Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Friends With Benefits

Or twins with benefits, as the case may be!

Nick and Dillon were both traveling for work tonight so Kimba and the girls came over for impromptu swimming and dinner (AKA: A joint effort to wear the kids out and burn the clock before bedtime). When your husband is out of town, this is just about the best case scenario right here! There is no one who doesn't benefit when you get together with your BFF, do a group dinner, a group bathing... it's fun for the kids and for us! It almost feels like cheating the system in the best way possible. 
I have to say, I'm a little bit proud of the two of us right now. I mean, not only did we singlehandedly wrangle four wild hooligans and tame them into bedtime exhaustion, but we managed to whip up a pretty A+ dinner for ourselves as well, simply by rummaging around in the fridge.
Pesto + Spaghetti Squash and Salad + Chicken. And wine.

I think we were so proud of our handiwork, because let me be very clear in saying, this is NOT our norm. 99.9% of the time in these situations we either pick something up, order a pizza, eat ham sandwiches... you name it. Not to mention, baths are always optional on pool nights. Tonight we pretty much outdid ourselves, bathing and feeding the kids AND whipping up a snazzy meal for ourselves. I'm impressed with the two of us, and I'm not afraid to say so. I rewarded myself with chocolate ice cream later, just to offset any calories saved during dinner. 
These pictures make my heart very happy:

Last night I hosted a Beauty Counter party for my high school friend Whitney. You all know this is right up my alley! I love having get togethers of any sort with friends at my house and clean cosmetics are my love language. 

(Mandy-- never got a single pic with you!!)

This is where the twin picture with Kimba came about. We didn't really dress identically (thankfully), but when she walked in I had to laugh because I own the exact same outfit, head to toe. We {heart} Target and Kendra Scott! Once the party was wrapping up I went and changed into my twin outfit for a pic. I do think it would be funny to go somewhere together dressed like this and pretend we're serious, just to see peoples' reactions. 

Also, yesterday my mom and I took the boys to ride the carousel at the mall. We had made other plans in Arlington that got changed at the last minute, so this was Logan's request instead. You can always count on the mall carousel for a good time. I do LOVE these pictures of the boys though. It is so rare to get both of them smiling and looking at the camera. 

We also made a very brief trip to the park this week- it is just WAY too hot to do anything outside that doesn't involve water. This is how we walk most places now since Everett is on the brink of walking, and I think it is so sweet!
So instead of the park, we ended up going to the juice bar, the chiropractor and back to our own pool. When it's this hot I don't know why we even bother leaving the house. 
I think people are skeptical when I tell them I take my kids to the chiropractor, but here is living proof:
Everett is less a fan than Logan, but he'll get there.

Today we went to the jump park and there was the creepiest Mickey there. I think it was character day or something, but it was just strange to me. Thanks, but I'd rather my kids not climb through dark tubes alongside a guy in gloves and a mask. Regardless, the kids loved it.
Logan spent an inordinate amount of time analyzing whether or not he was real. He finally concluded that he could see skin on the back of his neck and through a hole in the bottom of his sock, so he was not, in fact, a real Mickey Mouse. I love Logan and his old man, analytical ways. Have a great week!

Monday, July 27, 2015

These Are Some Good Times

I can thank Jaymi for the fact that I shared bed space with an oversized, creepy doll and a stick horse on Friday night. 
Nick and I went out on Friday night, and while we were gone Jaymi snuck over and slid a stick horse and this weird doll Hayden has named Tammy Everett that totally creeps me out in our bed. I didn't actually sleep with our visitors, of course, but Nick and I staged this photo to text Jaymi Saturday morning. 

The funny thing is, Bailee was baby-sitting and didn't even bat an eye when Jaymi came slinking through our house. By now she knows we are always scheming something, and we have somewhat of an open door policy between our two houses. As in, the policy is: you just walk over and open the door. (Or use your key to open the door.) We really don't bother with knocking at this point.

The other day Jaymi was telling a girlfriend about this chocolate cake she had and how much everyone liked it. She said she came to the part in the story where I came over to get a slice. Naturally, I opened their door, peeked my head in and since I didn't see anybody, I walked into the kitchen and helped myself. Without much thought at all, I opened the silverware drawer and took out a knife, cut a piece of chocolate cake and set it on a plate, washed the knife and headed back across the street to enjoy my cake. 

Jaymi said her friend stopped her there,"So wait, she just walked in your house and took a piece of cake without you knowing?" she asked incredulously.

