Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Vacation is over, and it was a great one. I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxed beach vacays we've had since having kids. Maybe it's that our kids are older, maybe it was just something in the air. I don't know. It was nice, though. We weren't on a schedule. We stayed on the beach until well into the evening, and really enjoyed the family time. That's not to say we didn't hit a few bumps - especially when we wouldn't buy Davis a toy gun that he REALLY wanted (not helped by Ava saying, "But Mommy and Daddy! He's wanted a gun his WHOLE life!").

These two repel the sun like nobody's business, but I think they're awfully cute:

Ava doesn't look too happy to be posing with me here, does she?

I have a better picture, but it involves a full-body shot of me, so we'll just keep that one on my computer, okay? It's best for everyone.

Let's see....yesterday was Morgan's birthday (30 again). Monday birthdays, especially the Monday after a week at the beach, generally suck. I mean, it's a birthday, so that's fun, but really. Who wants to go to work on their birthday? Not me. Of course, I like to celebrate a birthday week myself.

The kids wanted to make cards for their Daddy, so we got out the construction paper and washable paints. I think it's safe to say we are not producing any future artists here. And that's okay. They had fun painting, and the fact that they wanted to do something for someone else is what's really important.

Please note that Ava's hair is double French braided. I got skillz, y'all.

Today I finally managed to make it to the grocery store. And by that I mean, I finally ordered my groceries online and went through the Express Lane at Harris Teeter to pick them up. I do not take two children to the store unless it's a life-or-death situation.

I also got new running shoes, which are quite purple. I did not get them in the Harris Teeter Express Lane.  Now I'll have to run tomorrow just to test them out.


We're off to the pool. Laters.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feeling Stupid. Maybe the Olympics will help.

Last week, on Wednesday, I posted the following photo on Facebook:

I innocently went on about my business the rest of the week. The kids had camps, I had a girls trip to get ready for. I didn't read the paper, didn't turn on CNN, didn't listen to NPR. On Monday, while we were driving to the beach, Morgan says, "I can't believe you posted that picture of the kids at Chick Fil A." I was stumped, wondering when it became some secret that I feed my kids fast food frequently  every once in a while.

Morgan immediately filled me in, letting me know that Chick Fil A publicly opposes gay marriage. Ughhhh. I have been so vocal in my support of gay rights, and gay marriage in particular. I was so embarrassed that I posted a picture that made it appear as though I'm on board with CFA's stance. I am not. And of course, I posted the photo on the very day that all of this came to light.

While I could go on for days about how it's absurd that anyone wouldn't support gay marriage, I'll keep it brief. What in the world does gay marriage, or even straight marriage, have to do with selling chicken sandwiches? Why can't they just keep their political & social opinions to themselves and go on about their profitable chicken business? And don't even get me started on the "Christian" side of the debate. This quote from Dan Cathy, CFA President, really fires me up:

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."

Odd. I seem to recall a bit more tolerance and love being taught in Sunday School. I'm guessing he believes that anyone gay can be "reformed."

This is just all really disappointing to me. I do love Chick Fil A. I crave it, really. But honestly, I'll take my number one combo without the side of evangelism. 

Now, on a lighter note, who out there is excited about the Olympics? I think one thing we all can agree on - gay or straight - is that this guy is going to make the swimming competition worth watching:

Let's have one more picture of Ryan Lochte, just for fun:
Olympian Ryan Lochte

Oh yes. I WILL be tuning in. 

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hair Dilemma

I'm still at the beach, being as lazy as possible with 2 young kids. It's surprisingly easier than you might think. The kids love it here. Mornings consist of eating Lucky Charms on the sofa while watching TV. Then some beach time, lunch, pool time, more beach, more pool, and a late dinner. Needless to say, they both fall asleep quite easily at the end of the day.

I came to Litchfield with great intentions of a 6am run each  morning:

Somehow, that hasn't happened.

