Friday, June 24, 2011

See Ya! I am on Vacation!

Last night I was up to my elbows in shorts, swimsuits and sunscreen.  That can only mean one thing... we are leaving for family vacation in Florida soon!

I look forward to our beach vacation the entire year and now it is finally here.  My sister, her husband and kids and my mom are all meeting us in Florida so it will be a busy, fun-filled week.  Before I had kids, going to the beach meant lying in the sun, listening to the waves, reading a book, lounging by the pool and drinking a cocktail.  After having two kids, a beach vacation doesn't look quite the same.  I will be much busier as I try to keep up with my kids as we build sand castles, splash in the ocean and go swimming at the pool. 

Sophia (9 months old) and Trey at the beach in Florida in 2007. 
However, I am looking forward to leaving my work behind at the office, logging off of Facebook, Twitter and maybe ignoring my blog for a few days.  We all need time to leave behind the business of everyday life and enjoy our vacation.  So for the next week, you may not see many updates on Suiresphere.  Maybe I will get inspired to post a few pictures so I can share the beauty of the beach with you... If you really miss us, check out some pictures from our trip to Florida last year in this post.

Our first family photo at the beach in 2010.  Tallen - 1 yr and Sophia 3 1/2 yrs old. 
We will be back in town around July 4th so enjoy your Independence Day!  See you then!   

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Date Night, Done Right!

Friday night, Trey and I decided to cash in a Groupon for wine tasting at a nearby winery to start our Date Night. 

Grapevine, TX has a several wineries and tasting rooms, many which are located on historic Main Street.  We visited Su Vino, a cute little tasting room on the corner of Main, where you can even create your own custom wine.  Seven years ago, we talked about making wine to give as gifts to guests at our wedding... 

Sadly, we have not got around to creating our own wine.  However, this night we were looking forward to sampling several wines from the tasting menu.  First, we started with the Sparkling Almond Champagne.  It was so light, sweet and delicious that we decided to take home a bottle!

We also ordered the cheese platter as an appetizer to snack on during our tasting. Trey decided to stick with all white wines while I wanted to try at least one red.

After a long week, it was nice to have a chance to relax and talk to my husband without kids interrupting our conversation. 

Trey and I both look forward to "Date Night" each week and the was a great way to start off the night. It also helps that we have stepped up our efforts in planning date night after some failures earlier in the year.

I finished off the night with an after dinner drink, a taste of the Grande Finale.  It was described as liquid honey and I liked it at first.  However, the super sweetness did not sit well in my stomach and I needed several glasses of water before dinner to get my appetite back.  

I told you we took home some champagne!  My plan is to take it with us to the beach and drink it at night while listening to the sound of the ocean.  Did I mention we are leaving tomorrow for vacation!!?

Trey also bought a bottle of Summer Rain which was a light, refreshing white wine blend.  It is perfect to sip on during the hot summer days, however we will not be taking that bottle to the beach with us because it is already gone!  Tallen has been sick for three days and it has been a rough week, so Trey needed a glass (or two) of wine in the evenings. 

Overall, it was the great way to start off Date Night.  We both agreed that we need to go back to Su Vino again soon to stock up on some of our favorite wines, and hopefully create our own custom wine.  Maybe I will name it Suiresphere and invite some friends over for a wine tasting at our house.  I can always find a reason to drink more wine!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Father's Day weekend - Part Two

After meeting my Target quota for the month, our little family of four drove to pick up Trey's parents for Father's Day dinner.  Our destination was Rockfish Seafood Grill in Highland Village, because my Father-in-law requested seafood for dinner  The menu at Rockfish includes lots of fresh fish, healthy side dishes, and a larger variety than chicken nuggets and pizza on the children's menu.  Even better, their Happy Hour prices apply all day on Sunday

Trey dropped his parents, the kids and me off in front of the restaurant while he looked for a parking place at the shopping center.  We were immediately seated at a large booth in the corner (yay) but within two minutes, both of my kids had burst into tears (boo).  First, I was surprised when I looked down and saw blood on Sophia's foot (I remember thinking how did she cut her foot on a knife already?), then I realized it was from a cut that was already there.  I guess she was scratching it and it started bleeding.

Anyway, her shrieks were freaking Tallen out!  He was literally climbing into my lap and clutching my neck with a death grip while I tried to convince Sophia that a little blood was not a big deal.  She was breaking out into a sweat from crying so hard and I was already regretting our attempt at eating out. 

