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Happy 6th Birthday to Maddie!

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A bit more delay getting this one out, but at less than a month after her birthday (and a cruise right after), I’ll take it. Here’s the latest letter to Maddie. (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 10nov13

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: It was several weeks ago now, but I love our anniversary tradition of going to a fancy restaurant that neither of us have experienced. I also love that we have a photo from each one!

Something I’m hoping: I hope that our nephew continues to heal swiftly from his awful, scary car accident. He has a long road ahead of him, and we have been thinking about him constantly in the past two weeks.

Something happening around the house: Our roof is finished! We still have to work with insurance and the roofers to get all the payments squared away. We also have a little interior part of the project left from the water leak last year.

Something I’m reading: I finished Steelheart, and I loved it! I look forward to reading more in that series whenever it gets released. I read Bad Monkey, which is one of our upcoming book club selections. I struggled to get through it, but I was stubborn and finished it. I didn’t enjoy it. Next, I read Once Upon Stilettos which is the second book in the Enchanted, Inc. series. I read the first one a while ago, and I don’t know why it took me so long to read the second one! I rather enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next one. It is a light, fluffy sort of read, and that’s exactly what I needed. Next was a quick read, Ajax Penumbra. I’m not sure I like the trend of authors putting out mini-books as spin offs from their series or other novels. I enjoyed reading it well enough, and it had a lot of fun little bits. Overall, it was just too short and sweet for me to rate it too highly. I’m now reading the first book of The Demon Cycle, The Warded Man. I’m liking that one so far!

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe finished Emperor of Thorns. He also read Steelheart, and now he’s reading The Daylight War which is the third book of The Demon Cycle.

Something I’m watching: Wow, I have been pretty slack on my Somethings… I can’t believe that I haven’t written since before our anniversary. On our anniversary, we saw Gravity, and we were both captivated. I thought it was fantastic, and it’s very likely that it will end up being our favorite theater movie of the year.

Something I’m playing: I’m not sure what else we might have played in the past several weeks, but last night for our small, rescheduled, last minute games night I played Dungeon Pets and Forbidden Island. Gabe played Kingdom Builder and Forbidden Island.

Something tasty: Chicken and waffles from Beasley’s! Yum!

Something I’m creating: I polished off the October 2012 Disney book and started the 2012 family memories photo book. I can’t wait to finish that one. I find the trip albums to be a lot easier to organize than the general photobooks (now that I’m not doing them chronologically – no way to fit everything into one book if I don’t group things into categories!). I guess by the time I finished the 2012 family book, it will be time to do the 2013 book! One day, I might catch up… I also have two more trip books to do from 2013.

