Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Ten on Tuesday (a little early!)

1.  I am exhausted.  I'm not sure how I'm mustering the strength to even compose this.  I've been getting up with Jason when he leaves for work and instead of having coffee and cross buns, I've instead been working my buns.  I've been going to boot camp.  And before you go calling, CPS you should know, I've been making the kids get up and go with me.  Ok, now you can call CPS.  They have been getting up at 6:16 so we can make it to the gym by 6:30.  I've been preparing their breakfast and they are sleeping in "play clothes" so they can get up and roll out.  It's an attempt to wear them out during summer.  Why is it I'm the only one tired?

This is their seat at bootcamp.  Mine is above the puddle of sweat on the pavement!

2.  We took a trip to the beach.  Well, you should know right now when I say "beach" I use that term loosely.  You see it truly is the Gulf Coast but when you grew up on the Panhandle beaches, it is understood you mean pristine white sand beaches.  This however is not one of those.  This is a brown, dirty beach with very little waves.  But, in it's defense, it's still the beach and it's a little over an hour away from us so I will try to keep my complaints to a minimum.  Our trusty GPS seemed to think that we should "make a U-turn as soon as possible" using the display picture below.  She obviously didn't understand the whole ferry concept.  

It was a fun ride and much to our surprise, it's FREE!  There's just something cool about putting your car on a boat and then driving it off again.  

 We made it to crystal beach and the digging for sand crabs commences.  I don't think they ever caught one.  They are fast little creatures.

 Only in Texas do the Taco trucks roll through the neighborhoods and the Ice Cream trucks roll up  on the beaches.  They know their market around here for sure!
 3.  We celebrated the 4th of July in our new house.  We got up early for The Woodlands 4th of July parade. We were decked from head to toe in our red, white and blue and flags in hand.  The boys loved the parade and are still talking about it.  Someone had the good forethought to hand out frozen water bottles.  That's the company I'm going to patronize.

 They do say everything is bigger in Texas.  

 The boys painted these flags and then had a bike parade around our cul-de-sac.  It didn't last long.  It was nearing 100 and they were already sweaty.  Let Freedom Ring!
 A Jackson photo bomb.

4.  Jason started his work on Monday. He left bright and early looking might fine in his suit and tie!   He got roped in a little early because the company division he was assigned to was having a conference and he needed to "meet and greet" (read: work long hours and jump in head first)  I think we both faced the harsh reality of "we're not in grad school anymore".  

5.   On Monday, the boys went to a VBS.  It was possibly the first 3 hours alone I've had in this house and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  When I picked them up I  had packed us a picnic lunch and planned to swim but the weather wasn't looking so hot.  It was a little cool/rainy.  It wasn't storming so we ate under a pavilion and fed the ducks our leftovers.  They still wanted to swim so I told them to go ahead.  There were 3 lifeguards watching the pool and only 2 children.  Mine.  So I sat on the side and enjoyed my time to veg while the kids were being closely monitored by certified lifeguards.

 6.   The best slice of heaven this side of Disney World!   This is Dole Whip in the making.  I found the recipe at Chocolate Covered Katie and folks, you should RUN, not walk to the nearest store and purchase the ingredients.  It's just that good!  I can almost hear "it's a small world" playing in my head every time I eat it!

 7.  We are making friends!  I made a friend at the gym(thanks, Sarah) that has so kindly connected me with LOTS of other people and we are really happy to feel like we have friends again!  We were invited to a couples cookout this weekend and we both really enjoyed the company!  Nothing better than a good network of stay at home moms to keep you company.  Particularly when the husband is working 12+ hour days.

8.  My daddy's coming TOMORROW!  And when my daddy flies you KNOW he's packin'.  No, no, don't alarm the TSA.  I don't mean that kinda packin'.  What I mean is that he's checking his luggage but it's not your typical pack for 4 days luggage.  His suitcase is filled with 30 lbs of garden fresh produce.  You read that correctly, produce.  My request when he came was red and green tomatoes and all the okra you can fit in the bag!  He will also be transporting a gallon of frozen chicken stew.  No, I'm not kidding.  Our family makes it outside in a big pot stirred with a boat paddle and it's pretty much the best stuff ever.  Good enough to pack up and fly to Texas.  If those agents only knew what they were dealing with, they would confiscate it for sure but they'd have a fight on their hands!  
9.  Oh yes, we did!  We dressed head to toe like cows on Friday just to get free chick-fil-a.  Have you tried their new salad?  It is GOOD!  And nothing taste as good as free!  The boys were into it and our friends were also there.  It was a great afternoon even if I was dressed like a cow.  

 This is their idea of "mad cow disease"

 10.  Finally, I covered the chairs to my kitchen table.  I had refinished it many months ago but hadn't found the perfect fabric for the chairs.  I decided now was the time and sprung for it.  It was of course the most expensive upholstery fabric at Hobby Lobby but we all like it and better than that, it won't show when the boys inevitably spill something on it!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Life in the HOT lane!

