Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kevin Doesn't Like It

because he thinks that it's a 17 year-old's haircut.

But I dig it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

There's No Place Like Home!

Well a couple weeks ago I mentioned the kids and I were flying to Kansas City to visit my parents. The thought of the flight with a fairly mobile 10 mos old and a 2.5 year old who is working her way through potty training was frankly pretty worrisome, but I'm proud to say we made it. The trip TO Kansas City was a little dicey. I borrowed a portable DVD player from a friend and went to start "promised movie" for Natalie on the flight and realized I had A)not charged the dvd player and B)not brought the power cord with me.


After some quick back-pedaling, we had a very interesting flight in which I had to be rather creative to entertain both kids. Natalie played with ice cubes, we had a jar of play-doh and we stuck stickers to our bodies. Fun times.

But we made it. And fortunately Radio Shack had a car charger adapter that I could purchase for $11. I think my sigh of relief could be heard all the way back to Baltimore.

To say we had fun in Kansas City is an understatement. I went shopping, I went to Schitterbahn, we went to the pool, I got to spend time with my sister and see her new place, my dad and I went on a 25 mile bike ride on his tandem bicycle, we went to see my grandparents and someone watched my kids practically the WHOLE time we were there. /sigh It was so relaxing. (Okay, the 25 mile bike ride wasn't exactly relaxing, but it was some GREAT bonding time with my dad!)

I took lots of pictures so you could see some of the highlights...

Liam chillin-like-a-villian with Poppo

Natalie LOVED Mommo's dollhouse

I love the A&W in Boonville, MO. It has so many good memories for me. Especially the icy cold glass mugs that they serve the rootbeer in. There's just something special about rootbeer in an icy cold mug.

Rootbeer Buddies

Me, Liam and Poppo

Papa (my dad) and Liam

Nana and Natalie

I was trying to figure out a way to fit them (my parents) in my luggage so I could bring them back home with me.

I used to ride a tandem with my dad when I was in high school. This brought back the memories!

Spandex is so flattering... =P

Natalie went to the pool a lot in KS

My sister, Elizabeth, showed me her new place. It's SO neat inside and so close to the Plaza and all sorts of restaurants.

My sister made this awesome scallop and orzo dish with a red pepper cream sauce and my dad grilled super thick steaks to go with it. I've been eating ready-made heat and eat stuff for the past 10 months. I was in heaven!!!

Memorial Day... A Little Late

The past couple years we've had a carnival come to town on Memorial Day weekend. Last year was Natalie's first year at the carnival and while she had a good time, she also was a little young. In fact, one of my favorite pictures of her last year was in the moon bounce (for the first time ever).

I know it seems strange to love a picture of your kid where they are crying, but it was a funny situation and she was not hurt but was a little freaked out by the whole thing. Okay... you can think I'm a sadist and a bad mom. But you had to be there. You'd be laughing too.

Anyway, this year was a compeltely different story. She had a BLAST. And I was kicking myself for not getting discount tickets to Dutch Wonderland for this summer as I hadn't realized she'd be so gung-ho about the whole ride situation.

Oh well.

So she rode ALL the rides she could feasibly ride this year, being only 36" and not 42. Fortunately for her, tall is in her genes so she should be able to ride the "big rides" next year. We went this year with our friends Dave and Jill and their daughter, Sequoia. Natalie and "Squeeze" are only 7 mos apart so they really enjoy each others company. I have to constantly remind Natalie that Sequoia doesn't want to be pulled on, pushed on or constantly hugged, but otherwise, the friendship is shaping up nicely. I haven't figured out if touch is Natalie's love language or if it's just the age. If she's still like this when boys start to be of interest we may have to move to the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming.

Liam thought it was a riot. So much so that he passed out in the backpack carrier. I'm imagining it will be a different story next year!

The rest of the weekend was stellar. Super weather, lots of good cookouts - just the way Memorial Day SHOULD be every year. I made ribs for the first time with this recipe. They turned out amazing and really didn't require much effort on my part. I was pretty impressed with the recipe and will definitely be making again. All-in-all a super fun weekend and a GREAT start to the summer.

