Sunday, August 31, 2014

Creepy, Crawly Creatures

There is no denying these kids are ALL BOY!  Everywhere we go we are on lizard lookout.  We've chased lizards from the doctors office to the park.  We have a few living around our house that stick around.  I don't know WHY they stick around.  They've all had tail casualties.  Oops.  They grow back.  The boys are professional lizard catchers big and small.  They bring in the tiniest lizards I didn't even know they came that small!  They always bring their catch inside to see me.  I always send them right back out!  That's the last thing I need is a dead lizard carcass to be found in November under the couch!  I try to make them realize to respect them.  I use the "let them go back to their family" idea so that we can catch them again sometime.  Secretly wishing they would realize that they WILL be caught again thus vacating our yard in favor of a less boy friendly one.  But here they stay.  
Jason taught them about lizard earrings a long time ago.  It makes me cringe but they think it's funny to put lizards on their earlobes and parade it around for others to see.  

No lizard is safe with Lincoln around.  He will catch them large and small and as many as his hands will hold!  Their tails are always as risk too.  It doesn't help that he knows they will grow back so around him, tails are optional!  He can be IN the kitchen and spot a lizard walking along our back fence outside.

It doesn't just stop with lizards either. This tangle between a dragonfly and june bug was also caught by Lincoln.  He actually asked us to put a string on it so he could fly it around on the string.  That's a Nana thing to do!  

Just before school started back we went to the Natural Science Museum for a last hoorah.  The butterfly exhibit is really cool for the bug loving boys!  They have beetles and bugs and wasps along with the butterflies.

Jackson held this one because it was "special".  Such a testament to his sweet heart.  He wanted to hold this one because one of it's wings were broken and "it probably doesn't get held much".  That's so Jackson. He told me the first day of school he was going to be friends with someone who didn't have any friends that day!  We can all use to learn to be a little more like him.  To see the beauty in the imperfections.

Lincoln was being still as a statue to let this one land on him.  He was desperate to have a butterfly light on him and one did just before we were leaving!

Jackson caught this little one below the waterfall.  It just so happened to land on his finger.   You didn't think anything other than that, did you??

I took Jackson and Lincoln to the local park with a walking trail.  It was hot and we didn't stay long but we did go for a walk to wear them out a little.  As Lillian and I walked along in the stroller, the boys were only a few steps ahead.  I said stop, STOP SSSSTTTTOOOPPP!!!  and when they finally listened to me I told them they had all just walked by a tiny snake on the sidewalk.  I am usually pretty creeped out by snakes but this one wasn't much bigger than a straw or pencil.  They wanted to catch it but the only thing I had to catch it in was my water bottle. So...

They  caught the snake and put it in my water bottle.  That's love, bc I use that bottle EVERY day!  I even helped them catch it in there.  We brought it home to show their dad and then planned to let it go in the lake near our house.  That same night, I asked Lincoln where the snake was.  He looked at me with big eyes and said, "I let it go."  Where? I asked.  He said "In our yard!?!"  
Oh, Lincoln.

Frogs are also never safe with Lincoln around.  It's not unusual to see him double fisitng frogs around here.  He will be out catching frogs before breakfast even.  He's pretty good about letting them go back to their homes.  He looks for them under our grill.  He got a surprise the other day when looking for frogs.  He thought it was a salamander.  Nope, It wasn't.  It was a snake.  So he'll have to be more careful when frog hunting from now on.

He claims this frog was "tryin to tell him something!"  

 He deems them a mom or a dad or a big brother or little sister based on their size!  Doesn't this just sum up a little boy, dirty nails, frog in hand and dirt on their shoulder?

 They don't miss a single thing.  While walking in the woods last saturday we came upon THIS tree.  It may look ordinary but Jackson noticed that it's an Oak and a Pine growing up together.  It's a LARGE pine tree and a medium oak and both are living and thriving.  They even have the same root system.  I marveled because not many adults would have looked at this tree base and noticed that that was unnatural and almost no other 8 year old I know would even know the difference between oak and pine trees just by looking at the bark/trunks.

They are ALL boys, all the time but I adore the way they take it all in.  They can be entertained by nature like children should be.  And I hope by learning this love of nature, they will pass it along to their own children someday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The BEST part of Nashville!

