Sunday, September 22, 2013

Favorite Things on the first day of "fall"

We had a fabulous day!  It didn't reach 90 degrees for the first time since we've lived in Texas.  That's something to cheer about.  We moved in June 4th and have hit 90 or above every day since.  It was a great "welcome to "fall" y'all" for us Nashville transplants.  Don't worry.  It won't last.  We'll be back into the 90's by mid week.
 I recently heard this:  In Texas, Fall is not so much a season but more something you do when you stumble or trip!    So, I'll be keeping my flip flops by the door for a little longer.  They may become permanent residents there.  I think I'm ok with that!
In honor of the change in seasons I'd like to share a few of my favorite things and a few more that just make me Happy!

I tried this lotion in Colorado and have really enjoyed it since then. It's DRY DRY in CO so it was necessary.  Here in the land of Houston Humidity, it's not as necessary yet but as the weather cools off, this will keep my legs lookin' nice.  Try it and see what you think!  It made the Today show's top "drug store finds" last week too!  

Yes, I'm far out of toddlers but the allure of squeezing your fruit from a pouch never gets old so I got these refillable pouches for my 4 & 7 year olds applesauce.  Jason went to an expo in grad school and got a sample and when I saw how cool they were, we got a whole set.  Now, I will warn you that if you send them to preschool with your 4 year old, you should somehow tell the teacher that these are not disposable or you'll be down one pouch.  Lesson learned.  They aren't too hard to fill ( I use a ziplock bag and cut the end and pipe it in).  I can buy the organic apple sauce from Costco and it lasts us weeks!  They can even be frozen to double as an ice pouch!  Lunch box WIN!

It's probably been a year or more since I stopped drinking diet soda.  It was a pretty big deal because I LOVED Diet Dr. Pepper.  It was a great move because after I quit them, my dad and sister (sometimes) followed!  Now, I rarely drink soda.  I miss the fizz and have recently discovered that I do like sparkling water so we have been buying cans of that but they sell these gems at Costco.  Good ol' Costco.  Where was I before I had Costco in my life?  They were nice enough to get us hooked on them one month when they had them on sale, now I'm buying them at prob over 50 cents a can but they are not an everyday drink but more of a treat anyway.  Far better for you than soda, even if it adds a few calories.  They are yummy.  Don't say I didn't warn you!  

Apparently this stuff isn't new but it was new to me!  I like lemon in my water but I hate the mess and waste of cutting one up.  Besides, it's hard to keep them on you when you refill your water bottle 5 times a day!  I can now have lemon water wherever I go!  It's found at walmart and I think it was near the baking isle.  

These Butternut Squash and Kale Quesadillas!  I love them for lunch and you will too!  I have a thing for Kale and butternut squash and Pioneer Woman too.  Put them all together and you've got a match made in quesadilla heaven!    You can find the recipe HERE  

My bike seat got a little (read: extra large) upgrade!  I've been riding with the boys a lot more often because of the awesome 200 miles of trails in our new neighborhood.  We can ride to the park and school but I had to make some adjustments.  I think that my back end and this seat are going to get along much better.  If you happen to need a little upgrade also you can order you one on Amazon!  

This is not my car.  It's a stock photo but I'm far to lazy to actually photograph my 2005 SUV with nearly 200,000 miles on it.   I put it on my list because this car makes me HAPPY!  For a while I was just happy that we are not making a car payment at the present time and haven't been for a while.  We just hoped it would make it through Grad school and we are so thankful it did!  The ONLY complaint I had about this car was the CD player quit working about 2 years ago.  I was sad because we listened to kid songs, books on CD and Christmas songs non-stop.  Well, recently, it started talking again and I tried a CD and wouldn't you know it worked! Maybe it just needed a little break but we've been wearing it out since.  Kid songs, Scary Songs, Gross songs and coming soon, Christmas songs ALL THE TIME!  So long live old paid for cars because it makes me HAPPY! (and really doesn't look half bad!)

