Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Last Day Luau

It's officially SUMMER at our house.  The kids are out of school until August.  I slept until 9:00 yesterday morning and we had our inaugural trip to Jerry's sno cones.  Yup, summer time!
 
Last Thursday, this sassy little lady graduated kindergarten.
 



She learned so much and grew so much this year and I'm just SO proud of her.  Her school put on the cutest graduation ceremony.  Several kids had speaking parts, they all sang a few songs for us, and then were presented their diplomas.  The PTA served cookies, cake, and punch in the cafeteria afterward.  It was a really sweet way to end kindergarten.

Since the big kids were having their "last day luau" on Friday - and there was NO WAY I was inviting a bunch of kindergarteners over for that, I let K2 have a couple friends over Thursday afternoon.  We ate pizza and swam, Cady brought over Sonic slushes for everyone.  It was a fun afternoon.



Friday morning started with a lot of THIS:
 
 
WOO HOO!  LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!
 
The kids all had last day parties which was more of a school-wide . . . almost, festival.  All grades were outside, music was playing, and while all the classes did different activities, it just really had a fun and festival-y vibe to it.


We got home with plans to start setting up for our luau but first the boys had a bit of excitement . . .



Their first time ever for a motorcycle ride!  They loved it. 

That afternoon we had our LAST DAY LUAU.  This all started when it was too cold to swim at K1's birthday party.  I promised the boys they could come back over to swim and thought, what the heck, I can't invite his friends without letting the other kids invite people . . . let's make it a party.  And since I love a good theme, we went with a luau.  Each of the older kids were allowed to invite five people each.  We ended up with 17 kids!





The boys WAY outnumbered the girls at this party (and two girls there were guests of J -- his "girlfriend" and his best friend's "girlfriend") so the poor Girlchild and her friend . . . it was hard to relax and enjoy with all those boys around cannonballing and splashing and, well, you get the picture.  Finally, though . . .
 

The Wild Ones organized a kickball game and the girly girls got the pool to themselves!
 
 
Later in the afternoon, Kendra showed up so K2 had a friend of her own to play with!
 

We told our friends that the luau ended at 6:00 and we'd probably be grilling after that.  Sure enough, right around 6:30 people started showing up.  Ha!  Anthony, Robbie, and Russell all showed up and we spent the evening on the back porch talking and laughing.
 
Saturday and Sunday were low-key days (for most of us -- more on that in a minute.)  We had talked about taking a mini trip to Nashville or St. Louis.  Mark even found us a good hotel deal in STL.  But, in the end, we decided to just stick around.  We were all exhausted and, honestly, needed the time to just chill.
 
Saturday was the one year anniversary of moving in to our house.  We've made so many memories here and I can't wait to make so many more.  And, yes, the pool is still the highlight of the house!
 

Kyan was our little social butterfly this weekend.  He went to a birthday party Saturday afternoon.  Then Sunday his friend's mom texted and asked if he could come over to swim and play.  He ended up spending the night.  He has his own little "squad" and these boys were together Friday - Monday and managed to do it without fighting at all. 
 
Memorial Day.  Jason and Kendra came over.  Jason smoked a brisket flat on the grill while Mark grilled bacon-wrapped chicken kabobs.  It was SO good.
 

We spent the day just grilling and chilling.  You know, kinda how we'll spend EVERY weekend this summer!

We ended the night with root beer floats.  Traditional for the kiddos and "adult" with Best Damn Root Beer for the grown ups.


And now . . . we're ready for lazy days and all the FUN that comes along with summer.  Bring it!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

BOOKS!

I was out of school three weeks before the kids got out.  I had visions of house cleaning, catching up on TV, and reading by the pool.  Ha!  Instead, I was constantly at the school.  Or at a baseball game.  Or at the store getting something to take to the school or a baseball game. Parents of elementary schoolers, ya get me.  I know you do.  I still somehow managed to get three books read during this time.  Today I'm going to review those and, hopefully, sometime this week -or next! -  I'll put up my complete summer reading list.  My kids are supposed to read 25 (!!!) books this summer to win at Reading Bingo.  I wonder if I can compete with them?