Something about both kiddos: The kids both enjoyed another kid book club. October’s kid book club had a Halloween theme, and we had a fun costume party to celebrate. Activities included decorating a small pumpkin, some outdoor games, turning each other into toilet paper mummies, guess the body part (wow that sounds odd out of context – things like grapes represented eyes, cauliflower for brains, and they body parts were hidden from view to touch and guess what they were supposed to represent and later what they really were), and a Halloween themed votive jar. We also had lunch with monster mac ‘n’ cheese, mummy dogs, and sugar cookies. The kids are still doing rollerblading and soccer. The lessons seem to be dragging on forever this time. We will probably be doing different things after this session. Cullen still wants to take violin, and Maddie wants to do gymnastics with Sophie. The kids and I missed Daddy while he was out of town visiting with his family after our nephew’s accident. He was gone for four days. We tried going around the table at dinner Friday night, indicating one thing at a time that we were thankful for (and we were not allowed to repeat anything that had been said previously). It was fun to see what the kids would say. My favorite that Cullen said was, “I’m thankful that Daddy is going to let me play his iPad after dinner.” That was some nice wishful thinking! Maddie came up with some great ones like “love,” “electricity,” and “trees.” She was thankful for trees partially because of the pretty fall colors and the giant leaf pile in our front yard. But she also was thankful to trees because they give us oxygen and because we can make paper out of them and she loves to draw. Our thankful dinner was a good variation on good/bad. I took the kids to see the live Dora show last Sunday while Gabe was gone. I thought it was the worst production out of the series in terms of entertainment value for adults, but the kids enjoyed it. Fortunately, both kids agreed that they don’t really like Dora as much anymore, so I doubt we’ll be going to any more live Dora productions. I got some cute photos of the kids wearing their Christmas/Santa outfits. Also, while Daddy was out of town, we went to a birthday party with a camping theme and a fun magician. The kids were highly entertained by the magician! It was fun to see all the kids so happy. They both love Zoe’s kitchen. Maddie likes the grilled chicken and fruit and Cullen likes the chicken and cheese kid roll ups and fruit. It’s a good, newer restaurant that we’ve added to our rotation. We had a fun Halloween! Maddie was Sofia the First, and Cullen was a stormtrooper. We went trick or treating with our neighbor’s grandson and the grandson’s cousin. We had a great time sharing the fun with them, and the four kids were adorable. The kids designed their own jack-o-lanterns this year, and they turned out to be quite cute. We were running out of time to carve the pumpkins, but I’m glad that we made some time to do it after all.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Things seem to be going pretty well for Maddie at school, and we are pleased to see that she’s showing her teachers some of the things that she can do. Apparently, she started a book making trend in her classroom. Maddie loves making little books! She’s still very interested in art projects and writing. She’s doing very well with her reading. She does some independent reading at school, but it’s hard to get her to read to herself at home. She does enjoy reading to us, so that is good! I look forward to her doing more reading while curled up on the couch with a book (or a kindle!). I know I spent countless hours reading in my childhood! We had a good meeting with Maddie’s teacher and AG coordinator, and they will be providing services within her classroom and outside of the classroom. I’m very pleased with their response so far! We had a play date with one of her classmates. He lives in a neighborhood behind ours, and we can walk through the woods to get to his house. I’m glad that Maddie is making friends! Of course, it may have backfired a little bit since Maddie got in trouble a few times the following week due to extra socializing with her new friend! Maddie had a birthday party to attend at a bounce house for one of her preschool friends. She enjoyed seeing some of her old friends! She also got a massive goose egg on her forehead after colliding with a friend. Ouch! It showed up immediately as a huge bump and bruise. It was a bit scary! The bruise is still healing and going through various stages of purple, green, and yellow. I hope it goes away soon!

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Cullen is making friends in his class, and we are so happy. He talks about playing with Austin on a daily basis. They seem to be two peas in a pod. He’s gotten into Ninjago as a result and is all about spinning around like crazy and using anything he can find as a ninja weapon (the other day, it was a toilet brush). Cullen did have a bad experience with a classmate’s birthday party. None of the kids acknowledged him or wanted to play with him, though many of the kids were not from his class. I think that made him a bit sad. Cullen and Maddie got into a fight while Gabe was out of town. I was trying to talk to our nephew on the phone, and within three minutes they were screaming at each other. They hit and pushed each other, and when I found them Cullen’s face was all bloody. He had hit his nose on the fireplace, I guess? It was scary for me as I wasn’t sure where the blood was coming from or whether a trip to the Urgent Care or ER was needed. Fortunately, he looked much better after I cleaned him up. Cullen had his first fall parade at preschool. He was such a happy boy parading around with a teacher who was dressed up as Princess Leia! We saw some big smiles out of him as he paraded around the circle. While Gabe was out of town, Cullen woke me up one night with a wet bed and wet pajamas. I got him cleaned up and replaced his pajamas and sheets with fresh ones. About 10 minutes after I put him to bed, he appeared downstairs and tried to climb into my bed. I told him that he needed to get back to his room. He said, “no, I’m scared.” I said there was no reason to be scared and that he needs to go to his bed. He replied, “but I think there’s something scary in my room!” “Cullen, there’s nothing scary in your room, I was just there, and everything is fine.” “I think there’s a long-necked animal under my covers!” “Um, you think there’s a giraffe in your bed??” I went up to check for giraffes and tuck him back into bed. When I declared the bed to be giraffe free, he said, “Maybe I didn’t actually see it. Maybe I just used my imagination.”

