Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Goodbye Kindergarten… Hello 1st Grade!

How in the name of all that is holy is it already mid-August, you guys? Seriously, just how. The bean attends a private school that has a different schedule than most of the schools in our area. With her schedule, the school year begins almost a month before most public schools and ends 3 weeks after everyone else has begun their summer break. The reason for this, is that her school is Mon-Thursday, with no class on Fridays (which we love). This means that summer break is only 8 weeks long for our gal and let me just say, 8 weeks come and go in a blink! I’m going to let this be my excuse as to why I didn’t get around to sharing her end of Kindergarten happenings before she was already back to school for first grade… I mean, it was just two months ago that I was like, aww, our little one’s finished Kindergarten… I can’t wait to share picks – and then BAM, it’s back to school time for our FIRST grader! Slow down, universe. Slow down.

Those last couple of weeks of Kindergarten were so much fun for Gracie. The bean’s school plans loads of themed days, family functions and end of year fundraisers, as the year comes to a close; and while it was a bit nuts, it was also a blast! We kicked off the end of year festivities with Teacher Appreciation Week, volunteering to bring some totally awesome teachers, some totally delicious coffee. Gracie was so excited to bring her teachers a small gesture of thanks; but was even more excited that she was able to drop the coffee off in the teachers’ lounge, as she felt it was an off-limits room that only her special self could enter. ;)

The next event on the docket was yearbook signing day, or Spirit Day, as they called it. Gracie’s school makes really nice yearbooks for the kiddos, which I thought was just the cutest thing ever. The books are bound and full of glossy picture-covered pages and the Bean even made it onto a few pages herself. The kids were able to pre-order and were given time to sign each other’s yearbooks. So cute to watch, btw. The school opted to include a quote from former, would-be impeached president Nixon on the back cover, which I thought was just so random. Of all the presidents to quote… lol. #weird

Tourist Day was another end of year themed day and it happened to work out perfectly that it followed a weekend that we had visited the Zoo. Grace was able to pick out a souvenir at our Zoo trip and chose bright pink zebra print binoculars and still had her map we used to check out all the animals. This matched with her cute straw hat made for one adorable tourist dressed gal!

She was the most adorable cowgirl the next day for Western Wednesday and then rocked red, white and blue ending the last week of school, all dressed up for USA Day! She insisted on wearing her red, white and blue, glitter-covered headband even though it left her (and my vehicle) COVERED, head to toe in sparkles. I still haven’t gotten it out of my seats…

Now for the FIRST day of FIRST grade | Our big girl!

We always like to start the school year with goodies for the teachers and this year was no different. As I posted a few weeks ago, Gracie helped me put together little goodie bags for her new teacher and teacher’s aide and they turned out so cute! Each had a themed cup, a gift card, a few snacks and some Starbucks Refreshers.

The weekend before school was to begin, G took all of us to the mall, as she does every year to buy Gracie some school clothes. We didn’t go as crazy this year as we did last year, because our gals stayed super active over the summer and still fits into all her outfits from last year. She did pick a flower dress that she adored and decided that this would be what she wore on her first day. She also hand-picked a pink Dallas Cowboys back pack that made her Nani so proud and I’m sure her Grandpa Rudy was smiling down on her for going with his #1 team too!

We are now 2 weeks into the school year and so far, so good! This year Gracie’s schedule will be filled with lots of 1st grade homework assignments, her nightly reading program, USA Girls Swim practice 3x/week and Georgia’s in the process of getting her into Karate. It’s going to be a busy year for sure, but it’s going to be great!

