When I mess something up, at least everyone escapes with all their limbs intact.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just a Dream?

Last night I had one of THOSE dreams. The ones that linger, stick with you - haunt you a little. They are at once a giant hug from the otherworld and a dagger in your heart. My Dad paid me a visit last night.

In the dream, I didn't know Dad was dead. That, or he wasn't dead - I'm not sure. But he HAD been gone for a long time, and I was really excited to see him and show him the new music I had downloaded while he'd been gone. I was especially anxious to show him that I'd found Robin Trower's "Bridge of Sighs" on MP3 and was going to make him a copy of it - in real life, many years ago, right before the Napster thing blew up and you could still download music for free, Dad made it a point to download that LP and we had a long talk about how awesome it was. This song reminds me of him sitting at his computer, eyes closed, just digging the music.

Anyways, back to the dream - so I'm going through and showing him music he'd like as we scrolled down my list alphabetically - we passed the CCR greatist hits compilation I'd downloaded just that morning, the Mumford & Sons album that he'd never heard of but I know he'd like, and then, finally, we found the Robin Trower album. I was specifically trying to find the "Bridge of Sighs" song, but no matter what song I opened it wasn't the right song, and the more I searched and the more frantic I became to find it, the faster and farther away my father went until he finally disappeared.

Obviously, I miss my father. But, I'm at the point now where the gut-wrenching sadness isn't something that happens every day, or even every week. It more is like twangs of wishing I could tell him something, or show him something, or give him something, or ask him something and realizing that no. I can't. Ever.

So when I have a dream like this, it's both a curse and a blessing. I got to see Daddy, and talk to him, and show him stuff that I've wanted to show him. For that fleeting moment, my world was whole. The trade-off is that now I have to spend the rest of the day actively missing him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Whiskey Pie Day!

Forget whatever you've heard about the fourth Thursday in November. It's all lies told by the man to keep us down.

This glorious day is really about one thing, and one thing only: Whiskey Chocolate Pecan Pie. Whiskey Pie for short. I love it so much that I insist on capitalizing it.

I discovered Whiskey Pie in 2008 at the Jack Daniels Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee. My son was three months old, and my husband and I were in town for my work hosting a conference at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center (A magical place, by the way. It's literally in a bubble.). I was done with work for the day and we were having a lovely dinner - my son slept in his stroller the whole time - and when it was time to have dessert, there were two options: Whiskey Chocolate Pecan Pie and a Jack Daniels Coca-Cola Float. Guess which one I picked? The JD Float is a whole other story - one I'm sure I'll cover in the future.

For now, lets get back to the Very. Important. Bidness. Of. Whiskey. Pie.

I scoured the interwebz for several minutes last Thanksgiving to find a recipe that looked close to what I'd eaten. When I found one I was satisfied with (with satisfied equaling the author insisting that more Jack = better pie), I assembled my ingredients and made with the Whiskey Pie. It was a good first effort, but I took certain liberties with amounts of things (whiskey not being one of them - DO NOT use too much chocolate) and it came out more sweet than I'd have liked it to be.

This year, I solemnly swear to adhere to the recipe. Mostly.

Assemble your ingredients - having them right at hand makes things go much, much faster. Premeasure them if you're picky.

Guess who's not picky today?

This pie is really about these two ingredients right here - get high quality whiskey and pecans, and you'll get a high-quality pie. I, obviously, prefer Jack Daniels and Emerald Pecan Pie Glazed Pecans...which I'm sure is like buying bacon flavored bacon...which I would totally buy if someone made it...tangents.

Who am I kidding, it's really all about the Jack. Period.

Put three eggs in a mixing bowl - as a side note, if you don't have a scrap can that you use regularly, I highly suggest you find one. You don't have to buy Rachael Ray's garbage bowl or anything, we use this otherwise useless popcorn bucket from the Smithsonian Zoo. It makes my cooking life much easier.

Is it my imagination, or did I win the egg lottery
and wind up with a double yolk?

Add the following ingredients to the eggs: 3/4 cup of light Karo Syrup; 3 TBSP sugar; 3 TBSP packed brown sugar; 1 TSP vanilla extract; 3 TBSP butter (softened); 1/8 TSP salt. Mix.

You are hungry, no?

