I think I'm in Love...

I found this blog while reading another blog. Don't you love when that happens? When you find a really awesome blog with really awesome thoughts or ideas? Well you might not, but I do.

This blog, has got to be my favorite yet. I can hardly drag myself away to wash the pile of dishes. Seriously? Who wants to do dishes?

I am a big fan of do it yourself projects, before and after projects, new design ideas, so on and so forth. HGTV is my go to channel. When nothing else fails, there is always someone doing something to some item that is in need of design on that channel.

Lord if I had overflowing bank account to do so, this house would be insane. The ideas in my head sometimes threaten to explode. My bedroom is my next project. My little database in my brain has been going through ideas for some time now, and I think I finally have it. So I will be having a little before and after, divine design of my own going on. It will be the great design adventure, and I will take you with me. My sister Michelle is going to help me with it, right Michelle? Thanks. I promise you Andy, it will cost you minimal. I have been on a mad hunt for thriftiness for a long time now.

Then I will move on to E's BIG BOY room. So very exciting and sad at the same time. I think that might be the time when I go, ok, it's time for a baby. Maybe not. But Maybe.

This blogger poesesses parts of the brain very similar to mine. Isn't it always great to find someone like that? Too bad I don't know her personally. But then maybe the world would explode or something. My Mom Mom and sister, Michelle, are very much like this also. Always adding and taking away, and trying some crazy design idea. My Dad is perfect carpenter for this too. Like on Trading Spaces when the used to have their little carpenters to build what the designers thought up in their head. This is my Dad. Isn't that awesome? I have yet to use this great fortune to its fullest of capabilities.

So my point?

This blog: Design*Sponge <-----click here, fool.

If designing causes you too to drool, go ahead. Here is your Friday Night Date.


Shawnee Style, Part I

This vacation, my fellow readers, was an adventure in all sorts of ways. From the packing, to the unpacking. From the naptimes to the bedtimes. From the cooking the meals, to the eating the meals, to the cleaning up the meals. From the inside pool, to the outside pool, and then back in the inside pool again.

This vacation was fun, a lot of fun memories, but let's admit it, it really was all about the kids. Well until about 10 p.m. each night, unless of course you count the ladies afternoon to the spa, or the insane amount golfing that my husband needed to partake in.I think there will be two about the vaca, total, so you won't be too tortured if you weren't there. The first will be with the main list of characters, since us adults were simply just the supporting cast, if even that. I think Kraft Food Service Workers is more like it.

Quintyn was the oldest. Quintyn is usually always the oldest when we all get together. I sympathize with him really I do. I was the oldest all the time too. And man it can get old having to watch sesame street, color, wait your turn behind a bunch of whining kids, play silly games, and sing silly songs. He is a growing boy for goodness sake, and lets not forget it. On this trip Quinn frequently fluffed his feathers, particularly in my direction, to remind me of the role he was playing, that being the 'oldest.'

Many of the ideas I had for the kids to do Quinn deemed, 'stupid.' When I would suggest something to do, I could count on Quinn to reply on cue, 'that's boring, or stupid', or would tell me that he 'hates to do that.'

Me: Wanna go on a scavenger hunt guys?
Quinn: That sounds boring.
Me: Wanna go and see who can get the dirtiest down by the river and try to throw rocks to the other side?
Quinn: I hate doing that.
Me: Wanna see who can hold their breathe the longest underwater?
Quinn: That's stupid.
Me: Wanna see if you can beat me at bowling, I'm really bad, you are bound to win?
Quinn: Bowling is dumb.

Sounds like an awesome kid, right? No, he really, really is. He just tried to play the bored card. I will go on and tell you the following:
When we went on the scavenger hunt, who had the most fun, and proceeded to play scavenger hunt all week? Who had the most fun getting muddy, throwing rocks, and getting everyone else wet? Who challenged me at least 700 times to see how long we could hold our breathes under water? And who was cheering the loudest and wanted to remind me over and over again that he beat me at bowling? Yup, that's right, this boy. Who for some reason wanted his picture taken by this bark growing on the tree, which was one of the things to find on the hunt, which was and I quote,'really cool.'

