Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer's First Horse Show

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Summer had her first horse show today with some interesting circumstances. The horse she rode did not want to show today. He was hiding behind some trees out in the paddock. When they brought him into his stall, he decided it would be a good time for a nap. Once he was tacked up,  he gave her a hard time walking to the ring. He did ok once he was in the ring, thank goodness. She did so well today and we are so proud of her. She ended up getting two ribbons: one for third place and one for fifth place. She had one half of the bleachers filled with spectators just for her. Every local family member showed up as well as a few friends which was very exciting.

The icing on the cake was a celebratory lunch out afterwards, that never hurts :-)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Project Life: Week 9 (4/3-4/9/11)

Welcome to Week 9, I hope you are sticking with this because it is SO worth it! This week was a little crazier for me with the addition swimming practices and softball practices and an exciting class that I took with my husband over the weekend. This week I felt compelled to enclose another 8.5x11 to include more slice of life stuff and I’m so glad I did. I’ve always collected this type of stuff and then it sits in a drawer or a folder waiting, and waiting…and waiting. Well, wait no more my fine ephemera! You now have a home in my Project Life!

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We are very proud that both kids made honor roll again, Summer got her certificate last week (and Bryce probably did too) and this week I got to actually see Bryce’s certificate. Apparently with middle-schoolers there is an unwritten rule that anything your Mom actually wants to see, and particularly things that you DON’T want your Mom to see must live in the recesses of the backpack for at least a week.2011 04 26_1129 

As an additional pleasant surprise, Summer was selected as the cardinal of the week at school and got a special letter home. They also put up a poster with her picture and stuff she likes to do and it stays up for a whole week. She definitely loves the attention.

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I had to snap a photo of these delicious treats all lined up in a row, they looked so pretty, but my willpower kept me on the wagon. Bryce started swimming again and is really enjoying it and I *LOVE* watching him. I hope this is something he continues.

As suggested last week, I also included our schedule this week to show the comparison to last week, the days just keep filling up!

Easter invitations don’t have to boring anymore. Click the link to see more details on those.

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I have inherited the “Kool Aid Mom’ gene from my mother. She was the Mom that always had drinks and snacks and would be available for ides to and fro. I love that I can be that for my kids as well. Picture above shows me carting my two plus three others to the mall.

I think it’s so funny how our neighborhood seems to be right on the border of things. Go out & make a left and you can get groceries, coffee, hit the bank and dry cleaners – go right however & it’s barns & cows! Living on the edge of suburbia…

Keith & I took a class together this weekend to get our motorcycle licenses. Keith was a natural but it was really hard for me. In the end it was a great experience and we both passed! Vroom Vroom!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 days, 4 nights = aaaahhhh :-)

Our trip to Texas.

5 glorious days and 4 nights without kids! and my honey all to myself - well mostly. We went to San Antonio, TX for the Beltone National Conference. Keith had to attend classes for part of 3 days but the rest of the time we had to ourselves.


Wednesday, we caught an early flight and were in Texas by noon. After checking in and getting settled in our room we met up with fellow coworkers and had lunch at the crooked branch bar – yummy. Then we  sat by the pool and soaked up some late afternoon sun.


After a little siesta, we then met up again with everyone later  for dinner at Cibolo Moon ( restaurant within the resort). Keith tried one of the 90 tequillas the bar had in a “Bloody Sunset Margarita which was so potent that he sipped on it all night.

I really lucked out that his co-workers are so cool and the ladies in particular are great - it was a lot of fun spending time with them each day during the different things that we did.

Thursday was a late start for his meeting and I went shopping with some of the wives for a really cool necklace and earrings for the party scheduled on that evening. No expense was spared on this party - the buses were lined up promptly and we were all transported to downtown San Antonio to where they had rented out the entire Buckhorn Saloon, a bar/restaurant & museum. There were food stations everywhere on each of the three intricately decorated floors. There were  

                mounted heads, 2011-05-12_20-01-13_259

antlers and museum quality animals, 2011-05-12_20-05-01_940

reptiles and fish displayed everywhere.  2011-05-12_19-54-07_159

They even had a DJ playing some great music and the food was wonderful: sausage and pepper kabobs, queso & spinach dip with chips, fajitas, tortillas, guacamole - the works!2011-05-12_20-03-51_959

After we had our fill of tex-mex fare we took a stroll down to the infamous San Antonio Riverwalk. It was really cute, the river ran right through the middle of all these shops and restaurants and bars and there were little cobblestone bridges to cross over it in various places. there were even riverboat cruises going around on tours.