Something I am struggling with: Apparently, Gabe and I don’t get out much. On our anniversary, we attempted to leave the fancy restaurant without paying our bill! The waiter had to flag us down in the parking lot to let us know that we kinda needed our check. How embarrassing! We then took an “interesting” route to the movie theater, showed up to the movie quite early, and proceeded to accidentally walk into the last five minutes of gravity before realizing that the previous showing wasn’t finished yet. Maybe we need more practice going out!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’ve been keeping up with my photos pretty well, even with the barrage of October photos. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of deleting more than 75% of the photos that we take.

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie is tracked out until after Thanksgiving! She’s going to art camp again for 2.5 of the weeks, and then a new camp for the partial week of Thanksgiving. The kids both have dental appointments on Wednesday, and we have an appointment to renew Maddie’s passport. We have a picnic and play date with a couple of Cullen’s classmates planned. Gabe has his trip to Cincinnati with his mom to see the Bengals play.

Something captured: The kids with me at the Dora show last weekend.

The Sunday Somethings, 08sep13

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Something I’m thinking: If I don’t write this thing now, I’ll never be able to catch up with the things the kids are doing.

Something happening around the house: The cleaners are coming tomorrow for the first time in a month since we were on vacation when they were supposed to come last time. That means we have more than the usual amount of cleaning to do for the cleaners.

Something I’m reading: I read the Dry Grass of August, Hissy Fit, and Shanghai Girls. I’m almost finished with Old Man’s War. None of these are for book club, and I’ll need to read October’s book before too long. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book club book!

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe is reading Dust. He can’t seem to get too excited about it. He finished Shogun.

Something I’m watching: The fall tv shows are about to start! We recorded the new Survivor season premiere and hope to watch it tonight. We have some other shows on our radar.

Something I’m playing: While we were in Kentucky, we played Pandemic and Password. At That Board Gaming Thing, I played Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers, Smash Up, Hanabi (4 times), Escape: The Curse of the Temple (5 times), May Day May Day, Mascarade, Terra Mystica, The Resistance, Augustus, Santiago de Cuba, Shadows Over Camelot, Revolution!, Tick Tock Woodman (6 times), Key Market, Fische Flippen Frikadellen, Times Up (once with the 5th charades flip side round and once with the 4th freeze round and 5th charades flip side round), The Castles of Burgundy, Castle Panic, Felix: The Cat in the Sack, Forbidden Desert, La Boca (twice), Pluckin Pairs (twice), Tichu, and Wurfel Bohnanza. Whew! Gabe played Bora Bora, Trains, Space Cadet’s Dice Duel, King of Tokyo, Biblios, Spyrium, and maybe some others.

Something I’m creating: Nothing. I want to get back to the photobooks, but I’m having a hard time catching up from our vacation, TBGT, and being sick.

