Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday 5

  • I can’t look at this picture without smiling. I just love both of their expressions. We were in the kitchen making banana bread, just talking and mixing and smashing and having a good morning. And they were so happy. Harper was being silly and Dakota was laughing at his silliness. I just so happened to have my camera out and snapped at the right moment. It was all luck, and now it’s one of my most treasured photo’s of these two.


  • My mom’s birthday was this past Tuesday and I had the two kiddo’s make a little video for her. I thought it turned out super cute (love how they keep looking at one another) and thought it’d be fun to share here also. Enjoy! (Please ignore the end when Harper wipes his nose on his pants.) Smile
  • We did a little kitten sitting yesterday and poor Ginger had to hang out in the kitchen for a bit while the kitten adjusted to our house. We made certain she was comfy though, and she didn’t seem unhappy in the least.


  • It was Zoe and Brandon’s little kitten that we watched yesterday and man was it fun! I’d forgotten how fun baby animals were!





  • (I can’t remember if I ever wrote this little story on here or not, so I’m going to now. If it’s a repeat, well, it’s cute enough to read twice.) Harper was pretending to be a little bird the other night. He was flapping his wings and tweeting and just being a cute little bird when I noticed Dakota was crawling around on the floor. When I asked her what she was being she said “a carrot”! These kids sure keep me laughing! ;)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pity Party For One

Ok, so I’m super glad I don’t have to drive a 15 seater van for the next three weeks but I just gotta say I’m not super in love with the rental I’ve got either. It’s really not a bad vehicle (Dodge Grand Caravan) but it just doesn’t have all the bells and whistles my own van does.

  • No heated seats. None. The seats aren’t leather, so that’s helpful in this cold weather, but I can’t even toast my buns if I want to. No toasty buns in the passenger or back seats either. It sucks. 
  • No TV's. Not a single one! I can actually live without this, and my kids will too, but life is more fun (and quiet) with cartoons in the car. Guess I’ll have to let them watch a little TV before school instead of on the way to school. We’ll be back to talking and singing again. Hmmph.
  • No remote start. I have to walk all the way into my garage, open the door, put in a key!?!?!, turn it and start the car to warm it up. What. A. Drag.
  • No push button start. Inserting a key into an ignition was a skill I just had to relearn. It’s ridiculous.
  • No built in garage door opener. I had to get out of my van, walk up to the house and enter the code on the keypad to close it after pulling out of the garage today. That won’t happen again though because I stole Tony’s garage door opener. That crap is gonna have to be his problem.
  • No GPS. How in the hell are we supposed to go anywhere new without a GPS system? What am I supposed to do, use my phone’s GPS? Print out a map before I leave? Memorize directions someone gives me? WTF?
  • No leather seats. Cloth seats might be slightly warmer than leather (not heated leather!!) but they are static-y. Now I’m going to have to make sure Dakota’s hair is glued to her head before we go anywhere just so she doesn’t look like a hedgehog when we get out of the car.
  • No electronic seat raising/lowering. I am literally going to have to use my hands to raise or lower a seat in the backend. I hope I can figure it out. <eyeroll>
  • No rear view back up camera. Going from having one to not having one is flat out dangerous and should be illegal! Once you have a back up camera you should ALWAYS have one because looking out the windows is so inconvenient.

So, there you have it. My list of complaints about this thing I’ve gotta deal with for the next three weeks. I suppose I could just be happy I’ve got something to drive at all, but where’s the fun in that?

*In case you can’t tell, this really isn’t a cry baby post, it’s just a post to remind me how thankful I should be every day to drive such a luxurious car. And, while I’m not kidding about not having the above mentioned stuff, I do realize that none of it is necessary, I’m just a spoiled brat.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Our New Ride

Tony ended up staying home today to get this whole car accident mess cleared up. He was on the phone early this morning with our insurance and we ended up finding out that the girl who hit us didn’t have any insurance! What a mess. Once Landon went to school (another 2 hour delay which meant Harper was off again!) Tony and I took the van into the shop to have it looked at. When we got there they told us it wasn’t fit to drive since the lights were broken and a guy from Enterprise picked us up to go get a rental. (The two little’s went to Mema’s to play while we went to do all this.)

The guy from Enterprise told us that he didn’t have much to offer us because of all the snow/ice related accidents over the past few days. He wasn’t kidding! The only two vehicles they could loan us were cargo vans; either a 15 passenger or a 2 passenger. That’s it. Since we have children, we had to take the 15 passenger van just so we’d be able to drive them home! We joked about making deliveries or possibly buying something large since we had the room, but really, I was very hesitant to drive something so massive. It was hard to get the kids in and out of too because there is only one door on the side and only one row of seating was in the van.


