Friday, September 30, 2011

when we were nomads

I'm taking a break from anything to do with our new house, because I am sick sick sick of it.  I'm out of ideas about where anything should go, and I've just kind of hit a wall.  Plus two littles underfoot really put a damper in the unpacking process.  But!  On a more positive note, I finally found my razor!  This is good, because I was becoming a European Yeti.  Sorry for the tmi.

Anyway.  I am so appreciative to our families for housing us while we were being nomadic for near a month.  It could not have been easy.  The kiddos got grumpy, I got grumpy, and we left a trail of dirty clothes wherever we went.  But our parents were great.  They helped with the laundry, made us yummy meals, and entertained our poor discombobulated littles.  And while we were back in my hometown, we visited with friends and visited some of my favorite places from my childhood. 

A big thank you to Kris and Mike for having us over for dinner!  I went to high school with Kris and Mike and now they're married with 4 kids.  How can that be?  There's no way we're old enough to be getting together with our own kiddos.  We had a great time in their lovely home with their equally lovely children.  Their kids whisked Fletcher away to play and I barely saw him the rest of the night, and were just so kind to him.  Good food and good friends, that's what I call a perfect evening. 

We also got to go hang out at one of my favorite places in the world, Chellberg Farm.  It's a homestead that's now part of the state park near my parent's house.  We snuck away with Fletcher while Rowan was napping and had a great time!  Here we go, I took a gazillion pictures.

Brian and Fletcher popping jewel weed.  Fletcher really delighted in the way the seed pods exploded when you poked them.

Fletcher attached burrs to himself.

Found a caterpillar...

Had a 10 minute conversation with Mr. Caterpillar.  He didn't have much to say back, but Fletcher let him know that big things were in his future!

The barn at Chellberg.  The farm used to have animals and used to be a working farm, but sadly, the caretaker retired and they had to get rid of the horses, pigs, chickens and geese.  So sad.

Fletcher didn't find it sad.

Checking out the old wagon.

The husband.  Sorry, ladies, he's TAKEN.

The farm equipment tutorial.

Former farmboy teaches the city boy a thing or two.

Thistle.  One of my favorites.

Beginnings of Fall!  My favorite season.

The boy and his mama.  That would be me.

At the Bailly homestead cemetery.  The Bailly homestead is near to the farm.  (Machabees: obviously a Catholic family) 

Running back through the woods!

The boy.  Sorry ladies, he's taken.  He's also MINE!

Ok, next post I'll be back in the present.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

unpacking. it's rough.

Hi friends.  Remember me?  Ok, just checking.  We are here in warm and sunny South Carolina, and oh boy have we been busy.  We got down here late last Wednesday evening.  We left the littles with the grandparents.  The delivery trucks arrived Friday, but first, we had to paint.  We have more painting to do, but there were two rooms that desperately needed paint: the lavendar family room and the hot pink bedroom. 

Now, I'm not trying to offend anyone if you have chosen these colors for your house, but they are hideous.  Ooops, I probably just offended you, sorry.   The lavendar isn't that bad, but it just doesn't jive with our taste and color preferences.  The master bedroom is also lavendar, but we're saving that for later on.  Anyway, we worked our taping and painting magic in about half the day last Thursday.  We were fast!  I highly recommend paint with primer added, I think it saved us a lot of time.

Thank you, Dexter, for the tutorial on unrolling plastic drop cloth.  We were ready to murder, er, paint!  There are sneak previews of the painted rooms towards the bottom of this post, so hold tight.  Like I said, the trucks arrived Friday morning!  Yes, our junk needed two big trucks.  I have no idea how this happened, but I swear our stuff got busy and multiplied in those trucks.

The movers took ALL DAY on Friday just to unpack the trucks, so they weren't able to help unpack boxes until MONDAY.  Brian and I spent all weekend trying to get the important stuff unpacked, like the kiddo's rooms and the kitchen.  Or if you're Brian, the garage.  I didn't ask questions, I just let him do his thing.  The unpacking of tools came in handy, so who am I to judge?  So they left us with a house looking like this:

{sneak preview alert on the family room color!  I know, it's a boring color, but we're renting and were instructed to keep it neutral}

 That's the dining room.

That would be the kitchen.

And the breakfast nook.  Or whatever it's called.

It's all coming together.  We've gotten almost all the boxes unpacked, but we're still organizing everything.  Also, stay tuned for a post titled "The Home Owners:  What were they THINKING???"  It'll be a good one, promise.

