Friday, March 29, 2013

Like Normal People

I finally got fed up today when Tyler suddenly jumped up out his chair, in the middle of dinner, and ran out of the room he does just about everyday...

I asked him where he was going (as if I didn't know...because he does this every dinner:)
He said "to the bathroom."

I told him that I used to have to say, "May I be excused?" before ever leaving the dinner table when I was a little girl.
(I didn't really but that sounded like something normal people have to do.)

I asked the kids if they thought that should be a new rule for dinner time.

Lauren said, "Yeah, then maybe we can be like normal people.  Normal people pray before they eat dinner like Joshua's family.

Touche young child.
  We are a Christian family, but she's right, we do not say a family prayer every time we eat.
We do however, pray heartfelt individual prayers.

Lauren continued with,
"and normal people have infinity screen time too."

Nice try youngin'

But do normal people serve their family's Coconut Curry Pork Satay dinner on a bed of Bok Choy leaves?

Or do they cut up vegetable scraps...

...for indoor worm farms?

I think we may be trail-blazing (or worm-holing?) the New Normal.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bedroom Switch-a-Roo

When we moved cross-country from Oregon and into our Georgia home I was 20 weeks pregnant with Tyler.
(cross country move + 20 weeks pregnant = not much fun)

In anticipation of his arrival I chose his bedroom to be right next to mine.  18-month-old Lauren was comfortably set up down the hall.

It was a fantastic set-up while both kids were young.

Now that they are getting older and Lauren is fast approaching the pre-teen and teen-age years I've been thinking about switching their bedrooms.

Tyler's bedroom is closer to the bigger bathroom (2 sinks/lots of storage space) and Lauren's bedroom is next to the guest bedroom/bathroom.  (1 sink and not so much for storage.)

the bigger bathroom

the smaller bathroom

Lauren is beautiful without any make-up and always will be but I imagine there will come a day when she wants to spend way too much time in her bathroom and would appreciate more space.
Tyler, on the other hand, I don't see him caring less.

So... a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to switch their bedrooms.
Matt, being the "just tell me what to do and I'll do it" kind of guy didn't protest my (sort of crazy) request but got right to work disassembling beds and reassembling them in their new bedrooms.

Let's check it out!

Tyler's new bedroom in progress

the final product

my little model showing off a view of his closet

the ever changing Hall of Fame Wall

Now a peak into Lauren's new bedroom
(from the bedroom door looking in)

 the closet -  Also Known As -  the American Girl Doll apartment. 



I'm still getting adjusted to the childrens' new rooms.  While putting clothes away I constantly walk into the wrong bedroom.  However, I'm pretty sure this Bedroom Switch-a-Roo will turn out for the best.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Tyler

Last weekend, to celebrate their March birthdays, we took Lauren and Tyler and three of their friends to see the Harlem Globetrotters at Philips Arena.

I had a blast and thought it was hilarious but I think the kids got bored and spent most of their time wondering when they could get more cotton candy.
(However, I have no doubt they'll remember them just like I did from my childhood.)

Daddy, Tyler, Gabe, and Tera

Zoe and Lauren

Back home we continued the celebration with a homemade cookie cake and sleep-over.
It was a memorable joint birthday party.

this post is mostly about Tyler's Lucky Number Seven Birthday
so let's get on with it.

Birthday Boy with his Birthday Presents.

He loved everything he got.
From the Worm Farm to the bag of Skittles to the Lego Sets to the Super Mario Dudes and the three different Minecraft characters.

He's one happy SEVEN-year-old.


the LOOT
(Lauren picked out the Lego Friends set for Tyler (small package in front) CORRECTLY assuming he would reject it and say she could have it.  Smart Girl.)

Tyler spent a good part of the day reorganizing his room to accommodate his new toys. 
(Here he accommodated the packaging to his new toys.  Pretty Creative.)

Super Proud of his Minecraft Creation

and also of his Super Mario bedroom Centerpiece.

Here he proudly models his newly redecorated bedroom.
(Pottery Barn Kids ain't got nothin' on this.)