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

As someone who really enjoyed both Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, I was REALLY looking forward to this one.  It's the story of Lo Blacklock, a British journalist for a travel magazine who is given the opportunity to cruise aboard a luxury liner to the Norwegian Fjords.  The ship is small with a limited number of cabins.  On her first night there, hoping to bum mascara, Lo has an encounter the woman in cabin 10, the cabin next to hers.  Later that night, she horrifyingly witnesses a body being thrown overboard from the balcony of cabin 10.  Security is unconcerned.  All the passengers are accounted for.  And Lo is being treated as though she is crazy or a drunk.  She can't let what happened go and as she pursues an investigation of her own, things get very dangerous.

So, I enjoyed this book in the sense that I really wanted to know what the heck was going on.  It definitely holds your attention in that regard.  But.  I don't know. I felt the plot was really reaching and almost like it was way too obvious Ruth Ware was trying to go for the next The Girl on the Train?  I definitely did not see the "twist" coming so that's a huge plus for the book.  However the fact that I didn't see the twist coming . . .  almost makes Lo's character seem . . . dumb? . . . for not having figured it out.  It also was definitely not realistic.  And that's coming from someone who watches A LOT of the Investigation Discovery channel.

I also didn't really care for the character of Lo.  She came across as rude for most of the book and I really couldn't connect with her to even care about her safety. 

I don't know.  I didn't hate this book.  It held my attention.  But it was basically a knock off of The Girl on the Train and Paula Hawkins kinda kicks Ruth Ware's ass.  (Sorry, Ruth)

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

So apparently I'm a sucker for dark thrillers?  I needed an iPad book for the gym (ha!) and this one seemed promising.

Still Missing is the story of Annie O'Sullivan, a Canadian realtor who is abducted during an Open House for one of her properties.  She's held captive by a psychopath for one year and her story is told in first person narrative via sessions with her psychiatrist. 

I . . . I don't think "enjoyed" is the right word for such heavy reading material.  But I found the book interesting and engaging and I couldn't get through it fast enough to put all the pieces together.  It was seriously heartbreaking at parts and some things were very difficult to read (rape is a constant theme running though the book.)  I did like the way it was told, after the abduction happened and Annie was processing all her real and raw emotions with her therapist.

The main thing I really didn't like is hard to discuss without getting spoiler-ish.  But there's a tryst she has with a man in the book that I felt was unnecessary and left me shaking my head.  "Why'd you put THAT scene in the book?" 

The ending was predictable but also the kind that you don't want to predict because it was so evil.  You know?  Maybe that's a sign of a good author. 

All in all, I think this was a great book.  I probably won't ever read it again - heavy subject matter - but it was a great book.

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkenan

After reading two dark and disturbing thrillers, I needed something a littler lighter, some chick lit.  I've read a couple of Pekkenan novels and really enjoyed them.  The Best of Us - a novel about college friends reuniting for a 35th birthday in Jamaica - seemed like it would fit the bill.

The four women in the story all have something going on.  Tina is struggling with raising four small children.  Allie is facing the reality that she may have a genetic condition.  Savannah is struggling with the end of her marriage.  And Pauline . . . well, the back cover tells us that Pauline "spares no expense to throw her husband an unforgettable birthday celebration"  but the truth is that Pauline is a cold bitch and we're supposed to believe she has a soul by the end of the book.  I was not convinced.

I liked this book.  I didn't love it but I did like it.  I've now read a handful of Pekkenan's books and they're all enjoyable to me.  Her characters are multi-faceted and I'm a fan of the way she handles dialog.  It's not forced.  It reads like actual conversation and that's such a big plus for me when it comes to a book. 

There were two characters in this book that I really did not like.  Funny thing is, you're not supposed to like Savannah.  Yet I found her funny and endearing and, while I wouldn't trust her alone in a room with my man, she was the type of character you'd wanna grab a drink with.  I could so easily relate to Tina.  I've been her!  Sometimes I still am her!  It was Allie and Pauline that I just didn't care for.  Allie was one of those multifaceted characters and, well, not in a good way.  I HATED some of the decisions she made.  Hated.  And Pauline.  Wow . . . ice princess and a half.  We're supposed to believe she had a change of heart more than halfway through the book but, honestly, it felt forced and for the sake of softening her.  It didn't work.  I'd have rather it ended with her just being a true bitch. 

