Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pool - icious!

Temperatures here are soaring into the high 90's. Just in time for the kids to go back to school! To beat the heat, we checked out the brand new aquatic center yesterday. It was so fun we had to go back again today!

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Grace instantly fell in love with the slide although we are still learning the concept of line etiquette. She either dashes right up there and just throws herself down the slide - cutting in front of five other kids - OR she gets up there and lets every person - in front of or behind her - go first. Then she looks back at me to make sure it is now ok to go down the slide.

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I woke Charlotte from a dead sleep to drag her to the pool yesterday. She wasn't too thrilled. This girl likes to sleep!
Today, she was SUPER into it. Walking all over the shallow end, putting her face in the water, playing with the fountains and completely pissed off when I wouldn't let her follow her big sister up the stairs to the slide. 

Unfortunately, the pool closes for the summer on Sunday! 
Let me get this straight, it is ungodly hot out...let's close the pool! Makes no sense to me!!
Regardless, it was a hit and we will be posting up poolside next summer!
(That should be ample time for me to get bathing suit ready....gulp!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

All Sorts of "ER-xcitement"

Like I've said before, summer = harvest around here. So things are a bit busy. Especially for Court. He hasn't had a day off since June. Nope not one! Not a Saturday. Not a Sunday. Not a half day. Nothin'.
So yo can imagine how excite he was - WE BOTH WERE - when he discovered he was going to get this past Monday off. Whopeee!!!

To celebrate 24 hours of life free from work, we hopped in the car on Sunday and headed over to Seattle.

The plan? Court was going to squeeze in as much time with his girls as humanly possible. Swims! Walks! Bike rides! You name it! But come dinner time Monday it was going to be just me and Court...and some steaks....followed by a "Little Big Town" concert. Believe me when I say we were not only excited but our mouths were watering. Operation Butterball punishes effects both me AND Court as there is nothing remotely good to eat in the house - ever. So some steaks, drinks and desserts were not only going to taste REAL good, they were probably going to go down a little too easy. Regardless, it was going to be fun and tasty.

Nana was in tow...we weren't leaving home without a babysitter! She was charged with watching the girls while we dined, drank a little too much and sported our cowboy hats in downtown Seattle for the show!

Sunday went off without a hitch. Seattle was gorgeous. Sunny. Warm. Did I mention sunny? The girls slept in the car. We had lunch. We went swimming. We made dinner. We got both girls down to bed before 8 pm - IN THE SAME ROOM!! Which left ample time to drink wine and watch a movie. (Note: We watched 'Something Borrowed' - Good-tearjerky chick flick with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming and I still don't know how I feel about it. I recommend as a rental.) It was a great day!




Next stop on this little story-telling adventure: 3:30 am. Charlotte woke up and I gave her a bottle. Court got up too to get a drink of water. We both went back to bed within 15 minutes and quickly made our way back to dreamland.

Fifteen minutes later, I awoke to Court writhing in agony. I figured he was having a Charlie horse. But when he started shaking like he was being electrocuted I knew something was wrong. The pain - which he described as a thunderbolt of electricity - traveled from the base of his skull down his left shoulder but not into his arm. He kept saying that something was wrong with the nerves in his neck. His feet and hands all worked fine but he couldn't move. It was much too painful.

Immediately, my mind jumped to worst case scenarios. Heart attack. Paralysis. Aneurysm. To me, it wasn't a question of whether or not we should go to the emergency room it was I don't think we can get to the emergency room fast enough.

Court on the other hand thought we should wait. That the pain would eventually go away. We endured what seemed like electrocution every minute or so for an hour when I finally began calling every medical professional in our family. They all concurred. He needed to go to the emergency room.

We got dressed, out the door and eventually made it to the ER - which could be an entire blog entry in and of itself if I didn't know Grace was about to wake up from her nap any second. (Tip: It is helpful to know where the nearest emergency room is BEFORE there is an actual emergency.)