When I realized that I had left the bag filled with snacks, sippy cups, diapers and wipes in the car, I called Trey to ask him to bring it with him.  He could barely hear me over the screaming and crying but grabbed the bag and showed up shortly to calm Sophia down.  We even managed to get Tallen in his high chair so he could get busy with his job as "Official Thrower of Goldfish Crackers on the Restaurant Floor".

If I was our waitress that night, I would have already turned around and ran the other way.  But she was WAYYYY more patient than me and came back to the table three times before I could even give her our drink order. 

After a band-aid and some lemonade, Sophia seemed to be doing better... until she looked at me and said her tummy hurt.  Visions of her throwing up in the middle of the restaurant, ruining every one's Father's Day dinner flashed through my mind. 

"Do you want to go to the restroom?" I asked.  "Do you need to throw up?" 

She said no, but I put a plastic bag beside her booster chair and gave her some of Tallen's goldfish and my glass of water.  Within five minutes I could tell she was feeling better because she was laughing and doing this to her daddy...

What's that?  I can't hear you...

Oh, I can't hear you because there is a lemon in my ear...

Daddy was doing whatever it took to make Sophia happy. 
Even if that meant having lemons shoved in his ears. Happy Father's Day Trey!

Tallen thought lemons in Daddy's ear was hilarious.  He was laughing LOUD.  No really, SCREAMS of laughter.   

When I tried to quiet Tallen down he just grabbed my face in his sweet little hands...
and ROARED like a lion at me again.

Tallen was screaming so loud, that the family sitting beside us were cringing and leaning away from our table.  If I were the family at the table beside us, I would have also turned and ran the other way when I saw the chaos that we create.  At the very least, I would have requested another table.

This smile is all it took to make me forget about all the whining, screaming, crying, spilling, and shouting over Father's Day weekend. 

However, nothing will make up for those three trips to Target.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day with your family. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Father's Day weekend - Part One

Aww my kids are sweet.. look at them sitting together,
watching an educational program on TV.
Oh who am I kidding, they are just in a trance from  
watching Scooby Doo for the 247th time.
So the rest of the weekend was a little better than the beginning (click here to read about the start of our day), but I was already starting out with low expectations so it could only go up from there, right? 

When I left off on Saturday afternoon, the kids were in their bedrooms for "nap time".  Sophia does not actually nap but I still make her have quiet time in her bed while Tallen is napping, in hopes that she might accidentally drift off to dreamland.  Tallen slept for a glorious two hours, then I made Sophia take a shower and get dressed for her Daddy/Daughter date night. 

Chick-fil-a hosts a special event on Father's Day weekend, where a limo picks up the couple for their "date" and drives them to the restaurant.  A reserved table was waiting for them inside, and they had their own server who took their order and brought the food to their table.  Apparently, daddy and daughter toasted the evening with four glasses of "champagne" lemonade, had their picture taken by a photographer, and talked about their favorite color, food, and friends.  SUPER. SWEET. 

All dressed up for her date night with Daddy!
Yes, she has a better tan then me and I am jealous.
Rest assured, Tallen and I finally made it to Target to buy a Father's Day gift while Sophia was on her date with Trey.  This was Trip One of the three-trip Target weekend.  After the Daddy/Daughter date, all four of us headed to Saginaw the meet up with Brandi (of B4 Photography) who has taken amazing pictures of our family every year. Like these...

2008: Sophia at age two, with her beloved bunny.

Family picture 2008 - No matter how hard we tried, we could not get Sophia to smile.

2009: Brandi came to our house to capture some amazing pictures of a two week old Tallen.

2010: She was even there to celebrate this little boy's first birthday!

As I mentioned earlier, I was not getting my hopes up about the pictures.  I swear if you hold up a camera in front of my kids faces right now, they both shout "NO" and look away.  Every. Single. Time. 

However Brandi is very patient and she must have sprinkled her magic picture-taking pixie-dust on my kids (in the form of candy) because they actually smiled for the camera.  "Flat out bribery," she said is what works best for kids.  So in addition to the candy, we promised to buy Sophia lots of sand toys for our beach trip next week.  For the first time ever, we left a photo session thinking "Man, we got a lot of great shots tonight!"  In just a few weeks, I should have the photos to post. 


Sunday was Father's Day and I decided to treat my husband with breakfast in bed.  After some covert text-messaging, I convinced Trey to stay in bed until I could get the kids to cooperate by "surprising" daddy with pancakes and coffee.

