The girls and my mom and I went to NYC for Thanksgiving. It was the most amazing four days ever! Dreamy and just like we’d imagined- all decorated for Christmas, hustle and bustle, the works.
Max Brenner’s — kind of a chocolate cafe. Everything on the menu has chocolate in it.
Girls in front of FAO Schwartz
On the “Big” piano
Laying on a plaque at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. We went all the way to the top. It was a breathtaking experience.
Trying not to be afraid of the noise on the subway.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Playing ‘American Girls’ in Central Park
American Girl Breakfast
Before Mary Poppins on Broadway. One of the top 5 highlights of my entire life. And it wasn’t because we sat behind Will Ferrell.
Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes
Carousel in Central Park
Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate– and yes she thinks that’s all hers and gets sad when she finds out she’s sharing with me.
If you are wondering if we ate anything but sweets on this trip– pretty much no.
Are you ready for your life to be forever changed? Here is the most delectable Saturday morning (any morning or night) recipe. I stumbled on it while trying to use up some leftovers in the fridge– so clearly it isn’t gourmet. But nothing I make is, because for some reason I am always going for speed of preparation– in time maybe this will change–maybe it will not. Big A always says, “30 minute meals is a joke compared to your 5 minute meals”. Ya, hers probably taste a tad better. But this one yall- this one is a crowd pleaser. It is requested nightly around here. But alas it cannot be had every day. And you’ll see why in a minute.
Part one: The pancakes. Take a box of bisquick and make the recipe for pancakes on the back. I one and a halfed the recipe because that feeds six perfectly (two adults/four kids). So try to adjust accordingly. Add about 1/2 -3/4 cup vanilla yogurt and the juice of half a lemon. Stir batter together to incorporate. Make the pancakes however you usually do.
Part two: Now for the piese de resistance. This invention (for which I cannot take credit–my mother-in-law had it at a breakfast place in NYC) is the part that will henceforth change the way you eat anything that is normally drizzled in syrup and butter. Melt butter and add the syrup to the melted butter, then stir together. Drizzle/dump this heavenly concoction over pancakes while still warm. Are y’all getting this? It is unbelieveable! There really is no science to it- no exact measurements. If you like it more buttery, add butter. If you like it more syrupy, add syrup. Go anywhere you want with it. It’s yours now because I can’t keep it a secret anymore.
In our house we sometimes read this book to go with it: (and yes, finally figured out how to make it link to the actual website, again I get no credit. Big A — as usual.)
Figured it was time to back up a bit and give a little more background on why I am even doing this blog thing, since my sister-in-law told me I’m at least 5 years behind the blogoscurve (totally made that word up). Yeah, I know, but what’s a girl to do when she’s been living under a rock for nine years having a bunch of kids?!?! I missed it all. I didn’t know what a blog was until two years ago. Is that bad? Sometimes it’s nice to live totally unaware. So since “there is nothing new under the sun” I am sure everything you read here can be read somewhere else on some other blog or website.
To be completely honest with you, I am just trying to figure out how to be a wife and a mom while subsisting entirely on goldfish and crystal light for energy, yet still 100% committed to never wearing a swim skirt to the pool. Sometimes I am going to write about how I attempt it–life I mean. For me, it’s not just about survival (even though I think summertime might be) – it’s about a plan to not waste one minute. To enjoy and find joy and relax while still being aware and involved. To figure out what stuff to let go of and what is worth holding on to-knowing I am not in control. To maintain some kind of order with gobs of fun and laughter mixed in. To not be over committed. Above all else, to take the life God has given me and use it to bring Him glory. Every single day I find each of the above to be a challenge-but a challenge worth embracing passionately. Of course I fail miserably, and ask God and Big A and the kids for forgiveness almost daily. Then get back up and by His grace, try again the next morning– at 6am when the cowboys decide to wake up each day.
So every weekday there is going to be a post (if not, then someone in the house is deathly ill). It might be about our kids, might be about some other random topic. I am really never sure myself. You have a medical question– ask it. Maybe I can get the answer and hopefully you or your loved one won’t get worse. You wanna talk about babies– one of my all-time favorite topics. Travel, definitely. Future topics I’m thinking about: generic vs. brand name medicines (how Big A saves lots of money every year), everything you ever wanted to know about disney vacations, products that can change your life and your skin, mouth watering recipes i’ve stumbled upon….. hmmmmm…. and some more…
This is a picture of what keeps me passionate. All of our names start with “A”. Because, well there is no reason. Because it’s funny and fun and because you only live once. If I told you we did it so they would have something to say about themselves on the first day of preschool, would you believe it?
You’ve seen the show haven’t you? Hoarding: Buried Alive. Maybe TLC would want to do a new show called Dumping: Buried With Nothing. Could be a disease-I’m not sure. But I have the exact opposite diagnosis from a hoarder– I get rid of stuff. It’s the reason I like moving. It’s easy to tell what are the essentials and what aren’t. Keeps you travelin light. Plus ‘things’ can keep you tied down, heavy, weighted. This disease has come on slowly over time, as we have had more and more kids, moved several times and had two different houses on the market. De-cluttered is another word for it. It’s one philosophy anyway.
