Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Halloween is such a fun day. When I was a kid I loved it! I was a witch for several Halloweens (and my Cabbage Patch Kid had a matching costume). I remember the year I was old enough to use a pillow case for trick-or-treating instead of a little bag! As an adult I'm not so into this holiday - not really a big fan of dressing up. But I do love seeing the little ones get dressed up! So before this year's Halloween photo of Peyton and Ella I thought I would do a flashback.

This is Peyton on her 1st Halloween as an adorable Ladybug. She was 11 months old and already walking. I thought she looked so cute in this costume!

The following Halloween we had a new pumpkin in the patch - Ella! Peyton was a Patriots Cheerleader and Ella was the most adorable Winne the Pooh! It was actually pretty easy to get pictures of them since Ella didn't move. Too bad that may have been the last Halloween that it was "easy."

This year it was almost impossible to get any good pictures of these two. Believe they would only sit down for 2 seconds (and I think Ella is already getting up in this pic). They were too busy running around and playing w/ the pumpkins. Peyton is a beautiful princess and Ella is the sweeest little Dorothy complete w/ the shoes (Peyton needed a pair too)!

This year both girls enjoyed helping daddy carve two of the biggest pumpkins I've ever seen. They loved them! They like scooping the seeds out of the pumpkins w/ a spoon. Considering how big those pumpkins are there really wasn't much goop in them!

A couple of weekends ago I attempted to take pictures of the girls at the pumpkin farm. Needless to say it was not as easy as I had thought it would be. The bribes didn't even work as well as they usually do. So this is the best I could do! Good thing they are cute!!

So no trick-or-treating for me tonight. I'll be nice and warm at home. But I hope all the kids out there have a lot of fun getting lots of candy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boston MS Walk 2011


The Boston MS Walk is
Sunday, April 10, 2011

My fundraising page

Join The Bean Team

The links are now on my right sidebar. The picture of me is to donate to me and the picture of the team is to join the team!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CA Vacation Recap - Adventure Down Highway 1

Part of my excitement for this vacation was due to the fact that Steph and I were driving down the coast on a little adventure! I had done it once before back in 2000 when I was preparing to move from CA back to MA. I really can't believe that was 10 years ago! Anyways I had such great memories of that trip so I was really looking forward to doing it again. It was Steph's first time doing the whole trip on Highway 1 so she was excited too.

Our first stop was at the Golden Gate bridge. Since that last time I was there it was pretty foggy I wanted to see it on a clearer day. Unfortunately they were doing construction at the top of the road where you can drive up to get an awesome view. Still a nice view from this spot too.

It was a bright day as you can tell. There is something about this view that I just love! It is a view that I can always picture in my head.

Once we finally got through the traffic in the city we were on our way! The very beginning of the drive is nothing special b/c at that point you aren't driving along the ocean yet. But you do see many pumpkin patches. I love pumpkin patches and before the road trip I warned Steph that I might suddenly yell at her to pull over b/c I had remembered seeing pumpkin patches the last time.

It was a bit chilly at this stop but it was good to get out and stretch our legs. We walked through the pumpkin patch and took some cheesy photos!

And then I bought Steph a housewarming gift - an adorable, little round pumpkin. It was $1. Such a generous gift if I do say so myself! :) Then she insisted on posing for this picture (ok or I might have forced her - haha).

We continued on our journey and at this point we were driving w/ the ocean along side us. The waves were HUGE that day. Some of the biggest I've seen since I was in Hawaii.

I think I could have sat and watched the ocean for hours that day (but we had places to be)! We made a lunch stop in Carmel which has such a cute downtown. While at lunch we decided to take a longer pit stop than originally planned for a trip around the 17 Mile Drive.

The 17 Mile Drive is so beautiful. I'm so glad we took the time to see it. I loved whatever these red flower like things are. It looked so pretty against the blue water.

You really can't capture the beauty and the power of the ocean in these pictures so take my word for it - it was MAGNIFICENT!

It was a windy day w/ a little chill in the air but so sunny! Down below us there is a small beach area where some crazy people were hanging out. The water was so wild that I can't believe anyone would even dare sit down there!

