Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chinese Face Time

At 8 o'clock both ways...
(before Daddy went to work in China at 8am and before we went to bed in the USA at 8pm)
...we got to Face Time with him.

It was pretty cool to be able to video chat with him and see his hotel room and his view of Beijing out his window.

Lauren tried to pull a fast one and asked him to show her his TV in his hotel room.
He told her he would tomorrow and she came back with, "but it's already tomorrow there so I should get an extra screen time."  Nice try kiddo.

I am, however, looking forward to tomorrow's Face Time.  I'd also like to see a typical Chinese TV show.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Matt goes to CHINA!

Matt is on a work trip to CHINA this week!!
How jealous am I that I can't go with him?!!

He almost didn't get to go because his Chinese Visa didn't arrive until the last minute.
(Fed Ex came just hours before his departure time.)

He somehow packed a week's worth of clothing and work stuff into two carry-on bags.
Where is he going to put all my gifts he buys me in China? 

We did one last check of the weather in Beijing .
not too shabby

And then he was off.
First Class from Atlanta to Seattle.
(the guy behind him obviously didn't want his picture taken)

And then business class from Seattle to Beijing.
He left Atlanta at 4pm EST Monday afternoon and arrived in Beijing at almost 10am EST Tuesday.
I got this text from him this morning. (Matt is gray.)

The crazy thing about Beijing is that it is exactly a 12 hour time difference from our house.  
So if it's 6pm my time it's 6am (the next day) Beijing time.

I told Matt to find out Wednesday's winning lottery ticket numbers and I'd go buy a ticket when I woke up. =)

 While the kids and I were eating dinner Matt sent me this text about his breakfast.

I told him to take a lot of pictures which I'll post when he gets home.
Stay Tuned

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Menu 4-20-2014

Sunday: EASTER CrockPot Kahlua Pork, rice, lettuce, asparagus, & fresh pineapple
Monday: (ABBA) left-over Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta & pineapple
Tuesday:  Pork Chops with Sweet Corn Relish & fruit
Wednesday: (ABBA) Tortellini with Prosciutto and Peas in a Creamy Sauce & asparagus & fruit
Thursday:  (Softball Game) Pepper Jack Cheese and Spinach Quesadillas (minus the avocado)
Friday:  Shrimp and Goat Cheese Pasta & veggie & fruit
Saturday:  (Softball Game) left-overs or pantry meal
Sunday:  Parmesan Chicken and Simple Scalloped Potatoes  (Welcoming Matt home from China with some non-Weight-Watchers dishes)

ABBA = American Black Belt Academy = Taekwondo 

Happy Easter 2014

Happy Easter!
We had such a refreshing and relaxing day.

Lauren and Tyler woke up first and went downstairs to find all the eggs Matt and I hid the night before and also to check out their baskets left by the Easter Bunny.

We went to church later in the morning and heard Andy Stanley talk about the Easter story and how unique Jesus was as a leader. 
(I tried to find a link to his sermon but couldn't.  Maybe it will be up later?)
We went to the first of three services and it was jam packed with people.  Some had to sit in the lobby.

After church we had an early lunch at Ted's Montana Grill and then it was back home to enjoy the Easter Baskets.

 Lauren's basket included a Lego Friends set, Peeps, Cadbury eggs, a solid milk chocolate bunny and 2 books: Minecraft Essential Handbook and Stranded 3.

 Tyler's basket included a Star Wars Lego set, Peeps, Cadbury eggs, a solid milk chocolate bunny and 2 books:  Minecraft Redstone Handbook and Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue.  (He loves the Origami Yoda books.)

We took advantage of the beautiful Easter Sunday weather and ate dinner outside.
Crock Pot Kahlua Pork served with rice and lettuce to make wraps.
Asparagus and Pineapple

BREAKING NEWS:  Before we ate dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood (2+ miles.)  We all walked except for Lauren, she rode her bike!  She is finally confident on her bike to actually ride it.  Way to go Lauren!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Momma and Kiddo Spring Break 2014 - Miramar Beach, FL

 Originally, we weren't going to go anywhere for Spring Break but when I found out Matt had to go to Texas for work I thought it would be fun for the kids and I to take a road trip.
I got on the Internet and booked a condo for three nights at Seascape in Miramar Beach, Florida. 

