Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goodwill = Good Deal

Brad and I are both taking tomorrow off, we are going to spend the day together knocking out some home projects.  First on our list is a bookshelf for the home office.  We already have said bookshelf, it currently lives on the 3rd floor of our house and is home to about 300 books. It will be getting a makeover and moving to the home office, hopefully this weekend. We procured the supplies this afternoon and can't wait to get started.  On our way home from The Home Depot we stopped at The Goodwill so I could take a gander at their selection of lamps, and low and behold I hit the lamp jackpot. I got the tip from my trusty friend Molly that they had a few stellar lamps that just need a little TLC, so this is what I came home with:

This lamp will get a makeover and will take up residence in Olivia's room on her dresser, now I just need to figure out what color to paint it and what I want the shade to look like. There is a strong possibility that if I end up painting it a fun color, I will go with a simple white shade and possibly add some trim or something easy like that, we shall see. I can't wait to get started! Oh and in case you were wondering, it was 10 buck-a-roos.

I have also noticed that our doormats are looking a little worse for the wear, I am thinking they need a makeover as well. I might just tape a few lines on those bad boys and spray paint my little heart out, I can't wait to see what the finished product looks like.

While at the Home Depot we also priced out cabinets for the Laundry Room, now Brad just has to measure and see what configuration will work best, I have already grabbed a few paint swatches in the hopes of finding some inspiration for the room, but our laundry room is the size of a small closet, so not sure how much inspiration I can put into it, but I sure will try!

Wish us luck tomrorow. I will take photos to show you our progress...

"School of Readers"

Olivia's teacher asked each and every student in her class to read 10 books this summer (I feel like I had summer homework like this too, but when I was 12 or 14 years old, not 3 years old), color a worksheet full of 10 fish (one for each book), and then return the sheet when we are finished reading the 10 books.  It was pretty easy for us, because we read a book most nights before bed, but I wanted to share with ya'll the books that Olivia selected for her 10.
1) Pinkalicious by Victoria Kahn
2) Purplicious by Victoria Kahn
3) Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
4) All About Corduroy by Don Freeman
5) Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle
6) Olivia the Magnificent by Sheila Sweeny Higginson
7) I love you, Little One by Nanvy Tafuri
8) My Dad is Great by Gaby Goldsack
9) Of thee I sing by Barack Obama
10) Someday by Alison McGhee - my all time favorite 

I loved the idea, and Olivia is excited because since she completed the task, she gets a free book to add to her collection. We can't wait to see what it is!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Advice for my Beauties

Olivia - 10m Old
Be your best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you

Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense

Never let your prayin' knees get lazy

And love like crazy

 Avery - a few months old

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Funny & Smart

I am guessing that most Parents find their children amusing.  I happen to find myself laughing out loud at the girls more often than not. They are funny little people! I just love hanging around them, waiting to see what will come out next...

We were sitting on the couch, the girls were messing with my badge from work, and Olivia says "Do you work with Doctor's like Daddy does? Wait, where do you work?" So I said "Capital One" and she said "Is that next to Capital Two?". Funniest Girl I know. 

Tonight before bed we were ready Chicka Chicak Boom Boom and I asked Olivia what letter was yellow...her response "Double-Q"...instead of "W".

And I am also guessing that most Parents think their children are the smartest kids in the room, I won't go that far, to quote my own Mother "I am hard on them", but I am amazed almost every single day with how much Olivia picks up and how much she knows.

Tonight she didn't do an amazing job brushing her teeth, and when she was in bed she tried to use needing to brush her teeth again to stall, and so she says "but the sides of my teeth are still dirty, if I don't clean them I will get a cavity, you don't want me to get a cavity do you?". I mean, what do you say to that? I probably should have told her to get up and brush her dirty teeth, but instead I said "You'll just have to brush your little face off in the morning to make up for being a lazy brusher tonight" , maybe that is what my Mom means by me being hard on them - tough love!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Full Day....

I am going to shorten the commentary so that I can document an entire day...I have to say, that no two days are the same in our house, it is rare the same parent drops off the girls, that picks them up, we are always adjusting to changing schedules or meetings that run late. I generally find that when I am home alone my days resemble a comedic performance, but when we are two parent household it is far more normal.  Today we were a two parent household!

6:19am - I woke up with a dog paw in my face, looked at the clock and realized that I had yet to hear Avery...I did a silent/motionless fist pump and closed my eyes.

6:42am - I start to hear Avery yelling for me "Mommma" but it sounds muted....I realize that we didn't turn her monitor back up after yesterday morning. Nice work Parents of the Year.

6:43am - I gather Avery from her bed, we head downstairs to let Riley outside and feed him breakfast, she offers to help pour the food in his bowl, and then after feeding him makes her way to the pantry in the kitchen to pick out her morning snack.

