House-buying 2014: See also shameless house-stalking

May 5, 2017 - Leave a Response

After two years of renting in Richardson we were ready to buy a house.  Our favorite neighborhood was Canyon Creek – with winding streets and big trees, lots of kids, and one too many 0’s on a lot of the home prices…. so we knew that if we found a home in CC it would need to be old and smelly and have thick curtains, shag carpet, and paneling.  I had my eye on a vacant-looking house with a big porch and big trees.  I used my internet research (creeper) skills and found the homeowners name and new address, sent a letter in the mail, and waited.

About 3 months later I received an email from the owners.  After making sure I wasn’t an axe-murderer, they invited us to see the house and we were able to purchase it!  After about 6 weeks of work (remember how I said it had to have old carpet and thick curtains and paneling? Check, check, checkity check) it was ready for us to move in!

Before and after pictures coming soon!

 

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1, 2, skip a few

May 5, 2017 - Leave a Response

I’m SURE that’s a typo on the previous post’s date stamp.  3 years!?!?!  I started this blog as a way to keep record of pictures and memories… but sometimes the memory-making trumps the memory-recording.  We have enjoyed 3 years of fun, adventure, house-buying, baby-making, house-selling, and cross-country moving.  Through it all we have seen the Lord’s blessing and provision.

I want to slowly add posts in the order they happened to repopulate the 3 year silence with the appropriate NOISE!

A girl named “Really pretty”

May 24, 2014 - 2 Responses

In mom world, through a series of very reasonable steps, sometimes I find myself in a situations saying things that seem unreasonable.  Take yesterday for example.  I had the following convo with my friend Callie:

Me: Callie what are the chances the boys and I can swing by and cut another hydrangea from your yard?  We are fostering a crippled monarch that has been subsisting on the nectar from the one you gave me last week.
Callie:  Please write that down somewhere right now.

The funniest part was I wasn’t trying to be funny.  I was completely serious.  And we went.  With garden scissors and a mason jar. 

Now follow my steps and tell me that you wouldn’t be in the same place.  First, tender-heart Max LOVES butterflies and particularly monarchs.  So when we heard about the special monarch exhibit coming to Dallas last week, we leaned all the way in.  We did butterfly art, crafted the butterfly lifecycle, checked out butterfly books.  The exhibit was worth every penny.  We were given nectar-soaked q-tips and had Monarchs all over us.  Max was beside himself.  (Meanwhile Bo had to practice some serious self-control so as not to stamp on the ones landing underfoot.  Don’t judge.  Pretty sure Bo wasn’t aware of the Monarch on him below.)

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And as is expected when proper demographic research has been conducted, there was a stand outside the exhibit selling LIVE chrysalises for only $5!!!  I couldn’t resist and I’m sure many other moms are with me.  So we headed home with a little wedding-reception type plastic cup and lid with a hot-glued chrysalis hanging inside.  (Dear insect rights activists — I’m sure they volunteered to be glued to a plastic cup lid.  And secondly, do you have kids?)  From our research we knew what to expect – darkening chrysalis, then emergence of our butterfly.  The waiting game wasn’t easy.  After what seemed like an eternity, she emerged!  Max named her “really pretty” (she was destined for a life of humility) and we watched carefully as she stretched her wings and we planned to wait 12 hours for her wings to unfurl and dry out and then….her triumphant release!  

However, Really Pretty’s wings never unfurled and Max noted “isnt’ it strange that she’s an insect with only 4 legs?”  What did we do wrong?  Too much status checking?  Too much light?  “Maybe it was the gorilla glue mom.”  Come to find out when we were on a date night, the boys were showing their sitter the chrysalis and she came loose.  The sitter (and boy scout) resourcefully found the gorilla glue (thanks Max) and reattached it.  I’ll put my money on gorilla glue poisoning.  

And so, unlike any other Monarch in the world, Really Pretty got to play the part of castle guard, princess, Lego leading lady, etc. and we got to be Really Pretty’s foster family.  Every attempt at flying ended on the floor.  After 4 days on the hydrangea, when the petals began to droop, we figured it was time to get a new bloom.  And so we called Callie.  See?  You’re right there with me!  Let me know if you need her number.Image

 

 

Bo is 3 (and then some)

January 21, 2014 - One Response

Many moons ago our little Bo turned the big 3! You may be thinking, “I could’ve sworn Bo had a fall birthday” to which I would say “please don’t swear.”  Okay, okay — November 21!  In my defense we’ve had a busy fall complete with almost weekly trips to South Carolina (more on that later).

