Friday, October 31, 2014

HBD To My Main Squeeze!

So although the Huffington Post believes we're in our mid-40s, we're actually not. In fact, Ty is only turning the big 2-9 today. I guess they're a few years off. And by a few, I mean a lot. No big deal. Sometimes we all get confused and I guess the HP clearly was confused. We can appreciate the humor, nonetheless.

On the note of age...Ty is 29 today! 
Happy Birthday Love!

This morning we shared some non-paleo coffee drinks at our favorite little spot, conversing over the HP article and appreciating Ty's 29 years of life. Then he drove off to spend his birthday with middle school at school and then at basketball practice. Such an exciting 29th birthday, right? Good thing we've been celebrating him the last two weeks!

May your day be wonderful, may all the kids treat you so well at school, and may your basketball girls finally figure it out on your special day. At least we can hope for all those things! 

HBD, this year and for many more years to come!

♥your old toad...(your mid 40s toad)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet The Halloween Clan: The Stanley Skellys!

There are a few holidays we like to go all out for. Halloween is one of them and for a variety of reasons. Let me just let you in on a few of them...

1) it's Ty's bday. Duh.
2) it's a great holiday. You get to be anything & nobody will/should judge.
3) it reminds us of New Orleans. Just need some coffee & beignets!
4) & our neighborhood is super into Halloween....
like we get nearly 500 kids treatin' around this hood!

So welcome to our little place!
Come meet our Skellys in person on Halloween or just peek at them below.

There you have've met the Halloween clan:
The Stanley Skellys!

And a little peek on the inside...
Our Nola themed mantel...
photos from Nola at the Saints game, DIY skulls, a DIY framed old newspaper, hand painted S, handmade bats by Ty, and our very own French Quarter sign!

The obviously taken on Ty's bday (hence the set up for food)

If you so wish to join the hundreds of children that come walk the neighborhood for lots of neat treats, let me know. I can direct you to where we like to call home, where Halloween is the big thing around here, and where kids and families feel safe through the dark night!

Happy Haunting this Friday...
and be sure to remember to wish Mr. Stanley a big HBD!


Monday, October 27, 2014

The "Wal-Mart Special" Birthday Bash

Is there a dash between Wal and Mart? I'm not even sure. It didn't look right as a whole word, so I went with the dash. And I could be completely wrong (in fact, I'm pretty sure I am wrong). Probably the first time I've ever been wrong (kidding). However, I've decided I'm going with what looks best rather than what's correct. So no need to correct me because I'm going with it, like it or not.

So the meaning behind the "Walmart Special" birthday bash was this...everybody was required to pick themselves up their best Walmart halloween garb for the party. Whatever was in the halloween section was theirs to ponder. What we ended up with were skeleton shirts, pumpkin shirts, superhero shirts, pajama tops and bottoms, and homemade shirts. Much cheaper and much easier than 
having a costume party!

The Fam in Their Walmart Specials...
Thank goodness for the 10 second setting on Pennie's phone to get us all in!

You can make a homemade shirt for less than 10 bucks...a men's $4 shirt at Walmart plus
iron on letters in Walmart's craft section for 3 bucks. Things got a little crooked, but
I never claimed to be a professional t-shirt maker.

Simple Food Setup...
Cups: we used cling-ons for the faces and they are reusable for the next party (target)
Straws: bright green and black zig-zags (walmart)
Swamp Juice: 2 containers of Simply limeade, 1 bottle of Perrier sparkling water. Add a few drops of green coloring and whole blueberries for the effects. Simple, easy, & tasty. 
Big hit for the kids and adults!

Every year, we've done a chili feed for Ty's birthday. This year it was his favorite paleo bacon & pineapple chili along with Ty's Mom's paleo chicken chili. Both were a hit!

The Spread...
-paleo close as you will get to cornbread!
-baby oranges (to look like pumpkins)
-a lazy susan filled with avocado chunks, cilantro, mozzarella cheese for the primal chili, and
fritos for the non-paleo chili.
-caterpillars...aka grapes on a stick.

Pie box-reused from our wedding
Napkins-assorted varieties, all sold at Target for $1

Dessert...Caramel Apple Bar
Tip: buy mini apples...they are so much easier to work with, easier for kids to eat,
less junk your kids will most likely be able to put on them, and a fun size for all!

The Family...
(missing: my dad, who was out hunting in Eastern Oregon)
Meet Turner...he belongs to Nick & Pennie. He's 2 1/2!

Casey & Bumpa aka Batman aka Mark (Ty's dad)

Debby (very close friend, may as well be Aunt Debby on Ty's side) 
& Kathy (Ty's mom)

Mom & Me

Pennie, Nick, & Turner

Brother & Sister

Brother & Sister

and ALL Of Us In Our Finest Moments...

Mike (our brother-in-law in the red) vs Nick

Bang your caramel apple on the ground, then eat it. I think it's a thing for luck...

