Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TEN on Tuesday!

1.  I'm going to go ahead and admit that I'd shamelessly downloading new ring tones to my aging HTC EVO phone for fun.  Jason is still studying for finals and I honestly find this more entertaining than watching TV or folding laundry.

2.  Jackson started swimming lessons today at the YMCA.  It was our first day and we park out in left field and arrive just in time to notice there are both ambulance and fire trucks in front of the Y.  I'm a little concerned when I walk in and see them placing a sign up that says the pool is closed until further notice.  Luckily, (i assume) the stretcher came out empty and they re-opened the pool for Jackson to complete his first lesson while Lincoln and I frolicked in the shallow end watching on.

3.  Lincoln has really gotten into Peanut Butter and Jelly.  He will eat it 3 meals a day and ask for more.  Hence, I showed him the Yin Yang Twins version of "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" and now my adorable 2 year old says "Peanut Butter Jelly Time, with a baseball bat.  Ironically, I just found a peanut butter jelly time ringtone.  I'm going to regret this later.  Mark my word!

4.  Jackson had to complete a research project on a US president last week.  Now, he's in Kindergarten mind you.  Raise your hand if you remember writing a research paper in Kindergarten.  I'm pretty sure I was in 11th grade before I was required to write my first paper.  I guess you'd call it a parent/kid project and we did our part.  We researched Andrew Jackson and found out some interesting things.  Besides the things Jackson chose to include on his poster, we learned he was the only president in US history to ever pay off the national debt.  Also, his pet parrot , Poll that Jackson mentioned on his poster,  yeah, he cursed profusely at his funeral!  Good stuff.

5.  I finally found somewhere to hijack some buttercups.  Sure, some people call them daffodils but to me, they'll always be buttercups.  Some of my fondest memories are driving around with my parents to old homesteads where no one lived to pick buttercups.  We did it every year and it was a true sign that spring was coming.  The more exciting the location the better.  If we stopped on the roadside, that was cool.  If we had to cross over into a fenced in field, that was even better!  So, this weekend, I saw on top of a hill leading to a public canoe launch there was a whole bunch of buttercups.  On Saturday afternoon, I took the boys down there to pick some.  We approached what I thought was an old home site but realized as we walked closer that it was actually a cemetery.  A 100 year old cemetery.  After I got past my astonishment, we walked around and looked at the graves.  They were anywhere from 1878 to 1912.  Some kids would be freaked out in a cemetery but not mine.  My dad regularly takes them to our family cemetery so they think it's cool and ask a bunch of questions about the deceased.  We went ahead and picked our flowers anyway, I didn't seem to think the dead folks would mind at all.  It's all about making memories, people.

6.  I bought some after Valentines day candy. I had previously resisted opening it for the simple fact that I bought one of my favorites, you know "for the children".  But when I ran out of fancy Nashville Chocolate bars, I found myself with my hand in a large bag of sweet tart hearts.  I'm having to resist serious temptation to get up and have a "few" more.

7.  I'm really excited to be updating the front door of our rental house this week.  I have had no way to see when someone is at the door and this will add another layer of protection.  It comes after a "knock and run" happened while Jason was gone at 11pm on Friday night.  So, later this week, I'll have a nice new glass front door to clean tiny hand prints off of!  I'm really excited about it!

8.  Tomorrow is leap day.  I always found leap day fascinating.  Especially when I knew someone in school who's birthday fell on that day.  It seems cool but I wouldn't want it for myself.  My best friend is pregnant, maybe she'll get to deliver on that lucky day.

You must read this.  I wrote a blog similar(sort of)  to this but she knocks it out of the water on the funny factor.  Most of you have probably already read it though.  I posted it on my facebook and I'm sure I have no more followers on here than I do there.

