Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Sibling Special

Nose Booger

Burl from the back seat, 

"Mama, I have nose booger. I no can get it. It real hard.
It too way far away. I just leave it in there." 
Me: "Do you want me to help get it out?"
Burl: "No, I ok.  I just leave it in there."

Monday, April 29, 2013

This Week's Menu

This week I'm serving macaroni and cheese. From a box. For dinner.  Like, I'll cut open a packet of neon orange slime and stir it in with noodles.  I'm so excited!

Here's what I'm making this week:

Veggie night: Mac n cheese, grilled okra, broccoli, roasted beets with balsamic reduction
Chicken and wild rice soup
Shrimp tacos with lime slaw, mexican street corn (a huge hit last week!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Unexpected Collection

Each of these were gifts.
After receiving the fourth piece, I finally noticed a theme.
And I love it!

I am glad that my friends know me well!
I'm excited that getting (in this case, receiving) what I love comes together so perfectly.
I heart you, aqua/sage glass!

What unexpected collections are happening in your home?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Climbing Photo Shoot

This is me, playing it cool and blending in at an indoor climbing photo shoot for Urban Rocks.  I got myself invited and was the blaring rookie of the group, but all is well because I had fun and I might just land myself on a billboard.  The climbing scene is pretty big here, and going to a photo shoot is like sitting at the cool kids' table in high school.  Here's what it looks like:

We had a lot of fun, wore bright colors, laughed at each others' ridiculously hard moves (well, not mine), climbed easy stuff to make it look easy, sat around, and played with dogs (well, not me).  Everyone cross your fingers that I make it big.  I'm kidding, not kidding.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

One Last Hurrah & A Recap

We needed one last family hurrah, so we hit up the playground after dinner last night.  It was all part of my Don't Let Your Monday Ruin Your Sunday plan, because I was so sad about our vacation coming to an end.  John gets two weeks off per year, and we just used one of them.  

The first four days we spent at the beach, and the rest of the time we stayed home for a staycation.  I used to think staycations were the saddest sounding events.  It's all, let's take a break from real life and have an adventure but not go anywhere.  That was until I had my own.

We tried to be conscience of two things and I think that was the key to a successful time off.  First, we tried not to cram too much stuff in.  We planned one or two exciting things to do each day, and that was it.  We still have a little girl who sleeps late and two babies who like long afternoon naps, so we kept expectations low.  Second, we planned what to do ahead of time.  This way, we weren't waiting all day to figure out what to do, then wait for each other to get on the same page.  John and I planned our events around the weather, we had the same plan in mind, and we stayed chill all the other times.  

I think that I might be the queen of ruining family vacations.  {Ruining sounds strong-think more along the lines of tainting.}  I take my own expectations and plans, keep them to myself, then get frustrated when no one does what I think they should be doing.  This year was different because we talked about everything.  My only goals for the beach were sitting in sand, playing with our babies, and enjoying beach evenings on the deck with John after the kids went to bed.  {RIP 12-14 hour days of lounging, reading, and snacking by the ocean.}  Unfortunately, that dang stomach bug tainted everything, but it's just how it goes.  My goals for our staycation were to mentally relax from the need to keep things orderly, make memories with my family of four, and for us not to focus on getting things/projects/goals accomplished.  This time was for play, and play we were able to do.  

With everything that happened, I will swear up and down that this was one of the most relaxing vacations that I've had in a while.  A big part of me was reminded of how to play with my children.  Wrestle match mid-morning? Longer reading sessions? Chase at the playground? Lingering conversations with Burl? Learning new words with Fern? Yes, please, don't mind if I do.  

John and I are still trading secrets on how to play with them.  This conversation happened this week...

Me: So how do you play firetruck rescue with Burl?
John: I don't really no.  I just let Burl do it.

We don't really know how to play or what to do.  We just have to be present and follow their lead.  This past week, a bigger part of me learned that.  I re-learned how to play and be present, and that has helped me to deeper relax into my role as their mom and as John's wife.  

