Monday, April 30, 2012

Life's a Beach!

So it worked! Surprise! We woke the kids up on Saturday morning- the car was packed and ready to go... and off to the beach we went! The kids were SHOCKED and so stoked. My bro lives in Wrightsville Beach which is only a 2.5 (3 with stops) hour trip for us. The weather pretended to be summer, and we got to spend awesome quality time with my brother and his family!!! Now is when I slay you with pictures that will make you want to move here... 

immediately upon arrival... sand angles! 

hope that comes out of your hair, buddy :)

taking in the view

My husband practiced his tooth making skills with the sand. It's getting worse and worse on the nerd meter around here. 

My baby niece! 

future marathoner? 

hole! 

cousins! 

Leah looked so much like this as a baby... just with darker eyes. Sweetness! 

adoration :)

happy! 

gimme some of that HAIR! 

I eat cute babies

we're all looking! 

surf and sun

miss you already
So now we're home, back to the routine. But WOW what a fun weekend! Always take the risk/chance to get away when you can. It's always worth it! We had fun, got to see family, grilled fresh tuna and veggies, played, ran, and relaxed. It doesn't have to cost much (or anything!) if you plan it right... explore your own city, state, whatever! And add "see NC coast" to your bucket list if you've never been here... you won't regret it. I'm grateful that we live so close. What's your favorite beach, mountain, park, place to visit, etc? Maybe I'll want to add it to MY list... Happy Monday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happiness = Cupcakes.

Who needs fame? Who needs wealth? Not me! Give me a spontaneous cupcake baking/decorating party any day, and I'll be a happy chick. My kids' "fake cousins" were all here yesterday with my bff for this impromptu party and it was a delicious way to hang out :). Photo Series by Zach:

Someone was doing something that induced a fierce mom reaction! what the heck are we yelling about here? can't remember... ha! 

face stuffing in progress 

check out those faces :)

I think they were having fun... notice pete is stuffing his face with chocolate in every single picture... that's one way to keep him occupied. 

I whip my hair. I whip my hair. 

I believe the party was a success. 
So that was fun. Nothing else too exciting happened to us this week... life as usual... work and play. I did run a lot outside (with Zach home I have more time to do that!) this week- and this morning ran 7 miles in 62 minutes (about a 8:52 ish mile I think). I was super happy with that! I love trying to get my longer runs down to sub-9 minute miles. I have no races until the fall (I do have a charity 5k in June but I'm used to the longer ones now so that should just be fun!) and not a lot of time to work on much, but hey, it's better than nothing! I feel strong and healthy and that's what matters.

Speaking of health, I'm working on my vanilla cupcake recipe (yes, complete with healthy sticks of BUTTER for the icing and batter, and REAL SUGAR :). I do use a multigrain flour though! Adds fiber??!). I feel like they're coming out too dry though. I like cakes to be dense (more like a pound cake) and not fluffy, but super MOIST (sorry Alli. My friend Alli hates that word. We'll call it "M-word"). I love the flavor and texture of these but need MORE M-WORD. Any tips? Favorite vanilla cake/cupcake recipe you want to share? I know you read my blog! I have a counter-thingy! Plus, I want to meet you. Leave me a comment with your fav recipe or link to one that you love. THAAAAAANKS!

Happy weekend all!

(oh. and yes. So stoked about the weekend- we're surprising the kids with something fun... will blog about it next week. Zach and I have never pulled off a big surprise so this should be interesting!)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Change of Seasons...

and an update: YES Zach finished his exams... has awesome grades... survived the hellish 2nd semester of dental school with a wife and 3 kids... as a real-live grown-up. As my kids say... "BaBAM!"... he did it! Now he's home helping me for 2 weeks and I just feel confused and too relaxed... like I'm constantly forgetting something because I'm not having to do it ALL myself! Strange feeling, y'all.

Anyway, about these changing seasons... My house is a wreck in spring. NC is crazy. It's 85 one day and 55 the next (today it's 57 and raining, gross). I keep this handy "shoe basket" next to my front door to have the kids just throw their shoes in the basket as they come in and out of the house. But here's what it looks like in the middle of spring, a season of constant temperature:

I hope that helps you feel better about your organization skills. You're welcome. 
Well, I guess I do still have 896 loads of laundry to do, even if I have no plans for cleaning anything. So peace out for now. Adios amigos.

Friday, April 20, 2012

companions

As of right now, I have no idea if Zach survived his last exam. I hope so! I'm excited to have him home for his little break. I'm shocked and excited that we actually got through this semester... we must be building our academic/life balance endurance, because we're DOING THIS! We haven't completely depleted our savings, and the kids are happy and healthy. It's a miracle. Dude. Seriously. Deep Breathes!

I'm incredibly thankful for our neighbors. All the way out here in the country on a lot of land, we live right next to an amazing family (and I'm serious- amazing- healthy boundaries, kind, similar ways of raising a family- it has blessed me more than I could ever describe). Their three kids are sweet companions for my kids. The amount of running and playing and exploring is awesome. Each child is a great example of kindness, patience, and true friendship to each one of my children. It's the best gift I could've been given in living here.
"M" is an amazing older friend for Leah... she's a few years older and completely inclusive and wonderful with Leah. She's the type of child I want Leah to learn from and be around... added bonus? they look JUST like sisters and have the same hair. It's pretty eerie, actually. 

"P" is a spunky and fun friend for all my kids! 

"T" is a young teenager, always willing to mentor my kids, and is especially helpful with Pete. He's patient and will help guide Pete away from bad/annoying behaviors, and Pete listens to him because he's cool and older. Pete NEEDS good examples... trust me :). 

