Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gumdrops are the Devil

So in the spirit of tradition, I decided to make Chloe's first birthday cake, because it just seems like something you're supposed to do (and I did it for Chase). I am not the domestic type, but there are a few occasions where I decide it's part of my obligation as a mom to try.

I decided to make creative cupcakes for Chloe instead of a cake because it's only going to be us partying (with Dad), and I don't need to eat all the leftovers from a big cake myself (not that Chase would mind helping)!

For Chase's first birthday I made a lion cake, which turned out very well. This year I decided on princess cupcakes and I'm sad to say they did not turn out as well.  OK, I'll just say it: They suck.  When I made Chase's cake I made a list of the things I learned in the process. So, in the spirit of tradition (again), I decided to make a list of things I learned during this process.  Here goes:
  1. When you go to the store to get all the ingredients for your cupcakes, check your pantry before you leave.
  2. If you're standing in the grocery store thinking, "I'm almost positive I have vegetable oil at home," you don't.  Buy some.
  3. The convenience store carries vegetable oil.  And lottery tickets (so you can pay someone to make your cupcakes next time).
  4. Gumdrops are not meant for rolling with a rolling pin.
  5. It doesn't help if you coat them with sugar. It just makes a horrible crunching sound.
  6. It doesn't help if you microwave them. You probably could have told me that before I tried it.
  7. Squishing microwaved gumdrops with your finger after 15 seconds on high will produce a visible burn.
  8. Hot gumdrops stick to wax paper and rolling pins.
  9. Crunching sugar on hot gumdrops rips wax paper.
  10. When you've had enough of gumdrop rolling, you may think, "Fruit roll-ups are already flat!  I'll try those!"
  11. Fruit roll-ups on cupcakes look ghetto.
  12. When you're about to throw gumdrops at the wall you don't care anymore if your daughter's cupcakes look ghetto.
  13. You will feel like a terrible mother for not caring whether or not your daughter's first birthday cupcakes look ghetto.
  14. You know it's bad when your 4-year-old tells you the fruit roll-ups on the cupcakes look stupid. 
  15. 4-year-olds are not good helpers.
The recipe called for rolling out gumdrops into 6" circles to make the princess dresses.  It about killed me.  I got two princesses done and then did the rest with fruit roll-ups.  Not cute, but good for my sanity.  At one point I said through clenched teeth, "Chase, I am about to scream!"  I turned to look at him and he had his fingers in his ears, preparing for the worst.

Chase tried to "help."  Which really meant he sat there playing with all the materials and asking a million questions:

Mom, can I have a gumdrop?
Mom, the paper is ripping!
Mom, why is the paper ripping?
Mom, the gumdrops are stuck on the rolling pin!
Mom, why are the gumdrops stuck on the rolling pin?
Mom, can I eat the gumdrops that are stuck on the rolling pin?
Mom, why can't I eat the gumdrops?
Mom, why are you getting frustrated?
Mom, can I have a gumdrop?

You get the point.

At any rate, they are done.  I totally improvised on so many things, but I like to think of it as a nod to my fabulous creativity, not my laziness and lack of patience.

Here is what they should have looked like (I debated even posting this, because it really shows just how bad mine are in comparison, but whatever):

Here is one of the two I completed with the gumdrop dresses (they didn't need sleeves... it's summer):

And here are the rest (just be grateful they are clothed at all):

Not winning "Mom of the Year" for this one. And the sad part is these crappy looking things (only SIX of them) took me all day to create.

Sorry, Chloe!  I tried!  (It's the thought that counts?)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Broadway Bound... Again!

I just got back from a long weekend in New York City with my best friend Nicole. It was the second "Broadway Trip" of ours, and we plan to take more in the future! It's kind of a tradition already: We see five Broadway shows in three days! We had so much fun (again). Here's a broad brush of our weekend adventures!

I flew to Chicago Thursday to spend a little time with Nicole, and meet the newest addition to her family! The next day we flew together to NYC! Here we are at the airport right after arrival. It's the obligatory "Welcome Photo" (we took the same one last time we went)!

We had a drink at Sardi's (we couldn't afford anything else!) and then went to our first show, Memphis:

Afterward we went to our favorite post-theatre hangout, Don't Tell Mamma's! It's an awesome piano/cabaret bar... perfect for theatre nuts like us! Here's another obligatory shot (click here for last year's)!

That night we got home at 3:30am, and the next morning we got up at 7:00 to walk through Central Park! We were so tired and walked a TON, and our bodies felt it! Along the way we found the Pop-Up Piano at Central Park, so we had to stop to play it!

