Thursday, August 27, 2009


I am extremely blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom. But recently I found myself stuck in a rut. And this particular rut was the "lack of creativity when it comes to activities with my kids" rut. I was bored. They were bored. It was getting old fast. So, nearly a month ago, in a desperate attempt to claw my way out of the rut, I grabbed a flyer at the local mall promoting free kids art classes. And when we got home, it nearly ended up in the trash, but was saved by the nagging reminder of boredom in the back of my brain.

So now I had a way out of the boredom. I just had to get myself on the right path to reach my destination. In an attempt to chain myself to the train going that direction, I called my sis-in-love, Katie (who also conveniently is an elementary art teacher) and asked her if she would join us for Kyra's first "art class". She agreed and unknowingly locked the chain around me and threw away the key. We were getting out of our rut. We were trying something new. We were going to "Mommy and Me Sea Turtles" art class.

And it was a success. Despite the craziness that was Kylie without a nap. Despite the fact that the "teacher" nearly gave my twenty-something-year-old sister-in-love a stroke because she didn't really have a clue how to teach kids under age 5. Despite the fact that I carried two "turtles" made out of egg cartons around the mall for an hour so they could dry. It was awesome. We did something new and interesting and FREE.

And since that first introduction to the quaint little art class at the mall the experience has gotten better and better. Better because we have gone the last two weeks with our friends Foster and Rowan. Better because we discovered story time at Borders is right after the art class. Better because the Chick-fil-a cow visits story time and gives out goodies like balloons and crayons and FREE KIDS MEALS. Better because we immediately enjoy our free kids meals and then exchange the toy for free ice cream. Better because this week the free ice cream was 4 times the size it is supposed to be. Better because we're out of the rut. We may be getting into a new one, but at least this one involves crayons, paint, friends, cows, chicken nuggets, and ice cream.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Sis + Lil Sis = Love

One of the reasons I was secretly hoping our second child was a girl:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lucky Number 7

June 27th, 2009 marked 7 years of marital bliss for Jim and I. But the anniversary celebration was a little delayed this year due to our amazing vacation to the Outer Banks with all our friends. Our anniversary fell on our last day in NC and we decided we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our friends, so we agreed to do something at a later date. That later date ended up being July 25th - 26th when we escaped to historic Georgetown in Washington DC for an overnight getaway. It was WELL worth the month long wait.

Jim had been in Baltimore, MD for work most of the week, so I drove down and picked him up as soon as he was done tearing down their booth on the last day of the trade show. We plugged our destination address into his iPhone and hit the open road. We made good time getting into DC and to the hotel. Even considering we drove past it once because the tiny placard that marked the hotel's location was a little unassuming from the main street. What hotel would have such a "marquee"? How about a classy little joint called the Ritz Carlton. We were able to book a 750 sq foot suite at the Ritz for our getaway. And, thanks to a huge amount of "points" Jim had been accumulating on his eBay credit card, it cost us next to nothing.

The room was what you'd expect of a suite at the Ritz: a long entry hallway leading into a lounge area with a couch, entertainment center, and desk; then french doors opening up into the bedroom with a king bed and the softest, plushest bedding imaginable; and finally, the luxurious and incredibly spacious bathroom. The bathroom was my favorite. If I could've taken the entire thing home with me, I would have.

After getting settled in our room and changing clothes, we headed out on foot (and me in Italian leather high heels) to find someplace to eat dinner. It was already after 7:00 and we quickly realized that the clouds looming overhead were likely to burst open at any moment. We had talked about doing Italian and after walking up and down a few streets, we felt pressured by the weather to settle on one called Paper Moon. We got a table and began looking over the menu. After a few minutes of silence Jim had the insight to ask me if anything even looked appetizing, because nothing was striking him on the menu and the atmosphere just wasn't what we had in mind when we set out in search of food. I was feeling more like I was about to have my palm read than eat a meal, so (for the first time in my life), we got up and left.

We stood outside the restaurant, as the clouds got darker overhead, and plugged some info into the Urban Spoon Application on Jim's iPhone. We said we wanted a steakhouse (Italian no longer seemed appetizing) in Georgetown. Ironically, the first restaurant to pop up was called Sea Catch and it was DIRECTLY across the street. We walked over and as we stood under the restaurant's awning to look at the menu, the heavens opened up and decided Sea Catch was where we would be eating dinner. it was not a steakhouse, but rather offered seafood and a raw bar, as it's name suggests. But that didn't matter. The atmosphere was inviting and comfortable. And the menu was full of mouthwatering dishes. And as soon as we sat down in a cozy booth in the corner, we were both instantly happy and knew we were where we wanted to be.

Dinner was fabulous and I even tried escargot for the first time. In fact it was such a great dinner that when we walked outside into the pouring rain to head back to our hotel, I simply slipped off my heels and we trotted hand in hand without caring about the rain at all. When we arrived back in our room the maid had already turned down the bed and left chocolates for us. That has to be one of my favorite things about staying in a nice hotel, the fact that they leave chocolate for you, giving you permission to indulge yourself right before bed.

The next morning, we took advantage of our childless situation as well as the hotel's noon checkout time, and slept in until 10:00. We then packed up and had the hotel hold our bags so we could walk around Georgetown, without getting drenched. We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets and then hit up a few stores, but the day passed all too quickly. We soon found ourselves taking the scenic route out of DC. From the hotel, I didn't realize how CLOSE we actually were to EVERYTHING. The Mall, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonians, etc. Our drive out was like being on a sightseeing tour. Then we were suddenly on the Parkway headed back home. And stuck in traffic. But even the traffic couldn't really ruin our amazing getaway.

The Ritz was fantastic. Dinner was perfect. But the best part of the trip was that I was there with my best friend. And even after 7 years of marriage, we're still having "firsts".

*Sorry, I didn't get pictures of the room before we settled into it, so I just didn't take any at all.

**A HUMONGOUS THANKS to Susan for taking care of our girls while we were gone.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Wii Bit of Help

Clint and Ang Weldon are two of our closest friends. My blog is strewn with pictures of our kids playing with their kids. Which is what this post is about: their kids.

They have 2 boys, Foster and Rowan, whom they love more than life. But they have another child that they love just as much, whom they've never even met. For a while now their hearts have longed to adopt a little girl from China (where they lived for a while and have visited many other times). But despite their desires, this dream has yet to become a reality because of one major roadblock: money. Adoption, especially from a foreign country, isn't cheap.

If the Weldon's could pay in love, they would have enough to get their little girl a billion times over, but unfortunately the government uses a different currency. And it would be a shame to let something as trivial as money prevent a family from being complete. Soooooo.... some of us encouraged Ang to go out on a limb and do a fundraiser to raise the first portion of finances to start the adoption process. In response the Weldons have set up a raffle on their blog to do just that.

For a mere $5.00, you can buy an entry into their raffle to win a Nintendo Wii gaming system. Don't need one yourself? Christmas is only 4 short months away! Surely you know someone, who knows someone who would like one for Christmas. :) Or, feel free just to make a donation to help bring this little girl into the family God has for her.

For more information or to enter the raffle, click here.

To read Ang's heart regarding the daughter she has yet to meet, click here.