Monday, August 6, 2018

2018 Summer Bucket List // Part 1

Warning: This post is long as hell and rather pictures heavy… I have so much to catch you guys up on and I’ve been trying to get this written since July 3rd! Well, it’s finally finished, so here goes…

So, truth be told, I had zero intentions of doing a SBL this year. Then I realized, (mid-June) that I am incapable of posting on a regular basis; so doing a semi-monthly SBL wrap-up is likely the only way I’m going to update ya’ll on our life this summer. It’s also the only thing that’s going to motivate me to upload pictures from my iPhone… which I suck at doing. I wish I was good at jumping on the computer following every fun outing or family event, but I’m just not. Between work + carting the kids all over town for morning drop-offs and summer camps + starting back at the gym and then squeezing out every last bit of energy just to make dinner and clean the godforsaken kitchen every night, most nights blogging falls right off the to-do list. And then throw in the fact that I’m catching up on Handmaid’s Tale and forget it, lol!  I’m sure there’s lots of other parents out there who feel me on this, because adulting is exhausting and I’m tired, like all the time (and Handmaid’s Tale is an amazing show – am I right?!)

I made my first Summer Bucket List way back in 2011 and since then, I’ve LOVED that so many other LGBT mama bloggers have joined in. Following other friends’ summer adventures always motivates me to get our family out of the house, to get more active and soak up that vitamin D! This kind of motivation also could not come at a better time, because G and I are going through some major changes over here.

10 weeks ago, we both decided that we were sick of being overweight and tired all the damn time. There were a few things that happened to bring the need for this change to light, one being that I couldn’t play on the monkey bars with Gracie earlier in the summer, without feeling like my arms were going to rip off… That wasn’t fun; but the big one was when my wedding ring got stuck on my swollen finger and we couldn’t get it off! Knowing there was a chance I’d have to stop wearing the wedding ring that I love and that my out-of-shape self was getting in the way of having fun with my kids, was the final straw(s) for me. Everything involved in our adjustment to living a healthier life could be one epic post in itself, but here it is in a nutshell. Basically, every time I’ve lost a significant amount of weight over the past 10+ years, it’s been because I’ve taken diet pills + severely restricted my eating… so pills + starve thyself was my way to go. Sure, I could drop 60 pounds in 6 months, but it was never the result of healthy eating, the changing of bad habits, or exercise… And what I’ve finally realized at 36 years old, is that the magic of diet pills only lasts as long as you take them, which means you gain everything back and then some, plus they’re so bad for your heart and I’m just getting too old to mess around with that. June 4th, 2018 was the big day when we both got started on this journey! 

We’re working out 5x/week, we’re following a Keto-ish diet, drinking less booze and making sure to consume 64+ fl oz. of water everyday. For the first time in years, I’m not a sweaty puddle of misery out in the sun because I’m no longer taking pills that make my heart race, so there’s lots of fun outdoorsy things we’ve been doing that I’m excited about! It’s hard to start another journey to a healthier life, as we’ve been in this place so many times before. With that being said though, I’m proud of us for doing it right this time around and refusing to give up on ourselves. We have so many more years that we need to live for these kids of ours and the last thing we want is for Gracie and Will to be burdened as adults with the chronic ailments that would plague their moms, should we remain heavy. More on this later. :) 

Back to our Summer Bucket List. Below are the mostly fun things we’ve done so far this summer, with much more to be shared in the coming weeks/months. I’m thinking this will be part 1 of a 3-part series… hopefully, lol!

Have a Staycation at a Resort | Mommy Turns the BIG 4-0!

Earlier this summer the wifey turned FORTY, the BIG 4-0! When I started dating Georgia, she had just turned 28 years old, so you can imagine how crazy it was to celebrate G entering her 30’s and then entering her 40’s together, all in what felt like a flash.

I’m so proud of my wife for how well she handled turning 40, haha! She’s a pretty low to no drama person, so as her birthday month approached, she didn’t really freak out at all. She did say over and over (and over) that she “didn’t feel forty” and that she didn’t think she “looked 40”, which I always agreed with, of course! What was most important to G was that she ring in her 40’s with her favorite people, so it was me and her brother Dean’s mission to make that happen – and thus the party planning began. 

