Tuesday, September 18, 2012


getting some rest
Getting a summer pass at our city pool was seriously the best decision I made all summer.

The kids and I went at least one during the weekday and then Husband joined us on the weekends.  great fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Washington DC trip

WAY back in JUNE, we had an opportunity to spend 4 days in Washington DC.  I cannot even express to you how amazing and life changing it was for me.  seriously.  Guys, I want to move to our nation's Capital -- or is is Capitol.  ;-)  Anyway, I want to live there.  I want to ride the metro and walk everywhere I need/want to go.  I want to spend hours and hours and hours everyday getting to know this city.


We left at 11pm at night and drove.  yes, it wasn't bad.  We actually enjoyed it.  Anyway, we got to town about lunch time the next day.  We stopped at the American History Museum first before we even went to check into our hotel. amazing.  Son loved all the trains, ships and automobile exhibits.  Daughter LOVED the gigantic doll house.  I loved everything.

 The next day, I wrangled the kids from our hotel to the metro, and all the way to the zoo, and met up with my dear friend, Jason and we spent the entire day at the National Zoo.  the entire day - like 6 hours.  We saw everything.  Husband met us for lunch and then was off again.  I was so grateful to Jason.  not only did I really enjoy getting to see him and catch up but there's no way I could have managed the kids alone.  He held hands, took pictures and was just so fun to be with.  We went our separate ways to change clothes before all meeting again for a great Mexican meal.  Jason & Brad - my favorite DC people.

Day Three, Husband was free most of the day and we enjoyed a day of family fun.  We went to the Natural History Museum and I got to see the Hope Diamond and wow, thousands of other amazing things.  the kids, of course, loved all the dinosaur fossils.  and then Husband wanted to walk around the Mall.  The Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, etc.  Well, when we got close to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin, Husband saw paddle boats for rent.  I was anti renting paddle a paddle boat.  

I figured we both needed to paddle and that would leave the kids in the back to, ya know, fall out.  But, Husband convinced me.  So for $20 we got 1 hour of paddling around the tidal basin.  It was fun.  There were ducks swimming around and I had unsalted pretzels in my backpack, so I got those out for the kids to feed the ducks.  I was taking pictures, the weather was great.  hurray for life.  UNTIL, my camera slipped out of my pocket and into the water.  slow mo.  sigh.  All the family pictures I'd taken since January, EVERY picture from the trip so far, including a few great family photos -- gone.  sinking to the bottom of the Tidal Basin.  To say I had an ugly cry about it, is a GROSS understatement.  GROSS.  Finally when I realized how upset I was making the kids, I calmed myself down to at least silent tears or angst and remorse.  sigh.  It was a low point. Luckily, Husband had taken a few pictures with his phone (literally just a few, all the ones below)  so I feel like the trip was at least paralytically documented. and Jason took a lot of pictures at the zoo with his camera.  Plus, all the good pictures from the previous 6 months, I'd already posted on the blog.  So all was not lost.  mostly.

Anyway, aside from that horrible, completely my fault, mistake, the trip was amazing.  I spent some time by myself at the Jefferson Memorial and pulled myself back together.  We ended our museum tour with the Air and Space Museum.  both kids really dug that.  Late night swimming in the roof pool and great food made the trip even better.

On out last day, we visited Arlington National Cemetery.  I can't even describe what I felt except to say it was a "bonding" feeling.  Like I was connected to everyone else that was there.  My kids were a little less than reverent at the eternal flame, but what did I expect?

If we would've had more time and energy, I'd loved to walk through the botanical gardens and see the Lincoln Memorial up close.  

sigh.  what a great trip. 

Daughter drawing a rainbow at the American History Museum
walking, walking, walking.  I logged so many miles in though shoes.  and MAN they were comfortable.  This was on the way to the Jefferson Memorial
this was after I dropped my camera in the Tidal Basin and we were still in the paddle boat.  I think I said something like this to Husband, "take a picture.  I lost my camera."
Son posing at the Capitol.  I really was so proud of both kids.  They kept up and walked and walked and walked all without naps.  Hardly complaining at all.  Of course, they did fall asleep on the Metro anytime we were on for longer than three stops.  They did great and still talk about it the trip all the time.

this was at dinner our last night.  It was probably my favorite place we ate the whole trip, even though we did eat at some really great places.  Ted's Bulletin. Son is hiding and Daughter looks miserable and I love this picture.

(I can't promise much, but hopefully there will be more blogs to come soon)

Friday, July 20, 2012


our little bat pup
we found this guy in our house twice.  seriously, he loved us.  Finally we plugged the holes and sealed the chimneys and sent him on his way.

This is a very long story that involves a Bill Clinton mask and more duct tape than I care to think about.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The growing garden

The garden is growing and we are all excited.  The red tomatoes, the green tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, soy beans and, of course, AND FIRST squash!

Son is holding the heirloom yellow crook neck (the seeds came from rareseeds.com) and Daughter is holding the yellow crook neck that came from walmart. 

