{Red, White & Blue!}

Happy Belated 4th of July!  The 4th of July is one of my favorite celebrations - the meaning of the holiday and the festivities that go along with it.  I remember as a kid celebrating the 4th every year with fireworks in the street with friends & neighbors, sparklers, an amazing dip our Irish neighbors used to make, giggles, anticipation and sometimes ear protection.  Those memories make me want to keep the fun festive traditions going for my family.  And my husband....he's a kid when it come to fireworks (a safe, mature kid, but a big kid none-the-less).  I'm sooooo glad he loves fireworks and the festivities of the holiday as much as I do.  This year we were very last minute with our plans since we couldn't decide what to do - stay local or go somewhere.  I wanted to stay local to start a tradition - and I'm so glad we did.  Our friends who live right down the street came over - we love their company and the kids get a long great. We smoked some ribs, grilled burgers and had lots of yummy food and way too much desert  - but it was worth indulging.  :)  And the 4th isn't the same without fireworks.  Arizona has pretty strict laws when it comes to fireworks so we bought lots that we 'think' were legal (jury's still out).  The loud whistling, the pops, the color and the smokey smell made it the 4th ;o)  Then we topped the evening off with with some night swimming!   We had a fun 2011 4th with friends, swimming, high temperatures and memories made.  I hope my kids love the 4th and these memories made.

And like I've said before, I have some of the best neighbors!!  Look what fun festivities that were made for the kids.  They loved them!!  Below is a puzzle they had to solve and the image at the bottom is Trivia Popper Rockets.  How fun is that?!  They also included star shaped notepads, red & white candy, a Red-White-Blue bracelet the kids can make and some flags.  So creative & thoughtful!!!

{Puppy Party! August's 1st Birthday!}

But first...do you see something different about my blog?  Think....think.... it's been updated with my new logo and  branding!!!  I'm so excited about it!  I have to work on my actual website now!   I've ordered updated packaging labels & accessories for my clients.  It was time...I've had the same logo and blog design for over 3 years.  Now it's more me! Yay!!  Okay, onto August's day :)

It's true.  We couldn't resist having a party to celebrate the birth of little August {yes, he was born in late May, but life was crazy in late May - so we made time in June.  He's a dog, he doesn't know the difference}.    The kids were giddy planning his party.  It was small since we didn't want to overwhelm August , so he had two of his favorite playmates over and we kept it small and intimate. And really  it was an excuse to have some friends over, let the kids play with the dogs and have a 'celebration' that they could help orchestrate with games and all.  Next year we'll have more kids over to help celebrate :)   We had one party pup that loves the water.  She jumped right into the pool upon arriving - didn't even take the time to remove her beautiful flower necklace or party hat.  It was a hoot!!  The kids played fetch with her in the water and she was in heaven while the other two dogs ran around the pool wishing they weren't afraid of the water.  ;o)  By the end of the night the dogs were exhausted and confusion set in when August saw his friends leave.  I think he got a little depressed.  So he turned to the comforts of his gifts after a good nights sleep (see the last image).  Intervention?  I think it's just a phase (fingers crossed).

Happy Birthday August - we love you!! xoxo

August still in party mode the next morning with some of his presents.  He's such a lush.  ;o)

{tid-bits of randomness}

Warning:  Hodge Podge Post ;o)  Little tid-bits of randomness

It's been quite a busy summer, and it's still the beginning. :) We've had more pool days that non pool days, lots of bbq's and many nights of lit tiki torches and campfire s'mores in the backyard.   I'm starting to love summers in AZ even though that's when the mercury rises and the heat sizzles off the pavement.  To kick off our summer Brielle ended this years dance with her first recital.  It was adorable!!  I don't know if I've mentioned this before but Brielle is super shy (a word we try not to use around her) in front of a crowd and being the center of attention.  So I was worried she would just stand up on stage and her shyness would take over like it did the first 2 months of dance.  (But she insisted on staying in dance even though she wasn't participating - so I let her.  Her dance teacher and I were thrilled the day she actually  participated!).  Anyway, I was the stage mom so that means I had to help the girls backstage, which also meant I couldn't see the performance (only from the side).  So I did the next best thing.  I told Jeff to take pics of Brielle using my big-ole long lens.  He was able to capture some moments for me.  But I forgot to tell him the best settings for this kind of tricky light - oops.  But he got a few pictures and I was giddy to have anything at all.  :)  She's now so excited about dance that she wants to do it again next year.  :) {below, Rapunzel dance the reason for the crazy hair piece}

This week I had an interview with Becky, on her Blog.  Here's the link to my interview :) When Becky asked to interview me I was flattered.  She had interviewed Sheye Rosemeyer, who I adore.  So I was beyond flattered that she wanted to interview lil'ole me.  Becky does her homework, she knew so much about me so the questions were really pertinent and fun to answer.  Thank you again Becky for asking me to be a part of your blog.  :)  Oh and she chose all the images to be shown on her blog - some I had forgotten about.  I love the variety she picked out.  Below is one image - little B....just being little B.  :)  And the ones of Tyler....he's growing so fast.  I love seeing him through my camera.