And then this happened...

The attempt to put the whole body together via two outfits on two different people.
(yes, I know the tibia & fibula don't belong on the femur, but it's as close as we could get)

The man of the night and the man I love so much...


 I may be biased, but I think you have the best birthday EVER! Not everybody dresses up on birthdays, not everybody gets buckets of candy on birthdays, and not everybody has a birthday in such a lovely time of year like it is around here. Don't get me wrong, there's lots of good things about all the other months here, but if you're going to have a birthday fall on a holiday....make it happen on Halloween!

Love you everyday, Ty!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Papa Joe Day

We call it Papa Joe Day around here. Some people celebrate birthdays. We apparently celebrate those and in addition, the day of one's death. So it was suiting to call it Papa Joe Day, right? I swear we're not morbid. I guess you can say we appreciate all aspects of life...and death.

So the plan (per Ty) was that he was going to take me for a "cup o' jo" for Papa Joe day, but because I work 12 hours, there would not be any coffee shops open that early. Instead, he baked us some treats and got us some chocolate almond milk to celebrate a wonderful man (I can't drink his cheap beer he use to drink due to the celiac disease, so that's where the chocolate milk came into play). 
It's been so nice to bring up memories, remember the time spent with him in the hospital, and reflect over the last year. Nothing like celebrating a guy who can't even make it to his party ;-)

I also went to visit a few days before. Not long, but I visited. Alone, yet in your presence.

Did I mention he's got quite the view from up there?

If you've lost someone you held close to you, make it a special day. Turn that day around, making it a day of celebration rather than a sad, gloomy day. If it's a beer they loved, drink it. If it's a movie they made you watch, watch it. And whether it be the day of their death or a day they loved during 
the year...celebrate them!

So today, we celebrate you Papa Joe! 
Play those musical tunes on your piano above while we celebrate you down below.
Happy Papa Joe Day!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dear Papa Joe...

Dear Papa Joe,

Nearly one year ago, you left this beautiful world for a far more beautiful place. A place much higher than we may ever know and a place where I hope has been one of the best seats in the house. And still, even one year later...I can't seem to write a letter to you without even starting with a few tears. I know it doesn't surprise you, I've always been the emotional one. So why not start with a few tears and end with many more.

In the last year, you've seen your wife of nearly 62 years grieve your loss, talk to you (still), and yet have peace with the Lord through it all. I can guarantee you there's not a day she doesn't think of you and perhaps is talking to you from the other room on occasion still. Actually I know that for a fact (she's told me once or twice). You will always own that woman's heart and will to her last day. That's One. True. Love. if you ever ask me! But she did find herself a little guy. His name is Nikki and is a rescue dog. That thing has been keeping Grandma busy, making sure she gets a walk in each day, and more than anything, helping her get through the nights. She is still missing you like crazy and as she says, "the nights are still so hard for me" as she speaks through her tears. I don't dream of the day I lose Ty by any means, but I dream of making it to 61+ years with him to know and understand what it is like for Grandma. Be sure you keep watching out for her from wherever you may be!

After you had passed away, Grandma had said one of the most wonderful things that truly made everything not only come together for me, but bring peace to my mind & heart and for her as well. That one thing she said..."I wanted to ask the Lord 'why?' 'why did you take Joe from me?'...then she said, "I realized I shouldn't ask that at all because he had 87 wonderful years and I had nearly 62 of those wonderful years with him. I was truly blessed to have all that time." For whatever reason, that one statement made it all ok. It brought me peace that she would be alright, even if it was a struggle to get to that point. Grandma was going to be ok, I was going to be ok, and the rest of the family would make it through as well. And as you know, we've all been doing just that. Let's just say, you built strong and we continue to live strong together as a family.

From above, you've seen your children mourn, struggle, and yet grow from the loss of their father. They've, of course, continued on with their lives over the year in all sorts of ways. But I'll tell you, there have been many moments they all have picked up the phone to call you or had wished to call you. I know as a daughter, I can't imagine what it's like to not be able to call my own Dad. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. And although they know it's their reality (that you've passed), it doesn't mean they don't have their moments. But thanks to Uncle Rob, we still have a saved voicemail from you...that voice of yours can never be forgotten. It still lingers for me here and there, maybe not as much as it once did but I'm sure happy to greet it when it returns! But to be honest, I think your kids partly miss all your calls (even if it's the calls to fix the lightbulbs, something broken in the house, or to learn a little something from you). Thanks to Grandma, she's picked up where you left off on all the phone calling...she has lost nearly every credit card at one point or another, a piece of jewelry here and there, and who knows what else (thank goodness she's found them all. I guess that's what happens when you hide them in places you forget you put them in). She's made sure to not only use her phone calls, but take up the rest of yours you left behind. Somebody had to take them on, right?