The ending was somewhat forced and abrupt and I felt an epilogue was really needed.  We don't really know what happened with Savannah or Allie and I'd liked to have seen those story lines wrapped up nicely.

All in all, I would read this book again.  Enjoyable summer read!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Foodie Friday: INSTANT POT!

Baseball is over.  School is over.  I CAN START COOKING AGAIN!  And that means I finally tried my hand at my new Instant Pot the other night.  Woot Woot!
 

Kroger had whole chickens on sale over the weekend so we decided to make that our first Instant Pot meal.  I used Pinterest and Google and found a few different techniques.  I combined them to find what worked for me. 
 
I started off with olive oil in the Instant Pot.  I set it to saute, manually entered four minutes, and let it warm up.  Then I placed the (seasoned and with innards removed) chicken in it and allowed it to saute on one side.  After it beeped, I flipped the chicken and let it saute another four minutes on the other side.  After that was done, I poured a cup of chicken broth over the top. I manually set the Instant Pot to heavy pressure for 25 minutes.  It needed a little time to release the steam but the final product was . . .
 
 
Not so pretty!  ;)
 
But, wow, it was YUMMY!
 
Seriously, three of the kids KEPT asking, "can I have more chicken?  More chicken?  More chicken?"  I originally thought Mark and I would use the leftovers to have chicken Caesar salads Thursday night but . . . no lyin' . . . K1 was literally gnawing on the carcass.
 
So, first outing with the Instant Pot was a success and we'll definitely be using it to "rotisserie" chicken again!
 
In other "foodie" news . . .
 
We've been in this house ONE YEAR. We closed the last day of school last year (and today is the last day THIS year!) and we were just so, so, so, so, SO ready to get in the house that we let some organizational things slide.  One of those things?  Our pantry . . . which is in the laundry room.  So it's washer, fridge, dryer on one side (of a fairly narrow room) and pantry on the other.  It was a mess.  Wednesday morning was devoted to organizing.


I put the appliances we rarely use, cake carriers, my insane collection of napkins (need an intervention, fo' real) on the top shelf.  The next shelf down, I stored baking supplies, drink mixes,  and "extras."  We do a lot of shopping at Sam's so we have certain things (salsa, syrup, mayo, BBQ sauce) in bulk.  These went on that shelf.



For the third and fourth shelves down, I made those all for the kids.  Their breakfast cereal, snacks, chip.  Yes, I know that's A LOT of chips but they were on sale at Kroger!
 

I put all our paper products on the bottom shelf -- easily accessible to the kiddos, we use napkins every meal and paper plates and plastic forks when we eat outside.  We want them to be able to easily set the table so bottom shelf was perfect.


Aaaaand a very few things went on the floor. Our step stool, a container of pretzels that won't fit on the shelf, my reusable shopping bags.

Gotta say it . . . I love my pantry!  In my last house, the pantry was built under the stairs and rather small-ish. My pantry now shares space with the laundry room but it's definitely enough space to house food for a family of 6-7.  And I love it!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Home Stretch

Well, we've done it.  We made it.  We're on the final stretch of the school year.  Field days are behind us, we've had awards ceremonies, K2 graduates from kindergarten today, and tomorrow is the final day for the older kids.  And we are so ready.
 
We absolutely love our school.  Seriously, best decision we ever made was moving to this school district.  Our children are truly receiving the very best in public school (heck, any school!) education and we're so grateful.  WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL! 
 
One of the other best decisions made?  Doing a repeat of kindergarten for K2.  In her second year of kindergarten, she's learned and grown so much.  She's head and shoulders above where she was at the end of last school year and I couldn't be more proud of her.  Holding her back was such a tough decision.  I mean, I knew I needed to do it but it was still hard.  There have been a few times through out the year where it's been hard.  "Why can't I go to first grade?  I'm seven now."  "Why did I do kindergarten again?  Did I fail?"  But I know it was what was best for her.
 
The older three have really flourished at this school as well and seeing how seamlessly they fit in and made friends made me so happy.  One of the boys has had the same "girlfriend" all school year long, his first childhood sweetheart, and it's so sweet to watch (mainly because I like the girl!  Ha!)  All three, though, have settled into "best friendships" and have really flourished socially.  It's been so good for them.
 
Okay, all that said . . . the last few days of school!
 