And lastly - I've become addicted to crackle nail polish. Totally random, I know.   Have you tried it?  I got mine at Sephora.. And they have so many colors of the crackle to choose from.  I think I'm going to try silver or gold next time.  A little more subtle.  But it's so fun!  Oh but if you do try it, make sure you put a shiny top coat on after the crackle.  The crackle is very matte and can look contagious if you don't ;o)  Have fun!

{the nerdy type}

August, our puppy, isn't a fan of this new look.  I personally love it.  Makes me want to curl up with him and talk about pressing issues with him - how to make the earth more green, what to do about the future of my kids generation, to buy or sell in the stock market, etc.  August however, just sat motionless waiting for this humiliation to end.  I tried to reassure him that I'd seen many cute dogs with similar spectacles.  He wasn't convinced and just waited for the pain to stop.  :)

{end of school is near….sniffle, sniffle}

It's bitter-sweet....the end of the year is quickly approaching {only 4 more days left - eek!}.  Every year it flies by, especially this year. This past Friday Brielle's class had a beach day.  How fun is that?!  The playground was transformed  - there were pools, water-slides, sprinklers, sand buckets and brightly colored beach umbrellas.  So festive and fun!  The kids played in the bubble station, built sand castles, squealed going down the water slides, and played games with the huge colorful beach balls. Such a fun day!!  And Tyler's class is having a Publishing Party on Tuesday followed by a day at the Community Pool.  I'm loving all the fun activities but I'm sad knowing that it's all coming to an end.  I have a hard time saying good-bye when things come to an end.  I'm never ready to start new chapters, especially when I'm loving what's happening in this current chapter so much...sigh.  Anyway, these fun days remind me of the fun we'll have this summer and the fun we had last summer.  I dug up some photos from last year that I loved of the kiddos (the last 3 pics) - so indicative of summer afternoons.  :)

The kiddos last night in the pool last year (actually in October) before it was too cold and too busy to swim with school.

{Game with the Major Leagues}

This was a busy weekend.  So much to do but thankfully all fun and work (yes work - but work is fun for me).  On Saturday morning the kids rose early - just as the sun was popping up.  They were so excited to leave for 'Little League Day' at the big Stadium with the Diamondbacks.  Brielle just gets excited whenever Tyler's excited so she was giddy for the day to begin too.  Ty & Brielle spent the morning making signs to hold at the game - it was a good way to pass the time since they were beyond excited!

When we got the stadium you could feel the excitement in the air.  Kids everywhere wore their teams uniforms excited to walk the field and high five kids and adults in the crowd and to greet some of the mascots and players.  While we were waiting to see Tyler enter the field with some of his teammates Brielle and I stood close near a crowd trying to catch fly-balls (home-runs) from the players during their batting practice.  The fans were electric with energy and anxious to catch the next fly ball that came near.  Brielle and I just stood watching, waiting and enjoying all the action around us.  A ball was headed several feet away not quite making it to the crowd - the fans were going crazy trying to reach and scramble for the ball that was really out of reach for all of them.  But one of the Chicago Cubs players ran for the ball waved it up to the roaring crowd and sweetly handed the ball to Brielle.  Brielle just looked at me not knowing what to do so I said 'Oh Brielle, he's giving you the ball.'  We thanked him as he walked away.  Brielle was sooooo excited she kissed the ball.  I'll never forget it.  We tucked it in my bag.  More balls were headed our way.  And one of the fans caught a ball with a loud smack - perfect placement in his glove.  A moment later, I get a tap on my shoulder asking me and Brielle if we want the ball.  The gentlemen who caught it wanted to give it to us.  How sweet is that?!  I didn't want to be greedy since the fans were going crazy trying to get balls, so I declined saying, we had one and that he should keep it since he caught it.   Of course I could've given it to Tyler but I knew Brielle would offer hers to her brother since she knew he wanted one. So fun!

Above is a picture of the ball given to Brielle, Tyler giving the fans high fives and  Ty with his team mates walking away.  What a great day at the ballgame!!


It's almost Easter!!  I'm not really ready yet, I feel like there's so much left to do and not enough hours in the day to get all the festive crafts and fun Easter-y things done.  I did however hard-boil 2 dozen eggs today in preparation for decorating.   I really like eating hard-boiled eggs but I've always found them painful to peel.  Well, I finally found out why not too long ago.  I was boiling them wrong.  I know, sounds silly - how can you boil eggs incorrectly??  Have I mentioned that I'm not much of a cook?  I'm an eat to survive kind of person.  Anyway, I found out that you have to start with cool/cold eggs, and place them in cold water prior to boiling so the inside temp of the egg and the water are the same.  Put that cold pot of water and eggs on the stove until it boils.  Once it's boiled, put the lid on the eggs and let them sit for 12 to 15 minutes in that hot water but off the burner.  Empty the water out of the pot once it's sat for the appropriate amount of time and replace with cold water, even ice.  You want the eggs to cool quickly so the membrane of the egg loosens from the shell, making them easier to peel when it comes time to do so.  Yay, easy- peasy.  :)  Here's a link I liked that gave more detailed instructions.