You raised your children right in teaching them to care for their mother...Uncle Rob is good at coming by and checking in with Grandma. He and my dad like to take her or meet her at church often. Aunt Sue has her over for dinners and of course sees her nearly every day since she is right across the way. Dad still does a lot of fixing around the house for her and takes her every Tuesday to see if their BiMart cards are the weekly winners. And Aunt Carrie is the best at calling and making trips to see her being so far fact, she's probably the best at calling and checking in on everybody. Good thing you had 4 kids...there's lots of love and help to go around!

And your'd have a lot to be proud of, but of course I'm just a bit biased (probably because I'm one of them). The twins are getting closer to being adults and out of high school; your two youngest are seeing the world via basketball and in Costa Rica, Danielle graduated but is finishing up her last class to fulfill her degree, Staci is working hard as she always does in life and is happy (and happy in love I like to think too ;-)), and Steve is on his way to fulfilling his training to be a police officer in Vancouver (that means we get our own personal cop around here...or so I like to think). Curt's hard work has paid off. Nothing like a guy with perseverance...sub job after sub job, naughty kids after naughty kids. But he landed a middle school teaching job, is coaching at the CrossFit gym, and as always, lending his hand to others just as our Dad has and you did as well in various areas of life. They all are becoming quite the people in this world! I must say that I'm quite proud as one of the older cousins in the family...pretty cool to watch them all grow and become their own person in this world.

And then there's us. Marriage has been good and Lord willing, it continues to do so. We like to thank all those in the family who had strong & lengthy marriages to set good examples (let's just say you were one of them). Before you passed, we were unable to share some of our life goals, desires, and plans with you...instead, you decided to take the best seat in the house and watch as we've gone through some and continue to go through others. I have always wondered what you'd think of our next journey in life, what questions you'd ask, & what you'd be concerned about. But mostly, I'd wonder what advice you'd have for us. You were a wise man and it is something I cherished when I was to an age I could appreciate all you offered.

But something happened a few weeks ago that gave us that 'go ahead'....however, I must first explain something to those who don't know the background from last year.

**For those of you who don't know the story of the hummingbird, Papa Joe was guessing song names and artists on the music channel and/or humming songs to see if people could guess the names of them in the last few days of his life. So I began to call it his 'hum that tune' game. The morning after he died and I hadn't slept a wink, I peeked out the window and found a hummingbird flying around in my lavender bushes. I have always liked to think that it was YOU giving me the sign that you made it, that you were in a good place, and that you weren't suffering. That YOU were now humming tunes and enjoying the view from above.

(I have never been one to wear much jewelry, but I was given two things last was
this hummingbird and another hiding below that I'll share another time. It's become my
everybody reminder of PJ and something I'll continue to hold close to me)

Since then, I had only seen a hummingbird once thereafter, thinking that was the last bit I'd see of Papa Joe...that was until a few weeks ago. During an important meeting about "our life" as we sat outside around the Papa Joe picnic table, here came a hummingbird that flew right by and hovered in the backyard for a short time. At that moment, I felt blessed to have the presence of that hummingbird. You or not, Ty and I like to think it was our blessing from you to go walk that journey the Lord has guided us let it be one of the most amazing things we'll ever do in life. So we thank you, we thank that hummingbird, and we thank the Lord for giving us you for 87 years.

You've been missed by all, thought of always, and continue to be loved in memories and spirit.

We can't talk future plans and ask for your guidance, thoughts, and prayers...but we will ask that you watch over us as you have this last year with our life decisions and most importantly, make those quick "fly-bys" to give us the go ahead. We don't mind being blessed with your presence in any shape or form. So please, bring on the hummingbirds. We'll be waiting ;-)


Cori Lou

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Runner's View In The Couve

"A runner's view" is just generally speaking. I'm not so sure I'd call myself a "runner" anymore though. If you want me to run 10 miles with you, I'll do it. However, I'm not running 10 miles often or frequently keeping up my mileage for anything in particular. And I kinda like it that way. In fact, I think I may have out ran myself in my early 20s, put in enough training for marathons, half marathons, short races, and racing against my own time. They were good days and now, I just take them as they come. It's what happens when you get old and achy ;-)

The few things that get me out on runs these days are these...

1. my friend Laura who can easily talk me into really long runs, 
although I'm really not too hard to convince!

2. days that are not super windy or down pours. Sun, light rain, & cold days, sure. 
But the rest, nah.

3. and views such as these:

-1/2 mile north of our house, the view of St. Helens.
(which apparently looks like just a cloud here, but I was not going to wait around for a perfect photo)

-another 1/2 mile west, the view of Vancouver Lake.

-3/4 of a mile east, the view of Mt. Hood.

-about 2 miles south, the Columbia River (and another view of Mt. Hood on a clear day).

Not bad, right? Vancouver needs a little extra credit for being kinda cool, so there you have it!
Come to the Couve for a mini tour around downtown & uptown on foot and get all sorts 
of views in various directions.

And on that note, do I dare get out  for a run right now?