The silver lining in this whole ordeal. There was no one seeking treatment at 6 am on Monday and we were able to get in, get out and get home before the kids woke up! Ohhh!! And Court was ok! That was also great news!

He was diagnosed with a severe muscle spasm which sounds like a more intense charlie horse if you ask me. But seeing it with my own eyes - not even experiencing it for myself - I think it needs a name more like the-most-excruciating-pain-outside-child-birth-and-passing-kidney-stones-a-human-being-can-endure. You know - something very medical-y and technical. Hmmm...maybe it needs some latin thrown in the name for good measure...

Anyway,  he was given some medication and sent home to rest and relax. It was going to take a while - as in days - for the pain to subside. Dinner and the concert were clearly out of the question. So the poor guy spent his one and only day off in the ER. Not exactly the drunken food frenzy we had been envisioning but grateful (oh so VERY grateful) that it wasn't anything more serious.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Slip N Slide Birthday Fun

Another family birthday party. It couldn't have been more fun!

Holding the kittens cats...always a hit!

Bruises on one's head? The cost of early walking.

Hmm...a large, yellow, slippery thing? I'm not so sure about this....

OH WAIT! I love it!






What's better than running and sliding down a slip n slide??


Attaching it to a slide of course!!





The kids did this non-stop for an hour!
Looks like we are going to need a play-set and a slip n slide...STAT!
Santa are you listening?!


There was even time for a quiet moment.


And finally what she had been waiting for....



Later, I asked her what her favorite thing was about the party...the cats? the slide? the kids?
Without hesitation she answered, "The cupcake!"
This party was a lot of fun. I am getting nervous about Charlotte's upcoming birthday party.
Fingers crossed that kids (and adults) like coming to our house to celebrate just as much!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Style

Grace really likes to wear dresses. They are her outfits of choice when we are at home hanging out. As cute and easy as dresses are, they aren't always conducive to a toddler's lifestyle. Lately, when I make her wear "real" clothes, she all of a sudden has *gasp* opinions about what she is going to put on her body. Here is her latest go-to outfit. 



She picked it out all by herself. It is her outfit of choice when ever she has a chance to choose (which isn't that often since this is what she comes up with!). 


She is adamant - to the point of tears and tantrums - that this is HER outfit.
I wasn't in the mood for T & T's this morning (not that I ever am) so I let it fly. She compromised by allowing me to document it with photos.
Bad move Grace. Photos are forever.
This one just might come back to haunt you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No Fear

The "roller coaster" at Grace's gymnastics class is a HUGE hit! It wields all sorts of power. 
Sit still and you can ride the roller coaster.
Wait your turn and you can ride the roller coaster.
Apparently, it's power even works on squirmy, don't-want-to-be-in-the-carrier-let-me-out-I-wanna-play-with-the big-kids infants.

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She is definitely her father's daughter. No fear of these death defying contraptions! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Early Birthday Celebration

My sister has a big birthday coming up this year. Her being a December-born - like myself - we decided to celebrate sooner rather than later so we could focus on each other and not get lost in all the holiday shuffle.

So how else does one celebrate a birthday with her sister/BFF??
You head to Vegas because....


Yes, the greatest singer in all 'da world is doing her thing in Vegas once again. We missed her the last time she did her stint at Caesar's Palace and there was NO WAY we were going to miss it again.

So we flew to Vegas to catch Celine Dion's show to celebrate our birthdays.
A simple trip. In and out. Right?

Welllll.... that was the plan. Let me explain.

Last Thursday, I drove to Boise with Grace and Charlotte. They did AWESOME in the car! I got to listen to the radio AND chat on the phone...the latter being illegal but I like livin' on the edge. Arrived to Boise by 2:30 and no time like the present to start attacking the 'to-do's' so I got Grace's haircut. She was looking a bit shaggy and I really like the gal in Boise...just another reason to make the trek!

Dinner that night al fresco on the patio. The menu? Homemade crab cakes (my mom makes the best anywhere - Tom Douglas can go fly a kite!), a light summer salad and for dessert panna cotta with strawberries. It was delish!
Endless entertainment provided by Grace and Charlotte, of course!

