Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten on Tuesday-Favorite Things

1. Growing up, what was one favorite item that you had to have with you at all times?
Well, I had a Lady from Disney's Lady and the Tramp movie that I became fond of and yes, it did go with me everywhere. In high school and college, to Mexico and on a cruise. I'm going to go ahead and be honest here, I still have it and for the most part, it still goes with me everywhere. Moving on.

2. Being an adult, what is one favorite item that you have to have with you at all times, and what happens if you do not have it with you? Do you lose your sanity or just go back home to get it?
My best friend Renee called herself a "phone whore" this week after dropping her iphone in the toilet. She wouldn't want to get too far away from it. I have to admit, I am the same way (minus the toilet part). I take it everywhere and panic a few times a day when I can't locate it. A close second in this lifestyle we live would be the military ID card. Without it, you can't get on or off post and to get a new one would require an act of congress, a trip to "the big white building", a parking travesty and some DD form #10o3029483902309438.

3. Where is your favorite place to be to just hide away from everything and breathe for a moment? Every Saturday morning in the warmer months, Mari and I try to go out to local garage sales. There may or may not be anything we are looking for but we never forget our coffee and breakfasts. We sometimes drive around for an hour and never stop but we are in the car, conversating about things and USUALLY there are NO children that need our attention. It's the best frozen waffle I eat all week.

4. What is your favorite thing about your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, then someone who is very close and will always be in your life)
Can we all say confidence. Jason always has the utmost confidence in himself and it has led him to succeed in life. It's what I found attractive about him in college and I still find it attractive today. I've always said, I love that he's "the life of the party". It's just that now days, it's sometimes a different kind of party!

5. What is your favorite thing about your job? (If you don’t have a job, then what is your favorite thing that you do during your day?)
What's not to love. I shop, I cook, and I take care of the sweetest 16 month old while playing bus driver to my newly independent 4 year old.

6. What is your favorite lesson that your parents taught you growing up? Looking back, is it something that you want to use to teach your children when they reach that age?
Social graces. Social graces are skills used to interact politely in social situations. My mom always taught us by example how to be polite and respond to different social situations with grace an poise. In many way's she's still teaching us. She also taught us to be friendly to everyone. I remember her always saying "Hi" to older people, less fortunate and even the animals we passed in the woods. Being friendly requires confidence in oneself and I think that is also a lesson learned.

7. What is your favorite song, that will always bring a smile to your face and make you think of something happy?
This may be getting ahead of myself but for me, it's Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American". From childhood I always teared up (in happiness) while listening to this song.

8. What is your favorite thing about being an American? (If you not American, what are you proud of in regards to your country)
There was no way for me to have known I would have had a role in fostering America's freedom and safety. I never even considered marrying a soldier. Until I met him. Now, being an American will forever have a new meaning to me. I know the price of freedom. I live among the facilitators and those they have left behind.

9. What is your favorite meal that reminds you of being a child?
Ok, this is a strange one to some. Hands down, mine is a concoction called Mac-ky soup. It's simply beef stew that my grandmother made with elbow macaroni (hence the Mac) It was what we begged for as kids and could always depend on a pot of it on the stove when we came home on college weekends. It was also frozen in bags for the 4 hour trip back to college. It was a delicacy I tell you.

10. Name 3 things that other people would say are their favorite thing about you.
I am a loyal friend.
I am southern girl through and through.
I love to accessorize!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where the WILD things are! -a day at the Atlanta Zoo

I can't figure out for the life of me, where he gets it. "Make me a silly picture!"
Our long lost cousin Willie B!

Come over here brother and give me a KISS like you mean it!
Tawny Scrawny Lion.

Ok, look closely, the mama in the back has a tiny baby gorilla across her neck. It was only about 3 months old and as tiny as a newborn! It was fun to get to see the baby from this view. That momma never let that baby go.
He was intrigued that in college, my roommates and I had a bird like this that would sit around on our shoulder all the time. He met an untimely death with a cabinet door closing. Poor Azul, RIP.