Chop up 1/2 cup of the pecans and add to the bowl.

You'll need two bags of the pecans...you'll eat the first
and need a second to finish the pie. Trust me.

Add 2/3 cup of Jack Daniels. Yes, I said 2/3 of a cup. THAT MUCH. Mix.

 That bottle was full when I started. I swear.

Take 1 cup of chocolate chips and gently tap them into the base of your pie crust. DO NOT ADD MORE. IT WILL NOT MAKE IT MORE YUMMY. QUITE THE OPPOSITE, IN FACT. Pour mixture carefully over the chocolate chips. Starting at the outside and working your way in, place enough pecans on the top to cover the pie. Because working from the middle out towards the edges is wrong and against all that is good in the world.

For something that tastes so good it sure as hell does look like shit.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Then, cover the pie crust edges with foil so they don't burn.

Nobody likes burned crusts. NOBODY.
Alternate caption: You wish YOUR foils looked this good.

Pop it back in the oven for an additional 15-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out of the center clean. Note: The pie will fluff up during cooking and look a little juicy - it's ok. It will flatten and set as it rests. Let it cool before you hack it up.

Behold the glory.

I said behold!

Extreme Closeup.
This is becoming my Thanksgiving "thing." My shtick. Because everyone has something they're good at. Mine just happens to involve booze.

Gobble gobble, ya'll.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

Last Thursday, my orthopedist gave me full blessing to walk, drive, and go to physical therapy. I have a mostly-partial blessing to resume my yoga practice (which is kinda what got me into this mess in the first place), as long as I avoid the more advanced stuff and any single-leg work on the right side. Which is fine.

I am out of that damned walking boot, and while I haven't burned it yet, it's on my to-do list. I worry that I'll need it here and there over the next few months. Instead of that blasted boot, I am wearing a really nifty ankle brace (not that exact model, mine's way cooler). It helps prevent my ankle from rolling over again. I've got this for the next six weeks. I go back to see the Doc again right before New Years.

SO! Walking. It's exciting. It's also painful in anything more than small quantities. And I did not walk in small quantities Friday OR Saturday. My calf and foot muscles want me to know, in no uncertain terms, that they are displeased with that decision. My leg muscles are rebelling. I want nothing more than to dip my legs into a hot tub and let them rest.

So what am I doing today? Totally taking E to a free preschoolers thing at NASA. What? It's rocketships and awesome and FREE, did I mention that?

I find myself still looking for my crutches, though. I am, finally, so institutionalized that I now think my disability is the norm and not the exception. I've started to ask my husband to do things for me that I don't need his help with anymore. I stop myself. I have to force myself to not immediately reach for a crutch that isn't there. It's...bizarre. Now that I don't have to be, I'm fully accustomed to being disabled. It only took 4 months.

Aside from the awesomeness that is walking and driving and generally being self sufficient again, I also got another job. A third job, to be exact. I have my day job, which I get to return to tomorrow; I have my Saturday phlebotomy job, which I will probably return to in 2 weeks; and now I have a freelance writing job. I happened upon it last week, was given 3 articles with a great price per piece, and haven't looked back since.

I'm really rusty; it's been 5+ years since I've written anything that wasn't technical or blog-ish, but I feel my voice starting to return. I like writing. I do. It's just been so long that I've lost my swagger about it. I have to get that back. I will get it back. It's just...like my ankle. I haven't used it in a while, and it's going to take some trial and error before it works right again. It'll never be the same, but it'll be a close approximation, and I'm ok with that.

**The cupcake project will (hopefully) resume this week, with spaghetti-garlic-bread-cups.**

Monday, November 15, 2010

Stars...Can't do it...Not Today

"You don't want to wait much longer because you think that you've been patient long enough. You aren't quite ready to initiate your plan today, but in your mind you have already escaped from the starting gate and are running the race. It's crucial now to pay attention to the differences between what you want and what you already have, but it's not yet time to bridge the gap. Taking action too soon can lessen your chances of success."

I'm not one to sit idly and do nothing. I'm (usually) always doing something. There's always something that can be folded, cleaned, washed, read, made, bought, played with - I am perpetual motion. "Ruthlessly efficient" has been used to describe me, and it's probably the closet description I think I've heard. I'm kind of proud of that assessment.

