Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Broadway Baby!

I just got back from an AMAZING trip to New York City with my dear friend Nicole. We have been planning this trip for four years and it was everything we dreamed it would be and more.

Here we are at the airport, after finally drying our tears of joy as we met at the baggage claim:

The first thing we did after checking into our hotel was walk the Brooklyn Bridge:

Then we hit our first Broadway show. The main purpose of our trip was to see Broadway shows, and we saw five shows in three days: Shrek, Rock of Ages, Billy Elliot, Hair and Next to Normal.

All of the shows were amazing! We could not pick a favorite.

We also saw a comedy show at the famous Comic Strip Live, where stars like Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld got their start. Remember at the end of Seinfeld when Jerry would do his act in front of a brick wall background? That was the place. Here we are with comedian Sherrod Small, who was absolutely HILARIOUS!

We also went to Ground Zero and Wall Street, where we found these hilarious street signs:

Our frequent "after show" spot became Don't Tell Mama's, a piano bar where we could actually get up and sing! We never got the guts to do it, though.

We had an absolutely amazing time, and neither of us were ready to leave:

We were both flying the same airline and were conveniently leaving from neighboring gates. Our flights were both delayed so we were able to sit together and chat while we waited, and then we boarded at the same time! It couldn't have worked out better. We spent the time flipping through pictures and reliving hilarious moments before we had to part ways.

I MISS YOU, NICOLE!!!!

If you want to see the rest of our pics, they're in our Photo Album!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: "Skiing"

(I put "skiing" in quotes because I'm not sure what I do can really be called "skiing.")

It's Tuesday, folks, so it's time once again for Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays!

This week I'm going back to middle school again. This story does not co-star Holly, unlike my previously told junior high adventures, though she was there and had a really good time laughing at me.

I grew up in Michigan and every winter they offered downhill skiing lessons after school. We all took a bus after school to Snow Snake Mountain for our lessons. This story takes place in my second or third year of lessons, so I had graduated from the bunny hill (the "No Child Left Behind" Act was not yet in effect, thankfully, or I would still be there). There was this boy in my group I had never seen before, which was a big deal because I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. This new kid was pretty cute, so I had my eye on him and was eager to impress him with my hot snowbunny moves!

It was our first day of lessons and we were at the top of the big ski hill. Our task was to maneuver in and out of some flags and then stop half-way down the hill. Cute New Boy went first and mastered them (what a hottie)!

I was up next. Cute New Boy was standing half-way down the hill looking up at us, so this was my chance! I was going to swish, swish, swish through those flags and slide right up next to him. He would say, "Nice moves," and I'd say something suave like, "Uhhhh...yeah, ummmm... *SNORT*" (Even in my fantasies I couldn't come up with anything cool for me to say).

So I started swishing. I swished right around flag #1, then flag #2.... Oh, yeah. I was on fire! I then realized I was going a little faster than I probably should have been and I flew right past flag #3... and flag #4... and flag #5....

You would think after several years of lessons I would know how to ski, right? Well, I do kind of know how to ski.... I just don't know how to stop.

I instantly hit my trusty snowplow position (which does NOT work for me, by the way.... I have never had success with that move). I just kept flying straight down the hill, arms and poles flailing, gaining more and more speed. I look up and there he is. (You know what's coming, right?) The last thing I saw was a slow-motion "Oh, *explicit*!" look on his face and then...

BAM!

Yes, I hit him. And we rolled... and rolled... all the way down the hill together.

It was the closest I would ever get to him.

Thank goodness he was a nice guy and mumbled something like, "Don't worry about it" when we got to the bottom, while I apologized over and over, completely red-faced, stumbling over myself while I searched for my other ski.

We waited together for the rest of the class at the bottom of the hill. Had I been that suave girl I always wished I could be, I could have used that time to be witty and get to know the guy so we could have one of those great "how we met" stories to tell our grandkids. But instead I just sat in the snow amongst awkward silence and prayed for a quick and painless death.

When my ski instructor got to the bottom of the hill she took my ski poles away and I was not allowed to use them again that year. She considered them to be a safety hazard when attached to my flailing arms, I guess. The rest of the class looked relieved.

