Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rub a dub dub...

After a long day at the pool, the girls hopped in the tub to wash off the chlorine.  And, we lost Sam.
 Found her!

Friday, July 22, 2011

All "Shapes" and Sizes

A few days ago I started getting ready for work and realized I was missing quite a bit of makeup. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who the main suspect would be and a few minutes later, Addison begrudgedly pulled her purse out from behind the guest room dresser and handed me back my stuff.

Her guilty face proved to me that she knew she shouldn’t have taken it so we sat down for a long talk about borrowing vs. stealing. Borrowing is when ask permission, stealing is when you just take. She didn’t appear to see the seriousness of the situation so I had to put it into terms she really understood.

Now, Addi has one item that is most dear to her, no matter the day, month or year. It’s her “Shape blanket” – a fuzzy baby blanket with squares on it.

Addi and "Shapey"

This item is so precious to her that we once had this conversation:

Addi: “Mommy, today at school we learned that if there is a fire you have to leave the house right away!”
Me: “That’s right. Now, do we EVER go back into the house while it’s on fire?”
Addi: “Well, unless my Shape blanky is in there. You have to go back in and get that Mommy.”


Addi: “Oh, you can go back in to get Sam too if you want.”

Since her shape blanket ranks higher than her sister, I know using it as an example would totally get to her. So, I explained that stealing would be like me taking Shapey and hiding it without her permission. She got a terrified look on her face and I knew she was gotten. I then told her that if she EVER took something of Mommy and Daddy’s again without permission, I would take Shapey away from her.

I really want to wipe my hands and say, “Fixed THAT problem!” with a smug look on my face. But, I have a feeling that someday soon I will break that girl’s heart when I follow through with my promise.

Oh well. I have to give her SOMETHING to talk about in therapy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Splish Splash

I'd love to jump on the "I hate the heat" bandwagon.... But I just can't.

I LOVE the heat.  It sounds so dumb but I absolutely LOVE running outside this time of year.  Even a slow jog with lots and lots of stops for the dog, and you feel so great after.  Obviously it's scary hot for a lot of people... I don't want to make light of that.  But, most days I'll take the heat over cold.  Especially when, six months ago, we were digging out of three feet of snow.  I love summer.

I'm pretty sure these two agree with me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

All's fair in love and... fried food?

Growing up in Indianapolis had a lot of perks.  You have Deer Creek (aka Verizon Wireless) for awesome concerts.  There's an awesome downtown to visit, shop and eat in.  If you don't like one mall, there's another, right down the road!  And, it's the site of what every kid seems to love... The state fair.  The smells, the food, the rides... It was always a lot of fun and we looked forward to it every year growing up.

The downside of always going to the state fair?  No other fair really adds up.  Especially the tiny little fair here in Peoria.  It tries, but it's no Indy.

It did, however, have a display of... Penguins?  Hmm. 
The kids didn't know any different.  They had a blast, having corn dogs for dinner, riding rides, getting Sam's first balloon from the local balloon artist, and seeing the typical fair animals... Horses and white tigers.  Seriously strange.
We decided it was time to head home when we saw strippers from Big Al's handing out business cards to the carnies.  The carnies seemed pretty excited, so it was a win-win for all.

Regardless, these two had a blast.  Who needs the state fair when you can spin in a circle with your sister?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Balloons (and friends) in the park

This past weekend we headed to Chilicothe for the 2nd annual Balloons in the Park.  We had no idea what to expect, and I'm learning in my old age that low (and no) expectations often lead to a great time.

The first thing we saw was a car show, which really wouldn't normally interest us girls.  However, we found a car that made Sam smile and the girls happily posed in front of it.
Next we headed towards the balloons, which Sam insisted she needed to touch.  That wasn't possible so the girls bounced on a few bouncers, were handed a few free Frisbees and played in some bubbles.
Then, we got to the good stuff... checking out the balloons....
Which lasted long enough to take these pictures.  Then they had to go to the bathroom which led to a LOT of drama due to... PORTA POTTIES.  AHHH!  We begged.  We pleaded.  Mommy showed them that it wasn't that scary while they both started at me like I was out of my mind.  There was no way, no how, no thank you, that these two were going to do their business in the "yucky potties."  Sam even looked at me and begged, "Can't we find a tree?"  So sad (and scary that she knew that could be an option.)