Last Thursday was field day.  So, we never had field day when I was growing up.  We had class picnics.  We had a kickball tournament in fifth grade.  And in sixth grade, we all went to Mr. Gabbard's house for our class picnic (which seems a little weird in hindsight??)  But never field day.  At their old school, my kids only had 45 minutes for field day.  Like, how is that even . . . ?  That's a PE class, folks. 
 
This year, though, a half day was devoted to field day and it was so fun.  And SO HOT.  Oh my goodness, it was so hot!
 


 


Thursday was also the final glee club performance -- and it was all Disney songs!  J had the first game of his baseball tournament that night so Mark and I had to divide and conquer.  I was bummed to miss their performance.  I think they've both decided not to do glee next year.
 

Awards ceremonies were held on Monday.  The Girl got the art award and K2 came home with citizenship.



Wednesday was the end of year party for kindergarten.  I know we've done two years of this kindergarten thing but I kinda wish we could have another go.  Ha!  The friends she's made are just so sweet at this age.  Her little friend told me yesterday, "can I hug you?  I just love hugs!"  Ahhhh.  Precious.


They had popsicles and the girls pretended like they were lipstick while the boys held a sword fight.

In between all this, the kids have had kickball tournaments, game days, yearbook signing days . . . so much going on!  But such a fun end of the school year.  Now.  Is it time to sleep in yet?!?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Box Full of Sunshine

One of my favorite people is going through a rough time right now so some girlfriends and I got together and sent her "a box full of sunshine . . .  because you're one tough cookie!"
 
I had so much fun putting the box together - and even more fun knowing that my friend really loved and appreciated it - that I thought I would share here.  I didn't get great pictures (they were mostly taken to show the other girls what I'd gotten!) but I can still give some fun ideas if you want to put together your own box of sunshine for someone who might need their day brightened a little.
 
First, I went for all things YELLOW.  Bright, happy, cheerful.  The exception in this was the pajamas because, well, I couldn't find any cute PJ's.  Instead, I went with a cute pair that were light and comfy and seemed perfect for summer.
 

Then I started adding YELLOW (and gold!)  I included:
 
- Face mask
- Bath bomb
- Chapstick (I'm a Burt's Bees whore)
- Four pack of Chardonnay (plastic bottles for mailing!)
- Bath puff
- Individual lemonade packets
- Body wash
- Lotion (Jergen's golden)
- Journal
- Fun gold pineapple sunglasses
- Snyder's pretzels
- Milk Duds
- Juicy Fruit gum
- Peanut M&M's
- Milky Way candy bars
- Yellow packaged cookies (one tough cookie!) -- Pecan Sandies, Fudge Sticks, Golden Oreos
 

I threw in some boredom busters too: word find, crossword puzzle, Sudoku, and an adult coloring book with colored pencils.  We also added a Target gift card.


I wrote "a box full of SUNSHINE cause you are one tough cookie!" on the box, sealed it up, and then away to the post office I went.

It was SUCH a fun box to put together and could be made for anyone going through a hard time . . . or even as a care package to someone far from home.  Who couldn't use a little sunshine?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Birthday!

If you'd asked me mid-day Friday how my birthday was going, I would've told you:

Well, I went outside to lay out and as soon as I got settled, the sun disappeared and it started thundering. And then I got stung by a wasp. 
 
Yeah. So the birthday started a little rocky. Actually and technically it started great because as soon as I opened my bedroom door I saw gifts waiting for me. But things went downhill from there. And at one point I can remember thinking, no one cares about your birthday but you and your mama. (And your boyfriend if you're lucky.)

Things got MUCH better though and I ended up having a great birthday weekend!  We just won't talk about the first 14 hours or so of the actual birthday.  ;)

Since my birthday fell on a Friday, we decided to have a cookout that night and invite a few friends over.  It rained most of the afternoon but fortunately stopped by the time Mark lit the grill.  We were able to sit outside and visit and the kiddos even got in the pool 
We usually buy cakes at the Sam's closest to our house.  The cakes are delish and a great price but the customer service is the worst.  Hence Mark writing the "Happy Birthday" on my cake. 

I was having so much fun that I only took TWO pictures.  That never happens!
 
She looked so goofy with her hair tucked into her goggles that I had to snap this one.


The party wound down and everyone headed home around 10:30.  Never mind that 15-ish years ago, that would've been when we were getting ready to START the party. 