Immediately after booking the room I felt anxious.  What if something goes wrong?  Matt is such a responsible and capable guy that whenever we vacation I always sit back and let him do it all.  I let him make the reservations, load up the car, drive the entire way, check us in, unload our luggage and bring it up to the room.
My job is to pack up the kitchen stuff and to look pretty.

What if something were to go wrong on the trip?  How would I handle it?
Despite the nerves I am SO GLAD I did this.  Nothing went wrong that I couldn't easily handle and the whole thing was a piece of cake.  The kids were super helpful and obedient and even the 5 1/2 hour drive wasn't that bad.
I proved to myself that I am pretty capable as well.
I told Matt that I should vacation with the kids more often and maybe he should get a second job to fund our trips.
(Calm down y'all I'm just KIDDING!!!)

Anyway here's a recap of our Momma and Kiddos Spring Break Vacation.

Day One
Loaded up and ready to go.

Whenever we go to the Gulf Coast I always try to plan our departure time so it lands us at River City BBQ in Eufaula, AL near lunchtime.  They have the best BBQ.  I love their BBQ chicken wraps, Lauren loves the ribs and Tyler is a huge fan of their grilled cheese.  On your next trip to the Gulf Coast you need to check this dive out.
(I didn't really check-in on FB...just documented.)

A few hours later we arrived at our condo.
Ariel Dunes 2 #1205
(1 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath, bunk beds in the hallway for L and T)

Our gulf and pool view from the balcony.
(The beach-front Majestic Sun building was booked full so we had to stay in the high-rise Ariel Dunes 2.  It was a little walk to the beach but nothing we couldn't handle.)

 After we checked in we got everything unpacked and made ourselves at home.
Lauren was in charge of filling up the "plate of happiness."

Once we were settled we made a quick trip to Publix to buy some food for the weekend.
(We only ate out twice while we were here which includes our lunch at River City BBQ.)

Day One Dinner

We took a picture at the kitchen table/bar but...

...once we realized Survivor was on we quickly moved dinner to the living room.
Hey we're on vacation, we can watch TV while we eat and we can eat wherever we want to.

After dinner we took a little walk on the beach.
My iPhone really rocks the night pictures doesn't it? (sarcasm)

Back at the condo we stayed up as late as we could milking the unlimited screen-time.
(Feel free to caption Lauren's expression in the comments.)

Finally it was teeth brushing and...

Good Night sweet children.

 Day Two 
Bacon, Blueberry Muffins and Applesauce for breakfast.
(L and T's coffee cups are filled with milk.)

After breakfast we hit up the outlet mall for some shopping.  I got the kids to go along by promising them I'd buy them stuff.
Before we left Matt said to "have fun and spend some money."
Ten-Four =)

After lunch at the condo, it was finally BEACH TIME
(Look I really was there)

Spring  Break brings quite the eclectic group of vacationers to the beach.
You pretty much see all walks of life.

The sun was shining and the temps were in the mid 70s.
A little chilly for me to get in the water but L and T didn't mind at all.
We had a lot of fun and we're at the beach for hours.

Before heading into the condo we washed the sand off at the Surf Splash.
You stand in the middle of the platform and a mist of water sprays the sand off your legs.
We may have spent a good 30 minutes playing here. (wink)

Once in the condo we cleaned up and headed to dinner at Tommy Bahama.
 The food and drinks, especially my fish tacos, were really good.
Pics include my faux check-in, Lauren's "Faux-jito (virgin Mojito) and L looking beachy reading a book after dinner.

Day Three
Oatmeal, Toast and left-over bacon for breakfast.

Morning walk on the beach.
I told them to put their swim suits on if they were going to get wet.
They both said no and they both ended up getting wet.
 Oh well, they had fun.

Beach Fun Video

That afternoon we spent some time at the pool.  The pool was unheated and it was a bit windy so there was not much swimming. There was a low key water fight though.

Low Key Water Fight

 After the pool we headed back to the beach.

Back at the condo and we all cleaned up.
Lauren enjoyed the view while air-drying her hair.
Pretty girl. 

 We knew we were leaving for home in the morning so we had to go out for one last evening stroll on the beach.
Love these two kiddos!

 And then it was back to the condo for some endless late night screen time.