Disclaimer - These are actually my pancakes
and they look much prettier than what I actually served Trey.
Then it was off to church, where we met up with Trey's parents.  After church I headed to Walmart, still dressed in my strapless dress and heels, because Coco Puff needed some dog food.  After some strange looks, I realized that I was way OVER-dressed for the Walmart people (seriously, check out this link) and hurried home. 

After throwing Trey's Father's Day presents in a gift bag (no, I did not have time to wrap it), Tallen gave it to his Daddy.  Inside were two dri-fit shirts and some running socks.  I promise I am not boring, these were AWESOME gifts for Trey and he loved them!.  However, one of the shirts was too small so I headed back to Target (Trip Two of the three-trip Target weekend) to exchange it while Trey put Tallen down for his nap.  Sophia came along with me to cash in on her photo session bribe (fun sand toys for the beach) while I exchanged Trey's shirt for a bigger size. 

Back at home, Trey tried on his shirt again but this time it was too BIG!  Apparently, the first shirt I bought was a SMALL (I picked up a MEDIUM hanger but never checked the size ), then I exchanged it for a LARGE.  So, can you guess what happened next? 

Yes, it was Trip Three of my three-trip Target weekend. 

This time Trey AND both kids came with me to Target so he could try the shirt on and get the right size.  I feel like we were trapped in the story, "The Three Little Bears."  The first shirt was too small, the second shirt was too big, and the third shirt was just right!!!

Ok, I am exhausted already and I still haven't got to our Father's Day dinner.   Look for more tomorrow in Father's Day part Two.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

No Schedules on Saturdays

Today is one of those days where so far, nothing is going as planned.  First, I wanted to get up early to go for a run.  Really early, like before 7 AM so I could beat the heat and take advantage of my kid free Saturday morning to get in more than my lunchtime 3 mile runs.  When my alarm went off at 6:30, I realized that I had a throbbing earache.  All this week I have been a little under the weather, mainly a sore throat and annoying cough, but not sick enough to actually take a day off of work so I guess the earache is just the icing on the cake.  I HATE getting sick on Saturdays because I am two days away from getting in to see the doctor but not sick enough to justify a trip to a family clinic. 

So, I hit snooze and debated about going on my run for the next 45 minutes (which is how long I can hit snooze until my alarm clock finally surrenders and turns itself off).  First I decided to rest instead of running, but then I could not go back to sleep and I started to get mad because I had been looking forward to this run all week.  Seriously, I really prefer running outside and mornings is the only time the temperature drops below 90 degrees in Dallas.  I had also planned on running around the lake with Trey and now we were just wasting out free time on Saturday by sleeping! 

By the time I got out of bed, I was annoyed with myself and determined to put on my running shoes and head out for a few miles.  As I put my shorts and sports bra on, I announced to Trey, "I am going running.  If you want to go with me, you have to get up now!"  He did not complain but got up and was dressed in five minutes.

We drove to Grapevine so I could show Trey my route that I ran with Team In Training, and we set out on a slow, easy four mile run.  The temperature was in the 80's but we did have some shade and I wore my hydration belt so we had water with us.  I rarely get to run alongside my husband but we enjoyed talking about our upcoming races this year.  Once we got back to the car and stretched, I realized that I NEVER regret getting up for a run but I always regret sleeping through one.

After our run, we stopped by to pick up our produce bin and headed home.  I put away our food (new post on that later) and grabbed a quick snack of Greek yogurt and granola before picking up the kids.  I had to take a quick shower first because I was stinky after my run,.  Then I threw on some shorts, a Tshirt and my TOMS and grabbed my keys.  My plan was to take the kids to Target to let them pick out a Father's Day gift for Trey but when I got to Gran's house, they were both very cranky. 

Sophia refused to put on the shirt I packed because she said it was too tight.  Then she cried because I wanted her to brush her hair.  The fact that she had to put on her shoes just sent her over the edge.  As soon as I walked in the door, Tallen asked me to hold him and would not let me sit down.  He kept grabbing my face with his hands, staring me in the eyes and yelling "ROARRRR!" like a lion. 

Once I managed to get both kids in the car, they saw my hydration belt and started asking for a drink.  I filled both bottles about halfway full of water, but Sophia started crying again because she wanted milk instead.  Tallen happily started drinking his then asked for Sophia's (which she was still refusing to drink).  When she saw that her brother wanted something that was hers, she grabbed it out of my hand and yelled "NO!". 