Did I tell you he and Lauren recently switched rooms?
(no? well they did but that's a blog post for another day)

Moving on...
Tyler's Birthday Dinner
He requested Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets
(of the boxed and frozen variety)
What my baby wants, my baby least once per year.

The night was finished off with a chocolate on top of chocolate on top of chocolate etc. cake.

Tyler is such a thoughtful, caring, intelligent, and determined little boy.  I'm very thankful that I get to watch him on his journey to awesomeness.

Love you sweet boy.
Happy Birthday!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sushi Success

I'm so excited!

#1  The Ducks made it to the Sweet 16!  oooOOOooo

#2  I made Sushi for the first time and it turned out Pretty Darned Good!
I followed this recipe for the most part.  However, I omitted the avocado and added alfalfa sprouts.
For the kids' rolls I left out the wasabe.
(it didn't matter because T didn't like it and L was still feeling under the weather and didn't eat dinner)

look at those amazing California Veggie Rolls

 I'm pretty proud of myself if you can't tell.

 The rolls were easy to make and I'm already excited to try some new combinations.
(Buffalo Chicken, & Celery Sushi...oh yeah!)

Along with the sushi I whipped up a light yet tasty Scallops with Asparagus & Peppers dish.

Although I am excited about the Oregon Ducks and my Sushi Success I'm still bummed out because Lauren is feeling under the weather.

Friday afternoon I received a call from the school nurse saying Lauren was in her office with a low grade fever and complaining of a stomach ache.
I went to pick her up and as an after thought I threw a bucket in the car Just.In.Case.
I'm glad I had my Just.In.Case Bucket because she needed to use it just before we pulled into our driveway.

Poor Girl.
She had a rough and vomity night last night but she seemed better today.
However, she seems to have taken a turn for the worse tonight.
Feel better soon sweet girl.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hail Storm March 2013

Never Have I Ever...

While the kids and I were tucked safe and sound into our home we watched QUARTER SIZED hail fall from the angry sky.

We were glued to the back deck door and amazed at the quarter sized rocks of ice pelting the house.  It was so LOUD that I thought a window could be shattered.

Luckily that was not the case.

While the kids and I were huddled inside the house Matt, unfortunately, was driving home during the ferocious storm.

He said the drive home was "madness."
People were stopping all over the interstate and the hail was coming down Hard.
Thank God he made it home safe and sound.

The next morning he thoroughly checked out the hail damage to his car.
He saw over 30 dents!

His car is in the shop and should be good as new in a few days.
It should be in tip top shape just in time for the next big STORM.


Sunday, March 17, 2013


Lauren and Tyler do not know how to ride a bike without training wheels.
They are currently 9 and 6 years old.
This is unacceptable.

I have decided it is TIME for them to learn to ride a bike.

Today we bought Tyler a bigger bike (for his birthday next week) and he's been practicing riding it with the training wheels.
They will soon come off.

Lauren has had a bigger bike for years but pitches a fit any time she tries to ride it without training wheels.
"It's terrifying," she says.  
Since Matt is infinitely more patient with L's tantrums, I enlisted him as the two-wheel trainer.
He spent a good 30 minutes off and on (in between pitched fits)
and made some serious progress.

Check her out!

Weekly Menu 3-17-2013

Sunday:  Hummus Club Sandwiches (similar to this recipe) and Chickpea Tomato and Basil Salad & l/o Cheeseburger Casserole 
Review:  This was enjoyed all around.  For the Hummus Club Sandwiches I used store bought sweet red pepper hummus instead of making my own.  I didn't find alfalfa sprouts at Walmart so I used bacon instead.  You can't go wrong with bacon.  The kids gobbled up their sandwiches and Matt especially liked the Chickpea Salad.
Monday:  Wonton Soup and Cold Sesame Noodles
Tuesday:  Lemon-Garlic Roast Chicken & salad
Wednesday:  Classic Tortilla Soup & Fajita Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette
Thursday:  The littles are off to a birthday party & the grown-ups will eat left-overs or go out to eat.
Friday:  I'm making dinner for a friend recovering from surgery.  Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas for her family and mine.  (I'm not sure my friend is a big fan of blue cheese so I may use a little Feta to make the Blue cheese dressing.)
Saturday:  California Vegetable Rolls (I'm going to try to make sushi.) & Scallops and Asparagus with Sake over rice.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nine Years Old

I can not believe I have a NINE YEAR OLD!
She's still my sweet, sensitive, loves her Momma little girl.
(And she still thinks I know everything.)
I love this age just as I have loved her baby and toddler hood, 
I struggle with just enjoying her sweet childhood and with freaking out that any year (day?) now she's going to start to change from my little girl into a big girl of her own.
(hormones be vexed)

Oh the cruel twists to this thing called Motherhood.