For the last 5 weeks, and essentially for the past 4 months, I have had to stop. Period. Just stop. This was very, very difficult for me in the beginning. Okay, fine, in the beginning it just didn't happen. I couldn't slow down. I did more than I should have, more than I had to, and more than was asked of me. I was so wrapped up in being better than my injury that I couldn't hear the subtle hints my body was throwing my way, ones I would have easily picked up on had I been quieter, easier, and less angry at myself for breaking.

It's funny, when Fate has a lesson to teach you, it makes damned sure you listen, come hell or high water. Instead of sitting down and listening to Fate in July, when I became injured, I was rude and waited until October to invite her in. Hey, at least I let her stand at my front stoop in good weather, right?

So began my lessons in the Fine Art of Doing Nothing. For about 8 hours a day, when Hubs and Tiny Tot had left for the day, I was schooled in patience, humility, and futility.

Presently, I have three days left until I can walk and drive again.

So when I opened my email and found the preceding horoscope (copied at top), I thought, "well damn...Fate knows me all too well, doesn't she?"

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    The Cupcake Project, Take One

    While I was dissecting the cupcake a couple of days ago, I thought about what a perfect size the cupcake was, how it was perfectly portable yet substantial enough to be filling, even if it only takes two or three bites to finish is off.

    Then, the stars aligned, the clouds parted, and a single ray of sunshine landed on my face. I knew what my (near) future would hold. My quest, should I (with relatively infinite free time) choose to accept it, would be to make as many meals as possible in cupcake form.

    First up: Breakfast! The general idea with this meal is to bake a biscut in a muffin tin, hollow out a bit of the top, pipe hot sausage gravy into the center, fill the hole with scrambled eggs, and top the whole thing with shredded cheese.

    All while making it still look like a cupcake.

    So. The into the pan, little piggies! One roll, preferably something with a kick, so medium at least.

    There's a reason we don't ask where sausage comes from.

    Let me know if you've heard the one about the eggs and the two-year-old. You'll need 8 of these, preferably scrambled by your own hand, not your toddler's.

    Eggs, meet toddler. Toddler, meet eggs.

    Sausage gravy: sausage, flour, milk, pepper. No extra salt needed. Whisk together in small batches until creamy.

    Why hello. I am here to whisk you away to a land filled with creamy,
    sausage-y goodness. Don't hold back...come with me

    You can never have too many cooks in the kitchen.

    Problem with the menu, son?

    One tin yields 8 biscuits, but you'll need two tins to use up all the gravy.

    Behold, the glory of Pillsbury.

    Give your kid a snack before you start this.

    A child displeased.

    Use a spoon to gut the first half of the biscuit. Use an ice cream scoop to pour sausage gravy into the hole.

    Oh, we're just getting started.

    Use the same ice cream scoop to place the scrambled eggs on top of the biscuit. Not trying to be picky, but the scoop really is the perfect size for this.

    From "101 ways to use your ice cream scoop."

    Use the pieces of bread you cut out for extra dipping, should you have more gravy than expected.

    Wait! We're still not done!

    Check the expiration date on your cheese before you start. Mold isn't an ingredient in this recipe. Please note, this shouldn't have "expired" for another 3 months. Liars.

    Expiration date fail.

    Have just enough generic cheese on hand, and give it a sniff test.

    All hail the generic cheese backup!

    Appreciate your handiwork.



    Yup. That's my bite mark right there.

    Oh, are they yummy. Perfect for brunch. It keeps together very well and is a very neat meal to eat - if you aren't a glutton about sausage gravy (like moi) then you won't even need any silverware.

    Next time, we'll be trying garlic bread & baked spaghetti cups.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Anatomy of a Cupcake

    This one's for you, cupcake.

    Wikipedia defines a cupcake as a small cake designed to serve one person, frequently baked in a small, thin paper or aluminum cup. Mentions of cupcakes can be found as early as 1796, but it was in the 19th century that the treat got its name. Before muffin tins were available to the masses, these individually sized cakes were baked in pottery cups such as ramekins or other molds, thus taking their name from the cup they were baked in; the name stuck, and now the term is used for just about any small cake.

    On Halloween, I succeeded in creating the most amazing cupcakes known to have existed. They were amazing. There was magic in each sinfully moist, pudding-filled bite. It was "Om" with foil wrapping.

