Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Happenings (aka Catching Up)

Summer has been busy, busy, busy. Lots of changes and transitions - beginning with adding another human to our little family! Time really seems to fly those first few weeks after your baby is born. I looked at the calendar today and I was like, "Wait. Where did July go?" I really can't believe it's almost August and that my baby boy is almost 2 months old. That is nuts. He's been such a blessing though and it's been a pretty smooth, albeit sleepless, transition! I'm thankful that Chad has been home with me to help; he is actually doing "home study" with his new job right now. He won't go to training until September 14th, so until then he is at home, studying his new materials. It's been so nice to be able to go pick up lunch or make an afternoon run to WalMart and not have to take the baby. There's nothing I hate more than seeing a newborn in WalMart. Yuck.

But speaking of running to Walmart, on the morning of Mary Ella's birthday party I was in a frantic party-planning state and decided I did not want to have our goldfish, Finn, sitting on our countertop during the birthday party. His tank was a bit dirty, his filter had broken weeks before and we had rigged it to the side of the tank, and he was quite miserable looking anyway. Don't get me wrong, we didn't mistreat him or anything, we just didn't really care for him anymore. And so, being the kind hearted person that I am, I decided I would get rid of him. My kind heart would not allow me to flush him down the toilet alive. So I just decided I'd return him to Walmart. Chad was like, "You can't just return a fish. They won't take back a fish in customer service." And I knew this. So I decided to just return him without anyone knowing. I put him in a gallon Ziplock full of water and put the entire Ziplock into my purse. I went straight up to WalMart, walked to the pet section, and plopped the Ziplock bag into the sink; I made sure it would sit up so that the fish could still swim around. There were no employees around when I did this. I wanted to actually take him out of the bag and put him in a tank but I knew this would involve extra time and by then I would probably be identified and arrested on the security cameras, so I just left the bag in the sink. I did my birthday shopping and on the way out I stopped back by the fish tank; the Ziplock was there in the sink - EMPTY! So someone had put him back in the tank. I was thrilled beyond words. Thrilled that he was back with his family in a better environment; but more thrilled that I was no longer obligated to keep him alive. Yay for me. I consider that a good deed.

Moving on. Here are a few pictures from Mary Ella's birthday party at our house a few weeks ago. We recreated the candy party at our house so that Chad's side of the family as well as the neighborhood kids could get in on the fun. I used my decorations from last year's party and all the candy was purchased at Big Lots or WalMart. The big tissue paper poof ball is a Martha Stewart party project; super easy and super cute.

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I made cupcakes again this year, but at the last minute I decided Mary Ella needed a cake. So I bought a miniature pink cake from Walmart's bakery and decorated it with strawberry whoppers and candy wafers. Then I put candy sticks into some WalMart sugar cookies to make them look like lollipops and stood them up on the cake, to make it fit the candy theme. It's ghetto I know. But it worked. I would comment on how delicious it tasted but unfortunately we were candied/caked out by the time this party was over, so we didn't even eat this cake!

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Now that she's two, we decided we'd try the potty training thing again. She was super enthusiastic at 18 months, even pooped in the potty for a few days straight. Then she became resistant. And stayed that way. For months. So we let it go and decided we'd try again later. So two weeks ago I decided we'd try again, using the "Let her run around naked all day" method. We prepared everything for Potty Boot Camp; big girl panties hung on the mantle, a jar of gummy bears atop the mantle, and her precious talking potty at the center of the room. She was thrilled, as you can tell in this here picture...

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I moved the rug out of the den and put a plastic tablecloth on the floor. I had my Lysol and my paper towels handy for any accidents. Then I stripped the toddler down to her bare skimpies and we played playdough, had tea parties, and practiced sitting on the pot every half hour or so. She made a few trips over to the dining room where Daddy was working, but other than that she was not allowed to leave the living room (because there is carpet everywhere else.)

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The end result? Mary Ella = 1. Mommy = 0.

She peed twice on the floor and cried both times because she did not like it running down her legs. She'd say "I pee pee, Mommy. Clean up, clean up!" and she wouldn't move until I had wiped her legs down and cleaned it off the floor. After those two times, she would pee again. At one point she had to poop all of a sudden and she started holding her bottom and begging for me to put a diaper on her, I guess because she knew she'd make a mess again. I'd say, "It's ok, let's just sit on the potty and then we won't make a mess! And you'll get a gummy bear!" She'd sit on it but wouldn't go. She begggged for a diaper and of course, as soon as we put the diaper on her, she went! So I guess we at least know that SHE knows when she has to go. And now she tells me when she's wet or dirty so I guess we're making progress, but we'll try again in a few months.

Soooo.... in addition to celebrating Mary Ella's grand entrance into potty training and the terrible two's, we've enjoyed harvesting our crop of tomatoes. We've eaten about 9 gallons of home made pico de gallo so far, and probably have enough tomatoes to make 9 more gallons. We loooove some pico. Chad puts it on everything. I just like it with tortilla chips. You want the recipe? Okay then...

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5-6 large tomatoes (we use all kinds - yellow, orange, red, whatever you have on hand)
1 onion (usually about half an onion will do; eyeball it.)
1 bunch cilantro
1 jalepeno
1 lime (use the juice, not the actual lime)
Green Chili Pepper sauce (it's the green Tobasco sauce)

Mix it all together and inhale. I mean, enjoy.

