Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gobble, Gobble! (aka, Fa Ra Ra Ra Raaaaaaa, Ra Raaa Raaa Raaaaa)

With only one day off of work for Thanksgiving, who wants to spend it cooking and cleaning?   Well, Rip probably does, but I would certainly rather not.  Let's let someone ELSE handle all that dirty work!

So we were OFF to Knollwood!  An 11:00 am lunch reservation for 4, please!

They had little crafts at the tables. . .

Just LOOK at that awesome spread.  I promise you, we wouldn't have had all that food at our house!

Then after a few hours back at the house for naps, we headed out to buy a Christmas tree!

(Um, wouldn't have been necessary if Rip hadn't gone POSTAL on our old one.
But whatever.  It was old, anyway.  He's entitled the occasional outburst.)

And since we were out, and had already done two unusual things on Thanksgiving Day (lunch out, followed by shopping), we decided to REALLY go for broke and eat dinner out.


Fa Ra Ra Ra Raaaaaaaa,
Ra Raaaaaa

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Brew at the Zoo!

Aaaaaaaah, September.  Month of changing leaves, apples, crisp air, football, and beerfests.  Yes, I did put that in my list of favorite things.

We've been to TWO beerfests in the last few weeks!  Fortunately for us, Rip is IN the industry, which means free tickets.  For events where there is unlimited beer.  Score!  Good for the tastebuds, but bad for the waistline.


Last weekend was "Zoo Brew," which was actually at Potowatami Zoo.  Loved it.  Craft beers from dozens of regional breweries, and a view of the buffalo and peacocks.  We couldn't wander the zoo. . .apparently people have been irresponsible with the animals, which is just sad.  I would have loved to stroll around on a cool evening and admire the animals..

And believe it or not, there's ANOTHER ONE in a few weeks.  It's the South Bend Brew Festival.  And yes, we'll be there in full force, too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Go, Orange Tigers!

The boys had their first soccer game last Saturday, and won 10-1.  Or 8-1.  Or something like that.  I'm not sure anyone was really keeping an official score.  And it didn't matter.  Not one.  Single.  Bit.

 Coach Rip and the "Orange Tigers."  So adorable how all their jerseys are two sizes too big!

Brody Ray. . .keepin' it real, rocking his Sesame Street Purdue t-shirt and Mommy's sunglasses.

 And the boys' FAVORITE part. . .the game's over!  (It's almost time for the SNACKS!)


Friday, September 16, 2011

Coach Ray

Poor, poor Rip.

He really wasn't excited about coaching a soccer team full of six year olds. . .talk about unfocused energy!  As Rip put it, "one six year old who doesn't listen is bad enough.  Imagine seven of them!"

However, he was a good sport.   Mason's team had no coach, and hence, couldn't play until a coach materialized.  Enter:  Rip Ray.

Rip Ray who actually does know something about soccer. . .he played competitively from the time he was Mason's age through high school.   He has stumpy, stunted, crooked fingers from breaking them all in his time as a goalie.  He also has his share of broken toes from those days.  Who said football was more dangerous than soccer???

I think he just agreed to coach so he could go shopping.  New soccer shoes, new shorts, a new bag. . .Rip Ray at his finest!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shuffle Off to (New) Buffalo

New Buffalo, Michigan, that is.

As part of our "staycation series," we headed to the shores of Lake Michigan to the quaint town of New Buffalo for an afternoon.  No agenda, no timeline, and no expectations.

We discovered a fun, beachy restaurant called The Stray Dog, where we relaxed over yummy food and local beers.  We let ourselves be mesmerized by the colorful boats in the harbor, and pretended we were by the ocean.  Honestly, this town was every bit as delightful as being near the ocean for real.  Colorful, weather-beaten, small, and breezy ruled supreme, and time seemed to stand still for just a few moments.

A brief visit to a streetside ice cream shop capped off our time in New Buffalo.

The short drive home was almost as nice as our time in the little Michigan town.  Windows down, hair whipping around, old country music playing, local peaches for sale along the route. . .for a period of time, life seemed slower.  Easier.  

One of the things I've noticed about our move back to Indiana is that this is more often the case than not.   Life here DOES seem slower and more pleasant.  More about family and friends than about traffic and chaos.  More about small town pleasures like ice cream stands and fresh fruit farms than work events and pressure to keep up an intense pace.  That's NOT to say I don't miss parts of Dallas.  Our a-ma-zing neighbors, our tight little community of friends, our "Nana," my tutoring "kids," Rip's family's, good Mexican food, an abundance of great SHOPPING. . .I definitely miss those things.  But at heart, I am a small town, hometown kind of girl who loves her seasons and county fairs and her alma mater and her momma.  . I am HOME.  (Or closer than ever, at least!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Potowatami Zoo

Yet another of my "must do" summer activities was to take the monsters boys to the zoo.  Rip took two days off last week, and on one of those rare days off, we made our first ever trip to Potowatami Zoo.

What a delightful place!  We arrived right after the zoo opened, and it honestly seemed as though we were the only ones there.  Maybe this time, procrastination did pay off, and going at the eleventh hour of the summer worked to our benefit.

Mason LOVED riding the train.  Cute, yes.  Awesome?  Um, no.  Unless you enjoy sullen, miserable, sarcastic old men as tour guides.  But whatever.

Both of the boys were excited about the IDEA of petting a snake, but not nearly as excited to actually DO it.  I was nowhere near this creepy guy.  Believe me.