Back in June I had an awesome opportunity to take my little beauty and parade her around Nashville for all my favorite TN ladies to see.  I had been wanting to go back to Bellevue for a while now but it's hard to make time for that with visiting family.  I was so glad to have a few days to visit this summer.  These girls KNEW how badly I wanted a baby girl and they were one of the first few folks that knew I was expecting!  They shared the group text I was on when I was in labor and in the quick car ride to the hospital.  I never knew I'd leave such a large part of my heart in Nashville but these girls are the reason it's still there.  There's no telling the number of group texts that I've sent and shared with them.  I miss the feeling of having not one or two but 10 or 12 friends that you knew you could count on ALL the time!  It was so great to see them all again and it just felt like Home.  

 Their baby girls got to see my baby girl!  Genevieve (whom Lincoln always called "jellybean") called Lillian "She" all weekend.  "I want to hold She!" It was pretty cute!  These two could not get enough of her!

I had a little of my favorite Sushi while in town. It's called a "tuna sandwich" and it's still my favorite all time sushi.  Texas may have great food and amazing mexican fare but their sushi is severely lacking.  We haven't had great sushi here yet.

I miss church with them.  I miss running with them.  I miss the YMCA with them.  I miss so many things about these girls and their families.  I feel lucky to have been a part of their lives and value their continued long distance friendships more than they know.

There are so many reasons I'll forever miss Nashville.  I love it there.  
 These are my Nashville girls.  I'm so thankful for them.  
To me THEY are the best part of Nashville!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What's New Around here?

The answer to that question isn't blogs, that's for sure.  
What's life like with 3 kids?  The answer to that should be referred to in the reference of "when school is in" and "when school is out".  As if 3 children wouldn't already be a challenge, having them ALL home ALL the time has proven to be well...interesting.  I, like every good mother, am on the quest to make their summer the "BEST" and most memorable.  If they think back to summer and remember all the fun things we did, I feel it is a success.  So in order to try and prove my worth through the fun of my children, I scheduled tons of fun things, playdates, pool days, and camps for them to attend.  As the end of the summer approaches, I see that they were likely over entertained and now when I mention going to the pool, there is no gratitude involved in my actions.  
Seriously, you just CAN'T win in the game of parenthood!  

What IS new around here:

We got a minivan.  I flew to Alabama and while there, we purchased a minivan for me to drive.  I was a little sad to say goodbye to my Mountaineer.  It was the first car we purchased ourselves.  We payed it off, we put almost 200,000 on it.  We had 3 kids in that car.  But honestly the drive back to Texas would have been excruciating if it weren't for this thing.  I wasn't all in for the van at first but I'm not a car person and I didn't care what I drove.  My main concern was it having a CD player.  That's right, I love my cd's and I had not had one in years.  It's the little things.  
It has 2 automatic doors and holds up to 8 people.  Yeah, I think its a keeper.

This little beauty is what I got for "father's day".  It was what I wanted for mothers day but Jason found time to work on it on Fathers day.  I guess I win both days this year!  We bought the swing over a year ago when we moved here.  We had tried to think of somewhere to put it up and came up empty.  One of our marriage deals was that we'd always have somewhere to put up a swing.  When Jason and I got engaged, he bought me a swing and put it up at his house for me in Enterprise, AL.  We kept that swing until we left Nashville.  If I had a dime for every time I sat on that swing, I'd be significantly wealthier.  It was time to retire it.  It had seen better days so we bought a new one but didn't have anywhere to hang it.  Jason talked about building a stand.  I didn't doubt him but I specified I wanted to swing BIG.  I didn't want a short stand that wouldn't swing out.  He did just as I asked and he made a BIG one!  You can't tell how big it is in the photos, unless you see them standing beside it.  It's HUGE!  And perfect.  I love it!

This giant jenga set is what we made Jason for father's day.  We had Lowes cut the wood and we sanded each piece for a giant jenga game!  I used an online tutorial and it cost us about $15 for the wood.  It's been fun to play for the whole family!  

And last but certainly not least, This is new.  Jackson's haircut.  