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Grace pedaled a tricycle all by herself for the first time!

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And Charlotte never stopped moving.

Lucky for me, there is an Apple store in Boise so on Friday I hit up the Genius Bar to see if I could finally resolve my computer issues. My mom, bless her soul, cased Boise Town Square with both girls in the double BOB while I dealt with the "Genius" at Apple. Three hours later...problems not fixed. EVERYONE was a bit on edge! Apple suggested checking in my computer so they could do a few diagnostics over the weekend. Perfect. I sent positive thoughts into the universe that my computer would be back to normal by Monday as we set off for lunch with the girls. (Just an FYI - Cheesecake Factory - the only game in town when it comes to food at the Boise mall - introduced a new 'Skinny Menu' the day we lunched and it is GOOD! I had the Grilled Chicken Tostada Salad and it is YUM-MY. Good enough to mention here at least! So if you are ever at Cheesecake Factory and don't want to eat 10,000 calories in one bite...take a gander at the Skinny Menu.)

Man....I get off track easily. Anyway, back to the good stuff. VEGAS!! My sister, Molly, flew in that night. She had been in Spokane for work so she flew from Spokane - via Seattle - to Boise. (Note that this was two flights to get to Boise. This will be important later.)

She arrived and we all relaxed with some wine while we watched the kids play outside. Once they were good and worn out, I tucked them in and hit the hay as Molly and I had an early wake up call the next morning....4 am!!

Molly flies Alaska a lot and had a buddy pass that meant we could both fly to Vegas for the price of one ticket. The only catch was that we both had to start and *end* in the same place. This was the reason Molly flew into Boise to 'pick me up'. And I was in Boise so that my parents could watch the girls. Ya followin'??

Saturday morning our flight to Vegas - via Seattle - took off at 6:30 am. Now the big 'what if' of the trip was whether on the return flight Molly could "hop off" in Seattle and I could continue on to Boise. When we got to our gate at 5:30 am the answer was a solid no! As long as Molly didn't check a bag, we didn't see what the big deal was. So we chalked it up as the gate agent being cranky and decided to deal with it later. Ee were on our way to Vegas baby! Who cares about coming home?!?!

After two uneventful plane rides, we arrived in Las Vegas to RAIN!! Can you even believe it?! I mean when does it ever rain in Las Vegas...in August?!?! As I had no plans of getting into a bathing suit until...well, never...the rain was an absolute blessing! We high tailed it to Caesar's Palace - our lodging of choice on this trip. Early check-in is nearly impossible in Vegas as most people don't start moving until well into the afternoon hours. So when the gal at the reception desk said she had a room available albeit in the old tower (the other three have all been renovated) we glanced at our watches - 11 am - and said "Hells-to-the-yeah!! We will take it! Renovated...Smenovated!"

We dropped off our bags, freshened up, checked in to make sure the girls were doing ok and headed out for lunch and shopping!! Wooo hoooo! Lunch was great. We hit up Munch Bar a new, little dining spot right next to Pure Nightclub. It was super yummy, not expensive but the service was pretty bad. Push come to shove I'd go back. The fish tacos were really good.

With a little food and booze (we had Sweet Tea Vodkas - OMG!! Dangerous but soo good) in our tummies, we headed off to the Forum Shops. It wasn't but a moment and we found ourselves in a Kodak moment...




Double Dangerous! A little drunksy and armed with credit cards the good times continued as we headed toward the Forum Shops. We searched and searched and searched for a special little something to commemorate our Celine Dion trip but to no avail. This wasn't quite the memento we were on the prowl for.


