Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dobby and Enzo!

We adopted them on June 6, and they stole our hearts. We all still miss Brodie, but these little snuggle bugs are filling in the empty place in our hearts. Here is a year in the life of our pups.

Spring Break 2107

Since Matt has taken on a new role at work, he is traveling more. His travel happened to fall during Spring Break, so I decided to take the boys to my parent's house and New Orleans for a few days of fun.

We left on Monday morning to head to Centreville. We decided to stop in Jackson to eat lunch with Fran. We met at McAllister's and enjoyed a nice visit and lunch before getting back on the road to Centreville.

We got to Centreville and to boys went about choosing which room they wanted to sleep in, and Trent had fun taking pictures of my school pictures from elementary school and laughing at them. I told him that I was lucky and we didn't take nearly as many pictures when I was a kid. I can't wait to make a slideshow for his wedding. ;)

I decided to take to boys to see the gun in the street. Legend has it (or so I like to say) that some crook threw the gun in the wet cement to get rid of it, but over the years the concrete has worn down and shown the gun. Matt was upset with me because he said I never showed him the gun. I really thought I had, but who knows. :) Here is a pic of the boys checking it out.

After we ran a few errands, we decided to play a game of Mexican Train. Jack is REALLY good at this game, and when we decided to stop and save the rest of the game for another night, he was winning by A LOT. :)

We got up early on Tuesday morning to head to NOLA, and the boys and I sat in the back seat and tried to play car games. We played Papaw's game where you count the animals on your side of the road. You had to go back to zero when you pass a cemetery on your side, and the boys got really irritated with that game because there seemed to be a lot of cemeteries. :) Once we crossed over the state line into Louisiana we stopped at the Welcome Center to pick up coupons and ideas of things to do on the trip. Jack thought the alligator door knob was especially cool.

On the way to New Orleans I posted on Facebook that was where we were headed, and Hannah (my niece) texted to tell me that's where she was. We told her that we'd meet her for beignets and coffee once we got down to the French Quarter. Little did we know that NOLA was going to be SO busy. The line to Cafe Du Monde was SUPER long, so we went to Cafe Beignet that still had a long line, but it was not nearly the wait of the other. Hannah met us and visited for a few minutes.

After our snack we headed to the WWII Museum. One of my parents' friends got us free tickets, and we were so thankful because the line at the museum was REALLY long. We got our "dog tag" and tickets to the 4D movie and we enjoyed a full day at the museum. The boys love history so they had a great time learning. It would take days and days to really get everything that the museum has to offer, but I will say that the movie was AWESOME! If you ever go, you must go to the movie.

This picture of Jack and my dad is one of my all time favorites. So sweet!

We thought that we'd have a pretty easy time finding a hotel for the night, but I was totally wrong about that. Everywhere in the French Quarter was sold out, so we found a room in New Orleans East and headed there. We went to a NOLA fast food restaurant that served seafood, and the boys were excited because they had boudin balls (not as good as Matt's by far) and free ice cream. We enjoyed a nice dinner and headed back to the hotel tired.

We had planned to go on an airboat tour, but the cold weather deterred us. I know that Matt was secretly happy about that because he really wanted to do that with us. So we headed back to the French Quarter to get beignets at the real Cafe Du Monde, and our timing was perfect. We sat right down and then the line began to form.

You know we play too much Pokemon because Jack kept calling this bird at "Pidgey" instead of a pigeon.

There was a street performer right outside the cafe and the boys enjoyed his music. He was very entertaining.

We ordered our beignets and coffee and hot chocolate, and the boys LOVED it! Of course, we had powdered sugar all over us, but that's part of the experience.

After our breakfast we headed to the French Market to buy some pralines for Matt and us. We love Loretts's chocolate pralines, but we were too early. They hadn't made any yet. We were super disappointed, but we walked around and shopped for a little while.

We went to St. Louis Cathedral with the boys. Jack was quite confused because he thought we were in New Orleans, not St. Louis. I had to explain that several times to him. They thought it was pretty cool how old the church was.

Since we couldn't go on the airboat tour, we decided to go to the aquarium and insectarium with the boys. They both really enjoyed the aquarium and took lots of pictures.

After the aquarium we headed to the insectarium. It is in a federal building so we had to go through tight security checks including taking our shoes off. The boys were a little confused, but I explained that they do that at airports, too. The boys favorite part of this place was the chance to eat bugs. I truly thought they wouldn't like that, but I was wrong. Who knew they would be so adventurous?
They also seemed to have a curiosity with alligators. ;)

After we finished at the insectarium, we headed home. Of course, we had to stop and eat at Middendorf's. Between the French Quarter and there, all three of us (me, Trent, Jack) fell asleep in the back seat. We had a great time and a great visit with Nanny and Papaw. :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Matt's Birthday Weekend

After last year's huge surprise birthday weekend at the Shack Up Inn for Matt's 40th, anything that I planned this year would never compare. I had to let myself be ok with that. We had tickets to see Ben Folds for awhile, so that was going to be the "party" this year. We met up with Joey and Whitney for dinner at The Second Line in Overton Square. We all love that restaurant, so it was an easy choice. We all enjoyed dinner and the listening to Matt and the waitress give one another a hard time through the whole meal.
We ran a little late getting to the concert. We walked in when Ben was on his second song. We all really loved the show. We just wished he had played more.