Next up, Juliana. My lovely daughter emulates Juliana. Anything that Juliana was going to do, Kendall was right on board. And what a lovely trooper Jules was. Juliana was quickly my bedtime buddy. Since my children seemed to misbehave the most at bedtime, I became resident bedtime cop. A couple of nights that week, since Kendall wanted to sleep next to Jules, I was graced with Juliana's take on the room and the delinquents inside of it. She would whisper really loudly, 'Do you hear that? That is Ian, he is laughing, I think you should tell his mom.' or 'Why does Ethan snore? Is there lots of boogies up there in his nose?' Which would result in all those still awake, laughing. I would then whisper for everyone to quiet down, and would hear her older brother grumble, 'that wasn't even funny.' See, I mention him again, that's how much I loved Sir Pissy Pants role.

Jules also sees me as a walking and talking confessional. Many times during the week she would fess up all that was wrong in her world, and what she had done to make it this way. 'Remember when Ethan cried earlier? That's because I pushed him down, I'm sorry.' Or, 'I took a Gatorade and opened it on the porch when Mommy told me not to, and I drank half of it and left it there.' This went on all week between her and I. On many occasions I felt like I should be placing my hand on her head and pronouncing her forgiven or telling her her penance, and then I remembered that not only am I not a priest, I am not Catholic. Maybe to her I looked like the biggest sucker out of all the adults with us, I was the easiest to confess her wrong doings to, because the consequences were usually, 'Thanks Jules for telling me, could you go and say sorry to so and so', or, 'go ahead upstairs and grab the princess doll that you are hiding from everyone so we can share.' Sucker.

Then there is Ian. Ian can best be described as a wind up toy. He goes and goes and goes, and then just stops. Seriously. This kid is on full tilt and then crashes for a nap, and then he is at it again, and then crashes again at bedtime. Similar to my darling daughter, Ian was enthralled with the idea of living with friends for an entire week straight. He of course desired to be doing just what Quinn was doing, which Quinn in typical fashion, sometimes loved, and sometimes hated. Ian has also won the award for the loudest child. Sometimes I would just have to laugh because his normal speaking voice is so loud. When he would talk to me, I am certain my eyes would be wide because the volume is astonishing. Still when someone asks Ethan, 'Who was on vacation with you?' He replies, 'Ian.' So certainly Ian left an impression on him.

. Kendall was the most confused out of all the children this week. She didn't know if we were coming or going, what house we were going to sleep in, or what time of day it was. She was all about her friends. What they were doing, when they were doing it, and how she could do it with them. This anticipation caused her to at times to just jump up and down in excitement, but to also not know which end was up. Can you blame her? I mean how much fun would it be to have children, all around your age to play with all day long for 7 days straight, that's it, that's all you have to do is play. It took her a few days to really grasp this was indeed happening. She woke up in the morning, and the first thing out of her mouth would be, 'when are we going to see my friends?'

Kendall's key phrase of the week was, 'You're not my best friend anymore!' She said it so many times when someone wronged her that by the third day it lost it's effectiveness completely. I mean, Gabby and Jules were probably like; she said I wasn't her best friend yesterday 5 times, why is she telling me this again? I am already not her best friend. Big whoop. Not only that she tells this to everyone, so how many best friends does this chick think she has? During one terrible car ride with the baby screaming, Kendall proceeded to add to the insanity by going on and on in the back of the van with Jules and Mariah, her cousin, as to who was and wasn't her best friend, and crying about it, talking nonsense, there was no consoling her. She was lucky that my arm was out of swatting range, that is all I am going to say. I mean who would want to be best friend's with someone acting as beastly as that?

Then there is Gabriella. She wins the prize for the best behaved all week, hands down. I at one point thought that she was an angel in child form sent from heaven above, and then she went and punched Ian in the chest in a fit of rage directed at him, and that theory went out the window. Gabby made it her weeks mission to take care of Ava. I think she actually thought that she could do it better then Ava's mom. She was all about doting on her, wanting to meet her every need, all week long.

As the week progressed I got to see Gabby's quiet defiance, and I still thought she was so cute. Since I have the word, 'sucker,' tattooed on my forehead for her sister, I think Jules let Gabby in on the secret. On many occasions Gabby would corner me in the kitchen and bat her full eyelashes looking oh so cute and ask me in her little mousy voice for this or that. And thinking nothing of it, I would just hand her her request. I mean why would she not ask her parents first? I then began to hear, 'Gabby, who gave you that juice box? I said no more juice boxes until lunch, you can drink water.' And I would sneak out the door. I then began to tell her to go ask her mom or dad when she would ask me for something which typically would cause her to jump a little bit, quietly whine, and then try and ask me again. I tell you though, I would take this whining over my kids whining any darn day.