The sweet tea vodkas were starting to wear off at this point and the early wake up call was doing a number as well, so back to our un-renovated room we went for a nap.
Here I was - no kids, total freedom - and I couldn't sleep! How I've dreamed of a nap for the last...hmmm...2.5 years!! But the sandman wouldn't oblige and since I was wide awake I decided to take a shower and start primping for the evening.
So remember how I said our room was in the old tower?? Well, the reason there was a room available at 11 am in the old, crappy tower was because it - was old and crappy, yes you are paying attention - and had NO HOT WATER!!
I immediately hopped out of the shower and called the front desk. They were going to send up their "engineer" to take a look. Their "engineer" took over a half hour to get to our room. The "engineer" or as I like to say 'plumber' came out of the bathroom 20 seconds later and told us it was fixed. Molly hopped in and NO HOT WATER!! Another call was made to the front desk. She dispatched another engineer.
Thirty minutes later, engineer #2 had not arrived. We were on a tight Celine Dion viewing schedule. There was no room to dilly dally but we called the front desk again. Her solution? Grab all of our crap and traipse across the casino floor to a new room at the complete opposite end of the hotel. If you've ever traipsed across a casino floor you know why we didn't take this deal. If we had been staying for more than one night, I would have moved. But as we were only staying one night I just wanted them to fix the water. I relayed this to the front desk and to make things right she gave us a $50 voucher to Bradley Ogden, a restaurant we'd had our eye on AND she'd sent up another engineer - who actually fixed the water! Yippee! 

To celebrate our new found hot water we went downstairs and had some drinks and apps on the Palace!!



Bradley Ogden was a great restaurant. Great menu, smoke-free and a great little people watching spot.
In fact, I thought I saw my friend Joe so I took this pic and sent it to him. For those of you who know Joe - is this not his doppelgänger?! Down to the t-shirt and everything!


I have no pictures of Celine Dion or the show. We were in the nosebleed seats and cameras were forbidden but it was a great show! Think what you want about Celine Dion - her comical appearances on Oprah, her decrepitly old husband - but there is no denying that she is the greatest voice of our time. That honor used to belong to Whitney Houston....until she started hitting the crack pipe. But Celine Dion has a voice that makes you believe in God because it is such a gift. How can one - and only one - human being sound like that?

Her concert started out with a movie montage about her last go-round at Caesar's Palace, her world tour and her stay-at-home-mom year where you had her twin boys. Like any movie montage - be it about a golfer or a war hero - it had me in tears within 15 seconds. I'm telling you it was some emotional sh*t!
I don't know if it was because I left Charlotte for the first time or if it was just plain old moving-making-magic but Celine had me in tears at hello and kept me there on the edge of an ugly cry throughout the entire performance.

Here are my takeaways. Celine Dion has the best part-time job on planet earth. She sings three or four nights a week about six months out of the year. The rest of the time she gets to spend with her family. And by the way, she makes a gizillion dollars doing it. 
SIGN ME UP!
Her voice in person sounds the same, if not better, than any of her recordings. You just can't believe that a human being can sing the way she does at anytime on any day anywhere! I would sell my soul to the devil to be able to sing like her just once in my life!! 
Singing aside, Celine Dion is not the best performer. She had a neat stage that moved and lit up and did lots of fancy stuff. She had beautiful gowns and a few little surprises throughout the show but her interaction with the audience is pretty rehearsed. I'm not sure if it is because English is her second language, but you can tell she says the same thing in the same way at the same time to every audience. She did do a few chest thumps and she dropped a few 'no you didn't girlfriend' as spoofed on Saturday Night Live. So that was awesome!

She sang a lot of good songs. 
Because You Loved Me
Beauty and the Beast (I am quite familiar with this one!)
It's All Coming Back to Me (you know, the Meatloaf-y sounding song?)
I'm Your Lady
All By Myself
I Drove All Night
and of course, My Heart Will Go On

She saved the best for last. We almost didn't think we'd hear My Heart Will Go On. She said good night. Left the stage and I swear, you could feel the crowd get angry. No Celine Dion show is complete without My Heart Will Go On. Molly leaned over and said, "If she doesn't sing it, I want my money back!" Does Celine Dion even comprehend how many times we have all listened to that song...on repeat...in our sorority houses and dorm rooms?!

