April 30, 2012

Build A Bear

 We went to Build A Bear Saturday afternoon for our friend Hannah's birthday party. She is in the front row, with the rainbow bear and peach ruffled skirt. We go to church with Hannah and were in dance with her this past Fall and Winter. Abby calls her Hannah Banana only :)

We had never been, beacuse it changes the mall for you! Every time we go by there it will be, "I want a bear. I need a new outfit." The time has come! She was able to pick any bear she wanted and selected the least expensive bear- hooray for that!

I was so excited she didn't freak out when we stuffed the bear. It was loud and different and she did great!

She named her bear Hannah Banana, then Leah, then Charlie, and today she has been called Abigayle. I did spend a little money to get her bear an outfit. She was adamant that she have rain boots, so we tried to work an outfit around that. :)

Happy Birthday Hannah Banana!

April 27, 2012

Fun Things in our Week

What a week filled with fun things we all have had! Today, Abby Lu and I had lunch with the four realtors I work for in honor or assistant's day/week. They took us to lunch at Z Tejas- yummy! And, beyond lunch, they showered me with 2 lovely gift certificates. Marcus and I get a fancy date night at Z Tejas and I get to do some crafting from Michael's. Seriously, do they know me or what!

Abby loved getting her own bowl of ice cream with lunch! Doesn't she look thrilled!

On Wednesday morning, Abby's friends Kiersten and Kaylinn came over to visit. Are they not beautiful girls! Their Mom had a doctor's appointment, so they came over to play for a couple of hours. Abby got to practice sharing and caring for others. Poor only child needs lots of practice :)

Let's not forget Marcus! He has wanted a fuel band for over a month and Nike finally restocked, before selling out in under 24 hours! I ordered his for his birthday and let him have it a month early. It is a cool watch, pedometer, and energy burn counter. He is having fun setting a goal and then trying to burn that fuel goal each day.

Oh what a fun week of treats!

April 23, 2012

Rules (and new Spring photos!)

I have heard many parents say that three is harder than two. Now that we are 4 months into age three, I completely agree. Not only does a three year old have the tantrums of a two year old, but they also have more reasoning skills. They can therefore wear you out physically and mentally. 

We spend a lot of time talking about rules and things like pay attention, look where you are going, focus, etc. I don't want to spend my days barking orders- I am sure that isn't fun for Abby. So, instead, I try and get down on her level and explain to her why she can't do certain things. I try to be consistent in my wording to make it stick with her.

In many ways it has stuck, because today in the car Abby sat and rattled off all the rules she is trying to remember. She told me:

  • Only Mommys and Daddys say no, little girls says yes m'am. We don't say no to our friends
  • Is blank a bad word? She is certain that she shouldn't say a bad word and is finding out which ones those are. She said her first bad word (D@mn it) a few weeks ago. Honestly we have no idea who taught it to her. Marcus slips on occasion, but that isn't a common word for him. 
  • When our friends are hurt, we don't cry about ourselves. We ask them if they are okay.
  • We don't love on Momma at the table. We eat at the table.
  • We have to stay in our bed until the sun comes up.
  • We listen to Momma and hold her hand when crossing the street so that we don't get run over.
  • We don't show our panties.
  • We only say poop when in the restroom. We can't say poop at the table.
  • Daddy is my best buddy. Not Momma, she isn't my friend. She is my Mom. (I actually like this one because I've had to tell her I am not her friend and that I can say NO to her!)
  • We have to eat all our dinner to get dessert.
  • Boys are stinky.

She also is throwing our words back at us and we have to remind her that Mommy and Daddy have different rights than Abby. Reasoning with her limited thinking can be tough! I understand where the phrase "I am the Mom and I said so" comes from. I can't always give her a logical explanation!

With all of that being said, I know these years and the time in learning how the world works will make her an outstanding young lady and I am certain she is worth it!

April 20, 2012

Sweet Michael

Abby had a date today with her friend Michael. He has a new little sister, a Dad out of the country for 10 days, and his poor Momma hurt her foot in a car accident this week. So, we grabbed him for a few hours to play today!

We picked Michael up just before lunch and headed to Chick-fil-A. The kids played for a few minutes and then it was lunchtime. Both ate their lunch and earned ice cream. The crew at CFA allowed them to go behind the counter and see how ice cream is made. I hope they realize Abby will expect to go behind the counter every time from now on!

After lunch we went to Big Bounce, a local inflatable place so they could be wild and crazy kids! Michael was so sweet and kept coming to me to find Abby. He wanted to play with her and she was being a crazy girl and all over the place! Both kids looked really tired on the car ride home!

