Friday, July 29, 2011


My blogging mojo is nowhere to be found.

We've had a constant, awesome stream of friends and family staying out back in the lavish guest house {with private pool}, so there hasn't been much time to upload horrific pictures to the blog.

Until tonight.

But first, I should share that in my continuing pursuit for organizational excellence, I got my vehicle's emissions test AND renewed the vehicle registration today--the very last day of the grace period.

It seems like most citizens take care of things like this yearly, but I narrowly avoided a ticket in February for having expired license plate stickers.

In my defense, I had PAID for the stickers last July, but promptly lost them and didn't want to go back to get another set. Turns out, that might've been a good idea.

Luckily, I befriended the cop and came out ticket-free. {He pointed out that next time he might also ticket me for having a non-functional rearview mirror and texting at the stoplight.}

{Again, in my defense--our garage is really narrow and the mirror is holding together wonderfully considering it's been bumped at least 50 times, and I WASN'T texting at the stoplight. I was just reading the internet at a stoplight. In a car with expired stickers.}

Which leads me to Chicago.

{not really}

We had the best time with Brad's side of the family waaayyy back in early July.

The kids flew solo to see Grandma for a few days. From all descriptions, the flight was great and they had more fun than should be allowed.

Brad and I feel amazingly blessed to have parents with far more energy than us. Grandma Mac had more fun with the kids before 10 a.m. than I could hope to accomplish in an entire summer.

I crashed the par-tay on Wednesday and we went to see Peter Pan.

Holy smokes it was unbelievable! Peter Pan has always been one of my faves and this was the best production ever. We were up close and personal, which made it extra-cool.

My only complaint was that Captain Hook wasn't nearly as cute as I remembered.

Next up was the Sears Tower. I could call by it's new name, the Willis Tower, but no one, including myself, would know what I was talking about.

Last time we went, I was somewhere in the kid years, so it was fun to see it through adult eyes.

It is TALL. And tower-like.

How could Chicago NOT be your favorite city in the world?

I haven't been most places, but I'm sure it would still rank higher. And if not, I probably don't want to find out:)

The biggest change to the Sears Tower since my Debbie Gibson-loving days is the addition of The Ledge.

Didn't get any great pictures of them from the ground, but they're these *ledges* that hang out over the side of the building, 103 stories in the air.

Cue the theatrical drama.

J was doing his Michael Jordan impersonation 103 stories over a very busy street.

I'll never be asked to author a book on effective parenting, but Brad and I consider Jackson's love of Michael Jordan to be a child-rearing success.

It's the little things.

Lilly wanted to play dead. And I was far more concerned about how gross it was to have her face where thousands of people put their nasty shoes each day, than I was worrying about the glass suddenly breaking and her plummeting to her death.

It's the little things.

Thanks, Grandma, for a stellar day in the Windy City!! I didn't even mention the awesome sandwich shop we stopped at for lunch or the fact that even the airport smells delish.

If I don't get distracted by choosing new paint colors or attaching registration stickers to my car, I'll have some photos of family camp posted "soon."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Partied Out

Oh heavens.

I've hit the same rustic brick wall of blogging yet again.

The one in which we've had so much fun and been so many places and have so many pictures that the thought of blogging about them causes a brain power-down.

And then I think of the fun times I DIDN'T grab on my camera.

So instead of blogging, I painted my door for the third time this year.

I also sold our old plasma TV {which I am picturing right now at a pawn shop} and king mattress on Craigslist.

Actually, we listed the mattress for FREE to anyone who could come pick it up.

And they weren't even alarmed when it rolled rather burrito-like into the back of the car.

I may not be a smart man, Jenny, but I know that a taco-esque mattress given away for free has questionable future at best.

In the name of blog accountability, I'm just checking in to let you know I'll be back with all the vacay funnery.

Until then, here are a few pics from before we left. The kids had a great time at basketball camp. They both improved a ton and rocked the hoop on tournament day.

The {early} morning the kids left for Chicago, we kept running into this guy in the airport.

I finally had to take a picture the 7th time we ran into him, because Brad and I kept giggling at his SWIM TRUNKS.

6 a.m. on a Sunday. With a fanny pack.