. Ethan, in typical Ethan style, just followed along with the rest of the troop. If they went on a walk, he went on a walk. If they rode bikes, he rode bikes. If they ate ice cream, he ate ice cream. If they chanted at the top of their lungs that something wasn't fair, he was chanting with them. My only beef with him on this vacation, was again his eternal desire to be my siamese twin at the most inopportune times, and his new fascination with fixing things. 'I do it!' If I hear it 300 times a day, it is a good day. Ethan has to turn off and on the lights. He was to turn on and off the tv. He was to press play for the movie to start. He has to turn on and off the faucet. He has to snap the top buckle in his car seat. When and if I tell him no, it as if I hurt his ego for the rest of his life and not letting him be the man he has the potential to be. So when the other kids would turn off the tv, or do something that he deemed his job, there would be a meltdown. And as far as becomming my siamese twin, me being the terrible mom would run out when he wasn't looking so that I could go and do something, or have a minute to myself. He would soon recover. It is just the initial heartbreak that I would have the audacity to leave him behind.

Next comes Ava. Ava is beginning to come into her own, mix this with Gabby's need to take care of little Ava, Ava is not a happy camper. Ava is a tiny little lady with a head full of curls. One of the youngest of the crew for the week, and on many occasions she was also just going along with the flow of things. However, her gift was to clean up. A girl after my own heart. No sooner would the kids have all the crayons out, she would be following after them with the baggie they went in, cleaning them all up. All the kids would be yelling, 'hey get her to stop!' And Ava would just keep on cleaning them up, ignorance is bliss.

And lastly, sweet baby Annabel. I mean seriously what can I say about her? My favorite time with Annabel was on the drive to dinner at my in-laws on Tuesday night. It was a 25 minute trip. Annabel screamed the entire time and the girls in the back fought about who was whose best friend. It was a lot of fun. Trista just sat there sipping away at her coffee, I about smacked my head into the steering wheel full force. Really though, Annabel was quite content the entire week with the exception of that one night. She went to anyone, and went everywhere. The poor little turkey didn't get very much sound napping in, but she is still alive, and really isn't that what counts?

We did have some guest stars during the week. The Hibblets came to visit for two days. And how many Hibblets are there you ask? There are 4. I am all about having 4 kids, sounds like fun, on a good day, but my friend Cherie has 4, all under 4. What the...? I know. It started off nice with sweet little Rory. Then they waited a bit and decided on Tate. Then they thought, oh let's try for one more, and BAM! Twins. That's what you get. God is just so silly sometimes, right?

I tell you what though, Cherie keeps it going like a well oiled machine. Bravo. It's o.k. Cherie, stand up and take a bow.

Now Rory is the same age as Jules, a year older then Kendall. The three of then are in the same Sunday School Class, and typically, the saying holds true for this little tripod, 'Two's Company, Three's a Crowd.' So you know I was a little apprehensive about the catfights that might just erupt, but I wasn't going to let that ruin the time with my friends, so the Hibblets and their parents came, and you know what? Not a tear. Kendall shared her princess dolls like a true champion. I can only assume that since Rory also has the utmost respect for what is the Disney Princesses, Kendall had no problem sharing and letting Rory do as she pleased with them.

Then there is Tater Tot. Tate is all boy, all the time. And he moves as fast as lightening. All the time. Cherie says he is up at 6, and blasts through their bedroom door ready to move. I think I would have a heart attack, every single morning. Kendall and Ethan, think just like Tate, that his name is Tater Tot. I have tried over and over again to explain it is a nickname when Kendall asks why his mom and dad named him Tater Tot, but to no avail. Tate makes me nervous. Any sudden movement could send something flying that I need to catch. Or any mad dash could send him flying into a pool. Could you imagine being Cherie? Poor Woman. Oh but he is a cutie though, and he is potty training. What is up with that? Ethan could care less.

Then there is the twins. Jonas and Elsa. If you were going to have twins, it might as well be them. They are so mild mannered. Really I think they were either sitting in their seats playing, eating, sleeping, or playing on the floor, and were content. I never heard them make a sound. Really? Is it possible? Afraid so. I have found proof.

