Eight Years: [It all started with a..]

Monday, June 27, 2016

After hearing this song on the radio the other day, it had me thinking about us, and how we all started. Instead of a beer..
It all started with a shot of Southern Comfort, a reference to a 7 Up commercial, and tattoos.
Sounds like a promising start to a relationship for sure, huh?! 
Well, today we are celebrating 8 years of marriage..!!

The Mr. and I both played sports in college (at the same school); we had common friends, common grounds. I knew I wanted to marry an athlete and someone taller than me, so the basketball team was a perfectly vain place to start looking, right?! Well the Mr. caught my attention with his looks, demeanor, and tattoos. His height was certainty acceptable so I asked my BFF and teammate (girlfriend of one of the guys in his group and teammate), about him.

We finally had opportunities to get together - he treated me like a queen and made me laugh..
Eight years later, that's still the case.
This week we'll be celebrating by going to see--at one of the top venues in the nation--the guy who sang the song we danced our first dance to at our wedding and named our daughter after. Pretty ideal way to celebrate if you ask me.

To my Mr., 
Thank you for picking me and thank you for this amazing life!! 
You are my best friend, my support, my love. 
We aren't always perfect, but we're perfect for each other.
Happy Anniversary, honey buns!! xo

Weekend Fun: [Breakfast] + A Giveaway

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's no secret, I love my weekends..!! It's so nice to have the mornings together and start slow.
Saturdays are the only mornings we don't have to be up, dressed, and out of the house at a particular time (unless we have something planned), so I like to take that day to make a sit-down breakfast, maybe catch some 'toons, take care of things around the house, and chill out.
We always do eggs and either sausage or bacon - give us all the protein!!
Sometimes I'll get fancy and whip up a batch of pancakes, I love using this super simple recipe (which works great with gluten-free flour) or a fun mix from Trader Joe's. And of course coffee..!! We got a cheapie frother, it works perfectly and makes my morning caffeine seem a little more special.
Homegirl is in a major picky phase but will usually devour any/all meat; she tends to eat a big breakfast, then tapers off throughout the day so we load her up while we can. Occasionally, she'll take extra bites if she has a utensil (plus it's great practice), so I have no problem with letting her stab or scoop as much as she'd like, to help sneak in a few more bites.
Tyson is a pretty good eater and it's obvious when he's growing..!! He loves breakfast, but otherwise will always at least try whatever we are having, even if he thinks he doesn't like it.
I love our time together as a family, around the table, sharing a meal. It's always been a place of fond memories for me - between my love for food/drink and my family, can't go wrong!! I hope to make mealtime a place of fulfillment, in more ways than one, for our kids too. When we are usually up and at 'em and running out of the house every other day, Saturday mornings are an especially sweet way to start my favorite time of the week, together!!
Sometimes we sneak in guilty pleasures, like frozen waffles/pancakes and movies while eating breakfast, I mean it's the freakin' weeken'..!! 
I always offer their fruit last, otherwise I think that would be all they'd play with eat.
We love our new Re-Play Recycled set which adds some fun flair to our meals. The quality design and fun colors are perfect for kids of all ages, plus earth-friendly!! Tyson was especially excited for his new plate with compartments and Homegirl was able to maneuver the silverware perfectly, helping to encourage more bites. I can't wait to add to our collection!!

Disclosure: The green dish set was given to me free of charge, all opinions and lax weekend behavior are my own.

Re-play Recycled has offered a set to one of you!!

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Happy Hump Day - half way to another wonderful weekend!!

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A Correlation Between Raw Meat & Mohawks

Friday, June 17, 2016

In the locker room before a basketball game with our rival school, Coach wrote the numbers of the 5 starters on the board. I'm pretty sure I had to look down and double-check the number on my jersey because I thought mine was one of those written on the board..
I was in 7th grade and this was an 'A team' game, it was time to run with the big guns. I remember Coach recalling the story and saying, 'I've never seen someone's face turn so white so fast! I was afraid you might have just shit your pants.'
As seasons passed and I grew into my own, it was a joke that they'd have 'raw meat' in the locker room, for me, before games. Feed that hunger, build hype, turn on those animal-like instincts.. Naturally I'm a rather quiet, mild-mannered, introvert of a person, however something changed once the shoes got laced up and we'd hit the hardwood..
Dare I say, Tyson has had a little taste of that 'raw meat', in the form of a half-mohawk.
Since the moment the little shaved sides of his head got breezed with fresh air, it has seemed to turn him into a certified bad @$$.
After our hike, we sat in the parking lot of the 'haircut shop', googling pictures of Chuck Liddell. So I guess you could say we asked for it.. We asked our mild-mannered Tyson if he wanted a mohawk; he sat there quietly, slightly grinned as he looked from side to side, and said, 'yes?!'
He came out with the most perfect haircut, a new attitude, and looking even closer to the 4 year old he will soon be. I absolutely LOVE the cut, in fact the Mr. just touched it up again this week to keep the distinct 'hawk-ness. It may bring some extra attitude, but I'm hoping seeing that might pass as we approach and take on his 4th year of life.
(I mean, we can agree 3 year olds are kinda the worst and are a**holes. Bring on #4..!!)
 Watching this kid grow and come into his own is a privilege, entertaining, and challenging.
He's driven and determined. He's passionate and has a strong personality. He's also sweet and sensitive.
 Of course it's not just the 'raw meat' or a new 'do, time and experiences bring about exciting things and I'm happy to be along for another ride - this time with a white board full of daily responsibilities and smiley face magnets and I'm on the coaching staff.. ;)