    So yesterday I attempted to recreate said nirvana with my toddler. We put the cake mix into the bowl. I let him pour in the water. Together, we cracked three eggs. Then, we took turns stirring the batter.

    Then I lost his attention (damn you, Caillou!) and put the batter into the muffin tray by myself.  Mom always gets stuck with the boring jobs.

    It wasn't until 20 minutes later, when I had pulled my trays out of the oven that I realized I had forgotten one simple ingredient: cooking oil. I had, in fact, had a rather detailed phone discussion mere hours before the batter was made about whether the oil was, in fact, still good (it was) and so for me to forget it after, for all intents and purposes, standing up for its honor, really made me feel stupid.

    My cupcakes sure did look like cupcakes...they just tasted like sugary cornbread. They were also mostly stuck to the non-stick, silicone bake ware. This made them totally unworthy of the vanilla pudding I intended to inject them with.
    Don't look straight at them, they'll turn you to stone
    So I made more batter (correctly) and stuck in the fridge.

    Today, I tried again. I emptied the batter bowl.
    Somebody's gonna have to wash that

    I divided it into all the cute little silicone muffiny-type-cupcakey-things I own.

    Don't fight it, you love the cow

    And shoved them in the oven. With loving care, of course. As much care as one can take when shoving.
    Not as dramatic as I'd hoped

    Because I varied the sizes of the cupcakes, I almost lost a few of the smaller ones while waiting for the biggins to finish. I rescued them just in time.
    No one gets left behind
    While the cupcakes were cooling, I took the cream cheese frosting and added food coloring to it - since we colored the pudding filling green, what say we make the tops purple?
    The necessities: sugar, water, fruit juice, wine, butter substitute, and ketchup.
    We don't eat solid foods here. Except cupcakes.

    Once the cupcakes were cool enough to handle without breaking, I filled a pipette bag with the pudding and filled each cupcake with yummy.
    Food porn

    Then, I filled another pipette bag with frosting (but, since I only have one REAL pipette bag, this time I used a Ziploc bag and snipped the ends) and put some on each little cake.
    If you look at is cross-eyed and sideways, it looks like a flower, no?

    AH....No, wait...sprinkles!
    Proof that my cheap ass bought clearance-bin Halloween sprinkles

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received

    During my pregnancy and for some time after (read, "until fairly recently") I dealt with antepartum/postpartum anxiety. Once or twice during my pregnancy and several times after my sons' birth, I had panic attacks. They were never so bad that I needed any treatment more than a "talking down," but they were enough to put dings in my fragile, post-baby marital relationship.

    My biggest fear, my unnecessary obsession, was that my son would die in his sleep. Correction: it was that my son would die during the night. You know, during my negligent hours spent sleeping?

    My son is perfectly healthy. Nothing should have caused me to think anything close to that thought. But I was convinced that he would die unless he was sleeping where I could have my hand on him and make myself absolutely sure that he was breathing, as if it was my touch alone that got him through the night.

    So, after the initial three months of co-sleeping while he nursed 2-3 times a night, I started to put him to sleep in his crib. I made the deal with my husband: the baby will stay in his crib until he wakes to be fed; then, he'll come into bed with us so I can sleep while he nurses.

    I would get him to sleep, then tiptoe in my own bed and turn the baby monitor volume to the loudest setting and wait for him to cry, fuss, or sigh loudly. It didn't take much. As soon as he made a noise that I could reasonably justify, I would hustle into his room, swoop him up, and go back to bed, relieved that I could finally rest because he was in my arms.

    My husband was not amused.

    Neither was I, but I couldn't stop the scary from happening. When the fear overtakes you it's nearly impossible to squelch it. Hubs didn't know how to handle it, so he'd get angry with me, and I didn't know how to help him help me, so I'd get upset with him for getting angry with me. It was a cycle, and in the middle of it was this poor baby who just wanted to sleep, eat, and poop in peace.

