Thursday, April 30, 2015

Playing hooky to go to the Zoo

On Jacob's birthday weekend, after all the partying on Saturday, we just couldn't get it together to make it to church.  We opted to go to the Zoo instead.  One of my favorite things to do in the Spring, is go to the Zoo, and see the flowers.  And I heard the tulips were blooming, and that the butterflies were back.  How could we resist?

And the tulips were blooming.  

 They looked gorgeous, even though it had actually been kind of long for the season, we hadn't had much time to get down to the zoo.  Busy Season with birthdays and Easter and all that.   But we finally got down to the zoo, and though a few were bloomed through, there was still plenty of gorgeous color.  These nearly black ones are usually the last to bloom in the tulip season, and we got to see them at their beginning, and the tail end of most of the others.  

This right here.  
This is why I like to go to the Zoo during Tulip season.  
It's become a tradition, for us to take a family picture, a selfie of sorts, on the edge of the pool in the Gardens.  We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day.  Not a cloud in the sky.   

The boys were even kind of behaving too.   Though Jacob didn't want his picture taken, he mildly tolerated it.  The big boys are used to it by now.  

All my sweetboys.  

OK, we had to lock down Jacob in the stroller for one last shot.  I actually liked the height of them standing, but Jacob kept making a run for it.  

Little goobers were having way too much fun running around.  

But how refreshing for us.  It has been a while since I could just let them run wild outside.  
I bet they are going to have a great time this summer!  

I have pictures of just the two boys standing here too.  
See, it's my new tradition?!  

Now Jake is big enough to crawl up there, just like one of the big boys.  
I guess he is a big boy now that he's 2.  

They are almost done with their season.  The Zoo Gardens always have a beautiful display.  

Do, Re, Egon. 
All three yahoos want to walk the wall back inside.  
We decided that everyone was in a good mood enough to check out the butterflies for a bit.  

We found a Blue Morpho Butterfly!  
Thanks to Diego, I know this one easily.  

I thought I might be able to get this one on my finger. 
Jacob was perplexed by all the butterflies zipping around.  
He'd just stop and stare, then he'd take off after them.  

A crowd of Julias.   

These were the only animals we saw, and that was fine by me.  
I love the Butterfly exhibit, and I love the Flowers.  Really this trip was just for me. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Not quite a Wordless Wednesday

His birthday present, and mine from the Disney Store.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eatchur Bootday!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my Beautiful Baby Boy! 

The Birthday Pig brought his heart's desire as a first present, a bunch of Yo Gabba Gabba toys for him to play with.   He was thrilled.  

The party continued downstairs with presents.  He clearly didn't remember his first birthday, as opening presents aimed for him was something new.  
He was surprised when this Muno doll from Aunt Lisa started talking.  

Chris got to be Jake's special helper. 
He helped him open a DVD kit of Yo Gabba Gabba movies. 
Can you see a theme here?  

He cracks me up as he tries to model the tshirt.  It's a YGG Superhero Tshirt. 
It's our favorite things.  

Jake and I received a Joint Big Present for our birthdays. 
A Car DVD player and screens for all of us in the car, which will be so handy when we start our trip to Florida this summer. It will probably be the Only time Jacob and I can share a birthday present.  But we'll get some good use out of it. 

For Jacob's Birthday, we decided to start his party at the mall. 
We met up with our friends at the Disney Store.  We arrived at the mall as the Disney Store was opening. I hadn't realized that they have an Opening Ceremony (every day!) and that the kids could use their Miska Mouska Mickey Mouse powers to open the store, get the lights on and everything.  Jacob got to be the special star of the day.  

With Jacob's help and some special words, the Disney Store got opened! 

And then his Godparents, and cousins in the bond all met us at the store and helped us do some shopping.  We really invaded that Disney store, and at that hour, early on a Saturday morning, there weren't many crowds, the kids milled about, shopping, getting ideas.  I came home and ordered Mickey Flag shirts for all of us.   It was fun to take over the store, and they made it worth the while.

