Saturday, March 26, 2016

Adventure to the Tulip farm

Happy weekend!

Yesterday afternoon, my sister wife & I decided to load up all 5 of our kids in her Tahoe & go for an adventure.  My "sister wife" is my best friend Jen, who moved here to Texas 7 months before we did.  We've been good friends for... 9 years.  So moving here from CA wasn't THAT hard, since I was going to get to see my female other half on a regular basis.  I could list many reasons why she is the best, but to make it even better, our kids are best friends too.

Anyway, back to our adventure.  I had heard of this tulip farm up north, & we knew it would be a beautiful place to take some pictures of our cute kiddos.  Unfortunately upon arrival, we realized that a majority of the tulips had already been picked.  There were hundreds of people there too.  We still made lemonade out of lemons & tried to work some photography magic.  Jen is a GREAT photographer so I am lucky she was there to capture a few good ones of me with the boys too.  Here are some of the good ones:

This is beautiful Jen:

After we left the tulips, we couldn't resist making a couple stops along the way back.  I STILL cannot believe how BEAUTIFUL Texas is?!  That was not an adjective I expected to use when describing this state.  I always imagined Texas dry, brown, & flat.  I guess it is pretty flat, lol, but definitely not ugly!  We live in the northern Dallas area where we get all kinds of fun weather, but mostly sunshine.  There are many beautiful lakes nearby, so when we're feeling deprived of the ocean at least we can go boating or play in the sand at the lake!  North Texas is very green & pretty for about half the year, & yesterday being outside exploring the country made me feel like a little girl living in Troutdale, OR again.  Lots of BIG open fields with horses & cows roaming & picture-perfect barns sitting peacefully in the background.  The sky was beautifully blue, the weather was upper 60's & breezy, & we had country music blasting in the car.  It was heaven.  Here are some more pics we took along the way:

The horses came up to us hoping for food... the kids got a bag of stale tortilla chips out of the car but the horses weren't having it of course.  We got to pet them for a second at least!

Last week was my brother's birthday, he lives in Oregon with his wife & my niece & nephew.  My other two brothers & my dad also live there with my extended family.  My mom lives in California.  I haven't seen mom for 9 months, & haven't seen my dad in almost a year & a half.  I had a mini-meltdown feeling super homesick.  Yesterday's trip out to the country definitely helped me see that I can feel at home even when I'm this far away from my family.  Not only because of the nostalgic scenery, but because we have friends who are like family here, who love us very much.  And the feeling is mutual.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Craft for the kiddos

Now that we're over our stomach bug, I wanted to do some kind of Easter craft with the boys today.  I love that my kids enjoy doing this stuff as much as I do.  Whenever I say it's time to do a craft, they start jumping up & down & Brody yells "CRAF! CRAF!"  

We got out our good old construction paper, Elmers glue, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, kid scissors, cotton balls & stickers.  Here's what we came up with:

Again, putting to use some cute stickers I've had forever from the dollar section at Target.  My husband can't get mad at me for purchasing useless items there because eventually they get put to use!

I think we'll be decorating Easter eggs next, & then I get to stuff their baskets & decorate for our Easter dinner! I'll blog about it... of course.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spring Organizing Part One: The craft closet.

Happy Saturday!

I've decided that instead of challenging myself to spring cleaning the house, since I do that quite often anyway, I'm going to do spring ORGANIZING.  There are many areas in my home that are collecting clutter.  Being the "OCD queen" that I am (according to my best friend), I need to tackle these problem areas before we have visitors in April & May come to stay with us.  Also, for my own sanity.  Because nothing gives me more peace than when my home is clean & organized.

It was pouring down rain on Thursday after days of sunshine, so I decided that I would take advantage of being stuck inside.  While my oldest was at school I took my toddler to Target & gathered up some plastic bins.  We like to use clear storage containers for everything in this house so that we can easily see what's in them.

In our play room, I use the closet for storage of the kid's craft supplies.  It was all cluttered & thrown up there along with many toys on the floor that never get played with.  Here's what it looked like:

Really?  It was so ugly I just kept that door shut & cringed every time I had to open it.

Literally an hour later & some hard work it looked like this:

The white labels were ones I found recently in the dollar section at Target, & the black ones are chalkboard labels I found at Walmart not long ago.  A couple of the drawers are for my craft supplies as well, & I decided to utilize the space even more & store my fabric in there now too! It freed up so much space in my woman cave.  

Here's for the oh-so-satisfying before & after:

Now instead of avoiding that closet I keep going back in to take a peek because it looks so clean!  Now on to the next problem area! I'll post when I get around to it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Leprechaun Pancakes

This morning (after the gym, ironically), my boys & I decided to make some yummy "Leprechaun Pancakes"!  I had them get to work by separating out all of the marshmallows from a bowl of Lucky Charms.  (Trying to keep them from eating them was the hard part.)

While they were busy with their marshmallow hunt, I made the Bisquick mixture in a bowl.  After that, I let them each drop in some green food coloring to the mix, until we achieved the shade of green we thought was just right.  Then, I let them each pour in a little bit of marshmallows!  They came out super cute.  If you want to make these yourself, just use the recipe off of the Bisquick box, add green food coloring & Lucky Charms marshmallows.

I hope y'all have your green ready to wear for tomorrow!

Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Patricks Day craft

This afternoon we decided to do a craft for St. Patrick's Day since it's this Thursday!  It snuck up on us this year.

