Monday, June 25, 2012

Yummm, popcorn

To continue on my shopping posts, here is how I get shopping done at Target.  Popcorn is my favorite option because it can be eaten SLOWLY.  It usually lasts about half the trip.  

I get the biggest kick out of how incredibly cute she is as she eats.  Isn't it funny how adorable babies/toddlers are as they eat????

Shopping fatigue

This is how we convince our kids that going shopping with us is NOT the most boring thing in the world.  We bring LOTS and LOTS of quarters with us.

I picture, mommy

Presley gets incredibly jealous when I take pictures of the other kids doing, she has begun demanding a photo be taken of her every time I pull out the camera.  "I picture, mommy.  I picture."

Then of course she has to see the photo on my phone or camera, just like the older two.  It's funny what they pick up at earlier and earlier ages due to older siblings.

So here is her posing for a random picture simply because I took one of her older sibling.  She's so stinkin' cute.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Let's build a fort

The kids have discovered the JOY of building forts. If only it gave me as much joy.

This particular fort was built by the kids within FIVE minutes of me cleaning the toy loft.  I got FIVE minutes to enjoy all my hard work.  {sigh}

I'm trying to relax a little and not let the messes bother me....fort building is a fundamental part of childhood.

But I do have to say, the kids had so much fun with it.  Hunter even took a nap in there-- I didn't have to get after him once that day!

Our new family rule is: you have to ask mommy before you begin building a fort.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My dear, dear Cardinals...

THANK YOU for winning the World Series.  And most importantly, for giving us a 7 game World Series.

I'm going to back up a bit and reminisce about my earliest memories.  See, we lived in St. Louis from the time I was 1 until I was almost 5 while my dad was in Chiropractic school.  During our years there we went to a ton of Cardinals games, my dad is quite the baseball fan.  Literally, my earliest memory is at a Cardinals game during the Ozzie Smith era, watching the game with my dad, eating treat after treat.  I loved going to the games with my dad. Hence, I am a HUGE Cardinals fan.  HUGE.

Seeing as I'm such a huge fan I have watched them in their bid for World Series Champions three times in the last 10 years.  I watched them get swept in the 2004 WS by the Boston Red Sox....{grumble, grumble, dang Red Sox and their breaking of the curse....grumble, grumble}.  I watched them win in 2006 against the Detroit Tigers.  I love the Cards.  I do.  Heck, my family planned a trip to Chicago around the Cardinals schedule.  If we were going to go to a Cubs game and finally see Wrigley Field we HAD to see the Cardinals play.

So when the second half of the season had them playing pretty fantastic baseball I kept hoping and hoping they would make it into the post season.  And then win the NLCS.  And then maybe, just maybe go to the World Series.

Let's just say my hoping and hoping sure came to fruition.  What an incredible second half of the season.  And did they ever make it into the World Series.

I kept telling Ryan, "if the Cardinals make it to the World Series I want to go."  He said that IF they made it he would take me.  Thinking that there was NO chance of that happening.

Guess what buddy, they made it.  I cashed in that promise pretty quick.

So, what did he do????  He said we could go to game 7.  And bought refundable airplane tickets.

See, there hadn't been a game 7 of the World Series in about 10 years, if I remember correctly.  Had I known that at the time I would have pushed for a different game.  Say, a ticket to game 1-5.  NOT 6 or 7.  But, to give him credit, it would have been virtually impossible to make game 1-6 happen with our schedule.  Plus, we didn't really want to go to a game in Texas.  If we went to see the Cardinals play we wanted to see them play on their home turf.

So, it was set after much begging, pleading, threatening and maybe a little bit of crying on my part.  We had tickets to see game 7.  In St. Louis. With my dad and sister, Allie.

Now it was just waiting and seeing if they could keep the Series going.

Holy cow!  Can we just have a moment of silence for how suspenseful and record-breaking the Series was.  I didn't think I would survive the earlier series' with the Pirates, the Brewers and then games 1-6 with the Rangers.

But they did it.  They made it an incredible series.  AND, most importantly for me, they made it a 7 game series.  I had never rooted for the Cardinals to lose, but I did this time...just so we could have 7 games.

I about had an anxiety attack during game 6.  I had to stop watching it before I threw up.  I kept yelling down to Ryan...."What's the score?!?!"  "What's happening?!?!?"

It was rough.

But, after a CUH-RAZY game 6, we were off to St. Louis. And can I just give a shoutout to Southwest in appreciation of their easy ticket changing process.  Since game 6 got moved a night due to weather, that meant game 7 got moved too.  I don't know what we would have done without some flexibility.

 Ah, the anxiety of now wishing, and hoping, and praying for a win.