Usually they have pins that say Happy Birthday.  But they had run out.  That was OK, they hooked him up with a paper crown and wrote Jacob on it.  It was rather adorable.   And Jacob picked out a giant R2D2 suitcase, and commenced dragging it all around the store.  We thought it would be useful on our Trip this summer.  So we let him get it.  I got an R2D2 mug for myself, figuring we won't be back next week, when it's my big day.

We took Jake down to the Lego store, where he got a special pack of Legos that create a birthday cake.  Amazingly, after we got home, we put the cake together, and he didn't eat it.  He didn't eat the little tiny legos either.  I feel comfortable with him being around the tiny Legos, but not comfy enough to bring them all upstairs.   But the Duplos can be upstairs in his presence.   Baby loves himself some Legos.  After that, everybody ran for the car, and I took Jake into Build a Bear.  I'd heard they had Batman bears, so Fast Like Bunny, we built a bear.  He didn't care too much for outfits or sounds, so we chose a mix saying thing, but his favorite part was watching them stuff it.  He was hypnotized by the fluff stuffer, and loved watching the fluff machine spin. 

From there, we went to The Journey, a chinese/japanese/american buffet on the northeast side, and met our family and friends for lunch.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids ate well, there was something for everyone.  And Eric and I really love their sushi.  Jake didn't care much.  But he liked it once it was time to open his presents.   

His favorite toys were the drumsticks from Grandma, and his hats.  He got some Mickey Ears from Mike and Kathleen and had to put them on right away!  Then he got a hat from Grandma and Grandpa from Guadalajara, from their cruise, and he needed to wear that too.  He would've worn all the hats if we'd let him.  

He had a great time, and it was really nice to be surrounded by our friends and family.  It was a good birthday celebration for both Jacob and I.  I think I'm really going to enjoy having my birthday so close to his.   After lunch, we went home and took naps.  When Jacob woke up from his nap, and went downstairs to drink his cocoa, he took a look at the table, and said, "Oh, itchu bootie!"  Yeah baby, it's Still your Birthday!  (He's even still been saying it!) I figure I'll just let him keep saying it until my birthday is over. 

Jacob has been practicing blowing out candles for this occasion!  Though his angle is a little off and it's more of a raspberry than a blowing, still it's a good try.   We had picked up a few chocolate cupcakes at the store, to put some candles in for him to blow out.  He had some brotherly assistance in getting the job done.  

My Big Birthday Boy! 
Yes, yes you are! 

And this was my favorite picture of the day. 
He thought someone might be going for his cupcake.  
And he was not about to share.  

Thanks to all those who helped make his day a Special one! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Escaping to Fort Wayne

Last weekend, I got to go to Fort Wayne for some Girl Time.  

I spent the night with my friend Heidi, Piper's Mom.  And the next morning, I went to a Spring Event created by my Young Living 3 up leader Lauren in Fort Wayne.  This was our group, under Val, there were about 25 of us from her group present.  It was a day long event. I got to sit in on a bunch of different classes.  I chose to learn more about Skin Care, Oils of the Bible, a Business Builder Class, and a Women's Wellness seminar given by some really great leaders in our group.  It was Wonderful.  It was refreshing to just immerse myself in these amazing products.  They have been such a Blessing to my family and friends, I can't even say!  I learned so much, and I am so Pumped Up!   There was shopping, my favorite Diffuser Necklace gal was there, her name is Tanya from TJE Designs so I picked up some other goodies from her. I want to have classes for all the Oily products that I just learned about. I want to try and buy more.  It's a wicked problem.  And I want to have a Business Builder class for my team members who want to learn more and do more too.  
After our classes were done, there was a small Make and Take class.  Lauren set it up assembly line style, which worked ok, except for the huge long line while we waited.  We came home with 3 new products.  

