Friday, September 16, 2016

the lemonade stand

I've tried lots of kid-fun activities (I see you, Pinterest) that always look so great but usually don't either a. hold the boy's interest for enough time to make it worth it or b. never end up happening because my ambitious goals to launch myself to mother of the century fall victim to reality.

But the truth is that all the boys need is love and something to DO.

So last Saturday, Rhett, Rad and their friends Everett and Breckie experienced that rite of passage in childhood by doing a lemonade stand.

The little entrepreneurs. They had big dreams of all the childhood luxuries they would buy with the 8,371 monies (Rhett's estimation) they earned until philanthropic mom made signs that said FREE. Although I'm sure our prime retail location, streamlined lemonade making (Crystal light packets and water bottles. Styrofoam cups...ain't nobody want to deal with that) and our awesome treat selection (bags of chips, rice crispy treats and Dum Dums) would have brought in the big bucks, I didn't really want to deal with making change etc. Plus this was a great opportunity to teach them about service, kindness, yada yada.

We set up shop and I FB'd and texted anyone in our neighborhood who might want to take time out of their weekend to hit us up and low and behold after about 15 minutes of quite and Rhett frantically waving down slash chasing cars that passed us by, the masses descended on us. We even had four random Good Samaritans drive by and stop to get refreshments. Bless these Good Samaritans hearts, they we're quite literally mobbed by all the kids who were offering all their wares. One fine gentleman had a rice crispy treat hail Mary'd into his truck by a very eager child. The kids, both those running the stand and those coming for food and beverage (well that's kind of a blurry line since the entrepreneurs where very liberal with helping themselves to their products), had a GREAT time (truly!) and the whole event lasted about two hours. Which was an hour and fifty minutes more than I anticipated.    

^^^The very early stages of the lemonade mixer. Ben became the involuntary mascot, but he wasn't complaining. Even though everyone thought he was a girl. Fluffy white dog problems.

The folks and friends in our neighborhood are nothing short of the kindest crowd. They were beyond supportive, and with their help it was a great morning.

And the best part, for this serial photographer at least, was discovering this gem when I zoomed in on a pic from the day.

I so appreciate your optimism + rosy outlook on life boys. So appreciate it. 

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

rhett and rad chat: religious edition

Usually these posts are a popurri of random thoughts (verbal outbursts) from the boys, but this time I'm tailoring it more to some of their religious musings as of late...proving that we are doing a very fine job raising good and Godly children.

After Rad offered me a bite of his dinner, but I declined because we hadn't blessed the food yet:

Rad: Why you don't want my food?
Julia: Wellll... (terrible explanation ensues)
Rad: (leans in and whispers) "Welllll, I won't tell Jesus if you have just one bite."

Looking through some old baby pictures:

Rhett: When I was in born, everyone said I looked just like baby Jesus right?

During a Family Home Evening lesson:

Jake:... and then God said
Rad: wait wait wait WAIT who is God?!

Standing up from this chalk drawing:

Rhett: Hey...I look like Jesus when he died...but happier.

In a moment of angry, volatile, disagreement:

Rad: RHETT!!!
Rad: You are badder than SATAN!!!

When I said no:

Rhett: Can I have karate lessons, some roller blades and go to Chick-fil-a?
Julia: No.
Rhett: Fine. (walks away and shrugs) I'll just go ask Jesus.

He seems to be Jesus's spokesperson:

Julia: (coming into the kitchen riiiight after waking up) Hey boys.
Boys: Hi mom.
Rhett: Nice Jesus hair mom.
Rhett: I bet He like's that you're trying to be like Him.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016


(Last) Sunday was Jake's big 31st hurrah! (read: birthday) and he (along with many, many others born that fine day - I'm sure) deserves to be recognized on his big day. Or at least as close to his birthday as his wife can pull it together on the interwebs. 

Not that I'm ever not around here, but I'm going to be honest and admit that I have become a terrible (terrible!!) last minuter when it comes to birthdays and holidays. Terrible. I can hide behind the, "oh, the kids!" for a few more special life events, but I really have to get my act together.

I also should making document special life events a priority because the only (cringe) picture I got of Jake's special day is the one gracing your screen. High quality documentation right there. But! The lack of pictures makes me think that bullet points are totally appropriate and I love pounding out a bullet point post. 

