Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friday Daydreamin': Now that's Big $$$$

Happy Friday y'all! It's my favorite time of the bloggy week - I love looking at vacation & travel photos - I grab a big cup of coffee and dream away!  

While at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and History Museum, my son spotted this in a display case.  

"WOW- Mom, mom - look at this - is that real??"

A guide just happened to be standing there and confirmed for us that yes, indeed the $1000 was real.  Apparently, it was printed in the mid 1930s and have been taken out of circulation due to the use of these high denominations in drug trafficking.  Huh.

Pretty cool - tI just love it when my kiddos discover something cool that I would have breezed right past.

What are you daydreaming about today?  Link up over at R We There Yet Mom, Delicious Baby, and Budget Traveler's Sandbox for their Travel Photo Memes. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ten Things to Smile About: March

I can hardly believe that the month of March is almost over.  seriously.  Wasn't it just Christmas yesterday???

March was a spectacular month for the Darlings.  We gained not ONE but TWO new cousins!!!! Matt's Brother had Baby #3 - an adorable Girl and his Sister had her first - a precious baby Boy!! Being that they live far far away from us, I have no pictures to share.  But you know they would be the top of my list of Things to Smile about this month!!

With Spring Break, we had a ton of things to smile about this month, but I was able to narrow it down: 
1. Daddy & Daughter Dance - Sis was the perfect Alice with the dance theme being "Alice & Wonderland".  This may be their last dance, as it is "totally not cool to do this in middle school mom".  So, I was happy they were able to go this year - I always want to be a fly on the wall at these things! 
2. That same night, Brody earned his Bear Badge, making his next step a Webelo Scout.  He loves Cub Scouts and can't wait to get to Boy Scouts where he can go camping on his own with his Den. 
3. Sis was a part of her school's BlueBonnet Book Club and was selected to go to the district level competition.  It was a Jeopardy - type competition over the 40-something books on the list.  It was pretty exciting - so proud of my girl!
4. Over Spring Break, we headed to SeaWorld and I was a little nervous about if Bubba would enjoy it and how he would last all day without a nap.  He did awesome!  Waited pretty well for the shows and hardly fussed a bit.  He loved seeing the animals and the shows made him laugh.  Best of all, he really enjoyed his first ride!
5. A visit to South Congress in Austin is never complete without my favorite Hey Cupcake! from the airstream trailer. We tried their new John Lemon (get it?) - not bad, but I'll stick with my SweetBerry, thanks! should also be able to teach you how to make your own delectable cupcakes.
6. It is really hard to pick a favorite thing we did over Spring Break.  Honestly, we did a TON.  But something that captured us for a good half hour was the Bubble room at the Mayborn Museum in Waco - all the kids loved having a bubble built around them!
7. This picture makes me smile - Bubba was dragged around with us on Spring Break and handled no naps, lots of walking, and forced stroller time like a champ.  One afternoon we sat under a big oak tree in a hanging swing by the river and relaxed.  Sis shot this picture.  Can you see the love??
8. With Dad working, much of the exploring was with the kids & myself. But on Friday night of the break, we were able to take Dad to the famed Coopers BBQ in Llano.  We pigged out - it was so yummy - and still saved room for dessert - Matt's favorite blackberry cobbler!
9. One last thing that makes me smile?  Planning April Fools Jokes!  And the fact that I get to write for Quirky Momma each Monday (ok, that's two things).  Check out this latest post!!  And visit the Quirky Momma website often- there are TONS of great ideas of things to do with your kids for all age groups!

10. Lastly, this fun recap of our Spring Break makes me smile the most - Not the video itself, but the memory of trying to get the kids to dance everywhere we went - Brody balked at the idea, as you can see.  Except at one point - can you see where?