Jaymi said she had to laugh, because her initial response was, "Well what else would she have done?" 

We sometimes forget how lucky we are (or maybe how weird we are?), and that this set up we have definitely isn't the norm. We swap clothes, kids, and groceries when needed. Jaymi is my walking buddy and my back porch sitting buddy. Jaymi and Cody are the reason our outdoor fridge never has any drinks in it. Of course, when they run out of something to drink at their house they just walk in our backyard and take what the need. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

There was a time when Kimba and Dillon were actually considering moving into our neighborhood too. They ended up finding their dream house about ten minutes away, but here's my theory on that. There is only a certain amount of greatness allowed this side of heaven. If Kimba and Dillon had become our neighbors too, on top of Jaymi and Cody and Lindsay and Jeremy, plus all the other neighbors we call friends... that would have totally tipped the scale. That much perfection is not allowed. So maybe in heaven we will all live in our BFF cul-de-sac compound.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: LADY KILLER

On Thursday my mom took Logan (and his "Bubble Puppy") to see the Minion movie, and he couldn't have been more excited.
Everett and I went to Little Gym and to run some errands, and he fell asleep in the car. Looking at that precious boy sleep with his lips and lashes and tiny Converse, seriously made me want about 15 more kids. They're just so well behaved when they're sleeping! (In reality, I do not want ANY more at the moment.)
 Want to know what Nick looks like when he's asleep? I mean exactly? It's this:
Same expression and all! I can't handle Everett's cuteness. He turned 16 months on Thursday, and is right in the middle of one of my favorite ages. He is talking like crazy- all the words, every one of them- and imitating us, and just so, so funny and fun. 

On Friday I took the boys to the fire station for story time. They both loved it so much!

One of the firefighters dressed up and acted out the book, and the kids were mesmerized.
Afterwards they got to sit in the firetrucks and police cars and police motorcycles, and I'm pretty sure L & E could have stayed there all day. Logan actually let the firefighter set him inside the truck, and of course, had about a million technical questions about every little thing.

Friday night Nick and I went to dinner and something called The American Patriot Tour.
For never having served, Nick is quite a military aficionado. He watches all kinds of documentaries on TV and reads books about the military, and the amount of stuff he knows is really quite impressive. He bought tickets to this months ago, and has been so excited to go.
We got to hear Marcus Luttrell speak (The Lone Survivor guy) and a few Navy Seals with amazing stories and Chris Kyle's wife Taya (The American Sniper). It really was such an impactful night, and I enjoyed it a lot. The proceeds went to veterans, which is great too! The things these guys endure is truly just unimaginable. There is no way we can thank our veterans enough. I have to think God makes people specifically for their roles in life, because listening to their stories I think, there is just NO way I would survive all that. Crawling seven miles after being shot up, not having water for days... that kind of thing. Nick has a lot more grit and tenacity than I do. I'm telling you- I am not built that way. I am no Clydesdale, and I am fully aware of that fact.

Saturday morning we were bombarded by little boys in our bed! (As if it wasn't crowded enough with the visitors Jaymi dropped off.) 
 Cue up Trace Adkins "You're Gonna Miss This"
 Saturday we went out on Jaymi and Cody's boat to celebrate Jaymi's birthday.
 And Sunday was church, lunch and swimming.

Today was more swimming, and the exciting thing is, in the last week Logan has really learned how to swim!!!
Since swim lessons he's been able to swim between people or swim to us from the step, but all of a sudden he is really, actually swimming. He swims all over the pool, across the pool, jumps in and swims to the edge... I'm talking, he doesn't even wear his floatie any more as of this past week!! I need to dust off the baby book and write 3 1/2 years old- SWIMMING!

Everett has simultaneously taken over Logan's puddle jumper/arm floatie, and somehow figured out how to use that as well in the last week! He can now kick around all over the pool and hold on to the edge... it really is so exciting seeing them be so independent in the pool. Not to mention, it's actually fun to swim and play in the pool with them right now. We have really had the best summer! There are times I get sick of playing cruise ship director ("WHAT ACTIVITY WILL WE HAVE PLANNED TODAY TO WEAR THESE BOYS OUT?") and I feel ready for a routine and for somebody in particular to go back to school. But overall, we are having a blast and I'm going to be so sad to see this summer go. 