6:47am - We head back upstairs after letting Riley outside quickly and I plop Avery down on the bed, Brad is still in dreamland...but not for long. I turn on Nick Jr and head into the bathroom to jump into the shower.

7:09am - I am out of the shower, Brad is making his way into the bathroom to put his contacts in and hop into the shower. Olivia is awake and on the bed watching TV with Avery.

7:15am - After putting lotion on I make my way into bedroom with a quick stop over in my closet to figure out what to put on my body.  I get the undergarments in place before Avery demands I get her a dress to put on, and Olivia requests a skirt and shirt.  (Please note, usually dressing the girls is a job for a small army, today it was easy-peasy).

7:17am - Avery and I make our way back into our Master Bedroom with her dress in hand, I help her get dressed, still only wearing undergarments.

7:21am - I am now dressed and have run into Olivia's room to grab her tank top and skirt, she is now working on getting dressed herself. (Love that she can dress herself)

7:30am - Brad makes his way from the bathroom to his closet and picks out his clothes, he is now on child watching duty, while I apply make up and blow dry the mop.

7:31am - 7:42am - I hear the girls having a conversation about who knows what, playing together, running back and forth between their rooms and Brad asking me what tie goes with his checked shirt...he ended up giving up on the tie. My face is now painted and my hair is now dry.

7:44am - After putting on jewelry we all make our way downstairs, grabbing the blankets and pillow cases for school, that I had layed out the night before, on the stairs. When I get downstairs I pack them in their school bag, gather up my purse, work bag and then I head into the kitchen.

7:48am - Brad is making his lunch in the kitchen, the girls are chasing each other around the living room, debating what to bring for a snack and I run to the garage to get two frozen pancakes out of the freezer, because when I tucked Olivia in last night she asked for pancakes for breakfast.

7:51am - I deliver the freshly microwaved pancakes and Nalgene cups of milk to the girls, remind them that they are still without shoes and start throwing some fruit and random things into a lunch tote for me, I am now back on the diet wagon and need to be prepared.

7:57am - Brad and I make a few trips to the car, making sure that all bags get in the right cars (we've screwed that up before...I can't get a lot of work done with pillows and blankets and they don't have a lot of use for my work laptop) Olivia finishes her pancake, asks for another, we say no, she whines and we remind her again to put some shoes on.

8:02am - Cars are packed, Olivia has shoes on, and Avery is now crawling all over the van, I bribe her to get into her seat and hand over her pancake so she can finish it up on the way to school.

8:04am - We realized that Riley is still outside, so Brad yells crate and follows Riley inside to lock him in.

8:06am - We all kiss goodbye, tell each other to have a great day and we pile into our respective cars.

8:10am  - Brad drops the girls at school (no idea how this went, can't shed any light here for you, sorry)

8:36am-9:24am - I arrive at the Doctor....see the Doctor.

9:30am - I am back in the car, on my way to the office, I arrive at the office at 9:45am (I am usually there between 8:30-8:45am)

9:45am-5:17pm - I am in meetings straight, I have a 30 minute break between 3-3:30pm, but I have 429 things on my to-do list, so I decide to start at the top of said list and manage to check 3 things off in 30 minutes, including some super fast WWW research on refinancing.

5:21pm - I make my way to my car and talk to my Mom the entire way home.

5:49pm - I arrive home to find Brad outside putting chicken on the grill, Olivia inside talking to Bina on the phone, Riley waiting for me at the door and Avery running full steam to the door the instant she hears me open it.

5:50pm - I have a quick conversation with Brad's Mom after Olivia turned over the phone, she just had surgery on her hand, so I wanted to see how she was feeling, the poor thing has had a tough go of it! And I learn that Avery had a great first day of school and that she went on the potty several times today, I twirl her around and hoot and holler with excitement.

6:00pm - I help get the rest of the dinner together, Chicken, Corn and Strawberries...yum! We all manage to sit down to a peaceful dinner, it is then that Reese (our neighbor) comes downstairs, he has been at our house all day putting Crown Molding up in Avery's room....I love handy neighbors!

6:25pm - After normal dinner conversation consisting of "how was your day", "what did you do today", we clean up our plates, get our shoes on and head outside for our daily ritual of playing with the neighbors.

6:30pm - 7:00pm - Kids ride bikes, smaller kids get pulled in wagons, Avery rides on her bike, Olivia decides she wants to come inside after Zack and Brayden ran over her foot with the Arctic Cat, all while Insley, Molly and I attempt to have some adult conversations. All the men are on their bikes, herding the children, and keeping watch for cars so that when cars do come, we can all yell "CAR" at the top of our lungs and watch our children scatter to the sides of the road.