Renewing Sugar Scrub - 1 1/4 cup sugar, 4 oz grapeseed oil, 8-12 drops YL Essential Oil.  I used 4 peppermint and 4 orange.   I came home and used it on my feet as well as my hands too!  It's very rejuvinating, really peps me up.  They also had other oils to try for it, like Thieves, and Lime.  
Refreshing Hand Cleanser - 1/3 cup Dr. Bronners castille soap (which I can find at Kroger) 5 drops YL Essential Oil (I used Thieves with an extra drop of Lemon) *Optional 2-3 drops of vitamin E if you are so inclined for more moisturizing effect. Fill the rest of the container with water.  I brought this home and set it right by the kitchen sink. We needed something serious there! 
Restoring Household Cleaner - 1 Tbsp Thieves Household Cleaner Concentrate and fill spray container with 1 7/8 cup water.  

Now I had purchased some Thieves Cleaner back at the Young Living Oola Event early in April, but hadn't used it at all.  So I came home immediately after this Event in Fort Wayne and wanted to use it.  So I went to the Toaster Oven, which was in a disgusting state.  

A spritz and a wipe and it improved immensely!  

It did take a couple tries to get the grime off. I tell you, nearly 17 years of grime probably was living in this toaster oven.  Well, maybe not that much dirt, but a lot.  It was a gift from Eric's Grandma Willman when we got married.  I remember thinking, WHY would she give us a toaster oven?  Who uses that?!  I had never had one.  Well, I tell you what, we use that thing Every Day now!  It makes breakfast bagel sandwiches, really makes great toasted sandwiches, and heats up leftover fried things.  I like to put small things in there, like egg rolls or a small roll of bread, because it heats up so much faster than the stove.  Anyway, the Thieves Spray worked really well on most of the dirt, worked really great on the counters.  But this spot, the dirtiest in the house, which I knew was going to be a challenge, it did quite well!  I can see in there so much better now. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Flowers blooming in my yard.

A day off means more blogging to get caught up on!  Here are some of the Beauties that have been Blooming where they were Planted ;)  in our yard in the last couple weeks.   Spring is my favorite season.

First we got a few small daffodils blooming. 
At first, I thought we'd only have about 3 of them showing up total.  I thought that was all we were going to get for a couple days, when blammo, more popped up, bigger and better!  

After we had a few in the yard, even Jacob got interested.  He'd stop and say Oh Wow!

I love this pic of a daffodil in the backyard at sunrise.  
Eric thought  I was odd planting them random in the front and backyard, but it's photos like this that make it worth it to me.  
Some flowers are worth waiting for.  

Like tulips.  I love these creamy double tulips that we planted our first year.

They've got some backsplash from mud and rain, but they are still beautiful. 

Or these rockin' awesome tulips.
We planted these beautiful tulips from Costco last year.  I love them. 
My new favorites!   

And look at this row along our porch.  
They glow, and this pic is unedited!


Sigh.  My new favorite row.  

We need a little something in front of the tulips though.   I'm thinking grape hyacinth and white phlox.  We'll see how that pans out.  

Now these aren't flowers from my yard, but the wild violets across the street started blooming.  Last year, a friend of mine made violet jelly with this recipe.  

The boys picked violets, and put them in a jar for me.  
Beautiful purple goodness.  They smell like this violet candy I got once in Germany.  

My jam didn't turn out quite as well, it came out more like syrup, still I like sweet things in my tea, so there's still no doubt in my mind, I will still use it up just fine.  

I a couple pics of the processing on my computer, but it won't let me get them off without a fuss. 
Just suffice it say, they turned out pink and syrupy, and frankly the flowers look better.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

21 hours in Pittsburgh

Well, if he's not going to let me nap today, only sleeping an hour at 12:30.  Then I shall be productive. and it's time to blog about our impromptu Road Trip.   Our friend Bohl's Dad passed away right before Easter, and though all of us wanted to go to Pittsburgh for the funeral.  So, Eric and Mike both volunteered to work from home, and control the big kids, while Kathleen and I drove to Pittsburgh.  We took Jacob with us, so that helped make it easier on Eric.  We hadn't seen each other in so long, that we talked to each other the entire 6 hour drive there, and still hadn't gotten caught up.

