Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tired Ten on Tuesday!

I hit the ground running today and haven't let up till now.  Please forgive me if I fall asleep mid-blog and this winds up being on Wednesday instead.

1.  We continued our Woodlands pool tour today by visiting pool # 3 on our list.  I like all the "baby" pools they have and Lincoln likes it too!  Although that boy is learning to swim like a champ, he just needs a little more confidence.  11 more pools to go by the end of summer!

2.  I have finally joined a YMCA again.  There are 3 to choose from here and all are reasonably nearby the closest being 2 miles.  Last wednesday I went to a bootcamp class.  It was awesome and I left a sweaty mess.  I was also rendered unable to walk for the 2 days that followed.  I jumped back on the horse on Monday with body pump but I'm still feelin' it.

3.  Jackson is attending a VBS this week.  I plan to find him a few more.  It's only for school aged kids but regardless it's great to split the boys up for a while in the day.  They are a TERROR when they are together. Just call me ringmaster! ding, ding, ding

4.  I got LOST on the way to the pool today.  I might have mentioned we LOVE LOVE this community.  It's got everything you could possibly think of BUT it's all hidden behind the woodline.  You're driving along and there's not even a sign telling you of all the wonderful things behind the woods.  You might know you're close but unless you can GPS it, good luck finding it.  And I thought it was hard to learn your way around a military post!  I am pretty good with Maps but geeze, that makes it tough.  Then while GPSing my way everywhere, I run the battery down on my phone at an absurd hour and also miss out on my "driving phone calls" because if I'm ON the phone, I can't get anywhere!  I'm gonna figure this out, just wait and see!

5.  In case you were wondering, my blogging snack is an apple dipped in organic natural peanut butter and a little plain greek yogurt.  It's delicious and possibly the only thing keeping me awake right now.

6.  I have hit the grocery store jackpot.  Behind the woodline at the first intersection on our main road there is a Trader Joes!!, a Kroger (signature) and a H-E-B.  I couldn't tell you which one I prefer, they are all pretty great in their own rights.  I've never had a H-E-B nearby (texas thing) but I can only compare it to Publix meets whole foods/fresh market.  They make awesome whole wheat tortillas that I can attest to after today.  I would also like to give them a round of applause for choosing locally grown produce and local seafood fresh at the counter.  We've had shrimp twice this week to celebrate.   If that wasn't enough, they  have a "good behavior" system for the kids at the checkout where they are handed "buddy bucks" to place in
 a machine and spin a wheels for points to collect and win prizes.  I'm just hoping it makes for a more peaceful shopping trip along the way.  I think they might be onto something!

7.  While most of the time I would consider it "Africa Hot" here with humidity ranging from 1-500%, the local plant life seems to love it and it is reflected in the availability of tropical plants!  We went to a nursery and came out with an entire flat buggy of plants then went back for more.  Jason and I both love plants (plant hoarders) so we have this place looking nice and cheery, specifically on the outside.   Just don't venture upstairs just yet.  It's scary, even for me.

8.  While perusing H-E-B tonight, I was suckered into buying this.

  Don't try to tell me bacon doesn't make everything better.  That's like saying things aren't bigger in Texas!  Tonight I used it to make broccoli salad.  A little greek yogurt and mayo mixed with it and it was divine!

9.  Also divine was This shrimp recipe.

  Now I am not a fan of peeling shrimp after i cook them so I did peel them before hand.  It was spicy and totally plate licking delicious!  My advice is invite some folks over.  Make margaritas to go around and serve this shrimp pronto!  Now, is anybody free on Saturday night?

10. Last week we went pickin'.  This time it was blackberries.  It was one of those "Africa Hot afternoons".  We didn't last long but we got some big delicious berries and have been eating them ever since.  I'm thinking we'll try to go back again before they bloom out.  We had never picked blackberries before but for a fleeting moment, it was fun.  Mostly hot, but fun.

Bonus:  (because I'm actually done before midnight!)
We went to see Man of Steel on Monday (yep, you guessed it.  It was HOT outside).  I liked the movie, it had a lot of crash, boom, bang type fighting in it but I'd watch it again, to sit for 2 hours in the cool staring at this guy!  (No, no, the tall one, but hey, the short one's pretty cute too!)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Week One in The Woodlands

We've been in Texas a little over a week and so far, well, we LOVE it.  I always knew we would.  We are getting settled and learning our way around this place.  If you know me very well, you know I don't waste any time jumping in with both feet.   We are still working on the house so house pics will come later but this is kinda how it went down the first week in the great state of Texas.
We arrived at midnight and ran like crazies around our big new house.  First and only chance to run around inside because we had no furniture.  
 There is no doubt we had our priorities straight.  The movers were coming in 24 hours but we had plenty of time to GPS the nearest Costco and stock up on produce and you know, pick up a TV or two!  We were holding out until the move to buy THIS.  We were some of the last people on the planet to not own a flat screen TV so when we do it, we do it BIG.  We ended up with a 60" and a 47" for the bedroom.  See, everything IS bigger in Texas...hahaha!