Next thing we knew, the iconic flute of Titanic's theme song began howling through the auditorium and you could feel the huge sigh of relief of all the women in the audience!!

All in all...it was a great, great, great show! SOO glad we did it!! Happy Birthday to us!! yippee!!

On the way out of the performance, we noticed two things:

Check out this t-shirt.
On the front it says
"I Drove All Night" and this is what it says on the back.
 

We asked the girl to pull over because we HAD to take a picture of it! She was with her dad - who was also wearing a shirt - and they had flown from Minnesota to L.A. the previous day and had DRIVEN from L.A. to Las Vegas to see the show! And we thought our measly little layover in Seattle was rough!

The second thing we noticed...

A poster announcing Shania Twain coming to Caesar's Palace in 2012!!!
Looks like this is going to be an annual trip for us December borns!


With the show over, we decided to put on our dancing shoes and hit the clubs.

Yeah right! We went back to our room and rented a movie!
In the morning, we enjoyed our hot shower, a quick breakfast and then it was back to the airport to head home.

We still had the itsy bits problem of our return flights - could Molly hop off in Seattle?
We were told no again and again while we waited to depart from Las Vegas. Because of the buddy pass we had to fly together. If Molly hopped, off my ticket would be invalid. A one way ticket from Seattle to Boise at the last minute was pricey. So Molly, using her iPhone - yay technology! - purchased a one way ticket using her miles. So Molly was going to fly from Las Vegas to Seattle to Boise and then back to Seattle. Talk about taking one for the team! We definitely worked out the kinks for the Shania trip! haha

All good stories have a happy ending though.
In the Seattle airport, we came across a kindred spirit gate agent who decided to look the other way. Molly was free to hop off in Seattle and I could continue on my way to Boise. 
Kindness. The best birthday present of all, eh?

Happy Birthday Molly! Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Elmo

You know that saying...a picture is worth a 1,000 words? Well, Elmo and his friends put on a show in our area and we decided to take the girls. I think the pictures speak for themselves. 
Grace and Charlotte loved it!

Seeing Elmo on stage.

Elmo.


Realizing it's Elmo.

Transfixed.
Charlotte was waaaayyy more into it than we thought.


 Intermission.
   
 Surprise. Surprise. Someone can't sit still!

Is it over?

During the show Oscar the Grouch said it best - Elmo is a little red menace.
Couldn't agree more Oscar...especially when "the menace" sells $10 Elmo balloons during intermission.
*Sigh*

A good, long show.
All about being healthy and being confident. A good message. 
A great evening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ready or Not?


Up until this morning, I've really been getting in the mood for fall. I think it is all the back to school supplies being in the stores. I LOVED stocking up on binders, erasers, pencils and peachies as a kid...it got me so excited to head back to school.

~Sidenote: Grace is going to attend a one-time-a-week pre-pre school class this year and it is taking all my will power not to go out and buy school supplies - especially the gigantic pack of crayons (you know...the jumbo pack with sharpener). Court and I have talked about this particular pack of crayons. It was a coveted item as a kid. It was a very rare treat to get the jumbo pack in my house and Court never, ever got it!! What's the deal with our parents withholding crayons? No wonder I ain't no Picasso!

But when I woke up this morning - at my usual time - it was dark out!! What gives? I feel like summer just started! Why do the winter months linger the whole year and the precious daylight of summer evaporates in just a few weeks??? I guess the age old saying is really true...time flies when you are having fun. It should be time flies when it is light outside longer than it isn't.

The good news is that we are sneaking in a few fun things before darkness completely takes over. Just a few hints to keep you coming back for more...one of them includes the greatest singer in all 'da world!! Any guesses?!?