Something about both kiddos: We went to Cincinnati and Kentucky during the week of Labor Day. Highlights included the Reds baseball game (kids did great!), seeing Gabe’s dad and sister’s family at Entertrainment Junction (the kids will probably tell you their favorite part was playing in the mud), a big bonus fireworks show, playing in the fountain at Fountain Square, Graeter’s ice cream, touring the Hilton Netherland Plaza and Carew Tower, and our nice room at the hotel. Gabe’s parents joined us for the baseball game, and Gabe’s mom spent some time with us and stayed in the hotel on our last night. We took a tour of where Daddy grew up which was a fun trip down memory lane for him. Kentucky highlights included the horse park, the arboretum and children’s garden, visiting with Gabe’s parents/nephew/sister, bubble tea, surprising Heidi with an early birthday cake, and Maddie and Grandma getting twin Love Cats t-shirts. Things have been a little crazy since we got back from the trip. We had That Board Gaming Thing this past weekend, and this year my parents and sister came to watch the kids while we stayed in the hotel all weekend. That was great! We’re still trying to catch up from all the madness and have a little more craziness left this month.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie enjoyed her second week of art camp before we left for our trip, and she put on a cute art show. I’m so impressed with how her art is evolving. She’s been branching out from stick figures (well, sorta, they are now stick figures with more features and clothes). She’s been drawing tons of flowers, beach scenes, butterflies, fancy cakes, hearts, and houses. She nearly filled two full sized notebooks while we were on our week vacation with drawings. She did a lot of drawing while we were riding in the car. When we got back from the trip, Maddie had two days of track out before going back to school. We wanted to see how she would do with staying home while Daddy tried to work. Next time, she’s definitely doing some kind of camp! Grandma gave her a fancy, twirly UK skirt while we were in Kentucky, and she made all of us happy with her happy twirling in it. She was also very excited to get a UK hat like Daddy. She’s starting to bring home some more interesting work from school, and she’s starting to tell us more about what she’s learning. The transition back to school has been a little rough, but it’s better than we expected. She mostly doesn’t want to get out of the car in the morning. She seems to be doing fine with the school day, though.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): Before we went on the trip, Cullen had wet his bed a few times. Since we were worried about this happening in the hotel, we decided that he would wear pull ups at night. We knew it would be a little bit of a risk for regression since he hasn’t worn pull ups in a while. As it turns out, it caused not only regressions in his daytime pottying, but it created a rash. Poor guy just was diagnosed yesterday with a strep rash mostly in his underwear area (but it had been spreading to random places all over his body). Hopefully the antibiotic will clear that all up. Until recently, I didn’t even know that a strep rash like that was a “thing” – I only associated it with strep throat. Aside from one odd incident at school, he seems back on track with pottying. He has been wetting his bed some, but hopefully that will continue to improve. Cullen continues to be our funny kid. While we were in Kentucky, Grandpa was teasing him. Cullen looks straight at him and says, “Grandpa, that may be funny to you, but it is NOT funny to me.” Also, when he was walking into the horse park, he said, “I’m walking in like a man!” He also informed us that the old horse shoe that he got from the farrier used to be on a horse but had to be taken off because now the horse is a statue. On the way home, he entertained us with a chant about lighting and thunder after telling us that his whole body was an angry storm cloud and that his hands could shoot storms. You never know what he’s going to say next.

Something I am struggling with: Getting caught up…this is the last time that we’ll go on a week long trip right before TBGT! That was just too much…then we stayed up too late while at TBGT (guess we were a little crazy without the kids), and I caught some kind of con crud…then Cullen was diagnosed with this strep thing. I’m still not feeling better, and we just can’t seem to get anything done.

Something captured: If you don’t see the embedded video below, visit this link to see how Cullen entertains us in the car.


The Sunday Somethings, 25aug13

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Something that makes me happy: Making progress with my photobooks. Perhaps I’ll even catch up at some point!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking of the things that we need to do before our Cincinnati and Kentucky trip.

Something I’m hoping: I hope we’ll have a fantastic time!

Something happening around the house: We cannot keep this place under control. What else is new?

Something I’m reading: I finished Dust and then read Wonder in about a day. I enjoyed them both! I’m now reading The Dry Grass of August which I feel has been on my list for a while.

Something Gabe is reading: Still Shogun. Hopefully, he can finish it soon and read Dust so we can discuss it!

Something I’m watching: Tonight, I’m watching Gabe watch the Reds suck. I think he’s beginning to regret that we’re going to see them play the Cardinals.

Something I’m playing: Letterpress on the iPhone, Hanabi in person. I was excited to find that I could order Hanabi from Amazon Germany.

Something I’m creating: I started on the October Disney trip photobook! It’s going to be huge. I hope that I can fit it all into one book!

Something tasty: Dark Chocolate Pirouette cookies.

Something about both kiddos: Both kids are requesting to listen to the Sofia the First soundtrack any time that we are in the car (and a lot at home, too). It might be a long, long drive to Kentucky.

Something Maddie is doing (5.5 years old): Maddie is loving her art camp. She complains a little bit about not having any friends, and we’re working on her definition of “friend.” She seems to be getting along with other girls. The camp is mostly girls, and it’s pretty small. Last week, they had probably 25-30 kids since the camp still overlapped with summer break for traditional school. This week is only track 2, and there are only 8 kids. I think that’s a good thing for Maddie! Last week’s theme was Alexander Calder, and this week’s theme is Gauguin. She is getting to work with lots of different mediums. They also have fun things for the kids to do outside. Maddie talks a lot about the bouncy house, trampoline, and zip line. I wonder if adults can go to art camp? Maddie’s Sofia the First obsession has ramped up. Last week, she asked if we could have a royal dinner. When I asked her what we would eat at a royal dinner, she said, “anything, I guess.” I asked her what made it a royal dinner, and she said, “You put your napkin in your lap. You use manners. You don’t talk with your mouth full. You don’t make a mess.” I told her that we could have a royal dinner every day.