But today I choose to enjoy and celebrate Lauren's 9th Birthday.
She's a delightful, thoughtful, and hard working girl who deserves all the good things life has to offer.

Good things like this decorative assortment of birthday gifts.

SSSSSSSBooM Goes her Birthday!
(Minecraft reference if you live under a rock)

 a gift from her brother

a massive bag of her favorite candy
(and a rare Tyler sighting)

Tyler's latest pose when confronted with a camera.
-duck and roll-

The smallest gift turned out to be a pair of American Girl doll GLASSES.
She had her doll "Chloe" try them on.

Next gift was an AG Softball outfit.
Chloe once again tried on the helmet.

The tallest gift just happened to be in the American Girl Doll genre as well.

 Is that who I think it is...the doll she's been desiring since Forever? (like Christmas time)
Could it be Kaya?! 

Why yes it is.
Birthday girl with her new doll Kaya and a birthday chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

 Nine Years Old is one LUCKY age to be!

We love you sweet girl!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Art Show Mugshots

Every year our Elementary School puts together an Art Show fundraiser.
The kids make awesome artwork, the awesome art teacher frames it (in high quality frames if I do say so myself) and then us awesome parents buy it.

Last week I went to the Art Show to purchase L and T's artwork but was told that their works of art were chosen to be displayed at the local Performing Arts Center.

I'm so proud of my budding little artists.
This will be Tyler's first time at the Performing Arts Center and Lauren's second year in a row.

(3rd grade)

(1st grade)

Since I wasn't able to take their artwork home, I opted for the Art Show Mugshots which were complimented by the yellowish lighting in the school gymnasium.

Way to go Lauren and Tyler!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carnival Fascination 2/16 - 2/21

We knew my Mom (Grammy) was coming for a visit over winter break and we wanted to take her on a little vacation while she was here.
(a vacation on vacation if you will)

Matt really wanted to take a cruise but I was pretty hesitant.
I couldn't see the fun in taking a boat to beautiful destinations when I could fly there and bask in the sun and sand for 4 days and then fly home.

Matt was persistent and persuaded me saying that the kids and Grammy would share one cabin and we would share the other. kids...I'm sold.
(just kidding kids - Grammy time is important!)

So our tickets were bought for a 5 day Bahamas trip on the Carnival Fascination
2/16  Jacksonville
2/17  Fun Day at Sea
2/18  Key West
2/19  Nassau
2/20 Fun Day at Sea
2/21  Jacksonville

and then
1 week before our departure!!

I started the trip out apprehensive and also COLD!
We happened to leave Jacksonville, Florida on a record cold day.
We were chilly waiting to board the ship.

It didn't take long to go through security and get on the ship.  Everyone was friendly and helpful.
(I'm sure all Carnival employees were told to be on their BEST behavior after the stranded ship incident.)

And we were off.
So long Jacksonville skyline

We found our cabins and got comfortable.
I think Grammy and the kids fit quite well.
(the bathroom is next to the door behind Lauren's bed)

We had inside cabins on the lowest deck.
That is a fake window.

We spent the evening and the next Day at Sea exploring the boat.

There was so much food!
I started off eating pretty well but somehow since the food is included my appetite seemed to get bigger by the meal.

 Swimming in the Pools
It was still pretty chilly on the 2nd day but the kids were able to talk Matt into a dip in the pool.

A window seat on Hollywood Boulevard (deck 9.)
Our favorite spot for people watching.

Lauren and I "heart" cruise sunsets.

