Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Identity Crisis

Please excuse the mild case of schizophrenia I seem to be having with my blog background lately. There are just too many options, and right now looking at my blog makes my head hurt a little bit. Is there anyone available to make meaningless decisions for me while I spend the next 7 hours cleaning my kitchen, where apparently a bomb went off while I was running errands lately? I would appreciate it.

Now excuse me while I take 8 facebook quizzes related to "What color my aura is". I think this might help me with my background-related crisis.

Monday, September 28, 2009

These Days...

These days...

...are spent wondering when fall weather will be here already!

...we're planning the kids' Star Wars-themed Halloween costumes. And when I say "planning", I mean browsing Amazon for appropriately sized Princess Leia costumes complete with side buns for Harper girl.

...I'm sorting through a garage full of hand-me-d0wn clothes for Harper, trying to decide if 12 month clothes will be big enough to make it through the cooler weather. Girlfriend is a bit robust. And I think she'll be in 18 month clothes by January.

...I'm still cleaning the kitchen from a youth leader party we had here 2 days ago. I hate cleaning out crock pots with every fiber of my being, and am seriously considering throwing out this crock pot instead of cleaning it, since the inside pot does not separate from the plug-in part.

...I want a good soup recipe that I can't screw up. Things that are mostly beans I screw up because I overcook the beans and have "bean mush" instead of soup. Recipe, please. Please share. :)

...I'm dreading next month, when I am working 11 12-hour shifts at a hospital over an hour away. I usually work, like, 5 12 hour shifts a month. I love you, family of mine. See you in November.

...I'm planning imaginary vacations that I can't afford to take in my head, because have I mentioned? New York was so. much. fun.

...looking forward to going to the State Fair of Texas next week. Is Harper too young for her first Pineapple Whip?

...and hoping the pumpkin patch won't be too crowded when we're up in my parents' neck of the woods soon.

What are you up to these days?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Third Child

The third child never has quite as many pictures taken then the first two.
She doesn't have a camera in her face every day of her precious life like her brothers before her.

So when we pull her into the backyard and sit her in the grass in hopes of some pretty smiles, she's not too sure what to think.

She's pretty sure she's in no mood to smile.
And she's really not sure what to think about the feel of grass.

Maybe we'll have better luck next time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


We're back!

Brandon and I ditched the kids (I mean, left them in the loving care of their Grand Doug, and in Harper's case, Ms. Ellen) this week and headed to NYC with our friends Brent and Karen. I. love. New York. It is one of my favorite cities to visit. I think I could go on a dozen NYC vacations and do completely different activities and eat great meals at all different restaurants each time. We had four days, and we made the most of them.

We got in Monday afternoon, and got checked into the Barclay Intercontinental. We got a great deal on the rooms, and were very impressed with the hotel and it's $8 mini-bar Snickers. (We didn't eat one). No free Wi-Fi in the rooms was kind of a bummer, but I miraculously survived 4 days only minimally "plugged in". After dropping our luggage, we headed out to wander midtown Manhattan for a few hours. We dropped by St. Patrick's Cathedral, and took bad pictures of stained glass.
We headed over to Rockefeller Center and stopped for some snacks at Dean & Deluca, and pretty much marveled over the perfect weather (mid 70s and sunny). We kept on walking to Times Square, where we had our first of several celebrity encounters of the week.

I've heard of the Naked Cowboy in Times Square, but this is the lesser known Naked Cowgirl.

You're welcome for not posting the picture of her with Brent and Brandon.

We walked a bit further, by Bryant Park, the library, and checked out Grand Central Station. We headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up for dinner, determined to find a nice little restaurant with outside tables so we could absorb as much of the perfect weather as possible before having to return to the cesspool of humidity that is the Houston area.

We had stopped to read the menu posted outside a little Italian restaurant, when we hear a slightly familiar New York-accented voice behind us say, "This is a good restaurant. I've never eaten here before, but I've heard it's really good." We turn around to find none other than the Honorable Judge Judy. I almost didn't recognize her without the robe and ticked off look on her face, but it was definitely her. Feeling like we had little choice in the matter, we did indeed select that little Italian place for dinner. And she was right, it was good.

Tuesday morning, we set off bright and early to enjoy a rush-hour packed subway on our way to Statue of Liberty.

Have I mentioned that the weather was perfect?

