Saturday, June 30, 2012

PARTY ON!

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Today was Mom's Retirement/Birthday Party!  Her birthday is tomorrow, but since she missed out on a proper Retirement party she decided to throw herself one.  Happy Retirement and Big Birthday!


The boys went to swim class and after lunch promptly lost their minds, so we needed to nap first before going to the party.  By the time we arrived, there were cars parked down the block, all over the place.  It was an Impressive Showing.   It did my heart good to see all these friends and family members show up to support Mom.  She has made such a difference in her career as a teacher.  We're blessed to have seen her at work as Chris's kindermusik teacher, and at church.  And we know what a treasure she is.  I am one of a very rare breed that absolutely adores their Mother In Law.  Well, if you've ever met my mother-in-law, then you know why.  She is super caring and helpful, and eagerly, willingly borrows kids or dogs,  to the point of forgetting herself.  

Don't Worry Mom!  I'll make sure to not overburden you with the Cuteness, but make sure you get to relax and enjoy your retirement.  


My cup overflowed at seeing at least 50 different people there. And that was just the friends and family we saw when we arrived.  There were tons of work and church friends that I didn't know, or people that had come and gone before our arrival.  We should have made a guestbook, but we didn't think of it.  I don't know why.


My kids were on Crazy duty.  Apparently, parties make them a little extra crazy. Chris had a fine time snacking, and then they just ran rampant.  They had a decent time playing together.  And for the first time, Sam pooped in a kind of public toilet, I was very proud of him.  Sam was funny when we started to clean up, his idea of helping was to scoop ice from one ice bucket into another.  He was quite focused on this task, and that was great distraction while we cleaned up.  


On a slightly related sidenote, have you ever been invited to a nice family dinner only to look at your children and just Know that they are not up to it?  We wanted to have a nice celebratory dinner while Aunt Teri and Uncle Bill were in town.  Someone said sushi.  Gotta tell you, that's my magic word.  I've been having terrible sushi cravings since my birthday.  I hate hate hate spending money on childcare, but since I haven't been helping out at the elementary school during the day, we had a bit of budget saved up, so we dropped the boys off at Kidz Depot, a wonderful drop in child care place around the way.   

Worth it.  And well worth finally being able to sit down at a meal with the Fam and be able to complete sentences and thoughts.  I don't get to do it very often.  Maybe when I retire too. ;)  

Brief Respite

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Happy Friday!  



It was hot most of the day, but then in the afternoon, after Chris got home from Day Camp, our friends Max and Nancy came over.  We were going to go for a swim, but the boys thought it was too hot.  Max painted the boys some pictures, and they curled up to watch cartoons.  

Meanwhile, a large weather front moved in.  There was a wall cloud, and loads of wind.  We thought we weren't going to get any rain, so Nancy and I sat on the front porch and watched the storm roll in.  When did I get old?  I used to be terrified of storms, I was the one in the basement with the kids.   In the basement with the cats and the dog, and the children, with a radio and all my valuables.    I remember the time in 1988, I think, when a spring tornado hit Broadripple, I looked outside up at a space between swirling clouds that was literally green, and I was in our downstairs half bath with my sister, best friend, dog and pet parakeet while it hailed outside.  I'm telling you traditionally I don't do well with storms. Pretty sure I shook for days afterward.   Now I'm the nutball on the front porch with my cup of tea sniffing for nitrogen.  Weird, man.  


We got mostly wind, and about 3 raindrops.  But the temperature dropped 30 degrees in an hour.  AWESOME!  
So, as soon as the sun returned from the clouds, THEN, the kids wanted to go for a swim.  
And a good time was had by all.  


Eww...


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It is Hot.  Ass Hot.  

This obnoxious for June.  Just plain gross. 

This just in from my stepmom, "It's officially hotter than Dutch Love."  You probably have to know my stepmom or her whole family (or mine) for a while before you hear us do Grandma Pat's running joke, "It's hotter than Dutch Love."  How hot is Dutch Love Grandma?  "Pretty Hot."  

We had Chris's friend C* over for a visit, and it was so hot that they just wanted to hang out inside and watch cartoons.  It must be seriously hot if they pass up the chance to Swim! 


