Thursday, May 28, 2009

baby bubble lips

There are lots of things that babies do that are cute, but there isn't much as high on the cuteness scale as babies learning to blow bubbles. Especially this baby:

Okay, technically she is a toddler. But she'll always be my baby.

I mean, seriously, look at those lips...

And then when she finally gets it...priceless!

This is pretty cute too.

But this just kills me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OnStage 2009 by Ryan Miller

Hey everybody! The past couple of weeks have been amazing. I mean I finally made a stage debut and got my grandma AND my cousin to come down to see my show. Well I think you've all waited long enough. Here is my onstage experience post!

So first from the beginning: Onstage is a program that The Children's Theater of Charlotte does for kids who aren't quite old enough for Broadway yet. It's an all kid cast and a great way to make friends. Anyway, this year they did four plays: " Bocon! " ," Into the Woods ", "A Midsummers Night Dream ", and " Seagirl ". I got put in Seagirl.

When I first heard Seagirl I immediately thought of mermaids, princes, and evil sea-witches with way to many legs. That is not Seagirl. Seagirl is about a little girl who lives in China during ancient times. After living a peaceful life with her father, she and her friends were playing outside when they saw a dragon land on the mountain near their village. They try to warn the people of the town, but they don't believe them. A couple days later the river where all the people got their water, ( which also flowed down the mountain where the dragon landed. Hint, Hint ) began to dry up and all the crops began to die. When Seagirl gets the news that that she and her father must move away or else starve, she goes on a crazy quest to recover the water so they won't have to leave. Along the way she meets these crazy birds and her own reflection. The birds happen to be geese, parrots, and peacocks.

Each of the bird have their own personality trait that makes them stand out. And their costumes match that trait and their species. For example, The Geese are very orderly and way too fussy. They wear white lab coats with big, poofy, Einstein wigs. And I am a goose. The parrots are INCREDIBLY girly, like the ones that dress in designer outfits an can text 50 words in minute. They wear jeans, pink t-shirts, and feather boas with little flower clips in their hair. The Peacocks are kind of like a gang but they're not into cursing and vandalism. They like to rap. They wear green hoodies, baggy jeans and sneakers and sunglasses. And that reminds me., the conversation between Seagirl and the peacocks is hilarious.

Seagirl: But then how-
Peacock: How! Did you say how?

( rap )

Later on...

Seagirl: Well, how else-

Peacock: How! Did you say how?

( rap )

Pretty soon Seagirl realizes that whenever she says "how" the peacocks begin to rap:

Seagirl: But then ho- ( covers her mouth with her hand )

Peacock: But then what? ( they start crossing their fingers and mouth " PleasePleasePlease" )

Seagirl: ( after a moment ) But then in what way...

Onstage wasn't just a stage experience on stage. It was a stage experience backstage, too. I got to see an actual backstage of a theater. And I had a dressing room, with the mirrors with the little lights on them and everything. But we couldn't turn them on because they were a fire hazard. Which kinda stunk. I would take pictures with my phone, but surprise, surprise, I forgot my phone. Well that's about it. Oh, and wish me luck! I'm trying out for Beauty and the Beast in July!

double digit day

Ten years and three days ago, I did one of the most amazing things I've ever done in my entire life. I gave birth to a 10 pound 8 ounce baby girl after 11 hours of labor and NO EPIDURAL! That sweet sumo wrestler, who couldn't even fit into newborn diapers, quickly morphed into this adorable munchkin:

And this adorable munchkin, just as quickly, has turned into a smart, athletic (and sometimes dramatic!), beautiful, young lady. TEN YEARS! How in the world did that happen??

For her 10th birthday, Emily wanted a day of pampering and shopping with her mom. We started off at Old Navy, hoping to score some of the $1 flip-flops they had on sale, but we got there a couple hours too late! So we went to Bath and Body Works and got these matching flip-flops:

Then after a quick trip to Starbucks, we headed to the mall for her real birthday present...getting her ears double-pierced!

She picked out the emerald studs (her birthstone) and then also talked me into these cute little cupcakes (it wasn't that hard...). Next it was off to the salon for a new summer 'do:

And after yummy salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden, we headed home for her iPod cake:

It wasn't a real iPod, but she was still happy.

