Happy Birthday! Samuel’s First Year in Pictures

Today is Samuel’s first birthday! I cannot believe how fast the time has passed, and looking back, how much Samuel has changed over the months. Yes, I know it happens over and over for all parents and grandparents, but each time it is pretty miraculous. I cherish each moment, from the first call notifying us of his arrival, to our first time holding him, to watching him develop and grow over the months, almost always with a big grin on his face.  I hope you will enjoy a few of these moments with me.

 1 year old

 1 year old

Happy Birthday - 1 year old

- 1 year old

 - 1 year old

- 1 year old

 - 1 year old

Happy Birthday - 1 year old

- 1 year old

- 1 year old

Happy Birthday - 1 year old

 1 year old

Happy Birthday - 1 year old

- 1 year old

Happy Birthday - 1 year old

- 1 year old

- 1 year old

 1 year old

- 1 year old

 1 year old

- 1 year old

- 1 year old

Tomorrow Alan and I will attend Samuel’s first birthday party, a milestone that, ironically, he won’t remember. We will though, and isn’t that what first birthday parties are all about?

Happy Anniversary to Us!

On Wednesday, Alan and I celebrated our 14th anniversary! We were married in 1999 in an interesting ceremony in Palm Springs. It seemed appropriate that we would celebrate our day in Palm Springs , not by running the Tram Road Challenge, but by having dinner at Native Foods.

Because our day was full with work and cross country practice, and because it is a 45 minute drive from La Quinta to Palm Springs, we decided to meet in Palm Desert. I got off work at 5:00, Alan finished with practice about the same time. We parked one car at the high school and drove together to Native Foods.

Anniversary cross country

We spend a lot of time in matching red shirts these days.

I had to laugh at myself today. I was telling a client about our dinner. I was saying that we arrived at Native Foods about 6:00, which is a little early, but by the time we ate and drove home it was already 7:30. That stopped me short. Seriously, how old am I that already and 7:30 belong in the same sentence? Old enough apparently.

Native Foods Anniversary

I was hungry, so I ordered the White Bean Soup to start. I came quickly and was very good.

Native Foods Anniversary

I have a lot of favorites at Native Foods, some healthier than others. While I love the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with Native Fries, I instead went for my old time favorite, the Greek Gyro Bowl, which with its combination of seitan, vegetables, kale, quinoa, and hummus, is healthy and delicious.

Native Foods Anniversary

Alan stuck with his old standby, the Scorpion Burger, a tempeh burger with “cheese” and avocado.

Native Foods Anniversary

Everything was delicious. Because it was getting late we were pretty full, we decided to bring dessert home with us. Alan chose the Peanut Butter Parfait and I picked the Pumpkin Pie. It was my only disappointment. It tasted kind of bland and the “cream” that came with it tasted just a little too gingery (I actually wiped it off).

Native Foods Anniversary

So, it was a simple anniversary celebration, which is really what we like. We celebrate every day, just by the way we live our lives.

AnniversaryHave you ever been to Native Foods? Whether you are vegan or not, they have great food, good prices, and a fun atmosphere.

Don’t forget, it’s not to late to enter to win a dozen KIND bars!

Whew, That Was Fun! And the Coolest Candle EVER!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know that I did, although it was pretty exhausting.

fun candle

My celebration really started last Friday, with all our pre-Christmas grandson visiting and family get together. It was tons of fun and it was very nice not to be hosting for a change.

Our plan for the actual Christmas day was simple. Alan and I would finish any last minute shopping on Monday (no matter how hard I try, there is always something I need), then spend the day together, open gifts, and enjoy a scaled-down feast (is that an oxymoron?). My youngest son, David, would stop by, probably eat with us, and exchange gifts.

fun friends dogs

Then, on Sunday evening, David tells me that he’d like to bring his girlfriend over for dinner. Normally I love when he wants to bring a girl over. Plus, I love sharing my vegan cooking, always looking to spread the news that a plant based diet can be delicious.

The thing was, though, that since I hadn’t planned on any hosting this year, my house, home to six dogs mind you, was not quite as spiffy as I’d like it to be. Plus we’d been gone for several days, leaving the pack to roam freely through our house (with a doggy-sitter of course).

fun dogs

So Christmas Eve was spent with cleaning, picking up those last few things, including vegan marshmallows, which I have to drive to Palm Desert for. I also baked another pumpkin pie and made the cranberry sauce.

Finally, I stopped at Target, not quite sure what I needed. I ended up buying a few iTunes cards and some candles. One candle, an Airwick, promised to glow with multiple colors when lit, although it looked like a plain white candle in glass. It was kind of expensive, but I bought it anyway and put it in my bathroom.

Christmas was lovely. All the work that goes into the holidays can sometimes leave you so tired that you don’t appreciate the holiday itself, but not this year. I was able to relax and enjoy the time with Alan. While cooking even a small Christmas dinner is a project, I love doing it. We stayed traditional vegan, with roast Tofurky, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes.

fun tofurky

I was very excited that Santa brought me exactly what I’d asked for, a new lens for my camera! Thanks, Santa! You always get it right.

fun canon zoom lens

Oh, and the coolest candle ever? Watch the video below. For some reason I find it mesmerizing. (Even cooler is that now, two days since it was last lit, it still changes color when I turn on the bathroom light.) Yes, I’m going to buy more of those.

How was your holiday? What was your favorite part of your celebration this year? And for those who celebrate Christmas, what did Santa bring you?