Fourth Fun

Hey all! How was your Fourth of July? Mine was pretty low-key, but good. Just the way I like it!

I started the day by sleeping in. What?! Who am I? Truth be told, I’ve had a lot of trouble falling asleep lately, then missing morning workouts to catch up on sleep before dragging myself out of bed to get to work on time. Feeling exhausted all day, but still not being about to fall asleep at night. It has not been fun. So catching up on that sleep felt pretty awesome yesterday!

Then I wanted to be outside! It was a cooler morning that wouldn’t last long and I wanted to enjoy it. OMG Becky and I knew it would be a great day to spend some time at our local dog park.

It was a busy place! I think everyone had the same idea. OMG Becky was immediately greeted by a large, muddy pup jumping on her. What a welcome!

dog park pond

Stella enjoyed her usual romp through the pond. She loves to run through it and all around the trail surrounding it. Too bad she couldn’t convince any of the other dogs to chase her! That’s her favorite game.

After the pond, we hosed Stella off and went to the main park area to hike awhile to dry her off. The trail was packed, too. So many people out enjoying the mild weather. It was nice to see everyone enjoying the holiday!

Then OMG Becky had to go to work. Whomp, whomp. She picked up an extra shift so a co-worker could spend the holiday with her young child. Ahh!

I headed out to the country to a friends’ party. They just moved into their new, custom-built house. It’s beautiful!

This blurry, finger-imposed picture is the only outside pic I managed to take of it. I was too busy with other stuff. Like eating way too much! Goodness, so much food, so many hours to enjoy it. No need to see pictures of all that, but I will show you my favorite dish offered.

These festive, individual cheesecakes were phenomenal! They had an Oreo crust, cheesecake, some sort of frosting and then strawberry on top. Soooo good!

(That was my bottle of Skinnygirl Mojito. I LOVE mojitos! Like my favorite drink ever. This pre-mixed version was not very good. Darn! I won’t buy it again.)

Other snapshots. Cooler corner!

Cutest 4-month old Yorkie ever!

The later it got, the louder the music got and the dancing began!

One of the guests was a DJ who brought his equipment. Fun! Oh wait, but I don’t dance. Oh well, it was fun watching the others.

Once it was dark enough, the fireworks began. The neighbors really put on a great show!

I loved watching the little boys run around throwing Bang Snaps on the ground near people’s feet. They had a blast making people jump! Ha! But it made me miss my girls. Holidays just aren’t the same without them! (Sassy is at their dad’s. She comes back tomorrow! It’s been two weeks and I am ready for her to be home!)

Sorry, I didn’t get any great photos of the fireworks, but you should ask my mom to see her awesome, accidental selfie she took while trying to take an overhead fireworks photo.  ;-)

How was your Fourth of July?

Have you tried any of the Skinnygirl cocktails? Reviews?

Where My Ballers At?

Once upon a time, both of my girls played softball. Both started with T-ball. How cute was Sassy’s team?!
girls softball team
This was her 2007 team. She played on the same team as two of her cousins for the first few years. So fun! And them again a few years later at an end of the season party.

For eleven years, we were a softball family. Spring ball, summer league, fall ball, winter conditioning. Non-stop. Yes, it was a lot, but I loved it!

This is the first time neither of my girls are playing ball. It’s feels so weird! Luckily, we have lots of opportunities to watch the baseball games of my nephews and OMG Becky’s boyfriend.

baseball

Last weekend was awesome with two of the boys playing in the same tournament. Both made it to the championship game in their bracket, but sadly, ended up with second place finishes. So close!

baseball team

The big boys are fun to watch, but my five-year old nephew’s team might just be my favorite. It’s mass chaos in a good way!

t-ball

You would think blankets wouldn’t be necessary here in June. You would be wrong. We have had some chilly nights lately.

How is you week going? I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday already and the Fourth of July is only a week away!

Summer on the Brain

My parents’ pool is finally open!

poolMy parents had to put in a new liner and stairs this year. It took forever because it has been raining here often in the last couple of weeks. And before that they were waiting for the stairs to come in. It’s been torture watching the slow progress.

This was the pool just last weekend.

Not a pretty sight. But now it’s done and yesterday I got to get my swim on. It was glorious!