Steph had told me about the Lone Cypress but I don't think I had ever seen a picture of it. Pretty neat that the tree grew out there all by itself. Funny to see tons of people (including a tour bus filled w/ elderly people) standing there taking pictures of it!

Last stop on The 17 Mile Drive was at The Pebble Beach Resorts which is the home of the famous golf course. The resort is beautiful with nice shops and restaurants. They even let you walk out on the course to see the 18th hole. It was kind of cloudy when I took this but it is really cool. I am sure golfers can appreciate this more than me. I know I could never get the ball to land on the green and not in the ocean!

Proof that I was actually there and not just stealing the pictures off the internet!

Once we were done we really had to get on the move again since we were still only in Carmel and it was already early afternoon! Still several hours until Long Beach - our final destination. So Steph had talked about this bridge and how she wanted a picture of it. I had no clue which bridge she was talking about since I didn't remember it from my previous trip. Well we finally came a bridge that Steph thought was THE BRIDGE. So we jumped out and looked at it and nothing special. So we keep driving and all of a sudden we see THE BRIDGE but were already by it. I tried to convince her to turn back since I knew she really wanted a pic but instead we stopped on the other side and this is what we got!

We continue down the coast w/ the plan of stopping next at the waterfall in Big Sur. The only problem was that neither of us knew exactly was but of course there would be signs. . .right!? Well not exactly and even worse was that neither of us could get ANY phone or internet service (anyone who knows how obsessed I am w/ my iPhone knows I was freaking out haha). So we couldn't look up where the waterfall was. So unfortunately we drove right by it. At this point of the day it had started raining and we were losing even more time do to reduced speed (safety first) on a one lane road. Anyone who is curious about the waterfall I'm referring to and what my picture would have looked like check it out here.

So after this point the exciting pictures end since it was raining and getting dark. Yes dark and we still had a ways to go. . .

All in all it was a great road trip but it did take a couple hours longer than we expected (but then again who expects rain in CA)?

And of course we had to continue to tradition for my first meal whenever I go to CA. Thankfully my iPhone was working again at this point and the handy map app led up right to El Pollo Loco. If you haven't had the opportunity to eat there then trust me you are missing out! I love that place.

After a quick dinner we were back on the road for the final stretch. I think we finally pulled into my friend, Caroline's, driveway around 10 PM (just 14 hours after we departed Santa Rosa).

Next adventures in LA and Long Beach to come. . . stay tuned!

P.S. I'm exhausted due to 2 nights so far of insomnia caused by my newest antibiotic so excuse the typos. Too tired to proof read!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Expanding My Mind

Tonight I attended an event sponsored by MS Active Source. They are not paying me to write this post. Opinions in this post are just mine! :)

The title of the event was "Identifying and Managing MS Symptoms" but I think it should really have been called "Treating MS" b/c most of the presentation was about MS treatments and new medications on the horizon. The speaker was Dr. Philip Kinkel from Beth Israel Hospital. I had never heard him speak before but I had heard really good things about him from several people. They were right. He was very honest and shared his opinions about treatments and he was also very down to earth! He talked like a "regular person" and was easy to understand. He was easy to follow and I found the info he presented very helpful especially around the new oral medication that is coming out. He pretty much supported what I was already thinking but it made me feel good to know my own personal choices weren't too off base for right now.

And maybe the biggest accomplishment of the night was that I went ALONE! Now this may not sound like a big deal especially coming from someone as independent as me. But I HATE going to things like this alone (I also do not like eating alone or sitting at bars alone). But I'm working on it. My friend w/ MS had to cancel last minute due to fatigue which of course I could totally relate to. I wasn't going to go but then another friends gave me the push I needed to do it. I'm glad I went and I realize that going alone is really no big deal at all.

I have a love/hate relationship w/ pharmaceutical companies but that is a post for another day. But they did sponsor a very nice event w/ a great meal and a fun swag bag. I got a really nice black canvas bag, an orange aluminum water bottle (that does not say anything on it which is quite unusual but super nice), and a copy of MS for Dummies will be mailed to me. I think this book could be a great resource to share w/ family and friends.