7:05pm-7:30pm - We come inside and take baths, I do the bathing tonight, Brad collects Avery from the bath when she is finished, and gets her dressed, while I finish Olivia up and get her dressed.  Teeth and hair are brushed and the girls climb onto our bed with Brad and watch some Handy Manny on Disney Junior.

7:37pm - I finish Olivia's school assignment of documenting the 10 books she has read and surprise her with a new book about Summer Activities, because she has "Show & Tell" tomorrow at school and the weekly theme is Summer Days.  I told her to close her eyes and hold out her hands, she loves surprises and I love giving them to her!

7:40pm - We read the new book and snuggle for a few minutes (Olivia, Avery and I), and then we start the Kiss Goodnight Routine we have built!

7:45pm - The girls are in their rooms, Brad in bed with Olivia, me attempting to soothe Avery who now has changed her mind and wants Brad to put her to bed.  I plop Avery down and go tell Brad and he is being paged, I kiss Olivia goodnight and sprint to our room, change into "walking clothes and shoes" and make my way downstairs, with Riley hot on my heels.

7:50pm - Molly and I head out for a walk, our first attempt at an exercise routine, let's see if we can keep it up. It was nice to get out, walk and just chat, it also felt good giving Riley some exercise as well.

8:35pm - I come home, Brad is riding the trainer, I come into the home office to upload some photos, check in on the blog world and document my day.

I have to say, today is quite possibly one of the most normal days we have experienced since having children, so it strikes me as odd that I chose today to document, but why not? It will be nice to look back and realize that I did have at least ONE normal day. 

It is 10pm now, I am going to take a few photos of Olivia's Crib Bedding for a guy that is interested in my CraigsList Posting and send them to him. Brad is watching TV, I will likely join him for a few minutes and then head upstairs, brush my teeth and then hit the hay, I might even try and read a few pages in the Jennifer Weiner book I bought at the airport.

"See YaYa"

We started skyping with my Parents when they moved back to Northfield for the Spring, Summer and Fall and the girls just love to yell into the computer at my Parents. Avery just yells "GaGa" or "YaYa" the entire time, while my Mom attempts to hold a conversation with Olivia.  Usually the girls sit on my lap and the three of us chat with my Parents, but lately the girls have been asking to do it on their own, sometimes even without the other one, so I thought I would capture one in action...on Saturday afternoon Avery came into the home office and while pointing to the laptop said "See YaYa Please". The girls sure do love their YaYa.  Now we just have to show Bina and PawPaw how to skype and then the girls will be able to see all of their favorite people with the click of a mouse!

Moving on Up...

Just like the Jeffersons....Avery is moving on up....but not to the East Side, but rather to the next classroom. I asked Avery to pose for her "First Day in her New Classroom" photo this morning and she was more than happy to cooperate, you would think someone was paying her for her smiles this morning, she was working the camera..(I am still having issues with the images being super blurry, but in Picasa they are crystal clear, I just don't get it)

According to her new teacher Ms. M she had a great day, no tears, adjusted very well, fit in right from the start and wait for it....wait for it...went pee pee and poop poop in the potty...which is a huge accomplishment for Avery, she used to fight sitting on the potty in her previous classroom.  It is likely just the novelty of it, but we'll take it, maybe it will move us one step closer to potty training. I would love to drop the diapers by September, but I am not going to hold my breath...she'll get there one of these days.

Also, the last few weeks Avery's old teacher had expressed some concern about Avery not putting words together in a sentence (only after I asked about it, of course, but either way, she was expressing concern).  So last week she tells me that the reason Avery isn't speaking in sentences is because her tongue flips around in her mouth and she cant get the words out, she also encouraged me to call our Ped right away and see what they suggested we do about it.  So of course I called, but they recommended we just keep an eye on her, and if she isn't stringing more words together in a few months then it might be a good idea to get her evaluated by a Speech Therapist.  So fortunate for us, we have a friend who happens to work in the "Speech" area of expertise, so we are going to get together with her and see if she can take a quick listen to Avery.  Small victory though, this weekend instead of saying "Like it", she said "I like it"...may not sound like a momentous moment to you, but we did several chest bumps over here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

5:49am- 6:49am (Day in the Life)

Here goes nothing....the first hour of my day....

5:49am - Picture me, snuggled in my bed, cozy, all tucked under the covers, ceiling fan spinning, moving the air just right to make sleep feel a little like heaven...when all of a sudden I hear "'wake" was quiet at first, and then she started to get a little louder, and then the ABC's started, quietly, Sweet Lil Avery got through "C" several times before giving up and moving into what sounded like a two way conversation with "Piggie", it was almost like she was morphing her voice to emulate the way you would imagine "Piggie" to sound.