We had lots of options when it came to throwing this birthday extravaganza. There’s several new resorts that have been built in New Mexico in recent years, but we wanted to find one that was a bit out of town, so that it really did feel like a mini-vacay. We ended up finding the perfect place, about an hour’s drive, that could accommodate our big family for a formal sit-down dinner and then had awesome suites for the party nights that followed. Now when I say party, I mean, adjoining rooms where we could safely put our kiddos to bed, then party-it-up one room over, with the in-between door cracked so we could check on the babies 447 times… I know, we’re lame, but… #momlife… We loved that the resort’s suites had access to a private patio that was absolutely beautiful. Think Secret Garden, with a pool and hot tub. It was amazing! The big to-do was Georgia’s birthday dinner, where we treated 30 of G’s closest friends and family to a cocktail hour, followed by a 3-course traditional New Mexican dinner that was delicious. Dinner was then followed by a big ass cake that was the best I’d ever tasted! Georgia didn’t know that any of this was planned until the day before, when I told her that she needed to pack and she just couldn’t believe it!

We stayed up way too late those first 2 nights, but also had a spa + pool + room service which assisted with our recovery, so we survived. The grounds were gorgeous and the kids LOVED the pool, the slides and fountains and gourmet dessert tables that were all over the place.

Between Gracie’s 6th birthday, followed by Will’s 1stbirthday party just 3 weeks later, and then jumping in a car to head to G’s surprise bday, the same day as Will’s party… good Gawd! It wasn’t easy, but so worth it to make my sweet wife feel loved and special on her 40th! I hope she’ll always have fond memories of that weekend.

Go to a BBQ | Happy Cinco de Mayo

My mom and stepdad finally had their housewarming party and it was the cutest Cinco de Mayo themed “BBQ” imaginable!

Together with G, my sis-in-law and mom, we decorated everything with piñatas, flowers, Mexican themed designer linens and every other cliché Cinco de Mayo thing you could possibly imagine. The house was packed, as my mom invited 170 people and I swear everyone who walked in the door had a bottle of tequila and not just the regular tequila, but the imported good kind. They had a taco bar, a margarita and sangria bar and a table of desserts that we noshed on all day. A good friend of theirs did the home blessing, which was so sweet and really the whole reason for the event. I wish I could say that I partied it up, but G had a work function that evening + we have an active 1 year old to chase around, so it was a 2-drink kind of day. 2 drinks + a shit ton of tacos. ;)

The girls got into the guest closet in “their room” at Nani’s house that afternoon and somehow found me and my sister’s First Holy Communion dresses… Yes, once upon a time, I was Catholic. They took it upon themselves to get all dressed up and then came out and did a fashion show for us. Mia wore my sister’s dress and Gracie wore mine. They looked so stinkin’ adorable! Such a fun day.

Have a Family Night | Happy Mothers’ Day, or whatever...

I’m not sure why, but for the past 3 Mothers’ days, Georgia and I have fought. I think it has something to do with sharing the holiday + too many expectations + having to still cater to our own (high maintenance) mothers + having to do special things for each other’s moms + the fact that my mom always hijacks the holiday and decides for herself what EVERYONE else is going to do, which tends to tick me off, as I’ve had to live under Queen Elizabeth’s rule my entire life (and yes, my mom’s name really is Elizabeth)... Basically, it’s not been the best and I’m kind of over it, if I’m just being honest.

Every Moms’ Day there are pockets of happiness and sweet moments, like when Gracie gives us the presents she made, or when we’re all finally seated having a mimosa and relaxing together – but the stress of it all is, ugh. We’re always running late. Things get forgotten. It’s f-ing hot outside. G leaves the bulk of the Moms’ Day responsibilities to me, ALWAYS and I get pissed. My mom gets hella bossy and is never happy with at least one of her kids, and I’ve decided that the day really isn’t about you as a mom, but rather, all the other moms in your life. If that makes any sense.
This year we went and ate as a family at the restaurant where I worked in high school. The food was ok and I really loved the painting Gracie made me. That’s all. Here’s some pictures…

Visit the Aquarium | New Career, Who Dis?