10.  Both Jackson and Lincoln are still both a little crazy over Monster trucks.  Lincoln is going to bed with his on a  daily basis and will wake up and play with them in my bed driving over the pillows for hours.  I requested all the materials available at Nashville public Library on monster trunks and came home with both books and movies.  Now who do they love?  I have no shame, Daddy's the one who goes around handing out candy for love!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I never thought I'd find myself...

Since moving to Nashville, we've really tried to up the cultural ante on our events.  We know this place is just full of things we've never experienced and not just country music.  We've visited The Station Inn and heard southern gospel music while consuming adult beverages in the Gulch.  We've been to every possible Full Moon Pickin' Party where they have all kinds of live music outdoors.  Just last week we were at Music City Roots to hear breakout bands at their best.  We've also checked the NHL block at a Preds game, been to a Vandy Football game and have full plans to go to a baseball game this Spring.  Jason and the kids landed on a BBQ festival while I've seen Wicked at TPAC and have tickets to see Mary Poppins this Spring as well.  Yes, we've been quite well rounded in our cultural palette lately.  We can now add a whole new facet to our Nashville Bucket List.  We have been to Bridgestone to see the Monster Jam.
We missed going to the circus.  Our kids never said anything about it and tickets were at a premium I thought.  Jackson saw a semi-circus while in Fayetteville so only Lincoln is getting the shaft (second child!).  I told Jason that if the monster trucks came to Nashville, we needed to go and wouldn't you know the signs went up the next day.  Jason scored us tickets minus the exorbitant handling fees and we started spreading the news to the boys, we were going to see the monster trucks.  I'm not sure who was more excited both before and after the show.  Lincoln was pretty thrilled with the whole event.
We sat down and the kids played musical chairs for the first few minutes.  Before the show started, they did a nice recognition of all active/veterans and added emergency workers and teachers in there too.  It seemed as if nearly everyone was standing up to be honored! Then they sang the national anthem.  I was impressed with how saturated both the fans and the performers were pride and patriotism.  Here among dirt floor and junk cars, they show respect to their country.  When's the last time you heard the national anthem played at the ballet or the theatre?  I just found that to be an interesting observation.

When the first Monster Truck rolled out, Lincoln couldn't have clung to us any tighter but he had a smile from ear to ear.  We all found it super exciting when the trucks would rev up and jump high into the air, crushing the junk cars to pieces.  It wasn't something I thought I'd enjoy but it was well done and I actually had fun.  Before the intermission 2 transformer type cars came out to battle.  These robots were Jackson's highlight of the night. They shot one another with fire until one of them retreated.  It was pretty cool with flashy lights and a robot voice.

Another highlight was when one of the trucks would happen to flip over.  It was much like watching hockey or wrestling for a fight or NASCAR for a wreck.  Flipping wasn't a good thing but everyone wanted to see it once or twice!
We all walked back to the car happy and sleepy and the next morning Lincoln woke up and told us he now wants to be a Monster Truck driver when he grows up.

 Do they have a  monster truck driving college degree?  I guess it's better than clown college or bar tending school.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 on Wednesday? Why not!

1.  I had the culinary pleasure of discovering the decadence of truffles recently.  I don't mean the chocolate kind although those too are quite decadent.  I mean the mushroom type.  I discovered them over fries.  At a local burger joint (read: classy upscale organic burgers), I tried and fell in love with truffles.  Then I came home to read all about them and found out that they are nearly priceless.  Like far beyond caviar expensive.  More like diamonds.  I went looking for the coveted truffle oil and found a few drops of it would cost you 17.99 at Whole Foods.  At Trader Joes, while they don't carry the oil around here (must remember to check in California!) they do carry cheese with truffles.  My heart be still!  Cheese AND truffles.  My tongue is doing back flips and when I got it home, it was just as decadent as I imagined it would be.  Highly recommend Italian Truffle Cheese!

2.  Lincoln and I were tootling around town one day this week and as I held him while in a store, I told him "you're my little punkin'." To which he replied appallingly, "I NOT a punkin', I a MAN!"  Oh, excuse.  Please tell me this isn't happening at age 2.