At that point, I gave up all hope of making it to Target.  "New plan," I told the kids, "We are heading home for naps RIGHT NOW!"  This brought on a fresh wave of tears from Sophia.  Tallen just grabbed the second bottle of water to drink (or so I thought).  When I took him out of his car seat at home, I discovered that he had really just held the second bottle upside down and poured it all over his lap. 

After making both of the kids a cup of milk (while they both stood in the kitchen and cried), I took them upstairs and put them to bed.  Well, I had to change Tallen's clothes first because he was soaking wet, THEN I put him to bed.  Now I am trying to figure out when I will have time to make it to Target for a Father's Day gift.

Did I mention that we also have Family pictures tonight (outside at 6:30 PM when the temperature is expected to be 103 degrees) and we do not have a good history of the kids cooperating with our photographer.  I am just leaving all my expectations at home and will see what comes out of this photo shoot.  Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised...

Do you ever have one of those days when nothing goes as planned?  Are you good at going with the flow or do you fight to stay on schedule?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cupcakes are Better than Ice Cream

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes are even better than Ice Cream!
Look Mommy, I got a CUPCAKE!

I LIKE it!!  Mommy, I LIKE it!!

Mmmm!  I like cupcakes!

Wipe my hands, I got CUPCAKE on my hands. 

Do you want some CUPCAKE, Mommy?
Here Mommy, Have a CUPCAKE!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Got Ice Cream!

"I got ICE CREAM!" he yelled in delight. 

His little feet slapped against the tiles as he ran around the store, stopping at each of the tables filled with families. 

"Hey, I got ICE CREAM!" he would yell as he tipped his bowl down to show them the smallest swirl of frozen yogurt.  The other moms and dads in the store looked down at him and smiled, while the cool teenagers in the corner just looked away.  One dad even answered back, "You must be excited to eat your ice cream." 

He turned to me and yelled, "Mommy, I eat my ice cream!" 

"Yes, you can eat your ice cream now.  Let's get you a spoon and find a place to sit while you eat," I answered.

Sophia wanted to sit on the bar stools, but Tallen was too little so our family decided to split up.  Daddy and Sophia ate their yogurt at a counter in the corner, while Tallen and I had an "ice cream date" at our own table.

Maybe Sophia was just practicing to be one of those cool teenagers who ignored Tallen, or maybe she just wanted time alone with her Daddy.

No words are needed to describe how sweet this moment was...

As I watched Tallen eat his own bowl of frozen yogurt for the very first time, he melted my heart.

He even stopped to offer me a bite, but I had already finished my own bowl.  If you look closely in the picture below, you can see his little ice cream mustache!

This was just one of those little moments in life that means so much to a mom.  I am definitely going on another ice cream date with this little boy again soon! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Working Moms are Often Out of Balance

I gave up trying to "balance" work and family a long time ago.  The truth is, for most working moms, there is no balance.  I have to fit in work, family time, exercise, grocery shopping, cooking, date nights, laundry, girls night out, church, friends, etc. There always seems to be something that needs my attention and I can't balance it all every day.  To quote Oprah Winfrey, "You CAN have it all. You just can't have it all at once." See, Oprah Winfrey and I DO have something in common.

Some times, I feel like things are really out of balance, like something in my life is not getting enough attention.  This weekend, that "something" was my kids. I thought about this Saturday night when we were halfway through the weekend and I had spent a total of four hours with my kids. 

Friday the kids spent the night with their grandparents so that Trey, Trisha and I could go out to dinner and a comedy club.  Since both kids were sleeping when I left for work Friday morning and Trey dropped them off at Gran's house before I made it home from work that afternoon, I did not get to see my kids at all on Friday!

Saturday morning after getting in a quick workout at the gym, Trey and I picked up the kids from Gran's and headed home.  I had a massage and pedicure scheduled at noon (finally cashing in my mother's day gift certificate) so I was only home for about a hour before I left again.  Tallen was napping when I got home a few hours later, but woke up soon after.  Our family outing on Saturday afternoon was driving to Sprinkles for cupcakes.  Once we got home, I immediately started getting ready for a baby shower that evening.  Trey was going to feed the kids dinner and put them to bed, because I was not planning on getting home until after 9 PM. 