5:57am -I am still snuggled in bed, after a solid 8 minutes of dialogue between Avery and her bedmates (of the stuffed variety), Riley realizes that the little one isn't going to shut her precious little yapper anytime soon, so he gets up, while standing on the bed, one paw cutting off circulation to my left thigh, shakes his ears, which sounds alarmingly similar to what I envision a helicopter landing in your bedroom to sound like. Avery hears the commotion and abruptly yells "Momma, wake....GET ME.....MOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAA"

5:59am - Breaking my, "avoid going to get that little darling before 6am if you can help it" rule, I throw the warm and cuddly covers off of me, Riley dives off the bed and we hurry down the hall to get Avery before she wakes the dead and the neighbors, not to mention her sister who is in the room next door, sleeping with the door open.

6am - Avery greets me, standing at the end of her crib, arms full of "blankie", "piggie" and "monkey".  I snatch her up, and in a "you are so stinkin' lucky that you are cute, because I went to bed at 12:20am and wasn't planning on seeing 5 as the first digit on the clock" voice that it is still "night-night" time and we are going back to Mommy's bed to snuggle

*Normally this elicits a huge fit and an urgent demand for "SNACKS" (aka Welch's Fruit Snacks, the snack of choice at 5am)

6:01am - With no sign of a fit, I plop her down on the bed, Riley has since claimed his spot on the bed, far too close to Avery's newly assigned spot in her opinion and their battle begins. "Riley, move" which Riley does just that, he moves closer to her, her response "Riley....way" (go away). I have turned on the TV, Wow Wow Wubbzy is now blaring from the TV and Avery and Riley are going back and forth on personal space issues and I don't see a truce in the near future, so I suggest that I take Riley outside and feed him to which Avery springs to her feet, while standing on the bed and offers to "Help You"....she jumps into my arms and the three of us head for the stairs.

6:04am - I am now having a small panic attack that I am downstairs and have yet to brush my teeth, I usually brush my teeth before going to get Avery, I need to have clean teeth soon after my peepers open, and yet now I am downstairs without line of sight to clean teeth. Riley is fed, he is scarfing down his food and 6 pills, did I mention that he is highly medicated? I provide him with clean water, witness some slobbery type particles floating in his water, give a thought to cleaning out the bowl, out loud say "nah" and move right along.

6:09am  - I find Avery camped out in front of the pantry door, sorting through the snacks that take up the bottom of the pantry.  She is now on her feet making her way towards me, picture me lounging on the couch in PJ's with dirty teeth that are starting to making my skin crawl. "Momma....2 Snacks"...she then barks "Apple Juice Please....Red Please" which basically means Crystal Light, since we don't have Apple Juice and the only red juice in the fridge is likely Crystal Light.  "How about some Milk or Water?" seems like a reasonable counter to her request "No, Red Please, Help You" by her tone of voice I choose the path most often traveled when dealing with Avery and give right on in, 6:09am is not my finest hour and you bet your bottom dollar that it is not what I like to call my "stand your ground and start the day off horribly" hour either.

6:12am - Red Juice - Check, Welch's Fruit Snack - Check and FiberOne Bar - Check, Avery in my lap, watching Extreme Couponing on the couch while Riley trots around the house landing helicopters which each step.

6:15am - Riley decides with all this prancing around that going outside would be a good idea, so he makes his way to the French Doors in the morning room, I see him making his way in that direction, he proceeds to stick his head between the blinds and the door and whip his head back and then move it out of the way so that the blinds will smack against the door and make me aware of what I am clearly already aware of...that he would like to go outside and do his business. 

6:15am and 30 seconds: Riley goes flying off the top deck, and lands on the bottom deck, the fur on his back standing up, he is huffing and puffing, clearly there has been some unauthorized entry into his domain.  Avery who is now standing at the door watching this fool get all worked up, turns, looks up at me and says "Crazy, Riley" you got that right sweetheart.  He then clears the steps again and moves his 85lb body to the other side of the top deck to the stairs that face the road, he now starts barking his face off at someone and their dog who just happen to be jogging by in that very moment, to which Avery yells with force "Riley, Hush"

6:18am - Riley makes his way back into the house, all out of breath, and begins doing laps between the kitchen and the family room, not sure what to do with his nervous, protective energy.  Avery and I are now back on the couch, Extreme Couponing has been on pause and I am just itching to hit play and see if this chick can bring it home and save north of 90%...

6:27am - I start to hear footsteps upstairs, and then I hear those precious little footsteps on the stairs and then I hear Avery yell "Sister...stairs....LALA", Olivia makes her way to the couch and hunkers in for always inspiring 10 minutes of Fresh Beat Band, Olivia is on my lap and Avery is snuggled up next to me with her head on my arm, chomping on her FiberOne Bar...Fruit Snacks had already been devoured.