You’ve seen the people with the packer mentality. Parents with one kid and the dad has a back pack stuffed to the gills. Then you pan to the mom and her diaper bag looks the same way. They are going back home in two hours for naptime.
So here is an idea for de-cluttering, if it’s your philosophy or if you want it to be. How to keep track of kids projects, drawings and general school stuff. We have a plastic box in the laundry room cabinet with each kids’ name on it. When an item comes home, we (I) decide if it’s a keeper of not. Really special, noteworthy, important things go into the box. The stuff that isn’t–it goes….. out…. sorry to say that. Some of you are cringing. The boxes are kept really accessible, not in the attic, so each day I (or they) can lift the lid and place an item in the box. Keeping them accessible also allows the kids to go through their “box of special stuff” anytime they want. The size of the boxes may have to be upgraded eventually, since I may have slightly underestimated the amount of stuff one child can accumulate, that is special, noteworthy and important, by the 12th grade.
He’s not a baby anymore. Ace turned three friday and while he has been out of diapers for almost a year, it still seemed to us like he was just toddlin around like a little guy. Not anymore. And almost as if a miracle occurred, friday morning he could put on his own crocs and climb into his chair at the table (thank goodness because both were starting to get real old). Guess he’d just been waiting til he wasn’t a baby anymore.
Just the fact that he made it to his third birthday I consider to be a miracle. Some of you may know that when we found out I was pregnant with Ace, Alan was eight months old. Slightly unexpected. It would almost be inappropriate to tell you here how I felt and how I acted. I knew then God had a master plan for my life and that he was in complete control of what he was doing, but certainly I couldn’t see it. People also said, “this baby will be the biggest blessing” and “this baby will be so special”. I didn’t want to hear it. To me it seemed like I had just been released from the hospital. Looking back now, I can honestly say he was the best thing to happen to us. I wouldn’t have even known to ask for this much- and for sure if we had ever seen Alan be two years old, Ace definitely wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t want to have known my life without him.
So I asked him what he wanted for his birthday breakfast and he said, “banana gazpacho”. I asked what he wanted to do for the day and he said, “Play golf and eat at chick-fil-a”. So that’s what we did. Mind you I decided to save my shower for just before the birthday party that night and I am pretty sure that everyone I have met since I moved here two years ago was at chick-fil-a for lunch. Perfect. Fine, so I was there from 10:30-1 and that means there was plenty of time for everyone I know to come in for breakfast or lunch. One spilled carton of nuggets, two pair of the dirtiest socks you’ve ever seen, and three falls off the playground thingy later and I had two tired cowboys.
Thursday I took cookies to his school for snack time and he asked me if I would read his favorite book to his friends. Friday night was his mini-party at Incredible Pizza complete with cheezy homemade robot cake. Does this make him sound like he is vying for a spot on “My Super Sweet 16”?
theme song!! You did it when you were dating right? — you and your boyfriend/girlfriend. Maybe you and your spouse. May I please just go ahead and emasculate you Big A? So sorry. Ours was the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. That’s right. He’s cultured like that.
A family’s gotta have a theme song. Maybe it’s reliving summer camp, maybe we just love music, maybe it’s a little hokey. Doesn’t matter – gotta do it- kids LOVE it! (so do adults) Ours is “Shine” by the Newsboys. On any regular evening you can find us belting it out and/or dancing to it. Plus this song sums up a family’s daily mission. Shining God’s love. Which, by the way, is what we say to them every day before school. I spent many an hour thinking on the thing I wanted to say to them as a phrase of encouragement every day for the rest of their time under our roof. There are many things you can say. “Be a leader.” “Be sweet.” “Do your best.” None of them fit the bill for what I really wanted to say. But “Shine God’s love” — now that seems to do it. That’s got it all- packed into three small words. In fact, maybe encompasses everything I ever want to say to them, show them, or do with them. That’s why our theme song is “Shine”. We narrowed it down to three songs, then took a vote. “Shine” won unanimously.
While you are at it, every family can have a family color, verse, and cheer. Ours are: rocket red ( a shout out to Big A’s high school glory days), Phillipians 1:9-11 and “Goooooo Means Family!” These are the most fun things to include into your family’s life. You can wear your family color at theme parks or birthday parties. You can say your cheer before you go into a public place or party. Memorize your verse together and say it in the morning or before bed. They bind you together, make you laugh, and create memories. Great for tonight’s dinner table discussion…
These are pictures from the creek that runs behind our house. It is the most amazing place. The kids love to go down here and skip rocks, play with any critters they can find, eat a picnic lunch and occasionally wade in the water. I love to go down here and follow them with a camera. Then I find the perfect rock to sit on and breathe it all in. For about 15 seconds. Until someone shouts “Mommy, come see what I found.” or “Mommy, I fell in the water and I’m soaked.” or “Mommy, he just tried to skip a rock and it hit me in the head.” or my personal favorite, “Mommy, I’ve gotta go potty.”
It’s been raining here so much lately that the water is running too fast to play in, but we are still having fun watching. When we first moved here, it was dry as a bone. Then after some rains the water was so perfect we even saw kayakers back there. Now it’s running crazy and really murky but beautiful none the less.