Something Cullen is doing (3.5 years old): We’ve had trouble getting him to sleep lately. He still likes to sneak out of his room (though he isn’t as stealthy as he thinks he is) and sneak into our bed. Most of the time, we just let him do this as we’re not going to bed for a couple of hours and he usually falls asleep. Lately, he’s taken longer to fall asleep there, too. Twice now, he’s been very restless and we’ll finally find him sleeping on the floor. Once he was in the master bathroom, and tonight he was in the hallway leading to our master bedroom. We have needed to hide crackers from him. Putting them on a higher shelf in the pantry isn’t enough anymore. He gets the step stool, helps himself to a box, and then mangles it to get it open (if it’s not already open). Getting into the plastic bag is easy as he just finds a pair of scissors. He has been snacking on crackers while everyone else is still sleeping in the mornings. The other day, he told me that he didn’t want to be Cullen anymore. He told me that he wanted to be Cinderella instead. I think he’s trying to see how I will react as we had a debate the other day about what constitutes as a “prince” or boy thing and what constitutes as a “princess” or girl thing. I tried to argue that anybody can do whatever they want, but he was stuck on certain things only being for boys or girls. Then again, he happily wears a dress around the house, so maybe he really does want to be Cinderella.

Something I am struggling with: Getting started with a new project at work.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: My Disney photobook!

Something I’m looking forward to: Cincinnati and Kentucky! I have book club tomorrow, my sister is visiting later this week, and Maddie has art camp.

Something captured: Doesn’t the bathroom floor look like a cozy place to sleep?

Happy (belated) 5th Birthday, Maddie!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Wow, Maddie is 5 years old. Five seems like a big deal to me. Why does it seem SO much more than 4? I guess I’m thinking about how she will be starting kindergarten and gaining more and more independence. It’s hard to believe. So, here is Maddie’s letter…most of it written 3 months ago. Better late than never. (more…)

Happy 3rd Birthday, Cullen!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Somehow, I’ve managed to finish Cullen’s letter the same week as his birthday. Woohoo! (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 25nov12

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Our Christmas tree is up and decorated! Yay!!!

Something I’m thinking: We had a wonderful visit with Gabe’s family.

Something I’m hoping: I have a few more Disney posts ready to post, but I hope that I can get the rest of them done soon. I didn’t bring my laptop to Kentucky, so I didn’t get caught up on any photos or posts.

Something happening around the house: While we were in Kentucky, our pre-ordered Wii U arrived! We’ve been having fun getting acquainted with NintendoLand. So far, the use of the GamePad is pretty neat. We haven’t tried any of the multiplayer NintendoLand games yet, but the solo player ones are fun!

Something I’m reading: I finished The Other Boleyn Girl for January’s book club selection. I am back to reading the third book in The Mysterious Benedict Society series.

Something Gabe is reading: The Blinding Knife.

Something I’m watching: Right this minute, I’m watching Gabe play the Donkey Kong Crash Course game in NintendoLand. It makes me laugh.

Something I’m playing: While we were in Kentucky, we played Cranium Hoopla, Trivial Pursuit 25th Anniversary edition, and Bananagrams.

Something I’m creating: I didn’t do much creating this week, but the kids made gingerbread houses and did some Christmas sticker crafts while in Kentucky.

Something tasty: Thanksgiving dinner, duh!

Something about both kiddos: I forgot to mention last week that the kids have been having nightly “slumber parties” in Maddie’s room. We just thought we’d try something different since Cullen was frequently waking up in the middle of the night (or way too early) and going into Maddie’s room to wake her up. The mornings had been going better, but the evenings were worse! It’s been trickier getting them to settle down when they are in the room together. Last night, we had to separate them, so that little experiment may be done. We visited Santa, and it was a big success! We decided to go the day before Thanksgiving in Kentucky with no lines. The kids were adorable.