Then Daddy promised them a surprise and boom... The porta potty was a friend once again.

After picking out glow in the dark necklaces Mohawks swords, we ran into some old friends who just moved back to town and spend the next few hours playing, running around, and catching up.
Finally, it was time to see the balloon glow... And it was totally worth the wait.  Very, very cool.
I think we'll go back next year.  And, I think we'll restrict the girl's fluid intake the day before.  Just in case they don't sell swords.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thief... or Artist?

Addi has a tendency to "borrow" my stuff.  I do believe it started off innocently, like the time she took money off the counter and secured it in her purse.  We talked it over, she apologized, and we moved on.  But there are other times she borrows my stuff and knows she wasn't supposed to, and she gets in trouble.  Like the day before we left for Jamaica I found her packing and luckily inspected her suitcase.  Shoes, dresses, her favorite blanket, a diamond necklace.... She definitely got in trouble that time.

The other day I dropped her off to school and thought her bag felt a little heavy, so I looked inside and found my camera.  I confiscated it and headed to work, then looked at the pictures she must have taken that morning before school.  Several of them looked like this, and I laughed at her camera skills.

I got through the random dog, stairs, and ground pictures, and saw that she and Sam must have had their own personal photo shoot.  And realized, the girl has a few camera skills.  The pictures are in focus, they have that artsy angle, and they capture a few moments with her sister I wouldn't have seen.

I still need to work on her taking my things without permission.  But, this is one "borrow" I'm glad to have memories of.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A new identity

Every now and then I start thinking about how I can better myself.  I try to drink more water, swear less, be more patient.  Then the kids will do something like cover my entire car in spray sunblock and I'm cussing under my breath, yelling impatiently, and drinking an entire beer in just a few gulps.

Hey, I don't claim to be a saint.

However, a few months ago I was able to really, truly give myself a new identity without really even trying.  And since I'm such a giving (and humble) person, I thought I'd let you know how you, too, can change your life in seven easy steps. 

Step 1:  Get invited to a full day scrapbook event, complete with friends, food, and plenty of vendors.

Step 2:  Run 10+ miles the morning of said event, ensuring you are physically exhausted prior to arriving.

Step 3:  Scrapbook for 9+ hours, all the while trying to be creative, witty, and fun to be around.

Step 4:  Visit the 31 vendor and order a super cute new purse.  Be sure to get it monogrammed with your initials - it really makes the bag stand out.  BONUS if you order the bag around 11 p.m. when you are beyond exhausted and seeing double.

Step 5:  Wait three weeks for your bag to arrive, then show it off to your husband when it is delivered to your house.
Step 6:  Stutter, stammer, and make excuses to said husband when he asks why you ordered the bag with the wrong initials.  My middle name is Joy, which surprisingly does NOT begin with the letter M.

Step 7:  Embrace your new identity.  I happen to think that Stephanie M. Ralph sounds delightful.  And I know that the M most definitely stands for Mary, Marie, or May... Not another word my friend suggested.  One that rhymes with "Boron."

8. Drink a dirty martini (Attempt #1)

One of the perks of going to a small Catholic high school was the inability to get wild and crazy.  With a school that small, any indiscretion would make it's way back to the parents faster than strep throat runs through a preschool.  I have never tried drugs, I rarely missed curfew, and my first taste of alcohol was (gasp) in college, unlike so many people I know.  In fact, the thought of drinking a beer just for the taste was beyond foreign to me, and I learned to drink via Boone's, wine coolers, and the occasional Zima.  (Don't laugh, you know you tried that too.) 

After four five years in college, I was finally able to say with a straight face that, given a choice, I'd choose a beer over pretty much any other drink.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good margarita, but there's rarely a day an ice cold Blue Moon doesn't sound delicious.

For most people, drinking a dirty martini might not seem like a very exciting thing to put on a list of 33 things. But for me, it's WAY out of my comfort zone, so when Jay brought me a dirty martini from the bar in Jamaica, I was hesitant to try it. 