Linking up with these fun ladies today!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Grandma

My paternal Grandma is 85 years old.  Believe me, I know how blessed I have been to have had her all 38 years of my life.  My earliest memories of her are in the kitchen - man, can she cook.  Lasagna, Chicken Kiev, Curry, the best Christmas cookies you have ever had, homemade cakes, Monkey Bread, Eggs Benedict, and on and on.  I once watched her cook a hot German Potato Salad from a 1945 Betty Crocker cookbook and did not skip one step or take one shortcut.  Man, that was the best potato salad I have ever had.  

Recently, my Grandma, my Aunt and I threw a shower for my cousin.  Grandma insisted on making homemade Petit Fours - just like the ones she made for my mom's wedding shower in the 60's.  I tried to convince her that buying them from a bakery would be so much easier - but she wouldn't hear of it.

The day of the shower, Grandma and I tackled the Petit Fours.
And we both agreed that it would be her last time to make them and my first and definitely LAST time to make them too!
They may not have been pretty - we just couldn't figure out the right consistency to make the icing stay on the side s- but they were "oh-my-goodness" good. Don't ask how many of these bad boys I ate that day.
I don't care if they weren't pretty.  I love the one-on-one time I got with Grandma.
She is one amazing lady, my Grandma.  The wife of a Military Officer, she has survived WWII as a new wife, the Korean War as a mom, an Alaskan Earthquake, multiple heart surgeries, and the death of her oldest son.  She is compassionate and loving, and strong, and matriarchal.  She is the most organized woman I know - you should see her spice cabinet - and goes all out for family events.  Even at her age, she still wants to cook an elaborate dinner for everyone's birthdays.
You think she would be set in her ways, pushing away the modern conveniences of our century.  Nope - this lady can handle her cell phone perfectly - in fact she prefers to use it!  She has a whole slew of TV shows stored on her DVR and is always telling me about the "good ones".  And she reads voraciously.  In fact, she and I trade book reviews often.
As her eldest granddaughter, it is hard for me to come to terms with Grandma growing older.  I have known her as a young Grandma who would go swimming with me and get on the floor and play barbies.  Yet, it is so refreshing to me that I can have an adult conversation with her - get her advice on things - and hear new stories of her life as a mom of 4 children.  In fact, I found out the other day that she was a Tupperware saleswoman!  
I am so happy that my children have gotten to know her as "Grandma" too. Brody has a special bond with her - as a little boy he just loved to sit in her lap - and now as he is growing, I notice that he still gives her long hugs.  She is an amazing model of a loving Grandma - one I hope to inspire to be just like one day.
And when I am 85 and married for over 60+ years to the love of my life - I want to be smiling into my golden years - just like these 2 cuties!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why is this so Funny???

Growing up in the South, I was taught to be a lady.  Say excuse me, thank you, may I please....etc. Hold the door open for others, offer assistance always, and more. And I appreciated learning those manners, as they were instilled at a young age and are all automatic now.  I catch myself doing the same thing with my kids to make sure they remember their manners too.

But my hubby derails that.  No, I don't mean he's a uncouth pig that came from the north (no offense).  He is very polite.  Until it comes to passing gas.

You know...tooting.

I was taught that you go to another room to toot alone, or if someone else accidentally toots, you make no note of it, don't laugh and make someone feel out of place.  That is the polite way to handle it.

But not Matt.  It's a HUGE JOKE to him.  And he has taught my kids that it is the funniest thing on the earth. I know that if all of them are giggling uncontrollably in the other room - don't go in there without a gas mask.  They laugh at noisy ones, long ones, silent but deadly ones..... much for my well-mannered children.

And they can recall perfectly the time that mom has tooted (which is NOT that many - I go in the other room, remember?).  They just love to throw me under the bus and tell those stories.  Seriously, the one when I was pregnant is NOT THAT FUNNY!

But what can this mom do?  If I can't beat them, I have to join them.