 
When Dennis and Linda showed up they handed me a gift bag and said, "don't open in front of the kids!"
Ha!
We kept the celebrating going on the next day.  My kiddos went with their dad after K1's baseball game Saturday morning and the Girlchild went off to spend the day with Jason and Kendra.  And so Mark and I spent the afternoon . . . NAPPING.  I was so glorious, you don't even know.  The last couple weeks of school have kicked our butts and while I probably should've been cleaning or catching up on laundry or something, sleep won out.

After that, we headed to Happy Mexican for margaritas and a little birthday celebration, just the two of us.

We had a great dinner and the weather was perfect for patio-sitting.  And there was some added drama as well.  There was a large group seated when we got there - they were loud and obnoxious the entire dinner.  I'm taking, filthy language and one guy harassed every single woman of color who walked by.  When their bill came, they refused to pay the 18% gratuity . . . you know, the one that's standard for large groups and pretty much every restaurant everywhere.  The police ended up being called and it was just . . . ugh.  So Memphis.  So gross.  We spoke to the manager and an officer when we were leaving, letting them know whatever gratuity was charged wasn't enough because of how awful the group was.
 
After dinner and that little show, we went over to Russell and Kathy's for a while.  We hung out with them for a bit before heading home . . . again by 10:30.  Yes, even though we napped all day!
 
On Sunday, we worked.  The Girlchild and I went shopping in the morning to get things for the kids' Last Day Luau on Friday.  When we got home, Mark and I painted a table and then our back deck.  We took a break for a dip in the pool then did some yard work. 
 
Pretty fun weekend!  Then yesterday kicked off . . . LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL!  I'm so ready to not have the nightly bedtime fight (but I'm not tired! Just one more drink!) I'm so ready to not have to mess with mornings.  I'm so ready not to be up at the school EVERY DAMN DAY.  I'm so ready for baseball to be over (last night!)  I'm just ready for the break.  Bring it!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday Things

1) The end of the school year always kind of kicks my butt.  There's just SO MUCH going on.  And even though we basically have our morning routine down to a science, getting the kids up the past few days has been a chore.  I keep reminding them, "eight more mornings, seven more mornings" and, let's be real, that countdown is as much for me as them!

2) Yesterday was the international food fest for the fourth graders.  Um, I will volunteer for this every single year.  THERE WERE TAMALES!  It was seriously some good, good food.  My favorites (other than the tamales) being the packzi, beignets, and a Pakistani dish that like a mini fried veggie pie?  I don't know how to describe it but it was really good.

Since I had two fourth graders - and two different cultures - I made Guatemalan rice for the Girl Child and German potato salad for J.  The rice was a huge hit . . . the potato salad, not so much.  Though I did have one teacher ask me for the recipe!


3) Today is FIELD DAY!  At the kids' old school, field "day" consisted of 45 minutes of activities.  All the eye rolls.  They're super pumped to have a half day this year -- and it's only a half day because of construction going on.  Next year will be back to a full day event.

4) Hands down, my favorite thing about Mother's Day is things like this:
 

I will keep this forever so that I can always remember - back in 2017 - my girl wouldn't trade me for a "neglis" (necklace.)

5) I got a wild hair during K1's birthday party - when it was too chilly to get in the pool - and decided to let the kids have a "Last Day Luau," a swim party on the last day of school.  I sat there yesterday filling out invitations and got a bit of a panicky feeling -- I'm letting the older kids invite five friends each plus we'll invite the neighbor kids and Kendra and Cady's girls.  What have I gotten myself into?!?  Hopefully  just a whole lot of fun!

6) Saw this cute bathing suit on the Wish app a few weeks ago and could not resist.
 

I mean, isn't that the cutest?  It came with the headband.  I think I paid $1.80 with $3 shipping. 

7) Addiction Alert: if you are addicted to Boom Chicka Pop, Sam's currently has the big bags at buy one get one free.  So you get two HUGE bags for just $6!  We go through that stuff like woah in this house.

8) The girls came over the other day and we laid out and did a little bit of day drinking (with no day buzz to accompany) and . . . I got my first sunburn of the season.  As did Cady and Kendra.  The good news in this as that I didn't break out.  The bad news is that my back felt like it was on FIRE.  I also told Mark that I don't peel so, of course, that means I'll end up peeling.