6:40am - Time to make our way upstairs so I can jump in the shower and get the girls ready to start their day.  Olivia makes her way peacefully up the stairs, Avery decides to get intimately acquainted with each and every step on our way upstairs. "Avery, come on darling, no playing on the stairs", her response "ME PLAY" and of course I response with the always powerful eye roll, and say "Avery, listen to my words, please hold onto the railing and walk up the stairs", to which she lays herself on the 3rd stairs and starts rolling around.  Olivia has now come down to the landing to see what the hold up is. Riley has one paw on the bottom step but isn't sure where to come from here because his path to the landing is being taken up by a 30lb 2 year old whose body is creating a major obstacle.

6:46am - Yes, 6 minutes later we are all upstairs, so if you are wondering what took 6 minutes, and how many stairs we have, we have 18 stairs, and just do yourself a favor and re-read the 6:40am paragraph/commentary several times and that will play out the last 6 minutes for you, paraphrased of course. Because I am sure I threw in a few "For-the-Love-of-Pete, get your keester up the stairs", instead of always using the terms of endearment such as "darling or sweetie" that want to roll so carefully off my tongue the minute I open my mouth for the 437th time to correct behavior or jump start behavior.

6:49am - I wrangle Avery into the bedroom, lock the door, help Olivia get settled on the bed, make sure that Fresh Beat Band is still on, watch Avery make her way into my closet, her first selection, nude heels, followed by my very favorite stripped Coach flats, the girl changes her shoes like its her job.  I am finally making my way into the bathroom to start the shower when I hear a rather large thud followed by the door rattling, I realize in that moment that Riley didn't make his way into the bedroom before I shut and locked the door (locking your children in your bedroom = okay). So I find him on the other side of the door, having just checked his entire body into it, he is now wagging his too-long, but still stub like tail, ducking his head, feeling a tad silly for throwing his 85lb frame into the bedroom door, he makes his way into the bedroom, makes his approach and launches himself onto the bed, plops himself down and immediately assumes the "nothing is going to phase me, if these kids touch me, I won't be feeling it because I am dead to the world" position. I am finally able to think about that shower, and turning the water on....and oh yeah, BRUSHING MY TEETH.  So while I stand there brushing my teeth, Avery yells "Teeth", runs for the door, unlocks it, makes her way down the hallway, grabs Olivia's electric toothbrush and returns with it in her mouth. Sure is a good thing I had that door locked in the first place...with that, I turn on the shower and imagine how peaceful Brad's morning has been, in a quiet hotel room in Tennessee...and it is then that I realize he is likely still sleeping.  I feel as though I have cured cancer, competed in a triathlon, made solid progress on revamping the national public assistance program, all while drafting a influential bill to bring our troops home, and that lucky duck of a husband of mine is still dreaming of mountain bikes and mellow mushroom pizza. Before stepping in the shower....I do manage to grab my toothbrush to rid my teeth of the sleep scum that has set up shop on my pearly whites. Phew...can't wait to see what the rest of the day holds for me!

Heels & a Tiffany's Bag...this was taken a few mornings ago, but this is typical, if I could photoshop a maxi-pad to Avery's chest, that would give you a glimpse into what this morning turned into.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Projects

I am taking the lead from my home-slice Molly who is also declaring her home project list for this summer. I have several projects on my list and many require some serious involvement and heavy lifting from Mr. Brad Turner, which, despite adoring him and his meticulous attention to detail, also means that we won't be knocking this out in a week or two, they will be stretched out over the course of the summer, and likely will slip into the Fall months.

1) Cover Drum Shade with Fabric for Light that will hang above the home office desk
 -Drum Shade has been purchased, I need to find the right fabric, cover it and buy the light kit from Home Depot, then I will turn the project over to Brad

2) Hang Mirror in Home Office (Brad)

3) Hang "T" Wall in Home Office (Brad & Leigh)

4) Paint Cork Board Frame and Cover Board with Fabric - Hang in Home Office (Leigh & Brad)
- I need to find Fabric that will coordinate with the Drum Shade Fabric, I am hoping to make a trip to UFab this weekend.

5) Move Bookshelf from 3rd Floor to Home Office - needs to be painted (Leigh & Brad)

6) Paint new Dining Room Mirror (Leigh or Brad)

7) Make Ribbon Holdbacks for Olivia's new Window Treatments (Leigh)

8) Hang Wall Art in Dining Room (Brad)

9) Finish Crown Molding in Master Bedroom and Avery's Bedroom (Outsource)

10) Paint Crown Molding in 3 Bedrooms (Outsource)

11) Organize Morning Room Toy Area/Furniture (Leigh)

12) Hang Wall Art in Morning Room (Brad)

13) Buy Drum Shade for Olivia's Room and finish with colorful ribbons (Leigh)
-Ribbon on hand, need to procure another Drum Shade

14) Paint Lamp Base - Home Office (Leigh)

That is what I have so far, and I already have several ideas for my Fall List as well, I am hoping to knock several of these off the list, but if some of them carry into my Fall list I wouldn't be surprised. HA! I will keep ya'll posted on our progress!