However, once the sun was safe and sound on the other side of the house, and Eric was home, well, then was a great time for us to all go for a nice cleansing swim.  And it was Good. 


How wonderful that we are able to just dip in the pool whenever we wish.  


Hope this makes you think too, it's making me complain less about the heat. 

Driven to Doubly Drinking

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You know how they say, It's Always Darkest Just before Dawn?  Well it's true.  It's also the absolute worst right before you go on Vacation.  Coming up we've got 3 parties in 4 days, followed by a 5 day vacation, Yipes!  I was feeling the stress this week.
So when a friend of mine suggested meeting for coffee at the Target Starbucks, I jumped at the chance.  As it turned out, I had recently finally found my birthday present, Target Gift Card from my sister. It was hidden in the back of a book.   When she gave it to me, she ordered me, "You must spend it on your self, don't go and buy diapers or toilet paper."  So I didn't.  I must confess, I did buy some treats  for me, starting with a venti coconut mocha frappaccino, and then I picked up some fun nail polish, as well as presents for others, and some totally fun goodies for our upcoming trip.    Is it terrible that Sam is always asking to go to Starbucks?  Chris's first favorite place was McDonald's, he would spy the golden arches, and start chanting French Fries (fesh fies).  Sam is ever asking to go Starbucks.  Perhaps he knows I have a weakness for their festive beverages, and he knows he'll get yummy fruit snacks every time he goes.  Yes, I cave.   But we do, and it's fun.  And this day was no different.


We were all kinds of productive: drinking, walking, shopping.  Then we had to go home, nap get a brother, who was a little crazy.  But I tell you, it's always darkest just before dawn.  The kids get most bonkers just before I have a girl's night out too.  And mine were being extra crazy.  It boggles my mind sometimes what people do that have normal kids do when they stress, do they even get stressed out?!  Me, I drink.  And have the occasional girl's night.  Kathleen and I were finally cashing in our Mother's Day gifts.  Our sweet  hubbies had gotten us gift certificates good for one lovely Pedicure.  So we were going to get all Purty before next week's festivities. 

I wanted something red, white and blue, very patriotic festive, for the 4th next week, and for our friend's wedding, which is coming up, and her colors are going to be red, white, and blue too.  They didn't have much beyond the great Red that Kathleen chose (see left).  I chose the new OPI red crackle, and put it over white.  It was a really cool effect, but it kind of came off more pink than red.


Still with our happy toes, we had to get happy minds, so we went to the new(ish) Dawson's Too over on Main St.  They were having half price martini's, and the weather was starting to get hot, so we needed to cool down, so had sampled a couple and split a pizza, it was totally a great girls's night.  Just what I needed.


So Tasty Too!  Just like candy, honest!    

Great company, good drinks, it was just what I needed as a boost to get all my preparations done for the next couple weeks.   I am certainly Blessed! 



Lino's Italian in Speedway

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I'm not normally one who rants and raves and reviews on a new restaurant, but Tuesday Mom and I went and tried a new one in Speedway, Lino's.  It just opened up in this new building.  My mother in law read this article in the Star, and it got her curious.  So when we found ourselves in the area, we gave it a go! 

I am so glad we did.  I'm sure I sound like a commercial, but you Must give it a try! At first I was a little weirded out by the extreme amounts of stainless steel, and the menu where I couldn't pronounce a thing, and the portions were a bit smaller than I was used to, but this place had Something.  Something that enchanted me.  

This place is Italian.  It's not your local Starbucks coffee shop.   In fact, it makes Starbucks look like McDonald's.    I could totally see myself almost at a little cafe in Italy while I was here.Mom got a salad, topped with parma ham, eggplant, feta, scrumptious.  The ham was thin and smoky like fatless proscuitto.  It was light and fresh tasting.  We ate 1/3 of it, before we realized there was no dressing, when we asked, they handed us bottles of balsamic and olive oil, one of my favorite simple combinations.  When the ingredients are pure and good quality, you don't need a bunch of fancy frufru.  These ingredients were Good.  


I got a ham sandwich.  

But not just your everyday in the week ham sandwich, this was the Parma ham, thin sliced, with arugula and fresh mozzerella.  Sam stole a bite, and kept on stealing.  Until I had to cut him off.  I had gotten him a croissant, flaky and buttery, and he crumbled it everywhere, he liked my sandwich better. 