After lounging in the pool most of the afternoon, Sassy, my mom, and I hit up the big sale at JCP. Sassy tried to talk my into buying her this Olaf.

giant stuffed Olaf

I’m going to take a hard pass on that one. We happened to run into my sister-in-law there, too! Seems we all had vacation clothes shopping on our brains.

Speaking of vacation, I can’t believe ours is going to be here in just a few short weeks! I’m so ready for it! When my girls were little, we would a paper chain to help them countdown the days to vacation. Last weekend we shared that tradition with one of my nieces.

Love passing that idea one! And I’m so excited to experience Disney World with a little one again.

What traditions have you shared with younger family members?

 

Best Dog Park

Well OMG Becky did it. She got her driver’s license last week. And the world was never the same. 

new driver

Don’t worry, fellow Mid-Westerners, we are still getting lots of practice in together. She is only driving to and from work alone at this point. It’s part of the agreement with her dad. He had an extra vehicle he is letting her borrow while she saves money for her own car. Until then she can drive this one, but just for work.

And I am enjoying having my own personal chauffeur. Stella and I let her drive us to the dog park on Sunday. It was Stella’s first time ever going to one! Being new dog owners, we had never been to one either. I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.

It was so much bigger than I had imagined!

dog park

I really had thought it would be a small, plain, fenced square. Boy I was wrong! This was a few acres and the park looks just like that, a park. Lots of trees, trails, benches, clean restrooms, and drinking fountains for 2 legged and 4-legged friends. And fun stuff to play on!

dog park

Stella wasn’t too sure about any of that, but with a little encouragement, she was game!

dog park

There was also a separate area with a pond! (You can see it in the upper left corner in photo above.)

As soon as we entered the pond area, this lab-mix pup decided she wanted to play with Stella. Stella wasn’t so sure, but after a few moments of posturing, she was game.

dog park pond

She quickly figured out that the other dog would chase her if she ran, so ran she did. Stella is fast. Very fast. The other dog’s owner said something about it was funny that his dog finally met a dog faster than her. These two ran back and forth around the pond and through the mud. Talk about sliding tackles! At one point, Stella took a flying leap into the water! It was so fun to watch.

dog  park pond

Right after this photo, Stella noticed I was on the opposite side of the pond and came through it to me. Then immediately turned around and went back through it to OMG Becky. Such a nut!

When it was time to go, the park has a great spray-off station for the dogs. It was great being able to clean her up a bit before getting in the car.

But we didn’t head home. We went into the main park for a walk to let Stella dry off. OMG Becky and her had a fun time getting a few sprints in. My little runners!

Such a great park! We will be back.

What is the dog park in your area like? Does your dog like it?

They Graduated!

Yesterday we headed downtown to see my two nieces graduate. We got to park a few blocks away. Before walking down to the venue, I asked OMG Becky to smile for a picture. Instead I got this…

Alrighty then. After that she decided she should probably go stand in the shade while waiting for the rest of the family to get our act together. Girl’s skin burns instantly.

Such a pretty day to go sit inside! ;-)

I was actually impressed with how short the graduation ceremony was. Just a little over an hour to march almost 500 kids through.

high school graduation

Siblings!

Cousins! Both graduates want to pursue a teaching degree.

Scary to think the next high school graduation in our family will be OMG Becky’s. I’m not ready for that!

After the ceremony, several of us went to lunch with the graduates.

With our bellies full, OMG Becky and I had a couple of more hours of driving practice. We did manage a short break to let Stella out of the car to stretch her legs.

She had no idea what to think of the carp! I don’t blame her. They are creepy.

We also stopped to count baby bison. There are ten now! We watched them frolic and then saw a bit more than we had bargained for…

Ah nature. What are you going to do? LOL! I hope your Sunday was better than that baby’s!

Did you throw your graduate cap? We were forbidden to do so. Party poopers.

Graduation Brunch

I have two nieces graduating from the same high school today. Told you we like to cluster! Yesterday morning we got to celebrate with one of them at her breakfast graduation party. It was catering by a fantastic local brunch restaurant. And yes, I totally forgot to take a picture of the food. Just imagine trays of fluffy biscuits, gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and fresh fruit. So yummy!