My Home Sweet Home

I didn't bring my camera to Park City with me so I had to use my Dad's Camera, and when I was downloading the photos from the last post to my computer I came across some photos my Dad had taken of their house in Northfield, which is also the house I grew up in, so I thought I would share some of the photos with ya'll so you could see where I grew up.  However, with that said, my Mom didn't create the huge "botanical" garden as I like to refer to it as until 2002, so what you see isn't actually what it looked like growing up, but rather how it looks now.

And the next photo is quite possibly my favorite, you see all the beautiful flowers, can clearly tell that my Parents put some effort into the curb appeal of our house, and yet this is the scene in the backyard, at least I am assuming this is the backyard, I haven't actually witnessed this scene in person.

I am assuming is my Dad's Beaver Post, notice the milk crate standing in for an ottoman, just in case the mood strikes him and he needs to sit back and kick up his feet while he is stalking the Beaver, planning his Beaver Hunting Strategy.  This photo just cracks me up, it is a great reminder of where I come from, a small rural town, home to just 4,000 people.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Canyons

I flew from Dallas to Salt Lake City, Utah Friday mid-day to celebrate the wedding of Tyler and Angela (Tyler and I are second cousins, our parents are cousins). We have this rule in our family, someone from every family usually attends the big events, whether it be funerals or weddings, but Tyler and I are only children, so we tend to always be there even if our Parents have it covered.  He and Angela celebrated with Brad and I at our wedding, so I was thrilled to be able to celebrate with them, at a beautiful venue in Park City, Utah.

If Park City sounds familiar to you that's because several of the Winter Olympic Events were here in 2002, we took a drive up to Utah Olympic Park this afternoon and it just amazes me how much money goes into hosting the Olympics, good gracious.

 Tyler's "Best Man", Heather is on the Women's Olympic Downhill Team and won a medal last year, she trains here so it was cool to see where she does her thing on the slopes. Speaking of slopes, there is still Snow on the mountains here, we were at 9,000 Feet today and there was snow all over the place. I did happen to crush her tonight in bowling though, her defense was "I didn't go to the Olympics for Bowling". HA.

We all stayed at The Canyons, which is a huge ski resort in Park City, perfect for hosting a wedding weekend.  The rehearsal dinner last night was at an Echo Center, the Ceremony was at the top of the Mountain, we had to take the Gondolas up to the site and the Brunch Reception was at Red Pine Lodge, also at the top of the Mountain.  We celebrated tonight at Jupiter Bowl, by far the classiest bowling alley I have ever stepped foot in.  I bowled a 121, had one PBR and called it a night.  My Parents and I have an early flight tomorrow, and it goes without saying, I am beyond excited to see Brad and the girls, I have missed them something fierce.

I haven't been away from them for this long since December and while it was nice to have a huge, comfy hotel bed to myself for a few nights, by Friday I was wishing I was headed East to Richmond, rather than Northwest to Salt Lake City.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Love this look....

I love the look of blue & yellow together, whether it be a light blue or a navy, I just love it.  I am just not certain our house can pull it off...and as often as my husband reminds me how very much he loathes painting, I can't imagine I could pull off a dresser like this.  I also have a problem with furniture and it needing to be matchy-matchy, I don't know why, I just have issues if it doesn't match, I need to get over that, I love the look of mis-matched, colorful pieces like this one!

Going through the BIG D...

And I do mean Dallas.  I am traveling for work this week while Brad and his Parents hold down the fort. The girls are thrilled that Mommy going away means more time with Bina and PawPaw, we are just hoping that the girls are gentle with their Bina, as she decided it would be a good idea to topple down the back deck stairs last week and ended up breaking her hand/wrist, so she is sporting a hot pink cast, the poor thing.

I am in Plano actually, not smack dab in the middle of Dallas, but so far so good, I am actually really impressed with the area, it is very new-modern, the shopping areas are full of great stores and restaurants and our campus is beautiful, talk about a great place to work.

And take a look at the super modern Nylo Hotel just down the street, within walking distance of our campus, very trendy and loft like, very nice, and I love that the TV comes off the wall and moves around depending on how you are laying in the bed. And the shower has a rain shower head, I can't wait to jump in tomorrow morning.

