Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taking three kids to the beach FINALLY doesn't totally suck.

In the past 6 years it seems like every time we ventured to the beach at least one of my kids was in the "OOOH LOOK, SAND, I THINK I'LL EAT IT OR THROW IT OR GIVE MOM'S HAIR SOME PIXIE DUST" stage

And let me tell ya, it's the mother grubbin' worst!!!

Almost enough to not take them.

But cue the choir of angels because today we actually had an awesome time at the beach. All five of us packed up and headed an hour east to the Indiana Dunes.

And since the satellite picture of our life clearly shows that our kids haven't had enough beach experiences, we decided we'd stay as long as the kids would like.

Which in their case meant closing time because they couldn't dare stop themelves from
having the best! time! of! their! lives!

Eugene even took the girls up the HUGE dune and all three of them ran down. If you haven't seen a Lake Michigan dune, they're huge. Like to a three foot person, it's for sure Mt. Everest.

They laughed and screamed the whole way down.

Not only were the kids in their own little world, digging, patting, filling, laughing and swimming but Eugene and I took turns taking beach naps. I repeat---BEACH NAPS! It was heavenly. I finally understand why people love being near a beach.

I'll tell ya, it's therapeutic. So many times I found myself just staring out at the water, while unconsciusly running my fingers through the sand, burying my hand in the sand or patting the sand. 

Case in point, you'd never know it, but my entire foot is buried in here:

What am I twelve?
I sat and talked with Eugene about topics we'd NEVER have the time to discuss while at home. Dreams about our future and what color our next kitchen will be. These talks reminded me of our 20-something days, where we'd spend HOURS talking about "what-ifs." What if this love we're feeling is real....what if we got married....what if we had kids... 

Speaking of, we watched our kids with a sort of ease that doesn't normally come on a summer outing. Nobody was upset. Nobody was stubborn.

We were all perfectly contained in our little square on the beach for hours and hours. 
It really was a perfect family day!

Sugar cookies, in case you were wondering.

Summer 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fresh! Cold! Lemonade!

Summer just wouldn't be summer without a lemonade stand, right? It's the quintessential summer ritual that children have been doing for generations, and rightfully so, it's the perfect summer project. Well, that is if you can overlook child labor laws, operating without a valid business license, and possible health violations.  But other than that? Downright fun!

 In fact, it was the very first event added to our summer to-do list with a unanimous puh-leaaaase mommy!! They're on to me. My kids that is. They know darn well that once they hit this obnoxiously high octave I'll usually agree. ANYTHING to make the heinous whining stop.

Thankfully, they didn't want a unicycle. No, a lemonade stand I can do--I totally got this! But to do it right, requires a little bit of collaboration, good communication and some creativity. I called up our local park district and asked if we could have our lemonade stand at the park during the last tee-ball game. Since we're trying little by little to teach our kids the idea of giving back, we didn't want to charge for the lemonade. A little pro-bono never hurt anyone, right?

Next up, communication--how to get the word out. Why thank you facebook, that was easy. With a little creativity, the kids painted a banner, chose a music playlist, and picked out decorations. And what unfolded was an awesome summer memory that we'll forever cherish.

And a special thanks to all the moms and dads and kids who came out to celebrate, it wouldn't have been the same without you. Watching our kids learn the value of friendship is pretty great, huh?!

Happy Summer!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Choo!! Choo!! Chance is two!!

Chance's 2nd Birthday will forever go down as the Thomas Birthday. Somewhere in the past 6 months Chance happened to catch an episode of Thomas, or hoo-hoo as he likes to call it, and let me say this, love at first sight does exist.

All this time I thought he was just mispronouncing "choo-choo" until my cousin, out of the blue, enlightened me that he's probably saying hoo-hoo because that's exactly how the train sounds.


Hmmm, come to think of it, she's probably right.

So a hoo-hoo party he shall have.

A personal goblet for the big boy. 

And little man relished his open top cup as smooth as Donald Draper

Toasting and clinking with everyone around him.

Get this, all week we've been practicing the peace sign with his fingers to signal the #2. Well, how do I say this gently, it's like his fingers were drunk or something and wouldn't cooperate and really didn't fold well and for the life of him he couldn't figure it out.

And then in a brief moment of awesomeness Chance made it work when Nana asked the proverbial question.....just HOW old are you today?

Bam! Just like that! Two separate fingers! He was so proud of himself.

I used  window markers to decorate all the glass stemware which I thought was a brilliant idea until I poured in the lemonade and all the ink began running from the sweat. Oopsy. But the permanent marker on the plastic glasses worked like a charm.

Eugene planned out an AWESOME Filipino birthday menu for our family.

The first course: Pinya Asin or as we call it, Salted Pineapple

Which I do not have a picture of but you can see Bella chomping down on it here

The second course: Inihaw or Filipino BBQ sticks. Trust me, you have never in your life tasted BBQ beef better than this sweet marinated kabob-HEAVEN!!

The third course: Ginitang Shrimp or coconut shrimp for us country folk.

Holy mother of pearl, this dish was fantastic! 

Fourth Course: Pancit. Oh come on, like you haven't tried pancit before--it's the token dish that every Filipino co-worker brings to the company Christmas pot luck party. In a nutshell, (which no-- it's not) it's asian noodles with fresh vegetables. 

But get this, for bonus points Chef Eugene presented us with a deconstructed pancit. With the veggies in the small bowl, the noodles in the larger bowl and the lemon and soy sauce in a little cup, we were asked to mix it ourselves. 

Oohhh. Audience participation.

Eating noodles on your birthday is a traditon signifying long life. I've been meaning to ask my in-laws what eating noodles once a week gives me? Immortality? Muwaaahhh.