3.  Jackson and I were recently discussing a possible move to Texas in 18 months.  I asked him if he wanted to move there and he said no.  We all really like it here.  He asked how long it would take to drive there from here and I told him we would most likely fly there because it would be too far.  This made him want to live there more.  He thought for a moment and then asked me, " Mom, do they speak English there?"

4.  I could kiss the genius that ever thought to put dark chocolate and sea salt into the same bite.  I wonder if it was done on accident and then found to be delightful?  Either way, I'm convinced that this miracle of exquisite taste could have only come from the mind of a woman!  So here's to you, Salted Chocolate discoverer!

5.  Today I read several articles on humility and how it seems to be a lost virtue or at least one that isn't taught among this generation.  It detailed how this is linked to "the entitlement generation" of "I deserve ______".  I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of placing my children on a pedestal and lacking to teach them the meaning of being truly humble.  I found this resource helpful  for humble tips in my own life and hopefully my children will learn this virtue through me.

6.Gnocchi With Sausage and Spinach  THIS was our dinner tonight.  Gnocchi is not something I keep on hand but elbow noodles are so we substitute and it doesn't lack on flavor at all.  It's one of those dinners Jason gets excited about and I keep it in our dinner rotation about once a month or whenever we need to quickly use up the Sams size spinach container!

7.  I am assuming the role as co-chair of the Owen Partners Association.  It's basically a spouses club for the classes at Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University.  It felt pretty natural considering it's basically and FRG and I'd say I'm pretty proficient at those.  The only difference is his "deployment" will be stateside and he most likely won't need to carry a gun at any point.  Either way, it's exciting to be preparing to become the "second year" class which means we're on our way to graduation 2013!

8.  I just got an email from hotmail saying that I had too many emails.  Who's to say having nearly 10,000 emails is too many?  I've gotten lazy and simply read the ones I want and leave the rest to accumulate.  I've now spent the last 2 hours deleting and unsubscribing from tons of emails.  I now have around 5,000.

9.I had an epiphany at church on Sunday.  I've heard all my life "God won't give you more than you can handle" and naively I believed it.  As of recently I have a friend experiencing "more than she can handle" so when Pastor Pete Wilson said this was false on Sunday, my ears perked.  He said it was indeed unbiblical and that the truth of the verse was that God will never leave you with no other choice but to SIN.  He expects demands that you rely on HIM.  This article was very helpful in clearing it up for me and never again will I accept the lame "God won't give you more than you can handle" excuse!

10.  If I don't end this right now, I'm going to succumb to the desire to eat.  I'm in the kitchen, it's been hours since dinner and I'm getting up at 5 to run.  Good Night forks, I mean folks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's better than being married for 9 years?

What could be better than married to the love of your life for 9 years, bearing 2 adorable children and living in the best city you can possibly think of?


Sure, the marriage is great.  Best it's ever been.  Looking forward to years and years more.

But the chocolate.  Oh, the chocolate.

For our anniversary, we toured the Nashville based grass roots chocolate company Olive and Sinclair.  It's stone ground and hand made right here in Nashville and we got to see the whole process.

It starts out with cocoa beans, mostly from Dominican Republic.  The beans are shelled and what remains is called the nib.  The nibs are stone ground by 2 granite wheels that weigh 2 tons each.  It was intresting to see this part.  This is what he called the "old fashioned" way of grinding chocolate nibs but it seemed simple enough and smelled heavenly.  After adding only cocoa butter, the chocolate is tempered and placed into tray molds.  It is also wrapped by hand in Nashville.  It was divine chocolate and at $6 a bar, it well should be.  Jason's favorite was the cinnamon chili flavor but I was more a fan of the burbon whiskey barrel toffee.  Either way, you can't go wrong with Olive and Sinclair.

