Sunday, August 21, 2011

12 years of taking our own photos

I hate asking people to take our picture.

It makes me feel stupid and when I feel stupid, I smile with only my front two teeth showing.

It's a bit of a phenomenon.

So we almost always take our own.

Here we are at the mongolian bbq on our 12th anniversary.

We NEVER get dessert. But what can you do when you have a limited amount of time away from a clingy baby but get mongolian and share a massive cup of brownies and ice cream?

And take pictures of each other?

I tell you.... I am forever grateful for San Bernardino.

Happy Anniversary, Mark. It just gets better and better.

Monday, August 15, 2011

America's Next Top Arboretum

Overland Park has a beautiful arboretum. Mom wanted to check it out and see if we could spy a few birdies. So we headed over. The first order of business was a bit of a photo shoot. These girls are well-trained in the finer points of modeling. As Tyra says, it's important to alter your pose "just so" after each frame. Let's take a look.

A little traditional, girls. Let's see something a little more fashionable. A little less suburban.

Nice, Addie. Very vogue. So chic.

I like that energy, Megan.

Such rich sophistication, Charlie. Such attitude!

Mix it up! Stick out that tongue! Sell those Cheez-its! do know I'm still taking pictures, right?

Over here, girls! I'm over here!

Hey, Charlie....can I have a Cheez-it?

So...let's go check out the flowers.

And maybe some art pieces that make me feel a little, um, creeped out.

Mom saw a few birdies, despite restless children and hungry mosquitoes. I felt bad that she didn't get to see much due to the fact that we are who we are. Luckily, she went back a couple of days later on her own and spent several hours bird watching. So my guilt was soothed.

And maybe you thought the Arboretum was just plants and birds and four-legged nudie statues laying in the ivy. But you'd be wrong, because there are also little fishies that will nibble your finger if you're brave enough to stick it in the murky water.

So that's pretty fun.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'll do my part if you do yours.

I think, as parents, that we can give our children a precious, precious gift when we teach them these 3 essential life-lessons:

1. Don't talk baby talk. It annoys everyone. All the time.

2. Don't quote movies lines while watching the movie. Nobody appreciates it and nobody is impressed with your recall.

3. Never, ever, ever, pretend to be Jar Jar Binks.


Repeat after me:

"I, (insert your name here), do solemnly swear that I will faithfully teach my offspring that they should never......"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fire-free smores

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for kids handling sharp metal pokers near open flames, but sometimes I'm just not up to it. So for one of our treats (there were oh so many), we tried out this easy version of smores.

You need:

Chocolate. You can melt some chocolate chips if you add a little bit of oil to help give them a smoother consistency, or you can use the leftover brick of almond bark that you never dipped pretzels in to give to the neighbors at Christmas time.

Something pokey. We used bamboo skewers, but forks would be perfectly acceptable, although not nearly as glamorous.

Large marshmallows. We never seem to not have marshmallows. We've officially added them to our food storage rotation. They fall under the same category as wheat.

Graham Crackers. Smash them up really fine. Put them in a ziploc and roll over them with a glass. Or even a rolling pin would work. If you feel like you need to be all "fancy".

Then stick it, dip it, roll it, and....


Shove it in!

Super delicious. And easy to save the supplies for the very next night. Not that we did that.

This is the face of a girl who has just had her chocolate fix.

This is the face of a girl who doesn't realize she has been given a plastic waffle to chew on while everyone else is dipping sugar into more sugar and rolling it in sugar.

Ignorance is bliss.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A week with Grandma, Kaira and the girls - The fountains

Bri and Amanda started their long trek home on Saturday morning, and we were very lonely all weekend. Luckily, Grandma Kathleen and my sister Kaira came to town on Sunday evening!! The best part is they were staying for a WHOLE WEEK. Hip Hip!

I've already given you the low down on our Fourth of July activities, so I'll move right on to the fun-filled family focused fountains. FABulous!

We actually started by doing a session at Kaleidoscope, but I forgot to bring my camera...which worked out perfectly, because I spent 75% of my time there dealing with the mother of a tantrum Laney decided to dole out.  But, hey. The other 10 minutes were awesome.

We let the kids change into their swimming suits in the bathroom at the Crown Center, then we dashed across the street and scoped out a good table. There was a nice breeze coming through and we had an acceptable amount of shade, so we were all good to go.

And now! Cute pictures of the girls!




Charlie!!! Stike a pose, Charlie! 