2011-05-12_20-15-28_138 The river couldn't have been more than 30 feet across, so I would say it was more of a glorified canal than anything else. But it was cute nonetheless. We stopped at one of the restaurants and shared a giant margarita between 3 of us - it was 60 oz!

2011-05-12_20-59-38_296 By the time we got back to the hotel we were completely exhausted and hit the hay in anticipation of another fun-filled day.

Friday Keith had classes again and a few of us ladies decided to hit the pool instead of the shops. It was beautiful outside and the sun was intense. All day long we hopped in and out of the pool while our waiter made sure our cocktails were never empty. After class the guys joined us and the fun continued.

2011-05-13_15-01-08_638We even got everyone to go down the lazy river a few times, which is probably why everyone ended up sunburned! Later that evening was the awards dinner which they certainly did up with style! The dinner itself was held in one of the grand ballrooms of the hotels and it was a black-tie optional affair. Only the big wigs had on tuxedos thankfully though. Keith wore a suit and I finally wore a red gown I had purchased a few years ago.

Awards Dinner 2011 We had such a great time and the food was divine. I'm not much into detailing what I've eaten for the day but this meal is worth spelling out. We started with lobster bisque with a pastry top, and then went into a caesar salad with blue cheese crumbles, followed by an enormous and perfectly cooked filet mignon topped off with a decadent chocolate cake - my mouth is literally drooling and I remember each course! The awards dinner lasted way longer than anticipated and we all just went to our rooms afterwards.

Saturday was the last day of classes and also the day of anticipation as the location for next year's convention was to be revealed at the end of the day.

2011-05-14_12-44-21_255Since most of us girls were crispy from our day at the pool on Friday, we decided to go out to lunch. We ended up at a place called Willie's Grill & Icehouse, obviously a local favorite, and enjoyed a lunch of appetizers and cold ones.

The closing ceremony had Mike Ditka as the guest speaker and they revealed that our conference destination for next year is the Bellagio in Vegas - so cool. After returning from lunch, we met the guys for drinks in the lobby and then went to go get ready for the big fiesta party. Once again, the party did not disappoint. Everything was decorated so colorfully out on the lawn and the weather was extremely cooperative. There were food stations galore with more tex-mex fare and they even had fun stations set up. There was a table where a woman handmade paper flowers which the guys picked out to match our outfits (how cute!), there was a caricature station where we had ours done (very funny)


and last but not least, the guys really got a kick out of the cigar rolling station. The icing on the cake absolutely had to be the amazing band they had. There were 3 brass players, 3 singers, a keyboardist, a drummer and a guitar player. they were amazing! Every song they played sounded like the original artist and we danced until the last second of the last song (not an easy feat wearing kitten heels on a grass dance floor). Even Keith was dancing at the end! We were all so pumped up that after that we continued the party in the sports bar and just ended up being plain silly for our last night together. We were fortunate that our plane didn't leave until the next afternoon because we were certainly in no shape to function early the next morning.

The weekend as a whole was akin to a Disney experience, the staff at the hotel, the resort itself and all the functions that Beltone had planned for us were truly top notch.

We came home relaxed and renewed and looking forward to next year's convention. Watch out Bellagio, here we come!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Project Life: Week 8 (3/27-4/2/11)

Welcome to Week 8, I’m proud of myself for getting this far – woohoo! Lots of fun stuff to report this week.

A few months before I got Project Life I was looking for a way to capture little stories on the go and found some cool little journaling cards. So while I was watching & waiting, at the pool, at the baseball field, at the soccer field, etc. I would write on one of these cards. What I lacked was a plan of when and how I would use them, so they’ve been sitting in a little envelope very neatly and waiting to be used. I was hoping they would fit into the journaling card pockets, but alas they do not. This particular one caught my eye this week and I thought I’d try to get some extra mileage out of the week placeholder. It worked and it reads:

Every single day…
I get kisses & I love yous
I sing, I dance & take pictures
I feel lucky
I dream, I worry
I live in the moment

I drink in the goodness of…
Right here, Right now.