After work I ran across the street to an amazing nail place, the salon must have had 60 pedicure chairs, it was quite impressive, and I got a Hot Wax Pedicure, never before have I experienced such luxury on my feet, it was a little slice of heaven.  I am rocking some hot pink toes, perfect for Tyler and Angela's wedding this weekend in Park City, Utah.

I grabbed take out at Pei Wei after the Pedicure and brought it back to the room for a relaxing-delicious meal.  If you have a Pei Wei near by and if you haven't checked it out yet (assuming you like Chinese Food), you should put yourself in timeout until you can think about what you have done, you have deprived your body of some yummy-goodness, and when you are done in timeout and have righted the wrongs, take yourself to Pei Wei right this second. It was fantastic. Just like a faster and cheaper, more casual version of PF Changs. The Sweet Chili Sauce is to die for, I could drink it!

The girls were adorable on the phone tonight, I love being able to hold conversations with Olivia, she sounds so grown up on the phone. Tonight she was getting frustrated with the static coming from my phone, and she kept saying "Why are you talking like a crazy person?". And then she says "Daddy is in a bad mood", I told her a hug and a kiss would help with that, and I heard her pucker up and lay one on him.  Avery just yelled "Hi Momma" in the background several hundred times, cute monkey!

Update on the Race Results....Brad and Justin did in fact get 2nd Place, so very proud of them!! Poor Brad is still in a lot of pain from all the cramping and has plans to use his Father's Day massage sometime this week in the hopes it relives some of the pain.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

XTerra 2011

(Brad & the Girls POST race)

Brad and Justin competed in the XTerra Tri this morning, Justin swam for about 24 minutes, Brad rode for about 2 hours and then Justin ran for another 50 minutes or so. We still don't have the results, for a while after the race they thought they might be on the podium, but the times were all screwy, so they haven't released the results just yet.

Feeding the Geese

Insley, the kids and I left the house around 8:15am and landed on Brown's Island (downtown) around 8:50am, since they tag teamed the race we were able to spend some time with Justin after his swim and then some time with Brad while Justin was running. I always get nervous at these races, I check the Emergency Tent when I arrive just to make sure Brad isn't in there, and when he hasn't lapped within the expected time I just wait for an announcement that a racer is down, but other than some cramping and some scratches when he decided to hug a tree going 20mph he was a-okay. 

Kids playing "Ring around the Pole"

I get all choked up at the races too, and I can't quite put it into words, its just a rush of emotions, pride, admiration (but don't get me wrong, I have no desire to put my body through that). 

Gas Mask Man

Today, there was a guy competing that did the entire race wearing a Gas Mask to honor all the soldiers who are fighting and who have fought for our country, quite impressive eh? He is the first person EVER to do this (duh!).

Avery hanging out in a tractor

It was hot, but not nearly as hot as it has been around here. The shade was actually nice! BUT 4 young kiddos, outside in 90 degree weather is exhausting, they were all in rough shape on the walk back up the hill to the car.

Girls just hanging out

Justin post Swim, pre Run

Brad greeting the girls in the Transition Area

Justin coming down the home stretch

Brad greeting Justin after he crossed the finish line

Trying to coordinate a group picture was nearly impossible, this was the best I could do, and I let my camera go nuts, I must have shot close to 30 frames and I still didn't get a single photo of them all looking at the camera, and not to mention we are still missing Juliette.  We are glad that we were able to support Brad and Justin and look forward to the Fall races when the temps are more favorable :)

Sesame Street Live...

We took the girls to see Sesame Street Live: Imagine 1-2-3 on Saturday Morning at 10:30am. The girls were great, they sat well, joined in the fun by clapping and engaging with the characters (after the first scare, of course) We had great seats, on the end of an aisle, right in the middle and just about 5 or 6 rows back.  And the Carpenter Theater is a beautiful venue with plenty of leg room, it was a comfy experience for the parents as well.

It was only about 1 hour and 15 minutes in length, and my first reaction was, "Wow, not a great value", but then within seconds I realized that it was the perfect length for their target audience. I saw some parents getting up with their little ones several times so I was thankful our girls were still and well behaved for the two acts. I love doing stuff like this with them. I remember my Parents taking me to Disney on Ice and stuff like that, so many similar memories with my little ones is super important to me.  We already have tickets for Yo Gabba Gabba in October, our goal is to introduce Olivia (and Avery) to as many characters as we can to warm them up for Disney in December, so they don't freak out on the Mouse, the Duck or the Dog.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Step One

We can have lots of fun....(name that tune)....NKOTB - picture me belting it out with my gal pals in 6th grade, at Nature's Classroom on Cape Cod, what a memory!