The movers came back Monday and helped unpack and put together furniture.  Here's the former hot pink room, now Rowan's room.  It's a light peachy tan that looks darker in this picture than in real life.  Brian gives it the thumbs up!

We JUST got the kid's rooms finished before they showed up yesterday.  The grandmothers flew down with our littles, and they all had a great time on the plane!  It was Rowan's first plane ride, and the first that Fletcher will remember.  The grandmas reported that they were perfect.  Thank God, because they would have been AWFUL for us.  It's just the way it goes it seems.

Be patient, I'll have more soon, but things are a leeetle hectic!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

i heart faces: touch of sun

Touch of sun with Thomas.  And our Fletcher was the happiest boy in the world this day!  Check out more touch of sun photos as i heart faces.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

and now finally, vegas, part 3

Oh my, I have been dragging this out.  Sorry about that.  I feel like it's been eons since I actually went on this trip, and here I am still blathering on about it.  Well, if you're sick of it all, feel free to skip this post.  But I will try and keep it short and sweet.  On our last full day in Vegas, we did a lot of the same pool time and drinking that you have become accustomed to hearing about.  And we went to the strip again, this time to see a show!  Here's us gettin' ready to go. 

This picture above has 3 gorgeous girls, but it shows why I don't like my camera's flash.  They weren't this shiny in person.  Shiny happy people, I guess.

And now this picture demonstrates my awesome composition skills with the exit sign in the background.  Just awesome.

So the run-down of the evening went like this:  We went to the Bellagio to eat and watch the fountain show.  At the same time, which was great.  Here are the highlights of that fountainy goodness.

It was really fun.  And they played songs along with it, which I thought was even better.  After this we went to see the Cirque du Soleil show, The Beatles Love.  It was the BEST thing I've ever seen on stage.  And I've been to a LOT of live stage shows.  We all sang along, laughed, and maybe even cried.  I highly recommend it, especially if you're a Beatles fan.  It was truly amazing, and we were on the edge of our seats the whole time.  It didn't hurt that they gave us mammoth drinks at the bar that we took into the show. 

You can see our giant (empty) cups in Karen's hand here.

She was pretty excited.  Until her luck ran out.

This $.25 was what she had to show for the $100 bill she put into the slot.  But don't worry, she later won about $70 back, so it wasn't as bad as you might think.

Besides, there were much worse things that happened that night.  The night went somewhat downhill after the amazing show.  We had an unfortunate incident involving ants, and then Tara lost a beautiful (real) diamond bracelet.  We searched for at least an hour and a half, checked with all the lost and founds at the casinos, and retraced our steps.  No dice.  And then there was the cab ride back to the hotel.  We found the one driver in Vegas that didn't actually know where he was going.  He was still in his first week on the job.  And I was the lucky one sitting in front with him.  The ride to our hotel was a little harrowing, but we made it ok.  We got back into our hotel just in time to see this view:

Well, some of us weren't looking.

Jo and Tara had about one hour of sleep before they had to get up and get the shuttle for the airport.  Karen and I really got some extra zzzz with a whopping 3 hours.  But I was glad we stayed up late and had all that extra time with each other.  We've been friends since around kindergarten.  We've been through everything together, and now are all far apart.  Jo is in Colorado, Tara is in Oklahoma (for now), Karen is in Arizona, and now I'm going from Illinois to South Carolina.  It's hard to be that far apart from your best friends.  And the last time we had all been in the same state together was 3 years ago for Karen's wedding.  I hope one day we can all be a little closer.  But in the meantime, we'll just try to sneak in these girl's weekend when we can. 

p.s.  Tara, Jo, and Karen, I love you all.  Thank you for the awesome weekend, it was just what I needed.  You girls are the other loves of my life and I am so super blessed to have each of you as my friend.  Miss you already, xoxo.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

las vegas, part 2, with a side of whine

Ok, seriously.  I have to get this out of the way before I go onto the rest of the trip.  I am weary.  So very weary from living out of laundry baskets while traveling back and forth from my parent's house to Brian's parent's house.  I feel very blessed that we have family that are willing and happy to take us in while we wait for our stuff to be delivered, but.  I want to go HOME.  But home is empty.  And next home isn't ready, and we'll only be in next home for 6 months to a year, so will it really feel like home, or will it feel temporary, and will be ever feel home when we move every few years, and, and, and.  These are the things that keep me up at night.  Are you crying for me yet?  Ok, good.  Let's move on.

The second day of Las Vegas included lots of spa and pool time (wow, I've lost all of your sympathy just now, right?).  This won't help any, but here are some more pictures.

