Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Go Camping!

My little familia just got back from what was without a doubt the most enjoyable camping trip we’ve ever had as a family of 3! We were joined by loads of friends, it didn’t rain on us (yay!) and the food, ohhhh the food! As I shared in last year’s camping post, our good friend Anthony’s family owns property in the beautiful Pecos Mountains and it’s become our favorite camping site. The property is lined by the river with tall mountains on each side and the terrain is amazing. A’s family always joins us for a big cookout on our last night there, as they did this year, and it’s always great to catch up with them and learn new ways to cook fish from the pros themselves!

Grace was counting down the days to our camping excursion this past weekend and was soooo excited. The day before we left she asked me in the most serious voice she could muster, “Mama, do you think we’ll see Elsa and Olaf in the mountains?” These are the kinds of questions that make having a talkative and curious toddler so very awesome. She wanted to take all of her stuffed buddies with us and was so looking forward to sleeping with her mamas. We packed light but made sure to bring the camping essentials like green chile for breakfast, worms for fishing, hiking shoes, our fishing poles and stuff to make s’mores! And because G insists on bringing 5 million gallons of water anytime we camp, it definitely helped that we traveled in a bigger vehicle for this trip. Yes my friends, Georgia has officially become a lesbian clichĂ©… She bought a truck! I will say, I LOVE it and it pulled the camper like a dream but still, it’s pretty funny that she finally caved and bought one. It was a hard sell for me because experiences over this past year have turned me into a saver, not a spender but it was a great deal that we couldn’t pass up (plus it’s so pretty) so we’re happy with it.

Behold! Our new family truck that has yet to be named. ;)

G and I were pumped when we found out that Gracie’s “guncles”, Chris and Leo were going to join us for this trip. Leo is an MD, so his schedule is pretty crazy but they were able to work things out and come up for Friday and Saturday! It’s been many a camping trip and several years since they last joined in the outdoor fun and while their son wasn’t able to come along, I think his dads enjoyed having some grown-up time catching up with all of us. Grace spent the weekend chasing their dog Lexi. She was obsessed. Obsessed!

The mornings and evenings were spent cooking, which is honestly one of my favorite things about camping. While we cooked up a storm Grace explored with her Guncles, Anthony and Brandon, collecting flowers and rocks that she later threw in the river. She got to see a small snake, butterflies, bees, fish, some baby gophers, a few spiders and dragonflies on her exploration of the grounds. G and I (being the helicopter moms that we are) made sure she was in sight at all times. I think we were both afraid that she was going to get snatched up by a bear or jump in the river the entire time… Poor kid… It can’t be easy having two moms watching your EVERY move at all times. I’m sure she’s used to it at this point though. It certainly did appear to dampen her fun. ;)

Fishing was a big to-do on this trip and something we spent the majority of our days attempting to do... Yes, attempting, ha! We brought Gracie’s little fishing pole and G tied a small plastic fish to the end of her line so she was as happy as a clam thinking she was really fishing while I attempted to catch a fish for the first time ever. Sure I’ve hung around other people while they’ve fished but I’ve always been told that I’m too loud to go on fishing trips and it’s never really been my thing. While guess what people? I caught a fish!! I caught it with a single worm and I wasn’t even paying much attention when my line started to pull. Gracie thought it was just about the most exciting thing she’d ever seen (probably because I was screaming as I tried reeling it in) and after we had the poor thing on dry land Grace couldn’t wait to touch it. I’m telling you, this kid of ours is fearless. I didn’t even want to touch the slimy thing. She actually touched quite a few fish over the weekend. Eww.

We spent our nights under the stars in front of a big campfire.

Did lots of catching up with good friends.

Slept snug as a bug in our big camper bed all together. :)

Admired our daily catch before eating them up!

We fished some more…

We enjoyed some of the best camping coffee around. Even the Bean got in on the coffee goodness. :)

At the end of the weekend Grace had one small request. She wanted to, “Say goodbye to the river”. I walked her over and watched as she picked a flower, walked right up to the water, threw it in and waved goodbye. It was definitely a special moment in this mama’s life. One of those teenie tiny moments that you hope you’ll never forget.

Summer Bucket List: Go Camping – check!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Backyard Remodel

You guys, our backyard remodel is FINALLY finished! Woot, woot! After 2 months of sunburns, back aches and blisters, I was starting to think this day would never come but it did. As I posted a few days ago, we’ve already hosted a gathering in our lovely new space and dinner on the back patio has become a regular thing around here. I don’t know why we waited so long to do this and I’m mildly ashamed of the fact that the only reason we even started working out back was because we were planning to sell our home… I guess the important thing isn’t when we started or why but that we did it, right? Ha! In any case, we love the way everything turned out and we LOVE, love the fact that we were able to do it all at very little cost.

I can’t believe I’m sharing these “before” pictures because they are absolutely hideous and a bit embarrassing but oh well.  Here’s what we did:

* Rototilled and leveled the backyard.
* Covered the area with lawn fabric.
* Covered half the backyard and dog run in gravel (that we got for free from a dude who wanted to get rid of it)!

* Pulled about a million weeds. For the record, I detest weeds.
* Built a large flowerbed where we planted passion vines.
* Power washed the existing cement patio(s).
* Removed stone on the side yard, washed and replaced it.