+ Jake is a fantastic hand's on dad, but my subconscious wife-alarm thought that he would probably love spending most of the day (on Saturday even though Sunday was officially the big day) without the out crazy angels. 

+ So I got a morning babysitter for a brunch (so much fancy!) and a little strollin around the area. Gotta let all that syrup settle. 

+ We came home and I grabbed the wolf pack and took them to get Jake's birthday presents (last minute McGee over here) and gave the birthday boy several hours of alone time. It took several hours because Rad kept sneaking toys into the cart to "give" to Jake. We are raising such generous boys.

+ When we got back and after a mega hasty wrap job, per Rhett's request, we played the hot-cold game to make Jake work for his very exciting birthday gifts of three work shirts and some kettle bells. Bless Jake's heart, he was genuinely excited about his paltry gifts.   

+ Up next on the birthday docket was leaving the kids with another sitter (we have the best babysitters...we owe them way more than we pay them, they are fantastic) and left the Tyrell and Jake #2 to eat copious amounts of chips and salsa at a local Mexican restaurant. Jake offered for he and I to share the nachos and queso which was a HUGE indication that he is growing up because he never wants to share food with me. So I always have to sneak it when I want to sample his meal. This was progress. 

+ Post chip consumption we went to watch the Jason Bourne movie and when we got home the boys were in bed. Always the best way to end a date night.

Despite the lack of stellar birthday gifting Jake said he loved the date time. 

Jake: That was a GREAT birthday
Julia: Well that make me really happy.
Jake: (ballading to the tune of It Must Have Been Love) But it's OVER NAW

So happy birthday Mr 31! Welcome to the big leagues. Thank you for being the most outstanding husband to your crazy wife, the best dad to the craziest kids, and so devoted to trying to make everyone happy all while never even missing a beat. We are the luckiest clan in all of the land to have you as our head honcho. 

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

first weeks of school

Rad cracks me up on the daily (over the weekend at Costco: " hey why dey say you have your hands full?! You just pushing the cart mom!") and I'm constantly surprised by the mature side of Rhett when I find him entertaining Beck or reading a book to Rad. They cause me to stress eat a lot of semi-sweets but they're good little eggs to have around most of the time. However! I have to admit that after I drop them off at 1st grade and preschool I may just dance-walk away to the tune of freedom even with Beck still sitting in the car seat.

God bless glorified and highly educational daycare. I really couldn't do it without you.

Behold the newest first graders among the thousands that flooded their respective schools this month. Everett and Rhett have different teachers this year but still manage to spend all other waking hours of the day together. The picture on the left is from last year, the evening before Kindergarten and the one on the right from right before this school year...all of those middle of the night growing pains paid off.

The third week of school Rhett was the star student and got share exciting tidbits about himself with the class. I love this tradition, I'm sure teachers hear some of the most delightful lines from the youngsters. (Like the email I got from his teacher last year mentioning that Rhett had asked her why dad calls mom babe when mom doesn't wear diapers...) Because you know that nothing is more more interesting to a six year old then themselves. Nothing.

Because Rhett has never lacked for confidence (I hope to be more like him when I grow up) he was so exited share his poster and talents each day.

For my memory bank, from Rhett's star student week:

Favorite place to go: Sea World and the beach
Favorite animal: Mountain Lion
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite thing to do: Go to Chick fil a with my friends Everett and Breckie and practice my tricks
When I grow up I want to be: A solider
If I had one wish, I would wish for: A robot monkey
And the talent shared: His ninja moves. Obviously.

And let's talk about preschool! I didn't really do a great job prepping him for the big day, it was more of a wake up and "yay it's time for preschool!!" But the milestone day arrived and it was miles better than expected once Rad understood he got to take Rhett's old R2D2 backpack with him... because we all know how Rad feels about anything that can further enable his hoarding (treasure) habit. When prepping his backpack one morning I found it stuffed full of all of his collection of bouncy balls, Rhett's dirty socks and part of my chapstick collection. The most prepared preschooler award goes to Rad Aaron Miller.

He hearts preschool to the max. I half expected the stereotypical knee clinging/sobbing/dramatic goodbye from him, but nope he's good to jump out the van and run in solo, so next time I think I'll just stay in bed because clearly he is ready for his first cubicle in the workforce. When asked, his favorite part of preschool is "me!" (himself) and so long as he loves going we'll indulge his little narcissistic heart.