Yep, Trace Adkins, your song is horribly cheesy and cliché but I think you're onto something:

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bananas & Horses & Life In A Zoo

There are mornings Nick is about to walk out the door for work and I find myself looking at him with pleading eyes. Desperate, pleading eyes like a deer that is about to be shot for the kill that say, "PLEASE! YOU CAN'T GO! You can't leave me all alone with these two lunatics." Always, though, he goes anyway. Today was one of those times.

Everett had a dirty diaper about ten minutes after I had changed the first one, and GOD FORBID I rip him away from his breakfast so mercilessly for hygienic purposes. And then Logan was just beside himself because, "YOU DIDN'T CUT THIS CRUST PART OFF MY TOAST!" And then hysterics because, "THIS ISN'T THE RIGHT TOAST!! THIS WHOLLLLLE THIIIIING TASTESSSSS LIIIIIKKKKEEE CRUSTTTTTT!" And next thing I know, Lexi had two paws up on the counter eating all of the bacon. And look, I know going to a job every day isn't a cake walk, but sometimes I just want to be the one to leave.

When things get especially crazy I have to remind myself "It's not me, it's them. It's not me, it's them," over and over until I start to wonder, "Is it really me after all?" But mostly, I'm pretty sure it's them.

Tonight as I was cleaning up the dinner dishes I caught Lexi counter shopping again. She is at the point in her life where she has no regard for the rules. In many ways she is worse behaved now than she was as a puppy. I guess when you're 91 [dog] years old, you can pretty much do whatever you want and get away with it. 
Today the boys and I went to The Rec to workout and swim. The pool doesn't open until 11:00, so I usually pack a snack to kill the time between my workout and the pool opening. Today the boys were eating bananas, and I had to laugh because I can't feed them bananas without thinking about my brother's look of disgust the last time he saw them eating bananas. (BANANAS, people!)

"You do realize bananas are like, the Snickers bar of the fruit world, don't you?" he asked, probably while also munching on some raw salmon wrapped in a cabbage leaf. (He eats things like this.) He doesn't say it, but I see the judgement in his eyes. I know the judgement, because just like him, I had everything about parenting figured out before I actually had kids. I can't wait for JG & Stacey and Andrea & Chris to start having kids for so many reasons. Being the aunt is going to be the best!

Logan wanted to ride his bike for a while today too, and of course this required a wardrobe change. He insists on wearing his tie dye shirt from horse camp at least once a day, which seems odd for someone who claims they didn't like horse camp one bit.
He also decided today was the day to color his cape he got for a birthday present in December. He didn't take it off until dinner time and got lots of remarks on his cape when we were out running errands.
The very best thing Logan did today, and maybe in his entire life, was this during "quiet time":
I looked on the monitor and couldn't stop laughing when I saw him watching the iPad in my horse head. (So many strange things in that one sentence.) I have been cleaning out our hall closet, so I guess he found it in the pile and confiscated it. Honestly, I've never felt more proud. He is 100% my child.
And a cute E smile just because

As I mentioned I have been cleaning out our hall closet. It was a disaster, and I'm not even talking by my standards. For some odd reason we only have one hall closet in our house and it had become a catch all for coats, the vacuum cleaner and tons of Logan's random art supplies. It was driving me nuts. You opened the door and stuff fell out, and you had to shuffle things around just to get the vacuum out. (Good excuse not to vacuum!) Logan's art supplies were overflowing in two big laundry baskets with markers and broken crayons in the bottom, play dough at the top... really just a mess. So tonight after the boys went to bed I poured myself a big glass of wine, turned on Pandora, and finished getting things ship shape. 

I really should have taken a before picture, but here is the finished product. I don't know why a good organizing project makes me giddy with excitement. 
I threw away a ton of stuff and cleared out a cabinet in the laundry room to store the remaining art supplies. I put everything in plastic totes we had around the house and added labels. Labels are my left brained love language!!
The coolest thing is this tote I bought at The Container Store a few months ago. Normally I try to buy things like plastic totes in less expensive places, but this one was calling my name. I knew I would put it to good use eventually.

Want some markers? Oh, let me hand you the marker cup which fits neatly next to the crayon cup. Balm to my soul!
And now our coat closet is simply just a coat closet, and I've never been happier. 

If you're anything like me and organization makes you tick, HERE is a post a did a few months ago with some of my organizing ideas and tips. 

Also, if you need a good laugh you should check out my freighbor (friend + neighbor) Lindsay's blog HERE. She is so witty and has the funniest sense of humor. 