I had to borrow the pics of the Hibblets. My only defense to not having any pictures of them is that again, with 12 kids, 11 under 4, running rampant, do you have any time for anything? Oh yeah, that's right, us girls, we left to go to the spa...

To be Continued.


Vacation Blog

Wondering when I am going to blog about the
"vacation," we took last week?
So is he.

Sad that I haven't shared anything about it with you yet?

So is she.

Want to know how many days until it is going to happen?

These girls will tell you.

For those of you that didn't get 'when,' from this pic because you are well, dumb, silly, it's one more day, or again to explain for you more clearly,tomorrow. Tomorrow, pending a nice nap time, you will have your blog.

Pinky Swear.


“A vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it.” ~Marcelene Cox

Oh the joys of packing.
What a pain in the rear end.

It is almost virtually impossible to pack for the children and care for them at the same time.
Right now, it is as if there was a bomb placed on the second floor of my home and it was filled with clothing and the mess of which I am practically knee deep in is all that is left. And the children, love climbing it, and burying themselves in it, unbeknownst to them, I am just about ready to claim insanity.

I am a picky packer.
I make lists and lists, and then I make some more lists.
I then pack an outfit for each day of the week and two additional outfits for everyone in the house.
I then pack 2 chilly weather outfits for each person.
An extra pull over for each.
Pool attire outfits.
It goes on, and on, and on...it takes hours...it is so tedious I tell you.

Despite what the photo is of, I also do not use suitcases anymore. I pack in laundry baskets, two small, one large. I then just drop them all in the baskets at the end of the vacation sorted by color or whites, and towels, and we are ready to do laundry when we are home.

What am I saying, 'we,' for? I am the only person who does laundry around this joint. Unless of course you count Ethan taking from the folded pile, rolling it in a ball, and placing it back in the pile, helping. I ask him again and again to please stop, and he just replies, 'Doin' wash Mommy.'

And since we are on an 'I,' roll, I am the only one who packs and unpacks for vacation, leaving me to believe in this quote for sure:

'By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class'

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Ain't that the truth...I think I ought to look into planning a 'Mother's Only,' spa vacation or cruise. You know, when I win the lottery or Obama decides to send out a Mother's Only Stimulus Check. What a good idea...the catch is that this can only be used for travel by the mother of the home to be used in America, that way the economy is stimulated. How about it Barack? I voted for you! Do you hear my voice? I think I have a pretty good idea going here, because I can pretty much guarantee that with the following stipulations, every mother in America would use their check....economy stimulation, congress. Maybe I should run for something. I've got your vote now, don't I Mommies?

However, the twist is, is that with this vacation, someone else packs your things as you instruct them to, and then unpacks them, washes them, and puts them away upon your return. And while your away everything goes off without a hitch and you don't have to leave hour by hour instructions for care.

You know you leave notes for your husband when you either go to your part time job, or to simply run errands, alone, because shopping for other is the only time off we get.

Some of mine are detailed, it really depends on how I feel the last Daddy's on Duty Time went. Oh, come on, I give him credit...get off my case. You know you do it too. Last time I was running late, it said the following:

'Don't forget to feed the kids. Kendall will poop today...watch for it.'

I sound totally ungrateful and/or unenthusiastic for this trip. Which really I am not. I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to Andy getting a break...he is a grumpy beast lately. However, it is hard when in the throes of packing to do cartwheels about the whole thing. Tomorrow I will, when the van is stuffed and ready to explode. I will do a cartwheel for you. Maybe not a cartwheel. How long has it been since I did one of those? I might break my neck. Never mind, I will just dance a little jig for you, or sing a little made up diddy.

We are headed to the mountains for the week. We are headed there with some friends and their kids. There will be 8 children for the most part of the week, and for 2 days there will be 12. Yeah, we've gone and lost our minds.

Although I am certain there will be tons of fun had, I will also be breaking up fights, crowning a tattle tale king or queen at the end of the week, saying 'knock it off,' at least 746 times, and threatening my darling children that we are going to pack up and go home, more than 20 times. However, in 30 years we will for sure be sitting around saying, 'Remember that one vacation we took...'

This my dear, dear readers, will be blog worthy, I am sure of it.
I packed my strongest observation goggles.

'Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip.'
~Author Unknown


"You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats." - Colonial Proverb

Remember about a year ago we had a delivery of kittens hanging on the Court? Since then we have randomly seen several kittens around, but none of which have been seen hiding in our garden our under grills for me close enough to rescue. Phew. Because me and stray animals is just a mess. My heart crumbles if I see a stray. I immediately want to give it shelter and a bowl of warm milk.