The guy at Enterprise told us to come back later that evening and they’d have something for us, and around 5pm Tony went back up there to change out that huge van for something a little more reasonable. We ended up with a mini van, and I think I can handle that. (It’s not MY mini-van, so it’s not cool, but I can drive it, so all is good.) This evening Tony got an email from the repair shop saying that they estimate that we’ll have our van back by March 16. MARCH 16th.

Pray we get it back sooner, will ya?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Mess of a Weekend

It’s been terribly cold up here for the past several days (weeks?). We’ve mostly been stuck inside, just getting through this cold winter, but this weekend has sure been a doozy.

It all started on Friday when Mema got home from watching Dakota. (I had to work at the preschool and she kept Dakota for me.) When she got home she found that her water pipe had busted and there was water all over her floors. Umpa had been trying to clean it up, but he thinks it happened while he was asleep and he didn’t know until the floor was already pretty flooded. They were able to get someone out there the next morning to fix the pipe, but now they have all kinds of water damage to deal with. Ugh.

Saturday morning, before it began snowing, we all got up and took Ginger to the groomer for her appointment. Tony, the little kids and I ran a few errands and then went home. While we were waiting for the groomer to call it started to snow. The groomer finally called around 11:45am and Tony left to get the dog. As he was waiting to turn left off of our main road, a truck plowed into the back of him. It did quite a bit of damage to the van but fortunately he wasn’t hurt. (No one in the other vehicle was hurt either.) He exchanged info with the lady driving the truck and then went to get the dog. The van is pretty messed up and now we’ll be dealing with the unpleasantness of car insurance and car repairs, but I am ever so grateful that Tony wasn’t injured.




Also, on Saturday, Zoe was scheduled to work a party of some sort. She waited all day for them to cancel but when they didn’t, Brandon offered to drive her to work so that she wouldn’t have to drive in that mess.They got 10 minutes away from the location and her boss told her that it had just been canceled! So, they had to turn around and head home only the roads were so bad by that time that it took them hours to get home. They got stuck when going uphill and luckily for them some lady helped them push their car out. Then they helped get her out as well. Zoe said there were cars stranded all over the road and it was nerve-wracking. I’m so glad they both made it back home safe too!  What a mess!

This winter weather isn’t so bad when you’re snug in your house but what a mess to have to go out in it! I think we’re in the clear for a while now, no snow or icy weather in our forecast. But, the kids do have ANOTHER 2 hour delay tomorrow morning which means no preschool for Harper.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Swim Lessons, Take Two

The kids had their second swim lesson this morning and I have to say, it went great. We got there with just a few minutes to spare because of traffic, but, we made it on time. Harper was anxious to get started and Dakota was a bit hesitant, but nothing like last week.

I was a little surprised when I looked in the pool to find that our teacher wasn’t there. I was a little worried when I realized that this week’s teacher was a male, but I didn’t say anything and when the lady came to take the kids into the pool area, I just let it go. I know Dakota was worried because she had a little glint of panic in her eye, but she decided to roll with it too, and she ended up doing terrific! Harper, as usual, didn’t blink an eye. He just went in and got straight to it. :)

They did some of the same things as last week like blowing bubbles, kicking their feet and splashing around to Ring Around the Rosy. But, about half way through the lesson the instructor picked them both up and brought them out to the deeper end of the pool. As I watched I could see that he was telling them to hold their breath because he was going to take them under. Both kids were hesitant and it took some coaxing, but they both held their breath and down they went. When they came up I fully expected one of them to be crying, but there wasn’t  a single peep out of either of them. Then, they went under again. And again. And again. No crying. Not even once.

I was in utter disbelief, sitting and watching my babies going under the water over and over again. I mean, I know they’re getting big and all that but that was pretty major. And WAY cool. And a HUGE step from just a week ago when Dakota cried her eyes out for the first 5 minutes of class.

The last game they played before I went in to get them was “save the ducks”. There was a hula hoop floating in the water with a bunch of rubber ducks inside. The kids had to go under water, grab a duck, go back under water and bring the duck to the wall to safety. And, do you know they saved every last one of those ducks! There were probably 20 and that tells you how many times they each went under water to save a duck! At least 10 times each. It was amazing to watch and you can just imagine how proud I was watching those two little cuties. I will never again doubt the strength of those kids. They showed some serious moxxie today and I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when there are other hurdles to pass.