Afterwards, we finally visited Sambuca in the Gulch.  I'd been hearing about it for a while and it didn't disappoint!  I had the first decent mojito since I left Mexico nearly 2 years ago.  I also sampled artichokes stuffed with goat cheese.  There is just nothing bad about that combination.  We were also treated to a decadent toffee bread pudding a la mode wishing us a Happy Anniversary.  Years ago, we might have toasted a night cap or even visited several other bars before heading home in the wee hours but tonight, we checked our watch and decided to call it a night and go home to pay the sitter.  Yes, the exciting life of parents wildly celebrating their 9th anniversary.

We just decided to leave all the exciting stuff to #10.  When we plan to truly party into the wee hours of the Mexican night.  It might be a little hopeful but that's the current plan for Anniversary/Graduation in May 2013.

I am so thankful for Jason and the plan God has for our life.  We are in a completely different place than I saw us being 8 years ago when I spent our first anniversary with my mom and aunt because Jason was deployed.  We are in a place that I never knew I wanted to be.  I'm thankful for the leader he is.  I'm thankful that he seeks God's council on the path we are taking and feel confident that each step is the right one.  I know I already take for granted all the days he is HERE and with me.  So many of my friends are spending days alone through yet another deployment.  Some of them are spending their lives alone, away from the ones they love.

I know I love him.  I love every minute we have had together.  I love all the things only I know about him.  I love that I can predict his next move and know what he's going to say before he says it.

And I love chocolate.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

10 on Thursday. Why not?

1.  This afternoon I made a Sams run (only 1 exit down the interstate!) to get one thing.  Brussels Sprouts!  I'm kind of obsessed with them lately.  Who knew?  If you'd asked me 1 year ago if I liked them, I would have said emphatically NO!  There are very few things I don't like.  Most of them are fishy so I don't know what the aversion to these were but I'm so glad my mind has been changed.  I simply slice them, salt them and spray with olive oil before roasting them in the oven for half an hour.  I eat them like candy.

2.Jason started recording a new show on National Geographic channel.  He's been watching it at night but considering I fall asleep in less than 2 minutes, I haven't even seen the first segment.  Well, today at lunch, I sat down to watch something on DVR and realized most of the things on there are things we like to watch together so I decided to give Doomsday Preppers a chance.  OH MY, help me Jesus!  This show is more, yes I said *more* wacky than hoarders.  Seriously, these people are going to unbelievable extremes to prepare for "when the &^$% hits the fan" or otherwise some catastrophic event.  They are preparing to live years underground and on the food they are currently storing.  They spend HOURS a day canning 8 meals per person for the "just in case".  They practice what they will do if others find out they have enough to sustain themselves and how they will fend them off.  I know you think I'm kidding.  Look it up.  It's true.  And I'm not talking just one crazy loon, there are multiple people like this. Enough for an entire season. Wow!

3.  Last week my oven had a break down.  I wish it was from all my fantastic cooking but I think it was just a fluke.  Either way, it scared me and I needed a repair man.  Or so I thought.  A nice old man came out and looked at it and then had to order a part, the bottom element.  Later that weekend, Jason said, "well, the oven is working".  Oops, I forgot to tell him that they guy didn't fix it on Thursday.  So Monday, I am cleaning the oven from it's white powder from the element burn out when I realize that it's clearly the top element that is broken.  I'm certain the guy ordered the bottom one and don't even remember him looking at the top.  So this morning, I called him and corrected his repair diagnosis and he installed the element I suggested he bring.  Now I can add "appliance repair" to my ever growing resume.

4.  This house is just FULL of excitement.  It's all the buzz around here.  Tomorrow night, we are going to broaden our cultural horizons to a whole new level.  We believe in exposing our children to all types of entertainment and tomorrow night is certainly going to be a night to remember.  We are going to be attending...
MONSTER JAM!  We felt guilty about not taking our kids to the circus recently and said, if the monster trucks come to Nashville then we are going.  Wouldn't you know, the commercials started the next day!  Jason scored us tickets minus the exorbitant "convenience" fees and so if you need me tomorrow night, I'll be the one sporting all my Stella and Dot jewels while cheering on Gravedigger at Bridgestone Arena!