 We also had a little of THIS.  It was necessary.  We were moving across the South with two kids, a dog and a cat.  We had no furniture and the only cups we had were a football cup and a coffee mug.  Whatever. It worked.  Note:  I did not forget the wine bottle opener but then again, I have never let that stop me before.  I think this is also the night we ate pei wei in the floor of the kitchen.  It was delicious.
 This guy is getting serious about his new TV.  Do you think Jason's new "couch" would look better on the other wall?
30 seconds on the clock:  How many redneck things can you say about this photo?
You might be a redneck if...

 Forget the movers...we got this!  The waterpark 1.5 miles away from us opened on friday and we didn't waste any time paying it a visit! Really fun place and so close we could ride our bikes!

 We made some pudding pops.  It's just not summer without some chocolate pudding pops made by climbing on top of the counter to stir.
 We ate from the taco truck.  Some neighborhoods have an ice cream truck, ours has the taco truck and it conveniently comes by close to lunchtime when I'm starving and my utensils are buried under a mound of boxes and packing paper.  They were delicious!
 We found one of the neighborhood parks.  AND made a friend there!  She probably regrets giving me her phone number because I've been interrogating her with local questions ever since!  This is just one of the many many parks we've  seen since moving in.

 We have hung a few things like this D I got at the Nashville Flea Market.  I love it!  We have gotten the downstairs 70% unpacked but then there's the upstairs.  Let's just say I haven't been upstairs much and the boys are still sleeping in the one bed that I made up.  That's the project for next week.  And the next.
 We went to church and liked it.  Then we went to eat pizza and liked it too!  It was quite a rainy sunday but the NY style pizza seemed to make everyone happy!

 So, yeah, we went swimming again.  There are 14 pools, not including splash pads, located in our community and we can go to all of them.  It is our mission this summer to try all of them at least once, so we know which one is our favorite.  2 down, 12 to go!
 We got a hammock.  We decided on the quilted one but we are loving it.  The boys play on it and fall on their head on a regular basis.  It's always fun till someone ends up crying.  Story of my life!

 We received a couple of very special "welcome packages" from TN and Lincoln is enjoying his "racoon book".  It's the kissing hand, sweetest little book!
 Note:  Child has on his pajamas backwards AND inside out.  My sister used to do this all the time.  Her excuse was tomorrow when she takes them off they'll be right side out again.  Problem solved.
We joined the library and signed up for summer reading!  It was fun to explore a new library and when we walked in Lincoln saw the literacy computers for kids and asked, "Hey mom, can you hold my rolly polly's so I can play on the computers?"  No, son, take them back outside please.  Ah, the things you never thought you'd hear yourself say!
 We created a few masterpieces.  It was noon and we'd been to the pool.  Both kids came home and put on pajamas.  I was too tired to care.
 We joined the YMCA.  It felt good to be back in them gym on Wednesday.  It didn't feel so good on Thursday or Friday when I was too sore to walk around straight.  I'm going to take another crack at it next week and hope to fall back into the rhythm and maybe even make a few more friends.
 The new Y is pretty cool.  The child area had this awesome rock climbing wall that they can climb on!  It also has a great pool similar to the waterpark one.
 Lincoln was happy enough to be here, he just didn't want me making his photo.  It's tough to look this cute with a mad face yet he manages it!
 I had THIS.  It's a deep fried avocado stuffed with chicken and cheese.  This was NOT the first time we've consumed mexican since we've been here.  It wasn't the second either.  You just can't beat the mexican food here.  That's right, I said fried avocado, cheese and chicken.  Please and Thank you!
 We found the mother of all plant nurseries.  We sweated BUCKETS while we were there looking at all the incredible plants.  Jason and I have plant hoarding tendencies.  We both love outdoor living space and these plants made my day!  Things seem to grow well here in this ultimate humidity.  You'd think we were done with these but we are going back monday to pick up a few more we still need.  It's gonna be beautiful, just you wait and see!
 Even the cat and dog seem to love it here.  There's so much space in the house, no one has to share.  Well, we still share.  The cat takes possession of whatever he wants.  That's how he rolls.