Something Maddie is doing (4.5 years old): Maddie told Santa that she wanted rollerblades and legos. She later told us that she wants to tell Santa to bring clothes for Baby Sister (her doll). She has been very attached to the doll lately. She was so sweet in the car on the way back to Kentucky, cradling and talking to her doll for hours. She made sure that the baby was wrapped up and warm. She talks about how she wants to be a Mommy when she grows up all the time. Interestingly, that’s how I always felt growing up as well. While we were in Kentucky, she read several of her phonics readers to Grandma.

Something Cullen is doing (2.5 years old): Cullen told Santa that he wanted a LeapPad (like his sister’s), legos, and a soccer ball. He was a little nervous about Santa when we walked up to him and said, “I’m not ready yet.” His sister took him by the hand, and they walked together. It was quite sweet. Cullen has so many funny phrases these days. Yesterday morning, he had a dirty pull up when he woke up. He told Daddy, “I pooped in my pull up. I’ll let you take care of it.”

Something I am struggling with: Trying to write a eulogy for my dear Grandma who passed away Thanksgiving morning. I miss her so much already.

Something random: I made a yummy carrot cake for Dylan’s birthday…from scratch! I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Something captured: Gabe’s family on Thanksgiving

The Sunday Somethings, 02apr12

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Writing these each week, even if they are a little late.

Something I’m thinking: Gabe and I have been playing too many iPad games.

Something I’m hoping: If I had written this on Sunday, I would have hoped that Kentucky would win the National Championship. Since it’s the day after their victory, I guess I already got what I hoped for!

Something happening around the house: The usual. Clutter, clutter, clutter.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Wise Man’s Fear, and now I’m reading a friend’s pre-published novel.

Something Gabe is reading: He’s still reading Feed.

Something I’m watching: Kentucky win their 8th National Championship. Woohoo! Go Cats!

Something I’m playing: Kids of Carcassonne, Pengaloo, Hissss, and Teddy Mix & Match with the kids. Mystery Manor, Trainyard, and Draw Something on the iPhone/iPad.

Something I’m creating: Lots of drawings in Draw Something.

Something tasty: Easter candy, the best type of candy in the whole year.

Something about both kiddos: Gabe came to get the kids when I went to book club this week, and he usually brings them by my building so I can give them kisses. They are so sweet! Maddie gave me “purple” kisses for the first time in a long while. And Cullen gave me some colored kisses of his own for the first time ever. His first kisses were yellow and green. I thought it was great that he came up with his own colors instead of just copying Maddie.

Something Maddie is doing (49 months old): Maddie is very excited about playing games these days. We play at least a game or two every night before she goes to bed (after Cullen goes to bed). She’s getting pretty good at the ones that she plays. She’s also very fast at her 100-piece jigsaw puzzles. She’s been practicing her writing but still doesn’t show much interest in learning to read. She knows all the sounds, but she doesn’t want to sit down and look at words together. She has been taking books and copying words out of them, so she definitely shows interest in related skills! She is still enjoying The Magic Treehouse series every night.

Something Cullen is doing (26 months old): Cullen’s teachers called me last Tuesday saying that Cullen wanted to ask me a question. He got on the phone and asked if he could wear underwear. We have been telling him that he can wear his Mickey Mouse underwear that we bought a while ago whenever he was ready to use the potty. I guess the other kids in the class are motivating him, because he decided that he was ready! We decided with Walk MS this weekend that we should wait until after the walk and start on Monday. We started yesterday, and he’s doing pretty well! He’s only had a handful of accidents each day. He will probably be wearing his nighttime diaper for a while longer (though you never know…Maddie insisted that she wear underwear at bedtime after only 10 days of potty training because she “wasn’t a baby anymore.” Hard to argue with that logic!). So, we are completely done with diapers during the day. It’s hard to believe. On that same phone call, I told Cullen I loved him when we said our bye byes, and he said he loved me, too. He’s a very loving boy. I can’t remember if I wrote this before, but he’s very good at identifying his colors (and has been for a while).