MS Active Source literally has events every week in my area. I highly recommend checking them out (no matter what therapy you are on). I look forward to attending one next month where my neurologist is the speaker.

Monday, October 25, 2010

CA Vacation Recap - Wine Country

So I'm finally going to do a recap about my CA vacation (in 3 parts). I flew into San Fran and Steph picked me up at the airport and brought me back to her family's house in Santa Rosa. We spent 2 days exploring wine country. We mostly met to wineries around Healdsburg which is right near where she lives. It was really pretty and not too crowded which was great.

We had great weather while I was there which made the time even more enjoyable. Good friend, good weather and WINE! What more could I ask for?

Wine country is so beautiful. If you've never been I highly recommend you taking a trip there. I love all the grape vines and I love this picture I took. I would often ask Steph to pull over when we were driving so that I could jump out of the car and snap a picture. The grapes on the vine looked so pretty b/c I was there during harvest time.

We went to A LOT of different places and I can't remember them all. I wanted to list them all and link them to their websites but since it has taken me 3 weeks just to get this done let's just settle for that. Haha! This picture was taken at Korbel. I LOVE champagne. Korbel was really pretty. We passed on the tour and went straight for the bubbles. Yum!

Another pit stop while driving. Pretty much everywhere you look in wine country you see grapes. There is something very relaxing about these vines (to me - I'm sure the grape pickers would not agree).

Posing w/ a pumpkin at a "private winery" that was open by appointment only. Luckily nobody seemed to notice us taking pictures.

Just relaxing - until they chased us out of there! Just kidding we left willingly on our own.

There were pumpkins on every fence post all the way up a very long driveway to the winery. It looked so pretty.

We had so much fun. There weren't too many people around so it was great. The "wine pourers" (I may have just made up that job title) were very friendly and chatty and often gave us extra samples.

Steph had several coupons for free tastings so we really didn't have to pay anyplace we went. At one of the wineries we saw a sign that if you showed that you had a Visa Signature card you could also get free tastings. So we were all set! When we sat to take this picture I told Steph that it seemed like a photo opportunity for a couple. Don't we look so cute? :)

I've never been a big fan of posing for pics alone but this is at Bella where the have wine caves. We did our tasting inside of the cave that is behind me and it was really pretty. They also gave us some chocolate brownies to eat while tasting one of the wines which especially made Steph happy.

This is at Bella too inside of the cave. I had such a fun time! Drank a lot of wine! Wish I could have stayed there longer but we had a road trip down Highway 1 for Steph's big move to LA! More to come about that soon.

Sorry I can't be more specific about which wineries we went to but in the 2 days we must have gone to close to 20. Sometimes we would ask the people at one winery which one they would recommend next or which was their favorite. They were surprisingly helpful. Quite honestly I don't think you could go to a bad winery. They all have wine so how can you go wrong???

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Ear Infection

I consider myself an intelligent person but sometimes I can be so dumb! Let me explain. On Thursday evening I went to the CVS Minute Clinic (love that place) and found out I have an ear infection. My first ear infection ever! My ear "issues" all started about 2 1/2 weeks ago while I was on vacation in CA. I blamed it on flying. When I got home it was still blocked and I could feel a lot of pressure. It was bothering me but I didn't really feel sick. This week there were days when I really didn't have much of an appetite and one day where I was so hot I couldn't stand it. Then there was the MS flare. Monday I was so fatigued but I blamed it on a busy weekend. So why w/ all these signs of actually being sick didn't I realize it???

I think that since I have so many days where I don't feel good (due to MS) I have just gotten use to it. So then when I'm getting sick and extra tired due to it I just think it is a bad MS day. After two years I'm still trying to learn and understand what my body is telling me. I try really hard to take good care of myself so that I don't get sick but obviously I will still get sick from time to time (especially since I work in a hospital)!

