Ode to iPhone

iPhone, iPhone,
Where would I be?
Without my apps or little touchscreen!
iPhone, iPhone,
I’m awfully fond of you.
Boop, boop, be doop!
***********
I am so TOTALLY up with technology.
(Well, technology from 2009).
I just got my first smartphone.
*drumroll, please*
The iPhone 3GS. 
For $49.
*whoopty whoop!*
I traded in the trusty ol’ LG Xenon,
 and the AT&T salesman actually looked at my phone like it was an old relic…
something that was dug up from an archaelogical site next to some dinosaur bones.
But I have to admit that phone held up for 2 years without a single problem
and the QWERTY keyboard made texting a breeze.
My iPhone hasn’t really left my side since I bought it last Wednesday night.
I’m loving all of the free apps, that are pretty much changing my life…
not to be dramatic.
I was lost.
Now I’m found.
But the touchscreen QWERTY keyboard leaves something to be desired.
It takes me twice as long to text or write something.
I guess practice makes perfect.
My girls love the “Make-Up Girls” app.
They get to put make-up and accessories on different models and then take their picture.
Kaia always puts the same Purple Ribbon headband on hers,
and Addi always gives her models purple lipstick, purple eyeliner, and purple hair.
(Can you say, “Future Dukes?”  They already bleed Purple & Gold like their mama.)
 Can you guess which of my daughters made this girl?
(Addi)

(Kaia)

Aidan loves Angry Birds… like millions of other people.
I love all of the apps that will help me stay on top of things and keep organized…
and the ones that help me find the best shopping deals-
baaaaaaasically, the iPhone is going to save me so much money,
it’s going to pay for itself.
That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
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Edwardina Scissorhands

My name is Dre, but my friends call me “Edwardina Scissorhands.”
Okay, so no one calls me that.
But they should.
It was time for my girls to get a haircut… it had been about 8 months since their last cut.
Since my last trip to Super Cuts was such a disaster I’m always up for a challenge,
I decided to cut their hair myself.
Afterall, I’ve been cutting David’s hair for 8 years now…
and I cut Aidan’s hair (the same style as David’s) every few months,
why should I pay to cut Kaia and Addi’s hair?
So I cut Kaia’s long lockes first…
Here’s a picture of her luscious mane at dinner right BEFORE:
And here’s her new do AFTER:
Here’s Addi’s hair BEFORE:
(I didn’t have a good picture of her hair right before, but you can tell in this picture that it was long enough to put into adorable little braids…)
Here’s her new do AFTER:
She couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror.
She would look at her hair and then wrap her arms around my neck and say, “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!”
That’s the best tip I’ve ever received!

Slip N’ Slide

119 degrees last week (with the heat index).
Say what??
And unlike people who live in Arizona… we can’t say, “But it’s a DRY heat.”
In fact, a common comment on Facebook was that “the SKY was sweating.”
Nastiness.
After we had already made Cheerio Krispies, macaroni art, and had a tea party on Saturday…
we had to get outside.

So we filled up the baby pool and cleaned off the Slip N’ Slide…
strategically placing them in the shade of our walnut tree.
And OF COURSE, I had to show my kids how it was done.
I slipped and slid ALL OVER THE PLACE.
I OWNED THAT SLIP N’ SLIDE.
My kids thought they could slide farther if they ran 200 yards before getting to the Slip N’ Slide.
They were right- they slid a whole inch farther.
But it was 200 yards more entertaining.

Another Chance (Part II)…

Read “Another Chance” (Part I) here.
So after a lousy night sleep in our 2-Star hotel, we all woke up bright and early to take full advantage of the free breakfast downstairs.

*CHA-CHING!*

While we slept, my mom and stepdad were checking into the hotel
to spend Sunday with my grandparents too.
We met them for breakfast and then made the trip to Grandma & Grandpa’s little white rambler.
… where my grandpa had been waiting for us since 8AM.
Looking at their house from on top of the hill, and then seeing in them in person for the first time in years,
 it was as if time had stopped and nothing had changed…
… except that my grandma didn’t recognize me.
… It wasn’t because I looked drastically different, but because she couldn’t place me.
My presence confused her.
My grandma used to laugh and talk, and tickle my arm for hours with her long nails,
and stroke my little chin with her forefinger and say, “You’re so cute.”
Now, she smiled, but it was to be polite, while she figured out who I was…
and in the entire day we spent together, I barely heard her speak.
My grandpa, however, was as energetic as ever, and had an entire day-long adventure planned for us.
A scenic drive took us to a beautiful hiking trail with waterfalls and plenty of river rocks to skip.