Here’s the two page spread for this week…

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and a closer look at the left side:

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Some of Summer’s spelling words, some great photos of her riding and her new glasses. She has worn glasses since she was 5 and like any other kid that HAS to wear them, she’s not a fan. So I figure the least I can do is let her pick out a pair of glasses each year that are the ‘right here, right now’ for her. While in the past she has chosen glasses that are light and barely noticeable, this time she went for all out style. She chose a bold frame with lime green lattice sides and they make her feel very stylish. I’m so proud of her for embracing them as part of her own unique style – go Summer!

Summer is thoroughly enjoying her riding lessons and doing so well. she has already learned how to groom & tack. She has even been able to steer, do 2 point and trot! People keep telling me she’s a natural! A very happy girl.

As I realized that our schedule was going to get much busier the following week with the addition of two more sports, I thought I should capture our schedule before the change took place, and then I’m sure you can guess what will be in next week’s layout as well.

On the right side:

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My very creative son decided to write a screenplay for one of the projects in his portfolio for presentation at his CGS interview. He amazes me with his imagery and imagination when he writes (while his spelling leaves much to be desired-ha). The top left picture is of a delicious surf and turf dinner we had to celebrate my oldest nephew’s 21st birthday

I thought it would be fun to include Quotables from the week (I think I’m going to try to include that more often), here are a few:
”I forgot how much I love swimming. I feel so free when I’m in the water” ~ Bryce
”Every Saturday is the best day ever {because of riding lessons}” ~ Summer
”I know my Mom is hard on me because she doesn’t want me to end up working at McDonald’s” ~ Bryce
“God did a good job when he picked you to be my Mom!” ~ Summer

I wrote a letter to Bryce to tell him how proud we are of how hard he tried during the application process, it’s enclosed on one of the fold up journaling cards.

I decided to also include some stuff that came home from school this week. Summer’s honor roll certificate is shown on the two page spread photo. On this side of this 8.5x11 insert is a letter from one of Bryce’s teachers saying what a joy he is to have in class. Additionally, are some notes he wrote to prepare for his upcoming interview for Governor’s School. See pictures above to see how handsome he looked wearing a suit!

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I couldn’t help myself with a cliché about my coffee photo.

Oh, Caramel Mocha, I like you a latté!

Happy Scrapping!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A *ROCKSTAR* made my Wednesdays jingly again!

Some time ago I posted about my new found love for Zumba. Since I always have to get the proper ‘gear’ for a class, I promptly bought a cute Zumba sarong and when my daughter saw it she renamed Zumba to ‘jingly butt’ class.

Then a sad thing happened, our wonderful instructor Mary decided she needed to take some time off (albeit well deserved) to find her ‘zen’.  While I certainly don’t begrudge her that, the month of April was very long and not nearly as jingly. Now that May has rolled around again and Mary is back with even more energy than before (if you’d met her you’d know that she was already a tough act to beat!). She is athletic, energetic, entertaining and engaging. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m in class or at a concert – because in my book, she is a ROCKSTAR

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Summer riding: Week 6

Summer is practicing 2 point, posting, trotting, and navigating around standards. I'm still in awe of how confident and comfortable she is around these incredible creatures. She's come so far already, I hope this is something she continues.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Project Life: Week 7

Welcome to my Week 7 (3/20-3/26) a busy week indeed. Our little girl, Summer, celebrated her 9th birthday. We also hosted a Murder Mystery party and it was a great hit, it might be the first of many.
The two page spread:
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The left side:
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We had an impromptu day at a WineFest here locally over the weekend. I loved the wrist band so much that I included it. I also included a piece of one of the brochures of the wines we sampled.
I also had a Pampered Chef party this week which was lots of fun. My consultant made Sangria with pink champagne and it was quite yummy.
He gets it…I think
After many talks about the need for not only good grades but also community involvement as well as extracurricular activities, I think there is a sense of understanding. I’m sure we’ll need to revisit the subject a few times. Bryce realizes that to be successful he’ll have to do more than just show up.
The right side:
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For the full stories surrounding Summer’s 9th birthday and our Murder Mystery party follow the links.
Happy scrappin’ !