We met up with my dad and Allie at the airport and headed over to Busch Stadium.  What a game to watch my first time in the new stadium.

I had to get my Cardinals gear at the game because Las Vegas had a whole lot of NOTHING.

Then we got in there and soaked up the atmosphere--trying to just enjoy being there, hoping we win and at the same time praying that I could handle it if they didn't.

We made it through Chris Daughtry singing the National Anthem.

Then, well, then it was time to Play Ball!!!!

And play.

And play.

Oh, the excitement and anticipation that was in there air.

And then there was the HomeRun by Freese.  I lost my voice screaming after that Run.

I'm not one of those people that lets my mood or life be affected by whether my team won or not.  I LIKE when my team wins, but it's just a game to me.  It's not like they pay my bills!  I let it be the entertainment it's meant to be.

But let me just say, being there, watching the game that won the Series....well, it was an incredible experience.  Almost surreal.  I still can't believe I actually got to be there and watch my team win.

As I close, let me just say, I love my husband. I don't think he really realized how much I love my Cardinals until this series.  Being there was never an option before.  But for some reason, I couldn't let this opportunity pass.  And thank goodness I didn't!  This trip was my Christmas present, Valentine's day present, Anniversary present and Birthday present all wrapped into one.  And it was worth it.

I don't know if I'd push so hard to go again-- It's hard to imagine a Series ever competing with this one. But I will be eternally grateful that I was there to see it pulled off.

Congratulations to my wonderful Cardinals!  Here's to hoping 2012 is just as magical.

Did you know opening day is this week????  I did.  Let the 2012 games begin!  I know I'll be watching.

I'm reading mommy

Hunter can't read. But he likes to pretend.

I'll go in his room to check on him after I've put him to bed and he'll be "reading."

In the dark.

With the book upside down half the time.

I love it.  I'm so glad he's excited about reading!  I just find it hilarious that he "reads" in the dark.

This is what we found one night after bedtime, Hunter with his books.

Now if he'd just "read" on his bed instead of on the floor.

Jammie time

Madison and Hunter have started this habit of wanting "matching jammies" every night for bed.  It's kind of cute, but also kind of annoying.  It makes for one more thing to deal with at bed time.

Anyway, so they love to match.  And one of the things they can easily match are their Tapout shirts.  They will sometimes see the commercials for the UFC fights and see the face-off between the two fighters.  So, when they wear their shirts they like to pretend to "face-off" and then they giggle.  It is adorable.  Sometimes Hunter will pull out some of his karate hits and kicks.  Thankfully he has no power behind them yet.  Phew!

Nothing says "Goodnight, sleep tight!" like a healthy round of full contact fighting, right????

My bad habits

I'm one of those parents that happily puts their kid down for naps or bedtime with a bottle.  I have no issues with it.  I don't care what all the "professionals" say.  I need my kids to sleep.  I'll do whatever it takes to have them go down easily.  And all my kids have.  They barely fuss at all, sleep for long periods and wake up happy.

Just so you know, I only let them do this for a few months....I don't do it forever.  My kids get water and that's it at bedtime  now.  Even Presley.

Now that you know one of my bad habits, let me show you what I found a while back.

Apparently Presley didn't want her bottle at nap time.  So she squeezed the bottle until all the formula was out and then went to sleep.

How she could sleep on all the formula, I don't know.  All I can think about how uncomfortable and cold it would be.

Let me just say that after a few days of this she no longer got a bottle at nap time.

Finally! An Amanda trait!

I often joke that my kids are ALL Ryan....they have almost nothing of me in them.  They look so much like Ryan's side of the family, they have so many of his mannerisms and personality traits.  It has *almost* become funny to me.  Almost.

So, a few months ago when I ran across this at breakfast I had to get a picture.

Does anything scream "Amanda!" more than this???? I can't tell you how many times this has been me at the table.

Updating the house

 It constantly amazes me how much work has to go into a brand new house.  We bought our house thinking that we wouldn't have to put much money into it.  Oh, how I was wrong, Wrong, WRONG.

Blinds, ceiling fans, garage storage, the backyard, furniture that fits, water softener system and now painting.  Not to mention the fact that we've already had to repair the AC and microwave, and desperately need a new stove.  Thankfully our water heater hasn't gone out yet!!!

Needless to say, we are slowly getting through my list of things that I want done to the house. Heck, we've been in the house 3 years now and I'm just now decorating on top of my kitchen cabinets.

This year we finally finished the backyard.  Remember that post?  The kids love it, they have had so much fun playing back there!

And then we painted the house.....what an ordeal that was!  This is what our kitchen looked like for a week or two while we decided which colors we wanted....