Mom and I got a couple of coffees.  And they were almost too pretty to drink.  Almost.  



This place was simply perfect for lunch.  And as many of you know, Doing Lunch is my favorite sport.  Unfortunately, the food is not Huge portions, but it is reasonably priced, and at first I thought I may have chosen unwisely only getting a sandwich, but surprisingly afterwards I was not still hungry. My hubs would probably do multiple courses, but eh, isn't that what the real Italians do?! And they had a tempting cheese and meat sampler plate, and pastas, that were really calling to me.  Something to try next time!  I was talking to a gal there, who was sweeping up, she was the co-owner.  She was really nice, answering my questions.    Apparently, the race shop, Dallara, next door requested Lino's move in to their building.  This is the first one this side of the Atlantic, they are a chain in Italy, with a few other stores in Europe.  I was complimenting the authentic tastes, and she said, oh yes, we imported as much as we could, this is as close to Real Italian as you can get without getting on a plane.

And since I can't hop a plane, I will be back.  Oh yes, I will be back!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Arrgh!

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Chris got to work on some cutting and creative skills.  This was how he was decorated when I picked him up from Day Camp on Monday.  Mommy's little Pirate! 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Wild Hair

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You ever wake up on a summer's day, and just not feel like doing anything at all.  Sunday was one of those days.  We fully had the intention of making it to church...we just didn't.  Usually on Sunday mornings, I tell the boys they can't watch tv until after they have had breakfast and gotten dressed.  So, Chris gets dressed, and Eric and I are still in our jammies.  Chris looks at us and says, "Daddy, if me and Sam are playing hard, and you and Mommy are talking hard, we may not make it to church."  We didn't.  Instead, I got a wild hair, and asked to go to Edinburgh in search of new bras and ice cream.
I had heard that they were having a Buy 2, Get 2 on bras at Lane Bryant, and the outlet has a much bigger selection (aka my size) than the stores up here.  PLUS, if we went down there, we could find the infamous ice cream shop I'd heard so much about in Columbus.  I got no arguements.  Surprisingly.  So we went.

But first, we had to create a map, for my Navigator.


Christopher had his own map printed off, so he could follow exactly where we were going.  He was so adorable! We had 2 stops: First, Edinburgh, so Mommy could take advantage of the bra sale, and then if the boys were good, we'd hit the croc store.  Princess had eaten Chris's crocs, and the flip flops he was using all summer were taking a beating.  We hit both, and managed to snag Daddy some shorts too!  


Did you know that Columbus, IN considers itself the Architecture capital of the world?  I didn't either.  Apparently, there's a school there.  So they have these crazy fancy bridges.  I remember when my grandparents lived down there, they built the I-65 (above) one, and I thought it was the ugliest thing ever.  However, driving under it, nearly a decade later, I found it kind of neat.  Maybe, it takes me a decade or so to warm up to modern art. 



Or maybe I've been looking at too many macaroni noodle drawings too. 


Our second major destination was Zaharakos, a recently revamped old time Ice Cream Shoppe.  You know it's gonna be good if Shop ends with an E. 


This was on my menu, a little hard to see, but these were some of the original pieces/furniture, classically awesome vintage pieces.   What was cracking me up, was that Eric was reading it at the table, while Sam and I cruised around looking at the little museum.  



I tried to keep Sam from touching, but all that sparkly silver, he couldn't resist.  


And I don't know if you can read all the flavors.  But THAT'S why he couldn't resist.  He is MY son after all:    cream, strawberry, banana, lemon, sarsparilla (root beer), oh and Chocolate.  Wickedness.  


This was the working counter.  So fun!  


This was their player piano organ.  It played every 15 minutes.  



So when it started up playing Stars and Stripes forever, it took Daddy to keep them from running up and touching it. 





Aww...Aren't they sweet?


 Aww...Aren't we sweet too? 


Can't you hear that Ferris Bueller music?  Bom Bom, Du Na Na Na Na.  OH YEAH.