Right about now we all took a ten minute breather. Totally needed.

So we snapped some pics.

Annnd.....back to the table.

Fifth course: Bistek. Now hold up a minute--before you go googling a translation, it's English definition is, get this, beef steak.

Bistek. Beef Steak. 

Freakin' hilarious.

Basically, beef marinated in lemon juice and soy sauce with sauteed onions--
hands down, my favorite filipino dish. Typically bistek is thinly sliced but since my husband likes to go big or go home he had the butcher cut him a three inch thick tenderloin.


Shit, is this the Food Network or a birthday party?

Back to Chance. He made his daddy proud as he gnawed the heck outta that bistek.



this is getting a bit awkward, huh? This hoo-hoo talk?

Honey, why are you smelling your hoo-hoo?

I've never seen Chance happier than he was today. He knew it too--when he woke up and saw the 6 foot Thomas poster that this day was for him. 

All him. 

Which had to feel pretty good being the youngest of three.

This boy I tell ya, he has me. He has all of me. 

Yes, I have amazing and totally different bonds with all of my kids, but this guy...there's something about this guy--our mother and son bond is so, so invincible

We rounded out the party with presents and a pretty badass pinata, which deserves it's own post altogether. Seriously, if you ever need anyone whacked--call on my kids. They're barbarians. 

Chance, Happy 2nd Birthday, my love!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Midnight Chance Reflection

It's 12:02 AM right now as I lay in bed and recall how amazing this very day was two years ago. I've got Pandora playing some Joshua Radin right now, making this already beautiful moment even more meaningful. Our lives were forever changed that day I held Chance in my arms.

My boy. Mine.

The love for him that filled the room was obvious. He was so very loved. In fact, he was loved from the very second that we knew it was him. Eugene and I left the ultrasound appointment with huge smiles and wide eyes in disbelief that we were having a boy. A boy? Really? I kept asking the tech over and over, are you sure? How sure?

My family was patiently waiting at home to share in our news and so we decided to let 600 calories of chewy chocolate goodness tell our secret for us......

I'm quite confident that Chance heard all the hootin' and hollerin' in utero and knew at that moment he was about to join the world's coolest family.

But secretly I was worried about having a boy.

Because all I knew was how to mother girls. I rock at mothering girls. We were our own little clique, Bella, Mia and I. We'd dance, and we'd sing, and we'd have tea parties and paint our nails (little did I know then that I'd be doing every one of those things with my son a year later. Yes, I've painted his nails.) 

As I'd rub my belly and feel him kicking, I'd wonder how do other moms mother boys? 
Is it really different? 

And on that day July 16, 2010, I got my answer:

You trust your instincts that's how.  

And my instincts knew that this boy was going to change me. I knew when I held him that he was going to show me a love that I've never seen before, that I never knew I was capable of. 

I felt an overwhelming sense that this little boy was going to make me a better mother.

I was right.

I can't wait to celebrate your 2nd birthday Chance. Tomorrow we'll have pancakes and ice cream and ALL DAY LONG I will let you know how happy you've made our family.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

"Happy 4th of July" is how my daughters greeted, err I mean "enthusiastically yelled" to every single airport personnel as we made our way through Midway airport the morning of Independence Day on our way to Las Vegas.

 The flight was great. And yes, we still strap our almost 2 year old in the Bjorn.  Having two hands free on an airplane can be quite useful. Frosty Beverage? Don't mind if I do. 

I held down the fort on the other side of the aisle with the girls.

Bella read most of the time while Mia poked and prodded Bella to get her attention.

Then the giggles began and grew increasingly louder as they began tickling eachother. And I'm all like "SHHHH" in my sorta quiet-but seriously wide-eyed-whisper yell! I gave up and ended up laughing along with them. What can I say, they were hilarious.

Greeted by the sounds of the slot machines and the twinkling lights, we knew our vacation had begun. And by vacation I mean spending as much possible time with Eugene's family before we leave. After a quick stop at In-n-Out we headed home to meet our new nephew Morgan. My ovaries wanted to explode. He is just the cutest little thing.

I immediately removed my glasses (because for some odd reason I think they're a communication barrier) and launched into my own version of You Are My Sunshine attempting the smallest of bonds with my one month little friend. 

Oh how I miss singing to a little bundle!

 Under a full moon, we headed to the local park to celebrate the 4th of July.

Holy crap ya'll, it was like a war zone. Fireworks going off everywhere, kids running around through the madness and the smell of smoke and sulfur was everywhere. It was crazy.

Remind me of this picture 10 years from now when we're bailing Chance out of jail for blowing up a neighbor's mailbox. Although I'm sure the juvenile delinquent in Eugene secretly 
loved every moment of it.

My kids are much like me in that they love the new experiences and new surroundings that only vacations can bring. Mia's bit of giddy happiness came when she set up shop in her grandparents car.

See that plastic hook there? Well bless her heart, Mia thought it was the greatest invention EVER since it held her purse right at eye level. And look! A perfect place for her sunglasses smooshed between the head rest and the arm rest. 

While we screamed in agony every time we left the air conditioning and stepped into the sweltering desert heat, the pictures will show nothing but smiles 

because after all,

we were with our family again.

Here's the girls posing with Eugene on his 38th birthday, which we made even more memorable                         

by singing to him while we took in the lights of Vegas

and gushed over the Bellagio fountains.

But it was the Bellagio indoor gardens that had me swooning!

How much do you think one of these glass ball fountains cost? Cuz, I need one.

Spending time with his family is never long enough. 
No matter how long we stay, it will always sting a little when we leave.

And saying goodbye to our newest family member stung the most.

Welcome to the family, Morgan!

Las Vegas
Summer 2012


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