Ah, palm trees.  With my beloved sunflare.

And hello, how about these gorgeous bathing beauties? 

I know, there's no shot of me in a bathing suit.  Thank God.  But the other girls have them on their cameras for leverage.  So here's hoping I'm not in trouble for putting up their pictures...  Don't worry, we were all wearing SPF.  But we would hang out in the sun, go back into the cabana, drink wine or cocktails outta pineapples, take a dip in the water to cool off, and go into some sort of spa coma listening to the plinky-plunky music.  We never even made it into the tops optional bar-pool.  We be old.  We liked our tops on, and more importantly, everyone else's.

And then we finally made it down to the strip after getting gussied up.

We ate some dinner, drank some wine, got some blisters and bought flip flops to alleviate said blisters.  Unfortunately, Karen's flip flops included some sort of medieval torture device that dug into her toes whenever she took a step.  She spent the rest of the evening transitioning between her blister shoes and her pokey toe flip flops.  Oh, women.  Me?  I wore flip flops to begin with.  I KNEW I'd end up in them sooner or later, so why not sooner?  Besides, I like to feel short and squat next to the amazon women that prowl around the strip.  Just cause I like to be unique like that. 

But!  Karen was lucky, lucky when it came to the slots.

The rest of us would put our $1 or $5 into the slot, push the buttons a few times, and then lose all of it.  Then we'd fold our hands in our laps and stare at Karen's machine that was inevitably winning.  Karen sweetly shared her winnings by buying us more drinks.  Geez, I make us sound like a bunch of boozers, no?  Well, it was Vegas.  And well, we are a bunch of boozers, too. 

We went to the top of one of the casinos to check out the view.  There just happened to be a club up there.  We were the ones taking pictures of the view while everyone danced behind us.  Cause that's how we roll.

Hey, don't yell at us.  We had blisters and pokey toes.  Anyway, after most of us lost money, we scoped out the strip a bit, and we got smothered by second hand smoke, we decided to call it a night.  We went back to our resort, got (what else) some wine and relaxed in one of the big beds by the pool. 

After I took this picture, I apparently fell asleep, cause I awoke an hour later drooling on meself.  Yep, I'm the girl that fell asleep first.  Luckily, there was no freezer in our hotel room.

I was planning on making this Vegas thing a two parter, but I haven't even looked at the gazillion pictures I took of the Bellagio fountain show.  So I'll catch up next time, and I won't be so late in getting it out there.  Maybe.  Probably.  No promises, people.  I'm living out of a laundry basket right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

vegas, part 1

I flew into Las Vegas early on Friday and met one of the girls, Karen, at the airport.  The other 2 girls came in later that afternoon, so we had time to really check out the resort.  It was beautiful!

The offered a "room with a view" for about $25 extra a night, but since that was at least a couple drinks worth of cash, we went with the "room without a view."  This was our non-view.

Still nice, eh?  Jo and Karen enjoyed the view!

We spent a LOT of time at the pool and in the spa, which was just where I wanted to be.  They brought us wine poolside that was apparently squeezed from gold judging by the price.  But we really enjoyed the Green Valley Resort.  It's well outside the strip, but I highly recommend it if anyone wants a relaxing time in Vegas.

Not too shabby, right?  Our first night we stayed in at the resort where there was a huge casino, lots of restaurants, and lots of bars.  The best part of getting together with best friends is catching up while getting ready.

Or maybe the best part are the stories you come away with after the trip is over.  Karen provided a GREAT story on our very first night there.  We had a few drinks before heading out to dinner, and then stopped at the bar and had a couple more.  By the time we got to the restaurant, Karen was pretty happy.  We went to sit in the bar area, turned around, and Karen was gone.  I found her sitting at the bar with a very pink drink.  I took it away from her and led her to where we were sitting.  As we walked to our table, we passed a display table of food.  Karen stuck her hand in a big bowl of zucchini chips and pulled some out, asking loudly, "What are THESE?"  And then throwing them back into the bowl.  We all started laughing pretty hard, but Tara overheard another patron asking for the waiter to remove them because "that girl stuck her HAND in there."  Uh, it's display anyway, lady.

As Tara was telling us what the woman had said while we waited for our dinner, Karen got more and more irate at this woman.  By the time our meal was over, Karen was pretty riled up.  So as we walked out, she decided it would be a good idea to stick both of her hands in the bowl and kind of toss them up in the air, while looking around the restaurant with a look of defiance and triumph.  It's probably a good thing that we were on our way out!

And that was just our first night there...