Something I am struggling with: A few things that I’m not writing about (hey, I don’t share everything here). And Easter candy, but that will be over soon enough.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We raised over $5,000 for the National MS Society (so far? technically the fundraising isn’t completely over). I am so proud of our team! I need to write my thank you notes soon. I have only written one so far, and that was for an early donation a couple of months ago. I better get on it.

Something I’m looking forward to: We’re going to see The Hunger Games tomorrow! I’m excited to finally see the movie. I have been waiting to see it with book club people (and some husbands). The kids are excited because one of Cullen’s teachers, Dana, is coming to babysit. They love Dana! I’m also looking forward to a visit from the Easter bunny!

Something captured: Go Cats!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Visiting Family in Kentucky

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

We had a nice time visiting with family for the most part (there was a bit of drama surrounding that trip that I won’t dwell on here!). We never seem to take as many pictures as we like when visiting family outside of major events. We did manage to snap a few.

One of the books that Maddie packed herself in her suitcase was a family recipe book that had fun, kid-friendly recipes. We had this book for a while, but she discovered it recently and has been requesting it as part of her bedtime rotation. We let her pick out two recipes while on the trip as a special treat. She picked “Cold as Mice” and “Jungle Juice,” so we made a special trip to the grocery store to get all the ingredients.

I think next time we’ll try mini M&Ms in addition to the mini oreos for the ears. We made “Cold as Mice” on two nights. Maddie thought it was great fun! She loved decorating the mice and putting on the extra sprinkles (her mice looked a tad hairy). Of course, she loved eating it, too. We all did! We had tiny cups to make the treats, and the size was perfect for a bedtime snack!

Kids can’t resist a piano. I hope that one day they will be interested in music lessons. They both do seem to love music.

We spent Saturday afternoon at Heidi’s with lunch outside and some cornhole competitions. It was a tad warm out there, or we probably would have played more! Cullen took a nap for most of the afternoon while we played.

Gabe practices before the big game.

Maddie had fun dressing up with Heidi and watching us play cornhole. She tried to toss a few bean bags, too.

Aunt Heidi gave Maddie a special treat. Yum!

Cornhole!

I’m not very good at cornhole. Heidi had enough hats for everyone.

Maddie and Grandma made jungle juice which had bananas, frozen strawberries, yogurt, orange juice, and some other fruity things. I’m not a big smoothie drinker, but it was pretty tasty.

Honnah-Lee Bubble Tea at ShambroLa Bookstore & Gallery

Friday, August 19th, 2011

During Memorial Day week, we drove to Fancy Gap, Cincinnati, and Lexington on our tour of friends and family. While in Kentucky, of course we visited ShambroLa Bookstore & Gallery and sampled the latest craze…BUBBLE TEA! This was the first time that Gabe and I have tried it (and Maddie had some tea-free tea as well).

Heidi and Debbie pose with 4 different flavors of their yummy bubble tea (and some poppin’ bobas). They serve traditional bubble tea with the tapioca pearls, on request. I didn’t care for the tapioca pearls (ew), but I loved the poppin’ bobas! The popping bobas are little juice balls that burst with flavor when you bite them. Maddie especially loved the poppin’ bobas.

Since our visit in early June, they have expanded their offerings with flavors and have grown to dozens of daily customers. People keep coming back for more! We were lucky enough to come back twice, and both times we were able to sample multiple flavors. YUM. I can’t wait to go back and try some more!

Heidi showed us how they were made. She had a different flavor in each blender. The different flavors all make pretty colors.

Having family that owns a bookstore/art/bubble tea shop has it’s tasty advantages!

I don’t think Cullen tried it, but Maddie loved it. We have some video of her trying it and talking excitedly about poppin’ bobas. Aunt Heidi slipped her some extra bobas when we weren’t looking.

Mick poses next to his popular Beatles display.

We are impressed with the shop every time we visit! It’s becoming quite the hopping place now.

Every inch of the shop has art, books, and gifts for sale. It’s a great place to find a unique one-of-a-kind gift. They have a large collection of signed, first edition and rare books.

They have always had a large selection of horse themed art. Mick also has a new series called the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

The kids were excited about going to see Grandma and Grandpa’s shop. They were very cute sitting together in the chair, but they didn’t exactly cooperate for the cute photo. This is the best I could get out of them.