Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, America!


It's been four years in a row now that we've spent the 4th of July holiday up North, at that cabin with my parents, aunt and uncle, and cousin - I think that's a solid start to "a tradition."

We've been talking about this long weekend getaway for awhile now and the boys were so excited.  The Parade! Snowshoe Baseball! Fireworks! They remembered it all and couldn't wait to get up there to celebrate. We couldn't either.

We've learned the tricks-of-the-trade over the years and early Friday morning Collin and my Dad headed into town with a blanket and law chairs while Uncle Bryan and Kylee headed to Lake Tomahawk with sleeping bags and duct tape, all for the same purpose: to claim our spots.


The parade was great again this year; the bands, the candy, the icy pops and bottles of water (it's usually hot!), and the logging equipment, are among our group's favorites. Oh!  And the coffee.  Every year before the parade starts Kylee and I go stand in line with everyone's orders for iced coffee from the cutest little coffee shop in town. The coffee never disappoints.

After the parade we headed back to the cabin for lunch and a loooong family nap for our crew.  We woke up just in time to have a snack and get packed and head to Lake Tomahawk for the annual 4th of July Snowshoe Baseball game against the Chicago All-Stars.  Our team lost again this year, which was a bummer, but it was still a fun time and the boys sat pretty well considering we are all packed into the stands like a can of sardines.

After the game, and just before fireworks, we walk down to the local ice cream shop; we made it back just in time for the show.


When I asked Keaton what his favorite part of the day was he told me: The parade. THE CANDY! The melon.* The fireworks.

My favorite memory: During the fireworks show they let off of couple of fireworks that made shapes in the sky.  "Oooh, that was a heart!" the crowd chanted, "that was a shamrock!" Then the shapes stopped and the next firework went off and Keaton shouts out: "Oooh, that was a CIRCLE!"

*In the 7-inning during the snowshoe baseball game tradition has it that the home team throws out a melon that is spray painted to look like the ball and when the batter swings he smashes it and it ends up all over him. It's a crowd favorite.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Burger of the Week: The Jalapeno Burger

I apologize for the silence around here this week, I have posts to write and things to tell you but it's Birthday Party Week, which means I'm up to my eyeballs in Paw Patrol print-outs and assorted rainbow colored decorations.  Hutton's very excited though, which I suppose makes all the work worth it.  Coincidentally he has a tendency to make his r's sound like w's so he keeps asking about the details of his Paw-ty which is spot-on and pretty adorable. 

We're still doing the Burger of the Week around here; last week's burger choice was the Inside-Out Burger by Kraft but see how their picture is oozing of cheesy goodness....well...ours weren't quite that picture worthy. We've been struggling this season with our burgers falling apart a bit on the grill and I thought after the Inside-Out Burger experience Collin was going to cancel Burger of the Week altogether....it was not pretty. Instead! we purchased a flat tray to use on top of the grill grates and Burger of the Week is back with a vengeance and just in time for this week's choice...

The Jalapeno Burger


Oh man, what a comeback this was! This picture was taken before I added my normal toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup because I wanted to make sure you could see all that jalapeno-y deliciousness.

Making a Jalapeno Burger
 To your ground beef add:
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chili Powder
  • Diced jalapenos
Top with:
  • Pepper jack cheese
  • Grilled jalapenos
Don't forget to:
  • Slightly toast that bun!
I can't give you measurements of any of these things because I just kinda shook stuff in - they were warm but not too hot by any means.  Next time I'd probably dice up some more jalapenos to add into the burger itself. The jalapenos were out of a jar but roasting your own would make it even more delicious (and time-consuming, which is why I didn't!) and we used a smaller version of the burger tray to grill our jalapenos for the topping.

Have a great weekend, everyone! I'll be back next week with some pictures of Hutton's 4th (4TH!!!) Birthday Paw-ty!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The First Lesson


He sits at the table with his arms crossed, "Why did you have to sign me up with a teacher, Mama?"

I try to explain that he is almost 4 now; the Mommy and Me lessons only go to the age of 3.

He throws his napkin on the floor in response and picks up a blueberry, aiming it at me. I pull the snack plate away, "Okay, all done!" I tell him. I know this routine.


This child, this almost-four-year-old of mine, is a spittin' image of his Mama in so many ways: the tight blonde ringlets, the blue eyes, the desire for things to be put away and clean. Oh, and the manifestation of all emotions into anger.  
That one, especially. 