Eric got a Cherry Soda (ice cream soda and cherry syrup).  I got a hot fudge sundae with rasperry chip ice cream.  The boys got chocolate mint and chocolate ice creams with their cones on the side.  Oh my word, the wickedness.  It was So Good! Absolutely worth the drive. 




Check out this Tiffany lamp!  


My favorite boys outside the shop, sugared up, but tired.  

So we commenced the drive home.  However, as we approached Greenwood, I started to get the nibbleez. I had had visions of meeting my Dad and Stepmom for lunch at our favorite pizza and wings place, Brozzini's.  But it hadn't worked out.  Yet, I was still craving their wings.  As I was mentioning this, for what was most likely the third or fourth time, Eric said, OK, Let's Go!  So we pulled off the exit.  I called my Dad, and the things that had prevented them from joining us for lunch were all back to normal, so Oma and Opa met us for wings.  The kids CHARGED across the restaurant when they walked in the door.  She hates having her picture taken, but it brings my heart such Joy to see the boys so loved on.  They were so Excited to see Oma and Opa!  



Being able eat some good food, be productive, and kind of wild and crazy, was just the sort of break we needed. It really got us pumped up for our vacation next week.




Itching to go Camping

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I've been itching to go camping this summer.  But it's been so Hot, and we've been limited vacation time since we already took a big trip, have one all set for October, and Eric had his surgery.  We lucked out to get invited to our friend's wedding in Wisconsin next weekend.  So, there's just not much time left for camping fun.  I hate saying it's not on the schedule, because I'm surrounded by woods, all I need is the fire and to relax.
This past weekend was the first time it's been under 90 on  the weekend in June.  That made our Camping Itch pretty fierce.  So Eric and I got a wild hair, we decided to Camp right in our own backyard.  It only makes sense, since we're in the woods, have our own fire pit, and space.  It could've been nasty with bugs, but Eric had bombed the backyard last week, and it was just the right level of buggy.  The occasional buzz by to scare the snot out of Sam.  Sam and I only got 1 mosquito each.  When I slapped my biter, Chris said, "Mommy, you and Sam have sweet blood.  The mosquitoes like you.  Daddy and I have spicy blood."

Well, the mosquitoes left them alone, and they cleared the sticks and put the tent up.  Sam and I worked hard taking a nap.  When we woke up, there was THIS in our backyard, and it Looked Awesome!

Here's a Top Ten of Camping fix:

1.  Camping Ready Boys


2.  Christopher is armed and dangerous with his special spy pack (aka the bag his folding chair comes in).


Some of my favorite moments, under a shady tree. 


video
3.  Anybody want a marshmallow?  Sam was in charge of distribution.  It was hard for him to not eat them too, but he hadn't eaten his veggies.  One of them did get some suspicious teethmarks....

4.  A perfectly roasted marshmallow.   Heaven on a stick.  

5.  Anybody want S'mores?  Using peanut butter cups instead of hershey bar provides a little bonus treat.  We had both kinds. 

6.  Oh no!  Marshmallow down! 
7.  Eric's favorite part: FIRE.


Nice crackling fire, and the occasional burning ant. :)

video

8.  Turns out Prinny is quite a 'mellow' camping dog.  


9.  Ah yes.  Eric as a happy man, with a big pile of hot fire and a cold beer.  


10.  Aww...aren't they sweet?  Yes.  They look sweet all bedded down for the night.  Only they weren't too inclined to sleep, until the sun went down.  Made for a bit less relaxing, and Sam ended up indoors.  But that's the perk of being in your own backyard.   You can come inside if you need to pee, or throw a sweetboy in his own bed.  



Yeah, they're cute.  We haven't taken the tent down yet, the boys just like to play in it, but we're headed into a heat wave.  We'll have to do this again, when it's not so hot.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sweet Things

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My boys started Friday morning having a Hug fight.  Literally, they were hugging each other, and seeing who could hug harder.  Best kind of Fight EVER!  

We were blessed to have Aunt Lisa to come over for some love and lunch, and to pass the time.  Then Mom  W. invited us over for dinner.  Let me say, I just ate really well that day.  Mom had received a new bouquet of flowers from folks at school in memory of Grandma.  It was a blue lacecap hydrangea.  


Scientific name: Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nizza'


I just call it Gorgeous!