For Bo’s big day, Adam had the most spectacular idea (mental note – with respect to manpower, having the 3 year old birthday party idea come from your husband is a definite plus)  — he proposed a nature hike in the wilderness of north Dallas.  You laugh, but we actually live within half a mile of the coolest little stream and trail.  And so we invited 20 of Bo’s closest “parallel play” friends and hit the woods.

Of course, we had to go scout out the trail before, gathering 20 walking sticks, and planning how we would stage the party.  Each kiddo got a bag with a magnifying glass, trail mix, smores, and a map detailing where the buried treasure was. There was a tent, there was hot cocoa, there were sharp marshmallow roasters…  It was a blast.  We may or may not have remembered to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bo but I’m still not convinced he knew the party was for him – he was just having the time of his life running around the woods with a huge stick.

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Cake pops 1, Jackie 0

August 30, 2013 - 3 Responses

I feel funny jumping right into this post like there hasn’t been a HUGE gap… but then I feel equally funny pretending that people read this or notice 🙂

So a lot has happened.  One such event was Max’s 5th birthday!!! Our little man is 5!  We love his funny sense of humor, his many many thoughtful questions, his many quirks, and his tender heart.

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Max decided the pool was the perfect place to celebrate.  And because he still loves Veggie Tales he requested a Veggie Tales theme.  In trying to keep a tidy pool deck, I thought cake pops would be fun.  My friend had a “cake pop kit” with the right pans, etc so it sounded like a breeze.  We decided to do red “bob the tomato” balls and green “french pea” balls.   I had big plans to make it a hands-on, learning activity.  They glued eyes on mini cucumbers, decorated a planter for the cake pops, and then took on the cake making.  I gave both boys their own bowl, their own set of ingredients, and aprons.  Of course, there were some spills, some flour on the floor – but nothing major.  Then we got to the ball making. We were careful to do each step with the first round (Max’s chocolate).  They came out great.  For set #2 (Bo’s), I forgot to spray the pan in all of the excitement. (Story of Bo’s life, right Bo?)  So the vanilla balls split in half as soon as we pulled the pan apart.

I kept my cool and thought we could still pull something together… we could make some of them the “old fashioned way.”  So we had 12 chocolate balls and a huge pile of destroyed cake…. and about 30 people coming to the party.  Time to get creative.  We forged ahead with Max’s — melted the chocolate bark, colored it red, and started dipping.  Every cute little “Bob” popped off the cake pop stick and floated around the melted chocolate.  The ones that held on were losing cake crumbs left and right.

Armpit sweat begins.

Once we had dipped all of the in-tact balls and gotten over the fact that they looked nothing like ones on the box, we moved on to disaster #2.  I found a recipe for making cake balls that called for mixing the cake with frosting.  Of course we didn’t have frosting, but we could make it from scratch (which in mommy world is way easier than driving to the store and unloading/reloading two kids).  So, we got out the 49th bowl and started making frosting.  We mixed it with the cake and started rolling balls.  At this point, I’m the only one still engaged with this learning activity.  And the only thing I’m learning is that I should have BOUGHT cake balls…. and unfortunately my pride and competitive nature refused to throw in the towel at this point.  I was going to defeat the cake balls.

So we rolled about 20 balls, threw them in the freezer to harden and melted more chocolate.  I remember reading that oil added to the chocolate makes it “flow” better so I thought I’d give it a try.  Fail.  The chocolate scalded.  The cake balls split in half.  I may or may not have started to cry.  “Oh no… oh no no no.  Mom please don’t cry…” -Max

Regroup. Maybe some Bob cupcakes would work?  I finally convinced Max of how awesome bob cupcakes would be.  Of course we didn’t have any mix (remember, we were making it from scratch and “learning”). I called my sweet neighbor (with two girls under 2 and pregnant with twins… so she has plenty of time to help ME) and asked if she had any flour. We were going to need to make another cake.  She didn’t but conveniently had a husband between jobs and despite my pleading for her to not worry about it, he showed up at our door with cake mix and cupcake liners.  Penguins liners.  Seemed appropriate considering our progress thus far.

When it was all said and done the cupcakes turned out great and of course Max loved them, imperfections and all.

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However, the day wasn’t without other excitement — when I got to the pool at 9:40 (20 min early to stake out a spot for our party at the awesome kids area of the Plano pool) a sign above the check-in station said “The children’s area is closed until the after noon of July 2nd due to fecal contamination” (this was the morning of July 2nd.)

Armpit sweat returns… shaky pre-cry voice ensues….

It turned out the sign was a mistake and they opened (which could have been a health hazard, but I didn’t care at this point).

We had a great time celebrating Max’s special day.  And the cake balls were a hit.

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Picking up chicks at Adam’s work

March 28, 2013 - Leave a Response

…These are the sorts of things Max says.