You'd think it would be easy, but the truth is I'm still figuring him out. I'm still learning to hold my tongue and dig to the root of the problem, the real emotion, when his anger comes out.

We move into the bedroom, looking for swimming trunks when he bursts into tears and wraps his arms as tight as he can around my neck. 

"What if I can't see you?"
"What if Keaton's not there?"

Ah ha! 
Fear. 
He's scared.

"I'll be in the bleachers," I assure him. "You can look up and see me; and Keaton will be by your side."


We get everything packed and head to the door under the agreement that he doesn't have to do the lesson if he doesn't want to, but Keaton does so we have to at least go watch him.

About a block from the YMCA I hear from the backseat, "Are you going to swimming lessons, Hutt?"

"Maybe."


"Ellie, Keaton, Hutton." 

The instructor calls her pupils to the pool and without a hint of hesitation he takes off his shoes and socks and joins his brother on the edge.

He looks back at Nolan and me a couple of times throughout the lesson, but only to smile.


Forty-five minutes later he bounds out of the shallow area after the end-of-session-free-time and wraps himself into the towel I'm holding out for him, "That was so fun, Mom!"

***

Collin is having oral surgery this morning at 9 am - any good thoughts and prayers you can spare for an easy surgery and a speedy recovery would be much appreciated.  Thanks, friends!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Me and My Dad


Before school was out both of the boys made something for Collin to give to him on Father's Day.  Along with those items came home this "Me and My Dad" worksheet. I was reading through it real quickly while repacking Keaton's backpack one Friday morning; the fact that he said is Dad was 5 years old made me laugh a little, he had gotten my age right on the "Me and My Mom" sheet he filled out just a month earlier.  But that's not what had me practically rolling on the floor with laughter.  

Do you see it?  Blow up that picture if you have to.

A couple of lines down...My dad's job is.......

"setting beaver traps and working"

Setting. Beaver. Traps.  

OMG

The funniest thing is, he knows exactly what Collin does...did (home building...reconstruction...restoration). He and Hutt used to pretend play all the time...we've got a water damage today!  But yet he told his teachers that his dad "traps beavers" for a living.

"Keaton!"  I exclaimed.  "You put that dad sets beaver traps??"

He looked at me and without an ounce of humor said 
"What, Mom? He's a Mountain Man."

Friday, June 13, 2014

Burger of the Week

 I know I said my next post was going to be a life update on the fun stuff that has been happening around here but that post requires me transferring and scanning photos so in the meantime let me tell you about another very important thing happening in this house:

Burger of the Week

Oh yes, you read that right. Burger. Of. The. Week.  

Last week Collin got home a bit early from work and as I was running out the door to pick up the kids I yelled back at him - can you make some burgers from that ground beef and put them on the grill?  Oh, and make sure to add some worcestershire sauce!!

Did you know worcestershire sauce is the secret to making the Best. Burger. Ever.? It is. You should also add some garlic salt and chopped onions.

I only had to take one bite of that juicy burger seared to perfection on the grill to know this was going to become a regular menu item this summer.

Although we're nearly a week into this new summer schedule I've been so behind in life up to this point that I haven't yet had a chance to really stop and catch my breath. What I'm saying it, we're low on groceries. So this week's burger wasn't anything really fancy, but it was delicious.

The Bacon Cheeseburger


The goodness of the traditional Bacon Cheeseburger is amplified by a slightly toasted bun and toppings such as lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayonnaise, and ketchup.


I should also note that these are no sissy burgers they are Monster Burgers. Monster Burgers are a little more challenging to eat, they require a certain technique: two hands and a slight bend in the upper body. Make sure your face is fully over your plate because there will be drippage.  But don't despair, drippage only means you're doing it right.  

If you have any questions feel free to inquire with my 5 year old.  Keaton knows how to do this - go ahead and ask, he'll tell you - he saw it done on Duck Dynasty.


Yeah, that's the same picture again, I couldn't resist.  Who want's a Bacon Cheeseburger?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Life update: The heavy stuff

I logged on here a couple of weeks ago and thought, I really need to write a life update....but where do you even start when you have been away for over a month?  Usually when this happens it's because I'm in the first trimester of pregnancy and those lovely little hormones have kicked my butt. Although Hutton so lovingly announced to his preschool teachers just before the end of the year that we were expecting a new little bundle, that statement is false.

