Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Decorating the tree

Thanksgiving was early this year, just about as it can be.   As our reward for a short November, we get almost a whole week before December starts.  Dec 1 will be Saturday.  We rarely get our trees and whatnot all completely decorated over Thanksgiving weekend.  That's the one downside of having all our family close in town, we get to travel over the holidays, to a different branch every day.  Eric got the lights up outside before it got cold on Monday, and put trees up too.  He got the third tree done yesterday and brought up the rest of the stuff to finish decorating.  That and the fact that Wednesday nights are our free night, was enough for us to do ornaments as a family tonight.

All three boys put ornaments on the tree. 
Mostly at the same time.  
It was a Christmas Miracle. 

Christopher gets to be one of the big guys this year, so he gets to reach higher to put up some of the breakable ornaments.  
The non-breakables are lower down, so youngsters can't hurt them. 

I love Sam's focus face as he tries to find the perfect spot for an ornament. 

Jacob is an old pro. 
He even had his own box of non-breakable ornaments from which he could choose. 
Now that he can read too, he would call out for his brothers if he came across an ornament that they had made or had a picture of them. 

Something funny I learned.  
They don't know what the other ones looked like as babies.  It's hard for them to tell who was who. 
I had to write names on a couple things because they didn't know, and I wouldn't want ornaments to fall in the wrong hands.  

But that wasn't a problem tonight. 
Actually the only one who had trouble with things falling out of hands was me. 
For the first time, none of the kids lost an ornament on the big tree. 
Last year, we lost a couple. But this year, the only person who dropped one was me, and it wasn't a breakable.  I thought it was, but it turned out, the pair of teddy bears with our names is not glass.

They got ALL the ornaments on the tree. 
Generally, we don't count lights or ornaments to see how many we have. 
I know it's a lot. But I don't have numbers. 
We added almost dozen new ones from our road trips over the last year: one from Great Wolf, a Starbucks mug ornament from Georgia, (I need one from Indiana!), a Lincoln ornament from our adventures this summer, a Smokies NP ornament, and a Mammoth Cave NP ornament top my favs. 
There were also a few homemade ones that just never got put away last year. I now have a storage spot on the mantle next to this tree, so they don't get left behind or forgotten. 

This year, Jacob was thrilled to be the one to put the angel on top. 

He hasn't had this job before.  

And he did a great job, except that it wouldn't stay.  It kept wobbling. 
So when Daddy put him down, and corrected it, he burst into tears. 
Eric pointed out, the boys are getting awfully big to lift up now.  
We're thinking maybe next year, put the angel on first instead of last. 

It occurs to me that we've been putting this same Angel on our tree for 20 years. 
We bought her at Target our first year together, and amazingly, there was a typo, she rang up for like 75% off.  We have more than gotten our money's worth, and now she's our family heirloom.

Afterwards, we just sat there in the dark, and enjoyed our work. 
All 5 of us on the couch, snuggled fireside by tree light.  And enjoyed it.  

It's a Beautiful Tree.  

Tomorrow we'll try to get the littler two finished. 

Wordless Wednesday

The 2018.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Christmas at the Zoo

I told this boys this will be the last year we have a Zoo Membership.  I seem to be the only one interested in going.  It's an awfully expensive membership for us to maintain and not use.   I told them I wanted to go to ZooBoo.   They didn't.  Two days after the last opportunity to attend Zooboo, Sam came downstairs, crying, saying he wanted to go to ZooBoo.  Too late.
I told him, wait, and when I ask who wants to go to Christmas at the Zoo, say Yes.   Last night it was 50 something degrees outside, our plans got bumped from dinnertime to lunchtime, and we had the evening open.  So I asked.   Sam immediately said Yes.  Eric and Jacob said No.  (Free Will and all that.) And as I was backing out of the garage, Chris said Yes, and hopped in the car. 

So the three of us hit the Zoo, at 5 pm, to do the Christmas at the Zoo.  And we had a Wonderful time!

