Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reese Rules of Summer

1.  The library has events that are free and air conditioned.  And there are books there.  Books are awesome.  Therefore, go to the library often.  Sometimes, go with friends.

2.  Keep a watermelon cut up in the refrigerator at all times, or at least as often as humanly possible.

3.  Bring a change of clothes to the art museum, since the fountains outside are as tempting as the art activities inside.  

4.  Yoga is good for the mind and body. 

5.  Give guests a superhero's welcome.  

6.  Use selfies to practice those budding photography skills.  

7.  Live in the moment, and realize that an empty arena of seats (and a few tractors kicking up dirt) is as thrilling to a group of preschoolers as what was supposed to be a horse show.  Be thankful you had awesome friends with you.

8.  Eat lunch at the pool.  It makes for a lot less kitchen cleanup.

9.  Live at the pool.  Pool water is cooler than 90 degree weather plus humidity.  Even with a fussy baby who hates the water, it's still worth it.    

10.  Clean up other people's garbage.  It makes you feel good to show Mother Nature you've got her back, especially when you're with the world's cutest trash police squad.  

11.  Party until you pass out.  
12.  Try to master pedaling a bike, after a year of balance-biking it up.

13.  Learn to cheer for team USA in the World Cup.

14.  Find an awesome swim teacher and make her lessons one of the best parts of each week.

15.  When you're invited to a dino birthday party, go party.  You will not regret this decision.  

16.  When you find out that the mini-infestation of ants you've experienced are crazy ants, instead of carpenter ones, go celebrate at Mellow Mushroom.

17.  Make lots of yummy treats and share them, before you eat them all.  

We've had a pretty amazing summer so far!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Postal Love for the Month of July

Dear Leather Recliner,

I previously expressed loving sentiment for you here.  While I was obviously twitterpated at the time, the adoration was fleeting.

Fast forward four years, find me no longer pregnant, and suddenly you become far less charming.

Do you know what a swiveling, rocking, and reclining chair does to a mother of small children? It nauseates her.  That's what.  There were days when I thought I might end up in the loony bin before 35 if I had to watch Kaden twirl in you at top speeds one more time, while trying to prevent him from injuring himself or others.  Then Everett discovered how fun it was to spin you, and something had to be done.

We sold you on the 4th of July to a buyer off Craigslist.

There was a moment on the evening of July 3rd, when I wondered if I was making a mistake.  All those comfy pregnancy snoozes did mean something to me.  They really did.

Then, on Independence Day, when your new owner came to collect you, I pointed out the small tear in your upholstery, and she said she didn't care.  Because she has cats.  In the plural.  And I felt guilty committing you to such a fate.  I still kind of do.

But you were so unbelievably ugly.

We'll Always Have the Summer Months of 2010 and 2013

Dear Whoever's Behind the Advertising Campaign for Blue Bell Ice Cream,

Cruel.  That's what you are.

You can't run an ad for Magic Cookie Bar flavored ice cream, then boast about it's delicious flavor combination online, only to not have it at TWO grocery stores.

"Just in time for National Ice Cream Month!" you said.  "In July!" you said.  I didn't even KNOW it was National Ice Cream Month, but I sure wanted to celebrate tonight with a bowl full of "sweet ice cream loaded with graham cracker crust pieces, chunks of dark chocolate, roasted pecan pieces and toasted coconut, all surrounded by a caramel sauce swirl."  Instead, I'm stuck with chocolate chip cookie dough.

What gives?

Disappointed Doesn't Cut It

Dear Husband,

Thank you for driving to not one, but TWO grocery stores at 9:30 at night in search of Magic Cookie Bar ice cream.

I love you.

The Wifey

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Everett's (Almost) First Birthday

Since we were in Kinston with family over the 4th of July, we decided to celebrate Everett's first birthday a little early.  I threw a party for Kaden for his first birthday, and I really wanted to do something special for Mr. Everett, too.

I think it ended up being absolutely perfect.  Low key.  Family affair.  Just the right amount of cute.  And still special.

We had a huge Sunday dinner together as a family, then switched gears for some quick birthday party fun.  I decided to do a mini-patriotic bash since 1) Ev is a July baby, 2) we were celebrating over 4th of July weekend, and 3) I could reuse a lot of the dollar store merchandise I had already purchased for our wagon's neighborhood parade makeover (nothing like a two for one deal, I tell you).  It turned out really festive and fun!

I threw together a few homemade decorations (banner, chalkboard printables, cake pendants), to avoid mom guilt (since I made all the decorations for Kaden's first birthday party).

 Since we'd just finished a huge meal, probably a good five minutes beforehand, a simple two-item menu of cupcakes and watermelon sufficed.  I made our all-time favorite cupcakes: lime-coconut with coconut cream cheese frosting.  Divine.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn't love these.  They're that scrumptious.

And at the last minute, I decided to go all crazy sauce and made Everett a mini-layer cake, because a cupcake just didn't seem fancy enough.  (And he didn't get homemade invitations for his first birthday party like Kaden did. So I was grasping at straws to alleviate the mom guilt pains.  I almost made homemade invitations to give to our family members.  I have a sickness.  I freely admit it.)  

We all piled into the den and watched Kaden open Everett's presents.

 He got to open the one or two that managed to escape big brother.

This cost me 50 cents at a yard sale the weekend before the birthday party.  I'd say it's the best 50 cents I've ever spent, except I'm already going crazy listening to Kaden race around the house with it.  It turns out the sweet little sound it makes when slowly pushed by a baby starting to toddle, isn't as sweet when amplified by a sprinting preschooler.

Then, we watched a video recap of Everett's first year, and I didn't even cry (since I'd already bawled through the whole creative process of putting it together).  For some reason, it won't let me embed the video directly into my blog (possibly because it has background music?) but you can find it by clicking here.

Then we headed back into the kitchen for the ceremonial birthday song:

And, at long last, it was time to let Everett dig into his birthday cake.

And now, let me thrill you with a million photos of a semi-naked baby devouring cake.  It doesn't get much better than that:

Then the re-dressed birthday boy snuggled with Poppy while we packed the car.  

Until Kaden convinced them to join him for a ride on the porch swing.

I got pretty emotional at the end of the evening, as we prepared to leave.  Sometimes, it is really hard living half a world away from my family.  It really is.  Especially when my kids celebrate milestones like their first birthday.  I was reminded on Sunday of what a blessing it is to have Chad's family feel like my family, too.

I can't believe that in eleven days my baby will officially be ONE.  This year has flown by for me.  Happy birthday, Evers!  We love you!
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