I recently had a little "man fit" about not having DVR in the bedroom and asked Jason to call and see if we could upgrade our DVR to one of these.  I know, I know, first world problems for real!  So he got us the hopper from Dish.   I really don't watch that much TV.  We have a handful of network shows that we watch and then we occasionally watch House Hunters or 20/20 and Primetime before we go to bed.  Well this baby asks you if you'd like to go ahead and skip all the commercials at the beginning of each show.  Yes, please!  It also has a feature that records ALL of the 4 major network channels from 7pm to 10pm automatically on ONE DVR so you can go back and watch primetime tv anytime you want.  It keeps up to 8 days of it.  I'm sure there are far more features I've yet to discover while I'm flipping from Today show to PBS kids but I'm pretty happy with my new and improved DVR!

It's Premier Week!  Speaking of DVR shows!  I cant wait to finally have some exciting TV to watch.  The reruns were about to put me over the edge.  What are you going to try?  Which ones are you going to continue?  We are back to Revolution and Nashville along with long standing Law and Order: SVU.  We are trying out Trophy Wives and The Goldbergs.  Oh and Downton Abbey shall not be forgotten although I'm still holding a grudge along with millions of others!  

I'm in a new bible studay at the Methodist church in The Woodlands.  I LOVE this group of girls!  I'm so happy to have found a new place to study and learn while experiencing life with these girls.  I love that we pray for each other for the good and the bad.   We are currently reading Namesake by Jessica LaGrone and I'm really enjoying it.  I love how your bible study always seems to be JUST what you need to hear!  

Something BIG is happening around the deFoor house tomorrow.  Stay tuned in the next few days if you're on the edge of your seat to know!  It has the potential to change our life!  
How's that for a bloggy cliff hanger!  

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Things Boys Say

Nothing I love more than compiling a list of the funniest things these boys say and realizing less than a week later that I've got an entire blogs worth.  It doesn't take long for them to fill up a page of funnies.  So here's a laugh for your Friday, weekend or whenever you get around to reading this!

Lincoln has been referring to me as "your Highness".  "Here's your coffee your Highness" and "I put my shoes up your Highness"  I didn't have to wonder long where he'd heard it.  We've been "secretly" watching Sophia the First on Disney channel.  He's not "supposed" to like it, it is in fact a "girl show" but he does like it and will watch it any time it's on.  They commonly refer to her as your Highness and he sees it as a "girl term" which I clearly am.  And don't think for a second I mind it at all!

A week or so ago, the boys and I made a little trip into Houston unexpectedly.  Jason rides a "park and ride" bus and sometimes catches the last ride into The Woodlands.  Well, this time, the last ride never came and he had to call me furiously and ask me to drive downtown and get him.  As we are pulling up to 800 Bell St, which is the Exxon Building, Lincoln notices there is "smoke" (steam) coming from the top of the skyscraper. He says, "Look, the building is smoking" and Jackson knowingly rolls his eyes and says, "Yeah, because that's where they are makin' the Gas and Oil!"  Very matter of fact.  Clearly, the oil is 'made' in the 40 story professional building in downtown Houston.  Isn't that what Exxon is all about?!

Lincoln had to have shots to start preschool.  He was a little behind on his vaccinations.  Mom of the year here!  He needed 4 shots to get caught up.  That means 2 in each leg.  I was a little worried about his reaction so I kinda sprung it on him.  He told me he was going to be brave.  He wasn't kidding!  He got his shots and GIGGLED while they gave them to him.  He was a little apprehensive and it apparently made him think it was funny.  I've never seen a kid laugh during a shot until now.  The next morning he told me he had to walk "like an old lady" because he was limping a little.  Later on he was still milking it and he told me, "Mom, two of my legs hurt."
Hhhmmmm, I thought we only had two?!