I did get some pictures of the decorations. No detail was left undone, from the front door…

To the back deck…

To the pool…

The beach balls say Class of 2014! It was cloudy and sprinkling the entire party, but we didn’t let that stop us from spending some time outside. Notice my nephew coming up the stairs out of the water fully clothed. He fell in and then wouldn’t stay out of it!  :-)

The graduate, Myo, and her baby cousin, Hooty.

Love her lace dress!

There was lots of baby passing.

My dad rocking his “I’ve got mad ninja skills!” shirt. He received many compliments on it yesterday. Tee-hee!

And there was cake! So much cake. Red velvet, strawberry, yellow and chocolate.

Sugar coma for Hoppy!

After the party, I brought home one niece with me and Sassy for awhile. Then on the way to take them to my brother’s house, we stopped to see the baby bison. My niece had never seen one before!

baby bison

We lucked out and were able to see them pretty close-up. We saw five babies yesterday. So cute!

After that was a massage for me before taking OMG Becky for a couple of more hours of driving practice.

I’m happy to report she is getting better.  ;-)

Such a fun start to our holiday weekend!

What are you doing this Memorial weekend?

Any family members graduating this month?

Is It Summer Yet?

Hey Friends! Why is the end of the school year so darn busy? Last Saturday evening my youngest niece, Hooty, was baptized. baptismShe was so awesome the entire time. Looking at the Pastor every time he said her name, smiling for pictures. So cute!

After the baptism, we all went to dinner. We ended up spreading out across three large tables. Young adult table! They had fun playing “Pass the Baby.” kid tableSassy missed the whole thing because she was at a singing competition with her honor choir at an amusement park. They lucked out with perfect weather!

Dinner is also where we saw this sweet car. sweet carI’m thinking OMG Becky should get something similar for her first car…

Sunday was Second Easter. Um, what? You know, Second Easter. Another Easter dinner with family that missed Easter Sunday with us. My youngest brother and his family spend Easter Sunday with his in-laws, out-of-town. Also my Great Aunt and Great Uncle didn’t make it out to the ranch for Easter Sunday. It’s a bit of a drive and too busy of a day for them. So my parents had us all over this past Sunday for Second Easter. Only about 20 of us. Much smaller group than Easter Sunday!

I was in charge of dessert and wanted to try something new. I went with this Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Poppy Seed Buttercream frosting recipe. lemon pound cake The only change I made to the recipe was adding 1.5 cups of blueberries. (I used frozen, thawed and drained.) Make this! Trust me.

A few of us had to check out the current state of my parents’ pool. They are getting a new liner installed. This was after Day 2 of the removal process. a1 Yuck! I’m not sure if the pool company has been back over working on it this week. But I do know they need to hurry up! Summer is almost upon us!

Thursday night was another choir concert. This one featured nine honor choirs from seven schools. middle school choir We were surprised to find one of my nieces was performing with her choir, too! high school choir And then is was finally Friday! Whew! But no time to relax. Sassy had a special afternoon ceremony. She was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society! ceremony She’s had a great year, even while taking two new-to-her-school honor classes. So proud of this kid!

OMG Becky has also had a fantastic sophomore year. She’s decided to pursue a nursing degree after high school. We’ve already met with her counselor to make sure she’s taking the courses needed now to accomplish that goal. She has AP courses this year and is still rocking all A’s. Smartie farties!

Last night, she and I went to her friend’s baseball game. baseball game And then we hit the road to practice a little nighttime driving. Friday Fright Night! Just kidding. It wasn’t TOO scary.  ;-) We also practiced parking. There were a few single cars in this particular lot, making it a perfect scenario. We practiced pulling in and out of the spots, how far to pull up to another parked car, and how/when to use the emergency brake. This school parking lot was a bit confusing because it had extra lines painted on it for marching band practice. Ha! So that’s what we’ve been up to lately. We have a couple of more weeks of this busy end-of-the-year madness and then summer starts for us!

What’s new with you?

What’s the last recipe you tried?

Were you ever in a school choir?

The Cake That Wasn’t

Today is a big day for somebody! It’s my dad’s birthday!

birthday

We celebrated with a barbecue yesterday at my youngest brother’s house. I was in charge of the dessert and had plans for a traditional round, 2-layer cake. Unfortunately, the cake was too moist and crumbled coming out of the pans. No problem! With a few additions, I re-purposed the cake into a scrumptious trifle.

We also had party hats. It’s not a party in this family with out party hats.