It was fun to run into Clark and his wife at the show. We actually saw quite a few people we knew there.
Clark said, "Last time we did this was what, 2005?"
I corrected him, "Nope, 2004."
We knew that because Clark and Matt went to see Ben in Nashville on a fall night in 2004.
Insert Story Here:
They had planned to stay with one of Clark's friends up there after the concert. I was home alone, dealing with my blood sugar being too high for another day. I couldn't figure out what was going on, and I kept talking to Brodie. We had given up on getting pregnant a couple of months before, but I still had some pregnancy tests in the cabinet. I decided to take one, and low and behold, it was POSITIVE. I was so taken aback that I didn't know what to do.
Matt had our one and only cell phone at the time (a silver Samsung flip phone), and I just started calling and calling and calling. I knew he was at a concert and couldn't hear it, but I didn't give up.
Matt said at one point he took the phone out of his pocket and had 17 missed calls. Yep, that was me.
He called me, and I told him.
He was just as surprised as me.
He asked Clark if it was ok to go home after the concert, and sweet Clark said, "Sure."
He got in about 2:00 in the morning and hugged me, and we were SO happy.
So Ben Folds is part of Trent's story.

We spent Sunday, Matt's actual birthday, taking it easy and enjoying family time as much as we could. I made him the traditional Italian Cream Cake.

He wanted pasta for dinner, so I made Baked Ziti. And now Matt can't act like I'm a year older for a few months (because now we are the same age again - 41).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Speak of the devil...

Well, I post about Pokémon Go and Gen 2 comes out the same day! What Luck! Now we are having a family fun night eating at Babalu and playing Pokémon Go as a family. 

Pokemon Go and Valentines

Yes, Matt and I play Pokemon Go.
Yes, we play with and without the boys present.
Yes, we really do enjoy it.
We started playing when it came out over the summer, and Matt and I enjoyed playing while the boys were at football practice three nights a week for several months. Honestly, it gave us something to do to pass the time. It was enjoyable to catch new Pokemon, and it gave us some quality time together to talk. Once Trent got his phone and we found out we had an extra phone (Boo, AT&T store - that's a story for another time), we started enjoying it as a family. It has lost some of the shiny new glow that it had, but that's ok. There will be more events that get us excited in the future.

Jack told me he wanted to make "DIY" valentines.
When I asked what kind?
I don't know...
Any ideas?
So I started searching Pinterest and the things that I know he likes...
Harry Potter
Pokemon Go

I finally found a cute wrap for a juice box that looked like Pikachu. I had already bought Jack boxes of Jolly Rancher Chews for his Valentines. I decided to use different ideas and merge them into one cute idea. I printed the Pikachu wraps and Valentine cards that looked like pokeballs. Then I went and bought Pokemon cards to put with each of his Valentines.
When I showed Jack what I had planned, he was so happy. That's the thing about Jack. He tells you when he loves something. He tells me that he loves me. He calls me the best mama in the world. He makes it easy for me to do things for him. Appreciation truly makes one work harder to earn it more. I know that Jack's personality does not mesh well with everyone, but I know that his heart is made of gold.
Anyway, Jack loved the Valentine ideas and he was happy to help. Thanks to Nanny (my mother) for helping us cut out and prep everything for Jack's part of the work. We worked on Saturday morning and got them done. Can I just say - that's a win! We had everything done and ready a full 3 days before we needed it. That never happens for me.
Here is the finished product, and Jack came home on Valentine's Day and proudly told me, "______ said that I had the best Valentine's in the whole class!"

That pure joy coming from my baby boy was all the payment I needed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trent's 11th Birthday Party

I wasn't sure if either of my boys would end up liking Harry Potter as much as me, but the audiobooks helped me get Trent hooked towards the end of 5th grade. We listened as he read along in the actual books, and it was a nice family pastime. We watched the movies of the books that we read, and when it was time to plan Trent's birthday party, all he wanted was his closest friends and a Harry Potter theme. I decided to use Pinterest and rest of the internet to do it up right.

I asked Trent what he wanted and the main thing was Honeydukes. That's the candy cart on the Hogwart's Express. I have learned how to be frugal because I started out at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, but I ended up at Dollar Tree. They have lots of cute containers and lots of candy choices. I had to spend a little extra on Amazon to get the Harry Potter brands for some of the candy, but the rest were only $1 a bag.

I started out with the candy store work. I made cute labels for the glass containers and tried to get interesting shaped containers. I made snitches out of the hazelnut chocolates, and I bought cupcakes to finish the display.


My idea was to have a Potions class for the boys. This took longer than I thought, but I loved how it turned out. First, I made wands out of cardstock rolled up with hot glue dripped all over them. Then I painted them different colors to make them all different. Then I made Potions Books with the recipes in them. This took me awhile because I had to make notes for myself on what baking soda was called and what vinegar was called, etc. I made individual books for each boy and they had their wand choosing ceremony before the class began. Just like in Harry Potter, the wand chose its master, so they had fun with that.

Then we headed to the garage and began the fun. We made a density column. We made things that bubbled and fizzed. We even created snakes from fire and other ingredients. Of course, I had to be there for all of the experiments to keep it safe, but I think the boys really enjoyed it.

Next, we had a feast comparable to Hogwart's feast. The boys had tons of food and pigged out.

After the feast the boys had fun eating Bertie Bott's Every Flavor beans and making it a competition. It was pretty gross. With flavors like Skunk Spray, Canned Dog Food, Boogers, and Vomit, I don't know why anyone would want to try them at all.

Finally, we ended the night with watching the actual first Harry Potter movie. The boys loaded up on the candy from Honeydukes and went into a sugar coma.

All in all, I'd say it was a very successful (probably last themed) birthday party for Trent. I thought it was pretty awesome...