Earlier in the weekend, Trey told me we were invited to spend Sunday afternoon on his friend's boat at the lake, an offer that I was less than enthusiastic about accepting.  We could either:
a) bring the kids with us and let me have yet another anxiety attack every time one of our kids got close to the edge of the boat, or
b) ask his parents to watch the kids so just the adults could soak up some sun. 

I asked Trey to let me think about it...

Before I left for the baby shower, Trey decided that we should take a rain check on boating (I was so relieved) and spend some family time together on Sunday instead.  Tallen and I woke up Sunday morning feeling a little under the weather so Trey went to church alone (he volunteers with the children's ministry) while I stayed home with the kids.  After mandatory late-morning naps for everyone except Trey, Tallen and I were feeling better and ready to get out of the house.  The only problem was it was 99 degrees outside.  I suggested we cash in some Groupons that I had purchased for the Indoor Safari Park in Southlake, which ended up being SO much fun!  Train rides, mechanical animals, play centers, miniature golf and a jungle gym kept Tallen and Sophia busy for 1 1/2 hours and the best part was all the fun was inside and out of the heat!

By the time we finished dinner and Trey gave the kids their baths on Sunday night, I was sad to see the weekend ending.  However I was happy that I was able to spend the entire day with my family.  My family time and "me" time felt a little more balanced. 

Now I am really looking forward to our week-long beach trip at the end of this month!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Time for this Mom to Clock Out!

Every working mother faces the same obstacles when she gets home from work each evening.  Moms rush to get dinner on the table, because we have a family to feed.  Then there are notes and papers from daycare and preschool that me must read.  Then we have to make sure everyone has clean clothes to wear the next day, help pick an appropriate non-toy to bring to show and tell, and remember to send more diapers to daycare.  Most nights the kids need a bath, then it is time to fight the teeth brushing battle.  Finally, we get to my favorite part of the night, which involves reading a few books followed by hugs, kisses and bedtime. 

I celebrate bedtime. 

If you are like me, there are some nights when you just you can't wait until those kids are finally in bed and you can Clock Out from your Mommy Job

When my Mommy Job is finished, I can focus on something important... like sitting next to my husband on the couch, drinking a beer and watching So You Think You Can Dance.  That describes how I felt last night. 

To be fair, I did not even have bedtime duty yesterday evening.  Trey had asked if he could put Tallen to bed, because they had not hung out together all day.  We both love to be in charge of Tallen's bedtime duty because it very sweet and super easy.  Our little boy is full of hugs, kisses and pretty much goes to sleep as soon as you lay him in his bed. 

Sophia is the total opposite.  That girl can stall her bedtime FOREVER.  So when I noticed her walking upstairs to get a toy about 10 minutes before her bedtime, I told her to change into pajamas so her dad could put her to bed.  That immediately sparked tears, cries of protest, and a mini temper tantrum (from Sophia, not Trey).  While Trey took care of putting Sophia to bed, I finished loading the dishwasher.  I was sitting down for the first time that night when Trey came downstairs about five minutes later.

Mom and Dad were officially off the clock.  Or so we thought.

After about ten minutes, Sophia yelled for me to come tell her goodnight.  I climbed off the couch, up the stairs and went into her room for a quick hug and kiss.  She told me she needed to potty.  The she wanted to change her pajamas.  I could almost see her dreaming up excuses in her head, finding any reason to delay going to bed.  After a potty break, a change of clothes and some hugs and kisses I headed back downstairs.

About 15 minutes later, Sophia yelled for her Dad.  He forgot to say prayers with her before bed.  Oh My GOD!  Really?  I was in the kitchen getting something to drink so I let him handle that one. 

Another 15 minutes go by and I hear her yelling for me again.  "WHAT?" I yell from my comfortable spot on the couch. 

"I need to tell you something Mom," Sophia said.

"WHAT IS IT?" I yelled back. 

"Um, I...  I am thinking about...  I keep thinking about you leaving again Mom," she said. 

I couldn't ignore this one.  Even if it was a stalling tactic, Sophia has experienced abandonment and separation anxiety in the past, as a result of me traveling for business.  So I pulled my butt off the couch, climbed up the stairs again and went into her room.  Without saying a word, I pulled her up on my lap and gave her a big hug then covered her face with kisses. 

"Mommy is right here sweetie," I said.  "I am not going anywhere.  I have to work tomorrow, then I will be home with you all weekend." 

