July 14, 2014

St. Who?

I hate reading (or writing for that matter) a blog post that begins with the phrase, "I am so behind on the blog..."
So I won't say that...
 Instead, I'll say this: 
We've had a lot of fun in recent months celebrating the Fourth of July, Father's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day.  However, this post is not about any of those special days.  Instead, I'm going to discuss a "holiday" we celebrated clear back in March.  

At this point, St. Patty's Day 2014 probably isn't even blog worthy, especially since my camera broke the very day (hence the following phone photos), however it was an oddly humorous day that I would like to remember, so here it goes. 
P.S. This is probably one of my odder blog posts.  

March 16th, 2014
The kids make their annual leprechaun trap, filled with Mom's jewelry.  Mom recovers her jewelry and leaves a very witty (if I do say so myself) message from the leprechaun behind, in leprechaun language, of course.  Dad thinks Mom is a freak.  
Big brother sneakily informs parents of little brothers dream to wake up on St. Patrick's Day with gold stuck to his face.  After a mad rush to the store, parent's fulfill said child's dreams...
***Lesson Learned***
If you tape chocolate to a child's face while sleeping, they will roll around ensuring a chocolaty mess like nothing you've ever seen.
Like how-did-this-much-chocolate-come-from-two-little-coins type of mess.  Like hair, pillows, sheets, and pajamas, all chocolaty dipped kind of mess.
Moving on.

March 17th, 2014
The children awake to discover:
a) Cole is covered in chocolate.
b) Macie can no longer see.
c) The trap did not work.  Mom's jewelry was stolen by the little green men (are Leprechauns green?).  
d) Leprechauns have messed up the entire house and left a trail of gold coins in their wake.
After a nutritious breakfast of Lucky Charms and green milk, big brother informs Mom that  if she ever wears any of the jewelry again, all the children will know leprechauns (Santa, the tooth-fairy, the Easter bunny, etc.) are all a complete farce.  Mom is sad .  The kids are off to school.  Dad goes to work.  Mom cleans up the mess and makes dinner, green soup.

Later, the family eats the green soup, which is surprisingly amazing and loved by all, especially the baby. 
Little brother realizes its much more fun to put dinner on your head than actually eat it.
Big brother decides a St. Patrick's Day play is in order...
(I'll will spare you the 10 minute video and leave you with the very odd conclusion.  I really don't know why I am sharing this weirdness, other than it is us and it is real.)
 
The kids go to bed excited about the possibility of green excrement, thanks to Dad. 
Mom realizes this is a really weird and stupid holiday and wonders who in the world St. Patrick is anyway.  She googles it.  He's really not that cool.  
Okay, kinda cool, but only if you live in Ireland, or have ever lived there, or maybe even visited at some point.  Or plan to visit.  But if not, yeah he's not that cool.  
The end.

Update: I just looked a last years post and discovered I questioned who St. Patrick was then too.  Ha ha, apparently I have a very short memory when it comes to useless information.

Green Soup Recipe
a.k.a. Broccoli Cheese Soup - Cook's Illustrated

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
    2 pounds broccoli , florets roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    1 medium onion , roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
    2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
    1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
    Pinch cayenne pepper 
    Table salt 
    3–4 cups water 
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
    2 ounces baby spinach (2 loosely packed cups)
    3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , shredded (3/4 cup)
    1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese , grated fine (about 3/4 cup), plus extra for serving
    Ground black pepper 

    Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

    Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium-high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer soup to medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.

July 4, 2014

Phone-y Photos of Late

DOLL face.
Play DOUGH
PICNIC time.
SPARRING.
TATS.
NOT Zupas.
WANNA-BE dad.
BEAUTY regime.
Edible SCIENCE.
GET IT girl.
A DECADE.
Edible TOES.
PAPA love.
April FOOLS.
SPRING fashion show.
Just LOVE.
WORK in progress.
My BOY.
COUSINS.
WANNABE.

June 30, 2014

Done.

WARNING: This post is basically a FULL blown bragging session about the awesomeness of my children.  
Proceed at your own risk.

An enormous sigh of relief was recently expelled from all members of our family.  School's out for the Summer and we are fully enjoying our first week of freedom.
Wow, what a year!  I don't even know where to begin and I don't even remember how much I've shared on this here blog, but I do know we survived by the skin of our teeth.  I documented a lot of our struggles HERE so I guess I don't need to rehash it all.  It was hard, very VERY hard.  Moving on.