It was still cold and we packed for the tropics so we all broke down and bought Carnival jackets.
Lucky for us they were 50% off!
her inner gangster?

date night

 arriving in Key West
(see Grammy really was there)

finally it was warm! 

In Key West we walked up and down Duval street
from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and back.

Along the way a storekeeper asked if L and T would do her a favor and feed the rooster.
We saw a lot of "gypsy" chickens roaming free in Key West.
The kids thought it was pretty cool and were quite happy to do the storekeeper a "favor."

the Southernmost beach
(L and T (in green shorts) are in the middle playing where the water meets the sand.)

Every night we'd find cool towel creatures waiting for us in our rooms.

elephant (wearing my sunglasses)
The kids really enjoyed them so Grammy bought them the Carnival Towel Creations book which gives step by step directions so they could make their own back at home.

On our Nassau day we took advantage of the nearly empty ship and spent some time swimming in the pool.  It was awesome to have the pool to our selves.

We ended up having 4 hours to spend in Nassau and after seeing the chaos of the port that was plenty of time.
Right off the ship there are people everywhere wanting to sell you something, take you somewhere and especially, braid your hair.  I know they are just trying to make a living but I wanted to relax.  Being our first cruise we didn't plan any shore excursions (plus they were Spendy!) so at first we walked along Bay Street (t-shirt shops, straw market, knick-knacks and jewelry) 
and then we took a taxi to Atlantis on Paradise Island.

 Atlantis seems like it would be a fun place to vacation sometime.
However, it did not seem anything like authentic Nassau.  It could be a fancy resort placed just about anywhere (warm) in the world.

We walked around for awhile.

the Bahama "honk"

And then found a restaurant to eat across the street from the $$resort$$.

 chilling in the Bahamas
(How lucky are these kids?!)

Three ships were exploring Nassau at the same time.
Next time we'll make sure to have an excursion booked to experience the "real" Nassau.

Back on the ship we continued to enjoy ourselves.
We went to a Family Comedy show at the Punchliner Comedy Club
and later Matt and I went to the adult show.
Both were very entertaining

 We also spent some time on the water slides!
 Tyler and Lauren rode the big yellow one many times.

It looks like Tyler just walked all the way down.

Lauren and Daddy

Daddy and Tyler
(Momma was happy just to take the pictures)

The kids also spent a lot of time at Camp Carnival.
(aka free almost-all-day child-care)
They made friends, friendship bracelets, played video games, decorated t-shirts, learned how to make the cool towel animals and also stuffed their own teddy bears.
They were hesitant to go into Camp Carnival but they always came out with big smiles and having  had a lot of fun.

People watching was another fun part of the cruise.
Matt would be gambling in the casino and the rest of us would sit in the window seats on the main walkway.  The kids would play their iPads and Mom and I would sit chatting while sipping a diet coke (Mom) and a glass of red wine (Me) and watch the people walk by.

Mom and me (and my sunburn) relaxing.

On our last night of the cruise we ate at one of the Dining Rooms (instead of the buffet/deli/pizza salad/hamburger bar.) We had to wait awhile to be seated and our waitress was definitely in a stressed out mood.  She was curt and short and devoid of Matt tipped her an extra $10 to try to cheer her up.
Later we found these in our room.
The card said "we're sorry you had to wait" but I'm thinking our waitress sent this to say "sorry and thank-you."
When we got our bill the gratuity charge was only $57 per person for the entire 5 night trip.  That breaks down to about $12 in tips per day to be spread out to anyone providing service on the entire ship.  Room Service, House Keeping, Dining, Casino, pool side beverage service etc. etc.  
That's not much at all so we tried to tip extra when we could.

Finally we made our way back to Jacksonville.
One last look back at the Fascination before starting our 5 hour drive back home.

I think everyone had a fantastic time.  I am so happy we went on the cruise and I can't wait for the next one.

Back home the kiddos posed with Grammy wearing their new Minecraft t-shirts they had made for them in Key West.

PS.  Here is Matt's favorite poker table on the Cruise.
No cards, just iPad looking thingies.
He made money ($100 net) at this able and I have a story to tell.  Just ask me about it sometime.
(I'm just not sure it's world wide web blog-worthy)

We had such a Bon Voyage!