He's been wanting a "buzz cut" for quite a while.  I was adamantly against it.  So, while I was sleeping, they obtained their barber's license.  It has since been revoked.  Forever.  I can't describe to you the shades of MAD I was when I woke up to the "I'm sorry" and "Mom, I hate it" from the two of them.  You know those guards, yeah, the ones that keep you from cutting too much off?  Those weren't on their radar.  Nope, they went all in, top first, no turning back.  They both learned the hard way...Mom's always right.  I know, I know it will grow back but the first few days were painful to look at.  And now we have to be diligent about not letting his head burn in the scorching Texas sun.  So, take it from me and don't try this at home!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lincoln Lately

There's hardly a dull moment with this boy around.  He's cunning and terrible but I've yet to meet a soul that doesn't love him to pieces. He's always got something wise to say.  He speaks truth, he knows no other way.  He has more quirks that you can number but it's apparently part of his charm.  A few of his "Lincolnisms" lately:

Driving to the YMCA he tells us "Just thinking about that makes me smile!"
"Oh, what makes you smile, Lincoln?"
"I'm just thinking about my snake birthday party and it makes me smile!"
*money well spent*

*Redneck alert*  Last month we went out on the boat with my Aunt.  We were all jumping in and swimming and Lincoln gets out and approaches the side of the boat.  He's about to pull down his swimsuit and pee off the side of the boat.  I stop him and tell him it's not ok to do that with so many people around.  We all told him that if he needs to go he can just jump in and pee.  He didn't understand.  He says, "You guys!  You're just tricking me to make me pee my pants!"  We (laughed) and told him we weren't, that everyone was doing it and he could too.  He insisted that we were going to laugh at him if he jumped in and peed his pants in the water.  He was NOT going to do it.  We got a good laugh and I can only assume he held it!

Lincoln was asked to say grace at the table.  They usually have a long list of the things and people they are thankful for.  It's not uncommon for someone to make the list twice if they are favored by Lincoln.  The weather/day usually makes the list and sometimes we even thank him for the food!  As Lincoln started his prayer he proceeded to Thank Jesus for Electronics, like the TV and his Nintendo DS along with the Kindle.  I guess we should really all be more like him.  Those are the important things to him and he didn't forget to Thank God for them!  Too bad I have to hide them from them to get them to do other things.  Next he'll be praying for Jesus to help him find his DS that mom hid!

Lincoln woke up this morning and told us that he had a dream.  It was about a girl.  He bought her a white dress and he married her! He said there were rings.   He also told us she was 18 and he was 15!  This is not the first premonition Lincoln has had about weddings.  I've heard we all have recurring dreams and obviously Lincoln's include a wedding.

*gross I have BOYS alert*
We were at the table, yes the table and Jason chastises Jackson about something on his shirt.  He said "Don't wipe boogers on your shirt Jackson!"  Jackson says, "It's not boogers, I don't wipe boogers on my shirt!"  To get out of the hot seat, Jackson thinks fast and says, "Lincoln told me he wipes boogers on the seat in the car!"  Lincoln looks like a deer in headlights and says, "Not in your NEW car, it was in your old one!"
Oh, good.  At least it wasn't the new car!  Gah!

"You see, Sometimes when you least expect it... Love finds you!"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just call me Cruella Deville

I mentioned we just returned from a 3 week trip to Alabama.  That trip included nothing but fun, fun, chocolate milk and more FUN.  All rules were out the window, bedtimes were non-existent, candy was eaten for breakfast, popsicles for lunch and one green bean counts as "eating your vegetables."  Every wish was granted and there wasn't a single second that went by the boys were not thoroughly entertained.  

Enter: Reality.
We had to come back sometime and for the boys, it was a rude awakening.  It was Monday all day.  They weren't digging the rule following that's required to live here.  They didn't like that there were no "choices" for breakfast.  They didn't like being told of the list of laundry we had to accomplish that day.  Jackson had Science Camp and Lincoln was obligated to go with me to replenish the food supply in the house.  He wasn't used to my, "get in the car, put on your shoes" mantra.  He had gotten used to Nana doing all those things for him...and he liked it that way!  At our second errand for the morning, he was complaining in his usual Lincoln way. 
 He's always saying 
 (ie. You Never let me eat candy for breakfast, or You Never help me find my shoes!)  
He was frustrated because I wasn't concerned with his "YOU NEVER" threats.
  He then told me, 
"Mom, You are the Most NOT funnest Evil Step-mother EVER!"

Oh, really?  
Since when was I anybody's Step-mother??
I wasn't happy at the time but looking back,  I had to laugh a little.  Never been called an evil step-mother before.  I am assuming it will only get worse before it gets better into the teen years. 
 Lord help us all!

Who do you think he was referring to?  Cruella?  Ursula?  Maleficent? Only Lincoln's little temper knows!