A few weeks ago we were up at Adam’s school on the weekend – playing in the gym, lifting weights, etc – Adam had allowed a baton twirler use the gym for rehearsal.  The boys were captivated and watched her practice for quite some time.  Fast forward the next day (I believe at church) when Adam overheard Max telling someone that he “watched a girl dance with a pole at my dad’s work.”  Well, you can’t say the kid was lying.

On Monday we heard that Mrs. Ennis’ 5th grade classroom had hatched baby chicks and so we took a field trip to the school…. to pick up chicks.  I mean it IS Adam’s work after all.  The boys loved it and Bo immediately snatched the toothpick-boned chicks up by their necks.  They made noises I didn’t know were possible.  There was also an incubator with 4 unhatched eggs.  Well the 5th graders are taking turns housing the chicks over the next several weekends, but shockingly enough no one wanted the privilege of housing the unhatched (potentially unfertilized) eggs, which incidentally require flipping 3 times a day.  So the Millers were the winners (losers?).  We are going to the school today at 4:00 to pick up our incubator and will probably be watching that thing all weekend praying for an Easter miracle.  If not, we might be making a trip to a local farm or farm supply store to fake a hatching.  We will keep you posted…

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To laugh at…. someday

March 20, 2013 - One Response

This is not an earth-shattering update – just a day in the life of the Millers.  My mom told me I needed to write this experience down so I could laugh someday.

We spent the past two weeks on a spring road trip to OK and KS.  We came home with great memories…and a pretty nasty cold.  We’ve been laying low the past few days- drinking lots of UNDILUTED juice (hard to type and even harder to pour), eating popsicles, watching veggie tales, pinning Bo down to use the infamous nose sucker, administering meds, watching veggie tales, sheet-washing, nose wiping, “cover your mouth”s, watching veggie tales, “please don’t whine”s, and tickle fights for airway clearance.  Tuesday was a nice day so we decided to venture to the outside world.  Adam and his fellow ex-organized sports playing friends were going to scrimmage his high school baseball team.  We decided to pick up dinner and have a picnic at the ball field.  Everything was going well until the In-n-out burger drive through.  As the sweet employee handed us our burgers, Bo’s coughing fit escalated into a full blown choke out and he projectile vomited all over himself and every nook and cranny of his carseat.  I asked for more napkins through his concerned cries (this was his first vom ever) and Max’s string of comments: “roll the window down – this smells really bad….. Bo!  I’ve never seen you throw up before.  I can’t believe you threw up.  Mom- isn’t this the first time Bo has ever thrown up?  We need to call dad and tell him that Bo threw up! Please roll down my window!  Much better, I can smell the fries.  That helps.  That’s ALOT of throw up!”

I pulled into a parking spot to assess the situation.  I stripped Bo down, put him in his jacket, and sat him in the seat to drink some water.  He’s not the greatest with fast-food cups and always tips the cup even with a straw so of course he ended up soaked in ice water.  Meanwhile I’m facing the daunting challenge of cleaning up a sizable mess (he had a GREAT snack just before) with in-n-out napkins.  Think one-ply toilet paper.  Maybe 1/2 ply.  We called off the baseball trip, so the “hold me mommys” from Bo turned to “I need to see my Daddy.”

When we got home I threw the carseat cover into the washer along with Bo’s clothes.  Unbeknownst to me, one of my sweaters was in the bottom of the washer and- an equally important detail- Bo loves raisins and loves hiding things.  After the cycle was over, I found these treats:

 

photo-5That’s about one box-worth of rehydrated raisins and the remnants of the box.  Grapes.  Grapes in the sleeves of my sweater.  Grapes in Bo’s jeans.  Grapes in Bo’s shirt.  Grapes nestled in the carseat cover.  Cool.  Luckily I intercepted those grapes before they entered the dryer and became raisins again.

What will today bring?  Your guess is as good as mine.

 

 

Winter wedding in review

February 25, 2013 - One Response

(Full disclosure – some of this post is written with sarcastic undertones concerning my cousin’s wedding…. but all in good fun.  I have her permission and she’s always up for a good tease… Right Laurie?!)

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Over Christmas break we traveled to (sunny) northern Michigan to my cousin Laurie’s wedding.  Her now-husband Todd is in residency in Detroit.  And where else would you want to have a destination wedding in December?! But Detroit wasn’t far enough north …no no… they chose Drummond Island Resort for their wedding- a stone’s throw from Canada.  The resort’s website boasted about their green golf course and hiking trails – which I’m sure are green in the summer:)  (I will dig myself out of this hole in the next paragraph:) Because of his wedding experience I’m sure, Laurie asked Max to serve as the ring bearer and asked Adam to officiate the wedding.  When we told Max that Adam would be marrying my cousin Laurie, he sat and contemplated this for quite some time and then asked (almost through tears) “Will he still be my daddy?!” We quickly explained what that meant and re-assured him that Adam was here to stay.

