This is our first Halloween at home since Colin was born, although Brian is in New York. Colin has had Halloweens in Connecticut, Kansas City, Southern California, and Warsaw, Poland. Back in September I saw these super hero dress ups and thought they would be fun for Halloween and beyond. Jane is delighted to be a super hero (a true sibling with an older brother). I think they are pretty dang cute, but besides Brian I am the most biased person in the world to think my kids are cute.
They had to do some running around like super heroes.

Our neighborhood tick or treats on Saturday so we have already made the rounds tonight. It was quite rainy today and I considered taking them to the mall to trick or treat. Glad I did not because what I love most about Halloween is that we can just ring neighbor's doorbells and have a little chat. We headed out with umbrellas but the rain tapered off and we did fine. The kids LOVED it and where so cute. There were two houses where people in masks gave candy which both made the kids nervous and got them a little excited. Colin was happy to meet a real nice monster (even though I told him over and over it was just pretend and for fun.) We only made it trick or treating about 2 blocks but thanks to small treat baskets, we filled up and came home. The excitement was too much for Colin, he fell asleep on the sofa. What a great night for no teeth brushing.

Alpine Loop

A few Saturdays ago we drove up the Alpine Loop, a favorite Fall tradition. It was a lovely day.
Jane needed a little cuddle as she kept falling down.
We found leaves and sticks (if you can tell Colin has a large walking stick in the following photos.) We saw some bikers who said there was a big bull moose just ahead of us on the trail. Kind of glad the bikers scared him away.

Last Year

Just remembering where we were close to this time last year. These photos are from the Polish National Cemetery in Warsaw. Seeing this was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen (and I have seen some amazing things).

Good times with my acorn hat.

This photo was taken care of some intense light that was set up in the cemetery.
We are so happy because we get to go back to Poland next summer. We will not be there for All Souls again, but we loved Poland!
ps, I likned this here, check for more travel photos and great tips for traveling with kids.

Now to play some catch up. Seems like another world ago that we were in Victoria but it was just a couple weeks ago. (I was able to travel to DanaLee's funeral in NC last week, it was such a beautiful service and quite a few of our college friends were able to come from around the country. I am so grateful I was able to make it but still slightly feel like I have been hit by a truck. Thanks to all the messages from friends and family. I even got a card in the mail from my sister-in-law, how awesome is that? As sad as I am for my loss of a great friend, I am devastated for Danal's parents loss.)
SO, in the photo above, a couple days before we left Victoria we had another lunch at our favorite fish and chips at Fisherman's Warf. Totally the real stuff, we had not had fish and chips that good since England. Not something we should eat every day but every now and again it is very nice.
Also about the photo above, some people took it for us who recognized Brian from the opera the night before. It was the first time Brian has been recognized totally out of context from a show, he felt quite famous. There were very nice people. When Brian was talking to them I was trying to get his attention to help me clean up the milk that Jane had spilled everywhere! Oh well, he needs to attend to his public.

One of the milks, pre-spill.

There were very cute little seals to look at. We saw seals a couple of other places in the water too while we were there.

The kids got hot dogs (did not want to waste the beautiful fish on kids who will not appreciate it). Sadly we do not have more photos of our last days in Victoria. We spent a fun afternoon at the BC Museum with some of the great friends we made in Victoria and we had some friends and family come to visit and catch the last opera. We then spent a couple days with Brian's parents in Washington and drove all the way to Utah in one day. I wish we had realized you could rent Red Box movies and return them anywhere sooner, it is so brilliant for car travel! We got a new fun movie for the kids to watch in Oregon, returned it and got a new one in Idaho that we the returned in Utah. Anything that makes it easier I say. The kids are such great little travelers but it is so, so nice to be home.


I am very behind on blogging and still need to post more of our last days in Victoria. We have been home just nearly a week and it always seems harder to keep up at home. We have had the very sad news that our dear friend DanaLee passed away this last weekend. There is a hole in my heart and I already miss her so much. We had the good fortune to see her in North Carolina twice in the last few years, and even spend an entire month with her while Brian had a production. She was one of my closest friends, the only person I kept on speed dial other than Brian. It seems a little self centered to post, but I was looking back at her blog and she wrote a very sweet letter to me for my birthday a couple of years ago:

"Who knew when I climbed into the back of a green Dodge Dart that cold night in November of 1993 that it would be my first of many climbs and the start of a friendship that would forever shape my life. Annie, I know it's not our nature to be all tender and emotional, but I want you to know I love you!