I spent a weekend with girlfriends in Colorado.  They boys stayed with their daddy.  The weekend was highly anticipated for all!  It was probably the first time I've left the boys with their dad all alone before.  Boys weekend was in full effect as I knew from the food selections, late night phone calls with kid noises in the background and scary movies checked out on my Redbox account.  No matter how much fun I try to be, there's no way I could top this weekend in their minds.  As I'm boarding the plane to come home I recieve THIS photo of Lincoln.
With it was a caveat saying he did ALL this to himself in a matter of 2 hours.  He'd fallen down 2 times and ran into something?  Either way, he started preschool on Wednesday and he wanted to ensure CPS wouldn't be called.  I had no words.  I keep him all day every day and nothing to this degree seems to happen on my watch.  Don't you know I gave Lincoln the third degree about what "really" happened when I walked in the door.  Their stories hold true that he fell down and on a toy.  Either way, to me, this is the face of child that needs a bit more supervision...and possibly a helmet.  Which we considered.

On the way to the pool one day Jackson and I had a pretty intense discussion about humility.  It's meaning, how he could put it into action and just basic understanding of the term.  I was on parenting cloud 9 that my child was interested in such a virtue.
We then pulled up to the pool  Jackson asked "you mean it doesn't have anything to do with the weather and how hot it is?" (Humidity)
Big fat parenting FAIL!

This week, I told Lincoln we had to run some errands.  We made it to our destination and Lincoln said, "Where are we?"  I said we've got to run into Old Navy.  He said, "I don't wanna go in old Lady!"

In preschool, Lincoln is learning to count and we are so proud!  This week, he was at the table when he showed me a "different number one".  
Those were his exact words.  
He was serious.  
I had to try hard not to laugh.  

Jackson and I were talking about the phases of the moon one evening.  We were talking about the three quarters moon and how it's almost a full moon.
 Lincoln chimes in from behind and says, "Why is the moon full?  Did it eat 'somefing'? "

And I leave you with this.  
Which I'm sure if you've seen it, you've already been rendered speechless.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Back to School days

Jackson started school late here in Texas.  Much later than all of our TN friends.  We didn't mind the extra few weeks of summer.  Although, we know that around here, "summer" lasts until Thanksgiving.  The night before school, Jackson read Lincoln, The Kissing Hand before bed and Lincoln snuggled his new fav teddy, Roosevelt.  
 Jackson was more than a little excited to get to school.  Here, school starts- at 8:55 and ends at 3:55.  I will say that we are not a fan of the late start.  We get up by 615-630 around here so we have at least an hour to kill.  Then it seems rushed to get homework, sports and dinner done before bedtime.  We usually start walking around 8:25 when they are allowed in the building.  Jackson has a brand new teacher from Iowa.  She seems sweet and of course he likes her!

 Big Lincoln started his first time at Pre-school on September  4th. He finally got into the preschool where we attend church.   He has been SO excited about starting school and so has his mommy.  Lincoln has a lot of learning to do this year and I'm hoping they have better luck teaching him his letters than I've had the past 3 years.  You might say he's a little stubborn.  Don't let the looks fool ya!
 His teachers have been teaching preschool for many many years.  He loves it and comes home with a few stories each week.  He's just going 2 days a week.
 Now this is the real story.  I mentioned we walk to Jackson's school each morning but I didn't mention our little "trick".  The school is just 2 houses down from our house in the back yard.  There are privacy fences that cover all the way to the front of the neighborhood.  Soon after we moved in, we noticed between our house and the neighbors there was a public area that dipped slightly lower than our yards.  This made a gap under the continual fence line.  A dip just big enough for us to duck under.  We checked it out and realized it put us on the sidewalk just steps from the school.  We decided then, we were going to "sneak" under the fence sometimes instead of walking to the front of the neighborhood and around all the houses just to come right back by our own backyard.  Jason got out and weeded us a spot to crawl right under and most days we do just that.  It's HOT here, if you hadn't heard by now and there's no "walking" at 4pm to pick up.  It's always fun to approach someone on the other side of the fence as we start filing under there like clowns from a car.  I'm sure if the weather ever decides it's had enough hot we will enjoy the walk to school with all of our friends but for now, the 100 yard walk is MUCH cooler!  I always think of "The Pokey Little Puppy" when we duck under the fence!  I always loved that book!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Long Live Summer!