I wanted so badly to ask him what un-missable swimming opportunity lay on the horizon at his destination. That is preparedness, people.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Warm Summer...

just like the ones I used to know...

where the sweat glistens,
and children listen
to hear something other than the sound of rain and tornado sirens.

Colorado is a lovely, lovely place.
But I had to use the seat warmers in the Burb tonight.

That is just wrong.

Haven't even turned on our air-conditioning yet.

While I appreciate the savings, that is just WRONG.

So that's why I'm looking at pictures of our swim-a-thon in Texas. We did try to swim here one day, but they closed the entire pool deck when lightning was spotted in Wyoming.

Yesterday, we shuffled Jackson and Lilly onto a plane ALL BY THEMSELVES to go see Grandma and Grandpa in Chicago. Whoo hoo!

They are having a blast. I'm so thankful for awesome in-laws who love to have fun and party non-stop.

That is Jackson perfecting his can-opener flip. Super handy for Olympic diving competitions.

And I would say Lilly's flip gets an A+ on technical merit.

Brad and I have been doing some pretty amazing things while the kids are gone...including, but not limited to: mattress shopping, pillow shopping, Harry Potter marathon, and eating popcorn for dinner.

My dream was so sit on the patio at my favorite Mexican restaurante last night, but the monsoon prevented it.

Last January, while Brad was in Chile, it was way below zero and the ol' heater froze. No heat.

In fact, that I had to climb up into the attic, with electrical tape leftover from the Wizard of Oz birthday party and use a hair dryer to get our furnace working again. I made an emergency call to the HVAC guy and bought some heat tape that still required me to MacGuyver the furnace into working again.

It was not a great moment. But somewhere in that dark, cold, and scary attic, I felt the promise of sunny days and HEAT just four months around the corner.

Instead, I have three sweatshirts in my car and perma-goosebumps.


Thursday, July 07, 2011


4th of July eve, we all headed to the Texas Rangers game. It's become an annual tradition because we all love baseball and were on a quest to find out exactly what temperature kills healthy humans.

It was really convenient to celebrate America and the Rangers since they wear the same colors. Score! Brandon-boy had to sit this one out. As charming and delightful as 2 year-olds are at baseball games, we thought his first experience might go better for all when he's 5:)

There is this awesome family area out behind center field where the kids can pitch, run the bases, take batting practice, etc. I, however, spent as much time as possible meeting new friends over by the misters.

No idea what the game time temp was, and I honestly don't mind the heat. It's summer in Texas--what do you expect? My only issues with the heat come due to the fact that I sweat more than sumo wrestlers in a steam room.

Within minutes of being outside, I felt sweat trickling down my leg. No, that's being polite. I felt river-like rapids drenching my shorts.

My wrists sweat. My shins sweat. And I have no way of proving this, but my eyeballs even sweat.

But I've learned to embrace it and I don''t even pretend the giant wet spot on my shirt was due to a water spill. {Although equally likely.} It is my own filth on display for total strangers.

Hopefully you are noting throughout the multiple clothing variations between Lilly and Rylie. The hats and shirts were flying around like it was a costume party.

Love this picture of J and Papa. Dad put the love of baseball in my heart as a little kid and he is doing the same for Jackson. As they say, baseball is a "talkin' game" and that's what I love about it so much.

Talking about the game, about life, and about future concession stand decisions.

One of our most dire food choices was made for us because it was $1 Blue Bell sundae cone night.

I wish the cones had come with a siphon, because it wasn't so much a savoring licking motion as a whip-lashing for your tongue as it raced around the cone to devour the melting ice cream.

But the real winner of the night was the portable air conditioners.

Grammy snuck out Sunday afternoon and stocked up on fan/spray bottles and batteries. I thought it was a little much, but in hindsight might I say: GENIUS.

{J just looks like he's being defeated by the heat, doesn't he?}

Lilly and Rylie took it upon themselves to mist our entire section. And they truly didn't mind.

Due to my sweat issues, I barely needed the spray action. JUST GIVE ME THE FAN.

Their little trigger fingers had to be exhausted by the end of the night. I would conservatively say they were pumping water 99.9% of the time. Maybe more.

While driving home, we were trying to decide if we were dirtier after a day in Disney World {a day in the park will leave you wearing a layer of first-class grime} or after the Rangers game.