Afterwards, as I was helping them get dressed they were excitedly telling me about their lesson. I asked them what they thought about going underwater and Harper just shrugged and said that’s what the teacher wanted them to do. Dakota said “Me did it, but me not want to.” “Me not like it!” Smile

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Me and My Valentine

Tony and I don’t go overboard with the whole Valentine’s Day thing. We typically go out to dinner, just the two of us, and that’s it. This year, we did give each other a little gift, but nothing major. (Although, Tony wrote me the bestest, sweetest love letter ever, and I’ve threatened to have it framed and hung near the front door for all to see!)

Mema came over to watch the kids around 4pm and we headed out to Baltimore to try a new restaurant. A few weeks ago Tony made reservations at the Rusty Scupper at the Inner Harbor and our only time choices were 5pm or 8pm. We’re early eaters typically because our kids can hardly wait until 430pm most days to eat, so we chose the 5pm slot.

There was a small underground parking area for customers of the restaurant to use, so we went down and found a spot immediately…except when Tony pulled in we realized we weren’t going to be able to open the doors to get out of the car. The spots down there were terribly small and once Tony got us in, we could barely get the van back out. He spent about 5 solid minutes pulling back and forth trying to unstick us. It was ridiculous! After sweating it out for those 5 minutes, we were able to finally get out of the spot and we decided we’d better just go upstairs and park out in the open! We were just to damn thankful we hadn’t hit either of the cars we were wedged between!

The Rusty Scupper turned out to be a great place. We were a few minutes early when we got there, but we were seated immediately. Our waiter brought us water and some bread and dip while we waited. The bread was very good, but the special garlic/almond dip was to die for. It was an easy decision as far as dinner was concerned because the menu was pretty limited for the holiday.

We chose the shrimp cocktail for our appetizer and man was it delicious! The shrimp were gigantic! I then started with the cream of crab soup (I can’t ever NOT get cream of crab soup) and Tony got the Scupper salad.

I knew I wanted to get crab cakes as my main course because it’s something I rarely have but really like. They were some of the best crab cakes I think I’ve ever had. It came with mashed potatoes and green beans which were equally delicious. Tony chose the surf and turf. It came with a filet mignon and either a lobster tail or crab cake and the same sides as mine; he went with the lobster tail. Everything was yummy and I couldn’t even finish mine I was so full. I told Tony I didn’t even want to order dessert, and when the waiter asked, I refused, but Tony decided he wanted something. He ended up ordering the chocolate indulgence cake, and it was certainly chocolaty! It was very rich and tasty, but I only had a couple bites I was so full.


About 10 minutes before we left I saw a waiter guide in a blind man. I thought he was a diner but soon realized he was there to play the piano. I told Tony to enjoy his dessert very slowly so that we could listen to him play a bit before we left. It was really cool and we both recognized at least one of the tunes he played.

When we left the restaurant it was snowing. It was so pretty, but my god was it cold! I thought the snow was kind of romantic and pretty, but I couldn’t wait to get in the car and turn on the heat! Smile 

I had to wait for Tony to get in the van and pull out a little before I could get in because the guy who parked next to us was so close my door wouldn’t open. (Notice a theme here?) I don’t know how they managed to get out of their car and I even checked for dents on my door; thankfully there weren’t any! Anyways, while I was waiting, I did what any old lady would do, I took a selfie. Haha!


We got home just in time for Mema to head home before the snow got too bad and in time to get the little’s into the tub and bed.

It was a fun night and I’m looking forward to the next time Tony and I will be able to escape for a few hours!

Round and Round We Go

Tony, the two little kids and I got up on Saturday morning and headed to the mall. (Landon spent the night at a friends house the night before so he wasn’t home.) Dakota had been looking in a book a few days before and when she saw a carousel she said “me do that!” so we took her and Harper out to the mall for a ride.

Harper refuses to ride a horse or any kind of animal whenever we ride carousels and always chooses some sort of seated thing. This was his first time choosing this spinning seat and I was a little worried he wouldn’t end up liking it, but boy was I wrong! Before the ride started a little girl about his age climbed on and they spun that thing round and round nearly the whole ride! We were all dizzy just watching them!


Dakota, on the other hand is always eager to ride on the horses. She likes to make sure it’s one of the one’s that goes up and down too, not one of the lame one’s that doesn’t move! She waved to me a couple times, but for the most part she hung onto the pole for dear life!


Before leaving the house Tony told the kids that we’d also give them some pennies to throw in the fountain a the mall, one of their FAVORITE things to do. So, I counted out ten pennies for each of them and put them in a little container that they could carry with them. When we got to the fountain, we opened up their containers and Harper grabbed all of his pennies at once and tossed them all in at the same time. I guess he didn’t want to savor the moment at all. And Dakota, well she refused to throw hers in at all! She wanted to keep her “ninnies”. So much for that idea. 