OK, this huge snake consumed not one but 2 rabbits while we watched. It only eats about every 2 months. I should take dieting tips.

the "not so perfect" picnic spot

This is what the Smith Family looks like right before an outdoor group shower. While in ATL we were visiting Stone Mountain and had picked the perfect (slightly wet from rain) spot for our picnic. We made a way to stay somewhat dry and began to watch the laser light show. We were equipped with glow sticks (dollar store) from head to toe and had some fabulous bacon and, well, bacon sandwiches. HA! We left the lettuce and tomato in the fridge at the condo. The laser show was as great as I had remembered from 25 years ago. Slightly more impressive I'm guessing at age 5 than 30 but nonetheless really cool. About the time we noticed a few raindrops, people started leaving by the droves. We all made a pact, we weren't scared of a little rain. This meant better seats and less traffic. Then Wyatt checked his good for nothing weather bug on his phone and noted "it's only going to get worse!." That was about 20 seconds before the lightening started, the thunder rolled and the bottom FELL OUT of the sky. It poured buckets and buckets of rain. There was NO sitting thorough this one, we might get washed away. We all gathered our things and held tight to the kids and started the mass exit to the car. It poured so hard, we could hardly see because of the rain running down our face, our hair was soaked, our clothes, ha, we were soaked to our undergarments. Wyatt and I tried desperately to shield our cell phones from the fierce weather. We had stopped running, there was no use, and started laughing about it. We walked through gushing rivers of flowing water. Someone yelled "wet T-shirt contest", everyone was IN! We all noted that showers were no longer necessary tonight, it was a group shower. We finally arrived at the car to count heads and attempt a slight dry off and wring our clothes out. We were down two. Daddy and Lincoln (stroller) were no where to be found. He calls and says he is lost and in the wrong parking lot. He is eventually found and we begin the long cold wet ride home. Jackson and Lincoln were lucky, they had dry clothes to don. The only thing funnier that a soaking wet family of 7 in an SUV is the 2 men sitting shirtless in the front as we drive on 75/85 and into downtown ATL. I'm pretty sure they got some looks, both FOR and against their shirtless choice!

Monday, September 20, 2010

More, More, More

For the last 15 months we've vaguely been trying to teach Lincoln to sign for what he wants. We all know how very much Lincoln loves to eat and you can imagine the uproar when the food runs out. We tried relentlessly to teach him to sign "more" rather than just point (the famous Lincoln point) or squeal. I never once thought it was sinking in as he continued to scream when the food ran out. Last week, as we were eating our daily breakfast on the go to take Jackson to school. Jackson and I both noticed that Lincoln was adamantly signing and saying "Mo, mo, mo" at the same time. That is exactly how Jackson learned to say it. He spoke and signed it at the same time. So as I drove down Hwy 87, we discovered our efforts were not in vein and Lincoln does in fact know how to sign. He can now sign "more", "milk" and "all done." Now if we can keep this up, we might begin to have a better understanding of each other. Or at least I'll know when to keep it coming!

Somebody call 9-1-1

Today, Jackson and I were discussing emergencies and calling 911. His daddy let him dial it with the phone turned off to practice. He told me today he wanted to call 911 and I told him we only do so if it is a real emergency. He said he wanted to do it with the phone off. It sparked a thought. Does he know what qualifies as a real emergency? So I asked him:
"Jackson, what would be an example of a reason to call 911?"

He says, "Monsters!"

I was already giggling while trying to explain that it is a very real outlet for emergencies.

I asked him if he could think of another example of an emergency.

He then says, "well, a fire(ok, good start) or if I was DEAD."

Ok, so we have some work to do on legitimate emergencies. He did clear up the fact that if he was dead, someone else would have to call 911 for him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Under the sea...in HOTLANTA!

Day one of Operation take on the ATL, Smith family style was a fun, interesting and exhausting day. We arrived in the 2AM hour to our VRBO condo in downtown Atlanta on peachtree street greeted by the local homeless, oh, and my parents and sister. It was a great 2 bedroom condo with good security and questionable parking. It was true urban style. We hauled 2 full cart loads of luggage up the elevator to the 20th story abode. The local tenants truly thought they had new neighbors. We all slept in a little later than expected and woke up in a hurry to get to the trip highlight, the Georgia Aquarium! Coolest thing was we could see it from our balcony!