My favorites at any zoo are the large cats.  So pretty and graceful, and so similar to housecats in how they move and lie.  Mom, does it look like Spice?

These are actually butterflies feeding at a nectar station. . .the other side of their wings was a glorious cobalt blue, but it was virtually impossible to catch one of those open.  I tried several times, and that blue blur in the picture below represents my best attempt.  The little boogers.

This tiger was RIGHT on the other side of the glass.  So in reality, I bet the kids were a mere eight inches from this ferocious, yet amazing beast.  His little (big?) nose was virtually pressed against the glass.

While Mason's favorite thing was the train, I think Brody was happiest about finding a "faffer" (aka "pacifier" for those of you not fluent in Brody-speak) on the ground.  It was pink, and dirty, yet he was determined to snag it for himself.  At that point in the day, we knew it was time to go home.

Our small-town zoo = great success!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Basking with a Good Book

With Mason gone all day, Brody and I are having our own version of fun.

While I was cleaning Mason's room the other day, he wanted to be close to me, yet didn't want to clean (uhhh, blame him??), so here was his compromise.

He emptied the laundry basket, grabbed a few books and his blankie, and made a little "nest" for himself.

Ah, yes, he also grabbed my leopard bandana for a bit of flair.  There's NEVER a dull moment around here.  The key is for me to enjoy each of these silly, sweet moments,  rather than get so busy or irritated that I ignore these precious snippets.  For I know that I'll blink, and my two sweet boys will be horrified to have anything to do with Snoopy blankies, board books, and certainly, my clothing.  (But that's probably a good thing!!)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Queen of Pulling Teeth

Mason came home from school on his third day holding a film canister.  

"Mommy, guess what's in here?"

(I was so terrified it was a bug.)

I was beyond surprised when he showed me the contents.

A tooth?

Apparently, one of his classmates had a really loose tooth, and their teacher, Mrs. McGann told him that she was the QUEEN of pulling teeth.  And of course, she pulled the classmate's tooth right out.

Now, it should probably be reiterated that this classmate's tooth was actually LOOSE.  Not barely wiggly with a teeny, tiny range of motion.  So how exactly did Mason leave for school with a barely wiggly tooth, and come home with a hole in his smile?

Well, he said something like this:
"Mommy, I just had a feeling that she could do it.  I thought it might be ready.  And it was!"

The funny thing is that it really was far from ready.  He would have thrown a tantrum if either Rip or I had tried to pull that deeply rooted tooth.  But he thinks teachers are superheroes (I do, too), and he had full confidence in her.  So he bravely let her pull it.  

A hole in his smile and $2 later, and he's a happy, happy kid.

If only it were that simple forever!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First day of FIRST GRADE

I can hardly imagine it. . .Mason is in the FIRST GRADE!

Where does the time go?  Just the other day he was home with me.  Then just the other day (a different day!), he was starting Kindergarten.  The poor kiddo actually started Kindergarten at THREE different schools last year with the chaos in our jobs and lives, so I was beyond happy to see this as we waited for the bus:

Mason has friends.

He's a very "friend-worthy" little boy. . .it's not that.  It's just that we enrolled for one Kindergarten in Texas a year ago, started at a different Kindergarten in Indiana due to a last-minute move, then proceeded to move TWO MORE TIMES during the school year.  To two different states.  It's hard for a five-year-old to make friends when his parents keep moving him to new schools.   But his first-grade year has started very differently.  He had the whole summer to play with lovely Manaal, whose yard abuts ours, and sweet Elliot who lives a hop, skip, and a jump away, just through Manaal's yard and in the next cul-de-sac.

I hope this move is it for us for awhile.  While I'd love to live in one of the counties near where I grew up (and where my parents and many dear friends still live), I'll happily stay here for now.

And watch my big boy board the same school bus each year with his neighbors and friends.

How is it that my "big boy" actually looks so little next to that bus?  Perhaps he's still a "little boy" after all.  Just don't tell him I said that!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A WIN for the Silverhawks!

Yes, a year is a long time for a blogging "break."  I have a jillion excuses, and a few stories to accompany those excuses.  But for today, I'll jump back in with a normal update.  Excuses to follow soon.

With summer fading to fall, I'm trying desperately to check off all the "summer to-dos" on the list we assembled at the beginning of the summer.  Yesterday's activity?  Our first South Bend Silverhawks baseball game!

On SUCH a gorgeous day, a trip to the ball field almost screamed our name.  Seventy degrees, blue skies, and a slight breeze.  Aaaaah. . .a little slice of Heaven.  Thanks to Rip (as always!), we had great seats behind home plate.  Mason kept asking me to catch any home runs that came our way.  Ummmmm, okay, buddy.  Maybe I should have put "explain fair balls vs. foul balls" on our summer to-do list!!!!!

With beers and Cracker Jacks in hand, we settled in for a perfect family afternoon.

Mason was beyond excited to talk to Swoop the mascot. . .

And of course, the EVER exciting "running of the bases."  After the big Silverhawks' win, all kiddos are invited to run the bases.  Mason was OFF like a lightning bolt!

Brody Ray was a different story.  He started off strong, even making the big screen (in the way background!)

But as he rounded second base, he suddenly stopped, panicked about the tar balls in his Crocs, and refused to go further.   Rip saw this happening while I was photographing Mason crossing home plate. . .Daddy to the rescue!

What a perfect family afternoon for me and my boys.

And it's worth noting that Mason said I was "boy trapped" as I stood between him and Brody.  Yes, baby, such is my life.  I'm ALWAYS boy trapped with these three!!!