Monday, May 9, 2011

Murder Mystery Party

If you haven’t ever participated in, nor hosted a Murder Mystery party, I highly suggest it! We had such a great time! It was nothing like the murder mystery dinner theatre we went to some time ago. Now, I will warn you, it does take several hours to go through all of the clues, etc. , but do it with a group of fun friends, and add in some cocktails and it’s sure to be a blast.

Here is our crew and in the words of my sister we apparently look like the cast of a Scooby Doo movie!

Suspects left to right:
Brady Bunsch (Scott), Angina Palpatori (Stacey) – known for giving her ‘dance partners’ heart attacks, Knight Fever (Keith) – the bartender with better moves than Tom Cruise in Cocktail,
Manny Baritone (Mike) – a famous crooner, looking for the inspiration for his next big hit, Belle Badham (Christine) – the late Stan’s wife and business partner, Polly Esther Stuffincup (Julie), Chaka Moon (Katherine) and Vinny D. Davici (Matt). Yes, 70s inspired, read the names again if you are not giggling even just a little bit.

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Now we are not a theatrical bunch by nature, sure we all have a little drama in our lives now and then, but none of us are professional actors, or stage performers by any means. However, as we got into this version of Saturday Night Cleaver, the Bronx accents were flying (or trying) and everyone stepped into character. The scene was set in Stan A. Live’s Funkytown Disco in ‘da Bronx in 1977. We had 70s music playing and a disco ball and strobe lights going.

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We ladies went with bold chunky jewelry, movie star hats, feathered back hair, and that ‘natural looking’ china blue eye shadow, mini skirts and platform boots, while the guys took a more groovy approach.

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Psychedelic and prismatic shirts, shades, corduroys and way out hair made it very entertaining.2011 03 26_0151

A few struck a pose a la Saturday Night Fever. All 8 of us had a great time while playing this game. Mike & Christine brought yummy homemade appetizers. Scott & Julie literally ‘tossed’ a salad in the kitchen. Keith & I contributed lasagna & garlic bread to the meal. Matt & Katherine outdid themselves with an amazing spread of fruit & cake to dip in a delectable homemade chocolate sauce. We all did our best with NY accents while enjoying Long Island Iced Teas (my specialty!) The questions as well as the accusations were flying! We finally found out that Chaka did it!


And these boots are just begging to be worn again…

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Project Life: Week 6

Welcome to my Week 6 (3/13-3/19). I hope you are keeping up with your Project Life as well, if you are indeed participating. It’s a fun challenge which I’ve found to keep me grounded in the everyday. Here is the two page spread for the week:

Project Life Week 6 spread

The left side:

Project Life Week 6 left 

Apparently this week I had a lot to say :-)

I’m finding ways to include more tidbits from our everyday life, ephemera, memorabilia, etc. I’ve always kept that type of stuff but never ended up using it, so I’m happy it’s now found a home.

My hubby enjoys drinking MONSTER energy drinks, so I thought it was appropriate to include a piece of the box in this week’s layout. Additionally, the wristband is from a kids’ consignment sale that I finally participated in.

There’s a MONSTER in your LUNCHBOX!
The kids find it hysterical that I blurt out these random things every once in a while. Keith likes the MONSTER brand beverages so I sometimes buy them to pack in his lunchbox. One morning I uttered the quote above: both kids immediately made odd requests for their lunchboxes. Summer asked for a pony and Bryce asked for an airsoft gun!

I am so psyched about our upcoming Murder Mystery party. The setting is in a 1970’s disco in the Bronx so it should be interesting. I’m bringing out my New York accent and my new platform go-go boots :-)

D is for de-cluttering
I’ve been working on removing some of the clutter from our house to make it easier to keep it clean. I’m so proud of us for the timely weeding out of old clothes from the kids’ rooms to donate as well as sell at a local consignment event. For years I said I would & now I did. Yay for us :-)

And on to the right side:

Project Life Week 6 right

W is for Work
Bryce now understands what it means to have some responsibilities outside of home and school. Within the last few months he has been washing airplanes on weekends a the flight school where Keith works. He also recently started taking care of three dogs for our new neighbors. I’m so proud of how responsible he is being and he LOVES the $$ in his pocket.