And because we are a glutton for punishment, after we left Central Park we walked about 15 blocks to Bryant Park to take a modern dance class on the lawn with the Limon Dance Company. I found the class when looking for free stuff to do in NYC over the weekend, and when we got there we almost chickened out. I mean, it's a dance class in the middle of the park with tons of people hanging out all around you! I haven't had a dance class in like 15 years! But they assured us it was an easy class for any level, and we eventually just went for it. It wasn't technically difficult, but it was physically challenging (especially since we had spent the previous three hours walking)! Lots of running, skipping, galloping, jumping. And it's summer (hello)! We were sweaty and gross, and every time we bent over to stretch or something and I caught an upside down glimpse of tourists snapping photos I thought, "Whose blog is my butt going to end up on?" But it was really fun. I will never forget stretching up to the sky and seeing the skyscrapers all around us. Amazing. Here we are (completely sweaty and gross) with our instructor, the Associate Artistic Director:

We went back to the hotel to shower and then it was off to show #2, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, starring Robin Williams:

We stayed after the show to try to get Robin Williams' autograph, but he didn't come out.  Bummer!  The next night he just happened to walk by us as we were waiting for autographs at another show and Nicole yelled out, "Robin!" as if they were old friends.  He just smiled and kept walking.

We then went down to explore Greenwich Village, but it was a last-minute decision and we didn't really know what we were doing, so we just wandered around and had dinner there, then headed back to see show #3, Catch Me If You Can (our favorite, hands down)!

We stayed after for autographs again, and this time we got Norbert Leo Butz's autograph, who I LOVE. He won a Tony for his role in the show, and he was AMAZING.  We also got Aaron Tveit's autograph, who played the role of Frank Abignale, Jr.

The next morning we got up and took the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry, which provided nice views of the city and the Statue of Liberty:

The plan was to take the ferry to Staten Island and then ride the same one back, but when we got there we had to get off the ferry and wait a whole 30 minutes for the next ferry.  We were really stressing about making it to the show on time! So we RAN off the boat when it got back to Manhattan, hailed a cab and told him to step on it! Thank goodness we made it to see show #4, Anything Goes:

After the show we stayed for autographs again.  I got a bunch of autographs, including Colin Donnell's, who played the role of Billy Crocker.  We really wanted to see Sutton Foster (Tony winner) and Joel Grey, but they didn't come out.  Double bummer!  Sutton Foster amazes me.  She does this huge, physically demanding tap number and then sings full out like it's nothing.  It doesn't even look like she's breathing heavily!  Amazing.

We had to stop and take a picture of the fire station right next to our hotel that we passed every day. I love this backdrop:

Nicole had a near death experience when she wandered in front of the fire trucks as they were trying to leave to save people from a burning building, but that's another story!

We had a nice, leisurely dinner before our final show. I say "leisurely" because apparently we forgot how to tell time and we were obscenely late for the play. SO embarrassed (so embarrassed I almost didn't tell you)! Anyway, our last show of the trip (#5) was The Normal Heart. I loved what I saw of it!

There were a ton of big names in the show, so we stayed after again to get autographs. I was able to get autographs from Joe Mantello (Tony winner), John Benjamin Hickey (Tony winner), Jim Parsons and Lee Pace. I really wanted to meet Luke Macfarlane, because I'm a huge fan of his character on Brothers and Sisters, but he ran off pretty quickly. Bummer!

We obviously had a fantastic time:

But then we had to go home (another obligatory picture):

We have already started talking about what we're going to do on our NEXT trip (I can't wait)!

Like I said, this post is a broad brush of our weekend.  I took lots of photos, including photos with some of the stars I got autographs from.  If you want to see them, check out my Photo Album!  If you need the code to get in, let me know!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sea World!

I took Chase to Sea World in San Antonio yesterday for a special "mom/son" bonding day. I got a free Fun Pass for Teacher Appreciation Week that I had to redeem in person before the end of the month, so we made a 1-day trip out of it. We had TONS of fun. Chase was awesome. I told him he could do whatever he wanted because it was our day. For awhile there I felt like I paid $55 for him to run around in sprinklers and slide down slides, but we also did other things. We saw the Shamu show, which was cool:

Sorry about the finger in the shot.  We were using a disposable water camera and it was a weird experience going back to pre-digital times.  You have to look through a tiny hole?  What??  It was fun trying to explain to Chase how to take the picture, why we couldn't see the pictures right away, why we only had so many we could take, how we had to go to the store to get the pictures, that we weren't going to get the camera back (he was really upset about that one), etc.  Anyway....