Just an aside:
I can't stand glass top stoves.  They are impossible to keep clean. After using a white glass top in the condo I'm glad that I have a black glass top at least it disguises the scorch marks a bit more.

(Sorry housekeeping I didn't think to bring my razor blade and glass top cleaner on vacation.)

Day Four
Sadly I didn't take any pictures.
We loaded up all our belongings, checked out of #1205 and hit the road for home.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at the rest stop on the Florida and Alabama line.  I'm pretty sure all of Atlanta went to the Gulf Coast this weekend and all of Atlanta traveled back at the same time we did.  Holy Traffic Moly.
We eventually made it home safe and sound and were very excited to see Daddy again.
What a great little Momma and Kiddo vacation.

A huge thank-you to Matt for almost always being the definition of a good husband.
Responsible and Capable to the point that I can put my absolute trust in him and just hang back and "look pretty" but also Generous and Supportive to encourage us to go on this vacation when he wasn't able to and let me prove to myself that I can be strong and capable as well.
Love you Babe!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Menu 4-13-2014

It's going to take a few days for me to document our "Momma and Kiddo - Spring Break 2014" vacation.
But in the meantime we all need to eat right?!! 

Sunday:  Chicken Enchilada Casserole (very tasty but not quite WW friendly)
Monday:  (Taekwondo & Softball)  left-overs, corn, & apples
Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Asian Chicken and Noodles with Broccoli
Wednesday:  Tomato Soup Mac & Cheese, salad, fruit
Thursday:  (Softball) left-overs or pantry meal
Friday:  (Bunco)  Matt will be making something tasty he found on the show EAT STREET.
Saturday:  Crock Pot Kahlua Pork, rice, fruit & veggies
Sunday:  EASTER!

Monday:  Matt leaves for a work trip to CHINA!!

Qǐng xiǎngyòng.

(I believe this says "Enjoy your meal" in Chinese.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weekend Trip to Pigeon Forge

In March, we took a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Since I'm preparing for our next trip (a Momma and kids-only trip to Miramar Beach, Florida) I figure I'd better get the TN trip documented on the family blog.

 Pigeon Forge was a planned boy-scout field trip to MagiQuest which we expanded into a great little family vacation.

I didn't actually document all of our check-in destinations on Facebook (How annoying would that have been?!) but I did take screen shots to help me remember where we were.

 After a late start, two hours in awesome Atlanta stop and go traffic, we finally arrived at the Hampton Inn in Pigeon Forge.

The next morning we hit the pool right after the complimentary breakfast.
We had the whole thing to ourselves.
(It wasn't quite warm enough for myself so I chose to take the pictures.)

It was cold outside but that was where the hot tub was.
And where the hot tub is...we go!
The sun was too bright to open their eyes.

A better angle

This was a brand new Hampton Inn and come summer time the awesome pool(s) will be greatly enjoyed.

For lunch we headed to The Island for some food and fun.  The Island is a new addition to Pigeon Forge and as it grows it will only get better.  Definitely check it out.

Me: "Smile Kids"
Them:  Oh look a Squirrel or some flashing light.

We loved ourselves some WHEEL!

 It took us way up high!

 Back on the ground we made our way to the Carousel.

Later we headed back to the hotel for some
and lots of NAPPING and SCREEN TIME.

Finally it was MagiQuest time.
What an awesome adventure.  L and T had a blast and we all got a ton of exercise walking all over the place.  We could have stayed there all night long easily.  I can't wait to further our quest.

L and T with their wands.
(I'm the shadow taking their picture.)

On Sunday, before we headed home we stopped by the newest attraction in Pigeon Forge.
This was awesome!
You go up the mountain and then coast back down.

Daddy and T are READY!!

 L and Momma are ready to go. 

We loved this ride so much that L and T begged to go again and we did!

Ride with us!

After the Alpine Coaster we made our way home over the Smoky Mountains.
What a beautiful view we enjoyed.

As tradition has it we always take a picture at the state line sign.
It was C-O-L-D and Windy!

The Land of Diversity was the Land of Fog on this trip!

We continued on down the mountain and for lunch we chose the Cherokee Casino.
I can't wait to come back here alone with Matt.

We finally made it back home home from our Awesome Weekend Away.
 Apparently the cat's missed us and  took matters into their own hands.

At least they didn't get hungry. ;)