9) Tomorrow is my birthday.  I feel like it completely snuck up on me this year! 

10) This, this, this, this, thisssssssssssssssssss.
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Baseball.


So here's one of those real talk confessions: my oldest boy was signed up for baseball because I was in the thick of fall semester finals during basketball sign up and totally missed the deadline.  Baseball was a way to make it up to him.  My younger boy was signed up as well as a reward for making straight A's.
 
I did not realize the kind of commitment I was looking at.
 
I'm from a very baseball-centric town.  In my hometown, things revolve around being at the ballfields.  I'm Facebook friends with people who I went to high school whose lives literally stop every spring when ball season starts.  And if their kiddo makes a traveling team? Forget about it.  It's all spring and summer, several nights a week, all weekend long, and many a late night.
 
I'm not cut out for it.  I'm just not.
 
This season of baseball has been . . . interesting.
 

Part of me wishes the boys had played organized ball earlier.  They're both having fun and they're both pretty good at it.  They're learning the fundamentals and they get a little better with every game.  I was watching J play last night and thought, "wow, if I had put him in T-ball, he'd be on a competitive team right now." 

There's another part of me, though, that's glad I've let them come into their own and pick the sport they want to excel in.  For J it's basketball (though he's still going to do tackle football in the fall) and K1 is obsessed with football.  They've each picked the sport they want to pursue and now we're at a point where they can really say they have tried everything.  And I'm so relieved they're not so like so many of the boys (and girls!) I went to school with who only played ball because their daddy pushed them.  I want passion, regardless of the sport they choose, not "have to" or family legend or whatever.  Passion.

Our baseball season is winding down.  K1 has three games left, one of which he'll have to miss due to a prior commitment.  J's tournament starts tomorrow and, bless their hearts, I'm not sure they'll make it through the first round.  K1's team has one every single game they've played; they even scored 19 runs in their last game!  Poor J's team, though, they have struggled all season long, they've had heartbreakers, and they've yet to win.

It's been so fun - and, honestly, a real blessing - to see how much my boys have grown this baseball season.  I'm not necessarily talking about skills either.  I mean, duh, I love seeing their skills grow.  I'm mostly talking about J here and I'm talking about how his sportsmanship has grown.  Their game Tuesday night is an example of this.  They lost by just one run, their second game in a row that was a bit of a heartbreaker.  And J wasn't even angry.  He was proud of the out he got at first and so, so proud of his work toward forcing an out at home.  After the game he was all, "mom, did you see that out???  Wasn't that awesome?!" rather than focusing on the fact that they lost the game.  Progress, progress, so much progress.

Both boys have really progressed in their skills.  They're decent little hitters and they've grown so much when it comes to fielding and just learning the basics of the game.  I'm so proud of them!

All that said, I am so ready for the season to be over.  So ready.  And I'm also so glad that they've (probably) settled on fall and winter sports.  Spring sports are hard!  I feel like this time of year the school commitments are even busier than the holidays and throwing a sport in there?  Ahhhhh!  For example, our schedule this week:

Monday - K1 baseball
Tuesday - K1 and Girlchild late practice for school program, J football game, K2 perform at PTA meeting (we had to drop the PTA meeting to make the other stuff work -- and dropped it because she'll be performing the same songs next Thursday at her kindergarten graduation.  This did not stop her from being pissed)
Wednesday - OH GLORIOUS DAY, NO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES soooo, of course, we invite friends over for dinner
Thursday - Field day at school (important to point out because they're going to be exhausted), after school club for Girl Child, K1 and Girl Child school performance at 6:30, K1 baseball game at 7:15, J baseball tournament 7:15

It's Thursday that kind of kills me.  K1 will have to miss his baseball game and Mark and I will have to divide and conquer.  I'm going to miss their performance and it breaks my heart a little bit but J can't miss his tournament.