I've said it before, I'll say it again.  You know your momma loves you when she books her first trip to see you BEFORE you even move.  And before you know your way around the area, or how to drive on the deadly Texas interstates in traffic or just how HOT this place truly is.  A mother's love surpasses many things.  I'm just not sure the heat of Texas is one of them.
My mom and Aunt Janie flew into IAH and I planned a FULL week for us.  Our first stop was IKEA Houston and we made it there with only a few white knuckles from my driving experience.  We had a cheap lunch, let the kids play and found some new furniture for the boys room.  Ice Cream on the way out was a necessity but beware, it melts quickly!  
Next, we went to the downtown aquarium.  We knew we'd be there a while to wait out the rush hour traffic so we got the all inclusive pass to rides and exhibits and we had a ball.  The reviews of the aquarium were questionable but I thought it was a great way to spend the afternoon.  They boys loved riding over and over again and they have a splash pad too so the heat was slightly more tolerable.  

The Train ride takes you through an old building they have transformed into a shark tank.  It's cool to see them over your head but it's NOT cool inside!

At the end, they warn of the great shark that escaped into buffalo bayou and then it jumps out of the water and scares everyone.  Funny, even when you KNOW it's going to do it, it still manages to make you squeal!  
The aquarium also houses 4 white tigers.  They rotate on display so you'll only see one of them but ours was quite lively while we were there.  He jumped up REALLY high and had a little stand off with Jackson through the glass.

The Ferris Wheel is fun and takes you WAYYY above the city.  You can see all of Houston (and it's traffic) up there.  I only took one spin around it.  The older I get the more afraid of those things I am.  Does that mean I'm old??

Funny thing is this one didn't bother me and it drops you up and down quickly.  It wasn't quite as high but almost.  Jackson really enjoyed this one and would even ride it alone!

 My absolute favorite part was the sting rays!  I think they are so cute and remind me of a bunch of puppies just wanting you to feed and pet them.  The boys loved this and Jackson and I made several trips inside (read: it was COOL in there)!

 We saw lots of neat fish and sealife.  We loved the sea horses.  This eel kept "poor unfortunate souls" from The Little Mermaid playing in my head all day.  It was seriously UGLY!

It was finally clear enough to consider the drive back.  Relying on the GPS, we began our route home.  I was approaching an intersection similar to THIS one except slimmer and underneath an underpass.  At the very last second, I jumped onto the HOV lane.  We were filled to the max so I knew we qualified and it was headed in the right direction.  I thought WHY NOT?  I'm pretty sure Aunt Janie and Mom began praying for our safety and well being at that point.  We shaved that traffic cone but we were on the fast lane and I was living it up!  We were happy to be on it and passing all the terrible traffic below.  It was a "learn as you go" experiment because I had not driven on the toll roads yet, much less the HOV lane.  I owned that HOV lane.   Then I enjoyed a much needed margarita at the Mexican place when we arrived safely!

 With the temperatures topping at over 100, what better thing to do than go to the zoo.  It wasn't our best idea but the boys didn't seem to mind.  They have a Lego  exhibit of animals that was pretty cool and the monkey's were lively and entertaining.  It was a great zoo and we will totally go back.  In the FALL!

On Friday, we explored The Woodlands with a stop at the Apple store, container store and then a stroll around Market Street before boarding the waterway cruiser and taking a  VERY leisurely ride through the waterways.

This was our first and possibly last ride on the slowest motor boat on earth.  Maybe it was just the heat but we all nearly fell asleep while riding along in this boat.  It moved about as fast as it's operator.  And he was no spring chicken!  

Upon arriving home, mom, who never loses ANYTHING, has misplaced her camera. We worked together to narrow down the possibilities of where it could be and managed to decide on the area between lunch and the slow boat.  We headed back in that direction to retrace our steps.  Armed with our necessary water bottles, we walked every step again asking others along the way if it had been found.  We made a last resort report with the market street concierge and felt certain if it was found, he'd get it back to us.  We had even asked some of the stores we'd walked by if anyone had found it.  I didn't bother with Tiffany and Co. or Brooks Brothers.  Of all the high end stores I've been in, those were the most pretentious so I didn't bother.  My mistake.  Mom had no reserve going in and asking them and while Tiffany's was a bust, we got a text from inside brooks brothers that she had FOUND IT.  Someone had turned it in there from outside on the sidewalk.  What are the chances!!  We were wiped out from the heat and the search but happy to have found it.  

Later on, we found out why it was SO hard to have fun on Friday.  It just so happened to be a record breaking heat day for Houston.  Mom and Aunt Janie are pretty sure I've moved a little bit closer to "that hot place down below". 
 As far as Friday was concerned, I agree with them. 
It was pure, know!