A few things I learned with 2 kids today....
  • How do you decide who gets in the car first and who has to stand in the parking lot? Is it the one who listens better gets to roam the parking lot while you look away and buckle the other child?
  • When it is raining, you get really cold and wet buckling up 2 kids!
  • Going to the bathroom with a little boy is different.
  • Needing to go to the bathroom yourself with another person's child and a boy at that with you is awkward.
  • Boys are protective and will hit other little boys who push the little girl they are with. (I might have already known this one!)
  • Boys make funny noises. Michael taught Abby to snort like a pig and she has growled at me like a lion since our playdate.
  • Seeing Abby have a friend to high-five in the back seat makes me smile. She loved having someone sit beside her in the car. It doesn't happen very often.
  • One kid sure is easier :)

Hollywood's Saddle Ranch

Our last vacation post.... until we vacation again :)

On Sunday morning, we all went to Saddle Ranch. Katy had posted pictures from this place on Facebook and I added it to our agenda. It is fun, casual and has cotton candy on the menu!

We were there for a couple of hours and enjoyed bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Oh, and the 3 foot tall mountain of green apple cotton candy. It was seriously SO GOOD!

Thanks to his wife's encouragement and the bottomless drinks, Marcus did this. Hilarious!

April 19, 2012

iPhone Randoms

As much as I love the camera on my iPhone, this may become a regular post!

We celebrated my birthday on Tuesday afternoon with our friends Natalie, little Michael and sweet baby Caroline at Gigi's cupcakes. It was yummy- I tried Pistachio this time.

Abby is obsessed with Caroline and sang to her when she started fussing. Sweet girls!

This morning we went to the park to play. We ran to Starbuck's for tea, packed our breakfast and were o n the swings before 8:30. I wanted to do it early before it got warm, but then I freaked myself out that someone could steal us easily, so we left by 9. I like a busy park over a dead one.

Girlfriend looks awful here- post bath and orange popsicle. The point is that she can curl her tongue just like her Daddy. That is genetics which makes IVF parents happily reassured!

Monday we got a haircut and had lunch at Chick-fil-A. After we ate, Abby got to play for a few minutes and she did the big girl slide for the first time with me. Apparently she has done it for months for Marcus. I don't have a clue what that is about!

Summer has begun- we had BBQ chicken and grilled corn on the cob for dinner this week. That is my favorite summer meal. Watermelon would have made it perfection!

 She might kill me for this- Abby took a magazine from the guest bedroom to the potty one day during nap time. She told me, "I like to read when I poop". Oh boy!

Sunday after church we treated ourselves to a nice lunch- Cheesecake Factory. We shared appetizers and then all shared Strawberry Shortcake, my favorite dessert there. Abby discovered the whipped cream before I had my fingers on my spoon!

Finally, Sunday Marcus and I served in the 2 year old room at church. We found the gymboree bubbles and the bubble wand. Life changing! So great. We bought one an hour later!

Hope you are having a good week too!

April 18, 2012

More LA Vacation Pics

We did so many fun things on our vacation- I am almost done sharing fun times from our trip!

On Sunday afternoon, Katy and Ike and Marcus and I went to Venice Beach. There are lots of beaches in the area and I am certain they all have a different vibe. Venice had a hippie feel to it. Lots of local artists, pot shops (it is legal afterall), homeless people, etc. It was fun to walk the area and people watch.

The waves had made the news that day- they were big! Too big for us to see any surfers.

Katy and Ike's dog Finley joined us at the beach- he would get really close to the water and then when it would move toward him he would run with such glee!

One afternoon, we drove north to Calabassas. Apparently it is home to lots of celebrities and their places of work- we walked around The Biggest Loser Ranch and the Bachelor House.

BL Ranch is on a state park ground- King Jilette Ranch. It is pretty remote, but set in the most beautiful canyons. The whole area was picturesque and super quiet! I can't imagine the isolation the contestants must feel. It is a great place to focus though.

We think the picture above it the dorms. Below, Marcus in front of the gym. No contestants were onsite- the place was dead. So, we wondered around a little.

Below is the Presidential Mile, a loop that the contestants walk regularly on the show. I love anytime trees meet and touch to create a canopy. I'd love a slow walk on this path.

Just a few miles away from the BL Ranch is the home to many seasons of The Bachelor. The house is currently for sale, so the address has been released. It isn't lived in, but is a party and event rental space now. It was all looked up and even though I stood on the landscaping walls, I couldn't see much.