One final thing about baseball:

I can't step on the fields without thinking about Morgan Nick.  She was a six-year-old girl who was abducted from a ballfield in Alma, Arkansas, back in 1995.  I was 15 at the time and I remember so vividly and, swear to Jesus, when I die and go to Heaven one of the first things I'll ask is "What happened to Morgan Nick?"  Anyway, K2 LOVES to go to games with me.  She loves to run around and play with her ballpark friends.  And, it never fails, I get a little panicky when I lose sight of her.  Just yesterday, she and two other girls turned a small piece of playground equipment into a "clubhouse."  K2 was sandwiched in the middle so I couldn't see her easily and I got up to look for her thinking, "MorganNick, MorganNick, MorganNick."  I'm pretty sure anyone around my age who grew up in Arkansas feels the same way.  The ballpark shouldn't be scary . . .  but it kinda is.  That said, the other kids do LOVE being there and running and playing with the other siblings.  So I have to tell my anxiety to hush and let them play and be.

So that's been our first year with baseball!

I'm so glad it's (almost!) over.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

People Let Me Tell Ya Bout My Weeeeeekend

I had an amazing Mother's Day weekend!
 
I love when Mother's Day falls late.  My birthday is Friday so it feels like a whole of, ya know, celebrating ME.  Ha! 
 
Friday night, we kicked the weekend off with dinner at Celtic Crossing.  Russell's son was playing a double set.  So we got to support him, sit on a patio for dinner, and visit with friends.  It was a good time but, man, the service at Celtic Crossing was just so, so bad.  So bad.  I did have a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that was spectacular but that was mixed with a waiter who ACTUALLY ROLLED HIS EYES once when I tried to get his attention.  Hello, I have pre-teens. I get enough eye rolls in my own house.  I don't need them from you Mr. Waiter Man.
 
Saturday, we had a kid-free few hours and decided to spend those downtown.  Anthony had a hometown friend visiting and they were headed to Jerry Lawler's.  We decided to meet them there.
 
So, growing up the boys - and the PawPaw! - in my family were all about the wrasslin.'  It was on TV all the time, my cousins had all the little wrestling figures.  It was a big deal.  Jerry Lawler is a former wrestler and his restaurant is completely dedicated to all things wrasslin'.  The menfolk in my family would've loved it.
 
We even got to meet The King himself.  He spent a good hour and a half, walking around and talking to patrons.  Awesome for his business!
 
 
Saturday evening was spent at Russell and Kathy's.  They put together a birthday party for one of their friends.  Mark grilled and we just hung out.  The weather was AMAZING.  I'm so glad it's summertime in our part of the world.
 
Sunday morning . . . oh glorious Sunday morning where I slept in until nearly 10:00.  (If I'm being honest, though, I do this MOST Sunday mornings.)  It was still nice though.  Mark made a breakfast casserole for our brunch and my kiddos came home just as it was coming out of the oven.  And they had donuts in hand!  So Mark and I had breakfast casserole and everyone else had donuts with sprinkles. 
 
I thought I would interject this here -- my ex-husband and I try to co-parent in a way that benefits the kids.  Honestly, sometimes it's REALLY hard.  Like, really, really hard.  And we just have to keep in mind we're doing what's best for our children.  Anyway, Mother's Day the kids came in with the donuts, a card, and a balloon.  I thought it was very nice of him to make sure they had gifts for me.
 
And speaking of gifts . . .
 
!!!!!!!
 
My Mother's Day gift was an instant pot!  It was actually supposed to be a birthday gift but was delivered in a box that clearly said "instant pot."  Since I knew what I was getting, Mark made it a Mother's Day gift.  I can't wait to use it!  I know there's  a learning curve but I hope once I get it down that it's something we use all the time.
 
We thought it would be fun to spend Mother's Day at the ballpark.  So after brunch, we all got ready to go see the Redbirds play.


They had a t-shirt making station as soon as we walked into the ballpark so the kiddos got busy.
 

 

We like to sit on the bluff because it's prime position for fly balls and the kids can run around and play.  Shortly after we got there and got situated, Rocky the Redbird came by.
 

' Bout those fly balls . . .


This kid caught TWO.  He kept one and gave the other one away.
 
And the second highlight of the day was seeing themselves on the jumbotron.  Day made for little boys!
 

The Redbirds ended up winning the game by one and the kids were able to run the bases after the game.  We came home and finished the evening poolside.
 

Mark volunteered to grill steaks but I was just hot and couldn't even think about eating something hot.  I requested chicken salad so he threw it together and we had a late dinner.

It was such a great day! I love that I get to be mom to these kiddos and love celebrating motherhood.