Thank you for being my friend even though I had pickle breath. Thank for teaching me the love of Llama Fest. Thank you for starting the Wrestle Mania trends. Thank you for teaching me to love gnocchi. Thank you for road trips to Idaho, California, Vegas Xs a ton. Thank you for visiting me in North Carolina. Thank you for being my psychiatrist. Thank you for being my medical consultant. Thank you for always remembering my birthdays. Thank you for teaching me to love good music. Thank you not pushing me down anymore.

Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for mocking me and making me laugh more. Thank you for creating sausage ball Sabbath. Thank you teaching me to not give up (re: finally marrying Brian). Thank you for sharing your life and love. Thank you for sharing your family. Thank you for sharing your friends. Thank you for more memories than I can really count.

Having never lived in one spot for more than 5 years before college I never knew what it was like to have a life long friend. I know you will always be my friend, even though you sometimes push me down. See I have proof. Also, the one thing I don't thank you for is Ram Charger Loving. I cannot believe you got to kiss that boy and I didn't! So much for Symphony bars and Mountain Dew!"

It makes me realize I need to say things like this to people more liberally. Life is precious and can pass quickly. I have faith that DanaLee is in an amazing place where she continues to progress and that we will see each other again. She has just gone ahead to make sure we all have sausage balls in Heaven. I do not feel like my mind is really clear enough to say all that I want to say (and my blog is more photos than thoughts) but the world seems a little sadder to me these days.
(DanaLee with my kids last year)

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We recently got to preview the production photos so here are a few from Brian's current show (entire album of photos here) I love this photo of Brian's entrance. Kind of funny that Brian's work is a spectator sport. No one wanted to come and see me practice social work.
This is Brian's 4th time in La Cenerentola, Rossini's take on Cinderella. There are some really nice differences to the Disney version of the fairy tale (maybe Rossini's version is closer the the original, I do not know). Brian plays Prince Ramiro who needs to marry. His tutor Alidoro goes out into the kingdom to find a girl worthy of the Prince. Alidoro is dressed as a beggar and at Cenerentola's house her sisters despise him but she shows him kindness. Alidoro then sets things in motion for Cenerentola (her name is Angelina) and the Prince to meet. The Prince wants to know that the one he marries really loves him and not just his title of Prince so he changes places with his Valet Dandini so he can observe. There is much hilarity in the in between or course as it is comic opera. When it works out that Cenerentola is to marry the Prince, her revenge on her step sisters is to show them kindness and forgiveness. It is really a better telling of the story in my opinion, a better moral.

Another difference to the Cinderella I grew up with is there is a wicked step father instead of step mother. Here is Brian threatening the step father and the step sisters since they are so terrible to Angelina.

It has been a really great group of singers here, very nice people and they work great as an ensemble.

Brian's big aria where he declares he will find her. He sounds really great and feels like the aria is in a good place now. (It is a hard role to sing.)

The sets have all been very cool and built for this show, as were the costumes.

Brian worked with Tyler who is here playing the fake Prince last year at the Princeton Festival. Our kids love him! He is very funny as the fake Prince. Julie has been a great Cinderella, very lovely voice.

Marianne and Marion, the step sisters. Very funny.

Happily Ever After, but Brian goes home with me.
Bravo Brian!

Some friends we met here in Victoria suggested we meet at the Sidney BC Aquarium. They had this great exhibit for the kids to get in the tank. I realized I should have crawled under, it looks very cool to see the fish like this!

They had a fun projection on the floor that rippled out like water. It was great too because as you enter the Aquarium, they have you go down in a submarine, such fun!
Jane contemplates the touch tank, and the jelly fish. I find jellyfish quite bizarre.

On yet another recent day off we drive to French Beach. (We love the opera singer schedule! But it is not all play, the show opened this weekend and is really awesome! I have seen Cenerentola at least 8-10 times and this is by far my favorite production! We have loved Pacific Opera, very lovely company and Brian is working with some really great singers.)

With the huge rocks, as the waves would go back out there was this very cool, very noisy noise. (Don't quite know what to call it, it was unlike anything I have ever heard. Brian poetically said something to the effect of it was like the ocean was breathing in and out.)

Jane loves rocks.

Getting some comfort after throwing a rock on her own head.

And there was a playground, we do not need much more.