 We find things that have been LONG gone.  Lincoln came downstairs and said "Look mom, I found my old paci, now I can be your baby again!"  He loves to "play baby" and this just made it that much more fun.
 There are over 200 miles of bike and hiking trails in the neighborhood where we live.  We didn't make it quite that far but we did ride to the park and back.  It was hot and whiny but we made it.
There's so much more to see and do here.  We haven't even made it into Houston yet.  We are about 30 miles North of the city.  We are loving our little suburb!  It's child centered, family friendly and close to everything!  I mean, trader Joe's is 3.9 miles AND they sell wine.
I have a good feeling I'm going to like this place!
Stay tuned for house photos coming up.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Can he stay FOUR forever?

Lincoln has been counting down to May 26 for a year now.  He might not know how old he was(three fingers are hard to hold up) but he's known when his birthday is for a LONG time!  We went through many a birthday themes before deciding on Sharks and Batman.  We had a small family gathering.  Cake, shaved ice and homemade ice cream plus the birthday song and trick candles made him the happiest 4 year old on the block!  

Lincoln is SUCH a charmer.  
He has an uncanny ability to make everyone fall in love with him.  He is highly opinionated and is a terrible loser.  He has no shame in asking you to let him "win" at everything from putting on your seatbelt faster to pulling up your pants!  He's competitive but only when he's winning.  He has a keen sense of smell.  There isn't a day that goes by without him saying "I smell somefing!?"  In the event that it is a skunk he smells, he'll announce that it is a "Stunk"  Appropriate.  Skunk+stinks= Stunk.  When he's decided in his mind that he doesn't want to talk at the moment, he will suddenly claim "I'm shy" when he hasn't been shy a day in his life.  He's always been a bit clumsy and this surely hasn't changed.  He's always scraped and bruised but tough as nails.  He's also as stubborn as a mule.  Lincoln is in full on refusal for learning.  He thinks learning is "BORING"!  His favorite phrase is "it's TOO HARD!"  This has something to do with his school aged brother and 1st grade homework.  I've been working on letters and he claims to not know what they are but give him a "game" on my phone and he gets the right letters 99% of the time.  
Lincoln is loyal.  And by loyal I mean he has ONE friend/love at a time.  It used to always be me.  For the first 2-3 years, it was definitely me but times have changed and I usually get the boot.  Lately his daddy is his one and only unless Nana is around. Then she's the cat's meow and everyone else is dirt.  When you are in his good graces, you get snuggles, hugs, and best friendship.  When you are not, you get mean looks and eye rolls.  If you're not careful, you'll get your feelings hurt.  I know.  
He can dish it out but he can't take it.  He does funny things to his brother and you can laugh but when you try the same thing on him, he'll loudly protest, "Stop LAUGHING at me, it's not funny!"  Oh and heaven forbid you retell something funny he did.  He'll stop you at the bit.  He won't tolerate anyone talking about him.  
He has that innocent way of confessing when's he's done something he knows he shouldn't.  Last week he came to me bowing and shaking his head saying, "I've done a terrible 'ting." 
No matter what he's done, he is usually sorry and somehow gets away with it.  Charmer, I tell you!

There's been a lot of change in this baby's 4 years of life.  Born in Alabama while his father was deployed and met him at  4 months old.  Moved from NC to TN at 2 then from TN to TX at 4.  He won't remember those places but I will always remember them with him.  From my crybaby to Mr. Independent. 
 He's come a long way, baby!
Lincoln, we love you more than you know and I hope ALL of your dreams and wishes come true! 

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

 My 1st cousin Ben and Lincoln share a birthday.  He wasn't keen on sharing his day with anyone.  Luckily, Ben didn't mind taking a back seat!

 This is Lincoln's 1st birthday party.  It pretty much sums up who he is.  Then and now.  It's HIS party, he can cry if he wants to!

Classic Lincoln.  Today's not MY day to be on his good side.  Tomorrow's not looking too good either!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Top 10 things I'll miss the most about Nashville

It has a way of going by remarkably slow in the worst of times.  
I would know, I lived through three deployments without this guy!
But it also had the uncanny ability to speed up and fly by during the best times of your life.  
Think about it.  How many people wish their children would grow up more quickly?  Never!
I knew our time here in Nashville would go by quickly but the more we loved it the more quickly it flew.  I can't be sad for what our future holds.  In more ways than one it's exactly what we always wanted.  Jason said when we moved to Nashville, "You're gonna LOVE it there.  Don't get used to it".  
He was so right.  

It seems like just yesterday I was writing the blogs concerning What I'll miss the most about North Carolina and even some of the thing I wouldn't miss about there.  
Let it be known, there is nothing about Nashville that would make a list of things I won't miss.  Everyone loves Nashville.  Now without further procrastination as the boxes are piling up around me, these are the things about Nashville I'll miss the most.