It felt a little strange only have two of my boys at the Zoo. 
I definitely missed Jacob.  
The only perk I could find was that I have enough hands to hold hands when there are only two.  

They had a tunnel of lights, blue and white, for us to walk through. 
It was a time warp.  
I bet Eric would've loved it. 

The boys didn't care much at first.  
But then later, they asked to go through again.  
So I think they did like it.  

I sure did.  

We opted not to visit Santa.  
But we did make it to Mrs. Claus's kitchen. 

Mommy's a sucker. 
I totally bought the kids cookies to decorate.  
The world's most expensive sugar cookie. 

Not at all surprising, but Sam chose to color his green.  
Lots of Green food coloring.

Chris desperately wanted to be able to decorate in his favorite color, blue. 
But they didn't have it.  
Although all the lights in that room were pink, so he picked up a very dark bottle.  We thought it could be blue, but later as he was using it, it was very clear, it was black. 

Chris made a penguin face with black, white, and orange icing. 
Sam made a green ornament with chocolate jimmies. 

We even got a quick picture with Mrs. Claus. 
She was as nice as she could be. 
Maybe I can be Mrs. Clause when I grow up. 
I wonder if Eric would be my Santa. 
I'm going to have some rocking white hair here in a few years.... hmmm.

Then we stopped to eat our cookies. 
So Much Food Coloring. 
Chris's face turned black. 
I took this picture, and he didn't believe me.  
But it was black, I couldn't even see his braces. 
Can you?

Then I drank our cocoa. 
It was HOT!  
And the kids ate their cookies, with so much food coloring, their teeth were grossing me out. 
They thought that maybe drinking the cocoa would 'rinse the food coloring away'. 
Is that what we call it now?  Rinsing cocoa?  Nope.  
But it was so hot, I opened it up to cool, and we split it.  
We got the expensive cup of cheer (aka cocoa) to share, and we were allowed to get free refills for it. I got a total of three 'cups of cheer' by stopping all over the place. 
It was so hot though, at one stop we asked for ice.  That worked wonderfully! 

Did you know reindeer and caribou are the same? 
Yeah, they are the same species!  
It's just that caribou aren't domesticated, and reindeer are, and have been for the last 2000 years or so, so they are smaller.  Though there are some groups of reindeer that have gone wild, much like the wild horses in America.  

We made it to the Zoo and actually saw an animal. 
I was worried we wouldn't. 
But reindeer are surprisingly sweet. 

I mean, who wouldn't love those flews! 
I heard  a joke today that I'll share along these lines.  
Apparently, the male reindeer antlers fall off every season.  The females don't.  
So that would mean that in all the pictures of Santa pulling reindeer, they are all female.  No wonder they are strong enough to pull a fat man on a sleigh around the world in one night and not get lost. ;)

Meanwhile, these males were completely enchanting. 
So I bought cookies and cocoa, and shared them, and they didn't go bonkers.  

I thought the dolphin lights were pretty neat. 
They were even having dolphin shows at 7 pm at night, I don't think so. 
It seems awfully dark and late to work, if I was a dolphin. 

OK, this cracked me up.  
The flamingos were a. Out!  2. Wide Awake. d. Surrounded by pink lights.

We three trees. 
The kids got a kick out of these trees labeled, we three trees. 

3 trees coordinated to music.  
I think the dancing music light shows are their favorite parts.  

Another real life animal. 
An orangutan was out, and he was very interested in all the kids watching him. 
It was like he was in there watching us, more than we watched him, he was moving around trying to get a better view at us, more than vice versa.  Also very sweet.  
Some days orangutans seem sweeter than these monkeys. 

My favorite tree. 

I loved this green, white, and blue lit tree. 
It came off turquoise. I loved it! 

The boys and the last tree as we headed home. 
We were only there for 2 hours.  And that was fine. 
That's why I enjoy having the Zoo Membership.  
I've decided to take a few years off from having it.  I think I'll miss it. 

My sweet boys.

This tree was swarming with people, so this was as close as I could get to a photo with just them. 

I would've waited a bit longer, but they were Ready to Go. 
I didn't even have to fight them. 