I have more "ski" stories, but they all end up with me crashing into someone or something in some fashion. I think this one is my favorite so I'll spare you the others... at least for today!

Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to Kill a Killer Spider

What do you do when you find this in your house while your husband is at work?

Step 1: Call him and beg him to come home and save you.

Step 2: When he refuses, ask the cat for help:

Step 3: After the cat tries to "help," but really just plays with the thing, causing the beast of a spider to run all over the room and bolt into places you know you'll never be able to find it, push the cat out of the way, grab a book and throw it on top of the spider.

Step 4: Do a victory dance.

Step 5: Scream in horror as you watch it crawl out from under the book and dart across the floor.

Step 6: Grab a box. Surely that is heavy enough!

Step 7: Throw the box.

Step 8: Miss.

Step 9: Scream.

Step 10: Repeat steps 7-9.

Step 11: Repeat steps 7-9 again.

Step 12: Throw the box again and hit the darn thing this time.

Step 13: Do a little victory dance.

Step 14: Scream in horror as you watch it crawl out from under the box and dart across the floor.

Step 15: As it heads under your bed, where you know you will never catch it and therefore will never sleep again, certain it is crawling all over you, suck it up (because now you're a little peeved at the sucker) and dismantle your bed for a mattress support board.

Step 16: Whack at it with the board several times while chasing it around the room (screaming continuously, of course).

Step 17: Finally injure it enough so it can't run as fast.

Step 18: Say "Ah HA!" in your very best evil mastermind voice.

Step 19: Beat it with the board continuously, whacking way beyond the necessary amount of whacks needed to declare a time of death.

Step 20: Lay the board on top of it and walk across its dead body... for good measure, of course... not because you enjoy it at all (because that would be evil).

Step 21: Jump up and down a couple times (just for added good measure). Try not to smile in the process.

Step 22: Stand proudly over the body and declare victory:

Step 23: Scold your cat for trying to take credit for the kill:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: Llama Love

You know what they say: "A picture is worth a thousand words." So today I give you a photo instead of a story for Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesday post.

The following photo was taken on a trip to a petting zoo about a week ago, while we were on our family "mini vacation getaway." This photo's caption reads:

"Mommy, what are they doing?"

Uhhhhhh.... AWKWARD!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

NKOTB!!!!

Well, it's official. I have finally fulfilled my childhood dream of seeing the New Kids on the Block. At 12 years old my NKOTB obsession was in full swing, and 20 years later I finally got to see them in concert.

My good friend Katie (and I mean GOOD friend Katie, as she was not a die-hard fan like I was and therefore would never have done this on her own) went with me to the last NKOTB concert on their "Full Service" tour. We even went to the after party!

Here is a photo of us at Katie's house, right before we left for the concert.

Notice my NKOTB t-shirt? Yes, it is 20 years old. I wore that shirt in middle school! It's from their "No More Games" tour (a gift from friends Holly and Carrie, who actually got to go)! I was so proud to be a true "vintage" NKOTB fan (ha ha)!

Here we are at the venue, waiting for the concert to start:

And this was me pretty much the rest of the night:

Brian had to teach this weekend so only Chase and I made the trip to Houston. Special thanks to Katie's husband, Ryan, for entertaining Chase while we were at the concert! His job couldn't have been that hard, though. Chase absolutely loves him. I was lucky enough to capture on film the moment Ryan became his hero this weekend:

If you are at all interested in our concert and after-party pictures, click here!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Conversations With a 2-Year-Old: Open Eyes

The following conversation took place in the car yesterday, completely out of the blue:

Chase: My eyes are open. I'm not sleeping!
Mom: Oh, so you must be awake.
Chase: No, I'm not awake.
Mom: Oh, so are you sleeping?
Chase: No, I'm not sleeping.
Mom: Well if you're not sleeping that means you're awake.
Chase: No! I'm not awake!
Mom: But if you're not awake, that means you're sleeping!
Chase: No! I'm not sleeping!
Mom: So if you aren't awake and you aren't sleeping, what are you?
Chase: (beat) I'm a dog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Next Project!

I am currently working on my next project: Re-covering the chairs in our breakfast area.

Before:

After:

And the reason this is getting done? Meet Chase's chair (before, obviously!):

I know.... Ew!!