So we decorated eggs today with friends - very fun.  It's not Easter without decorated Easter Eggs.  Oh and just a note:  Personally I think the PAAS eggs dying kits (sold everywhere) really seem to only be good for the dye - the Tattoo kit by PAAS didn't work at all.. and when the kids tried the eggs cracked. :(  Save your money and do it the old fashioned way.  Martha Stewart has a great article about it.  We may try these again on Friday.

Happy Egg Decorating and if I don't post again before Easter, Happy Easter too.  :)   Thanks for popping by my blog.

{sometimes you just need a good cry…}

This was how I felt today.  Okay, not this bad but close.  Here's the short story:   I came home from seeing 'Limitless' (which I super enjoyed) with some girlfriends.  I was tired and the bed looked so comfy I didn't think I'd be able to find the energy to wash my face, get into my comfy's,  and make it to bed.  I just wanted my pillow.  But before I could do anything Jeff and I went in to check on the kiddos when we heard a squish, squish in the carpet and our feet felt wet.  It was 10pm, I was tired and this was waking me right up.  Jeff and I grabbed as many towels as we could and covered the floors with them.  It was still soaking!  We unloaded Tyler's bookshelf and moved it to the other side of the room.  Then it was time to wake up the kids.  Brielle was sleeping in Tyler's room (she loves to be close to him at night) so we carried each of them to our beds and snuggled them in.  It was time for the loud carpet cleaner to come out and suck up as much water as I could.  2 hours later and two buckets full of water later, I was done.   Wide awake but done.  This morning the carpets were still soaked so I had to call in the Professionals.  So right now our house is in disarray.  But we're getting all the water-damage fixed.  The flood man told me the 'Water Damage Gods were watching over me last night' - he was amazed how much I was able to extract last night.  Yay for that late night second winds lol.   Anyway, it's amazing how water can damage things - and fast.  Anyway, I'm spent but happy it wasn't worse.   Happy and thankful for so much.

Photo:  This picture was taken just after Brielle hurt herself from falling, her emotions were so raw and my camera was right there - I just had to take a picture.  I feel her pain when I look at it.

{hearts, candy & sweet cheek smiles}

Oh Valentine's Day is almost here!!  Are you as excited as I am?  Not for the gifts . We don't do gifts - my hubby & I.  Instead we make it a fun celebration for the kids.  I had sooooo many ideas for crafting, gifting, ect. but business commitments didn't allow any time for all the things brewing in my head to experiment and play with (boo hoo) :(  But we are getting ready for tomorrow around here. We have garland strung, valentine cards filled out, teachers gifts made (or in the process), baking, and drawing.  We'll be up late tonight :)  The kids love it!!  Tomorrow Jeff is working late so the kids and I are going to have a special dinner together.  We're going to make placemats, light candles, and eat heart shaped foods.  Most likely we'll make mini-heart shaped homemade pizzas so the kids and put whatever toppings they want on their pizza :) & a green salad - not sure how to make that with a Valentine flair but I'll think of something.  And for desert, we'll enjoy the heart shaped sugar cookies we made today.  Ty & Brielle can't wait!  Me too!

Well I hope you're day is full of wonderful moments with your family & loved ones.  Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

{last night they understood}

Last night my children understood… We were sitting at the table eating dinner and talking about babies.  Somehow the conversation had me casually answering a question mentioning that I was adopted (something I thought would go over their heads since we’ve mentioned it before in front of the kids).  Tyler and Brielle froze, their eyes popped out of their heads and their jaws dropped. ‘You’re adopted’ they both barely got out.  It wasn’t even a question, it was a realization.  They were in shock.  Oh my gosh, they can't get it?  They won't get it?  Do they get it?  My heart was racing confused, surprised and not prepared for their reaction.

Me: ‘Do you know what being adopted means?’.

Brielle: ‘ Yes, it means your mom didn’t want you’.

Tyler piped in ‘um yeah, they left you – right?’.

I couldn’t help but giggle.  I wondered how they knew that.  So I asked.

‘On Annie, she was left too'  they answered.

Ah-ha – that’s right, we watched the movie ‘Annie’ about a month ago and we talked about Annie’s biological parents and why she was in an orphanage.

Brielle thought for a minute and said, ‘who adopted you?’

Then Tyler asked, ‘Did you have a name before you were adopted?’

Me:  ‘No, no name’.

Tyler: ‘Then what did your mom call you when you were in her tummy?  Baby?  Honey Buns?’

We all laughed at that.  Many more questions were asked and answered.  I’m so surprised they understood and were so interested.  They wanted to know everything.  I gave them all the answers I knew and we pondered the ones I didn’t know.  I explained that my birth mom loved me so much that she wanted a better life for me and gave me up.   That it was extremely self-less and took tremendous strength.  The questions and answers went on.

Then Brielle later said with persuasion,  ‘ Mommy, I think I was adopted’.

Me: Why?

Brielle: ‘Because I don’t remember being born and being in your tummy’.  ‘Yeah’, she sighed ‘I think was adopted’.

I assured her she wasn’t, but somehow she’s still convinced she’s adopted.