Sophia smiled at me then curled up in her bed, clutching her bunny in her arms.  I covered her with her soft blanket and told her goodnight.  When I left, she was smiling sweetly with her eyes closed. 

"Night Night, Mom"  she said in a singsong voice.

Trey smiled in amusement when I came downstairs, trying not to laugh at my frustration.

I should get paid overtime for this. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tweet, Tweet! I am finally on Twitter!

Just like I resisted joining the Facebook revolution for years, I have been stubborn about signing up for a Twitter account for even longer.  I just didn't get it... why did I need a Facebook account AND a Twitter account? 

Tuesday night I finally caved and signed up.  And now I get it.

Do you remember those first few days of Facebook or Twitter, where you are checking your account every five minutes, feeling like you having been missing out on this part of the world?  Well that is where I am at right now.   

You can follow me @suiresphere.

I am slowing wading into the waters of the Twitter world (I have only tweeted once) but soon I will be tweeting the links to all my new posts at Suiresphere.  Hope you stop by often to check out what is going on in my world!

By the way, New changes are coming to the Suiresphere that I will be announcing next week.  It is not ready yet and I want some time to let the anticipation build... so you will to wait a little longer.  This is kind of like Tom's new One for One campaign that was unveiled on Tuesday.  The new product line is cool and you should check them out.

Don't forget to check back next week for my big announcement or watch for it on Twitter!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How (NOT) to Welcome Out of Town Guests in your Home

Trey's cousin, who is Tallen's godmother, is visiting us for the next few days.  We LOVE having her visit but I am not sure we gave her the best welcome on her first night here...

Welcome to Casa A La Suire! 

We are so happy to host you in our home this week.  How was your 6 hour drive?  I hope you are enjoying the HOT Dallas weather.  We specifically ordered a temperature of 98 degrees for your visit.  Yes, it will be 98-100 degrees the entire time you are here with FULL SUN every day.  Not a cloud in the sky to provide any shade whatsoever.  Only the best for our out of town guest!  

Let me show you to your room.  Be careful to squeeze your luggage through the narrow baby gate, then head upstairs.  Watch that second baby gate at the top of the stairs, many guests tend to trip over the metal bar across the bottom.  We have prepared the best room in the house for your, located directly between the bedrooms of our two small children. Yes, on either side of you is a child that could begin screaming in the middle of the night or a child that wakes up early and begins yelling for his mommy.  

Here is your room.  Please excuse the stacks of outgrown children's clothes that need to be given to Goodwill, but for now let's pretend they just add character to your room.  Sorry, the light bulb in the lamp beside the bed is out, so you will have to open the closet door and turn on the light inside if you need to see in your room after it gets dark.  Just don't actually look in the closet because it is very messy.  This is our storage closet and we don't want our guests to look in there and see how unorganized we really are.

Warm?  It's warm upstairs?  Oh, you noticed that.  My apologies but the upstairs air conditioner has been out for a few days.  We hope to get it fixed tomorrow but there are not guarantees that it will be working at all during your stay.  My best advice is to stay downstairs as much as possible during your visit.  Only go upstairs after 11 PM when it has finally cooled off from a steamy 86 degrees to a not-so-stifling 82.  And you will not need those pesky covers when you sleep.  I also recommend that you keep your door open so that the downstairs air can have a chance to drift into your room.  Just be warned that both of the kids will have their doors open too which means there is a better chance that you will hear them crying if they wake up in the middle of the night.     

The bathroom.  You will have to share a bathroom with our two small children.  Sophia tends to smear toothpaste on the counter around the sink when she brushes her teeth and we have discovered that this attracts ants.  We are trying to teach her to clean up after herself, but she is four so she is not that tidy.  I would recommend that you wipe the sink and counter down at night after you brush your teeth so we don't have another ant invasion.  Tallen is attempting to potty train so watch out for the pink potty in the floor of the bathroom, it can be a trip hazard.  In fact, the entire upstairs area can be a tripping hazard because our kids tend to leave their toys on the floor.  Be careful where you walk, especially at night when you can't see what toys they have left on the floor.  And remember, you should only venture upstairs at night because the A/C is broken...

What do you want to do while you are here for your visit?  Just remember that Mr. and Mrs. Suire (owners of Casa A La Suire) will both be working during the week and may not have much time to show you around Dallas or spend much time with you between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM.

Do we have any plans for dinner?  Oh dear.  I would have to go to the store to buy something to cook and I'm kind of tired from working all day... Let's just go out to dinner.  And to make up for this horrible welcome we gave you, let's go out for frozen yogurt afterwards!