I even give my neighbors inside/outside cat, Peanut, a bowl of dried food every now and then. Peanut is the wiry gray and white long haired cat that just walks around our little neighborhood. If you visit often, you have seen him. All the kids know his name and he can be often found sitting on the roof of someones car, basking in the sun. Peanut loves to visit our home. Many times I have said, wrong house Peanut, and he saunters back down the porch steps, mad that I didn't give him a snack.

Sometimes, I will leave our sliding door in our kitchen open a crack so that on nice days Lily can get in and outside to lie on the porch. One afternoon, after playing outside with the kids, I walked in to find Peanut fast asleep on our couch. Lily HATES Peanut with an extreme passion. If she had taken notice of this event, her head would have spun around 10 times and her eyes would have popped out of her head. I think that she has made it her life's purpose to beat the fur balls out of that cat. If she even sees Peanut from a distance, she charges the front door to try and get out growling and clawing because he simply walked into her sight. Many times in the evening we will be watching tv and hear the front door open and close. Andy would creep back upstairs ready to attack some intruder only to find out that it was Lily charging out the door and across the front lawn, after Peanut who stopped by for a visit. After the first three times, it became a normal noise and now no one moves from their activity, but will only comment, 'Peanut's here'.

Lily has in fact been known to smack, hiss, and growl at me, for even saying in that sickly high voice you use to address animals and babies, 'Hello Peanut.' And you better believe that Peanut runs away as fast as he can. Can you blame him? You too would take off if a 30 pound raging ball of fur was charging you. I have no idea why I am rambling on about Peanut, perhaps only to explain that if you are over our house and Lily starts acting like she was possessed, or thrashing around shrieking and growling like a flea is stuck up her nose, it is only that Peanut is around. Or maybe it is to tell you that if you see a gray and white cat in our home acting like it is his, do me a favor and kindly remind him that he is at the wrong house. He will swagger out of the house and down the front steps with his nose in the air as if to tell you that he knows and that his rump can be anywhere it wants to be. He'll get over it.

So I wrote all about this cat in my blog last year. We say that Mom Mom's is his Foster home, since, a. that is their last name and b. I still stake claim to him. We just clearly cannot have another male cat in our home, unless of course we claim Lily to be a rabid beast for the rest of her life. Andy Kitty is the lucky member of the Black Cat Family. The Black Cat Family was donned the name by Kendall who decided that the stray cats should have a name, and since they ALL have Black fur, the name was created. So original, a genius I tell you. The Black Cat Family resides in the woods near the Court, and was clearly here before our homes were. You won't see or hear them unless there are kittens, because one gave birth in the bushes of our home, or one got smushed by a car on the main road through our development and I am pulled over on the side of the road in tears at the sight of such a terrible tragedy. All in all the Black Cat Family pretty much dislikes humans and avoid us. I think they hold resentment over the fact that we built our homes on their land. But I don't mind them, they mind their business, we mind ours, for the most part, such is cohabitation.

Andy Kitty, however, clearly loves farm life. He is the ruler of the roost. A cat. Really. He struts around the farm like he is in charge of all walks of life there. I could not have picked a better home, he is thriving. Ok, so at one point a 1/4 of his tail was mysteriously chopped off, but really it was much to long and fluffy. This cat though is a beast. I am writing this post to commemorate his first year of life, and when you see the photos you will not believe that he is only one year. Maybe you don't really even care to commemorate such an event, and you can go and crawl back into your little hole and be miserable all day long.

Did you get a good look at the size of that beast? No, he isn't dead, just all sprawled out in this really indecent shot...sorry 'bout that, just wanted to get the full effect of his grandiose size for you. I think he really needs to start watching the middle, high cholesterol, diabetes, we can't have that...diet time. But I mean really, do all species of males have to sit with their legs spread out like this? I am beginning to think I should do a study...regardless...

So, Happy Belated Birthday Andy Kitty. This is a little overdue, he turned one in about May or so, and we had a little Party for him. We brought over a ball with Cat Nip in it from Lily, since she declined the invite, she's a snob like that, and dined on Fancy Feast...ok, so we ate Tuna Fish sandwiches, but all his foster brothers and sisters munched happily on the wonderful canned cat food cuisine. No, I really don't believe in pet birthday parties, but thought this would be a fun activity for the kids on a rainy day. People that order dog food cakes from a special bakery and send out invites inviting all their canine friends over for the party simply, needs lives, or a hobby, or to get rid of their animal, this is abuse. Dogs in party hats is not nice.

