Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last Minute November

I can't leave November out. It seemed to be my month of literally doing things at the last moment.

It started with a birthday party my boys were going to. The party was on a Friday night, I knew the mother had a lot on her plate so I offered to make her son's cake. I may have not realized that basically I only had 24 hours to plan, buy, bake, and decorate.

The theme was Pokémon...ideas were already flowing but I knew simple was best. She had given me most of what I needed to bake it with which was a relief. The boy wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting which put a hiccup into ideas but I think we overcame.

Chocolate cake with a chocolate icing for a base and a "surprise" poké-ball on top.

Getting the colors right in a short amount of time was difficult...and may have had a batch I messed up but then used part of it to get the bed red I have been able to. Black again was similar except I just went with it. An Oreo cookie was the perfect button.

Once we arrived I assembled it on site. Ended up having to redo some of the decoration on the bottom layer, but really it was a cake for 3-9 year olds so I don't think they cared as much as I did.

I try to make everything on the cake (besides the candles) edible but this time I used part of the birthday present as decoration.

When the poké-ball was cut open M&M's© poured out.

The next weekend we had a garage sale (later than I like and again last minute but cleared out the garage) and then went with some friends to tour the Old Missouri Penitentiary. I love history, maybe not all the dates and stuff but the stories. At Thanksgiving I was pulled into looking up some of my genealogy based on a story that my grandpa told me about his great great grandfather.

Anyway back to the penitentiary. I really had never been taught much about it and I have lived in Missouri all my life and the last 15 years within 40 minutes of it! It was the longest running and held the most prisoners in the United States and possibly the world although they can't really prove the later.

One of the friends I went with is a photographer, Vicki Winton, you can check out some of her pictures from the penitentiary here.

I did take a few but I truly forgot I had the camera because I was taken in by the stories.

This is the main building. A couple years ago it was covered in mold and had to undergo remediation. It was open from 1836 until 2004, Alcatraz was only open 1933-1963.

Vicki and Meagan in the showers...

Death-row inmates were held in the basement.

Those on death row were allowed exercise as well but were confined to a smaller area.

Some famous inmates walked these halls including boxer Sonny Liston and James Earl Ray (may not have been housed here though)

The cat walks across were not for those weary of heights.

Some inmates decorated their cells. This one was done to look like a cave. Others wrote inscriptions, unfortunately much was lost when they had to scrape the walls to remove the mold.

Death row cell had bunk beds so the top could hold all of their legal books and papers.

It was a bit of fun to tell people we went to jail over the weekend...

Next up was a "field trip" to the roller rink... before going the boys were excited and wanting me to buy them skates. NO WAY was I going to buy skates especially since they had never been skating. I warned them:

1) You will fall.
2) It will hurt.
3) You will cry.
4) You will want to go home.
5) You will try again.

The first 3 minutes of having the skates on they accomplished the first 4...

The younger one is in blue.
I then caved and rented a "walker" the younger didn't want to use it. He is a little more stubborn but also takes pain better. If he hurts it is usually because it really hurt or he is exhausted. He tried to play limbo but it took him so long to get to the back of the line it had already gone through and the pole had been lowered.

I love that he was so adamant about trying.
The older fell using it several times and tried giving up but I tried to encourage. By the end he was making it around the rink without it...neither was really skating but they were having fun!

Success! We even played the dice game and survived until the end. Not to brag but I may have won 😏 but I had already won having fun with the boys and doing something I haven't done in over 15 years. As we were leaving they were already begging to go back!

We host our annual Thanksgiving on "black" Friday. This year we didn't start shopping until the week of! This is not like us but luckily after 10 years it was a piece of cake. Part of the reason was the week before my grandpa had a heart attack. He is doing well, actually he looks better than he has in a very long time.

My parents ended up hosting Thanksgiving day at their house for my dad's side. It was good to see all of them and best part was bringing my "little" brother back with us. He was a huge help in making our prepping for Thanksgiving easier by playing with the kids. We even managed a little black Friday shopping (on Thursday) in, although it was actually for him.

I admit I stress over the last minute details normally but this time I decided to just let it be and it was really one of the best times we have had even if we couldn't get the tree due to sickness and cold.

We ended up going a few days later. Not the same but it helped us feel more in the Christmas spirit.

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