Chase really wanted to get wet, so we hurried to get to the Shamu show early so we could get a seat up front. Right when we got there he said he had to go potty so we ran to the nearest restroom. I was standing outside the stall it seemed to be taking him forever! Of course it wasn't a quick #1 potty stop, it was a #1 and a #2.  So needless to say, we didn't get there in enough time to sit up front.  He was really sad we didn't get wet, so we made plans to get to the dolphin show early so we could get wet there.

We did get to the "dolphin show" (which was the Azul show) early and sat in the splash zone right up front, but we still didn't get wet, which Chase was very sad about. It was an incredible show, though. They had dolphins, beluga whales, exotic birds flying in formations over the audience (thank goodness I didn't get pooped on), and amazing acrobats and aerialists. Chase was really impressed by the acrobats and we had the cutest conversation about them when I tucked him in last night:

CHASE: Those acrobats were cool, weren't they?
MOM: They were cool.  Do you want to be an acrobat when you grow up?
CHASE:  I don't know.
MOM: You can be whatever you want to be.
CHASE: What do you want to be when you grow up?
MOM: I'm already grown up.  I'm a teacher.
CHASE: No, but you can still do it.  You can be an acrobat.
MOM: I don't think I want to be an acrobat.
MOM: Because I like teaching.
CHASE: But Mom (*insert serious face here*)....  You can be whatever you want to be.
MOM: (Laughing) You're right, Chase. Thanks.
CHASE: So you will be an acrobat.
MOM: If you say so.
CHASE: And then I will be an acrobat, too, and we can jump off of tall diving boards together.
MOM: Sounds like a plan.

He wanted to stay after the show to get a picture with a few of them, but then got shy (it was also the last thing we did, so he was tired and had blisters on his feet). I am posting this picture because this post is all about our experience, though I look HORRIFIC. So I have to put a disclaimer in here because it will make me feel better: It was like a million degrees (106) and we had gotten SOAKED in the water park earlier in the day, I wore NO makeup and my hair air-dried in the wind. I think that about covers it. Here you go:

Other than those two shows we spent a lot of time at the kids sprinkler area, and I did not hold back. It was HOT. I went running around in my swimsuit right alongside Chase. It was a blast and it felt SO good!

Why does Chase's head look bigger than mine?  Anyway....

This kid cracks me up with what he does with some of those sprinklers:

And because Chase was still sad about not getting soaked by the animals I took him to the bridge by that water ride where the boat falls down a ramp and splashes into the water (you know, the one where the people watching get more soaked than the people on the ride?).  He LOVED it. He probably could have stayed there all day. Can you find him in this pic? He's the little one! I still can't believe the waves didn't knock him over.

And before we headed home we of course had to stop for a sweet treat!

After we pulled out of the park at the end of the day Chase was practically in mid-sentence when all went silent:

I expected him to sleep for a long time, but about 15 minutes later I heard, "Why didn't the dolphins splash us?" I asked him if he had a good nap and he said, "I didn't sleep."


I love that kid.

P.S. Did you read the hilarious thing Chase said on the way home two posts ago?

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

I Object!

Chloe has finally figured out she can object to her brother being in her personal space 24/7:

She's taken a couple swings at him, too, and while we don't encourage hitting, a tiny part of me inside says, "You go, girl!" I mean, he is on top of her ALL THE TIME. Can we say personal bubble?

Another thing that cracks me up about this video is that she doesn't actually have pigtails in.  Her hair stuck that way after I took the rubberbands out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Conversations with a 4-Year-Old: Girls vs. Boys

I took Chase to Sea World today (I'll post about that when I get the pictures from our disposable water camera developed) and we went into the restroom at McDonald's on the way home to pee. We both went into the stall and I went first. As I was sitting there, Chase looked at me, all serious-like, and said:

"Mom, why do girls pee out of their butts?"

I had never considered what he actually thought was going on before! Ha ha ha!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Birthday Present

Chase picked out my birthday present all by himself this year:

So when we got home from swim lessons today he wanted to play with it!

He did let me play, too. After all, it was my present! He wanted to take some pictures of me so I showed him how to work my camera.  I wasn't sure what I would get, but was really surprised by his aim!

Then things got a little crazy!

I have to admit, I laughed at the gift when I opened it because it obviously wasn't for me, but I actually had a good time playing with it! It was addictive! Ha ha!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

It was my birthday Friday and I decided to spend the day celebrating with the kids at a local sprinkler park. We had so much fun! I snapped a couple pictures with my phone while we were there:

At the end of the day I took them back to their dad's and drove to Houston to spend the weekend with one of my best friends in the world, Katie! We had tons of fun and it was hard to come back last night (though having the Tony Awards waiting for me at home did help a little)!

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