After having lunch we headed back home. It was a short little trip, but it was a good way to get out of the house for a few hours. All this cold weather keeping up cooped up in the house gets old.

I’d Snap at the Chance to Be Your Valentine!

It it terribly cold here right now. We’ve had several days in the mid 20’s and many nights that were below zero. Bitter cold weather that isn’t any fun and keeps us all indoors. It was so cold on Friday that the schools chose to open 2 hours late just to ensure that all of the schools had power and so that the kids wouldn’t have to wait outside for buses as early in the morning as they usually would. Harpers school typically follows our county school closing schedule, but this time they made an exception and the kids got to go to school.

I was so happy he was able to go because he was excited about passing out his Valentine’s Day cards to his friends. Usually I’d try to come up with something homemade, but I just ran out of time this year and hit up Target two days before his exchange. Nothing like cutting it close! I was happy to find a cute selection of cards to choose from and even happier when I found a kit that allowed him to put the card together himself. Thursday afternoon, Harper, Dakota and I sat down to make his alligator mask Valentine cards:





Neither of the kids would be still long enough for me to get a decent picture of them behind the mask…


On the back of the mask was a little sticker that read “I’d Snap at the Chance to Be Your Valentine!”. Cheesy, yes…but cute for a four year old!

When I picked Harper up from school on Friday he could. not. wait. to get home and open up all his Valentines. He wanted me to read him each card and tell him who it was from, and he was just thrilled with everything. (I was just happy to see that no one else bought the same kit from Target!)




Harper was very sweet about sharing his Valentine’s with Dakota. She hopped up next to him at the table and they both happily opened up all the cards and sifted through the candies. Harper asked if he could have a lollypop and then asked Dakota which one she’d like. I thought it was super nice of him to offer it to her without me having to intervene!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swim Lessons

Harper and Dakota went to their first ever swim lesson this morning. We just went and signed them up last week and I’ve been talking to them about it since. Both of my kids seem to feel better about doing something new if I talk to them about it well in advance.

Neither of them are afraid of the water, but Dakota is very hesitant around strangers, so that was my big worry. We ended up getting to the pool much earlier than we needed to, but I wasn’t sure what traffic would be like since we don’t ever go that way. The kids had ample time to explore the building and play around a bit before the teacher called them into the pool area.

I walked them into the pool area where quick introductions were made (I explained to the teacher that Dakota was very worried about going in the pool with a stranger) and the teacher, very nicely, picked Harper and Dakota up and took them on a spin through the pool. While Harper enjoyed the ride through the pool, poor Dakota cried and cried. I hated watching her be so upset, but I knew it was in her best interest to just deal with it. I was watching the entire time through a one way glass window.


It was about 5 minutes into the lesson that Dakota stopped crying, but every time the teacher would ask her if she could try or do something, Dakota would refuse. Harper, on the other hand was loving every minute in that pool. He was showing off, putting his head under the water, blowing bubbles and kicking his little feet just as he was asked. I couldn’t have been more proud of that big boy.


After another 5 minutes or so, Dakota was over my absence and she was enjoying herself. I sighed a huge sigh of relief when I saw her smile and squirt her brother with a little rubber duck. She did fine from that point on. They blew bubbles, raced boats across the pool, let the teacher float them on their backs, played with pool noodles and squirted each other with the little rubber ducks. I was thrilled to see the two of them in there doing so well, and I now have high hopes for these (necessary) swim lessons.


Here’s a little video:

As the two of them came out of the pool I was right at the door to greet them. They were both very happy and I gave them some high fives and hugs and we went to the dressing room to get ready to go. I told them how wonderful they’d been and Harper immediately asked if we could come back. Yay! Dakota told me the teacher sang her Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and then she sang it as loud as she could as we walked out. The receptionist laughed and said it looked like she’d had a good time after all.

So, swim lessons went well, and not only did we survive it, we liked it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I saw a reading challenge on Pinterest sometime in January and decided I’d give it a try this year. I asked my mom if she wanted to do it as well, and she accepted the challenge.

Here’s the list if you’re interested; or you can see the original post on


A book that is currently on the bestseller list:

I just finished reading the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and it was amazing! I didn’t think it was going to be something I’d like and I was hesitant to buy it, but now I am so glad I did! The life of Louis Zamperini was quite remarkable and I don’t know that there are many people like him in the world.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I’m hesitant to see the movie because…well, because I read the book! His life was not an easy one and I don’t know if I could stand to watch all the violence that he was subjected to while being held as a POW. Maybe someday…

A book my mom loves:

I’m onto my second book of the year now, Gone With The Wind. So far, I’m really enjoying it. I’ve thought about reading it before, but with more than 1000 pages, I just couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. I know many people who have read it and seldom have they read it once, so I’,m guessing it can’t be too bad! I’ll be sure to post about it once I’m done.