So on Dec 26th we flew to Detroit, met up with my parents, drove through the MI glove, caught the ferry to Drummond Island and settled into our beautiful cabin with a lake view!  Leslie and Harry came in from Alaska (with all of their cool, streamline, even fashionable (what!?) winter weather gear) while we came from pseudo-winter in Texas with our strange mod-podge of clothes – where bulk was the name of the game.) There were lots of cousins, aunts/uncles, friends which made for a great time!  Adam and I are quick to say that we prefer warm to cold… but this was HANDS DOWN the most fun we’ve ever had in winter weather!  There was a fresh blanket (think 12-inch thick blanket) of snow and we went hiking, sledding, and (our favorite) cross country skiing.  Todd and Laurie led us in a “leisurely” loop around the resort one day.

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Turns out that the golf course makes a nice ski course, except on blustery cold days where the wind has covered the groomed tracks.  Todd humored us with “out and backs” while we labored behind him.  The resort also had a nice sauna that the guys happened upon one afternoon.

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The wedding was spectacular!  The ceremony was held in the lodge and the snow was a perfect backdrop — Laurie looked stunning! Max did a terrific job as ring bearer (Bo did a not-so-terrific job as quiet, observant wedding guest… but I suppose a verbal 2 year old gets a pass right?!) and Adam delivered a sweet and personal message about Laurie and Todd.  It was so fun (and nostalgic) to see my “little” Laurie get married.  *Sigh*

On our last full day in MI, as Max struggled to get undressed (hat off, coat off, vest off, ski pants off, long-johns off, wool socks off) he looked up at us and said “Well guys, let’s go back to Texas.”LAURIE_TODD_20121229_0132 LAURIE_TODD_20121229_0401 LAURIE_TODD_20121229_1015



Pseudo-winter in Texas

February 10, 2013 - One Response

So THIS is what everyone was talking about.  During the brutal heat of the Texas summer, our friends kept saying “you’ll LOVE Texas in the winter.”  And yes we do, thank you very much.  We have found that our wind-stopping fence + heat-radiating flagstone patio creates an effective temperature about 10-15 degrees warmer than the “official” outdoor temp.  This is a real bummer when it’s 110 outside.  But when it’s 50-60, this means pool time for the Millers.  The boys and I eat just about every lunch out on the patio and they run in for their swimsuits when the temp breaks 60 (70 patio temp).  They don’t look cold at all, right?!

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Another fun pseudo-winter activity in Texas is the Dallas Zoo!  Patsy got us a zoo pass for Christmas so we have been several times since.  We especially like the overcast days in the 50s — the types of days they cancel school for here.  We have been on two-such days and could count on one hand the number of people at the zoo – and most of them had on khaki and nametags.  (Top pic is our fav picnic lunch spot looking out at the lions.  Second is a fun kids exhibit featureing underground tunnels with windows into the exhibits.  Dark, damp, tunnels at a zoo = free smells)

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I’m always looking for little field trips for the boys and we recently scheduled a trip to the Richardson fire station.  We made some treats for the firefighters, got all geared up, and we headed to the station (with Emily’s son Hunter and our neighbors in tow).  The firemen spent 1.5 hours showing us every detail of their big rig, let the boys try on their boots/hats, and gave us a tour of the station.  Max was most impressed to learn that they travel with “kitty glitter” to put on oil spills from car accidents.  I was most interested in their “killer abs” routine on the whiteboard in their workout room.  And Bo was most interested in yelling “Oh… My… GOODNESS” after everything they showed us.  It was a good time.

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Bo is 2! (and a few months)

February 10, 2013 - One Response

The happiest 1 year old I know just became the happiest 2 year old I know (a few months ago that is).  Bo is now TWO!!  All he wanted for his big day was a “blue choo choo cake”.  I tried to morph that request into “super cute sesame street cupcakes that mom saw on pinterest”… but he was annunciating too well… so Thomas won.  We had a great time celebrating in KS over Thanksgiving break and then again in OK on our way back to Texas.

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Little Bo is just growing up so much!  It seems like not that long ago I was wishing him a happy 52 weeks on this blog and chatting about how I was still clinging to his infant-hood.  Well, now it’s toddler-hood.  And while I’m not breastfeeding him or anything quite that extreme, I do still appreciate that he LOVES to snuggle before bedtime.  (“A wittle more snuggle time mama?”)