In all seriousness, I have taken the first step...I have enrolled in a photography class. It doesn't start until August 9th, but I am beyond excited to learn, learn and learn some more.  I can't wait to unleash the power of my camera and capture my beauties.  My camera is just screaming for me to stop shooting in "Auto" and to turn the dial to "Manual", and after this class I just know it will happen and that it will yield a beautiful photo, instead of the blurry mess that I usually get when I attempt it on my own without the proper education and training.

Bonus: my gal pal Rachel is going to be taking it with me. I can't wait.  She also has two little ones, but hers happen to be of the male gender, and they are equally little and even closer together than my little gems are, so she too wants to capture their youth before they drive her to drink herself into a stupor.

We have had some warm days here in good ol' Richmond, Virginia. The girls have spent most nights on the Koehler's slide & slide and I have had a few two-shower days, just so that I could stand the thought of getting into my bed. 

We have a busy weekend planned, and are thankful that we have a good mix of inside and outside events planned.  Breakfast @ The Black Sheep to celebrate Father's Day, it is our tradition, and I will be out of town next weekend for a family wedding, so we are celebrating Father's Day this weekend.  Elmo Live @ the Coliseum and then a 2nd Birthday Party for our favorite blue eyed little man, Colt. Sunday will have us outside in the morning cheering Brad and Justin on as they compete in the Xterra Challenge (Bike, Run & Swim), but thankfully it will be early, and hopefully before the heat of the day is upon us.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FedEx Field or Bust

Brad & Brian in the Honeywagon

We had a blast on our Adults Only Road Trip this past weekend.  Brian, Molly, Brad and I piled into the Honeywagon (hopefully its last hur-rah before the Highlander joins the family) Saturday late morning and arrived in Tyson's Corner mid-day, just in time to enjoy a delicious lunch at Coastal Flats, if you live in the Northern Virginia area and haven't tried it, you are missing out on a fantastic addition to the Great American Family of restaurants. Hold onto your seats, listen to what I dined on: Blue Crab & Rock Shrimp Fritters, Crab Imperial Dip, Chop House Salad, Grouper Fingers and who could forget the delicious breads from Best Buns Bakery! I could barely move after that meal, I didn't eat again until midnight.

We checked into our hotel in Crystal City, changed and hiked to the Metro, took the Metro from Crystal City to Morgan Blvd (FedEx Field, home of the Redskins) just in time to see Uncle Kracker belt out a few tunes.  Billy Currington followed him and was A-dorable with a capital A.  I had no idea how many Billy Currington songs I knew and loved, it was a nice surprise and did I mention that he is a fox? Zac Brown Band was a hit with the crowd and frankly the reason we made the trip, they jammed out a bit too much for me, but made up for it with their last two songs: America the Beautiful and Chicken Fried, the entire stadium was on their feet, it was quite a sight.  And of course the main attraction was Kenny Chesney, who never disappoints, he is a fabulous entertainer.  I have seen him in concert a few times before and I have always walked away liking him more than I did the hour before seeing him live.

Brad, Allison, Austin & I at their new house

It was great to spend some time with Brian and Molly sans children, we see them all the time, but always with our little ones, so this was a nice change.  Sunday involved us having brunch with respective friends (Us with Allison & Austin, and Molly and Brian with her cousin) and then meeting back up for the trek back to Richmond, which was a long one, we didn't even get to stop at Ikea like we had hoped, traffic ruined that for us.

The happy couple in front of their new home

Arriving home to two smiling children and a very excited dog is always a great feeling, we missed them and were happy to be home where we belong, with our two little bundles.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Colder Weather...

And by Colder Weather I am talking about the chilly temps outside and also one of my favorite Zac Brown Band songs, who we are on our way to DC to see this afternoon with Brian & Molly. The littles are staying home with Brad's Parents...they are heaven sent...both Brad's Parents and our girls, of course. We are looking forward to some adult time, some uninterrupted conversations and some great music with great friends! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Time to Learn

My little kumquat is the apple of my eye, the wind beneath my wings and one of my very favorite specimens to photograph on the planet we call Earth, and despite thinking she is beautiful inside and out, I want to spend some time this summer really learning how to capture her beauty, learning how to use my camera and make it do all the fancy things I want it to do so I can take photographs that I would frame and hang on the wall. I am going to dedicate some time to photography over the next month or so and then go from there, I have researched photography classes here and Richmond and frankly Google has let me down, I haven't found anything, I must be doing something wrong, I can't imagine an artsie city like Richmond is short on photography lessons.

I have dedicated some time to couponing over the last month or so, and its been worth it.  Tonight I took my couponing self to Kroger to pick up a few things for the weekend and had I not procured champagne and ice cream I would have saved close to 60%! I got 1 Suave Deodorant for $.06 and 3 Suave Body Washes for $.67 each, not too shabby eh?