And what kind of cake did my little "Southern Belle In Training" want? Why, Red Velvet, of course! Very colorful!

And after cake, we all piled in the car and headed to Knights Stadium to watch the Indianapolis Indians beat the Charlotte Knights. It was our first trip to Knights Stadium, and while it's no Victory Field, we had a great time cheering for the Indians and even stayed for the fireworks after the game.

Happy #10 Mimi! Love you so much!! xoxo

Friday, May 22, 2009

boo boo

well, i guess he showed her

In the car, after we dropped Emily off at school:

Jackson: Ains! Wanna give me a high five?

Ainsley: No!

Jackson: Fine! Then no more high fives for you until summer!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


You know how sometimes you put things off. You say to yourself that you'll have a minute to do it tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and a few more things happen. And a few more things get pushed to the next day's agenda, but hey, guess what?! That day's agenda is already full! And before you know it, weeks have gone by and you finally have a minute to yourself and you think, "Now, what was that thing I was going to do?" Well, that's how things have been around here lately. Sorry posting has been light for the past 6 weeks. Boy, do I have lots to tell you...

Birthday Celebrations!

Doug turned 38, Jack turned 5 and Ainsley turned 2! You can see pictures of their cakes here, here and here. Jack had a great birthday celebration at school and then got to spend the afternoon Uptown with Dad while Ryan was at OnStage rehearsal (and so Mom could frantically try to finish decorating his cake!) Jack chose tacos (again!) for his "cake dinner" and then we had cake and ice cream and opened presents. He also got a very cool Cars balloon, which is still floating above his chair in the kitchen. Really, it is. Ainsley had a fun day too...she opened presents, ate lunch, had cake, played outside, went to Emily's last soccer game of the season, and then played with Big Hannah (as opposed to Little Hannah, her cousin) because her parents ditched her to go to a concert. In two days, we will be celebrating Emily's first double digit birthday...I cannot believe she is going to be 10!! She has asked for an iPod Nano and a cake shaped like an iPod Nano. Only one of which she is actually going to get...

OnStage - Ryan's Theatrical Debut!

Wow! What a great experience this was for Ryan! It was a lot of hard work, as rehearsals were 2 1/2 - 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for 5 weeks! I really am so proud of the dedication he showed, both in learning his lines and dances and for keeping up with his school work. I do think he has found his calling! And I was able to take quite a few pictures of the weekend. Except Ryan isn't in any of them! We were not able to take photos or video of the show due to "copyright laws" and he was dressed in street clothes to go backstage (for security reasons, no one other than cast members are allowed backstage.) and then was back in street clothes after the show. There was a professional photographer that took pictures at the dress rehearsal (oh, did I mention that parents were not allowed in ANY of the rehearsals?) but we have not heard whether or not those photos will be made available to us. Of course I'll post them if I get them! The show far exceeded our expectations and Ryan has already asked if he can participate in the OnStage program next year. (So you should start clearing your calendars for the weekend of May 21-23, 2010!) I would tell you about the show, but I'm going to let him do that in one of his guest blogs.

Baby, it's HOT inside!

About 4 weeks ago, it started to get pretty warm here. In the 80's, which is not too terrible, but is still pretty warm for this time of year. So we decided we would have the air conditioners serviced. It never really feels cool in the house in the summer, but we attributed that to the fact that the house faces the sun and so much heat and light comes through the front windows. But no, the reason our house never really felt cool is that our air conditioners were kaput! Yes, air conditioners, plural. So we had a couple of companies come out to give us estimates, and guess what?! They don't just give them away! Seriously...we asked. More like begged. Oh, and the heat exchangers in our heaters have small cracks that will leak CO if our heaters are turned on. Fabulous, right? So we finally had the new A/C units installed on Monday, which ironically, was the chilliest day we've had in quite awhile. And it just about killed me to write the giant check for air conditioning while I was shivering in my jeans and long-sleeved shirt. But, if you'll allow me to be Pollyanna for a moment...It is a very good thing we had the units replaced, because in the process, we discovered we had a gas leak in the attic, which has now been fixed! So, the house isn't going to explode, we have new air conditioning units that are under warranty for the next 10 years and we didn't even have to sell one of the children in order to pay for it. Life is good.