They loved these spinning snowflake projections. 
Every time we saw them, rather than just notice the beauty, they had to stand on them, run with them, dance with them. 
That was kind of beautiful in and of itself. 
I stopped for one last cocoa too. ;)
But since they were sugared up, we got to do one last walk through the Tunnel for the road. 

I love their dancing. 
They said it reminded them of a time warp, or warp drive.  
So clearly, we were going to arrive in another time once we were through.
Sweet little silly geese. 

And that was the Perfect note to end on. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Break Trip, Day 1

Last Friday night was technically  the beginning of our Fall Break!  

 After my Book Club meeting fell through, and the boys all went off to Haircuts, we came home and had Pizza and did a little prep by watching SpaceCamp, the classically awesome 80s movie.

Saturday morning, we hit the road!  
After gymnastics of course. 
We packed up the minivan, and got the boys to their classes.  Although that was close.  Sam's class starts at 10, and only he was ready, so I ran him up in Eric's car, got back just in time for everyone else to be ready, and we headed up just in time for Jacob's 11 oclock class.  
At high noon, we hit the road. 

We crossed into Ohio for a few minutes! 

Then we hit a bigger state, Kentucky! 
We stopped at Rest Stops, and Starbucks for drinkies and to add to my Mug Collection. 
It was surprisingly chilly in the hills/mountains of Kentucky. 

Jacob conked out in Kentucky, so he didn't get to learn about the horses, or see much of the horse farms. Even big boy Kindergartners need naps on occasion. 

My special project.  Sam asked for a Green Harry Potter Scarf, not exactly because he loves Slytherin, but because he loves Green. I started it in January.  I'm just over halfway done. My goal is Christmas.  This trip I want to finish this pair of gray stripes on our drive down, work on during the next green patch during our journey.  

The hills of Kentucky.  
They are getting some Beautiful color! 

Eric is doing a great job of driving through the mountains of Tennessee.  They roll on in the background behind his window.  

The view from our Comfort Inn Suite in Knoxville.  The boys love being in the hills/mountains. 

We walked around the corner to Puleo's Grille, a place that said they specialized in "southern and Italian" food.  Um OK.  I got this Shrimp and Grits at the recommendation of the waiter, and it was so good.  I've never had Grits this good!  They were like cheesy mashed potatoes with a hint of corn.  
And the sausage and shrimp sauce was so good even Eric liked it.  
I've set the goal of some sort of seafood or southern food every day on our trip. #Goals

My nails for the Trip.  They are Jamberries, of course.  I'm so hard on anything else.  I brought a backup polish, but on my toes is a Hostess Exclusive from June 2015, that I had a pedicure left from last time I wore it.  I wore it on my toes when we visited the beach in 2017 too. On my hands is a new one from the IT Girl series called Blair, a pale pink to purple ombre which looks great, even blurry.  

Then we did, as we do, we watched The Disney Channel in our hotel room. 
Big Hero 6 was on.  
We've seen it a million times, but it was wonderful to watch, just us, on vacation, on the Disney Channel. My kids are out of the groove of watching shows with commercials, which was kind of funny.  And it was a Good Way to end the first day. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Indian food date

So I had to go to Costco.  Eric went to work for a few meetings, and I worked out with Marta, something I've started this month, and went to Costco.  Though actually, after driving over there and shopping, I pulled in and knew I was hungry.  I texted Eric to see if he had brought a lunch.  He forgets sometimes.
He did have a little time to meet me but not much.  So I finished my Costco run, and offered to meet him at McAlister's in the strip mall next door.  Only as we walked up to the McAlister's, my eyes caught the place next door, called Hyderabad House.   I glanced in and didn't see many people, actually just an Indian couple.  And a buffet. Hmmm... I'm always a fan of visiting the places that those of that ethnicity adore.  So I said, hey, we don't have any kids to say No, want to try this?

So we did, we tried Hyderabad House. And it was Good.