Oh my, Myo. She wears it well, don’t you think?

Friday night, I met up with a few co-workers for pedicures and dinner. For the first time ever, I got a little design on my big toe. Verdict? I don’t like it and it’s driving me nuts. And now I know better.

Saturday was the usual half day of work at my parent’s office. Then I had to drop Sassy off at my oldest brother’s house to spend the night. We were surprised to see a boat out on his lake.

boat on lake

It was not the warmest of days.

And then the girls and I started this week out with a hike tonight. Stella insisted on rolling in the leaves often.

And OMG Becky insisted on brushing her off every single time.

Those two are a lot of fun to hike with. If you don’t mind stopping every few yards…

This little scene below freaked non-bird-loving OMG Becky out.

Birds, birds everywhere! Ha!

Tell me about your weekend!

 

Sunday Social

Good Morning Sunshine! Well, it’s actually not sunny here. I woke up to a surprise snow shower covering everything outside. I was really hoping we were over that white stuff. Maybe a little Sunday Social will cheer me up.

1. Top 3 things you cant go a day without doing. Drink coffee as soon as I get up. Talking to my mom. Hugging my girls. One of those hugs is more an attempt vs actually getting a real hug in. OMG Becky is not a hugger. At all. I have to sneak attack.

hug

(source)

2. 3 things that scare you the most. Dying before my girls are adults and leaving them to be raised by someone else. I have a fear of things too close or tight on my neck. Hate that feeling! I also don’t like small spaces. I could never go on one of those cave explorations where you have to squeeze through tight spaces. That makes my heart pound just thinking of it!

3. 3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket. Greece, Fiji, and Rome. If you need help deciding check out this amazing list from National Geographic. It breaks down places to see by what you want to do or type of area you want to be in.

4. 3 movies you will always love. Breakfast Club, Pitch Perfect, and Napoleon Dynamite. I have watched all of these movies within the last month!

5. 3 favorite current songs.

SocialSundayNew6

How is your weekend going?

Answer any of the questions above!

Sweet Shoes and Make it Stop

We had the most amazing weekend weather here!

Too bad I didn’t get to get out and enjoy it. Friday I woke up with a head cold. Lots of congestion, but not too bad thank goodness, because we had Sassy’s birthday party planned for later that night.

But Saturday. Saturday was a different story. My head felt like it had exploded. I couldn’t breathe through my nose at all. And to add more fun to that, my nose would then suddenly feel like someone had turned the snot faucet on full force. TMI?

sick

As luck would have it, I got a call that morning saying a massage appointment that I had been trying to get finally opened up. Could I be there in two hours? Sure, but too bad I couldn’t leave my nose at home.

Nope, I had to take my nose with me. And while the massage was awesome, my need to blow my nose no less than 15 times during the hour was beyond annoying. I hope my massage therapist doesn’t ban me after that mess.

massage

I stayed in the rest of the weekend, resting, taking a decongestant, drinking water, sipping mugs hot mint & chamomile tea with honey & lemon, using Vicks vapor rub and taking long, hot showers with effervescent vapor tablets. Today I started added Emergen-C to the mix. I only made it through 3/4 of my workday today. Now it’s Monday night and I don’t feel a bit better. I can only sleep with my head elevated and on my back with my head facing straight up. I can’t stop sneezing. My ears are plugged and ringing. My nose faucet doesn’t appear to be coming to an end anytime soon and is basically raw. And I just found out I have to be part of a photo shoot at work tomorrow. Apparently it’s a Christmas theme featuring me as Rudolph. Awesome.

Okay enough about me and my throbbing head. Saturday was someone’s first day of work! OMG Becky just got her first job and Saturday was her first day of on-the-job training.

She is a hostess at a local restaurant. Lucky girl gets to wear jeans, an employer-provided t-shirt and a hair bun. (She found out later she has to tuck in her shirt and wear a brown or black belt.) And some sweet all-black shoes.

all-black shoes

Ha! She hates the shoes. But this pair was much better than the only other pair at the store. All black shoes are hard to come by and she needed them ASAP.  She worked all weekend and really seems to like it so far. Not bad for her first after-school job!

What was your first after-school job? I worked at McDonald’s because they were the only ones that would hire a 15-year-old.

Any suggestions to help me get over this horrible cold?