Jacob did really well traveling... as long as I gave him snacks and the ipad loaded up with Yo Gabba Gabba.  Still, he did great.  We really only needed to stop to feed ourselves, pee or get gas.  He wasn't the limiting factor.  The limiting factor was the weather.  There were rows or bad rainstorms.  It was hailing before we hit the road, and we managed to stay between storms most of the day.  We chatted, and sang awesome early 90s rap songs... Loudly.   Surprising how many lyrics I can remember.  "1, 2, I'm a Party Dude...."

We came into Pittsburgh through the Tunnel.  
The Bohls had taken us through the Tunnel the first time we came to town, when we visited over Spring Break 1997.  

Even in the rain, it's a pretty powerful sight, coming through that tunnel, and Blammo - City! 

Pittsburgh is such a pretty city.  
I'm not a fan of driving in it though.  
Thank Goodness Kathleen did all the city driving.  I'm becoming such an old fuddy duddy.

We stayed with some of Sarah's friends, that we hadn't met, but they loved having us, and Jacob.  They treated us so well, we were a little frazzled from arriving and driving in rush hour traffic.  
They were ready for us, they had Pizza and Beer ready for us.   And it was Good.  
Check out this view at sunset.  
It wasn't too hard to find some nice things about being in town for a funeral. 

John was happy to see Jacob.  They were mighty cute together.  Some folks think it's weird to bring little kids to funerals.  Unfortunately, my kids have way too much experience.  But I believe having them present is a sign of the Circle of Life.   I basically brought Jake to entertain John and it worked.  We wanted to support the Family. And help where we could.  And the kids were cute together.  

I wasn't at all surprised that the funeral flowers were mostly red and white.  
On Wisconsin. 

The funeral itself was full of great Lutheran hymns, though a little different from what we sing, but lots of good music, which I would expect nothing less.  It was the kind of funeral, a celebration of Joy, because you Know where the person's soul was headed.  Daddy Bohl was very tight with God, so we knew where he was, and the Service was a Celebration of that.   It was rainy all morning, but then, as we were standing graveside, listening to wild turkeys of all things since we couldn't hear the pastor, when the sky opened up, and a beam of sunlight came down, it was a Sign.  It was Awesome.   

Again, I was very Grateful that Kathleen drove us out of town.  I'm not a fan of parking on hills, or Pittsburgh driving.  How do they cope in winter?

We ended up staying at the post-Service luncheon until 3:00, and it took us a couple hours to get out of town, so that by the time we hit Wheeling, West Virginia, we decided to stop for dinner. 

At Primanti Brothers!  

Kathleen had been to Pittsburgh multiple times, but had never had one of these epic sandwiches.  
So, I had scoped out where they were, Primanti Brothers is a chain all over Pittsburgh now.  
And I found one in West Virginia.  So we had to hit it.  
Kathleen and Jacob were very up to finding a bit of Joy on a sad day.  

And this brought me some Joy.  
It's a Primanti Steak sandwich.   Meat and cheese with french fries, a vinegar based cole slaw. 
I even welcomed the tomatoes.  What is up with me?  I have been majorly loving tomatoes lately, I've hated them all my life unless they were sauced, what is up with that?  I guess as I near 40, my tastes are majorly changing.  

And the sun set while we were in Ohio.  It was actually beautiful, getting a peak of the sunset from under a storms worth of clouds.  As we approached home, we saw another row of storms, watching lightning for like 20 miles before we got close. As we drove down my street, the wind picked up, and the hail hit about 10 minutes after I got home.  We got home just in the nick of time!  

It was a whirlwind, and I was exhausted and sore all day, but it was Worth It.  There are times in life, where it's clear we just have to do the right thing, and it all will turn out ok.