We were close enough to walk a quick 5 minutes to the aquarium and we did just that. It wasn't until we got to the corner before the aquarium that I realized I left our printed tickets in the condo. Mom volunteered to accompany me on the uphill retrieval. While we were gone, the rest of the crew explored what may have been the "free" highlight of the trip. Centennial Park, used in the 1996 Olympic games held in Atlanta. It was used for many events including the opening ceremonies. It's a mini central park with lots of Olympic history and 2 great playgrounds and a splash pad. It wasn't our last visit to that park. The slide/conveyor belt was in instant hit for everyone!

We finally enter the wonderful world under the sea and it was as amazing as I had heard. It has 4 sections laid out as tropical water, freshwater, ocean water, arctic water. I most enjoyed the Tropical tanks, especially the room with a solid tank wall. I think I could stay there for days! The arctic was cooler than I had expected. I didn't realize colorful fish could live in cold water. The beluga whales were amazing animals to watch. No words can describe the experience but lucky for us, photographs can.

Naptime was in order after the aquarium so we put Lincoln, daddy and Tracie down for a nap and mom and I took Jackson back to Centennial Park for a romp in the splash pad. He was one of the only ones playing and he loved it. We also had a letterbox to be found. We followed the email directions and it led us through the park and used code letters to find the location. Jackson was thrilled to find the "treasure" and it was a cool Olympic stamp.

I noticed at the splash pad that we were only a few blocks away from one of my childhood memories. We lived in ATL when I was in K and 1st grade and I fondly remember mom and dad taking us to the top of the Westin Plaza. Back then it was the tallest building in the skyline and it's still the tallest hotel in the western hemisphere. We walked over and took the famous glass elevator up 73 stories to the top. On the way up, mom and I were getting a little jittery and Jackson noticed. When we asked him if he liked it, he said "Yes, but I don't want it to drop." Ha! He's ridden a free fall and the tower of terror and I guess he thought this was similar. Thank goodness it's not. We got out and it was exactly as I had remembered it 25 years ago. We got a good look at the Braves stadium and Stone Mountain. After we were back on solid ground, we started walking home when we passed another one of my childhood memories. This gigantic escalator. It just goes down to the MARTA station but I think it's pretty cool.

Our dinner plans were to walk a couple of blocks to a place I had heard about called Fresh to Order or F2O. With our fancy phone GPS's in hand, we take off on an 8 block voyage that included an I 75/85 overpass and a stroll through the "not so nice" part of town on our way to midtown. Once we were there, it was such a cute city area but the walk was a little longer than we all expected. And, also we would be walking back in the dark. Other than dad, our family tends to be a little fearless after Tracie spent that summer in Brooklyn, specifically Bedford/Stuyvesant. That is a story for another day. We didn't take into consideration that it was a LONG walk for a 4 year old. Lincoln dominated the stroller and it's not necessarily a double but we made it work. Jackson held Lincoln in his lap for a ride in the stoller on the walk back. We walked fast and arrived safely. And that was Day 1 in the ATL!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Here we go round the Blueberry Bush

For the second time this week, we visited Steve and Cindy's blueberry farm. After hearing of several friends going picking, I wanted to go. Actually, I'd wanted to go picking the whole 8 years we've lived here but the only places I knew of were a little far away. I was excited to hear about one just a few miles from where we lived and word had it they had LOTS of berries!
It was SO true. The first of the week, Linc and I ventured out after our workout while Jackson was in school and picked about a pound. Lincoln was far more concerned with chasing the geese that inhabit the farm in the morning than the blueberries. I knew those few wouldn't last long and I also knew we'd be in big trouble for doing something so fun while Jackson was at school. We promptly made plans to come back on Saturday.

We managed to pick 5 pounds on Saturday. And even those didn't last over a week! We did freeze some, we made a blueberry pie and several smoothies. Jackson even came up with a new word while eating the blueberry pie. It is best served with vanilla ice cream so he deemed it "piescream". Now that is a dessert in our house. The blueberries are in season much later than they normally are and we are reaping the benefits. I thoroughly enjoyed eating the fresh blueberries. They are great right of the bush. I see a family tradition in the making!