Aaaand this is what our bedroom wall looked like.....picking a color for all the other rooms was easy....but finding a color for our room was NOT FUN.  I still don't love the color we went with, but I never found the color I really wanted.  All the colors I tried were wrong some how.  I can't tell you  how much money I spent on samples. It got a bit ridiculous.

I think I had 12 different options on our wall, and we went with a color I didn't even get a sample for.  I don't hate it, it's just too light for such a large bedroom.  Half the time it just looks like a soft white. Ugh.  Maybe one day I will find what I want and repaint.

So when it got painted we did the closets, the doors, the baseboards and the walls.  I am hoping we never, ever have to paint again.  Every item we own got moved.  I was exhausted by the end.  Two weeks of doing nothing but moving everything we own. Oy.

This is what our house looked like.  It was a crazy two weeks.

Now that it is over I am beyond ecstatic.  I love color on the walls, and my house REALLY needed some warmth. Thankfully it is over and done with.  On to the next project..... {sigh}

Madison's Piano Recital 2011

Madison has been playing the piano for a few years now and really, really enjoys it.  She loves to practice and gets so excited when she passes off her weekly songs.  She does not like it when she has to play the same songs two weeks in a row. That makes for a happy mommy-- I don't like paying for two weeks of the same lessons.

This year she had a recital at Christmas time.  She LOVED playing Christmas fact, she is still playing the Christmas songs every chance she gets.

She was able to perform: Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells

And what was Presley doing while the students were all performing??????  Playing with her bottle of course.

At home Hunter and Presley love when Madison practices.  They love the music in the house.  So when she is at school I will regularly find them on the piano "practicing."  It is adorable.

Hopefully they will enjoy practicing this much when they start taking their own lessons.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Disneyland 2011

Last February yes, I am aware of how long ago that was we decided it would be fun to meet up with some friends and hit Disneyland before the rush of summer and crowds descended and my desire to take the kids became non-existent.

We went back and forth with our decision because we didn't want to do Disneyland with a baby who wasn't even one yet.  So, we got smart and found a friend who was happy to take her for 2 days and we were off!

So for two days we were a simple family of 4.  It was actually really fun, and we had a great time with the 2 families we met up with.  The crowds were light and the kids had a blast together.  The only bummer part is that it rained a little bit.  We didn't mind too much and the storms thankfully passed pretty quickly.

Hunter wanted to ride all the rides with his daddy....shocking.

Madison was ecstatic that she got to do all the rides with friends.....again, shocking!  Our kids are nothing if not consistent.

Hunter's favorite part of the day was getting to see Tinkerbell.  I'm not kidding.  He gave her the biggest hug-- I'm pretty sure he has a crush on her-- and considering he's watched the movies with Madison about a hundred times, it's not surprising at all.

The kids had a blast the entire day.  What was my favorite part of the trip???? Getting to eat Chick-fil-a twice.  Pure heaven.

And Hunter enjoyed getting some straws there to play with in the car on the ride home.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The beginning of school 2011

I had never been so excited for a school year to start as I was for this year.  Summer was rough for us.  With the exception of our SUPER fun trips, it was pure misery-- which is really not normal for me.  I like having my kids home.  I LOVE not having someone else's schedule to follow. We usually have fun and play a ton.  That was not the case last summer.  I'll leave it at that, but suffice it to say, I was really excited for it to be over and finally get regular breaks from the kids.  Now that it is March I'm a little excited to have them home with me again.

remind me I said that in July when I'm crying and counting down the days for it to end

So, here it is....the beginning of pure bliss.  Well, until homework and extracurriculars took over my life.

The kids were being the biggest stinkers that day and would not let me get a group shot.  I finally gave up the battle and took one picture each and left it at that.  

Then I threw a party to celebrate them being out of the house.

Then I received flowers from Ryan saying he appreciated that the kids were alive to be sent to school this year.  I'm kidding, I'm kidding.  That was just the implied message behind them.  

And then they came home and all was right with the world again.

I have to say, overall this school year has been so much easier for me than last year was.  The schedule that I had with the kids activities about killed me....I felt like I was in the middle of complete chaos and just needed  a break.  Which probably contributed to my difficulties throughout the summer.  I never got to take a breath and "right" myself.

This was my life last year, and let me just say, I know many people who have it worse than me.  They are simply better than I am and I bow to their amazing-ness.

Monday:  Afternoon Preschool

Tuesday:  Morning Preschool, dance (which required me to sit in my car with 2 bored kids for an hour while we waited for Madison)

Wednesday:  gymnastics for Hunter, Afternoon Preschool, Soccer for Madison (once again, 1 hour + 2 bored kids = cranky mom)

Thursday:  Morning Preschool, Piano lessons for Madison followed by an hour break and then Dance for Madison

Friday:  House cleaning day, Soccer for Madison

This was all on top of the normal everyday errands, laundry, cleaning, plus I make breakfast every morning, Madison's lunch almost every day and usually make dinner.  