10.  Seasons.  Tennessee  has FOUR season.  Sometimes they are more pronounced than others but each of them are present for a time every year.  Snow is not an impossibility but it won’t be present for long.  Spring brings appropriate rain and sometimes ruins your outdoor activities but it’s still there.  Summer is long and adequately hot enough to leave you running for the nearest pool and Fall…oh dear, what an amazing place to live in the glorious months of September, October and November.  The leaves in the Nashville area are simply breath taking! 

9.  SEC Football.  Sure A&M joined the SEC and that’s great and all but  we are not Aggies and they don’t hold a candle to our Alabama and Auburn teams.  I mean we dominate the National Championship circuit.  I’ll miss the ability to frequent games with Aunt Linda and Uncle Ron.  There’s just nothing like the feel of an SEC stadium, cheering or jeering with 100,000 friends (or sometimes enemies!)

8.  My ultra committed running partner.  Steph and I have ran many many miles together over the last 2 years.  A self-professed non-morning person, she’s gotten up to run every Tuesday and Thursday possible .  Sometimes we do 3 miles or occasionally we strtch it out and make it 5 but we were committed.  Not to mention, it was some great time to chat.  We worked though all kinds of issues and personal problems all with the pavement under our feet.  I’m going to miss her each and every mile and I can only hope to find a running partner that will be as committed to me as she was.  Thanks Steph!  I’ll miss you tons!

7.  Distance to Alabama.  It’s 2 hours to my mama.  I’ve never lived this close to our homes and we knew this part wouldn’t last forever.  We knew when moved here we’d never want to leave but we’d likely have to.  That has made no difference in the empty feeling when I think of the boys not being able to see their grandparents as often not to mention us using them as free babysitters on call.  They have helped us so much these last two years.  We have a very close family and fun is all of us being together.  Regardless, we’ll be keeping the airlines in business  beginning next month!  I love that they already have a trip booked.  LOVE them!

6.  Crosspoint Community church.  We did just a tiny bit of church searching when we decided on Crosspoint.  Our kids went the first time and came out saying, “this is the best church EVER!”  If that didn't make our decision, it was also 2 minutes from our house so we could nearly get there on time!  But we stayed because of the amazing truths preached from there each week! Their motto is "preach the word, love the people!"   I always leave feeling inspired and bursting with the Love of Christ.  Here’s hoping I find a church that aligns with the principles of Crosspoint in Texas.    It’s the place where “Everyone’s Welcome, Nobody’s perfect and Anything’s Possible”


5.  Ah, the food in Nashville.  Jason and I are total foodies and this place has been pure heaven for us.  We started a bit of a bucket list when we arrived and have nearly checked off each one.  Now, that’s not to say anything about the food where we are moving because it will be giving Nashville a run for it’s money but the local eateries in Nashville will be sorely missed!  Some of my favorites include Tavern, Burger Up, Cabana, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum and  Loveless CafĂ© .  Houston has some big shoes to fill.  Here’s hoping that doesn't lead to bigger pants!

4.  The VIEW.  The Nashville skyline is iconic and so incredibly beautiful.  It’s like living in a big city in a small town.  Of course we all love the “batman building” but it’s such a walkable downtown area too!  I know for sure, the skyline of Houston, while much bigger won’t come close to the beauty of this city. 

3.  It’s NO secret  that I LOVE my YMCA.  I’m going to miss that place like crazy.  It was Lincoln’s “pre-school” and my 2 hours of sanity at least twice a week.  I was so happy to join there when we found out what a great facility it was. Our kids have enjoyed the amazing indoor pool as much as I loved the classes they offered.  Best of all was having a plethora of friends  always willing to meet you there!

2.  Vandy Friends.  I never knew that grad school would be such a great transition out of the military.  I worried we’d be the oldest folks in school and we had KIDS and would be the only ones.  I was mostly right and that didn’t matter a bit!  We made some great friends at Owen and there was no designation about who was the student.  We were enrolled there as a family and that’s how they befriended us!  I can’t say enough good things about the school or the people associated with Vanderbilt.  I was initially hesitant about Jason making “girl” friends but in the end they turned out to be as much my friends as his and I’m glad to be carrying their friendship on with me.  Some will be IN Houston while others will just have to visit but either way, this is NOT goodbye!

1.  This last one is even hard to write about.  I’ve said goodbye many times before but it NEVER gets easier.  The girls here took me into their circle and I felt like I’d always been a part of them.  Friendships like theirs are formed over a lifetime and I’m so glad to call them mine.  We shared every mommy woe, sicknesses, many a birth and celebrations. THIS...this is what I'll miss the MOST!  
LOVE you girls!