Project Life, 2015

I’ve been working on my album for this year for the past several days, and so far, I’m really liking it. Here’s what I’ve got done thus far:

My opening page. I kept it really simple and in my favorite color, green.


Jan 1-3



Jan 4-10



Jan 11-17



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ice Skating for Lea’s Fifth Birthday

This afternoon we all went to Lea’s 5th birthday party. They held her party at our local ice skating rink, and it was a lot of fun! Landon and Harper had never been ice skating before, but they were both ready to give it a try. Dakota wasn’t even about to get skates on, but she was happy running around and watching all the action.

Here’s Landon getting the hang of it:


He got comfortable enough that he was willing to give Harper a hand. They used this little walker to start…


And then they just went out without it. They weren’t out there long, but they both did great!


Harper gave it one final try with Landon on one side and his cousin Travis on the other. After this though, Harper was done. Landon skated and skated though, he had a great time!


Here’s Dakota racing Landon:


Here’s the cute little birthday girl! Can’t believe she’s 5 already!


Here’s a pic of Tony and I being silly while watching the kiddo’s:


And, here’s Kota hamming it up for my camera!


We had a really fun time and on the way home Harper let out the biggest yawn and said “Gosh I’m tired!” I guess we wore their little butt’s out this weekend!

Zoe’s New Kitty, Nero

Zoe and Brandon have been talking about getting a pet ever since they moved out and this weekend they finally went out and got one. They really wanted to get a dog, but knowing that the time isn’t right for a puppy, they got a sweet little kitty instead.



He’s a cute little guy and Harper and Dakota just loved him! We all thought he was adorable, but H and D couldn’t leave him alone! They just wanted to play with him the entire time we were there. We didn’t stay too long since we’d been out all day, but it was great that we got to go see Zoe’s new little baby.




Saturday, February 7, 2015

Breakfast + Climb Zone


We woke up with very loose plans for breakfast and nothing else for the day. The two youngest kids, Tony and I headed to IHOP around 830am and as worried as we were that the kids wouldn’t eat anything, we were wrong and they were great. They both go through these silly phases where they’ll eat something and love it then they won’t touch it again. It’s confusing. So, I just let them pick what they wanted off the menu and for once, they both ate pretty well.

After breakfast we went back home to drag Landon out of bed and figure out what we were gong to do for the rest of the day. I gave Tony a pass for rock climbing this Christmas and when he pulled it out, a plan was born. No sooner had we decided to go rock climbing when Zoe texted me that they were going to pick up their new kitten. So, now we HAD to make a trip out to see her and the new kitty as well! (Good thing we didn’t have other plans because this day just got real busy!)

The place we went rock climbing was called Climb Zone and it was super cool. There were all kinds of walls to climb and they certainly weren’t your run of the mill gray with colored stones…


Every rock wall had some sort of art on it. There was a dinosaur bone wall, one that looked like a bookshelf, Mt. Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty and one made out of soccer balls to name a few. The kids were so excited to get started and after filling out waivers and getting their gear on, they were off! (When you first go in they give you a brief instruction on how to use the equipment. Each portion of wall has a rope tethered to the ground that you can just hook your belt on so that no one has to know how to belay for you to climb. It’s nice that it’s done that way and gives kids a ton of freedom when choosing where to climb.)

Harper giving it a go on the practice wall. He looks so scared, poor guy.


Landon tried the jellyfish wall first. It was tough!


Harper and Landon decided to try the King Kong wall. It looked easy because it had a lot of squares, but it proved more challenging than it appeared. Landon made it to the top, and Harper did pretty good for a four year old!



Initially, Dakota was very hesitant, but once she saw how much fun everyone else was having, she was ready to get in on the action. She didn’t really climb anything, she kind of had Tony push her up a little and then she floated down. She was happy, so whatever.


Tony couldn’t wait to get up on the walls either, so once the kids had had a turn, up he went!



And, because there is nothing more fun than racing, Tony and Landon raced up Abraham Lincoln…and Tony won this time!



Here’s that soccer ball wall I talked about:


And, the bookcase:


Besides climbing rock walls, there was a large moon bounce and two bouncy slides for the kids to play on. There was also a play area for kids under three, and Dakota enjoyed playing in there for a bit while the boys finished up their last climbs.


When Harper got tired, he joined Dakota in the little kid area.


It was such a fun day I know we’ll be back!

This post ended up being pretty long, so I’ll post about Zoe’s kitty later. Smile

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....