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?
No
So I started searching Pinterest and the things that I know he likes...
Minecraft
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.

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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...

The Polar Express 2016

I had lots of friends take their children on the Polar Express last year, and I thought it would be fun. However, I kept telling myself that Trent would not want to go. I thought he was too old or too cool for it. BUT, I asked anyway. Would y'all like to go on the Polar Express?
YES!
Really?
YES!
Ok, if we are doing this, we are are going to do it BIG. I logged into the website and booked the Diamond Package. I also purchased the book to be waiting on them when we got there.
Then I told Matt that wearing pajamas was a requirement. We HAD to wear them, too.
He AGREED!
Of course, I was only joking, but it was like a Christmas miracle to me because my husband actually wanted to go. He is my bah humbug baby. He does not get in the Christmas spirit, but he seemed to actually WANT to do this. I was SO excited, probably more excited than the kids.
I went and bought them new pajama bottoms at Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid to start. This is the first year that I did not buy them matching Christmas pajamas, and it was tough.
So the day came. We loaded up and headed to Batesville, Mississippi to hop aboard the Polar Express.





We went to pick up our tickets and look through the cute town square. It was pretty cold, so we didn't hang out for too long. We found our train car and anxiously waited for our boarding call.
We were on the top floor of a double decker car with huge windows. The boys thought it was so cool (and so did I).





We started the trip with music from the movie, and the conductor came around and punched the boys tickets. It was very interactive and fun. Matt even sang along to the music (probably to embarrass the boys as much as anything).

We had servers bring us hot chocolate and cookies and they held the book as it was read aloud over the speakers. The boys followed along in their books.













The ride was fun. The only downside was that we were not on the side where you could see the North Pole. I think that was good because it is supposed to be better at night. If you get the chance to make this fun trip, shoot for an evening ride to get the best experience.

Once we left the North Pole and Santa and his elves were on board, there was more fun to be had. Santa came around and sat and talked to all of the boys and girls. The elves gave all of the boys and girls the signature Polar Express bell.















All in all, it was a great experience!

Some things fill your heart without trying...

February 12, 2016
This date brings tears, pain, sorrow. We had to say goodbye to our beloved Brodie last year on this date, and I cannot even begin to describe my pain, much less the pain of Matt and the boys. Dogs truly are man's best friend. Brodie was our first child. Matt will fully admit that he wanted to take Brodie back after his first night with us because he whined and kept us awake. He ended up sleeping in the bed with us that night and every night from then on. Also, Brodie became Matt's dog. If you were looking for Brodie and Matt was home, you knew that Brodie was curled up next to Matt. I was often jealous of Matt, but I think Brodie knew that I needed attention. He slept cuddled up on my back every night, many times with his head on my pillow.

We had to let our sweet boy go because he was suffering, and it was the hardest thing that I have had to do.



Rest in Peace, Brodie Bruce Gatewood
March 18, 2002 - February 12, 2016

Fast Forward to June 6, 2016
We had been to the Humane Society. We had been surfing the web and looking at rescue organizations for a small dog. Every dog that we found had issues with children or were biters. I was getting frustrated, and I saw an ad in the paper for two Yorkie puppies. I showed Matt. He said no. I waited...
Then he asked me if I had called to ask about the puppies. No, because you said not to...
So the next day I called. I set up a meeting. I made Matt go with me. We were only going to look and maybe get ONE. We did not need two dogs. We played with both puppies for a LONG time. The girl was sweet and loved belly rubs. Matt had always wished for a dog who loved belly rubs because Brodie did not like them. The boy puppy was shy and hid from us a lot. We had to pull him out from under furniture. I thought the girl was the best choice...
Then Trent said, "But we can't leave him. They belong together..."
That's all it took for Matt to start the negotiations. Fast forward half an hour, we were the proud owners of TWO puppies.

We discussed names on the way to the house and liked Enzo after Enzo Amore, the WWE wrestler. That's why we needed a boy. ;) The way home we discussed all kinds of choices and decided on Dobby (after the house elf in Harry Potter) for the girl. I said that if we added Lou, it sounded like a girl's name. So Dobby Lou came to be. They have kept us very busy, but the main thing is that they filled an empty space in all of our hearts. Remember that I chose Dobby and Matt chose Enzo. Well, the pups chose the opposite. Dobby is Matt's dog, and Enzo is mine. It is so nice to each have a companion, and we look forward to many adventures with our crazy pups.





Welcome to Dobby Lou Gatewood and Enzo Amore Gatewood
Born March 16, 2016