Beck is king of the castle for about 10 hours of the week as spends a good part of that time carrying a glorified backpack/tote around while waving. He also really likes to put random treasures in his bag (monkey see, monkey do) and when we're missing the lint roller, there's a good chance that it's in the bag. He's starting to talk monosyllabic shouts and now that Rhett's gone all day, I can see the beginnings of a beautiful friendship forming between him and Rad. No, that's a stretch - Rad still barely acknowledges Beck's existence, but I know they'll buddy up. At least, that's my hope.

So now that I have just Beck at home all day, every day I am feeling p-r-e-t-t-y footloose and fancy-free. And more importantly the boys are learning, thriving and are beyond thrilled with the mini art show of their projects that are on our fridge. Winning for everyone.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

the new house tour

Jazz hands, folks.

Slowly but surely I'm hoping to e-walk you through a tour of our new house. I say tour with my tongue stuck firmly in my cheek because it's very sparsely furnished / decorated is it's current state. But, tour it is.

We'll pretend I was intentionally going for a minimalist chic look but there's a good chance that it'll stay this way for many moons. 

One disclaimer before we roll out. These finely photographed (wink) pics make the paint and carpet look about a bazillion times better than they do in real life. There are tons of miss matched touch ups on the walls and creepy stains on the carpets. Also the color of the wall paint in these pictures looks actually way better than it does to the natural eye. The walls are the ultimate builder grade yellowish beige and here they look more griege. To me at least. 

Longest disclaimer evah I know.^^^^

So please keep your arms and hands securely on your electronic device of choice and here we go.

The view from the front door: 

To the right we have the living room.

Oooo. Ahhhh. 

And to the left, to the left...everything we own in the room to the left.

Just kidding. We own a little more furniture. A little. 

And the view from down the hall. Around the corner is the guest bath and that room at the very end is a den/office/could be a extra bedroom. The suspense of what option we'll chose is killing you I'm certain. 

(It'll be Jake's office. SURPRISE! Suspense eliminated.)

If you turn around from this picture^^^you will see the family room and kitchen.

Probably the most worthless picture in the line up. But that's our laundry room/mudroom off the garage. Not my favorite location for the laundry, but I love having a actual entry room for shoes and Ben's bedroom.

The single pendant light really adds to the lighting ambiance.

Off of the kitchen is the breakfast nook. Do you like our folding chairs? Me neither. But the boys are weirdly obsessed with them. Rad has one chair in particular (it has padding on it) that he covets and if anyone tries to put their backside in it, the little sweetheart goes into crazed gladiator mode and will fight to the almostdeath for his chair.  His solution to secure his chair...wake up BRIGHT and EARLY to drape his blankie over the coveted treasure.

The master is on the first floor which basically makes it an oasis of peace. Which is why Ben refuses to leave it.

The master bath.

Possibly my favorite feature of the house...OK it's second to the loft which you will see in two finger swipes down, is the rather large Harry Potter style sub closet that is off of ours. Bonus closets for our suitcases and that the boys love to play toys in...the best.

And now the main event, the loft from the angels of mother's with small, insane children. 

Run children. Run free. Run. But don't run downstairs too soon.

Also, more closets!

There are three bedrooms upstairs. One is empty for now since Rhett and Rad still want to share. 

Also we have this bedroom-o-fun paint color.

This is the biggest bedroom and was going to be Rhett and Rad's room since they're sharing, but after trying to get them to sleep there one night with it's current color, not happening.

I have everything to paint the offensive color...but I can't bring myself to embark on such a fun, fun, fun project. Plus it really breaks up all the beige so it should probably hang out just for that reason alone.

The boys bathroom.

And lastly the backyard.

Complete with fountain that Rhett and Rad legitimately thought was and used, as an outdoor we know we are doing a phenomenal job at home.

We really haven't used the backyard much because it's a bazillion degrees, but we love it. The raised beds are home to a orange tree, lemon tree, lime tree and many fort games for the young men folk. 

There's a list of projects to tackle to make the house really "sparkle" but before that three ring circus of fun begins we want to take a little bit of project free time. Here's the list of good times that we'll taking on. Eventually. 

- Electrical much electrical work. We somehow missed that none of the upstairs bedrooms have even the wiring for over head fans/light fixtures...but really the fans because AZ and all. We also plan on adding over head lighting in the formal/front living room, another fan in the loft, two or three more pendant lights in the kitchen and adding an outlet in the pantry and the garage (where there is only one outlet currently) and switching out some existing light fixtures for ones that are more "us." Man that makes us sound very HGTV-wanna-be-ish.