And my heart melted on one of the walking paths when I saw Kaia run ahead to catch up with her Great Grandpa and hold his hand…
*That is why I made this trip.*
After our hike, it was time for a picnic lunch on the lake…
The kids ate their turkey sandwiches and enjoyed playing on these giant nearby tree stumps.
Then it was time to let the kids cool off in the lake…
And it was while watching the kids swim in the lake,
that my Grandpa told me that he married Grandma,
“57 years, 10 months, and three days ago.”
And then he kissed her forehead like they were still teenage sweethearts on the marching band bus.
And all day you could tell that they were still so much in love.
While my kids would’ve been just perfect if we spent the rest of the day at the lake,
we were only half-done with Grandpa’s activities.
We had to leave the lake at precisely 1:30PM, 
 if we were going to catch the riverboat for the riverboat cruise at 2:30PM.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen road detours, we watched the riverboat pull away from the dock.
So we loaded up and went to the county fair- the last stop on our list.
It was only $5 to enter, and that included ALL OF THE RIDES.
Grandpa treated us!
We stopped to see the Prize-winning chickens…
(and David and I made some immature jokes about cocks…)
Then we stopped to see the Prize-winning bunnies…
We grabbed an ice-cold drink (for only $.75- check out how big they are!)
We let the kids play a carnival game (that guaranteed a prize)…
And then it was time to ride some rides!
Aidan made a friend on the ferris wheel.
They rode their first roller coaster…
… luckily, they let Addi off after the first spin around.
… but she wasn’t too scared to ride the BIG Ferris wheel with Mommy!
… We enjoyed some tasty fair food (fried dough, hot dogs, cold lemonade, cotton candy)…
… and said goodbye…
… and even though Grandma barely talked to us all day,
I could tell she was sad to see us go.
She reached out for my kids and wanted to hug them goodbye.
This is why we made the trip.
It was another chance.

Another Chance…

When I was little, my siblings and I would go to “Grandma Camp” every summer with my cousins, and spend a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Everyday we would go to their store for the morning in Danville, PA, walk to the library to check out a movie, go back to their house for swimming and lunch (we would go through an entire loaf of bread every day because my grandma made the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches), and then come in for dinner and a movie- by the time it was 9 o’clock we would pass out.  One day out of the week, my grandma and grandpa would take us to Knoebel’s Grove Amusement Park. 

We looked forward to Grandma Camp EVERY. SINGLE.  YEAR.

As we got older, the tradition faded away, and unfortunately, a series of events (a house fire, sicknesses, Alzheimer’s, etc.) changed the relationship we had with our grandparents… and I haven’t talked to them for years.

Then the sudden loss of a co-worker coincided with the opportunity to visit my grandparents last Sunday. 

I took it as a sign… another chance to hug my grandparents and introduce them to my babies for the first time.

We spontaneously packed up the car (I didn’t even make a checklist!… and we booked our hotel room the morning we left!) and left for Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon. 

The kids were excited and sang, “Hooray, hooray for Family Day!  Let’s take a trip and go away!”

We checked into the hotel, dropped off our bags and blankets, and then took the kids to Knoebel’s for a couple of hours so they could see my old stomping grounds.

Knoebel’s is the largest FREE amusement park in the country.  It’s free to park and free to enter.  You pay for a book of tickets to get on rides and for food.  Most of the kids’ rides only cost $.75-$1.00.  The drinks were only $1.50!  What other amusement park only charges $1.50 for a drink?!