Trying to be more aware of what my body is telling me! Hopefully I will be on the mend soon and back to "normal" whatever that is!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fall Sunsets

I love this time of year b/c there are some of the most beautiful sunsets. When you can see a sunset and colorful trees at the same time even better. Several nights this week I've seen amazing sunsets as I've been driving. Unfortunately I haven't always been able to capture the best pictures (especially w/ my iPhone through a car window) but wanted to share anyways. While I really don't like that the sunset is setting SO SO early at least it is pretty! :)

The 3 pictures above were taking on the Melrose/Stoneham line (while at a stop sign). I drive by this lake everyday on my way too and from work and it looks so pretty this time of year!

The 2 about pictures were taken in Newton on Comm Ave. I was again at a red light (I was waiting for the left turn arrow) and took the opportunity to snap a couple of pics w/ my iPhone. These pics don't do the sky justice that night. The dark clouds were glowing w/ the sun behind them. It was so pretty.

This picture was taken at the end of my driveway when I was heading out the other night. Not the best view but the whole sky was shades of pink and looked amazing. I snapped this w/ my phone so again doesn't do it justice!

Ok these 2 above pictures are NOT of sunsets but today as I was driving home from work I noticed that even on a rainy fall day things still look pretty! I love the lily pads on the pond and the reflection of the colors in the water!

The only thing I don't like about Fall is that it means Winter is just around the corner. But so many other things - pumpkins, cider, apple picking, mums, foliage and so many other things make the Fall such a great time of year especially in New England!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mouse in the House {or in the Car}?

So while I was enjoying a vacation in California a little mouse was making himself at home in my kitchen closet/pantry. This past Sat when I opened the closet door to get Peyton a snack I noticed that the small bag of crackers had a hole in the bag. I didn't think much of it and went on w/ what I was doing. Then I had to go into the closet again and this time realized that there were gram cracker crumbs ALL over the top shelf. So needless to say I freaked (in silence b/c I didn't want to alarm Peyton). I closed the door and haven't really gone back in there since.

Fast forward to tonight when my dad came to my rescue. He came to my place and investigated the situation. He did find a very small opening in the closet where the base board meets the wall. So he patched that up w/ duct tape. There was also a hole up high on the inside of the closet wall for the fuse box. So he patched those up. He helped me clean out all the shelves and we threw a lot of food away. This mouse had some fun eating his way through my closet! He even ate the powered cheese that comes in the packages w/ Easy Mac! Gross!!

Once the closet was under control it was onto the cabinet under the sink. No signs of the mouse in there (meaning no mouse poop) but to be safe he patched up the holes/cracks around the pipes and baseboard.

And just to be safe there is a mouse trap filled w/ peanut butter under my stove. Since I didn't want to be able to see it I put a little stool in front of it. I told my dad he would have to come back to check that trap as I don't think I'll be peaking at it. If I happen to hear the trap go off I will FREAK and will be staying out of my kitchen until he can take care of it! Haha!

A few minutes ago my phone rings and I noticed that it is my mom and dad. I'm wondering why they are calling since I just talked to my mom only moments before. I answer and my mom tells me "you aren't going to believe this." My dad (who doesn't have the best hearing) swears he can "hear something" on his ride home. He had brought a Home Depot bag into my house w/ some "supplies" and had left w/ it. He also took my laundry basket (b/c my lovely mom said she would do my laundry). So I guess he could hear the bag making some noise. He stopped in the town next to his and checked it out but didn't notice anything. When he got home to their driveway he took the laundry basket out and sorted through each piece of clothing to make sure there wasn't a mouse in the laundry basket! He is convinced that he brought the mouse into his car w/ him. I think he is just paranoid. I don't know how the mouse would have run into my laundry basket right as we opened the closet w/ neither or us seeing it. He thinks it is possible. He may even put a mouse trap in his car haha! I told him unless he has evidence I won't buy this crazy story. But if he did take it w/ him that is fine too b/c hopefully means I won't have anymore visitors!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fatigue Strikes Again

Since I started taking Provigil I've been doing pretty good, feeling a lot less tired during the day and able to get more done. Well I guess I can only push it so far b/c the fatigue has hit me like a ton of bricks the last 2 days! Last week I was tired but blamed it on returning from my CA vacation and jet lag. Then this weekend I did a lot (too much I realize now) and my body is screaming at me! I went to bed at 7:30 PM last night and slept all night. I've already taken a nap today after work and plan to be back in bed by 9 PM. Good times.