P.S. This is my 2nd post of the day. If you are interested in our "mini vacation getaway" pics, see my previous post!

Willis Getaway

As noted in my previous post, we traveled a few hours east of us to Willis, TX for a few days to use up our extra timeshare points. Here are some highlights from our visit!

Chase got to sleep in a BIG "big boy bed," which he thought was SO cool! Here's a little video for you:

video

We took Chase to a children's museum, where his favorite thing to do was dig for dinosaur bones! Tearing him away from this place was NOT easy:

We also went to a petting zoo where Chase had fun feeding the goats:

Oops, one got out!

Notice how empty it is there? We were literally the ONLY people there. I guess everyone else was smart enough to stay indoors, as it was a bajillion degrees outside!

That night we went to Incredible Pizza, where Chase had fun riding the train:

Chase had so much fun on vacation. His favorite parts were swimming (we had to go every day) and looking at the water. He seriously just wanted to go outside and look at the water all the time:

The morning we left Chase said, "Going swimming today?" and we told him no, that we had to go home. He was NOT happy. He really didn't want to go home. He kept saying, "Another vacation! Another vacation!" Lucky for him we have a lot more activity coming up this summer. Grandpa W and cousin Ryan come to visit next week and then Chase and I head to Idaho to visit my family. The summer fun has just begun!

There are more photos in our Photo Album if you're interested!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Uninvited Vacation Guests

We are on a mini-vacation right now. We had some points left on our timeshare that we needed to use up this year, so we traveled about four hours east of us to stay at this little condo on a lake for a couple days. It's a nice setup and Chase gets to sleep in his own room in a king-sized bed, which he thinks is so cool.

We got him all tucked under the covers Sunday night and were about to start reading bedtime stories when Brian looked up and said, "Uhhh.... What is that?" I looked up and there were two HUGE cockroaches on the ceiling, right where it connects to the wall. The ceiling was really high up and we just looked at each other like, "What are we going to do?" I mean, you can't just leave them there, tuck your baby into bed and then pray they don't attack him in the night!

Let me just say before telling the rest of this story that I am in awe at my husband's ability to go out on a limb to protect his child, when he himself is terrified of cockroaches.

Brian grabbed some balls Chase had packed, I grabbed Chase and we scooted as far from the projected landing site as possible. Brian threw several balls at the roaches with no success. He then grabbed the broom. They were too high up to get just by holding onto the broom handle, so he started throwing it up there. After the first throw I said, "Maybe we should move the lamp before you break it." With that, Brian gave it one last throw and he got them! Down they came, as did the broom... which went through the lampshade... and shattered the lightbulb.

All went dark.

Omigod. There we were, in the dark, screaming, knowing there were two huge cockroaches on the loose, and unable to run because there was broken glass all over the floor.

Chase and I were far enough away from the glass that I could get to the other lamp and turn it on. When the light came on they were nowhere to be found. Poor Brian was freaking out, but he stayed brave for his son. He did say, thinking about Chase's "Save the Pincher Bugs" movement just a few days prior, "Sorry, Chase. We're not setting these ones free." One came scurrying across the floor and Brian beat it to death repeatedly with the broom.

Hey, Chase was warned.

The other one was nowhere to be found. We decided to vacuum up the glass, thinking maybe the noise would scare it out of wherever it was hiding. We were right, but we were not fast enough and it bolted somewhere under/behind the bed. We moved mattresses and everything, but could not find it. Finally we decided we just needed to put Chase to bed. We cleaned up the mess and tucked him in.

Thank goodness he isn't old enough to know better.

Afterwards Brian felt so guilty for letting him sleep in there, saying, "I wouldn't sleep in there tonight!" But Chase actually slept great, while I flipped out every time I felt a tickle on my leg. Ignorance is bliss!

Brian did talk to management the next day and they were shocked we found lives ones, because they had just sprayed the day before. That probably explains why they were on the ceiling, escaping the deadly fumes. Hopefully the one we can't find has inhaled those fumes and is dead right now. That may help me sleep better tonight!

I am filing this story as "awkward" because after I got done typing it, Brian said, "You should save this story for your 'Totally Awkward Tuesday' post." I said, "I don't know.... Do you think it's really an awkward story?" and his wide-eyed response was an exasperated, "Well it was certainly awkward for me!"