Traditionally, I've avoided Indiana food, because in the past, curries didn't agree with me. For years I avoided anything that was that certain shade of yellow.  But lately, I've tried a few things, including the Butter Chicken E made here at home, or the Chapati Pakistani place over off Lafayette Rd.  And I didn't get ill.  In my experimentations, I've discovered that either my consitution is getting stronger (doubtful) or that I just need to watch which kind of curries I try.  So I decided to test it. 

Eric loves Indian, but it had been a while since I'd braved it.  I was feeling brave, and that buffet of glop looked good from the window.  I tried a little bit of lots of things, they were labeled, but it didn't help me much.  Some I liked, some not so much.

Eric's second helpings. 
He went up and got seconds of all the things I likes.  
Butter Chicken, some sort of bread, lemon rice with pine nuts, and something that was like buffalo wings and fried okra or other veggies. Nice and spicy.  I liked it, just enough for me.   But I didn't get any seconds.  I should have.  But I didn't want to get ill, I was very wary.  And good news.  I didn't.  

Hyderabad House was Great!  If you like to try new things, give it a go.  
I can't tell you everything I ate, but there was certainly enough to fill me up. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Embassy Suites

One of our 20 Dates for 20 Years. 
Eric and I decided that for 20% of our Dates, we'd take the kids with us.  Frankly, it's very difficult to find anyone interested in taking all three boys overnight.  
That amounts to 4 Dates that they can tag along on.  
One of them was the Embassy Suites.  
We decided to go to this hotel because when we were dating we'd go here of an evening, and ride the beautiful elevator.  Glass elevators were something we loved to do, just ride, talk, enjoy the view.  
Now we've introduced the kids to the same thing. 

It used to be a pink hotel, now it's a bit more peach/tan, but still beautiful inside. 

The lobby has been updated since we were here last.  
The kids loved it though.  And they didn't even act like nuts. 

Here we are, riding in the elevator, just like old times. 

Introducing the boys to riding in glass elevators.  
Sure it's a little blurry, but we're all moving. 
They are cute and happy. 

On our way back from dinner. 
The plan was to go to Yen Ching, a nice Chinese Restaurant, not buffet, but with tablecloths and the most amazing pu pu platter.  Their beef on a stick was the stuff that pregnant women dream of. 
But they were closed.  After 40 years. I was so sad.  Heartbroken. They were an institution, so it makes sense they'd retire.  Still, it went against our plan.  The restaurant wasn't the Date, it was the Hotel. But we had to find a backup plan. We went to Tian Fu, a pan asian mix of culteres, in that we got thai things, sushi, and chinese things.  All of it was pretty good, but no amazing way over the other.  And the kids weren't as impressed.  They were happy with chicken fingers.  That doesn't do it for me for the cost.  Still, everyone ate. In public.  So I'll take the victories where I can get them. 


And they went back to the hotel for a lovely evening swim. 

You'd think that a hot date, I'd end up with a handsome fella in my bed. 
You're right.  
This was my bunkmate. 
He's awful sweet. 

He has to touch me all the time he sleeps. 
And that belly. 
I can't even take him seriously.

The next day... rain clouds coming in. 
Not exactly a scenic view... of the Costco parking lot. 
Still, the cloud formations were cool. 

Jacob got a hold of my phone. 

Then the next round of crazy. 
These two took the morning and went for a swim with Daddy. 

Sam and I went to Gymnastics and swung by Target for a Disney thing.  I was on the hunt for matching shirts.  I couldn't find them, but I did find this cool Star Wars shirt in Sam's size. He was thrilled. Then we grabbed everyone else, in time for Jacob's gymnastics class. It was pretty handy staying the night 10 minutes away instead of our usual half hour commute.  From there we met friends for lunch, and visited the Indy Disney Meet in Noblesville.  So really, it was handy that we stayed over night 'in town'.  The kids loved the place.  And I'm sorry to tell my husband, we all really like the Hilton Chain of hotels like the Embassy Suites.  It wasn't super sexy, but it was fun. And I love having adventures with my family. And I guess I'm developing expensive taste in my old age.