The girls spent a good part of their time laying in the warm shallow puddles, just basking in the sun, chatting and being picturesque. 

The boys?

They went another route.

Mathew. Waterlogged and coughing up ---- I have no idea.

Ethan. Doing what all boys do at fountains.

All in all, a very fun day. Made infinitely better when Grandma Kathleen sprung for some salt-water taffy. It's becoming a fountain tradition. Unless it's any flavor we consider spicy or unusual...then we unwrap it, sniff it, drip on it, wrap it back up and try to put it back in the bag.

**Pictures courtesy of my personal photographer, Kaira Tucker. Or as some like to call her, Mother Tucker.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot enough for ya?

These are the kind of temperatures that inspire repentance.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thwarted by the fat hand

The very day that we said goodbye to the Youngs, we said "Hello!" to Bri and Amanda and their two boys! They arrived that evening after driving for MANY MANY hours from Ohio. They were beat, but they still came over to chat before they headed to their hotel. It was so good to seem them all. It had been over a year since my last visit to Utah.

The next morning we had big plans. We thought we would go downtown to see the sights and let the kids play with each other. Quentin is Mathew's age and Mathew was soaking up the cousin attention. On our way to play, we met up with Mark at a local Mexican restaurant to glut ourselves upon the chips and salsa. We chose Mi Ranchito because they share a business space with a tire shop. EVERYBODY knows that the best Mexican places are located in tire shops.  As we were eating, Mark noticed that Ethan's hand was quite fat. Ethan had showed me earlier, but I didn't think much of it, perhaps a bad mosquito bite. Mark pointed out that Ethan was having a difficult time bending his fingers and we should probably get it checked out, just in case it was a nasty spider bite or an allergic reaction to something.

We decided to head back towards home and called the urgent care. I wrung my hands and worried what to do. I took a photo so that I could check later and see if it had gotten any bigger.

I swear this doesn't do it justice. It was a chunky monkey.

In the end, I went in to the Walgreens and talked to the pharmacist there. He suggested ice and a dose of antihistamine.

A bit anti-climatic, but just enough drama to derail our plans for the day.

We opted instead for a cool dip in the hotel pool and dinner at our house.

Bri held Anna and we cooked and gabbed. I loved it.

Later we were entertained by an excellent round of killer nerf guns.

Thomas really got into it. He snuck up behind Mark and tried for an easy kill.

But, alas. Mark is the Grand Poobah of Nerf War.

The hunter became the hunted.

He stayed in character and died a noble death. 

Mark flying Mathew's birthday helicopter.
Bri and Amanda praying that they aren't about to get chopped in the head by a rogue helicopter.

Polishing the night off with Moosetracks.

Charismatic Quentin

Sweet  Thomas.

Even though our day didn't go as planned, I LOVED spending time with my sister and her beautiful family. Bri, I think you are awesome! Thanks for being willing to drive all that way to come and see us. It meant so much to me to have you here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A visit from the Youngs

A few days after we said fond farewells to the Huffords, the Youngs came up for a quick visit. Jen Young and I go WAY back. Ethan and Lyndee were our only babies when we met. They have been friends ever since and still love to hang out and talk about animals and farms. Over the years, Jen and I have had babies around the same time and they have all matched up and love to play together. Meg and Katelyn, Laney and Brooklyn, and now Joseph and Anna. The only one that doesn't have a compadre is poor Mathew. He manages to have fun with Ethan and Lyndee and if that doesn't pan out, he gets to play a few extra turns on the laptop.

While they were here, we went downtown and did a quick session at Kaleidoscope.

Meg and Katelyn in their matching outfits. Great moms shop alike!

Laney making a rainbow hat:

A cool hand washing station in the watercolor room:

Ethan and Lyndee at the puzzle station:

As usual, someone was hiding behind the stroller for the group photo. That's Mathew's hand.

We were a little late, so the time flew by and we were on our way to the Crown Center to get some chow.

Even though the food is TERRIBLE, we decided on Fritz's because the train comes around the track and delivers your food. The kids love that kind of stuff.

I spent the whole time wrestling with Anna and wishing I had brought her either something to eat or a blanket so that I could nurse her. Instead, I ended up leaving poor Jen with EIGHT kids while I went to nurse Anna in a bathroom stall. I hate doing that. It's so grody. The rest of the time I let Anna dig around in my ice water with her chubby little arms. She definitely has a thing for the cold.
It was a fun day and the kids loved catching up with each other.

We are so lucky to have such good friends!