I decided to let the boys paint with Crayola washable paints (the ONLY kind I let them use for crafts.)  Instead of using fingers, (I'm too tired for that today), we used wine corks!  I have quite the collection of corks stocked up from over the years, specifically for crafts, so this worked really well for us.  The boys liked it & it was less mess.

Cole made a rainbow, with a pot of gold at the end... & the leprechaun left his prints behind:

Brody just used the cork in many different colors & created his own abstract work of art:

They're very proud.

The clean up was super easy since they used corks instead of fingers. 

Next up for St. Patrick's Day, I want to make a green treat of some kind! And corned beef brisket for dinner on Thursday. Yummmm.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Spring Fever!

It's ironic that I'm posting about how much I love spring right now.  It's dreary outside, we're having a yucky 5 days of weather here in north Texas.  Spring break for us this year is clouds, wind, some rain, thunder, & possible tornadoes.

BUT... I do know that later spring here is gorgeous!  Colorful flowers blooming on trees, weather in the 70's, sunshine... & our pool is supposedly opening in less than a MONTH!  Since we just moved here from California 8 months ago, we're definitely used to having summer come early, & we love it.

Anyway, I'm taking advantage of having to stay inside a lot this week & doing some cleaning/decorating.  May as well decorate the inside of my house pretty when outside is ugly.  I always do new chalk art for every season on our foyer table chalkboard.  I decided to decorate the whole entry way for Easter.  I love all the pastels & cheeriness that spring brings.  Here it is:

The Happy Easter banner & pink birdie are from Target, & the white flower pot & pillars are Ikea, & the flowers are from Trader Joes. 

I also added some pink tulips to our new coffee table that my HUSBAND built & stained for me!!! 

(Olivia the cat is always lurking around somewhere in my photos...)

I hope this inspires you to add some pretty spring colors to your home as well!  

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Baby #3?

It was about a year ago when we were still living in California, that I can remember telling my husband I felt like we were done having kids.  He agreed with me.  We had our two, extremely cute, extremely healthy, extremely wild & crazy boys & that was all we needed.  And could handle.

Around this time we started looking into the possibility of moving to Texas... & my husband said "You better not say let's move to Texas & then decide you want to get pregnant again."

Fast forward to a year later... we are living in Texas, settled in, & I have full blown baby #3 FEVER.  I had a conversation with one of my friends about it the other day & she reminded me of that comment Michael made about how I better not want another baby if we move.  I had completely forgotten about that.  He predicted it, but I truly did not.  I did NOT see having another baby even a possibility for awhile there.

What made me change my mind?  I guess it's a combination of a few things.  I've always pictured us having 3 kids.  Also, we moved to the most perfect suburban area, in one of the best school districts in the nation, with a cost of living you can't beat.  But what really started the fever was a certain conversation I had when we were on a business trip last October with Michael in Florida.  I was pushing the kids around the trade show hall in the stroller while my husband was working, & a sweet man around my age asked me how old my boys are.  It sparked up a conversation & he started telling me how he has 2 daughters, the same age as my boys.  I asked him if he was done having kids & without even thinking about it he said "absolutely not."  I said "What makes you so sure of your decision?"  His response was not what I expected & I had no clue what an impact it would leave on me.  He said "When we're older & our kids are grown up, graduating college & then starting their own families, we will never regret having a lot of kids.  Our whole life will be about our kids, & their kids.  We will want as many family members to share our lives with as possible, & they will come back to take care of us someday when we can't take care of ourselves anymore."  Boom.  Just like that, a perspective I had never even considered before.  It changed my whole way of thinking.

Before this conversation, thoughts of having a third child were terrifying.  I imagine myself an even hotter mess than I already am, running around in puked on sweat pants holding a screaming baby, Brody playing in the fire place & Cole making out with girls in the front yard.  I imagine a drained bank account, fights between my husband & I, & not being able to go on vacation for 10 more years.  I immediately pictured the worst case scenario.

But the conversation I had with this insightful man really helped me to realize something.  This short period in life of raising tiny humans is only temporary.  The hard part will be over before we know it.  Eventually they'll be bratty teenagers we hardly ever see.  Instead of saying "mom, mom, mom mom," on repeat to tell us something silly, we will be trying our hardest to get them to talk to us & tell us about their day.  What 's going on in their heads.  After that, they'll soon be moving out, going to college, & then starting their lives as an adult.  At this point, we will still have decades before we leave this Earth.  Our homes will be quiet, empty, & we will be waiting for our kids to call us & tell us how they're doing.  When we can see them next.  We will have framed pictures of our kids & their families all over our house, & will brag to everyone we possibly can about how proud we are of these amazing, perfect humans we raised.  Well, at least that's how I picture we will feel.

Our children are an extension of us.  They are our hearts, walking around outside of our bodies.  I am so blessed to be a mother... I know this.  And if God has a different plan for us, if we are not meant to have another baby, then that's okay.  We really do have all we need.   I know the yearning for another baby would slowly fade away into the back of my mind & I would move on, happily!

As for right now, in this moment, I am not convinced that we are finished.  I have always imagined myself with 3 kids, a family a 5 like I grew up with.  With our "Jackson 5" license plate.  All piling into our big family SUV to drive to the lake for the day, having big family holidays with lots of noise & laughter, summer days in the back yard BBQing & the kids swimming in the pool.  I see happy chaos like when I was a kid.  With or without a third child, this is what I want & this is what we'll have.

Now, if we do have a third, that'll be enough for us.  3 is definitely the max.  The clock is ticking, & I don't want the third to be too far behind the boys.  I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.  I mean, how could I NOT want another Michael & Stevie creation?

Only time will tell.