Last night Bubba was in a singing mood and wanted to skype his "Gwa".  No one was online, and wanting to capture his song, I pulled open a movie and recorded this:

Why do I laugh uncontrollably every time I watch this movie??  Darn you Matt - I used to think tooting was shameful.  I used to cringe when I heard the F word (f*rt- ugh I still hate it!).  And by golly, I never would have thought my son tooting on camera was funny.  But now, I giggle along with them.

Oh dear, what's next?  Everyone eats with their hands???

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Quick Spring Break Re-Cap

Ok friends, lesson learned!  7 days of non-stop fun = one tired momma!

I am so pooped and coming down with a cold, but I would not change a thing from last week - everything was perfect - the weather in the mid 70's, each day went off without a hitch, even Bubba was on his best behavior (most of the time).  And we had what we will remember as one of the best Spring Breaks ever.

I sorted through 1200 photos that I took (remember, I will be blogging about all these places we went to over at R We There Yet Mom?. ) and narrowed it down to these few to give you a glimpse of our week.  I'll tell you more about the fun days we had when I can catch my breath! For now,  here is a tiny recap.
 Day One: SeaWorld San Antonio - we haven't been in years, so Matt took the day off and down we went.  The shows are even better than I remember.  The rides are very fun with relatively little wait time - here is Bubba on his first ride of the day!
 Matt & Bubba playing around - he was so good as we waited for the shows and waited for food and waited for rides.  Yes, we and what felt like the entire state of Texas was there that day.  It was crazy busy, but it didn't bother us.
 Day Two: Hike a local spot here in Austin - Mt. Bonnell - It's an easy hike up to see the beautiful view of Lake Austin on one side and downtown Austin on the other.  After our hike, we picnicked at Zilker Park and checked out the Austin NAture & Science Center where we dug up Dino bones in this huge pit of sand.  An absolutely wonderful day that didn't cost a dime! Yay!
 Day Three: Took us up to Waco to visit the Mayborn Museum.  This complex features an incredible Natural History museum that my kids really did enjoy.  But what they loved the most were the 17 (yep 17!) individual rooms at the Children's Museum.  They especially loved the bubble room.....
 We spent over 4 hours here and loved every minute of it.  Can't wait to talk about it on my other site - it is a true gem.
After our fun, we headed over to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & History Museum, where we learned all about the Texas Rangers (no - not the baseball team, the law enforcement division).  The kids played a fun scavenger hunt here.
To finish our busy day in Waco, we had to stop by the Mammoth Site - 19 sets of complete mammoth skeletons were discovered here in the late 70's and only recently, they opened this up to the public to see the last 2 they did not excavate.  It was fascinating to see the size of these things!  For more information about mammoths, check out online paleontology classes that can teach you how slow birth rate and climate change caused mammoth extinction.
 Measuring up to see how they compare to a Mammoth!
 Day Four: We headed out to the Hill Country and went directly to the LBJ Ranch and Historic Park.  President LBJ gave his land to the government to create a historic park where you can go and see his old schoolhouse, tour his "Texas White House", where he spent 25% of presidency at, and tour the working ranch.
 In the barns, the kids were able to feed and play with 5 week old goats - I just loved these pics!
 Day Five: Started with the Vanishing Texas River Cruise, where we were taken by boat to an abandoned town that was moved in the 1930's when a dam was built.  The town is covered in water 6 months out of the year and it was really cool to hear the history of it all.  Brody says this was one of his favorites!
 After that, we went to Longhorn Caverns - one of 7 caverns in Texas you can go into with a guided tour.  What makes this one unique is that it was created by a river- the walls are so smooth!  What was also funny was we ran into our neighbors while we were on the tour!
 Dinner that night was the famous Cooper's BBQ in Llano - I have been wanting to go for years! The ribs melted in your mouth.  Delish!!
 Day Six: We took the kids to the Sweet Berry Farms to pick strawberries.  We had a ton of fun doing it, but man those are tartest strawberries I ever tasted!!
While we were there, little Bubba took a quick train ride too!