So there you have it, folks. My Totally Awkward Tuesday post for the week, sponsored by Tova.

P.S. This is my second post of the day. Be sure to check out my previous post if you haven't already!

100

In support of my mom's first blog party, I am posting in response to her challenge for today: a photograph of something representing the number 100, in honor of her 100th post. I had to get creative with my little point-and-shoot camera settings, but I'm pretty proud of how they turned out despite my lack of professional equipment (and professional photography training)! Anyway, are you ready? I give you (drumroll, please)....

100 Gazillion Sprinkles!

(OK, so I didn't really stop to count them, but I'm sure there are at least 100 gazillion there.)

These are photos of my son's cookie decorating masterpiece. The mound of sprinkles was truly awe-inspiring. I had to get a profile view:

(I liked this photo because the mastermind is in the background.... Can you see him?)

Anyway, of course he ate it all (you should have seen my floors afterwards)!

Happy 100th, Mom!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Morning Adventures

It's only 10am and we have been busy here at our house!

Chase has a new hat (his words, not mine):

And we have been invaded lately by nasty pincher bugs. We find dead ones a lot, telling us the pest defense system does work. But today Chase found a live one and was SO excited to show me. I asked him if I could kill it because it could hurt us (it DOES have pinchers, you know) and he said, "No! It's going bye-bye!" He was trying to convince me I didn't have to kill it because it was leaving anyway. I had no idea what to do. Brian came in from mowing the lawn and said, "Why don't you put it outside?" DUH. I sometimes wonder how I'm equipped to be a mom. Of course you set it free! But that meant I had to get close enough to catch it. Hmmmm....

We finally got it outside with a napkin. It crawled off a couple times before we actually got to the back door, but eventually we did free it. Then Chase got it in his head that he would find more! So we headed inside and I let him comb the area for more live ones. He actually found two more, much to my horror, and this time we were smart enough to put them in a little plastic cup to transport them outside.

We set them free and he wished them well on their journey:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cookie Saga, Part 2

(If you didn't read part 1, see previous post.)

Canned frosting worked great! Because it was so soft, the sprinkles had something good to stick to. I hate it when you do "real frosting" and the sprinkles just slide right off because it has started hardening already.

Chase had a great time putting the sprinkles on the cookies...

...and eating the sprinkles...

...and getting all smug when I caught him eating the sprinkles:

Here are our finished products!

Yes, there are a few holes there. After all, we had to make sure they turned out alright!

Chase did an especially amazing job with his cookie decorating. If you can wait until Tuesday I'll post pictures of his masterpiece then. Is the suspense killing you? (It may just kill me!)

Cookie Saga, Part 1

Brian is teaching all day today, so I thought it might be fun to have some "mother/son bonding time" and bake/decorate cookies with Chase. Last week we made Rice Krispie treats (my first time making them ever!) and it was pretty fun. Look at me, trying to be all domestic here!

Anyway, because I try to do things the easiest way possible, I bought the pre-made cookie dough so we could skip the whole messy preparation part (I know my mom is shaking her head at me right now). Well, it turns out it is probably not that much easier to buy the dough already pre-made, because it is extra gooey and sticky and harder to work with. I eventually gave up on the rolling pin altogether and we just used our hands to press it all out. We were able to cookie cut our shapes, but getting them to keep their form while scooping them up and transferring them to the pan was another story.

Pop quiz: What are the following figures supposed to be? (Hint: It is not a giant turkey and its wattle.)

I won't keep you in suspense. Here are your answers:

Oh, well. As soon as Chase gets up from his nap we'll start decorating. Stay tuned to see how the canned frosting works out!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Four Rooms Down!

I just finished painting the family room/kitchen area. This change is not a drastic one. We just made the wall color a little warmer. We also changed our sofa pillows and added some bar stools. Next it's time to put up some artwork or something to dress up the walls a bit. Here are the pics, if you're interested!

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

And here's another view of our kitchen (after):

OK, I am done painting for awhile. I need a break!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: The Escape Plan

Once again I am participating in The Secret Life of Tova Darling's "Totally Awkward Tuesday." Today's story also features my BFF Holly in another one of our middle school adventures (I have a feeling you're going to see her name on a lot of Tuesday posts)!