The first ride was the carousel. 
This is THE best carousel in the world. 
They have an arm that reaches out and dispenses silver rings,
so every time you go around, the riders on the outside horses
try to reach out and grab a ring.
My kids were too small to play,
 but my cousins and I would ride the carousel over and over again to see who could grab the most rings.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the riders still grabbing those rings.
Then my kids ran over to this playhouse area…
The could’ve played in here all day long.
Our next stop were the tiny bumper cars, especially for little tykes.
David and I had a hearty laugh watching the kids on the cars.
Aidan held is own out there.
Kaia and Addi drove in circles… it was like watching a dog chase his own tail.
A couple of hours of rides and a few cold beverages was all the kids needed after a long day in the car.
(He’s either European or a mailman.)
After using all of our ride tickets, it was time to feed the kids.
We ate at a restaurant (another treat that is few and far between), returned to the hotel, bathed our little ones and tucked them in.  All three of them layed on the other Queen bed in the room (horizontally).
We all settled down for the night, because we knew the next day would be an exciting and exhausting day
full of memories…
my kids would meet their Great Grandparents for the first time.
Stay Tuned…

Toes in the water…

A couple of weeks ago, we had our annual family beach vacation.  You might remember one of my first posts on how a day at the beach for us hasn’t always been “a day at the beach.”

It’s a lot of work to take a trip with our brood… but it’s getting easier every year.

The memory card on my camera was FULL (*forehead slap*), and so I relied heavily on other people’s accounts of our week in Topsail and their photo skillz.  I did snag my mother-in-law’s camera a couple of times to take some pics, but for the most part, I just sat back and enjoyed my kids and the ocean.  All of the pictures in this post came from my MIL’s new spiffy camera.

Here we are in Topsail, waiting to pick up our key from the Realtor.
 
My babies were excited in the backseat… well, Aidan and Kaia were… Addi was obviously ready to get out of the car.
Our little slice of heaven…
This was our view for the week…

One of the reasons we LOVE Topsail so much is because it’s not PACKED with tourists and we typically have the entire beach to ourselves… and the dunes are so small, oceanfront not only means you can see the ocean from the deck, but we were also able to see our family laying and playing on the sand at the same time.  Don’t tell anyone though- we want to keep Topsail a secret! 

The first thing we do when we get to the beach is unpack… made much easier with the house’s elevator (although I was sick of the kids asking to play in the elevator by the end of the week).  Since we cook all of our meals, rather than going out to restaurants, unpacking is quite a big task.  We made the house and kitchen looked “lived-in” within minutes.

But we still had fun while we worked…

We had homemade spaghetti and meatballs the first night (it’s kinda tradition), and enjoyed a kids table for the first time.  WOW- are they all really old enough to be at a kids’ table now?  YUP.  And the extra elbow room was GLORIOUS.

Right after dinner we took the kids down to the beach to play for a couple of hours before the sun went down.
They. Were. In. Heaven.

Don’t you just love the feeling when you first start vacation?  The anticipation of an entire week of playing, relaxing, overeating, making memories… it’s like the feeling we get on Christmas morning as kids, but for 7 days in a row. 

Our days were filled with cornhole, sandcastles, crab/digger hunting, shark teeth searches, kite flying, and boogie boarding, while our evenings were filled with food that makes my mouth water just thinking about it, cotton candy martinis, and hilarious forms of entertainment like the annual Poker tournament, Mexican Train, Minute to Win It competitions, and midnight Cornhole on the beach (midnight = 9PM). 

It wouldn’t be the same if there weren’t HILARIOUS quotes from our week like:
“Mmmm.  I’ve got just de thing.” – On the interesting monkey themed fabric choice for the sitting room furniture.
“MA!  I swear to GAWD, MA!
“It kinda freaks me out… no, seriously… because it’s so good… people just don’t understand.”
“Ruuuuuuuuuude.”
“Traaaaaaaash.”

“Parrot!”

“Intruder!!!”

“I can’t stop looking at my necklace.”
“To the ARENA!  To the TABLE!  Back to the ARENA!”
“Were you being Brad Pitt’s eyes?”
“How do you know?  You just know!”…. “Uhhhh, every romantic comedy ever made.”
“This MANE!  LIONESS!!”
“Pelvis OUT!!”
Obviously, this wasn’t one single conversation… that just wouldn’t make any sense.  But I can promise that if you had heard these quotes in context, you would be peeing your pants right about now.
Kimiki and I also became Pixar sound effect experts and can make the following sounds on command:
-Stick stuck in a wheel spoke
-A book lying open with its pages blowing in the wind
-Incredible Hulk’s shirt ripping when he gets angry
-Sparklers
(Note: My sound effects are MUCH better than Kimiki’s, and I wouldn’t call her an “expert” really, but she was entertaining at any rate.)
Annnnd, you’ve never really lived until you’ve seen Pop’s impression of whale calls underwater…
like this scene on Down Periscope. 
It’s pretty much spot on.
… like my Little Mermaid and Sean Connery impressions (that were in high demand, btw).
Here’s some other pics from the week
Here’s a group shot of all of us
Here’s Family Attempt #4,239,766
Until next year, Topsail!
I’ll be back.

