November is now Noshember (aka No-shave November) in our home. Well, for Nick anyway. I'm not so good at growing a beard. ;)
This is the first time I have seen Nick with a full beard. And I like it. He's one of those guys who just look handsome with a beard. And hot.
We got our first real snowfall. The kids loved it. I even went out and played with them for a bit (instead of watching from the window like I usually do).
I turned 31 on the 18th of November. The pic below is proof that my gray hairs just keep multiplying as the years pass.
Nick made me Kneader's French toast for breakfast. He even looked up the recipe for the syrup and made it from scratch. What a sweetheart.
And he gave me a card. Thanks Loki for slobbering all over it.
For me: Food + thoughtful card = perfect birthday.
But the fun did not stop there.
My wonderful parents asked me to meet up with them at The Cheesecake Factory. On my way there, I had an emotional experience. During the solitary drive with my music blaring and my mind wandering, I suddenly realized that I am now at the same age my sister, Mikel, was when she passed away. Then almost as if I needed a reminder of how fragile and fleeting this life really is, the tire blew out from a car in oncoming traffic. I heard a loud screech and then watched that car spin out of control towards my vehicle. Luckily, it missed me and nobody was hurt. Even more fortunate was that an ambulance and fire truck just happened to be right there witnessing the whole event. As I drove away from the scene, I turned off my music and let myself just think about my sister. Her birthday is exactly one week after mine and since we were little we have usually had a joint birthday party. It still feels strange getting phone calls and texts from every sibling but her and knowing that there will not be a designated family dinner for us to celebrate our birthdays together. Mikel's old apartment was on the way to my destination so I decided to pay it a little visit. I sat in my car and just looked at her building. Then decided to climb the stairwell that led to her apartment. It was as if I could just walk inside and see her smiling face and hear her boisterous laugh again. I left with tears streaming down my cheeks. I sure miss my sister.
When I arrived at The Cheesecake Factory, I related the whole experience to my parents - who of course couldn't hold back tears. We were quite the sight, I tell ya. Luckily the older I get, the less I care about what other people think. I was glad and grateful to have a few moments to remember the sister and daughter who brought so much joy and laughter to our lives.
As you can see in the above pic, my brother Terry joined us for lunch as well. Good ol' Ter-bear.
My favorite cheesecake: White chocolate raspberry. Sooooooo good.
Then my wonderful friend, Kassy, stopped by for a visit. Kassy and I have been friends since we were 9 years old! I'm pretty sure we will be friends forever. I just love her.
Then my friend, Amber (who is also friends with Kassy. We all grew up on the same street), made this cute collage of us in our younger years and posted it to my Facebook page. Oh the memories I have with these two awesome girls! I am so blessed with such great friends.
When I arrived home, Nick and Toby had made this cute, little birthday cake for me. (Can you tell that much of my birthday centers around food? Everyone seems to know the way to my heart) :)
That night Nick and I ate dinner at Tepanyaki's and saw Thor 2. When we arrived home, Nick said he had one more gift to give me:
A bag full of British chocolate!
Definitely puts American candy to shame.
I tell ya, I had the birthday that keeps on giving. Friday night and Saturday day I was able to attend Time Out For Women with a few of my friends in the ward. It was such a fun, inspirational couple of days! I will definitely be going again next year.
Then last Monday Nick wanted to use up our free meal at Tucano's (you get a free meal during the month of your birthday if you sign up on their website). So while Toby was at school, we took Aspen with us to enjoy a little carnivorous luncheon. Yum.
Aspen was quite the lush with the Brazilian lemonade. She couldn't get enough of that stuff.
As we were sitting there enjoying a nice lunch together, I mentioned to Nick that it was Mikel's birthday. He nodded his head that he remembered. And then out-of-the-blue said, "Why don't we visit the cemetery on our way home?" I was so touched that he even thought to do that.
Nick hadn't been to the cemetery since that cold day in January when we lowered her casket into the ground. He told me later that he was surprised to find himself a little emotional as we stood there remembering my sister. It was a sweet experience.
For Thanksgiving, we joined Nick's sister and her family, along with his parents, for a lovely dinner. They even prepared it a little early because Nick had to go into work that night. They provided all the traditional Thanksgiving foods: rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, turkey, and, of course, pumpkin and apple pies. But what does my son want? A bowl of Froot Loops. Sigh. Someday I hope he will appreciate food as his mother does. :)
So that was our eventful November. Hopefully I can increase my blog posts during the month of December. I'm slacking!