Saturday, December 31, 2011

My new DSLR

A few months ago, I put my DSLR camera in the bag in our closet and as I turned to walk away, I accidentally pulled the strap of the bag and the camera dumped out.  It hit the floor...HARD!  I immediately felt tears well up in my eyes.  This happened in the midst of a crazy time for our family and it just seemed to be one more thing that didn't go well.  But, before I could even cry about it, I made up my mind to have a little perspective.  

This camera was a gift to me from Dan just a few months after Jonah was born.  He totally surprised me and I loved it.  But, even with the emotional attachment to the camera, I decided that a camera is a small thing in the grand scheme of life.  I decided that my kids were healthy, I had an amazing husband and my life was actually pretty incredible.  So, even if I never got to take another picture, then life would be okay.  Seriously, I had all of those thoughts while sitting in my closet.  I knew it was broken but I willed myself to be okay.  

Dan, knowing how much I use a camera, encouraged me to go get another one.  But, it just wasn't in the budget.  In the meantime, I sent a message to one of my photographer friends asking what she would get if she were me.  She knows I never want to be a photographer but that I take TONS of pictures of my kids.  She sent me her recommendation and I started doing some research.  Then, just two weeks ago, we were quite surprised to receive an incredible gift that allowed us to purchase the camera.  I decided to do a little more research for the best price.  I even shopped at some local places before finally ordering it online a couple of days ago.  It arrived today.  I'm in love.  Although, I have no idea how to use it yet.  These are straight out of the camera shots with no editing.  

So, if you wonder what I'll be doing for the next couple of weeks, then you can just imagine me curled up on my chaise with a camera, Youtube tutorials, a book about my camera and a couple of cute little subjects.  I can't wait!!!

A little video gem from earlier in the year!

I found this video on my iphone tonight.  It made us laugh!  I thought you might need a laugh too!  As you will see, he was very upset about the mother of Moses giving him away.  And, even though this video was obviously taken sometime many months ago, he still cries when he thinks about this.  Poor guy!  But, the swimming comment totally makes this a "must post" video!

My birthday dinner

***Please excuse quality of photos.  I only had my iphone and not my camera!  Eeks!***

I had the MOST wonderful birthday ever!  It started with a surprise party (a post on that is forthcoming) and ended with an afternoon and evening with my husband down in Orlando.  We had reservations at The Vineyard Grill at The Ritz Carlton.  Our friends from church offered to keep the boys for us so we could have the night to ourselves.  

We left early due to traffic and I'm so glad we did.  Otherwise, we would have missed our reservation.  Traffic was awful!  As we walked in the lobby, we made a quick stop for hot chocolate in the lobby.  It was fabulous.  

Be sure to notice the scruffy beard on my hubby.  He had a few days off during the holiday season and decided not to shave.  I actually liked it.  He kept it this way until right before the Christmas Eve services when he HAD to shave.  

Back in October, we were brought here for dinner by a couple in our church.  To say it was amazing is an understatement.  The food was great but the service...oh, the service!  It was OFF THE CHAIN!  So, when it was time to decide where to go for my birthday, it was a no-brainer.  Fortunately, they were able to work us in even though the holiday season is incredibly busy for them.  

We arrived and were greeted by the sweetest young lady then taken to our table.  As you can see, they go the extra mile to make you feel special.  
We were happy to see James, our server from our last visit.  Because of the way he treated us then, we will call ahead and request him every time.  He is that good!  Not only does he do an incredible job, he even remembered details about our order from our visit two months ago.  Seriously?  Who does that with someone they have only met once?  

We ordered an appetizer while we tried to decide on our entrees.  The shrimp were HUGE and delicious.  (and pretty!)
I had the filet last time so I stuck with it on this visit.  It was perfect.  Actually, my mouth is watering now just thinking about it.  Maybe I should go back soon just to make sure it was as good as I thought it was?  I ordered a side of Truffle Grits.  I actually find it quite odd that I ordered grits.  Up until a few months ago, I hated grits.  Now, I seem to order them and even crave them.  The truffle grits were good but nothing close to how good the black garlic grits were last time.  Once again, who knew I liked grits?
Dan had grilled swordfish and really liked it.  I think it may have been the first time he has ever ordered swordfish but it was a good decision for him.  James encouraged him to try it and he was glad he did.  His side dish was a huge bowl of mushrooms.  They were quite tasty.  

While we were waiting on our food, Fabiola, the pastry chef came out to see us.  We met her last time so it was great to see her again.  She is incredibly kind and gracious.  She already knew it was my birthday and told me she had been working on something special for me.  After we were done with our meal, she came out again with this!!!