We were also making signs this week using spray paint and markers.  I am outside spray painting something and Lincoln comes out and says, "Mmm, actually, that spray paint smells kinda good!"
Help me, Jesus! 
 This boy.
Then moments later I'm writing with sharpie marker and he says, "Mom, that, um, pregnant marker smells kinda good too!"  (permanent marker)
Oh, no!  
Not only is he a mischievous little name caller, he's going to be a paint sniffer too?!? 
Hide yo markers, Hide yo chemicals.  Lock up your daughters.  
I'm fully expecting a note home from Kindergarten.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The LONG Road Home

We just spent the better part of June in Alabama.  A few backdated blogs will outline our trip of fun, fun and more fun.  We started the LONG journey home on Saturday night.  We knew it wouldn't be possible to make Lillian ride for the whole 15 hours so we decided to break it up.  We would leave around 8pm on Saturday and drive as long as we can and stop and get a room for a few hours.  I had requested that we choose somewhere to stop so I could look into hotels.  Jason insisted we could just stop somewhere.  I'm NOT a "let's just grab a room for the night" kinda girl.  I decided I had enough to keep up with and let him handle the room situation.
We made it to Vicksburg, MS and decided it was time to call it a night.  We stopped at a large exit and checked with 4 hotels...All booked solid.  We had to wonder, why on EARTH all the hotels in Vicksburg, MS would be booked up?  We never did find out what that town had to offer.  We went down a few exits and stopped at The Americas Inn and Jason got out.  He went up to the check-in WINDOW, yes, window and stood in line.  The kids and I are sulking in the car and I'm refusing to BLINK and trying to figure out how I'm going to explain to the kids why we are taking shifts to sleep.  Jason finally thought better of the situation and got back in the car.  Neither of us had to question his decision to leave.  It was a relief, even if it meant driving longer, much longer!
We hit the interstate with hopes of seeing another town soon.
We rolled into Tullah, LA a little after midnight.  Our first two hotels were a strikeout.  Our last resort was the Motel 8 on the opposite side of the interstate.  Jason went inside to check and came back out with good news and bad news.  Good news-they had two rooms left.  Bad news was there was one double-Smoking and one king-non-smoking.  Yep, you guessed it.  We were all sleeping in ONE bed that night.  It was only a mild sense of relief to be staying in a questionable hotel in the middle of nowhere. We quickly jerked the bedspread off bc they don't wash those you know. We checked the bedding, inspected the seams of the bed (like we'd even know what to look for in bed bugs) and gave the room a once over.  Then we piled the kids in bed, Lillian included. She probably had the most room of all because she was between Jason and I and we were both worried about her.   Everyone slept in their clothes and we had two toothbrushes between us as well.  While inspecting the room Jason noticed something was still in the mini microwave.  We DID NOT open to find out what.  I wondered if we would even get any sleep at all but surprisingly we all did sleep.  I woke up first around 7am and wasted no time dragging them OUT of that place!
 Who knew a family of 5 could occupy a King size bed!  It was worth it to be home at 3pm and not midnight on sunday night.  It really broke the trip up well.  Next time, I'll go with my gut and book us a room BEFORE we hit the road.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mommie's Meatballs

I'm pretty sure I've never had a "secret family recipe" before now.  Everything I've learned to cook has been pretty full disclosure.  My grandmother's Macky Soup was more watched than written but I've since written it down for my sister and I don't mind if it's shared.  The chicken stew recipe of my Granny's is written but it's also a group effort so it would never be secret.  
This, this is OUR secret!   Mommie's meatball recipe has been officially passed on from the Yavarone's to the deFoor family.  This was my first attempt but it was a smashing success!  Mommie is our Ms.Marie's mother.  Mrs. Yavarone is what I would have called her if I had ever had a chance to meet her.  She had the best meatballs and supposedly the best eggplant parmesan from New Jersey to Tennessee.  I'm hoping for that secret next!
Our eggs are even TEXAS proud!  

I used my good ol' trusty dutch oven to get the special sauce going while I mixed up the ingredients for the meatballs.

These delicious and moist meatballs ended up feeding us twice!   I easily froze half of them for a future meal.
 You are now looking at the richest most deliciously tomatoey sauce and delectably moist meatball you'll ever have the pleasure of eating.
We had ours on spaghetti squash.  It wasn't without a few groans around our carb loving table but after they tried the sauce, they forgot all about the noodles (or lack thereof).  So you want the recipe?
Not a chance!  You'll just have to be a guest at our table to get your mouth on one of these babies!  But trust me, if you find yourself seated in front of a plate of these, #1 you are special because I cooked them for you and #2 you are in for a treat!