- Paint. Everything. Walls, kitchen cabinets, doors, trim. Fun.

- carpet and tile in the kitchen/downstairs bath and laundry room. The tiles in the kitchen have tons of cracks in the tiles themselves and the grout lines are a disaster.

- Countertops. We'll be some kind of stone...probably quartz and we want to run it up the walls as the backsplash as well. We're thinking of doing butcher block on the island and we'll be trimming it out with some moldings as well.

- Landscaping...thankfully in this house is minimal. We want to add another tree to the beds in the back and switch out a few plants in the front yard. Easy peasy.

- Bathrooms - WAY down the road we'll do a remodel on the master bath and a face lift on the kid's bath, but not any time soon.

- Misc - We'll put a barn door up to close off Jake's office, add built ins around the windows in the front living room and turn the random cabinet off the dining room and by the laundry room (it's not really in the pictures) into a built in with shelves as well.

If feel like a "tada!" is in order to wrap up this e-tour but I think the poetic words of one Flo Rida will sum it all up,

"Hear a knock on the door and the night begins
Cause we done this before so you come on in
Make yourself at my home, tell me where you been
Pour yourself something cold, baby, cheers to this."

Cheers to you and you and YOU.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

the grands

I have very few complaints about Arizona but one teeny tiny detail that I don't love is that we are now pretty far from both of our families. Luckily, there is this really great invention by the name of air travel that we owe for successfully bringing our family to us on several occasions since we've moved here. Two weekends ago Jake's mom was able to come down from Oregon for the first time since we moved to the new house and the kids were in grandparent heaven.

I didn't do an awesome job getting pictures but I'll throw you what I've got, as usual.

We took Grandma to pretty much our favorite place to take visitors in the AZ summer...the mall. Grandma indulged the boys by letting them enjoy all the mall bonus activities (ie the ones that cost $$)  and heaven help my wallet next time we go to the there because I don't think there's any way I'll ever emulate (afford) anything 1/2 as fun.

 ^^^ let's all appreciate Rad's face for 8 seconds.

^^^the funnest adult of the month goes to grandma

Rhett, Rad and Beck got on the kiddy rides with the pint sized modes of transportation that go around in a circle and go up and down. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about from that fantastic and detailed description.

Okay, here's some quality photos...

They were JAZZED.

Up next on the tour-o-fun, bowling. (I stayed home with Beck, because even babies with bowling ball sized heads still are not fun to hit the lanes with.) So everyone sans us arrived at the bowling alley to discover it was actually DISCO bowling day. Blacklights, thumping music, strobe lights, and all. Kind of like being in a club, except it was 2 in the afternoon and no one was wearing a mini-skirt or dancing inappropriately.


- The boys showed great proficiency for bowling by squatting down and rolling that ball between their legs and scoring a record high of four pins. #bowlingwizards
- No one clocked anyone in the head when flinging the ball backwards.
- One time Rad's ball just...stopped rolling. Right in the middle of the lane.
- Before you could say king pin, Rhett hurtled his ball down the lane and managed to graze Rad's ball enough to get it to the pins.

And then my mother in law shot herself into automatic sainthood when she secretly booked a night at a hotel for us and kicked us out of the house. In our six years of parenthood this is the third night that we've ever been away from the kids together and it was so good. So freaking good.

 We hit our favorite sushi place for their happy hour and our inner fat kids ordered like there was no such thing as calories.

Before the food comma hit we made our way to one of those ultra-mega furniture know the type, everything is always on the sale of the century, because we had heard that they had rows of deee-lux massage chairs open to customer use. 

Indeed. They did.

Jake asked if we had hit romantic rock bottom. #maybe

But no regrets. Zilch.

We spent the night at the hotel with no kids sleeping in the bathroom and didn't wake up to anyone asking if they could play games on our phones. Paradise.

Sadly for all parties, Grandma had to return her house. These visits never feel long enough and Rad is still waking up in the morning looking past my smiling face and asking for, "Grandma?!" while I offer him a plate of chopped mother liver for breakfast. So it's safe to say no one can wait for the next visit.

In fact, tomorrow would be perfect. Thanks grandma. ;) Pin It