Dear Body,
I got your message loud and clear. I'll try to take it easy this week and I plan to have a quieter weekend.

Dear Fatigue,
Go away now please. I have work and other things to do!
Thank you,

I do still have some CA vacation posts coming w/ lots of pictures. As soon as I have the energy I'll work on them. Until then this will have to do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Slumber Party {for two}

When you have a slumber party with a very energetic almost 3 year old you never know what to expect! You may expect them to sleep in the bed you made in the living room but they will probably end up in your bed with you and fidget all night in your bed so you can't forget they are there! Haha! You may expect them to do one or two activities but instead they will go through 100 activities in about 1 hour (making cookies, watch show, color, read books, play iPhone games, watch another show, etc, etc.) You may expect them to be quiet since they are so tired but instead they will ask you 1000 questions. But it will all be worth it when they look at you and tell you how much fun they are having and that they love you!

Peyton was up bright and early and eager to do all the fun things I had told her about the night before. We went and did a few fun errands and then we were off to the pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful day here too but really windy. It was nice to be out in the sun since we all know here that all too soon it will be freezing! Peyton smiled all day! She kept telling me that everything we were doing was her favorite. Too cute.

We had a lot of fun feeding the goats even though one of the "mean" ones grabbed the bag off food right out of Peyton's hand and while doing it got a hold of her sweater sleeve. He scared her but I think she was most upset that he stole all the food and she had none left. I bought another bag and she was all smiles again. I think she would have fed the "nice" goats all day!

Peyton and I had such a fun time at our slumber party! I hope we have many more to come.

A few Peyton conversations--

Peyton: Can I bring baby in the store w/ me?
Me: No please leave her in the car so that we don't lose her.
I walk around the car to get Peyton out of her car seat and hear her saying something to baby who she is still holding
Me: Peyton you need to leave baby in the car.
Peyton: I know that is what I was just telling her!
After returning to car from store

Peyton: I'm sorry baby that you couldn't come. I missed you too.

Me: Peyton why is baby always naked?
Peyton: She likes it this way. She only has pj's.
Me: If I buy baby a new dress will you leave it on her?
Peyton: No!
(You would have had to be there but her tone of voice when she answered was just too funny. She loves her naked baby!)

Putting the girls in their car seats so they can head home. . .
Peyton: Jodi are you going home?
Me: Yup
Peyton: But I'm going to miss you (in the cutest, sweetest voice)

And a funny Ella one--

On Thursday I called my mom who was watching the girls. I wanted to talk to Peyton to tell her she was going to sleep over.
My mom: Peyton someone is on the phone for you
Peyton: Who?
My mom: Who do you think?
Peyton: I don't know
My mom: Who calls you all the time on the phone?
Peyton: Who?
My mom: Who do you talk to on the phone?
Ella: Jooo-deeee! (in her high pitched adorable voice)
That game my mom and I a good laugh b/c she was just sitting their quietly and they stole the show from Peyton. Since Peyton didn't want to talk to me I had a riveting conversation w/ Ella. That kid can talk!

Friday, October 15, 2010

California Cupcake Crawl

Have you ever been on a pub crawl? Well a "California Cupcake Crawl" is like that except it is at cupcake bakeries and it is in California (but you could do one anywhere!) Stephanie and I are proud to be the inventors of the "California Cupcake Crawl" and I know you're jealous. Haha! So since you couldn't come w/ us and actually taste the deliciousness of all the cupcakes I'll try to recap for you. Then if you are ever in California and only have time for one cupcake bakery you'll know which one you want to go to!