Boy, what a difference a couple of months makes! In the fall, Emily's soccer team only won one game and that was a game in a tournament. This spring, I think they only lost one game! Emily has found her groove as a forward and she scored goals in several games this season. She's really having a lot of fun! Tryouts for next year were this past Monday and Tuesday and she made the team again! So, she'll have practice once a week this summer and will start 3 times a week in August. We are playing in two tournaments this fall - a pre-season tournament on August 22nd & 23rd and our tournament in Columbia is October 3rd & 4th.

School's Out! Well, not really, but we're almost there!!

As you may have been able to tell by my previous posts today, Jackson has graduated from Preschool! Yahoo! The ceremony today was precious...we have had such a great experience with this school and are bummed that Ainsley will have to wait another year before she can go. Ryan and Emily are taking their EOG's (End of Grade exams) this week. This is the one week a year I get up extra early to make sure they get a great breakfast instead of their usual cereal or toast. And they are totally milking it! Ryan got fresh, warm blueberry muffins yesterday and Emily has had omelettes with turkey bacon every day! The EOG's also mark the end of new instruction for the year...which means, I think, that they will be watching a lot of movies from now until June 10th. Which is why I don't feel bad about keeping them home on Monday. (Yes, they are supposed to go to school on MEMORIAL DAY to make up one of our snow days! Don't even get me started...)

Anyway, I'm not sure if you know that Ryan, Emily and Jackson will all be going to new schools next year. Jack and Emily will be attending a brand new elementary school that is still under construction and is a little closer to our house. Emily has been certified for the honors program also, so she will start that curriculum in the fall. And Ryan will be attending the middle school that is also very close to our house. We've learned that the magnet schools here don't exactly live up to the hype and it's going to be so nice having Ryan 5 minutes away instead of 45 minutes away! Plus, he is able to take Drama as an elective...and also a Musical Theater enrichment class, so he's pretty excited! Not so excited about having to go back to a uniform school, but that's fodder for a different post!

Fun in the Summertime!

School is out on June 10th and on June 11th, we will be heading out for our big summer vacation! The kids are so excited to go to Kansas and then to Indiana. And Doug and I will be heading to LA for our first real trip together since Emily was Ainsley's age. Well, except Doug will be working most of the time. And I'll be spending most of the week with Kate. But we will have a couple of days together and may even check out Disneyland! (Shhh! Don't tell the kids!) The best part about this summer?? No surgeries to plan around!!

So, that's what's been going on around here. What's up with you? Have you made my guacamole yet??

seems we have a class clown on our hands

i imagine this is exactly what he will look like in 13 years...except maybe bigger...and less blurry

Friday, May 8, 2009

any dendrologists out there?

Or really, just someone who may know more about trees and plants than I do.  Which isn't saying much.  Because I would be the person stranded in the forest eating poison ivy because I didn't know what it was.  


This is a tree in the woods next to the house.  Honestly, I don't remember it flowering last year.  But this year it is bursting with these beautiful, almost-tulip looking flowers.  This is my new favorite tree, so I'd really like to know the name!  Anyone??

Update:  Okay, the two people I thought would know have both let me know that this is indeed a Tulip Tree!  Hence the tulip-looking flowers, right?  Yes, well that did cross my mind, of course, but it just seemed a bit too obvious.  And now I need to go to the library to check out a copy of "Tree Identification for Dummies.  The Total Dummies Edition."  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

stress i'm not equiped to deal with at the moment

I have a pretty high stress threshold.  I mean, I think you have to when you have a houseful of kids.  Even so, I really am able to hold it together and get through most of the crap that's thrown my way.  

But I think I've reached my limit today.  

This morning, I found a curious looking substance on the floor next to the bottom of the stove.  I thought it was just some dirt or bugs or dust bunnies that had accumulated.  (Hey!  Okay, it's been awhile since I've been able to clean under my stove.  I've been a little busy...don't judge!!) But upon further examination it appeared to be some sort of smelly, hairy, really gross looking stuff.  So, I scooped it up with a paper towel and put it in a baggie...and googled it.  Hey, guess what snake poop looks like?? tells me it looks like this:

Snake droppings have been likened to twisted cat poop the color of bird droppings, smelly and often with clumps of hair in them. Appetizing, no?