    So when Ethan was about 6 months old, I started therapy. We talked about things that effected me as a child, and while there weren't any "AHA!" revelations, the year I spent with her helped some. The overwhelming thing to come out of it was something I already knew - because my mother died in the middle of the night, my aunt died in the middle of the night, and a few other events like waking up to my grandmother smearing her own blood on the walls of her apartment in the middle of the night, I have issues with sleeping. Terrible things happen at night. Up until I moved in with my husband, I had a hard time falling and staying asleep. It would take me 2, sometimes 3 hours to fall asleep by myself. I would wake up throughout the night. (I don't have the problem anymore, even when I'm sleeping by myself. I can go to sleep reasonably now and the night waking is a random anomaly.)

    The single most profound insight during the first year of Ethan's life, which for me was arguably the most difficult, didn't come from my therapist. It came from my veterinarian. I've know Doc for close to 20 years. She's seen me through all sorts of pet issues, knows my family well, and we generally chat for some time after the animal-related topics are covered. I had brought my son into the office for our Boston Terrier's first visit, and I told her about my nightly issues checking on Ethan. She told me a story. This story would, for lack of a better word, "cure" my issues.

    Doc said: "When my oldest was a baby, he woke up all the time. All. The. Time. And I remember the first time he slept through the night. I woke up in the morning, noticed it was quiet, and instead of running to check on him, I rolled over and went back to sleep. My thought was, if the cops were going to take me away in the morning because my baby had died in his sleep, I was going to at least look well rested when they carted me off to jail."

    Deep down she knew he was fine, the bigger picture was that if something like that was going to happen there was no way she could stop it. You take reasonable precautions: put baby to sleep on their back, make sure they're not too hot, no blankets or pillows in the crib, etc. - but you can't control everything. So, you take these precautions and let it go. What kind of life is one spent worrying every minute of the day?

    So, as twisted as her (our) sense of humor may be, she had a very valid point. From then on (an even sometimes now, though not for a while) when I felt the scary coming, I would think about the story Doc told me and feel, well, silly. It took a little time, but eventually I stopped rushing into his room to make sure he was breathing, stopped swooping him up at every peep, and we all started getting better sleep.

    The best parenting advice I ever received: Do your best, and don't bother worrying about the things you can't control.

    Oh, and it's important to look well rested if you're going to jail.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    In a place called Vertigo

    Yesterday my body changed my plans for the day rudely and unexpectedly. Not less than a minute after I sent Hubs and E out the door to their respective destinations, work and playschool, and sat down at my computer to read the paper and drink my coffee, the room started spinning. My head became immediately swollen and heavy. I felt nauseous. I couldn't focus on the words in front of me.

    I was having a vertigo attack.

    I have an attack of vertigo about once every year or two. The last time I had an attack was during my last day of hospital clinical work for my phlebotomy certification (forever ingrained in my mind as the day before my father went into the hospital). Luckily, my supervisor also suffered from vertigo and had pity on me. I laid my head down in the back room until it was time for me to go home.

    For me, the attacks tend to come on when I'm dehydrated. The week of clinicals I was not sleeping a whole lot (my son was just shy of a year old and was still nursing twice a night, and I had to wake up at 3:30 to get to the hospital by 5) and was therefore living mostly off of coffee. It's no wonder my body gave out on the last day.

    I have to admit that I haven't been drinking a whole lot of anything except coffee recently, because it's cold, and that I haven't been sleeping really well because it's not comfortable to sleep in the walking boot. So, while I initially woke up with delusions of grandeur (folding laundry, sorting mail, etc.), my body was completely against anything that did not involve lying in bed with my eyes shut.

    If you've never had vertigo, it's like being drunk only you skip the fun part and go straight to lying as still as possible with one foot on the ground for stabilization. You feel like you have (and in most cases do) fluid in your ears. You have to move very slowly, especially your head, or you'll fall over. You can't watch TV, because the images move to fast for your brain to process and you start spinning again. Best thing to do is lie in bed, eyes shut, and listen to calming music. Hopefully, you fall asleep and wake up feeling better.

    So that's what I did until the worst of it was passed and I could walk without fear of falling - having to use crutches made yesterday's episode EXTRA SPECIAL. I took a decongestant to help dry up my ears, some tylenol for the swollen head, and ate ramen noodles to increase my salt and overall hydration level. Then, I got back in bed again and stayed there for another 5 hours, slowly increasing m y body incling until I was sitting up mostly straight without spinning or falling over. At 5, I ventured out into the living room to work on the laundry and drink another cup of coffee, which set me right. I was fine for the rest of the evening.