Brandon couldn't resist picking Lady Liberty's nose while we were in the pedestal.
And then he made me pose by the giant foot so he would feel less like a dork for picking her nose.
We climbed 156 steps up the pedestal at the Statue to take this picture:
And this one, the only (decent) picture of all four of us:
We were STARVING after our Statue of Liberty jaunt (we also went to Ellis Island, but that was a little disappointing considering none of us knew of any relatives who had come through there), and we headed to Little Italy to Lombardi's Pizza.

It might be the best pizza I have ever had. I want to go back tomorrow, and it may be worth moving to NYC someday just so I can eat there.

Coincidently, the Feast of San Gennaro was going on in Little Italy while we were visiting. San Gennaro is apparently the patron saint of cannolis and unlimited Daquiri refills with purchase of a big pink souvenir cup.
Walking around the streets of Little Italy and enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival was one of the unexpected highlights of our trip, and we returned the following day for some more cannolis and pasta, as well as people watching and witnessing our first probable Mafia sighting.

Wednesday night we enjoyed great seats at West Side Story on Broadway, and wondered why the Jets and Sharks didn't get beat up by the more macho street gangs for dancing and singing all the time.

After the show, we went to Serendipity for some desserts. Brandon was feeling especially hungry, so he ordered a plate of nachos for us to share, then ordered a half of a fried chicken for dinner, and then ate the biggest dessert I have ever seen in my life. Some kind of ice cream sundae, with a piece of pecan pie, ice cream, lots of nuts, and whipped cream. The dessert was so big that it took Karen (who ordered the same thing, minus the giant fried chicken) about 15 minutes of eating before she even found the piece of pecan pie in the dessert.

(Please excuse the bad picture. I think the flash was turned off for some reason).
After rolling Brandon back to the hotel, we finally headed to bed after a very busy, fun day.

Wednesday morning arrived and Karen and I were ready to hit up Chinatown for some long-awaited knock off shopping while our sweet husbands wandered around solo looking at the Chinatown sights. We stepped onto the street from the subway and were immediately assaulted by the "You-Want-Gucci-I-Got-Prada" lady. Karen and I followed her into her shop where she opened the back wall to reveal a tiny hidden room no bigger than the backseat of our Camry, covered floor to ceiling with counterfeit goods. A true Chinatown experience not to be missed. After we had bought a few purses and souveniers in Chinatown, the four of us headed a couple of blocks away back to Little Italy and the festival for a little lunch and people watching.

Wednesday night we had early dinner reservations at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, where I decided two things: 1. Of course Bobby Flay was really cooking our food. No way he could have had better things to do (like various Food Network shows or running one of his other restaurants) than to cook our food that night. He was just too busy to come out and say hello. 2. I had the best corn (yes, CORN) that I have ever had in my life. Like "highlight of the meal" corn. And it was a really good meal.

After dinner, we headed up to see the lovely Gina Gershon and John Stamos in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway. Great show. If you have a chance to see this, please go. And sing along to the songs like Brandon did. It will really enhance you theater experience.
Speaking of enhancing your theater experience, we met up with this guy after the show and let him take a picture with me and Karen:
I'm pretty sure it was the highlight of his evening.

Thursday morning we had a few hours to kill before sitting on the tarmac at La Guardia, so we headed out to brave a small piece of Central Park in the rain. It was lovely. Even in the rain, Central Park was beautiful. We thought about jogging, so we could say "I went jogging in Central Park", but we didn't want to actually have to jog, so we didn't.

I have no idea what Brent and Brandon are pointing to in this picture.
Did I mention we sat on the tarmac at LaGuardia? For an HOUR. Before our 3 HOUR flight back. I finished an entire book on the airplane. All in all it was a wonderful, fun, busy, tiring trip, and I wish we could go every month. I loved going with our friends, which was a first for us. So if any of you out there want us to go somewhere fun with you, chances are pretty good that you could talk us into it.

1000 Schrute bucks to you for making it to the end of the longest post ever.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Next Week Will be Better

It's been an interesting week here at our house. The first few days were spent cleaning up after the big party and getting the house put back together. The last couple of days were spent abandoning the housekeeping all together and wondering when the laundry fairy was going to come and put away all these clean clothes. (Mom, are you reading this?)