* Plotted off an area of the backyard and filled it with rubber mulch.
* Added solar lighting to the walkway leading to the backyard.
* Planted lots of flowers.
* Purchased a new patio set and umbrella.

* Cleaned and leveled the dog run.
* Moved paver stones to the dog run creating a space where the doggies can get water and play in their water bucket.
* Covered the dog run with a large hanging solar sunshade.

Now, were those “before” pictures horrible or what? Dear Lord. I’m so happy to have a new pretty place to spend family time and I’m happy to report that since we started working outside Grace has watched way less television and we’ve burned lots of calories in the process. A win, win in my book!
Happy summer, friends. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

She’s going to the chapel!

My mom is getting married and we’re so flippin’ excited! We’re happy because she’s sooooo happy and we are happy because her fiancĂ© Kevin is pretty great. He’s sweet and loving and so very kind. They really are perfect for each other.

My ma has tried her best to keep things with her engagement low-key thinking that it would be inappropriate to make a big deal out of the fact that she’s getting MARRIED and well, I disagree. I love that they both want a destination wedding because that means we’ll all get to go somewhere tropical as a family and lord knows we had a blast the last time we did that, but still... There needs to be a little celebrating here at home too!

With that in mind, Georgia and I threw my mom and K a low-key, somewhat impromptu engagement party this past weekend and it was perfect. At first, I sold my mom on the idea by masquerading it as a Sunday family night, which we often have. Once she agreed to that I let her know that we would also have a little champagne to cheers the upcoming wedding. From there we picked out a few decorations, some cute wedding accessories for the guests of honor and kept the guest list to just our immediate families and my best friend who was in town visiting.

As I said before, it was the perfect kind of engagement party for them. Once my mom and Kevin arrived, they were beaming with happiness and my mom even cried when she walked into the kitchen and saw the decorations. Georgia grilled some amazing steak, shrimp and chicken kabobs. My sis-in-law made some yummy pasta and we all noshed on cheese plates with a variety of goodies.

Kevin’s family joined us including his grandson and all the kiddos had a blast playing in our newly finished backyard (a before/after post on the backyard coming soon)! I tried snatching Grace up for a few pictures and as you can see below, she was not a fan of that. This was the first time she had a handful of little buddies over to play out back and she wanted to soak up every minute of it!

Sara’s expecting baby #2 (a boy) in October! Isn’t she so cute! :)

The festivities went on well into the night and my mom and Kevin ended up being the last to leave. They both thanked us about 20 times but honestly, it was us who were honored to be a part of such a special night.

So hurry up 2015! 
We’re ready to have sand in our toes, cocktails on the beach, and wedding fun!

27/52: This kid...

Mama: “Give me kisses!”
Grace: “Umm, I don’t think so.”
Little turd. ;)

26/52: Cousins :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Spring Soccer

Let’s start with this, the cutest little soccer picture that there ever was! This is our gal’s first “team sports” professional photo and I’m anticipating that we’ll need to order 20 or so with all the requests we’ve received for prints! My heart bursts every time I look at it. :)

Our super star has officially finished her first “season” of soccer! The league she plays in runs on a 4-quarter schedule and for her first year, she participated in 2 quarters and LOVED it! We considered doing all 4 initially but to fit swim lessons and little miss socialite’s summer bucket list activities in with another 2 quarters of soccer… Well, that would be a bit hectic for these mamas. I get tired just thinking about that! 

The Bean’s soccer season brought about a few new experiences for our family, some of which I was a little nervous about. This is going to sound so ridiculous but I was nervous to meet the other parents. Leading up to Gracie’s first practice, I asked G several times, “do you think they’re going to like us?” She replied to my feelings of nervousness with laughter and eye-rolling… Typical Georgia response. ;) I tried telling her what a big deal it was to enroll our daughter in her first sports team activity, explaining that she would grow up playing ball with these kiddos so we needed to hit it off with their parents. G being the unruffled person that she is told me to chill and that we would all have a great time and guess what?  She was right. The funny thing about meeting our fellow soccer parents is that the moms didn’t interact with us at all but we totally buddied up with all the dads, ironically. Each week G or I would go on the field with Grace and the dads would chat us up!  It was interesting to see just how not involved most of the moms were. In both of the 3 month sessions that we participated in, it was always me or Georgia with maybe 1 other mom and like 6-8 dads. It was an interesting thing to observe for this two mom family and I must say, I felt very proud that we were in there running around and interacting with our kid rather than just sipping coffee and observing.

Grace had such a great time and came a bit more out of her shell each week. For the first couple of practices she would interact with just us but would closely observe the other players. About 2-3 weeks in, she began approaching other kiddos and by week 4 we had to remind her to back up and give her fellow soccer players some space to play. Our little lovie has zero concept of personal space and wanted to be all up in the faces of her soccer friends. What can I say, she’s a people person, ha!    

I’m so glad that we decided to do this and we’re looking forward to next season! Until then, here are some highlights from the Bean’s first year of soccer…

Uncle Dean got in on the action!

One week Nani did too!

Even Gaga came to join in the fun. :)

Our super star in action!!

Until next year, chick-a-dee!

Summer Bucket List: Spring Soccer – check!

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