Compared to our friends in TN we had a phenomenally long summer.  But compared to most, we had a week longer to enjoy the HOT HOT weather and being our last week of summer, we really decided to live it up!  Day One:  We went back to our favorite pool.  The one with the "family slide".  It's a wide slide and we can all go down at the same time.  Don't know why that's so thrilling but it is!  
That afternoon we made a trip to one of the local parks.  After we got home, we were outside when we were paid a visit by THIS little guy!  I meal little!  
 On Day 2 we met some old friends at the Zoo.  I've mentioned before we both live in "Houston" but that's relative since it's probably at least an hour from my house to hers.  Our boys get along swimmingly and always have a good time together.  Being August, we planned to spend the morning at the zoo, pack a lunch and leave right afterwards.  It worked out in our favor as a huge storm cloud signaled our departure time for us.  We saw all the exhibits the boys wanted to and had a great time together.

 Like father, like sons!  These two!  You'd think I plucked them right from the chimpanzee exhibit.  Sometimes I think I did!
On the way home from the zoo, we finally stopped by the local shave Ice place when it wasn't overly crowded.  It was worth the wait!  It was BIG and good!  And they have flavors like ninja turtle and incredible hulk.  I had Barbie!  (kidding, I had tigers blood!)

Day 3 we made the trip to Brenham, TX for the famous Blue Bell factory tour.  It's a great little tour which of course includes a silver lining of ice cream at the end.  Jackson really enjoyed seeing how the buckets of ice cream are filled and then frozen.  I liked hearing about their seasonal/regional flavors.  Jackson asked some great questions like:  How long does it take for it to get from the Cow to the store?  The answer:  About 48 hours!  Talk about some fresh ice cream!
I loved these billboards we saw all along the way to Brenham!

Even thought we'd eaten desert first, I was told not to miss this diner so we drove out to the Brenham, TX regional airport to an adorable 50's diner.  The waitresses were dressed in poodle skirts and it is located right on the airfield where you can watch the take off and landing!  We shared the burger and onion rings and it was truly a delicious burger!

 We spent the evening at our local favorite pool.  It's less than a mile from us and we could essentially ride our bikes.  It made the perfect way to say goodbye to Wednesday!
Thursday we met some friends we had been trying to get up with for a while.  We had planned to meet at the last pool on our pool tour but we didn't realize that pool was closed on Thursdays so instead we went back and swam at their pool in the backyard.  Jackson loved swimming there and Lincoln wanted to be just as big as the big boys.  This led to Lincoln swimming too.  No life vest, no swimmies.
Friday took us to the pool at Grogan's Mill.  It's the only pool with a splash pad attached to it.  That was fun because during "swim break" you can still play in the water.  It also has a great diving board and a climbing wall to boot!  After realizing that Lincoln was a pretty proficient swimmer, I caved and let him jump from the diving board.  He jumped, and jumped and jumped.  I finally had to call them off to go home and eat dinner.  
Last day of summer, Lincoln is finally a proficient swimmer!

To kick off school starting, Jackson's school had a little park playdate with sno cones.  These two have never turned down a chance at concentrated syrup+ red #5 and blue #3!  Mmmmm!  They also had their picture made with The Woodlands Mascot.  It's a pine cone, ironically named Puffy, and we thought it was cute and funny!

Here's to a fun filled summer, full of adventure that I hope they never ever forget!  
Long Live Summer!
  Just don't put your shorts away yet. 
Texas doesn't promise cooler temps until December if at all!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

All aboard for The Big Easy!

Talk about a grand finale!  To return the boys to me, mom and dad took them to New Orleans on the AmTrak where I met them.  We spent 2 fun filled days exploring the city before heading back.  It is kind of the "halfway" point for me, mom and dad and Tracie.  They loved the train ride!  Any ride on a train is cool when you are 7&4.  
I picked them up nearby at the train station!  I was sure glad to see those two after 2 weeks away!  I think they were kinda glad to see me too!
 And here you have the REAL reason we decided to meet at the "halfway point"!  I knew if we had a little "vacation", that Tracie wouldn't miss it and with her comes Allie Gray! I hadn't seen this baby since mother's day which is unacceptable and I needed my fix!  She was totally worth it!  This look means " I love my Aunt Jamie"  (or more likely, "you look almost exactly like my mom but something's different")  If you could have only seen the look on her face as she looked at us from one to the other trying to figure it out.  Guess we do look a little alike afterall.