Our first stop was at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. Sprinkles is probably the most "famous" of the California cupcake shops but other new shops are giving it some good competition. Sprinkles is very small and very busy. There is just a small counter w/ 4 stools so not really the place to hang out and relax! I stayed traditional w/ the "black and white" which was a chocolate cupcake w/ butter cream frosting and it was DELICIOUS! Steph was daring and tried something new - marshmallow. She said it was ok. Imagine a Hostess cupcake but fancier!

Next stop was just down the street (very convenient for when doing a cupcake crawl) at Crumbs Bake Shop which is also in Beverly Hills. This shop originated in New York. They win for their decorations and cupcake display case. They had cute Halloween decorations out and many festive holiday cupcakes. All the cupcakes were very inviting. We decided on Mint Chocolate Chip and took it to go. Upon eating it later we both thought it was good. The cupcakes here were big!

Third stop was at Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica. Vanilla had mini cupcakes which was exciting b/c we could get 3 different flavors to try. We chose carrot cake (Steph's choice obviously since I would never mix vegetable and dessert - lol), chocolate raspberry (my choice) and red velvet (combined choice). We took these to go too. Upon tasting them at home we found them to be good. Steph said her carrot cake mini cupcake was delicious! I'll take her word for it. The other were good too. Bite size means you could eat many.

Fourth and final stop for Day 1 of "California Cupcake Crawl" was at Yummy Cupcakes which was right down the street from Vanilla in Santa Monica. Again making the cupcake crawl very easy! When they built these stores nears each other they must have known that MANY people would be doing the very popular cupcake crawl! Anyways - This place has a really cute window as you can see from our picture. This place also had some different flavors than the others. We got Carmel Salted Chocolate (Heavenly!) and Chocolate Peanut butter. I really don't know if there are words to describe how delicious the Carmel Salted Chocolate cupcake was!? Who doesn't love sweet and salty together and then add some carmel - mmmmmmmm! That was by far my favorite of them all! By the way we took these to go too. The only thing I didn't like about this place is that they put both cupcakes in a brown paper bag to go which meant by the time we got home they had squished together a little - not cool. And their packaging was boring where as many of the others stores had cute boxes or bags w/ their logo.

Here are all the cupcakes we brought home from 3 different bakeries. They don't look as pretty here as they did in the bakeries but they still tasted good. We arrived "home" to where I was staying w/ my friend Caroline and her family right at 6 PM which is the same time she comes in the door w/ the kids from work and school. So what do Steph and I do - well offer them some pre dinner appetizers of course! Haha! Let's just say they all loved us for that! They seemed to like them all so not sure we got a vote from them in regard to favorite! Let's just say these kids aren't picky. :)

Steph and I took a few days off to come down from our sugar high. Then we were ready to set off again. Day 2 included two bakeries located in Long Beach which was very nice since that is where I was staying. We started the day at Miss Priss Cupcakes. This place is ADORABLE! It would be a great setting for a little girl's birthday party (or a big girl's birthday party - like mine! Haha!) This place had both regular sized cupcakes and mini cupcakes with a lot of flavors. They had cute little containers that held 6 mini cupcakes and a lot of people in there were ordering that. Great way to try a lot of different flavors. Steph and I went for the big guys - I got Chocolate Heath Bar and Steph got Orange (the first non chocolate purchase). Mine was pretty good but I was expecting butter cream frosting and I think it was cream cheese frosting. Steph really liked hers. Miss Priss can definitely compete w/ the more well known shops in LA!

Last stop was at Frosted Cupcakery. This shop is more contemporary than some of the other locations. Frosted also had cupcakes filled w/ ice cream. I really wanted to try one but they didn't have any w/ chocolate ice cream when we were there so I skipped that. I got a white cupcake w/ chocolate frosting and Steph got Reese's Peanut Butter Cup which she said was VERY good. This place was good but I liked the other one in Long Beach better!

All and all we tasted a lot of yummy cupcakes. The prices were all pretty similar. We had such a fun time on our "California Cupcake Crawl" and got drunk on SUGAR. Lots of sugar. I'll have to try a cupcake crawl in Boston to see how they compare to the places in LA/Long Beach.

What about you have you ever done a different kind of "crawl" or food tasting experience?