Holly and I were good girls who so longed to be bad. We had sleepovers at each other's houses every weekend and we got it into our heads that it would be fun to sneak out once. Ooh, we were so bad... but not so spur-of-the-moment! We decided we should practice first, before doing it "for real." The best criminals have well laid out plans beforehand, right? Right.

Holly lived in the country and I lived in town, so we used to walk to my house together after school and wait for maybe an hour or so until my mom got home from work. That hour gave us the perfect opportunity to practice our escape!

The biggest hurdle in sneaking out of my house was that my bedroom windows were high up on the wall, close to the ceiling. So we had to climb up on my bed to get out of them. I went first. I climbed out the window like a pro, but then discovered while hanging from the ledge that the ground was a lot further away than I had anticipated. I was too chicken to jump. So there I was, hanging by my hands from the window ledge, and Holly was standing on my bed, hanging her head out of the window above me. Got that image in your head? OK. Keep it there!

Our conversation went something like this:

Holly: Christine, just jump!
Christine: (starting to panic) I can't! It's too far!
Holly: No it's not, just jump!
Christine: (screaming) No way! I'll break my legs!
Holly: Omigod, just let go!
Christine: (screaming in terror) I can't! Help me up!
Holly: There's no way I can pull you back in! Just jump!
Christine: (screaming hysterically) Omigod, I'm seriously going to die! I don't want to die this way! I'm not ready to go! I still have so much to do on this earth!

Yeah, I was a tad dramatic in those days. (OK, I still am.)

Anyway, around this time I just happened to turn my head, and there stood our English student teacher, stopped dead in her tracks on her walk home. She looked at us like we were totally insane, and Holly and I just stared back at her, totally frozen with "What? We're not doing anything bad..." looks pasted on our faces. After what seemed like a lifetime she just turned and kept walking (back to her dorm, where I'm sure she told her roommate another one of her "you'll never guess what I saw from my middle schoolers today" stories).

Holly and I burst into hysterical laughter and I eventually let go. Turns out the ground really wasn't that far away and I did survive the fall.

At the time I thought, "Why didn't she help us?!?" But I'm sure she noticed my feet were just inches from the ground, and bless her heart... she probably didn't want to embarrass us further. What a good teacher, to let us learn that lesson on our own!

(We never did sneak out, by the way... though we continued to practice other methods!)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Fun

We celebrated the 4th of July at Fort Hood's "Freedomfest" this year. They had a bunch of arts and crafts and rides and everything set up on base, and Dierks Bentley performed, too. Brian and I are embarrassed to admit we had no idea who he was, but he put on a good show! We couldn't really see much of it from where we were sitting, but the music was great. Chase loved it, and I have an adorable video of him jammin' to one of his tunes. It's too big to download here, though, so I'll just give you a little taste. This is a video of him showing off his moves earlier in the evening (to the tune of the little voices in his head, apparently):

video

He got to "drive" another fire truck, which he loved:

When we found the perfect fireworks viewing spot, Chase played ball with Dad for a bit:

Do you see that cooler the girls behind him are getting into? Chase liked the looks of it, too:

(Yes, I did take a picture of my son stealing ice from someone else's cooler... but in my defense, Dad was already on his way to get him!)

We tried to get a couple cute pics of us together, but bless my son's heart, he just does not do well for the camera. This is what happened when I said, "Chase, smile!" (click on the photo for a better view):

At least he didn't yell at me this time (he usually screams at me when I try to take his picture). Oh, and the fact that Brian had just finished a blue snow cone really adds to the picture's charm.

I have to laugh at this next one, because it looks like Brian is some kind of alien, about to suck Chase's brain out of his skull or something:

I have no idea what he was actually doing at that moment!

Anyway, here's the attempt at a photo with me:

I, too, had just finished a blue snow cone, but I was wise enough to dip my head down a little, so as not to advertise it in the photo (having photographer parents has taught me these little tricks, you know).

After all that fun, it was time for fireworks. Chase LOVED them. I bet he said, "I like that one!" about a thousand times.

It was a really good fireworks show overall.

More photos of our evening are in our Photo Album if you're interested!