We were a tad overscheduled....We had to do an entire weeks worth of homework on Monday night.  Otherwise it didn't get done.  In my rank of what's important sleep comes before 1st grade homework.

The hardest part for me was the constant "hurry up and get there so I can wait for an hour" that I experienced.  I only had so many errands that I could run within a few mile radius of dance.  And there was NOTHING by soccer.  Thankfully piano was right across the street!

So this year, when Madison had dance and gymnastics scheduled for and hour each at 4:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I knew what I was in for-- I wasn't excited, but I knew what I signed up for. However, the first week of school I had an unvocalized prayer answered.  I was worried that I would be so harried again this year from the crazy schedule I created, that my kids would end up with a mom that was never happy.  That's not fair to them, but I didn't feel like I had much of a choice.   I WANT my kids in activities that interest them.  They deserve that.

Back to the greatest blessing I could have received-- On Tuesday that first week, Madison's dance/gymnastics teacher called me and offered to let her move up a class and then she would have dance and gymnastics back to back on Tuesdays.  I started crying when she told me that.  It has freed me!!!  Now all I have to do is drop her off right after school-- and I do mean RIGHT after school-- and Ryan picks her up on his way home from work.  Life is manageable again!

So now my schedule looks like this:

Mondays:  karate

Tuesdays: Morning Preschool, dance/gymnastics, and soccer (from Feb to May)

Wednesdays:  Morning Preschool, karate, piano

Thursdays:  Morning Preschool, soccer, my day to cook for dinner group

Friday:  House cleaning day

Now I have some days that I can just be home.  That I can clean and organize and prepare dinner or read a book or get addicted to Vampire Diaries on Netflix or let my kids just PLAY.  That's what kids need most!  Plus now they both get a chance to play with friends during the day.  Not to mention naptime.  Oh, how I LOVE naptime. Hunter is a different kid when he gets sleep.

I can't believe the school year is already so close to being over-- the kids love all their teachers and all their fun activities, it makes the constant sacrifice on my part worth it.  I love seeing how happy and well adjusted my kids are, it makes for a happy mom!

So, if you are wondering why I am so behind on blogging or why my house is always a disaster or why I no longer wear makeup, this is why.  I need sleep sometimes too :)

Hunter's 4th Birthday

So....Ryan and I are super lame parents and choose not to do a birthday party for our kids until they are 4.

Well, Madison got her first at 3, but she actually had friends.  That was back in the days when I was a good mom and did play dates and park days and actually talked to adults in person instead of only text and facebook.  You know, the life of a mom with 1 kid instead of 3.  Now all I do is run kids from one place to another all day, who has time for the park???

But let me tell you what, this party was worth the wait.  Seriously, I had WAAAAAY too much fun putting this together.  And let me say, for my first at-home party ever, it was a rockin' success.

Before I proceed, I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Sole for pinning all these ideas on Pinterest.  Without her we probably would have made Hunter wait another year for a friends birthday party.

What was the amazing theme???

seriously, he is one addicted Angry Birds fan.  His favorite version is Rio, he likes the monkeys, I think.  I don't play games-- I'm a crossword puzzle/sudoku kinda girl myself.

He got an Angry Birds shirt to wear to the party.

The kids got to play a live version of Angry Birds.
A big thank you to the USPS for their free boxes.

We found an Angry Birds bean bag toss.

And the kids also got to play a game of  "knock the cans over."

I was worried that with the wait to play the big game the kids would get restless, so they had three to rotate through, and it worked GREAT!

Here's Hunter with the first shot at knocking over the pigs with the slingshot-ed birds.  
I wasn't able to get a picture of the actual "slingshotting" as I had to help hold it.

Then it was time for cake and ice cream.  And by "cake" I mean Angry Bird cupcakes.  

Let's just take a moment of silence to appreciate these beauties.  I'd love to say they were oh, so difficult and taxing to my skills, but they were so stinkin' easy.  Well, to be honest, even though they were super easy, they still taxed my skills as a cake decorator.

I used the Pioneer Woman's chocolate sheet cake recipe and topped them with plain ole fudge frosting out of the tub, and they were the best cupcakes EVER.  Seriously, for Madison's half birthday I sent some to her class and they all said I should be a professional cupcake baker.  Yum!

He had so much fun with his friends!  At least once a week he tells me, "Mom, for my next birthday I want to have it at {it's always somewhere different-- the kid can't decide} ."  He can't wait to play with his friends again and of course, get LOTS and LOTS of presents.