There's an area of the garden where I plant two zucchini seeds and two squash seeds every year.  And we always have way more of both than we can eat.  So this year was no different ... except one set of seeds never sprouted.  And because I didn't know which one (because I didn't write down which seeds went where), I just had to guess.  After a long exhaustive process of replanting seeds and buying seedlings of each ... I still ended up with 6 squash plants and 1 zucchini.  sigh.  I've already pulled the smaller squash bc there is only really enough space for 4 plants there.

note to all gardeners: write down what you plant where.

I have big plans to get a pressure canner and a huge stock pot so I can can vegetable soup in addition to tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Zoo 5k and kids' race

Before I get started on this post, I need to tell you the reason I'm almost a month behind in posting updates ... I dropped/lost my camera in the Tidal Basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC.  True story.  I had a couple of ugly cries about it and I'm (a little) over it.  I lost 6 months of photos (all that hadn't been posted on the blog) And it really killed my blogging and picture taking mojo.  Luckily, Husband took a few pictures at the zoo and a few in DC on his phone so we're not completely pictureless ... but I am completely cameraless. boo.

Anyway, the zoo race was fun.  I didn't have any kind of record setting time (not by a long shot) but I did finish two minutes faster than I had been practicing at home.  So that WAS a victory.  My iPod froze right after the first mile and that was frustrating but I just tried to keep my pace and walk as little as possible.  There was a woman power walking behind me that would catch up to me when I was walking and she'd encourage me to keep going and get back to running every time she caught up to me.  She was a really big help in keeping me going.  I tried to find her after the race for a sweaty hug of thanks but I had zero luck with that.

The biggest most exciting part of the day for the kids was getting to run in the Chicken Cha-Cha (the short race for 3 and 4 year olds).  It was their first race and we practiced for weeks.  There were about 30 kids and it was mass chaos.  The kids had to run through and around the petting zoo barn and back to the finish line.  Son was in third place until he spotted the llama (every one remember when the llama spit on us last year? HE sure does.)  Well, he saw the llama, shrieked and turned around to run away.  luckily, one of the volunteers turned him around and encouraged him to keep going.  Bless is heart, he was a blubbering mess of llama fear and race excitement when he finished almost last.  Daughter ended up finishing 6th and did a great job.  They were both so excited to get race medals and race t-shirts to celebrate the day.

All three racers celebrating their finishes.

Daughter pretending to be a lion.

Son enjoying his carousal ride.

It was a lot of fun and, I think, easier than last year.  But I think that was because I was more familiar with the route that was mostly the same.  

I've only signed up for one more race (the Color Run on Labor Day) but I might do one or two more between now and then.  Right now I'm just concentrating on increasing my pace so that the power walkers can't catch up to me when I need to slow down and walk! It's slow going and hard but unless I break an ankle or some other such horrible thing, I'm going to keep at it.  My ultimate goal is a 30 minute 5k.  It's a long way away but I want to do it.  badly. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

the 10 minute cardigan from pinterest

In January, I decided that I would actually make/do/cook two things a month that I have pinned on my Pinterest boards.  I've been really good at doing it.  But not so good at reporting it on the blog.

Here is my badly photographed attempt at turning one of Husband's old sweaters into one of my new cardigans. The 10 minute cardigan.

I told Husband to do his best mean face.  It took about 4 tries because we both kept laughing.  I like this sweater and I'm not sure why he doesn't like it or stopped wearing it.  But it wound up in my "clothes I can do whatever I want with bc Husband doesn't want them anymore" pile.
I tried to duplicate the mean face.  I probably shouldn't waited until Husband was home to take the picture.  Daughter kept putting her fingers over the flash.

What I used:
an old sweater (v neck)
vanishing marking pen
Heat'nBond Ultra Hold Iron on Adhesive (5/8in -- the kind for hems)
Iron and ironing board

What I did:
first I marked the middle of the sweater front and carefully cut all the way down the middle.
Put the Heat'nBond on the inside of one side of the new sweater opening, following the directions on the box. Iron the Heat'nBond down.
Once cooled, pull the paper strip off and fold over to create the hem.
Do the same to the other side

Kelsey at Vanillajoy.com finished the hem by securing it with a sewing machine stitch.  I haven't done that yet because I can't find tread that's a close enough match to the sweater.

It was another fun an easy pineterest job well done.  And one more thing I pinned that I actually completed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Pinterest Shoe Makeover

Not so recently ago I found a great pin for turning regular old plain white canvas shoes into something a little less plain and white.

All you need it the cheap $5 white canvas shoes from walmart, Rit dye in your preferred color and a little elastic that 1.5 inches in width plus needle and tread (if you want to make your shoes laceless).   Simple, simple, simple.

So why did my white canvas shoes, fuchsia Rit dye and elastic sit in a bag on the back of my bathroom door for two months?   fear.  Mainly about the dye.  I'd never dyed anything before but I had convinced myself it was going to be a mess.

Well, imagine my surprise when it wasn't.   I just rinsed my shoes in hot water and followed the dye instructions on the box.  Then rinsed and let dry.