So, let me start by saying that I LOVE the new company that recruited Georgia. She works in banking now and I must brag for a moment about how amazing she’s done in this new industry. Firstly, she was hired into a leadership position, even though she hadn’t working in banking since she was 19 years old. Once in the new position, she 100% killed it and was promoted to an Officer of the Bank, just 4 months in! I know – it was nuts! (but not really if you know Georgia and how talented and crazy smart she is). This promotion came with a very sweet pay increase AND a beautiful corner office with a view. The new position required that she move to their corporate office and her office now overlooks the downtown business district, which makes me a bit jealous because I’ve always wanted to work there.

She works for a very modern and privately-owned bank, so they invest more in their employees than I’ve ever personally witnessed a company do. In the less than 6 months that she’s worked there, she’s received 2 pay increase. She now has her own huge (decorated) office. They’ve paid for our entire family to attend a semi-pro baseball game with amazing seats + meals and drinks (even the good kind) included. They are flying her, all expenses paid to Nashville in October for a conference to further develop her skills in the industry – and guess who gets to come with her?! We’re making a, “first moms only trip since Will was born” vacay out of it and I can’t wait! One of the other things they did for us – and why I’m mentioning all of the above; is that we recently went to their quarterly Employee Appreciation Event at the BioPark Aquarium and it was so awesome.

The bank rented out the entire Aquarium, feed all employees and their families a 3-course dinner with steak that was to die for and had an open bar, complete with free Uber lifts home. We didn’t get to take advantage of the open bar or free ride home because #momlife, but I still thought it was way cool that they did that for their employees.

The best part of the night was that they arranged for groups to go upstairs to the “employees only area” of the Aquarium where we could view the water tanks from above – something neither G or I had ever done and it was the coolest! The last time we visited the Aquarium with Will, he was just 3weeks old, so this was like a whole new world for him and he and Gracie had the best time. It was such a fun night that they were both snoring like bears before we even hit the highway going home. :)

Go to the Zoo | Using our Unlimited Summer Pass!

For Gracie’s 6th birthday, her grandparents bought her an annual pass to our local Zoo and BioPark, which we were so excited about! We usually only visit the Zoo once to twice a year, so the challenge we now have for April 2018 – March 2019, is to visit the Zoo and Aquarium as often as possible, especially because we can bring up to 3 guests in addition to our family of 4 for free!

To use our pass for the first time we thought, who better to invite than Gaga and Papa and they were more than happy to join. The last time we took Will to the Zoo he was just 3 months old, so I was super excited to see how he was going to react this time to the sights and sounds of the Zoo. This cutie LOVED it all and his reactions did not disappoint. :)

One of the highlights of the afternoon was taking a train ride as a family for the first time. Not even our gal had ever been on the Zoo Train and she was ready to lose her mind by the time it left the station. We spent the rest of the day eating junk food, chasing Will around and visiting all the animals.

Look at this cutie in his safari Zoo attire. #icanteven

Go to a Baseball Game | Again, We LOVE Mommy’s New Company!

I wrote quite a bit about how awesome G’s new job is, so I won’t go into that again, but with this being Will’s 2nd ball game, but the first as a bigger baby – we were super excited and he looked just so stinin’ cute!

G’s company purchased an entire section of amazing seats for the employees and their families. We ate hotdogs, popcorn, had a few beers and ate way too much cotton candy as we watched our team kicked butt! Gracie was crazy happy hopped up on sugar, running around everywhere. It was “Harry Potter” night, the night we went, so she wore her favorite Harry Potter t-shirt and so did Georgia and Will. I don’t personally own any Harry Potter attire, however I loved seeing my tribe so happy in their little Harry Potter baseball themed world.

Such a fun day!

Alright, here’s my goal – write SBL part II at some point in August, lol! I think I can, I think I can!

* 2018 Family Summer Bucket List *

ü  Have a Staycation – Check
ü  Go to a BBQ – Check
ü  Have a Family Night – Check
ü  Visit the Aquarium – Check
ü  Go to the Zoo – Check
ü  Go to a Baseball Game – Check

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