Maybe it's because the drink was slightly pink.  I'm no expert, but with the ingredients of gin, vermouth, olive juice and olives, having a pink tint isn't normal.
Regardless, I smiled and got ready to try it.  I was going to do this, I had an audience (shout out Katie and Dean, our new friends) AND a photographer.  Besides, how bad could a questionably pink dirty martini be?
Turns out, pretty bad. 
It smelled like feet. It tasted like feet.  I gave it the old college try, but I could only manage to eat the olives.
I would go ahead and check it off my list (I DID try it, after all) but Mindy had a good point:  Perhaps Jamaica, where the best drinks come out of a slushy machine, is not the best place to try a not-top-shelf martini. 

I guess there's a trip to the bar in my future! 

I miss you, Jamaica!

We had been home from Jamaica for about a day when I walked into Addison's room and did a double take.  She moves her butterfly stickers around all the time (into families, celebrations, etc.) but the newest "design" was a little strange. 

I asked Addi what the butterflies were doing.  She said, "You know, like, dun dun dun-dun, dun, DA!"

I looked at Jay and he said, "She means a conga line.  I asked her the same thing."

Instantly, it made me miss Jamaica.  Because it's the only place I'd actually participate in a conga line - because I'd most likely have a drink in my hand and not know a person there.  I miss you, Caribbean!

Just as I was getting misty-eyed about my kid-free vacation, Sam noticed that I was paying more attention to Addi and requested an impromptu photo shoot, right there on Addi's bed.
Addi took note, and joined her on the bed.
Next, they were joined with a Care Bear and sheep.
And finally, two pillows were added to the mix.
I love how they can make anything into something fun.  Maybe I can wait a bit longer to go on vacation again without these two.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vacation Wrap Up

Due to the large quantities of alcohol consumed on vacation, my pictures are pretty scarce.  BUT, I was able to knock a few more things off my "33 things list" so there will most definitely be additional posts soon to come.  After I get the pictures from Mindy's camera.

Overall, vacation was pretty great.  We had a slight freak out the Thursday prior to leaving when we found out our previously booked resort had CLOSED.  EEK!  Luckily, we were re booked at another resort and were more than pleased to find that it was an upgrade from ours.  And other than a few issues (like our room temperature mimicking a walk in freezer and Mindy's pillow smelling like old man), the trip was great.

That said, here are just a couple of highlights:

Mitch and Jay, enjoying the first of several hundred "Miami Vices"... Very yummy. 
The beach at our resort... Getting a picture without men trying to sell us drugs and wooden carvings proved quite difficult.  Still, a beautiful beach.
And, the pool and swim up bar we spent the majority of our time...  The other pool was much quieter but lacked the atmosphere of drunk people this one did.  Oh, and this is where I did my "Reggae-size" - water aerobics while holding a drink. 
And, our favorite restaurant at the resort, complete with Jay taking over the reins at the grill.  Very impressive indeed.

I'm not tired

This is what tired does NOT look like.  According to Sam, anyway.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pretty darn lucky

Jay and I's vacation was pretty much perfect.  Sun, sand, friends, drinks, food, no alarm clocks...  We felt pretty lucky to be able to get away and just enjoy spending time together.

But, turns out we are luckier than we thought.  Grandma Kathy watched the girls while we were gone and they had a blast.  The girls barely knew we were gone and Grandma had fun too.  And the girls have requested several times since coming home to go back to Grandma's house, ASAP.  And not even when they were mad at Jay and I.  Yup.  I think we are pretty lucky.  And the girls are too.

Best. Grandma. Ever.

21. Have a cookout

Since moving into our house four years ago, we have started a few traditions.  One of them is an annual fish fry / cookout with the Barhams, Tudeens, and other various friends and family.  It usually falls around the 4th of July and always includes tons of food, beer, and kids running around like complete loons.

This year was no exception. Yesterday the men-folk gathered in Scott's garage to fry fish and the women attempted to keep the kids alive. When the sun went down, we headed out front for some fireworks and smores.

The girls, posed and looking adorable

And the boys, not wanting left out of the fun.

All in all, a pretty good day. And surprisingly, my house isn't a complete disaster!

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