I don't love running on the beach. Sometimes the sand slopes and that drives me nuts. Other times it's just too mushy, and I feel like that can't be good on the aging joints. Plus, while perusing Pinterest the other day, I came across an Insanity workout featured in Self magazine. I tried out this move:

And promptly pulled a muscle in my back. Ouch. Of course, that provided an excellent excuse for laziness. However, I'm debating a quick run before getting everyone ready to head out to the beach this morning.

One of the biggest issues I have to deal with here is Ava's hair. She has been wanting to let it grow out for some time now. So, I've been letting her. My initial thought on the topic was, "it's her hair, if it's a big deal for her to have it long, I'll let her do it." Trouble is, long is not really the best style for her. And it's not even crazy long, yet. But it's long enough that it is constantly tangled, resulting in a scream-fest every morning when it's time to brush it. I love it in a ponytail:
But what I really loved was when she was four and had this sweet little bob:

I recently showed her a picture of Crystal Gayle, thinking that would change her mind about overly-long hair,  but of course, it had the opposite effect. She was mesmerized. 

Of course. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Friend on One Kings Lane

Hi all. It's been another long hiatus in blogging - I guess that's just the way it goes in summer. There's been lots of fun going on, including a girls' weekend to the beach. And, I'm currently at the beach with Morgan and the kids for the week. No complaints here. Well, at least not yet.

No mom stuff on the blog for me today, though. I have to tell you about my friend Jen, who has great taste and a bit of a talent with a paintbrush. Jen and I have been friends since just after college graduation. In addition to being gorgeous, smart, and funny, she also has great taste. She has a blog - Gilded Mint - on which she features beautiful home design. 

Well, it turns out that in addition to having great taste, she also has her own artistic talent. She features her gorgeous and colorful abstracts in her Etsy shop.

Camellia - Coco Chanel Inspired Abstract Flower Painting Acrylic

Banff Garden Poppies and Roses Painting - Pinks, Gold and Coral Abstract on Canvas

Lacquer Love Chanel Inspired Gouache and Acrylic Abstract Painting

So, the REALLY cool news is that Jen is being featured today-Thursday on the one and only One Kings Lane as one of their Emerging Artists.

one kings lane popular artist art painting

one kings lane day of art sale

The sale will begin at 11am EST today, so be sure to check it out. And, if you miss out on the OKL sale, be sure and check out her Etsy shop. I for one am thinking I need to scoop up a couple of pieces for my kitchen. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Someone is Not Getting the Team Spirit Award.

Okay, I'm totally enjoying the kids' being in camps this week. Davis goes 9-1, and Ava 9-3. The hours at home with just Davis are fine because he's so much more chilled out without his sidekick to goad him into doing illicit activities. I've really not even done anything exciting in the days they've been busy - just lots of staying at home, happy to have my house to myself. Really happy. The kids have also been pretty tired, so bedtime has been really easy.

I should tell you, though, that yesterday afternoon produced a storm of a fight with my teenage 6-year-old daughter. I should have known it was coming. Two days of camp at St. Mary's, combined with some insomnia the night before made for a really tired girl. And, after nearly seven years, I should know that tired Ava = grumpy, argue-about-everything Ava. What can I say? I'm a slow learner.

So, it was a rainy day for a lot of the day. Monsoon-like, if you will. A swim meet was scheduled, but I really thought it would be rained out, so I casually mentioned that maybe we'd go to Moe's for dinner. To my kids' unsophisticated palettes, that is five-star dining, worthy of much excitement. I threw it out there as an "in case we don't have the swim meet" sort of thing. And, let's be honest. I wasn't all that jazzed about sitting out at the swim meet myself.

With Ava, if you mention something, you better damn well be prepared to follow through on it, or be ready to hear that you broke a promise, or even lied. LIED. That's pretty much what happened. She got it in her mind that we weren't having the swim meet and were going to Moe's. All of a sudden, though, the skies cleared, and the sun was shining. Ava did not want to go to her swim meet. At all. My Universal Mom Words took over: "You're part of a team! You made a commitment! You need to be there! What if no one showed up and your team lost?"

Ava's glib response?

"I don't care."