So if you aren't a cat person, shame on you, and you most likely hated this post, double shame on you. Who doesn't like themselves a furry little creature that has more attitude then my daughter on a bad day?

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs
should relax and get used to the idea."
~Robert A. Heinlein


Summertime and the livin's easy...

I think of the Sublime song 'Summertime,' when I hear that line...it's really a terrible song and in no way an appropriate homage to the summer, none the less that is what pops into my head...terrible I tell you.

After a month of rain summer has finally come into full force. Cecily Tynan told me this a few weeks ago, and I thought I would share it with you: did you know that at in the entire month of June there was only one day that was completely sunny in the Philadelphia area and that was at the end of the month? I mean what a welcoming summer I think it should do better then that, what a disappointment. Maybe next year.

You might think that with all that rain my flower gardens might be just blooming. Yeah right. The earth of P-Court is terrible. It is filled with rocks and the soil quality is just embarrassing. One word I say it over and over again. Rototille. I have had it. Next Spring I am ripping up the ugly bushes that the builders put in and putting Hydrangea Bushes in the front. However, with the soil quality I would not be surprised if the blooming flowers that the bush is supposed to produce are the color of vomit. No. Seriously.

However, what to do when your soil is yucky? You go to Mom-Mom's and you help her plant a vegetable garden, and then you help her weed her ginormous flower gardens, and you reap the benefits. Oh she brings me flowers to fill vases with each visit and we just got our first cucumber of the bunch last week. Tomatoes anyone? Soon enough. I get to tend to the garden while she is away. Speaking of tomatoes, has anyone tried the topsy turvy? Does this thing really work? Sue, another P-Court Housewife, and I discuss this frequently. Maybe we will give it a shot next year.
I have a tremendous amount of memories from my childhood, but most of them seem to center around the summer. I loved the summer when I was little. I mean seriously, you don't have to work, your list of responsibilities include waking up, cleaning your room, deciding what friend you were going to play with any given day, and helping clear the dinner dishes. That, is the life. Most days were spent outside. We had no air conditioning when we were growing up so it was you either sweat inside or go outside and play under a tree and pray for a breeze. If you too had no air conditioning while growing up, then you too know the feeling of excitement you hhad when you would be granted permission to sleep over a friend's house who did? Instant trip to dream world, right? No lying in just your underwear through the night yelling at your sibling for hogging the fans, because besides the ceiling there was 3 box fans going as well.

If it got too hot we were off to Mom-Mom's for the afternoon to swim. On most days I would then talk them in to letting me sleepover there also, so I could swim again all day the next day with my best friend when I was younger, J.J., who lived next door to my grandparents.

From the ages of like 4 to 12, I was quite the tomboy, all thanks to J.J. He and I would race big wheels down dirt mounds, create forts between fences and bushes, hide in tree houses, and come home filthy to jump in the pool.Then we hit the age where you really start to notice, hey wait, I am a girl and you are a boy, and then things just kind of get funny, and we really didn't hang out too much anymore. Just a,'hi,' here or there when we saw each other or when I was sent to borrow a cup of sugar from his Mom small talk was forced. I tell you innocence was officially lost between us one day when I was about 15 walking around the house at Mom Mom's to grab a towel off the line that was right next to J.J.'s home, and I remember he was doing yard work and I was in my swim attire, and he was just gawking. I turned to him, and yelled, 'stop looking at me like that!' And that was that. I was not flattered at all, this was the boy who taught me how to make myself burp! How dare he! Oh puberty.