James took a picture of us with her.  Doesn't she look fun?  She is such a delight!  (A delight?  I've never used that to describe anyone before!?!?!  But, she totally was a delight!)  Probably one of my most favorite things about The Ritz is the homemade ice cream.  Last time we were there, they brought out the most wonderful sorbet I have ever tasted.  It was coconut and simply amazing.  Dan doesn't even like coconut and he loved it.  Well, in true fashion, they brought that out too.  And, they introduced Dan to a new strawberry sorbet.  Yummy, yummy, yummy!

This cute little guy was on my dessert platter.  I told Fabiola I was taking it home to show Jonah and she went to the back and came out with a few more for me to give him.  You'll see that picture below.  She made these out of gum paste.  (I think that is what she said?!?)  Isn't she talented?

After we were done with our meal, we sat and talked to James and Fabiola for quite a while.  We discussed several things with them, including the many ice cream flavors they make at The Ritz.  She told us about a Maple Bacon Pecan Ice Cream she made recently.  The next thing we know, she is gone and heading back to us with a sample.  I am a huge fan of sweet and salty but I'm still not so sure about this one.  I didn't hate it but I wouldn't necessarily order it.  That is mainly due to my extreme love of the coconut sorbet!!!
Before we left, we made sure to get a picture with James also.  He is seriously THE best server I've ever encountered.  He (and the team at The Vineyard Grill) do an incredible job.  I'm so glad we were introduced to them.  The food is wonderful but the people there make for a wonderful night out.
Since I posted on Facebook about my wonderful birthday dinner there, I've had three different people ask me about it and tell me of their plans to try it out.  Seriously, if you live here, it is a must do!  Let us know when you go and we'll be glad to introduce you to our friends there.  They helped make my birthday one of the best of my life.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jonah's first sleepover!

Well, somehow my little Jonahbug grew up!  I guess it happened overnight.  I certainly didn't see it coming.  It seems that just yesterday he was a baby, a toddler and then, just last night, he had his first sleepover.  He wanted to invite a couple of friends to spend the night, so we did.  I talked to the moms and one felt her son was ready and the other thought hers might need a little more time.  So, one stayed all night and one left around 9:30 p.m.  

Rylan Carlos arrived first, with his DS in hand.  The boys immediately sat down on the couch and started playing.  Nothing like having a friend over so you can sit on the couch, play video games and not speak to each other.  
I walked back to Jonah's room for something and decided to snap a picture of it while it was still clean.  I knew the moment was coming during this event that it would no long look this way.  

Oh, and since it arrived yesterday, I feel I need to mention my new furniture.  (It has absolutely nothing to do with the sleepover but I snapped the picture during the sleepover so it is in the progression of pictures!)  If you have been to our house in the last 27 months, then I have probably told you how much I hated the back wall of our living room/den.  The very thing that sold us on this house became the thing that bothered me the most.  We bought it because of the big open space.  But, we found (after our furniture arrived) that the big open space was a nightmare to decorate.  It was too big to make one room yet too small for two separate seating areas.  We had a couple of interior designer friends come help and they were both baffled.  It really was a strange little area.  But, Tuesday night, we cleaned everything out from that end of the room so this could be delivered!
I'm showing it to you at an angle because what is going on the right side of the server is still to be determined.  I want an accent chair but haven't found "the" one yet.  I looked again tonight but nothing has jumped out at me.  So, for now, Jonah's primary color desk and computer is there.  That will be moved VERY soon!  Can I tell you how much I love this new area.  I'm sitting here now doing this blog post.  It will be my new reading/computer spot and the perfect place to snuggle my little ones and read to them.  Oh, and in case anyone asks, we do have the 3. 6. 9. 12 month pics of Micah to add to the right of the server in order to match Jonah but they aren't framed yet.  That will be done in the next couple of weeks.  

Anyway, back the sleepover...

I planned all sorts of activities for the boys.  That would have been perfect except they aren't girls.  Boys, as I quickly discovered, care less about planned activities and more about free play!  But, we pressed on and did a few of the things planned.  Especially the part that involved making pizzas.  You know, because that was ALL we had for dinner!  That plan had to stick or they would starve.  
Micah finished his dinner (as evidenced by his face, bib and clothes) before they came to the table but made sure to show his disdain for remaining strapped in his high chair.  

Aaron- across the street neighbor, friend from Kindergarten, friend from Church, teammate on Soccer team

Rylan Carlos, friend from preschool, friend from Kindergarten, teammate on Upward Team

Dan poured a little olive oil on each piece of crust then allowed them to spread it around.  The loved "painting" their pizza.  

Making the pizza was fun but eating the ingredients was the best part!  They all loved that.  I'm surprised any cheese made it to the pizza.

Dan put the pizzas on the tray and then into the oven while the boys grabbed the Wii remotes to start the SMURF DANCE PARTY!  It was quite comical.  I do have video.  I'm waiting to see what Dan offers me to NOT post it.  After seeing him dance, I realized that it isn't that Baptists "can't" dance.  It is that Baptists "shouldn't" dance.  