The next day I  just added the elastic in and let the kids have the laces.  (Visit the pin and blog for more pictures.  She dyed her shoes yellow and they look fantastic.)

So here's my first one.

And the pair.

I really like them.  And for $5 shoes they are really comfortable.  I always put mine on to go outside to water the garden or take the dogs on walks, or just piddle around outside.

It was a fun, fast, cheap project and now I am no longer afraid of Rit dye.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day in a Cave

Our original Mother's Day plan was to go swimming somewhere.  But as it got closer to Sunday and the weather got cooler and wetter, Husband came up with a new plan.  We headed north for a cave tour at Cathedral Caverns.

Our tour group was a small laid back group of 6 adults and 7 kids (counting our guide). And it was a pretty great way to spend a cold wet day outside -- in a cold and also wet cave!

family photo

the cave has one of the largest "commercial" cave openings
 Unlike Mammoth Cave, this cave doesn't have a "good roof" and stalactites and stalagmites are still forming.  It makes for more interesting pictures.  But I won't bore you with the 20 I took ... just a few.

underground family photo

It was a fun Mother's Day that also included those great cupcakes Husband made for my birthday and post cave Mexican food.  It was a great day with my favorite people.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spirits Sunday: Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir

I haven't posted a Spirits Sunday in a long time.  Not because I stopped drinking wine (and other adult beverages) I just haven't had anything that I really liked. A lot.

We got this bottle at Whole Foods for $9.99  

Yes, good inexpensive wine exists.

We had it with pot roast and french onion soup.  It was pretty much fantastic.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our Sunday in Kentucky

Sunday we started our morning early.  Packed up, checked out, and headed north.  

First we visited Mammoth Cave National Park. fun.

Second we visited with BBWP and her family.  DOUBLE fun.

seriously.  sigh. two perfect days in a row.  rarely happens so I have to enjoy it while it lasts.

The park was offering free Mammoth Passage tours on Sunday morning.  We were there.

the kids liked the hiking in the cave part but not so much the stopping to hear interesting historical facts about the cave.
btw, you weren't actually supposed to touch the cave, DAUGHTER.  sigh.

Husband and I really enjoyed it.  We wished the hour long tour was longer  and the kids weren't with us.  (truth)
 The tour was fun but rather serious and we were in a group of over 40 people.  We did learn about the cave's sturdy roof and some of its really amazing history.
posing in front.

We weren't in Park City long before Son made it known that he had a new best friend.

Husband and the kids played hide and go seek and sweet sweet Son always tried to hide in the dogs' houses.

Until his new best friend showed him a great spot behind a tree.  It worked until he gave himself away!

Next we visited the cows.

and the tractor.

and had a great family picture made in the field.

Son's three favorite things: strawberries, chocolate, and BBWP. check, check, and check.

It's always such a fantastic time when you can get together with a dear friend (and her family) that you haven't seen in 3 years and it feels like you never left at all.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Saturday in Tennessee

A few Saturdays ago we set sail (or car) for a whirlwind 24 super fun time in Tennessee (on our way to our Sunday destination, KY)

First, we stopped in Pulaski, TN. Home of the Old Graveyard Memorial Park.  It's a place Husband and I found by accident on a day we were adventuring.  While there, we found Daughter's name ... even though we didn't even know she was a daughter yet.  It was a week before our gender ultrasound/anatomy scan.  Sigh, poor girl.  She came pretty close to being name Voltaire.  ;-)

We stopped for lunch in downtown Nashville, Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant.  It was fantastic.  We all enjoyed it.  Great turkey burger and sweet potato fries.

Next we stopped by Adventure Science Center in Nashville. Thanks to our McWane membership we enjoyed free admissions.  The kids played and played for about two hours. We were really impressed.  It was fantastic.

Our final stop was our hotel.  We stayed at the Opryland Hotel.  Swimming, Dinner, an indoor boat ride, we did it all before crashing in our room.

Daughter's name

Posing by her name.  I love how Son's head is randomly in my elbow crook!

The park was also a great place for the kids to get out and run off some energy.

This is the first of MANY turkey statues we stopped to take pictures with. Pulaski = the wild turkey capital of the world.

lunch buddies

lunch buddies

the view from the top of the play area at the Adventure Science Center

seriously, he needs longer shorts.

"being a hero and saving the peoples."  

climbing the spine

kiddie pools are favorite pools.

Son and Husband in the indoor pool

Daughter made friends with the 

the indoor pool, the outdoor pool, the kiddie pool.  We went back and forth for two hours. Fun was had by all.

Son was shocked and angered when he learned he had to share his queen sized bed.  He was able to sneak in a little rest before we headed back out for dinner.

I love that this kid loves having her picture made with statues.

boarding our boat ride in the Delta. She told the tour guide she was looking for land.

fantastic view of the delta

One of Daughter's favorite things to do is ride escalators up and down. again and again.  We obliged.  Son and Husband took a sit down break after about the 17th trip. 

We stopped to watch the fountain show on our way back to our room.
It was a super fun day. Made even better by the kids' amazement of all the fun they were getting to have ... next stop, KENTUCKY.