    So far today I've been ok, but I can feel my left ear getting a little watery and my head getting a little stuffy, so I'm going to go make some ramen and drink some tea and take it easy today. I'm very much looking forward to going to the craft store this evening and picking out some new yarn to work with.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Reasons why I'll be sad when the election is over

    1. My mailbox will not be bulging at the seams. It was nice to know SOMEONE wanted to send me snail mail.
    2. Plus, with all the extra-large postcards I've received in the last few weeks, I'll be able to wallpaper Ethan's room! Who needs alphabet flashcards, we'll just tack these high-gloss babies on the wall and teach him his ABC's that way!
    3. I'll have to go back to watching regular, boring commercials instead of the high-intensity, fear-mongering ones I've come to love. They're like 30-second episodes of Criminal Minds!
    4. The newscasters will have so much less to talk about. Hope the crime rate goes up, these poor anchorpeople might lose their jobs!
    5. The phone calls! I'll miss my 8:30 p.m. chats with my new, pre-recorded friends. I've been SO popular recently, and they're REALLY good listeners.
    In all seriousness, the only chance you have at changing the state of the nation is casting your vote. Let your voice be heard in the war against apathy - exercise your right to vote.

    Serious props to Mom-101 for her blog post today, take a looksie and give her props yourself.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Halloween, recounted

    There are no pictures of my son at Halloween this year. This is not because I do not love him, it is because I was lazy too busy helping throw a rockin' multi-family pre-trick or treating kids bash.  Then I was trick-or-treating on my snazzy scooter. A good time was had by all. Here are the highlights:

    1.  At the grocery store to buy candy and other assorted items to make our amazing party menu (Chili & French Bread, Baked Mac & Cheese, Boston Cream Cupcakes, and Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Pretzel Spiders) I ran into probably 10 people I hadn't seen in a very long time, and none of them were people I was trying to avoid. I was genuinely happy to see all of them. 
    2. My cupcakes & spiders were a huge hit.
    3. The "Dragon's Blood Punch" was ok (Hawaiian Punch, Apple Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Ginger Ale - add Raspberry Vodka and Orange Liquor for the grown-ups) but not great. Will skip next year. 
    4. Lots of people came. We certainly had a full house, which was good because we made a shit-ton of food.
    5. While my son refused to wear his most awesome pirate costume, he did agree to wear his equally awesome Mario Bros. pajamas, thus saving me from being the parent of the kid who didn't dress up, which is what Halloween's all about, isn't it?
    6. Also, his preferred method of reaching the backyard was by way of the dog door. That's ok with me. It was easy to find him.
    7. At some point, my toddler and his father entered into a disagreement about getting into his little red wagon while trick-or-treating and his little pumpkin of candy fell, and it's hard to say what exactly was said but it was either, "My bucket! My bucket, Daddy!" or "Fuck it! Fuck it, Daddy!" I'm going to go with the first, I think.
    8. During the "Fuck it/Bucket" scenario, I spilled my drink. This made me sad.
    9. My son also invited himself into someone's house, causing the Dad whose turn it was to walk the kids up to the door to run in after him. Apparently, my boy had run through several rooms, found the oldest woman there and said "Hi Grandma!" before the Dad could catch him.
    10. I must have yelled at no less than 3 cars who were driving WAY too fast down neighborhood roads on Halloween night. They all slowed down. The speeding (and my yelling) happens every year, and it's dangerous. I'm bringing one of my officer friends next year and issuing citations.
    11. When we got back to the house, all the grown-ups took turns breaking the seal and eating the leftover party food.  We didn't make it out of my driveway before my boy was sound asleep. Lucky for us, he was already wearing his pj's!
    12. I woke up at 2am with raging vodka heartburn. I forgot, vodka and I don't get along anymore. It does me dirty. 
    And that's pretty much it. It was really fun, and I got to show off some of my Food Network skills. I'm all culinary like that.

    It was also nice to have Hubs along to trick-or-treat for the first time - he's had to work the last few years and miss all the fun. And Tiny Tot had so much fun running around with his cousins and friends, it was awesome to see. Him is getting all biggins now, and other cutesty mama-sayin' stuff.