I hope that summer has the same nostalgic memories for my kids, ok without the whole gawking incident, but somehow I think that might happen for my sweet Kendall since Ethan's friends will be close in age to her. But really, I intend to feed them popsicles while they swim in the pool, which is now at my aunt and uncle's home. I am going to catch lightening bugs with them, and eat ice cream on the front porch. I want them to eat ears and ears of corn on the cob at picnics. I want to help them build forts and run through sprinklers. I am going to let them dig in the dirt and watch what grows as a result of their hard work. We are going to catch the biggest bass in Mom Mom and Pop Pop's pond with our little Dora and Cars fishing poles. And then not catch Mr. Whiskers who has been the resident catfish for 18 years... if this were to occur it might send Pop Pop into cardiac arrest. I am going to go on bike rides after dinner together when the temperature is lowering. They are going to have summer memories...so help me!
The summertime to me always brought a connotation of freedom. Not in the patriotic way, I mean really, this is me we are talking about, but in a way where rules are at their minimum. Bare feet reign, bedtimes are overlooked, you can pee on the lawn next to the swimming pool if you really can't hold it. I want them to be falling asleep in their beds while we are on vacation at the beach and feel as though they are still rocking in the waves. Did I ever mention how much I love the beach? Oh I could go on and on about that. Maybe in August.

So get on with your summer, the sun is finally shining, the humidity is at its finest, the flip flop tan lines are just starting to show.

Love it!

And see here, this is evidence that summer is starting to have its magical effects...here is my boy conquering a fear...I think there must have been something in his juice box, he just doesn't do these wild and crazy things.


4th on the Court

We have been referred to as a commune, we have been called cliquey, us ladies, we have have been compared to Desperate Housewives. I couldn't agree more, Bravo would for sure have another real housewives hit if they rolled in here with their camera crew.

Yelling out the window to borrow an egg, texting each other to see what we are doing for dinner, spending afternoon hours on lawn chairs while children run rampant, cheering on those that are potty training, asking if anyone needs anything on their run to the food store, car pooling to the tennis courts; this is just a tidbit of daily summer life on Prairie Court.

The 4th was no exception.

For the past 3 years we have always had other plans on the 4th of July, while the Court had its party. This year we went back and forth, but eventually decided to stay home and join in on the festivities.

Here is the thing. The P-Court gang cooks out at the very least of one time per week during the summer months, or from the first sunny warm day, to the first official frost that lasts until noon. So in my mind, how on earth can the 4th of July be any different then any other cookout we have together? Here's how.

Preparations for this day began weeks in advance.

First and foremost with the fireworks being provided by the #1 Pyro on the Block. There were a few that were in contention for this title, but for the 3rd year in a row I am going to go ahead and give the award for #1 Pyro on the Block to,drumroll... my neighbor Brian. I will go ahead and leave out his last name so that his panties don't get in a bunch, but really, this is quite the honor for him. Now you know this was an easy pick, he wins really by default, he was the only one who traveled across state lines to bring them back. Last year I made fun of Brian for the amount of fireworks he had bought and where he had them stored...under their bed. I warned his poor wife Steph that if there was a fire at night, she and he would be sky rocketing the moon. This year he took it one step further and purchased twice the amount of fireworks and stored them in his basement so that each member of his family could take the trip to the moon in the comfort of their own home. He is so thoughtful and clearly loves family vacations.

So now with the entertainment out of the way, which my children and I thoroughly enjoyed previews of for two weeks every other night or so. The following is worth mentioning, since the awards committee took all efforts into consideration in regards to achieving the Pyro title. The timing would be perfect, I would just be lying my children into their beds, be tip-toeing across the hall, and 'crack, boom, screech, laughter...'. I would jump 3 feet into the air and my children would spring up immediately begging to run outside and see the show. Even more conveniently, he would stop at one or two, so that I got to hear them whine and cry in their over exhausted state for like 30 minutes. Good times. Valiant effort.

We then move onto the food.

Each of us ladies were put in charge of different sides, appetizers, desserts, so on and so forth. I kid you not when I tell you that for the past 7 days, my neighbor Michele has gone to Walmart on each and every one of them, and at the end of the week topped it off to a trip to the Super Walmart to be certain that nothing was over looked. Each time returning with bags of things. Sometimes there would be several trips to and from her van. It was quite the sight, I couldn't help but be inquisitive. I mean, she even got 2 pinatas earlier in the week at one Walmart, then later went to the Super Walmart and liked two other ones there better, and so then decided to return the others to the original Walmart. All this for pinatas people, that's how intense this party planning is.

E waiting on his turn at the pinata...patiently...had to capture this rare moment:

You might be wondering well who was bringing the meat? You can't have a 4th of July picnic without something to barbecue you fools! Don't you worry...keep reading.