Hmmm. Okay. Not really the response I was going for. And, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. So I told her the choice was to go to the swim meet and be a good sport, or get in her pj's, get in the bed, and go to sleep. For the night. It was 5pm. After a rather lengthy battle, the details of which I will not go into, but which included lots of accusations of meanness, she kind of relented and we headed to the meet. 

About halfway there, Ava announced that she wasn't going to swim in the meet. At first, I said fine, we'll go home and go to bed. But then I realized Davis was in his bathing suit, wanting to play at the pool. He wasn't misbehaving, and shouldn't be punished. So I told Ava that not swimming in the meet was fine. However, she would have to go to the pool with us, and sit in a chair while her brother played. The only way she was getting in the pool at all was in that meet. Period. 

Since she's a smart girl, she decided the meet seemed like a good idea. And that was great, because she won her heat in freestyle, for the first time ever. Unfortunately, that was kind of spoiled after her event when she mis-stepped and fell into the pool at the steps. Ouch. Poor thing was so embarrassed and in pain that she declared that she HATES winning and requested that I not give her any more attention regarding her victory. Of course, I think it was the sort of request that actually means, "pay LOTS of attention to me because I am making a huge deal about this." But that's just a guess. 

Anyway, it was our last home meet, and the last one we're attending at all. So, the season is over for us. I'm glad it ended with a winning ribbon, and hope the win will overshadow the battle to get there and the fall afterwards. Did I mention that I think she also got stung by a small bee? What a night.

On a related note, I wonder what camps will take both kids next week?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend + The Week I've Been Needing

We had a great weekend, and I can't decide if it flew by or went slowly. Either way, it was a good one.

In true summer fashion, we had no plans on Friday. My aunt, who I had not seen since Thanksgiving, was visiting with her boyfriend at my parents' house. So, the kids and I hopped in the car and drove there, planning to spend a few hours. But, it's hard to spend just a few hours with people you love and don't see enough of. Besides, there was wine with lunch. Just one glass, since I knew I'd be driving home later in the day. Somehow, later in the day turned into 5pm, and Davis had fallen asleep all snuggled up in a chair. He woke around 6, and  at that point, I had already talked myself into spending the night, despite the fact that we had no pajamas, no toothbrushes, and none of the kids' precious lovies. Plus, there was the promise of more wine, which made the decision a no-brainer.

I somehow neglected to take any pictures there, but in the theme of family, here's one of all the women in my family on Ava's first birthday:

My mom, my aunt, me, my other aunt, and my sister

Suffice it to say that we had a great visit, and didn't even get back to Raleigh until 3pm the next day. Ava had a little American Girl get together with some of her buddies, so she headed to that and Morgan and I ate pizza and watched Jeopardy until he had to go get her. (I know - you are SO jealous of my life right now).

Sunday was just what Sunday should be. I had planned on working out, but decided against it. We all ventured to the Farmer's Market in the morning, where we got all of our summer faves: peaches, blueberries,  blackberries, tomatoes, corn, okra, cantaloupe. I mean, doesn't summer just remind you that nature really does give us the very best food? I just love it. The kids love all the samples of fruit at the market:
(I don't know why Ava appears to be trying to crush Davis' head)

 After making some BLTs for lunch, I met up with a couple of friends for THE movie of the summer:

I thought it would be Matthew McConaghey who would be the best eye candy, but no. That badge goes to the unbelievably hot Channing Tatum. 

The movie was a little deeper than I expected, and worth my $7.50. 

Upon arriving home, I decided it was time to mix up some summer yumminess in the form of peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream. I used Paula Deen's peach cobbler recipe and it's a keeper. One stick of butter, my friends. Delish. And, for the ice cream, we went a little lighter. I tried making frozen Greek yogurt. The kids and I liked it, but one taste and it was clear that Morgan did not. It was really easy, though.....just nonfat Greek yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Put in the ice cream maker, and voila. 