Despite the big adjustment to a new school, the boys thrived.  Clear back in October, Coley was awarded "Builder of the Month" (student of the month) the monthly theme being honesty.
John and I were so proud of this little guy...
 Much to his surprise, he was called to stand in front of the entire elementary as our principal read the his acts of honesty aloud.  
Weekly, the boys performed a "Show What you Know" for the school, along with their classmates.  Since I worked there, I was fortunate enough to witness these poems and songs every Thursday morning.  Needless to say, I have WAY too many videos to share, so I picked one of my favorites.  Definitely not the cutesy-est, but for me the most touching...
A few months later, our second grader was honored with the "Reading University Award".
He too was unaware of the upcoming award and it was hilarious to watch the wheels spinning as he spotted his dad and sister in the audience and put the pieces together just before his name was called.
Wyatt also did amazing in some of the school competitions.  This boy has quite the impressive resume already:
 Geography Bee: 1st Place
Speech Festival: 2nd Place
Spelling Bee: 2nd Place (got out on "abnormal"!)

I am so proud of both my boys.  The new school was a huge transition for them.  Poor Coley had three different kindergarten classes before we finally were settled (long story) and it didn't affect him in the slightest.  He was always so happy and excited about school.  He has become an excellent reader and was in second grade math and reading groups by the end of the year. Cole also had multiple crushes throughout the year (including his teacher) and was not afraid to let them know how beautiful they were.  
Both boys were troopers and I am so proud of them for not only putting up with our crazy schedule the past year, but working hard, receiving excellent grades, and making a whole slew of new friends.  

Now on to our sweet little preschooler.  As mentioned in a previous post, I ended up taking Macie out of the preschool she was attending.  It was so hectic finding someone to take her to school (while I was at work) and rushing back to pick her up, then rushing to get Tessa from Grandma's, then back to the school to get Cole from AM kindergarten.  It went on for two months until I suddenly realized with perfect clarity that this was doing her far more harm than good...she needed more time with her mom, more time at home.  So  in November we began our little home school.  She was excited to have mom as a teacher and I did my best to teach and entertain this little doll.  Admittedly we skipped lesson's when life got in the way, but overall I'm pretty proud of us both for what we accomplished...
She crafted up a storm, memorized at least 20 poems and songs, practice her writing and math, and read her little heart out.
Of course her brothers got in on the action whenever possible...
   They even taught her lessons and made up crafts of their own...
It was definitely a hard decision to make, but once decided we felt so good about it.  I know it was the best thing for her.  Of course I wish I could've done more, but I think we did okay and I enjoyed my time with her.   It is so rewarding to listen to her whiz her way through a story or recite one of  her cute little poems filled with actions all her own.  Despite her upcoming immunizations, Macie is beyond excited to start kindergarten this fall.  She was recently tested and the teachers couldn't believe how sharp she was.  I am so proud of my sweet little student and hope she remembers this year fondly.    

After counting down the days (we literally had a countdown on our fridge and another on my phone) til my last day of work, it ended up being pretty bittersweet.  I sorta fell in love with the whole kindergarten class I worked with and had a great experience getting to know some of the teachers and staff.  I felt simultaneously relieved and overwhelmed.  Sadness and joy.  It was weird, but if you remember this here lovely post, I get a little weird when the school year comes to a close. Okay super weird.  I paced around the house for days, my chest tightening with overwhelming sorrow/joy?  Yeah, weird.
Back to the last day of work...
Notice the finger in the bottom left corner.
(Lesson Learned: Second graders aren't the best photographers.)
Despite my mixed emotions, it felt so good to come home to my two girls and know I was not going to be running them back and forth all day every day any longer.
Macie felt inclined to snap some photos while Tess and I bonded...
A few days later we enjoyed the boys end of year programs.  Wyatt's classed showed off a sampling of what they learned throughout the year and our little mister stared as Elijah Wood, A.K.A "The Real McCoy"
Cole's class too shared some of their cute poems and songs before his sweet little graduation ceremony...
The boys were sad to say goodbye to their teachers and classmates, but beyond excited to say goodbye to their homework.
That is until we found out there were Summer packets due back the first week of school.  Yep, not joking. 
Despite the 30 minutes of school work each morning, we are enjoying relaxing, sleeping in, staying up late, and partying...
The last day of school we invited all the boys from Wyatt and Cole's classes over for a "School's Out Splash Party...
 It was a scorcher and most of the sunscreen ended up on my camera lens rather than our pasty vitamin-D-deficient bodies.  Regardless, the boys (and Macie too) had a blast and didn't get too sunburned in the process. 
We stuffed them full of pizza, popcorn, taffy, pretzels, and soda...played water-balloon baseball and water balloon toss, had water-balloon fighst, squirt-gun fights, relay races, slip 'n slide, etc.  
In the midst of all the chaos, Wyatt called everyone to attention to announce that his mother can juggle and demand I prove my skills by demonstrating the feat with water-balloons.  
He looked so proud, my heart swelled and the pressure was on.  I did my best.  Had I known my useless skill would be put to the test I'd have freshened up, however I think he was pleased with the effort.
There were only three or four outbursts of crying and tears that day and in my book that is a success!
The kids had fun and I survived.  
Phew.  It's over.  It's all over.  I am done.  We are done.
Happy Summer!