Seersucker Thursday

What is Seersucker Thursday, you ask?
Well, my dear, Seersucker Thursday is an annual tradition in the United States Congress in which Senators don the lightweight, striped, summer-friendly fabric, in the spirit of traditional Southern clothes, on usually the second or third Thursday of June.  (according to the always factual, Wikipedia).
So it makes perfect sense that we would start a similar tradition at UMW.
This year marked our second annual Seersucker Thursday!
Here are pictures from our first year:
Can’t you just see our awesome-ness in these pictures?
Here we are this year with some new recruits!
File:Seersucker Thursday 2006.jpg
Okay, so that’s not really us- that’s Congress.  But the resemblance is UNCANNY. 
Here we are…
…And here we are at lunch with our youngest recruit…
I say, I say, “Everything’s better in seersucker.”
(Say it like Foghorn Leghorn.)

Arrrrrr, Matey!

When we moved into our house, we filled it up with furniture hand-me-downs.
And it was… functional.
Over the years, we’ve been able to pick out some pieces of our own,
but we still have a whole lot of passdowns.
There was one dresser that David brought into our house from his childhood that always reminded me of what a pirate would put his “slops” in (aka Pirate Clothes).
Ahoy, you be the judge.
Thar she BLOWS… and I’m not talkin’ about a whale.
So after using it, and then finding a way to not use it (I got rid of a BUNCH of clothes),
it’s been sitting in our garage for about a year.
Then, I decided, “Aye, I might be able t’ use it t’ me ad’antage. Aye, me parrot concurs.”
I wanted to dress it up and make it a statement piece…
 and use it in my living room to conceal toys.
Arrr, so I did.
I chose my color…
which was a primer and paint in one…
sanded down the old pirate chest…
and proceeded to paint away…
these brassy pulls…
 
 … got an oil-rubbed bronze spray-on tan…
 
 
… after three coats of paint…
 
and five days of drying time…
 
(which, by the way, it’s true what they say about watching paint dry…)
 
Shiver me timbers!
 
 
Aye lurve it! Arrrr!

Link Up, Mateys!

Arrivederci, Axis!

My little brother is a Naval Aviator… you know, like on Top Gun.
WARNING: Gratuitous volleyball scene…
I am so proud of him.
And I am so thankful for the sacrifices our military and their families make for our freedom.
Here is Cliffy with his adorable wife, Meg…

Unexpectedly, he was given orders that he would deploy again…
His third deployment in three years.
*sad face*
Luckily, we were able to see him for 24 hours before he would fly to Italy, which is not something that we get to do a lot since he lives in Washington state.
We got to spend the entire day with him in National Harbor, MD.
It. Rocked.

We sucked the marrow out of life with a giant Slurpee straw that day.
Come back safely, Cliffy!
We love you and miss you!

The beautifulest in all the land…

Once upon a time there was a princess named Kaia. 
Everyday she would go to visit her friends at Ms. Norma’s Preparatory School for Royalty. 
And everyday, she would play different games with her friends.
One day, while playing a game,
Prince Connor,
a 3.5 foot, tan prince with blond locks,
had to select the fairest Princess in all the land to be his bride.
And he chose Princess Kaia…
because she was “the beautifulest.”
Kaia was so excited and rushed home to tell King Daddy and Queen Mommy
that she was going to marry Connor.
The King and Queen looked at their little girl that was filled with young love and said,
“Kaia has a boooyfriend!  Kaia has a boooyfriend!”
Princess Kaia giggled like a school girl in love for the first time.
Princess Addi, Kaia’s little sister, yelled, “Kaia, I’m the beautifulest TOO!”
And they lived happily ever after…
Until King Daddy went over to Prince Connor’s house to talk to him about his intentions with our daughter.