Top Left: Natalie's favorite church dress!
Top Right: My in-laws and Kevin at our rib/chicken feast on the patio.
Bottom Left: Liam chillin in the walker... no steps without holding on to anything yet!
Bottom Right: Natalie trying out the pool for the first time this year.
I LOVE summer time!!

Girls Night Out

Once a quarter I venture out of the house sans kids for a night on the town with two girlfriends I've had ever since I moved to Baltimore nearly 9 years ago, Kera and Melissa. They are the wives of two of my husband's best friends from middle and high school and we've been blessed to hit it off as well. The six of us have been through some pretty crazy times together and definitely have some stories to tell (although perhaps not all to the kids)!

Kera, Me, Melissa

So we girls have made it a priority to get out on our own and try to find some sort of respite from the chaos we have waiting for us at home. We always take care to make sure that we pick a place that has a fun and interesting menu, an exciting wine list and is free from little ones throwing grilled cheese sandwiches on the floor.

This past quarter, we went to Pazo, a somewhat over-priced, but fun, tapas restaurant in Fells Point (a historic, waterfront and culinary-rich neighborhood in downtown Baltimore). The ambiance there makes you feel like you've stepped out of the everyday and the food makes you feel more sophisticated just by eating it. Granted, the whole tapas thing is really misleading as a $7 "small plate" may only consist of 3 bites. The whole affair, as you can imagine, can add up quickly. But, regardless, we had a good time. We dined on homemade empanadas, lobster pintxo (on a stick), duck with papas frites (french fries), bread with warm cheese fonduta and more.

After enjoying a terrific meal we met up with the guys at DuClaw to cap off the evening and compare dinner stories. Duclaw is one of our favorite after-dinner spots to kick it until it comes time to go relieve the babysitter. It's nights like these that allow me to regain SOME of my sanity I've lost from wading through the "valley of the diapers".

Slog, slog, slog...

It's also great to have the time to connect with good friends and share this time of life together.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Guys-only camping!

Kevin here - with Lauren and the kids out to visit Nana and Papa, there was a definitely opportunity for some male bonding time in the woods. My friend Devon and I ran off to Harpers Ferry, WV to a new campground that is all waterfront, right on the potomac river! Took the new camper for its second trip now, and it was a blast! The campsite was on the only deep water section of the potomac, and about 100yds downstream starts more rapids. We hooked up with River Riders on Saturday and went white-water tubing for a few hours. That was awesome. The water was 70 deg and swimming was great.

At one point we had two fires going (just because we could) because there was so much firewood laying around. Good times.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ready or Not... Here We Come!

It starts out as a wonderful idea (taking a trip to visit Nana and Papa). But as the actual day arrives and the reality of the impending mayhem hits me I rethink my decision. Who thought that flying halfway across the country with two kids under 3 by oneself was a good idea? What if I'm THAT person on the plane (the one with the screaming children). What if Natalie has to get up and go to the bathroom 10 bazillion times? What if I have to breastfeed in public? What if I have to change Liam in the teeny tiny plane bathroom? What if?


I've thought through all the scenarios. It's a crap shoot every time. Usually they're good, but there have been moments and even a full plane ride of anguish. Let's hope that's not the story today.

Southwest sent me some free drink coupons. I'm guessing it's not socially acceptable to partake myself in the company of my kids so I've considered offering them to people sitting around me as a peace offering should things get ugly.

Hopefully I have enough.

If I can just make it through the next 5 hours unscathed, I should be set. Good things await me in Kansas City. Lots of doting on the kids (and subsequent relaxation for me), a waterpark (YEAH, Schlitterbahn!) and, of course, some good quality time with my parents, sister and grandparents. Stay tuned next week for pictures from our misadventure. Let's just pray that the plane doesn't decide to kick us off in Tennessee. I don't know anyone there.