"Ooohhh, Hutton told us the news!!!" The smiles were spread wide across their faces and my eyes grew as big as saucers, "oh yeah?" I asked them while giving Hutt the side eye "what news?"

No. We are not expecting. Though I know a lot of you know that we would still like another and based on the amount of weight I've gained this last year (eff you, stress!) I'm sure many of you have wondered, on more than one occasion.

The truth is, there has just been a lot going on around here lately.  Life has been....stressful, chaotic, heavy. To bullet point these things out kind of takes away from the significance they have weighed on our hearts but at this point, here it is - Things that have occurred since Easter:


  • I contemplated a job change. This was not something that I had really planned, it happened after I received an out-of-the-blue email from my former employer. Having worked there for almost 10 years in my prior life it was a place I could have pretty easily walked back in to and felt right at home.  It was a very, very tough decision that involved several sleepless nights, but in the end I decided to remain with my current employer. In the three years since I've been here I've had very little to complain about and I love my team.  I really love my team, so I stayed.
  • Collin received a promotion at work. 
  • Collin quit his job. Wait, what? I know.  This is so confusing.  Here's what it boils down too....our schedules this past nine months have been intense.  Very intense.  Collin leaves for work in the morning by 6:30, I really need to be leaving at the same time in order to get the boys to his moms and get back home to log on by 7:30.  This rarely happens which means I'm hustling them out the door, while running late almost every morning.  Our mornings are not peaceful. At all.  I get off work at 5:30, drive the 20 minutes to his parents and by the time we get everyone packed up and back home it's always 6:30 going on 7 pm. And a lot of nights Collin is not home yet.  The nights are a huge rush of getting dinner, baths, and into bed and they are also not peaceful. At all. The long days been stressful on us, on Collin's mom (who has been watching the boys for 5 years now) and, especially, on the kids.  Something had to give. We have no idea if this is long term, but for the summer at least Collin is going to stay home with them, get the kids off of this rigorous schedule and try to bring some peace back into our days. For the past year we've been trying to set up our lives so that I would be the one to eventually stay home with them, so it was kind of a surprise to us that God led us in this direction - for him to be the one home.  But for now I do believe this is the way it will work best. In addition to being with the kids, he will also be spending the summer getting our yard in order because....
  • We are strongly contemplating putting our house on the market. I hesitate to say we are for sure because there are moments that I find myself still struggling with this decision. But we've been talking about it for awhile and we think this is our plan. The problem is there is still a lot of work to be done around here - mostly in the yard but organizing inside too - and there has been no time for us to actually work on it with this schedule.  So, the kids needing a break plus the yard needing to get done combined is what led to this ultimate decision for Collin to quit.
  • I have taken on two new projects outside of work. This is pretty vague and obviously nowhere near as heavy as the last two decisions, but still exciting. More details to come on these...soon'ish :)
  • Collin had to have emergency dental work and is scheduled for oral surgery.  Ugh. This one was no fun.  This all happened right at the same time as he was making his major job decision - the (One Inch!!) spurs on a random wisdom tooth that is above his molar wrapped themselves around a nerve and became infected. It was so infected and swollen that they couldn't remove the teeth right then, but put him on heavy pain meds and an antibiotic to take the swelling down. He was laid up in bed for a day and couldn't open his mouth at all for several days. He was scheduled for oral surgery the week after Memorial Day but had to cancel for a family funeral.  
  • Collin's uncle passed away unexpectedly over Memorial Day weekend. Tom was a good man and will be sorely missed by so many.
I think that about covers the heavy. Of course life has also been filled with the good and light too, I'll post about those next...

I've missed being here and hope this new life of ours will allow me some time to be back more often.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lenten Dig: to be continued

Oh, you guys, I'm sorry.  I really, really wanted to get these last two discussions up before the end of the Lenten season. Unfortunately, it's just not going to happen - I'm not yet done with the book. But we are going to finish this, just a bit delayed. I hope you've enjoyed the reading thus far and if you are reading along at home and are done with the book I would really like to hear your thoughts.



In the meantime, on this Good Friday I'm leaving you with this video of Kelley Mooney's Easter version of Hallelujah.  If you haven't seen this yet, take a listen; it is simply beautiful.