Here's another kind of companion all the kids are loving right now... and unfortunately brining into my kitchen to show me... grossssss

In completely unrelated news, here's Sam practicing his whistle, with blue lips. Not sure where this picture even came from but it cracks me up! 
Anyway, I'm to the end of this post and still haven't heard from Zach... yikes... poor dude. We're having dinner with friends tonight, and I'm just hoping he can stay awake to eat! Many all-nighters in a row to study equals pure exhaustion.

Happy weekend to you all... I'll be running and eating yummy food. Also, confession time: I keep tearing up every time I read an article about anyone who ran the Boston Marathon. Are you kidding me... I'm turning into a crazy runner person! Those were the people who used to annoy the crap out of me! I HAVE BECOME THEM! All for the better, I guess :). Maybe someday I'll run a marathon...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Scenes from a Monday

We are doing normal life today... harder but easier, all rolled into one. I had the kids by myself this weekend so that Zach could study (finals are this week... then he has a little bit of time off... then his next semester starts May 2). We headed to my parent's house to hang out with them... they just had some fun out of the country, so we got to catch up and they helped me with the "babies." Sunday afternoon was full of preparing for the week and laundry. Of course. Today was spent on errands and school and homework and just hanging out. A picture diary: 


Our pretty red canoe (and huge ladder) nestled among the bright green new leaves. They've really exploded in the last few days! 

Love the new green against the Carolina blue sky! although today that looks more like a Colorado blue sky :). 

While I was outside snapping a few pics and playing with Pete, Sammy did this  little mess. 

He was "hiding" from me so that he didn't have to clean it up! 

found the little rascal 

While I was amazingly productive and actually helped with cooking... 

My ears were blessed with this... 

My brilliant daughter is teaching herself piano... 

She is so much better than me in every way, as it should be... I'm such a proud mama... 

Zach came home from exam #1 and studying to fit in a little fishing with this handsome fella... 

And on the running front, here are my new shoes! I've been a happy Saucony shoe wearer for many years, and my latest pair got me through the 1/2 marathon training and did great. I went to buy some new Sauconies and sadly learned that the company will completely fade out their typical models (mine is already kaput) and transition entirely to the minimalist movement. Which is fine, but I like my shoes and do well in shoes, so I guess I'm not a cool runner. Oh well... the shoe store people like me! The dude watched me run and helped me make the transition from Saucony over to the Brooks brand. This shoe really seems to work well for me... the longest I've run in them so far is 6 miles, but they felt great. Lately I've been working on my speed, and I ran 6 on Saturday averaging an 8:41 mile and finished in 50 min 49 sec, which is way fast for me! I was really excited that my effort actually resulted in a faster time... I'm excited to see how I do in the future. I kept my eye on the Boston Marathon today and felt very inspired... not sure if I EVER want to run that far (totally love that 1/2 marathon distance) but I'm certainly more open to it once I have time to train someday (translation: when my husband is not in school!). We shall see. I'm completely blown away by a fellow adoptive mom, Erin, who started running 3 years ago and ran the Boston Marathon today. She didn't meet her goal due to the terrible heat, but she still did incredibly well and is a HERO to me. (Did I mention she has TWELVE kids? yah. Get off your butt and run! If she can, WE CAN TOO!).

Anyway, that was my Monday (I didn't take pictures of me running on the treadmill for who-knows-how-many miles while pounding microbiology notes into my head while Sammy played at the gym, but I thought that might be a tad bit boring). Going to sleep and hoping we get through the week and Zach passes all of his exams! And I remember the meetings and reports I have! Oh! and that quiz! I have a quiz! Someone send me a personal assistant... haha.

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Be in my eyes... Be in my heart

Some of my favorite internet writers have led me to my newest musical crushes... you should watch them... raw music... let it heal you and wash over you... music lights up our lives around here! Introducing the Lumineers... Everyone should know this band!

Here's their latest...

I belong with you, you belong with me!
Love their music, their words, their everything... enjoy!
Happy almost weekend, everyone :).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter!

What? That was two days ago? I'm such a slacker blogger these days. We were up at our old church seeing some lovely familiar faces and then at the in-laws for the day and had a great time catching up with Zach's dad, stepmom, her mom, dad, and his wife, Zach's dad and stepmom's kids, and Zach's mom, sister, and sister's boyfriend. Did you catch all that? Phew! Lots of people divorced, remarried, etc, but sharing grandkids and everyone gets along great. Easter miracles! :). It was fun getting to hang with everyone for the day. Picturrrrrres! 

not bad lookin' kids you got there. 

awkward 

One of these children is a wee bit excitable. 

They do like each other, usually. 

growing up! 

he really is cute.

I love you mom, and I'm adorable, but I'm sick of the camera. 

Chillin' outside

the chefs! 

Had to watch Bubba win

Hearing the egg hunt rules! 

and they're off! 

hunting

with the loot! someone is getting tired... 

No rest for the weary... had to have an egg toss! Note the many white lab coats and big shirts... 

the damage! 

This is the only picture I got of me or Zach. You guessed it... this is me! (yes, I have extremely ugly toes and short toenails). But Leah wanted a picture of the pedicure we got on Saturday... which was awesome by the way! I never do that kind of thing, so it was a real treat :). 
And that concludes the photo tour of our holiday. Monday morning was brutal... waking the kids up at 6:30 after a week of spring break = not pretty. But up we got and off we went, and everyone lived to tell about it! Now our goal is to get Zach through finals and on to his next semester (yes, that starts at the beginning of May... dude is truly in school for 4 straight years! Oy!). Hope you all had a very happy Easter!