Bryce’s scout troop made dinner for the congregation at the church. He was in charge of making his awesome garlic bread. The boys were great hosts. Nobody left hungry from the spaghetti & meatball feast complete with fried OREOS. YUM! Fried Oreos Rock. (Scouts purposely blurred)

3/18/11 {Written by Bryce}

Today was the most sleepy day of my life! I woke up at 5 in the morning after falling asleep by 11 only to have to walk my neibors (his spelling) dogs at six and catch the bus to school (at 7:00 am! Whhh soooo…tiiirrreeeed!   {Note from me: I love capturing the overwhelming feeling he had because he had to get up 30 minutes early, which was 6 not 5, I guess that’s what it felt like to him!}

She KNOWS what she WANTS
My decisive little girl is growing up so fast. Her birthday wish list was expensive this year so she had to choose between a kiddie party or horseback riding lessons. She’s had 3 lessons so far and they are the “best days ever!” according to her.

I wanted to save the vaccination tag for our dog when we got a new one. The old one shows a registration in NC which is where we adopted her from. She’s a rescue pup and so sweet, just thought the little reminder of how we saved her and she' has saved us was worthy of going into our book. I think she looks adorable in her green “Pet Me I’m Irish” shirt, don’t you?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Project Life: Week 5

Welcome to my Week 5 (3/6-3/12) the week of airsoft and horses, and the week that boxes of Thin Mints snuck into my house!
Apparently my children thought it would be fun to look at the book through some 3D glasses, I never did get around to trying that though. Now that I’m more than a month into this project I am finding my groove. I find that I am more aware of the moments happening around me and a little more choosy with the pictures I take. One thing I know for sure is that the camera on my phone is most definitely getting a workout! Every single photo on this page and most of the subsequent ones as well are taken with my phone. They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and this little guy is always in my pocket. How much more convenient can you get?
I think that realization has also prompted me to make sure that I do take out the ‘real’ camera more often to get some higher quality shots. Considering that I might be lobbying for a DSLR in the very near future, I know it will be a good idea to use my existing point-n-shoot more. Honestly though, I have put the old point & pray through it’s paces and have thousands of photos to prove it, there will be no guilt there!
The two page spread:
Project Life Week 5 spread
On to the left side:
Project Life Week 5 left
The daily walk with my pup always includes a pause and pose like the top photo. She stops, she listens and then pounces. Luckily she has come up empty so far, but birds and squirrels beware. I swear she must be thinking “So many squirrels, so little time”
My son is very much into playing airsoft. For those that aren’t familiar with it, it is similar to paintball without the mess. It’s essentially the equivalent of BB guns with plastic BBs however. We spent the day driving back and forth to the CQB store in Manassas to get his airsoft gun fixed (again). It was nice to have him all to myself to chat. we got caught in a massive rain storm & stuck in traffic due to a jack knifed tractor trailer.
Photo is of “The Bat Cave” I created for him to showcase his airsoft arsenal.
Meet Alfred, the little paper creation you see above. My teenager crafted this out of a piece of looseleaf paper and introduced me to him. I thought it was hysterical and it reminded me of his younger days, I often go back to this page to visit the innocent version of my now moody teen.
Sneaky Thin Mints came into my house. I spy a green box of cookies, can you?
Beautiful card and little book were a wonderful surprise I found on my doorstep one morning from my good friend Julie.
Project Life Week 5 right
On to the right side of the page:
The photo of my kids playing may seem innocuous to most, but they rarely get along so it was nice to see them  playing the Wii with each other voluntarily. Although the picture quality is terrible, I couldn’t resist putting in this photo of these two playing together & getting along. Made My Day.
Totally surprised myself today by swimming 2/3 mile without stopping. then I met the instructor for the Master’s class and decided to give that a try too. I was pruny and exhausted at the end but learned a lot and will do it again soon.
Life is GOOD
1. Eating healthy (see veggie pic)
2. Good friends (see little book pic)
3. Home to take care of sick kids (see sleepy sick kid pic)
4. Doing nice things for them (see Bat Cave pic)
In this picture is me with a horse. His name is Rascal. It was so much fun! {Written by Summer}
We were told on Summer’s very first horseback riding lesson that apparently she is a natural. It’s so nice to hear that about your child and I am so incredibly thrilled for her!