The setting up began on Friday evening. Plastic chairs and tables were delivered and set up courtesy of Mr. Miller. A food tent went up, and grills were moved into place. Saturday morning, my husband got up with his alarm at 8 a.m. This is a picnic people! There are only three things that can get my husband to spring out of bed when the alarm first sounds.
1.Tailgating for an Eagles game.
3.Party Preparation for parties that include the following:
-silly picnic games, like washers and that ladder ball thing
-a keg

On any other day I have to get perpendicular to his body so that I can use the full force of my legs to push him out of bed.

As I am padding around the house in my bare feet trying to get oriented, scratching the sleepies out of my eyes,and only to find I had no coffee, I look out the window to see inflatable pools being filled and my husband pacing the front lawn on the iphone, summoning the troops. aka: men still in bed.

I then pad over to my neighbors still in my pajamas, aka, Brian the Pyro's home, in search of coffee. I find them getting prepared to go to the pancake breakfast in town. My husband,after wishing everyone a Happy 4th of July like they all partook in the signing of the Declaration of Independence, then announces that he too will be going to the pancake breakfast. I spring into action, dress the cherubs quickly in their patriotic attire and send them out the door to go with their Daddy, I mean they can't miss out on a pancake breakfast in the park...so what if I wanted silence when making my dishes...ok and to also maybe sip my coffee and check in on facebook.

Fast forward one hour, I am now half way through my dishes, still in my pajamas, and the troops come marching in the door announcing they want their bathing suits on. Party has now officially begun.

I walk over, again to my neighbors, in my pajamas one more time to find my husband to watch the cherubs while I rid myself of the stench that comes with cooking all morning, and find that the meat mobile has rolled into the Court. My friend Steph's father, has a trailer hitched to his pick up that is towing a meat smoker, that is going to cook pieces of pig all day long that we were going to feast on later...along with you know, burgers, hot dogs, chicken...ok, so meat was covered.

On my way back to my own place, I pass my neighbor Nick placing flags into gardens and tying star balloons onto things, my husband filling a pitcher of beer for those standing around the smoker from the beer meister,because all parties need a beer meister,duh, and my children taking flying leaps into an inflatable pool like they were going to compete in some belly flop contest later. This people, is a celebration.

I later walk over to my other neighbor Danielle's home to check on how she is doing since she is making the pound cake, from the recipe I listed right here on this blog. I walk in and she looks exasperated and there is a hunk of what seems to be charcoal in my bundt pan on her stove top. As it so happens, I need to make an addendum to the recipe, which is now completed. Sorry Danielle. But the second attempt was flawless and delicious, and so wonderfully decorated, right?

However, her sister Karen thought it would be hilarious to bring over the original cake and claim it as her own homemade dessert. If I had not been laughing so hard, I think people may have actually thought she was being serious. I even think someone might have taken a piece so she didn't feel so bad. Mmm...looks yummy, right?

Pictures of my cherubs munching on their favorite and edible picnic food:

O.K., so real quick I am going to interrupt this post to point out two things that make my daughter ridiculously cute...1.her munching away on that cob of corn like nobody's business, and 2. those freckles sprouting all over her face. Back to the blog...

Picture of me and favorite 2 year old cherub at the picnic, who due to a large amount of people he wasn't familiar with surrounding him, was letting his attachment issues get the best of him. So much so that I think given the option, he would have crawled back inside of me:

Throughout the day, there was food, there was games, there was fistfights and wrestling matches between Ethan and Evan, who are supposed to be the best of buddies,(seriously what has gotten into these boys, they actually get in knock out drag down fights, just wait until they are 15 fighting over some girl...horrors!), and there was indeed fireworks set off thanks to Brian. So many, that at one point there was so much smoke that I couldn't see further then 3 feet in front of my face.

We woke up this morning to the aftermath, and as I peeped out my window, it turns out that the clean up crew did not come through the night. We rolled out of bed and got to work. You know, besides them waking up my children, the second thing I really love about fireworks is the mess they make after exploding. It literally looked like it rained scraps of paper. So about 10 giant trash bags, and 3 hours later, clean up was over, and round two was well under way...leftovers...Holla! Did I just type Holla? Too much sun.

Right now there is snoring all around...everyone but me has been knocked out cold since 9 p.m.

I am quite fearful of the wrath of which is my daughter which I am forecasting with 100% probability that will hit tomorrow morning when she finds out that the 3 days of her neighborhood being party central has come to an end. Anyone want to come over and break the news to her for me while I escape out the side door. Anyone? Hello? Come on...