The driveway should look familiar to Bachelor fans, you always see the limos pull out and round this corner!

One last vacation post to come.... Marcus rides the mechanical bull at Saddle Ranch!

April 16, 2012

Meet Louise

Meet Louise, the name Abby has given to my new car! I'm not super fond of the name, but I do love my new car!

Marcus and I bought my car in 2008 and got every feature we could- I worked full time and had a new baby coming. I wanted everything and I paid for it every month. I was starting to hate my car payment and wanted to have more money for other things. So, we started looking at smaller SUVs. I did lots of searching online and decided I really liked the Mazda CX-7. There were tons of them online for under $20K, only 1-2 years old and less than 20K miles. 

The first one I fell in love with sold the night before I went to see it. Argh! Then, we went on vacation so I stopped looking. I didn't want to find another one online that I couldn't go see quickly.

The following weekend (Easter) I had done my research and found a 2012 with 700 miles and called 2 dealerships to see where it was. The online report was confusing- it appeared a South Austin dealership has sold it to their North Austin sister dealer. I made an appointment for the North Austin location, but had also called the south location. South called me back and offered me a brand new CX-7 for the same price as the one with 700 miles. SOLD!

Marcus picked it up on Friday afternoon and brought it home for me to drive. I liked it and on Saturday we went back and picked out a white one instead of silver. The silver had all black interior and I feared dust and crumbs would show and make me crazy. 

Louise is great- better gas mileage, qualifies as a green car for tax savings, drives like a car meaning it parks easier, more console space with iPhone plugs and audio jacks well hidden, and it fits in our garage easier. We gave up features like leather, DVD players in the headrest, heated seats and more. But, we also gave up a high car payment which makes me happy. The "free" month without a car payment is going toward a portable DVD player for Abby and a good tint job.

Hooray for Louise!

April 14, 2012

LA Vacation: Hollywood and The Price Is Right

After our WB tour and lunch at Pink's we toured Hollywood. It is busy and dirty and full of tourists! But, we had to see it. Marcus found his favorite movie stars and for $5 was able to fight them and then hug it out.

I, on the other hand, opted for a whole different kind of movie star. Is that not the best Tom Cruise impersonator? Amazing! He was just standing against the wall saying things like, "I love Katie" when people would walk by. 

We saw the Kodak Theater and the Chinese Theater and the stars on the Walk of Fame.

The famous Hollywood sign was easy to see from one of the Kodak Theater balconies.

On a separate morning, we had The Price is Right tickets. It was a process! You had to arrive at 8:30. We arrived at 7:45 and ended up being #266 and #267 in a line of only 300. The show began filming at 1 PM. There was lots of waiting, standing, paperwork, interviews,etc. We were not chosen, but the guy one seat in front of us was, so we will be on TV on April 26th! Exciting! Two cars were won on our episode!

Up next... the beach, Biggest Loser Ranch and The Bachelor house!

April 12, 2012

LA Vacation: Warner Bros and Pinks

Before we went to LA, we researched the different studios that have tours. We selected Warner Bros. and it was a great choice! The guide tailored the tour to the shows our group watched.

We took tons of pictures- here are some favorites!

Marcus where the final scene of Seinfeld was filmed. I think it was a diner during that episode.

This is the field in Friends where Ross plays rugby to compete with Rachel's boyfriend and gets "killed" on the field. It was so tiny in person and looked just massive on TV.

We are big fans of Big Bang Theory and were told this will be featured in an upcoming episode. See me and our tour friends in the window :)

This staircase look familiar? It is a real house built on the lot and was used as Monica and Ross' parents' house in Friends. Monica and Rachel came down these stairs for prom.

They had a whole studio of famous cars... the Mercedes is from The Hangover.

This is the set of many of Spiderman's wall climbing scenes!

Because friends was such a big hit, they have Central Perk all set up for people to see as it was when the show aired.

We were able to take our picture behind the couch. We learned that Gunther wasn't a part planned out. They needed a barista and he was an extra on set who had experience. After one episode people asked about him and he became a regular.

After our tour, we hopped over to Hollywood for lunch at Pinks, a famous hot dog stand around since 1939. It is old and small, but well known so we wanted to try it. You wait in line on the street forever and then eat on the patio in the back.

We had hot dogs, onion rings and grape and strawberry Crush sodas. Yummy! As you can tell, I am not as adventurous as Marcus with my hot dogs! I really do like a plain dog. I didn't love Pink's.... you could tell when you had bit through the dog casing and that freaked me out a little. 

Up next, Kodak Theater and Hollywood and the Price is Right!


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