So when Doug got home tonight, we pulled out the stove.  And do you know what's worse than finding a snake under your stove?  

Finding just the skin.

So, skin that's been there awhile and fresh poop this morning.  Maybe it left the way it came in because it's about 20 degrees cooler outside than inside this house with no a/c.  Maybe it's still in the house.  Maybe it's waiting to slither upstairs tonight when it's cool.  

Please excuse me.  There is a bottle of wine in the kitchen with my name all over it...

my favorite guacamole

I meant to post this recipe on Tuesday in celebration of Cinco De Mayo, but I had too many margaritas and couldn't find the computer. I kid. Actually, I barely had time to breathe that day, let alone drink margaritas or eat my very favorite guacamole with some crunchy, salty chips! (Really, explanations are coming...I promise!)

What I love most about this recipe is that it is totally customizable. Whether you like it chunky or smooth, spicy or mild, a little or a's so easy to make it however your heart desires.

Here's what you need: (This usually makes enough for Doug and I to snack on before dinner, some for our tacos/fajitas and maybe a little left over for lunch the next day.)

3 avocados (I prefer Haas, with the dark skin)

2-3 heaping tablespoons pico de gallo (of course, you can make your own, but our grocery store sells it pre-made. It's usually in the refrigerated produce section.)

Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (Whichever you have on hand. Personally, I prefer lime, but lemon works just fine. It's about 1 or 2 tablespoons.)

Several dashes of Cholula Hot Sauce (If you prefer Tabasco, you can use that, but I think Cholula has much more flavor.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Here's an easy way to cut up the avocado (via

Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit. For safety, fold up a kitchen towel and use that to hold the avocado half with the pit. Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard as to cut all the way through it. I generally just tap it very gently a few times, each with increasing pressure, until a cut is made in the pit sufficiently to twist the pit out. Getting the pressure just right takes a little practice.  With the edge of the knife, twist the pit out of the avocado and discard.

Next, make cross cuts in the avocado, being careful not to cut all the way through the skin.

Then, use a spoon to scoop out the chunks of avocado.

Add remaining ingredients...

Mash it all up, and you're good to go!

Again, make sure you taste it before serving and adjust the hot sauce, salt, pepper, juice and pico according to taste.  My very favorite chip to serve with this is Mission Tortilla strips.  We had them at Mike and Beth's house last summer and fell in love with them.  Unfortunately, the only grocery store around here that carries them only carries them when they do we stock up!  I guess we were out of them for this photo shoot...but of course, any chip will work!

Seriously, it's good.  You should go make some right now.  

why jackson was my favorite yesterday*

*He most likely would have won by default anyway, because there was Ainsley with the puking and the screaming and Ryan and Emily with the very teenager-ish behavior...but this gave him the win outright...

While shopping at SuperTarget:

Jackson: Mom, how old are you?

Me: I'm 36.

Jackson: Oh man! I'm going to have to tell my teachers. I thought you were 21!

Monday, May 4, 2009


On Sunday, we celebrated Ainsley's 2nd birthday!

I decided I would make a princess castle cake, which I thought would be pretty easy. I started on Saturday morning by baking 2 13"x9" cakes and then Saturday evening I made the frosting and started to get to work. It was pretty humid in the house, though, which made frosting the cake a little challenging. (Oh, did I not tell you? Our air conditioners are toast and so we have no a/c right now! More on that in a later post...). It wouldn't have been too bad, except I was trying to frost a couple of cut pieces of cake and they just crumbled when I tried to put frosting on them. So I decided I would just stick it in the fridge and finish it in the morning...

I know, right?? Not exactly my best work. In fact, Doug told me he thought that perhaps Ainsley was a bit too young for that kind of cake. Especially when I told him I would be using sugar cones for the towers. Because he doesn't think Ainsley even knows who Madonna is! I assured him it would be a fabulous Princess Castle, even though I did have my doubts. But it all worked out and the birthday girl was thrilled...