Family Vacation 2016: [Strasbourg, France]

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

For a quick day trip we piled in the van and headed to Strasbourg, France. It was about a two hour drive (well, supposed to be), right on the border of Germany and France.

We got into town and began the process of trying to find a parking spot for our very American ride. The EXTREMELY narrow streets, garages, and spaces had us driving in circles and eventually following behind a van as we continued our search. The van pulled into a place and we followed behind, he turned into what seemed like a private area and I, in the back seat, turned around to watch a middle column (between the two we just drove through) RISE UP FROM THE GROUND.
We pulled forward and LITERALLY were driving through the town square!! I'll be honest, I was a little panicked!! Eventually, we got turned back around and back to the columns that were blocking the entrance/exit. We figured if we pulled up close enough maybe it would sensor them down..?!?! Sure enough, that worked - thank heavens, ha!!
We finally parked and headed to the square outside of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg for a picnic and exploring.
The buildings were beautiful, however, we found it to be rather dirty with quite a few panhandlers. It was still worth seeing, just different from the experience of Germany. The Cathedral was massive, the detail overwhelming. I absolutely regret not going IN to look around, but it was breathtaking and memorable nonetheless.
We made a few stops for shopping, including some of those delicious biscuits and caramels at La Cure Gourmande, and jackets from Jack Wolfskin.

We continued to stroll through the town and over to Place Gutenberg, complete with a (double-decker) carousel, which was beautiful and a hit with the boys!!
Of course no day is complete without a little treat - so sorbet it was, outside a cute little cafe on the cobblestone streets of France.
Back in the van, we took an, uh, adventurous route home.. It included a little off-roading and narrower (which I didn't think was even possible) roads. 

I think I'll probably wrap up the vacation posts here.. Thanks for following along!! The food, sights, and experiences are some of my favorite. It was such an awesome experience for our little family.
A HUGE thanks to my SIL and her family for hosting and taking us all over - THANK YOU!! 

Family Vacation 2016: [Fruhlingsfest, Germany]

Thursday, June 9, 2016

We had the opportunity to attend Fruhlingsfest (spring fest) while in Germany. It's a big festival with rides, vendors, food, and beer - kind of like a BIG state fair.
During our visit to Germany before kids, we attended Volksfest (the fest during the fall), where we had tables in the tents, beer, the most delicious chicken, music, dancing, and did I mention beer..? This fest was a little different as we didn't go in the tents; they have the potential to get a little rowdy and with our five kids (under five years old), we thought it best to keep it more family-friendly.
Each food stand had me stopping to drool over the selections!! Since getting some of everything wasn't ideal, I settled on a potato cake (like a hashbrown pancake) piled high with cheese, speck (a German version of bacon), and green onions - YUM!! We shared one of the BEST sausage I've ever had - it was perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy/flavorful on the inside.
It was a festive setting under the shade of a large tent, with live music, and the little ones jammin' about with some of the greatest dance moves I've ever seen.
We had to make a stop on the way out for this made-in-front-of-us-pastry-spiral-thing, complete with Nutella and coconut..!! Melt. In. Your. Mouth.
It was a fun fest and great celebration of this beautiful time of year!!

Weekend Fun: [Sandbox & S'mores]

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Today I'm taking a break from vacation recaps for a quick summary of some special, weekend fun. Over Memorial Day weekend we had the chance to get in some great family time!! My sister recently had baby #2, my nephew Gabriel, so we got in some snuggles with him, as well as cousin fun, and lots of quality (and story) time with Grandma and Grandpa. My dad made a sandbox for the kids, and it was a hit!!

On our way home, we stopped for a quick visit with my bestie and their adorable baby girl. Little Ms. Piggie slept through our whole visit, so I guess we'll need to schedule another get together ASAP.

Back in the car and one more stop at my in-laws for a family dinner and s'mores. I couldn't help but look back on the first s'mores of last year and oh the difference a year makes..!!
Fun and sweets aside, we talked about soldiers, on a three-year old level, of course.
Tyson asked if he could see a picture of a soldier so we showed him some of his family members in uniform, and others who fight for our freedom. It was a perfect opportunity to talk about our gratitude for those who fight 'the bad guys' and help keep us safe. In the words of our little guy, 'God Bless America'!!