Did you make it through?  I'm exhausted just typing it all out.  Looking back, we did a ton, but we took our time and never felt rushed.  Yes, it was all planned this way so that I could write about all 20+ places we visited last week.  But it was a completely do-able and enjoyable schedule.  The kids and I learned so much history and saw so many cool things, that we have been talking about it for days. I know in a few short years, hanging out with mom for Spring Break is going to be at the bottom of the list, so I am taking it all in while I can!

Linking up this post with my girls, Impulsive Addict and Seriously Shawn (who I get to see in less than 43 days - are you jealous???) for their Talk To Us Tuesday meme.  Link up whatever you got- there are NO rules!!

Soccer Season Has Begun!

Soccer Season has begun for us y'all.  And what exactly does that mean?
Practice 4 nights a week and at least 2 (sometime 3-4) games a weekend.  Both my older kiddos play.


I'm an official mini-van driving soccer mom.
And this guy?  He finds fun ways to entertain himself, seeing as he was practically raised going to soccer all the time....
When Brody doesn't have a game, he finds ways to entertain himself too - his favorite is climbing goal posts.
This particular Sunday game was a perfect day to capture some shots of my girl doing what she loves....
And this silly boy....
Matt still coaches (in the background) Sis's team - it's his last year, so he is a little sad about it.  He has coached her since she was 4 and it's time to let the professional coaches have her.
Personally, I feel nothing but pride watching her play.  She is so serious and passionate about playing well....and winning. Don't get me wrong, she enjoys every minute of it and can't imagine playing another sport.  In fact, at this point, her goal is to become a professional soccer player....and an artist.  We'll see how that works out for her.
In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy watching her play - I think she's awesome - I'm her momma - I'm supposed to, right?
Go Sis!
Yep - I love it.  And despite all the craziness that 4 practices a week bring us, I wouldn't change it for the world.  Someday I 'm going to miss the chaos!
*Yes, Brody plays too and I will soon get pics of his game up here too - haven't been to one with great weather yet 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Friday Daydreamin': My Family

Wow, I can not believe how fast this week went by!  We have had SO much fun this week!  OUr Spring Break has been exhausting, with activities planned every day.  But I wouldn't change it a bit - I have truly enjoyed every minute I spent exploring with my family.

In fact, it is Thursday morning, and we are packing to head to the lake for the weekend - fun things planned there - visiting LBJ Ranch, climbing Enchanted Rock, visiting Longhorn Caverns, getting some awesome pie......and more.

So, this Daydream is early...and not so much a daydream but a moment of Gratitude.  I am so very thankful to have spent my Spring Break with my sweet family.  We didn't have to go far to have a great time together.
What are you doing for Spring Break or what did you do?  Tell us about it over at R We There Yet Mom?.  Link open this evening! I'd love to hear your stories!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cousin Love

I am blessed to have grown up near my cousins.  We were best buddies even though I was the oldest - we played Barbies together and danced like Madonna when we were kiddos.  
And though we have grown up (and slightly apart), there is still always that comfortableness that come with being in a family together.  
My kids LOVE to play with their cousins - they are like add-on siblings to play and have sleep-overs with.  
It warms my heart to see my kiddos with their cousins.
 And even though we live far apart and see each other only a few times a year, my kids love spending time with their cousins.
 Especially these 3 - the youngest 3 (until last week!!).
 When they were together this summer and over the Holidays, they loved running around together in a pack, causing mischief.
 And these two little boys - so close in age - didn't quite understand how to share - there were constant battles for toys, fussing over ownership, and general natural competitiveness.  We just laughed about it.
Cause we KNOW they will be BEST BUDS as they grow up.
Sis is the oldest of the Darling clan - This past week added 2 more cousins to the family too!  A GIRL & a  BOY!!  Just more cousins to love on!
My hope is the hugs & kisses continue and they grown up valuing how special it is to be surrounded by cousins.

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