Micah thought it was HILARIOUS!  He laughed and clapped most of the time they danced.  It was so stinkin' cute.  He loved it.  He walked around them and between them just laughing and clapping.  

The pizzas finished baking so they came to the kitchen to eat then talked about what they wanted to do next.  Jonah got a new Star Wars movie for Christmas so they decided to watch it.  It was a 22 minute cartoon so Dan & I came up with a plan of something to do after the movie ended.  

Yeah, we pretty much rocked their worlds when we told them we were going outside to have light saber duels.  If there is anything those boys love, it is a good light saber fight.  Dan even got in on the action.  Oh, and be warned, there are some SCARY faces in these pictures.  Apparently, one can't smile when holding a light saber.  (and, so you aren't confused, Jonah isn't smiling.  He says he was gritting his teeth under his lips!  Got it?)

Notice our Christmas lights?  Yep, Dan is quite proud of himself for his outdoor light display  Those will probably still be up mid-April so drop by sometime between now and spring time to see them.  (kidding...well, kind of!)  Our weather had gotten a tad cooler so we decided to bring them back inside before they got sick and their mom's talked bad about us.  They immediately went for all of the Star Wars toys and Lego sets.  
olds was the hit of the night.  And, while we are on the subject of this toy, let me just tell you about my great deal!!  Aja has one of these for her boys and Micah loves it.  I decided at the last minute to get Micah one for Christmas but when I got to TRU, they were $125 + tax.  That was out of my Christmas budget so we didn't get it.  Instead, I started looking on Craigslist.  I found several but they were all used outside.  I really wanted one inside because Micah is so rough that he would bust his head wide open if this were on the back patio.  But, the day after Christmas, I found one that was "like new and used only indoors!"  I called on it and Dan and a friend when to check it out.  We got that puppy for $55.  YAY!  It seriously looks brand new and we saved $70!  Micah loves it!  (And so do the 5 year olds we know!)
After Aaron went home, Dan checked the hot tub temp again and discovered it was warm enough for a midnight swim.  (Well, more like a 10 p.m. swim but you get the point!)  The boys were super excited.  It was in the 40's or 50's when they went outside and I told them to be very careful walking to the hot tub because they didn't want to accidentally fall in the COLD pool.  

Jonah just had to test the pool water so he got out and stuck his foot in.  MY OH MY!  He was glad to get back in hot "little pool!" 
We finally had to bring them back in because they never grasped the idea of "INSIDE VOICES" while outside.  We knew our neighbors had to go to work today so we were trying to be mindful of that.  The two five year old boys did not have the same idea.  So, after 30 minutes (which was plenty of time!!) we came inside.  I helped the boys get dried off and into their new pajamas.  They are on the same basketball team at church so the pj's were basketball.  They loved them.  Until they put them on.  Then Carlos hated them.  He said they were too tight and baby pajamas because they have stripes?!?!  He reminded us of this numerous times throughout the night.  Note to self:  Never buy Carlos pajamas for a gift!!!

After playing the Wii for a while, they helped Dan get the fort ready.  We sent them to potty and then helped them settle down for the night.  We made pallets on the floor and started a movie for them.  
Between the two of them, they had approximately 37 sleepy toys.  I'm giggling just thinking about it.  One day, their wives will make them choose between their sleepy toys or her.  I'm afraid Lammy will beat out any ole' girl!

Jonah fell asleep towards the end of the move and Carlos lasted through the entire thing.  He finally rolled over at about 2:00 a.m. and went to sleep.  

I had a doctor's appointment at 9:15 this morning.  When I got up, they were still snoozing.  But, as I was about to leave, I heard them giggling in the living room.  So, I walked in and offered to turn on the Disney channel and to give them donuts.  

The night was a huge success and Jonah is already sad that Rylan Carlos didn't stay tonight too.  It made my heart happy to see him having fun with two of his friends.  I loved having a night that was all about my big boy.  He IS growing up and I love all of the new experiences with him.  Even if I was so tired today that I couldn't hold my eyes open!!!

Oh, and just so you know, we did jot down a few funny things they said over the night.  I won't say which kid said what as to not incriminate any kid...OR ESPECIALLY their parents.

  • We don't take a lot of baths at my house.
  • Well, I know A LOT of stuff about A LOT of stuff.  You can ask anyone.
  • I don't like supper.  I would never eat supper in a million years.  Wait, what is a supper?  (That is obviously a kid who did not grow up in the deep south!  When we told him it was dinner, he was totally on board!)
  • Do you want to smell something gross?
  • Want to hear a potty word?   Ok, here goes...     (wait for it)  TOILET!!!
  • I never get tired.  I don't have any tired anywhere inside of me.
Yes, it was fun!  And, that my friend, it just a small sampling of what was happening in this house just 24 hours ago!!  What a night!


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