Aidan got in trouble at school Tuesday for spitting on another kid. After some discipline and a long discussion about how we NEVER SPIT ON PEOPLE, he returned to school Thursday to have, according to his teachers, his "worst day ever" at school. Keep in mind when he was two, he actually pushed a 4-year old down, kicked him in the face, and gave him a bloody lip at school. "Worst day ever" was yesterday. After peeing outside by the playground, being disruptive during story time and rest time, and not minding in general, Aidan came home and proclaimed proudly, "But I didn't spit on anybody!" This child brings me closer to Jesus everyday.

Brandon and I are leaving for New York City in just a few days. I could not be more excited. And, I bought a "light sweater" to bring with us, because the low is expected to be in the 50s while we're there!! I could still use a couple more restaurant suggestions, so please let me know if there's something we just can't miss while we're there.

A mere 18 hours after we return home from our trip, our social worker who is working with us on our adoption is coming to our house for the Home Visit. Yeah, the very next day after we get back. She also mentioned something about a "walk-through" of the house during the home visit. Does anything sound scarier than that? There's no way the house is going to be clean. My boys will have free reign for four entire days with only their Gran-Doug standing between them and mass destruction. I'm thinking I'll just leave our suitcases, laundry, trip souvenirs, and perhaps the entire contents of the playroom in our van until after the visit is over. A part of me is almost glad it is scheduled for right after our trip, so I won't have an entire empty week to obsess and worry about it.

Please pray that we won't screw the home study up, and that I can convince this sweet social worker that despite all appearances to the contrary, I absolutely DO have my act together and am totally prepared to welcome another child into the fold. And of course the swing set in the backyard is perfectly safe, and NO, of course the locked gun case is not brand new, purchased immediately before the home study. And our children NEVER play mindless video games. We are too busy reading through our "Phonics and the Bible" book and singing praise songs while organizing fund raisers to benefit starving children in Africa.

Yeah, this will be interesting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Aidan's Party

Giant water slide? Check.

Weird birthday cake with a gerbil on it? Check. (Nothing says "Happy Birthday" like a giant plastic gerbil based on a computer-animated gerbil movie that Aidan has never seen, yet nonetheless he selected the G-Force cake from WalMart anyway. Yes sir--we are FANCY about our birthday cakes around here).

Four-year old blowing out candles before "Happy Birthday" was sung? Check.

Room full of wet children watching A VERY EXCITED Aidan open presents? Check.

Lazy-mama thank you note included in party-favor bag featuring Aidan on the first day of school in all his red hat/green soccer socks/Star Wars shirt/holey jean shorts/cereal bar eating glory? Check.
Sidenote: I went to a birthday party for some brothers a couple of weeks ago and they had the thank you note/pictures in the goody bags and I thought it was a great idea. It featured a cute picture of the 3 brothers in coordinating polo shirts, smiling at the camera, not a hair out of place. Our version turned out slightly different.

Finally being finished celebrating Aidan's 4th birthday? CHECK!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Blog Carnival

I have a confession to make.

I spend too much time on my computer. In fact, I'm a wee bit of a blogaholic. Yes, I have admitted it. And isn't recognizing that you have a problem the first step?

I read a lot of blogs, y'all. I'm going to need a 12 step program when it's all said and done.

Read a lot, but never before have I participated in a "blog carnival", per se. I have just never felt adequate motivation to link up a post filled with my most "Oh, no she didn't" mom moments, or my best tips on how to get spaghetti sauce stains out of clothes. Because we all know that I have plenty of very worthy events to blog about, such as Jedi flips and parent-teacher conferences gone awry.

But now.

Now I have found a blog carnival that is right up my alley. Behold, BooMama's DipTacular.

A favorite dip recipe? Ask and it shall be granted.

The cast of players: 1 brick of cream cheese (this is not a "low fat" dip), 1 jar of store-bought salsa, 1 blender.

Don't be overwhelmed. I know this sounds complicated so far, so I will break it down into easy steps.

Step 1: Put cream cheese and 1/2-1 jar of salsa into blender.

Step 2: Turn blender on until dip is blended.

Step 3: Turn blender off. It is very important to do this step.

Step 4: Dip chip into blender and eat. Add more salsa if you want it "salsa-ier"

Step 5: Serve pink dip with chips*, crackers, pretzels, and tacos. Do not lick it out of the bowl in front of company. When complimented on said dip, explain that it is an old family recipe passed down from several generations, and you couldn't possibly share it with anyone. Make sure cream cheese wrapper and salsa jar are in trash can.


* This recipe can be made heart-healthy by substituting baked chips for regular chips. Whatever makes you feel better about eating a brick of cream cheese for an appetizer.