 We stayed at a GREAT VRBO for far far less than we could have stayed at any hotel room!( ) We had 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms!  It came in handy for getting up and at em in the morning.  It was on Algiers point about 4 blocks from the ferry so we rode it into Jackson square the first day.  It was a super quick and easy ride.  And free!

 There was even a super cute park next door to the house!  It was the perfect (and safe!) place for us!  We could walk to breakfast and dinner!

I wasn't going to set foot in the city of NOLA without trying the famous Cafe Du Monde.  It didn't dissappoint.  Now it was far too hot for the cafe au lait but we indulged in the beignets and they were divine!  Who doesn't like a heavy dose of fried dough covered, no slathered in powdered sugar!

 I " mustashe" the question: Who's that guy?  Never a dull moment around this family.  Dad found it humorous to use the palm tree bark for a makeshift mustache!
 Jackson square was both beautiful and historic...and HOT.  Remember we were in New Orleans in AUGUST.  It topped 100 each day and the humidity was even worse than Houston.
We stopped for a snack of cheese and crackers and Lincoln went to chasing the pigeons.  He heard if you put salt on their tail, you could catch them.  He was out to prove it!

 The one cool thing we found to do was take a trolley ride down canal street!  It was great until it got a little crowded.  I'm thinking Dad wasn't a fan of the close quarters of public transportation!  Why didn't we learn our lesson in NYC?
 Yep, right here's the reason I planned this whole trip!  Just look at that cutie!
Although we were tired and HOT, we pushed on through the Insectarium and we were glad we did!  It was cool inside and the bugs delighted two boys I know!  
 They had a butterfly atrium where we spent lots of time!  It was cool to have them choose you to land on!
 They had a 3D underground bug exhibit where the bugs were life size.  Wouldn't you know, I was the first to turn the corner and have one of the life size robotic creatures jump out at me. I squealed and Tracie laughed.  She's always thought my fear of spiders was funny.  I see no humor in it at all!

The following day we spent touring the garden district and the cemetery.  The history in the graves and the homes was fascinating.  While we listened to the tour, the boys went off to chase lizards.  My dad included!   
Can you see the light rays and the purple orbs in the bottom right photo?  They do say some of the graves are haunted! 
 The homes were so beautiful, but it was still excruciatingly hot!!  
After the tour, on high recommendations, we headed down to the 9th ward for "the best fried chicken of your life!"  Willie Mae's scotch house wasn't much to see from the outside.  It was in an area that had suffered devastation from Katrina and needed lots of renovation.  I had my doubts but we pushed on and to our surprise, we were served "the best fried chicken of our life" for lunch.  There wasn't a single scrap to take home with us but we certainly filled the fried chicken void and I know at least for me, the bar has been set and it's HIGH!  
 Next we headed to City Park.  I knew it was going to be hot but I think even we underestimated spending the day outside and how it can drag you down.  The park was beautiful and the sculpture garden was so intriguing.  We all said how enjoyable it would be to come DECEMBER!  We did find a reprieve in a place of the park called Storyland.  It's a playground themed like children's storybooks and it was so neat!  They boys had a blast inside and we enjoyed the shade provided by the giant live oaks!

 My NOLA native neighbors said it wasn't a trip to the big easy without a snowball and who am I to disagree?!  In my neck of the woods we just call these shaved ice but whatever you call them they are GOOD!!
 Our last dinner was at Ye Olde College Inn.  Another recommendation by my neighbors and it was delish!  We met our cousin Bev from Baton Rouge there and dinner was yummy!  We were so full after lots of shrimp and grits but we managed to all share their famous fried bread pudding for desert!  It was everything it sounds like and then some!

We covered a lot of ground in those 2 days.  You put me and my mom together and you can expect the trip of a lifetime + a TON of walking.  We don't want to miss a thing!  It was a great "end of summer" trip for all of us and I'm glad to know that we can all be together in a matter of 6 hours.  Living far away is tough on us all but we do what we can to make the best of it!