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Like Brown Cake

I asked Grace yesterday what she thought Charlotte wanted for lunch. Her response: "Brown cake and ice cream!!!
"Really?" I asked in the kind of mom voice I never thought I would have. "Baby Charlotte, who has not yet sampled cake nor ice cream (ok ok if you must know the truth she has tried it once SHE LOVED IT!) wants cake and ice cream for lunch?" My eyebrows raised in little question marks. 
Grace gave me the slyest of smiles and answered, "YEESSSS!!!" through a mouth full of giggles. Apparently, we have a cake connoisseur and a comedian on our hands!

Lucky for Grace, Daddy had a birthday yesterday and every birthday requires cake...even if it is just one slice bought from the local grocery store because baking an entire delicious cake and having it around the house for the next four or five days (who am I kidding? the next 24 hours because it would be INHALED by yours truly) would be a breach of epic proportions while on Operation Butterball!!


Notice how out of breath she is as she fists the cake in her mouth!
I wonder where she gets that from?!?!?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Sleepy Birthday!

Court-
For your birthday, I got you sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.


Unfortunately, Charlotte found all the sleep I had gotten you and used it for herself!

Hope you have a great day nonetheless!
Happy Birthday!
xoxo

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

While the Cat's Away...

the mice will play!





Our "Mary Poppins" took these last week while I was running some errands.
Even though I sometimes find myself counting down the seconds until I have a few hours to myself,
it's always nice to know what they are up to when I am not around.

BTW - My computer is STILL broken. I was able to come up with a temporary solution to get photos from my iPhone/email up on the blog. But don't have access to videos. Gulp! Fingers crossed I can get to a genius bar soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer is Flying By

So it's summer! Lazy days and lounging around, right?! Yeah right!! All I know is summer is F-L-Y-I-N-G by...we've been busy, busy and more busy. And the funny thing is, if you asked me what was keeping us so busy, I couldn't pinpoint it.  Perhaps some bullet points will help?

- First and foremost, the mole I had removed...NOT melanoma! woo hoo!!

- Harvest is in FULL throttle. Court is working more than he isn't working. He does come home for dinner (and usually cleans up the dishes and takes out the trash - God Bless him) and then it's back to the farm until -most nights - well after my bedtime.

- Charlotte and Grace are sick. Just summer colds but still I've got one word for you - boogers!!

- Remember all those aches and pains I was complaining about? Well, everything still hurts. So much so I finally broke down and paid the $20 co-pay to see a doctor. Diagnosis? Tendonitis in the shoulder and elbow. (Apparently from hauling Charlotte around because it's only on my left side.) Or as the doctor politely told "Wimpy White Girl Syndrome." Yes, she told me that verbatim. So not only am I old and falling apart, now I'm apparently wimpy and...(gasp) white!! Already in the presence of a doctor and the co-pay already paid, I decided to ask the doctor about my delayed baby-weight weight loss. Operation Butterball just isn't working the way it did last time. I relayed to her my exercise regiment, my very clean diet and her response...verbatim mind you...."I don't feel sorry for you. I weigh now what I did the day I gave birth!" Ummmmmm....what?! What does your fat a@# have to do with mine?!?! Bottom line - she obviously didn't have a magic pill.

- Finally, the biggest time suck of all. Real Housewives of New York. hahah No really...my computer. It's hurt real bad. I basically can't import photos or videos which is pretty much killing me and can't access any videos I've previously uploaded. You can imagine my level of angst imagining I'll never view the countless. precious moments of my babies growing up. I've spent hour upon hour upon hour on the phone with Apple - only to be bounced from one agent to another, to be disconnected, to be placed on hold FOREVER and then at the end of all, my computer STILL DOESN'T WORK!!! They basically have no idea what is wrong with it - I've probably spent 12 hours on the phone with them - and I am literally hours away from a nervous breakdown. Nothing throws me over the edge like a big, fat, computer glitch!

Ok I think that is all I can think of at the moment. I'm exhausted. It's 10 pm and Grace has called me into her room about 8x to have her diaper changed. Mind you, this is the same kid who was practically potty trained two weeks ago but who has suddenly pulled up the e-brake and INSISTS on wearing only diapers - no panties. No pull-ups. No potty. Seriously?!