I'm sure most of you read Kimba's blog already, but if not her blog can be found HERE.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The BWG, The BBG & The Dream Team

My first job out of college was teaching third grade at a Title I school on the outskirts of Dallas. In many ways, that job was like a segway between college and the real world. It was a tough school with tough kids and a principal that was not easy to work for (putting it very, very mildly). 

The kids were challenging, but also, mostly wonderful and so that aspect of the job was very rewarding. The majority of the teachers at our school were single, recent college graduates, because as my mom and Teri put it, no one else would be willing to work under those conditions (again, the principal, not so much the kids). But we all worked hard and loved the kids so much. 

The flip side was, oftentimes when the kids left for the day our school morphed into a frat house of sorts. I could sit down and write an entire novel about the things that happened those years, and I promise you, the average person probably would not believe it. It would involve fire, white tigers, dance parties at the principal's house, teachers driving cars on the school lawn... basically it was mayhem. 

Just to give you a frame of reference, I had a team leader one year who was in her sixties (who incidentally, did not believe in wearing a bra) that would leave for smoke breaks while the kids were at P.E. & music and it was a well known fact that at all times, she had a six pack of beer iced down in her Jeep and ready to go when the bell rang.

Another example is, there was a student who was having some major behavior problems so they decided to move him into my classroom. I invited his mom to come visit my class and see firsthand what was going on. In the middle of the lesson he started acting up so what did she do? Rummaged around in a back cabinet and found a ruler, walked over to her son and started beating the you-know-what out of him right there for all 22 of us and God to see. I've never seen anything like it since.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the girl who ate too many McGriddles the morning of the TAKS test and threw up all over her test, so we had to bag it up and send it off to the State of Texas, like some type of crime scene investigation. This was of course, the same girl who had attended her grandma's bachelorette party earlier that year and came to school on Monday with stories aplenty and a blinking necklace.

As you can imagine, it was a really, really interesting couple of years. During this time I taught with three other girls and we so humbly dubbed ourselves "The Dream Team." 
Emily, Bri, Cassie and me- 8 years and ONE LIFETIME ago!

Teaching with Emily, Bri and Cassie was one of the highlights of my teaching career. I loved these girls so much! They were outstanding teachers and we really challenged one another and worked so well together. I left the year Nick and I got married to teach in Keller and thus, the dream team was forever dissolved. 

We have all kept in touch loosely on Facebook, but haven't gotten together since the summer after I moved. Emily is pregnant with her first baby, and through a series of Facebook comments about her baby, we concocted a reunion so we could get together and finally meet each others' kids and catch up. 
The dream team today!

Everyone came over to my house to swim, and we ordered Jason's Deli for lunch. It was seriously the best day! We went from zero kids to now six between us, and we picked up like we had never left off, rehashing old stories, laughing, and filling in the gaps over the last eight years. They ended up staying until after 4:00, and at one point there were babies napping on pallets and pack & plays in three different rooms of my house. Perfection! If I'd had it my way, they would have just stayed the night. 

Five babies + one on the way

During these years Bri was my team teacher. I taught language arts and she taught math. As Bri says, "We were tight," and we were. She always jokingly called me her BWG (basic white girl), which I totally am- stereotypical white girl- but Bri is just as much your BBG. Attitude and all!
Bri has two boys, Jaylon and Jarred. I would have happily kept baby Jarred for my own, with his fro that reaches to the moon and his eyelashes for days. I mean... the most beautiful baby ever.

((Rest assured, Logan is not drowning, as it would appear. He spends a serious amount of time these days holding his breath and peeping around underwater with his goggles. We have to watch him like a hawk in the pool.))

Bri is from Missippi originally and she pronounces my name like CHELLL-sea. When she walked in yesterday about 45 minutes later than Emily and Cassie, after all the hugs, the first thing she reminded me was, "CHELLL-sea. Giiiirl. You know I live on CPT (Colored People Time), and therefore I will never be anywhere exactly on time."

I forget these things. The second thing she said was, "CHELLLL-sea, so lemme see it. Where's your white board? I know you have, like, a schedule all written out and perfect in your handwriting for your boys. And I know you're probably in a 'mommy group' or somethin'. Mmmm hmm." Turns out she has her BWG pegged pretty well!

It was such a fun day catching up with old friends, and my boys loved swimming with new friends. I just hope next time we don't wait so long to get together!