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 
"YOU NEVER..."
 (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!  


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

May-cation

Gah, can we just take a minute and talk about the total diva baby in this picture?  She is perfect!  
Ok, we can move on now.  Last weekend we had a little staycation!  A year ago when we moved here, I used the patriotic heartstrings of Texas to score us the win in a dad/son photo contest.  The prize was a nights stay at The woodlands resort and conference center.  To the boys, it was "the Marriott" because the hotel near mom and dad that has a fancy pool is the Marriott.  
It took a while to decide about booking and there was a little bump (ok, a pretty big bump by the end) in our timing with the baby girl's arrival.  I finally got it booked and we packed up half the house to drive across The Woodlands to the resort.  It was also a golf package so a tee time was requested.  

We had to wait out a thunderstorm or two before we could head down to the pool and check it out.  Lillian and I spent most of our time under the umbrella while the boys made use of the pool and super fast waterslides.  I did eventually go down one of them and it was scary fast!  The poolside service was impeccable!


Just like at any resort, they had activities all day.  They had balloon animals, face painting, outdoor movies and snow cones.  They had all kinds of poolside games too.


Jackson was especially good at water hoola hooping!


I just love his little eyelashes.  I have to use fancy mascara to make mine look half this good!  


This is what Lady Lillian could be found doing most of the time we were at the pool.  She can't sleep at all on her back so lucky for me the bob lays nearly flat and she can turn over and go right to sleep.  Here's hoping to a long and happy belly sleeping summer!  


When you're the best of friends, spending all your time together...


Some of my most fond childhood memories of summer were in the pool.  I hope they remember theirs the same way.



The boys discovered that the refreshments room was the warmest place to be after a cool swim.  Ah, the fun of a hotel.  I guess it never gets old as you can see from Jason's amusement! 


We also got breakfast the next morning and it was delicious.  We were exploring the grounds when we happened upon this guy...and his entire family. Seriously we saw 5 snakes in 5 minutes.  Creepy!



The boys and I spent the next morning at the pool while Jason played a round of golf.  Jackson insisted on taking his shirt off and you can rest assured he won't be doing that again. His shoulders blistered from it just like I tried to tell him.   


This guy can't go anywhere without finding a reptile of one kind or another.  Seriously.  A frog, snake, lizzard or a turtle.  He can spot em' and catch em'!

"The rain never bothered me anyway"-sang in my best Frozen voice.  It came quite a rain and I joked with the boys that if they didn't get out of the rain, they'd get wet.  




We had a great little staycation and we didn't have to go far.  We didn't even have too many clothes to wash upon our return.  The boys called it our May-cation because it was the last day in May when we checked in.  We all called it FUN!

Ssssssssssssomebody's FIVE!



That's right!  My little crybaby, reason I started the blog Lincoln is FIVE years old!  I was just weeks from delivering him when I started blogging.  My consistency has probably never been lower but I can only blame that on a certain little someone of the female variety!  

Lincoln had wanted to have a SNAKE birthday party for a while.  He wavered into superheroes a few times but always came back to snakes.  Jason and I believe that within reason we should try to give the kids the birthday party that they want.  They will only turn 5 once and it should be a day they remember forever.  Lincoln had even drawn pictures of his snake party and the snake man that would bring them here.  Thank goodness Jason contacted the snake man and signed him up!  

In the weeks leading up to the party I did what every good modern mama does these days.  I started a pinterest board for snake party ideas.  Of the ideas I pinned, few were carried out but I feel like I did my mama duty nonetheless by initiating the pinning procedure.  


We used this awesome banner that has been used for Lincoln's birthday for the last 3 years now.  Some of my mom's students made it for his 3rd birthday and it's lasted through 2 more!

Ok, thisssss (haha) was so cute I couldn't resist.  Apparently no party is complete without goodie bags and these were easy and cute and cheap to boot!
Mr. Clint (aka the Snake Man) is preparing to handle snakes...in my living room.  I wasn't so sure about having them inside.  We had a whole back yard that would be great to handle snakes in but he assured Jason that the snakes would do better inside.  
Lincoln didn't have any trouble cuddling up next to these cold blooded reptiles!  It took me a little more getting used to.  The way the man talked about them, they sounded like teddy bears.  

Lincoln was the first to hold each of them and he was the one to help place them back into their pillow cases also.  WHY they keep snakes in pillow cases I do not know!  


Jackson HATES this photo.  He looks terrified.  I'm pretty sure he wasn't at all afraid but showing it to him and watching him squeal is too much fun!  



Lincoln and his buddy August!  He's made quick friends in the year we've lived here.  School friends, gym friends and neighbors all attended the reptile affair!


This one was a crowd favorite.  She was a stubby tailed boa and she was very "curious" as the snake man says.  He stubby tail cracked me up, he said she was a little self conscious of it.  



The grand finale included a albino burmese python.  It was HEAVY but actually really pretty.  I decided I'd give this one a go.  



Yeah, it still kinda freaked me out a little, it was so cold and so heavy.  


Now, this is what I considered the grand finale.   In all my pinteresting, I decided I could tackle the cake making.  I enlisted the help of my good friend Emily and then I proceeded to dominate her entire day with helping me make a snake cake.  While it did take the majority of a day to complete, it was totally worth it!  I was pretty proud of my limited cake making ability.  I even managed to use paper towel grain to press "scales" onto the icing.  The inside was red velvet to mimic real snake blood.  Yes, it was truly my crowning glory in the cake making world.  It was both my debut and my grand finale. The alpha and omega.  You won't find me making another cake any time soon.  I'll be paying tribute to my local baker for future birthday events.  


Lincoln was the "junior snake handler" at his party!  He's pretty proud of that award, as if there was ever a doubt that he'd win.  


Here'ssssssssss looking at you kid!  You came into this world crying.  You often still do.  You can't stand your pockets to be crumpled up and your shoes rarely ever feel right.  Every single day I have to get your pajama shirt inside out while you do the pants.  You hold the doors for me while I push baby sister through them.  You love to play in the water, sink, hose, doesn't matter.  You can't ride anywhere at 5pm in the car without falling dead asleep.  Your best friend and worse enemy is your brother Jackson.  You love your baby sister but especially so when other people are around.  You like to hide and scare me or "disappear" and have me look for you.  You graze in the kitchen all morning eating every bar, pop tart or sweet food I'll allow.  After that, you might not eat anything else the rest of the day unless it's sneaking a snack in the pantry and me finding the wrapper a few weeks later.   You're a good boy and on the occasion that you do require punishment, you will often say "I love you, mom" or "can you give me a kiss before you spank me?"  I always oblige, then continue with said punishment.  I love your quirky self more than you'll ever know.  You were born to be a middle child!  Maybe that's why you're Nana's pick! 
 You're most definitely my favorite 5 year old!

Note: the above snake has a mustache!  It's such a cute mustache, he couldn't be that bad, right?