5.  Last night Jason and I had a little date night.  Every Wednesday night our fav radio station broadcasts Live from the Loveless Cafe' Barn a show called Music City Roots.  It's an eclectic mix of up and coming artists.  Some you've heard of and some probably not.  But all of them are good!  It's mostly bluegrassy/folk music but the genre is flexible.  It's a small venue and they serve beer/wine/drinks to enjoy while sitting in seats with no more than 100 others.  Every seat is a good one.  Last night, Jason wanted to go hear Chatham County Line.  They are a NC band that he became fond of when we lived up there.  Also in the line up was Lilly Winwood.  I didn't know who she was but apparently she has a famous father because when he walked out, the crowd went crazy.  Steve Winwood was a pretty big deal of an 80's singer.  He topped the charts with "Higher Love" and "Roll with it Baby".  Daughter Lilly was pretty good too.  I really liked hearing the live music and knowing that is what Nashville is all about.  We love living here and we're constantly trying to soak up every minute of it.

6.Today my Dad and Lincoln and I took the marshmallow guns down to the Harpeth River to shoot them into the water.  I was trying to make them work consistently but when you're talking bullets made out of puffed sugar, you're just asking for problems.  I had to take a piece off to get a marshmallow unstuck and then I replaced the part.  Apparently I didn't replace it correctly and at first shot, it went flying into the fast moving (freezing) river.  I didn't have long to consider the fact that 1)the gun is rendered useless without the part  2) we have 2 guns and 2 kids and 3)  I have my good running shoes on and no time to take them off.  I did what any right minded mom would have done.  I jumped into the freezing water up to my knees to retrieve the part of the gun and save myself from future "It's MINE" fights.  I'm gonna tell you the squishy walk home was pretty tortuous.  I'm not a fan of being wet without a swimsuit on but I'm satisfied with the fact we will have 2 perfectly intact marshmallow shooters, for now.

7.  Today Lincoln sat in his chair and ate his peanut butter sandwhich and the few chips left in the bottom of a bag.  After he was done he said, "Mom, I'm all done.  I ready go night, night."  You gotta love a kid that not only knows when he's ready for a nap but TELLS you so!

8.  Do you have Valentines plans?  We are far to old to even consider going out on Valentines day.  We've never been into gifts for Valentines day either.  Although out first Valentines day would be hard to top.  I flew up to New York for a mystery visit.  All I knew is that we were going somewhere COLD.  He picked me up at the airport and we started driving North.  We drove for another 8 hours into a Blizzard.  About 1am, we arrived.  We were at Niagara Falls.  I had wanted to go there all my life.  It was one of those things on my "husband to be " bucket list and he'd already checked it off!  We spent the weekend in sub zero temps exploring the falls and doing a behind the scenes tour.  We hopped from the US to Canada and back all weekend.  It was one Valentines day I'll never forget.

9.  I recently booked 4 cross country flights for this summer.  We are going to visit the Higerds and by we I mean me and the boys and my mother.  Jason will be working in Houston all summer.  I've always wanted to go to California and it's the perfect chance.  I can't wait to see those girls and get to experience the Cali life from someone who knows!  Hollywood, Lego land and San Diego zoo are all on the week long agenda, along with lots of beach side coffee, wine and laughter!

10.  This morning, I let Lincoln do some arts and crafts.  He's not much into the fine arts, he'd much rather be "killing something" with his nerf gun or running over something in his monster truck but he was willing to give it a try.  He asked for my help so I started him off by painting a sunshine, he started out pretty good with the purple but then proceeded to mix the rest of the colors to come out with a vibrant brown all over the page.  I don't see a piece in the Met in out future but possibly a spot on the Mets one day!