are nothing if not smart.

Fortunately Rupert still hangs out with us in the evenings when we're watching television. But, honestly, that's mostly because he's waiting for me to go to bed.  At night, Rupert takes over my spot on the couch, unless we're on vacation.  I still haven't figured out why he doesn't sleep there when we're gone.  But there's never any cat hair on the couch until the morning after we return.  I've chosen to take it as a sign of endearment.  As any one who lives with a cat knows, you take what you can get!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Day of Summer

Today's the last day of summer for me.  I'm watching Elliott on Monday because school already started for Emily.  And beginning next week, I'll be watching Jonah Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.  In addition, beginning Wednesday, the first day of classes, I'll be getting Elliott to and from the bus stop every day.

So today I decided to treat myself and went to the movies.  I saw The Help because I thought it was a "chic flick" that Jim wouldn't mind missing.  In fact, the audience was mostly women over 50 years of age.  However, after seeing the film, I now think Jim will enjoy watching it when it comes to the small screen.

The Help is a sad commentary about the lives of southern black women who worked in white homes during the 1960s.  Every time I see a show or film about life during the time I grew up, I realize it's no wonder my generation has so many problems, mental and physical.  The historically accurate TV series, Mad Men, also set in the 1960s, supports that belief.  During the years we were maturing and "finding ourselves," we were also suffering through racism, sexism, and nutritionally-deficient diets.

I suppose many are still suffering.  But I also like to think many of us have finally recognized the mistakes of the past and are now able to make things better for future generations.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Next Generation

My old MacBook is being held together with duct tape.  So over the weekend, I took advantage of the tax-free program to save nearly $60 on a new model.  My son-in-law helped me decide on the 13" MacBook Air, which arrived today.

Seriously, how thin can laptops get?  The MacBook Air is barely a half an inch thick when closed and doesn't weigh much more than its AC plug.  But while it's compact size and lighter weight will make it great for travel, there are many other improvements in this new generation of notebooks.

I especially love how bright and clear the screen is and how much quicker it responds. It's a lot like my iMac in that regard.  It used to be such a disappointment going from my desktop to my laptop, but not any more.  My biggest challenge so far is getting used to the OS X Lion operating system.  But having used an iPad and iPhone for awhile seems to be helping me adjust.  I feel certain I'll quickly find Lion to be an improvement also.

Now my old MacBook is Elliott's computer at grandma's house.  No more negotiating laptop time with a five year old!  But honestly I'm happy that Elliott's already so comfortable with computers.  Where his generation will take them I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pleasant Change in the Weather

During the A/C season, I turn the thermostat up to 76 degrees in the morning.  Jim moves it down to 73 degrees at night.  This morning the thermostat read 70 degrees and I assumed Jim must have gotten really hot last night.  But now it's 10:45 A.M. and the thermostat still hasn't climbed to 76 degrees.

My immediate reaction was that the air conditioner or thermostat is broken.  But then I realized I haven't heard the air conditioner running all morning.  Could it possibly be that cool outside?  Finally I opened the sun room door to a pleasant surprise.  It feels like fall!

For August in Missouri, day-time temperatures in the mid-70s are extremely rare.  This gift should not be squandered!  Is it going to be cleaning up the yard or following the cat's lead and curling up in the sun room?  Since I'm still on vacation mode, I'm leaning toward a day with my Kindle.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let Me Off The Roller Coaster!

When I talked with dad on Monday, he was still upset about his Sunday visit with mom. He said mom's color was bad and she had trouble putting words and sentences together. She also had severe bruising.  

I visited at lunch today.  Yes, mom looks much worse than she did before I went on vacation last week.  Both of her arms and hands are nearly covered with bruises.  She also looks jaundice to me, and couldn't put a sentence together to save her life.  I fed mom grapes, which is all she would eat.  Mom's nurse was at lunch, so I called her when I got back home.  

Mom is still fighting, which explains the bruises.  Basically, she swings and misses, hitting the bed, table, or chair instead. They are now letting her stay in bed until she's ready to get up for the day.  She is then "pleasant" until the fighting begins, again, in the evening.  Her recent blood tests showed no problem with her liver, which would have explained the jaundice look.  Mom was 190 pounds when she was moved from the dementia ward to the fourth floor in May.  She is now 185 pounds, so no concern there either.

Before last Sunday, dad was planning to visit mom on Tuesdays in addition to Thursdays and Sundays.  And just two weeks ago dad was telling me he wished mom was closer so he could visit more often.  Now he's too upset to add a third day.  Honestly, the worse part of this whole situation is the emotional roller coaster.  And after 8+ years, I'm more than ready to get off.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Miss You Already, Cameron and Hannah

Cameron
Last night I caught up on my favorite realty show, The Glee Project.  In doing so, I learned that two of my favorite contestants, Cameron and Hannah, were recently eliminated.  Their performances were always well done and entertaining and I will miss them.

Unfortunately, what makes The Glee Project such a good show is the same thing that makes it frustrating to watch.  All the contestants are extremely talented and I feel for each and every one who leaves.  As Jim says, "why can't they all win?"
Hannah

What's refreshing about The Glee Project in comparison to other realty show competitions, however, are how kind all the professionals and decision makers are in their assessments.  They sincerely offer the support the contestants need to continue performing and improving on and off the show.  As a result, I'm betting I'll see many of the performers in the future, if not on the hit show, Glee, then on stage, the big screen, or another TV show.  At least that's my hope.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer's Last Hurrah

Jonah loves the pool.
Today we returned from our annual trip to Sanibel Island with the Jorgensens.  We began this tradition four years ago.  The first year we stayed on Fort Myers Beach.  The last three years have been at Sanibel Moorings on the island.  We all had a great time, again, despite this year's "little challenge."

We stayed in the same townhouse as last year, which has two floors and, of course, is not baby-proof.  So whenever we were in the townhouse, if Jonah wasn't eating or sleeping, the chase was on.  Jonah simply can't sit still for long, is always looking for a physical challenge, and feels nothing's off limits.  By the end of each day, all the adults were relieved when Jonah finally went to bed for the night.

Elliott aboard the Pieces of Eight.
For Elliott, one of the highlights of this year's trip was a pirate cruise.  It was the prefect activity for a five-year-old boy whose current passion is pirates.  Between the on-board giveaways and dock-side gift shop, Elliott made quite a haul, which included several accessories for his 2011 Halloween costume.

All-in-all it was another successful memory-making trip. But, unfortunately, it was also our summer's last hurrah. Now it's time to prepare for the 2011-12 school year and the start of grandma daycare again.  Thank goodness Jonah will be at Brilliant Beginnings Academy two days a week!