Rangers, hands down.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

More Riveting Vacay Pics to Come...

...but until are the kids at basketball camp:

{with our BFF Zach}

They are in HEAVEN hoopin' it up this week. Lilly is the only girl and the youngest one there, but she handled it like a champ.

The hoops are 10 feet high and she's used to shooting on an 8 footer.

My mama bear instincts wanted to panic and talk to the coaches to make sure everything was ok.

But instead I kissed her, told her to have a great time, play hard, and prayed for 3 solid hours that she would know God was with her if things felt tough.

And she loved it!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Slight Link Between Eating and Chubs Discovered


Well, I uploaded these pictures several days ago, hoping that I'd find time to write fascinating captions and post them and maybe add some sort of high-techie 4D setting where a giant space heater blows 155 degree heat on the reader seated in a steam room so you could FEEL the heat that these pictures in no way convey.

But that isn't lame commentary will commence.
We had the awesome privilege of going to visit my friend, Amy and her two little handsomes--Hogan and Rece. We got to meet Rece for the first time and Hogan had doubled in size since we last saw them.

Despite the heat and talk of cat-sized rats swimming in the murky river to our left, it was so great to see them. It had been wayyyyy too long.

We were in such vacay mode that I even let the kids drink a Crush from the can with their lunch. It felt very villianous, seeing as parents JUST LIKE ME are blasted on the nightly news for recklessly offering their kids Coke and contributing America's obesity problem. But the heat needed some refreshment and some high-fructose corn syrup-dyed-orange did the trick.

NBC's health reporter would pass out to know that we had ice cream twice later that day. {Just glides down the throat so effortlessly, what can I say?}

Without a doubt, the fatigue from the 100+ degree heat on their faces is obvious. My fault, we strayed from the bread and butter of coolness: the pool.

Our friends Ben and Ayla remedied that.

We love them, we love their parents, the kids love each other, and we drank YET MORE COKE with our meal. Yes, a LOVE FEST. No matter how long we spend with them, it's always too short and very sugary.

Oh sweet heavens. I just looked down.

I uploaded these pictures a few days ago, and of course, forgot what award-winning photographic content was sitting on my very own blog.


Although this is more of a light, heavenly, ethereal food. Barbeque. Ribs. Brisket. Sausage.

And I didn't even take pictures of the fresh, hot rolls they deliver straight to the table from the hot, buttery oven.

{I'm not kidding...they don't mess around. The oven is actually IN the dining room, which sounds hot, but is actually indistinguishable from the 100 degree outdoor temps.}

Brad, {who, YEA!, joined us for the last couple of days} likes to slide an entire pat of butter carefully into each roll and let it perfectly melt. On the conservative side, I'd say his butter to roll ratio is about 3:1.

The kids can pound a rack of ribs on their own. EASY.

And with feeling.

After all the heat and the eating, clearly, we needed to sit down and be VERY still. For a loooong time.

Brandon is at that cute age where he LOVES the movie "Cars." Loves.

The boy could not be interrupted to so much as GLANCE my way for a picture.

There are some genetic traits that are beginning to emerge from our family:

1. Chubbiness. Including, but not limited to: cheeks, folds, cankles, multiple chins, tummies, buns, rubberband wrists, and ear lobes.

2. Concentration. Have you ever had friends say, "my kids just won't sit still long enough to watch TV!" They are not my relatives.

3. Sugar obsession. I haven't even trained them in is just there. Brandon literally jumps up and down {aforementioned chubs wagging} and twirls around and pants when we mention "ice cream." And would NOT eat it until I put the m&m's on top. And syrup. And crushed Oreos. These things are not taught; they're instinctive.

4. Swimming. Honestly, I wish I would've videoed this. Brandon is the last in a very short line of Jackson, Lilly, and Rylie who swam early, fearlessly, and without any knowledge that oxygen is part of the secret formula for being alive. Brandon doesn't want to be in the water, he wants to be under the water. At all times. Floats and life-preserving devices be shunned.

Lillers concentrating on the ice cream cookie sandwich.
Rylie concentrating on getting back in the pool.
Jackson concentrating on being the only one to cooperate.
And Brandon concentrating on holding in his tummy underneath the swim shirt.

Love this little bunch!