And, the cobbler:

While I was cooking, Davis wanted to go outside. Since it was 105 outside, I thought the only option there was to fill up the water table. We looked outside and found him like this:

Finally, today marks the start of the week I've been waiting for all summer. BOTH kids are in camps. BOTH. As in, at the same time. Meaning, I have freedom this week. Freedom! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Have No Idea What Day It Is

Ending a week at the beach on Monday was the first thing that threw me off. Then Morgan worked from home on Tuesday and even took time to go to a movie with the kids and me. And then yesterday was a holiday. So, the whole week has sort of been one giant weekend, and I'm not really even sure what day it actually is. Doesn't matter, of course. It's been a fun week. Here are my random musings for today, in no particular order:

1) You may recall that last year, around this time, I took Davis to see his first theater movie, and it was nothing short of disastrous. I vowed to never do it again. But, then along came a super-hot week, and Madagascar 3 started looking like a good option. I'm happy to report that Davis passed this year's movie test with flying colors, and he might even get to go back and see Brave.

2) Yesterday was the 4th (obvs), and we had a good day. One thing I might caution all of you against is trying to make margaritas by the pitcher. I don't know what happened. I used a "recipe" that looked good enough, and played around a little with the amounts. What came out was yummy, but perhaps just a tad bit strong. And by "a tad bit" I mean, it could knock you out.

3) I finally finished reading all three Fifty Shades books. These ecards about sum up my feelings:

Fifty Shades of Grey eCard
50 Shades of Grey 50 Shades of Grey
I can't lie. I enjoyed the books. The second and third could have been a great deal shorter, but still. There was a little bit of story throw in with all the other stuff. Unfortunately, I do feel as though I kind of wasted some brain cells, so now I'm reading Pride and Prejudice. Can you believe I've never read it? To quote Morgan, "How can you be a girl and not have read Pride and Prejudice?" 

In addition to reading a classic, I'm also listening to Gone Girl via Audible.com. Since we drive to and from the beach several times in the summer, I love, love, love audio books. 

I've heard a lot of buzz about this book lately, and it's good. I'm not sure I'm wild about the readers in the audio version, but they are definitely good enough to keep my interest piqued. We're driving to Greensboro tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to plugging the kids into their DVD headphones and enjoying my book. Have I mentioned that wireless headphones for kids in the care are the greatest travel invention EVER? They are. 

Oh, and also? My house is getting cleaned tomorrow. Happy Friday to me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Poolside Favorites

Since we're right in the middle of a summer, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things for the pool and beach.

First up is sunscreen. My kids could be mistaken for Bella and Edward's vampire children. They are that fair. Protecting that skin is top priority for me. I'm super-freaky about putting chemicals on their skin, and Ava's skin is pretty sensitive. My choice for them is Blue Lizard Baby SPF 30. It's a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It works well, and I feel good knowing that I'm not putting weird chemicals all over them. I recently purchased a gallon of the stuff. I know it seems like overkill, but it was a great deal and really, we go through a LOT of sunscreen. Drugstore.com sells it by the gallon. They recently had buy 1, get one 50% off, so I split that deal with a friend.

I'm not quite as fair as they are, and despite knowing the dangers of the sun, I like to get a little color. And, my poor body has been slathered in chemical sunscreens all my life, so I use Banana Boat Sport SPF 15 on my body. 

It's good at the pool, the beach, the tennis courts.....the sport formula is great, and goes on really nicely. 

For my face, I go higher on the SPF. My choice there is Neutrogena Sport Face SPF 70. Non-greasy, not white, just good sunscreen.

Now, we all know we need something cute in which to tote all this sunscreen around in, right? Not to mention the 3 or 4 towels, pool toys, snacks, etc. that much accompany us to the pool. I love my Four Buoys Bag from Scout. It's HUGE. Maybe too huge sometimes, but really, it's nice to only have one bag to carry. 
Four Boys Bag

A couple of weeks ago, the company offered 25% off all red, white, and blue items, so I ordered  this Play Girl Tote for tennis, which I really like:

Play Girl Play Tote
Speaking of bags, just this morning, I ordered a cute summer tote for Ava from Pottery Barn Kids. They're having a pretty good sale, and I got this bag for $20 (free shipping). I think it will be great for swim team, overnights, etc.
Girls' Mackenzie Totes
If you have your own pool/beach favorites, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!