This Week's Menu

I bought a jar of strawberry jelly from the store.  High fructose and all.  It was a treat for Burl, and he flipped out when I showed it to him.  We're on the fourth day of it being here and we've gone through over half of it.  Have mercy, we like us some treats.  Something about that little jar of jelly and the excitement that it's brought to us is staying in my mind.  It's part pride that all it takes is strawberry jelly to make Burl feel like dessert time has hit, and it's part sadness that sugar is what brings joy and excitement to our meal times.  That place in the middle is where I'm stuck with my view towards food.  Any good perspective is welcome.  

Here's what I'm cooking this week: 

Stewed black beans & tri-colored peppers, brown rice, mexican street corn
Pan fried chicken with mushroom shallot sauce, asparagus
Veggie night: cooked cabbage, mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans, cheese, fruit
Cream of tomato soup, blue cheese & bacon lettuce wedges 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Museum

On Friday morning, as part of our staycation, we went on an adventure.  It was raining pretty hard, but that didn't stop us.  Within two hours this family of four played water games, went fishing, climbed through tunnels & up towers, road on dinosaurs, played with a scorpion, played house, drove a car, and dug for dinosaur bones.  

Thanks to our neighbors, we had free tickets to our local children's museum.  It was the first time for us, and I would rank it under incredibly awesome!!!  We might move in there.  Seeing that place with our kids, through their eyes, was an exciting adventure and a perfect day of our staycation.  Fun was had!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just A Family Hike

It was a good idea to discuss how we should spend our staycation time.  After spending the first half of the week at the beach, we're back home to enjoy some downtime as a family.  John and I had a little pow-wow about how we should spend our time these few days.  We came up with some ideas: we can't spend too much time working on projects; we should go on a hike; we should go to the kids' museum.  I think those are the only concrete rules, but they seemed to set the tone for the days that we have together.  We're all slow-mornings (parents style, not college style) and tickle fights and lounging and stopping for treats.  Today we went for a hike, and it was good fun.

Boy throwing rocks: One of my favorite pictures of him!  

We took a short little hike to Rainbow Lake, where the kids got to play in sand, rocks, and water.  It's the beach all over again, mountain version. Burl hiked the whole way but only barely. We saw several streams, climbed over fallen trees, were memorized by a man-made waterfall, threw rocks, played on the bridge, and got dirty.  When I asked Burl if this was a good adventure, he let out a deep "yeah!" 

A family hike is pretty common in these parts.  Our city has so much to offer when it comes to short little walks in the woods, and I'm glad that it made it on our staycation list.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beach Trip, 2013

We just got back from a four day beach trip.  It was just our little family, and there are two things that will we will remember about this trip:

1. I got hit with a pretty bad stomach bug an hour into the trip.  It lasted the whole time we were gone.  It even involved a fever.  I'll spare the details, but it was no bueno.  The worst part about it was that it happened on our trip.  John only gets two weeks off a year, and I was sad to spend our special vacation time being sick.  Ugh.  I'm feeling much better, but I'm still accepting any sympathy or pity. 

2. The children had an absolute blast.  They loved it all.  They loved the car ride, the condo, the special treat food, and the beach.  Good gracious, these children loved playing in the sand.  Having them with us took away from the 12 hours of tanning and reading by the water, but it added an extra layer of special that tops all good tans.  Family bonding? Check.

Here are a load of pictures and a few captions from out trip:

Arrive at condo. Put on suits and sunscreen. Run around in giddiness.  

Donut love. 

Tropical storm outside? Cable cartoons and snacks inside. 

Lunch on the porch? I made it about three bites into that sandwich.   

Apparently the stomach virus makes me look like a 14 year old girl. 

Monster waves, especially for the gulf.

They're favorite thing to do on the beach: work hard. 

Crawl marks. 

Trying to keep her out of the sand...

...realizing that was a lost cause. 

Pit stop at Dean's on the way home for 7-layer cake. 

The highlight for us was definitely being with the kids while they had so much fun in everything we did.  While I'm sad I was sick, I'm happy that I got to be with my family of four. It was such a treat!