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But if you don't want to make pico de gallo at home, I know where you can get it. Have you been to Chuy's?

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We have. We've been 3 times. Three times this week, actually. It's the new hot spot at the Summit, serving up some divine Mexican food for el cheapo dinero. That means inexpensive, folks. And the best part is that it is YUMMY.
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I've enjoyed 3 different entrees so far and they've all been wonderful. Although I will go ahead and recommend my favorite - the deluxe chicken enchiladas with deluxe tomatillo sauce. They have their own signature sauces and you can pick which sauce you want on your entrees. The deluxe tomatillo sauce is sour cream, cilantro, tomatillos... basically all the must-have Mexican condiments blended into a sauce. I think I could eat just about anything that was covered in that sauce. Divine.

Another great option? Chuy's special. For about $8 you get 2 cheesy enchiladas, a beef taco, 2 chicken flautas, 2 tortilla halves smothered in cheese dip, guacamole, rice and beans... can you beat that? I don't think so.

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Oh, and not only is the food great, the view is fannntastic. So go get you some Chuy's! (And I would recommend going at a random time of day rather than right at lunch or dinner time; they have a 35 minute wait all day long, and I've heard that on weekend nights you can wait 2 hours or more!)
And after you eat at Chuy's, go ahead and step into the Flip Burger Boutique next door and get you a Krispy Kreme milkshake. Seriously. If I could have one thing to eat/drink the rest of my life, it would be this milkshake. It surpasses all expectations. And get your OWN. Don't try to share because you'll be fighting over who gets the last sip. Trust me.

So let's see...
So far this summer, we've had a birthday party, harvested some 'maters, enjoyed some Mexican, and gained 30 pounds. What can top that?

Nothing.

But to continue in my quest to make this the longest catch-up post ever, I'll give you another recipe. You can thank me later.
We will call this "Super Summer Pasta."

You will need pasta (I use thin spaghetti), chicken (I use skinless tenders), zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt. I would also recommend a julienne cutter; I got mine from Pampered Chef but I'm sure you can get them at WalMart or Target too. You will julienne your squash and zucchini and just halve your tomatoes...



Cook your pasta and your chicken... and make SURE to salt your pasta water and make SURE to salt/pepper your chicken. I just cut the chicken into bite size pieces and cook in a small saute pan with salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. Then, in a LARGE saute pan, heat your olive oil then add your chopped garlic. Let this saute for 3-4 minutes, then add your squash and zucchini. Wait a few minutes, then add your tomatoes. Add a little salt after each ingredient goes in. Add your pasta and cooked chicken last and just mix it all together.



Yummy! Serve with a salad. And a Krispy Kreme milkshake. Ok just kidding.


Last but not least, here's how humid it was today at our house:

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I didn't edit this picture at all. My camera lens immediately fogged up the minute we stepped outside! You could almost chew the air it was so thick. Gotta love Alabama summers.

Mary Ella is all about picking out her clothes now, and this outfit was chosen for our afternoon walk. It had rained earlier so she wanted the boots so she could jump in the puddles. We didn't find many puddles but she did practice her jumping skills.

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I wish my thighs looked that cute in those short shorts. They probably would if I would quit eating at Chuy's and drinking liquid donuts.

Happy summer!

Fun Day at Vicki's

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We spent Wednesday at my aunt Vicki's house in Huntsville. Mary Ella, Addie Jane and Jack played on the deck and enjoyed a seemingly endless supply of popsicles and goldfish, while Sam chose to sit in the shade and enjoy the breeze.

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I am trying to get caught up on posts, uploading pictures, etc. Summer is BUSY! And I know fall will be even crazier, with football season and what not, so my goal is to get caught up this weekend! I have some recipes coming soon!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cousins...

Love these kiddos. My first cousins Annsley, Ann Marie, and Charlie...
They've been at my house for a couple days and we took come photos tonight in the neighborhood.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Way behind...

I am in between diaper changes and laundry loads, so I don't have a lot of time for words. Here are just a few pictures from our last trip to the Compound (4th of July weekend.) Enjoy.

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Fun in the kiddie pool with Addie Jane, Charlie, and 1/8 of the dogs who live at the Compound. Notice Mary Ella looking like a 90-year-old man in her Depend, with hands on hips... acting like one of the adults.

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And again. No offense to 90 year old men.

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By now, some of you probably think the Compound is actually a trailer park, since most of the time there are 37 dogs just hanging around and all of the children look like orphans. I assure you, it's not. These are all our children and each of these dogs have names; some of them even have double names. This is Ollie. He likes watching the sunsets.

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And even if it were a trailer park, I'd probably still wanna live there. Although I'd miss the wide open spaces.


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This is my Grandaddy's garden. You'd have to know my Grandaddy to appreciate this. And if you do know him, you know the love and sweat and tears that go into this each year. He has been a farmer his entire life, and each year his garden is a sight to behold. My pictures do not do it justice.

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Mary Ella found a ginormous zucchini - almost bigger than Sam!

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We celebrated the 4th of July at my aunt Kristi's house. She's an amazing hostess and always goes "all out" for any celebration.

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Well, that about sums it up. I still have party pictures somewhere in the mix. Trying to get all my photos backed up this week so I don't lose any precious memories! I'll leave you with pictures of my boys... love these guys... (Chad will kill me for this, but I think it's a cute pic.)

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