Otherwise, we are SO happy that you are here to visit for a few days!  Enjoy your stay!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are you an Amazon Mom?

Are you an Amazon Mom?  If not, then you should be. 

Tragically, I was not an Amazon Mom when I had my first baby almost five years ago, and I am kicking myself over the time and money that we wasted over the past few years actually going to a store to buy diapers, wipes and formula.

Now I simply log on to my Amazon Mom account and order the baby supplies I need at a 15% discount AND I receive an additional 15% discount for signing up for Subscribe and Save.  Yes - that is a 30% savings on diapers, wipes, etc.  Subscribe and Save automatically re-orders my selected items at pre-set intervals (we usually go through a box of diapers in one month).  It is almost like Amazon is reading my mind! Don't worry too much about the schedule, you have the option to change your delivery, skip a delivery or get an extra delivery before your subscription is due. 

Did I mention that the diapers are shipped for FREE? Note that the free shipping benefits are based on how much I spend in a single order, so for every $25 dollars I spend I get an additional month of free two day shipping benefits.

The best part is the free shipping applies to other orders too!  Last week I ordered a few books for my summer reading list and my Amazon Mom membership qualified me for free shipping (without the usual $25 order limit). 

Over the weekend I realized that we were running low on diapers, so I logged on to Amazon Mom account.  Even though my next shipment was not scheduled until next month, I selected "send additional delivery now" and those diapers are scheduled to be delivered to my house before I get home from work today.  For a busy mom like me, that is a huge time and money saver!  If you have questions, just go here.

I did not receive any payment or promotional items from Amazon for this post - I am just a busy mom who wanted to spread the word to other busy moms out there like me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Start of My Summer Reading List...

If you know me very well, then you probably know that some of my passions are; my family, running, dancing, baking, writing/blogging and of course READING!  I have loved books since I was a little girl and my mom read to me every night at bedtime.  In fact, my mom tells me that I was so impatient that I taught myself to read before kindergarten. 

Once school started, I would win the reading contests in my class for the most number of books read in a six week period.  The library was one of my favorite places to visit and I loved getting lost in a good book for hours. 

This love for reading has not changed over the years, but the time I have to read has dramatically decreased.  I have also made a transition from reading mainly fiction books to memoirs, cooking, parenting advice, and health/fitness.  Here are a few of the books that are stacked on the floor beside my nightstand that I am ready to devour this summer... 

Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

Summer would not be complete without a few indulgent romance or chick-lit books.  They kind of book that you want to throw in your beach bag to read on vacation.  I need some recommendations to take on my Florida trip in a few weeks so...

What are you reading this summer?  What easy-reads should I pack for vacation?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Race Recap - Firefly Run

Last night Trey and I ran the Firefly Run (5K) in Plano, TX.  I was excited about this race because it has been 8 months since I have run a race with Trey AND it is officially the latest start to a race that I have ever participated in... 9 PM! Over 3,000 people were registered so we arrived pretty early to get a parking spot, stand in line at the porta pottys, and grab a few samples from the vendors.

I enjoyed wearing the BRIGHTEST running clothes I own and my shirt even matched the LED light up bracelets that were in our race packets.  They were a little to big to wear as bracelets so we strapped them on our legs and turned them on right before the race. 

As this is a national race that visits several major cities, there were some familiar sponsors...

It was HOT outside so we stopped by the Jamba Juice and Honest Tea tents for some samples before the race. I had a Strawberry Surf Rider from Jamba Juice and the Honest Tea Peach White tea. Trey tried the Strawberry Wild from Jamba Juice and the Honest Tea Superfruit punch (which was my favorite).

We look so much better here than in our post race picture, we had no idea how hot it would still be at 9:30 PM. 

Waiting for the sun to go down so the race could begin.  I was really glad that we decided to run the 5K instead of the 10K.  Trey just started training to run four weeks ago and I have not had a long run since my half marathon last month. 

Around 8:45 we go in line and I could tell that it would be an interesting start to the race.  We started right on time at 9 PM.  No pace corrals and no wave start... which meant it was pretty much a free for all the first mile.  We probably started out a little too fast trying to find some room in the crown to run, but after about 1.5 miles we found some breathing room.  There was only ONE water stop which we slowed down and walked through.  I never saw the 2 mile marker but I was wearing my Garmin so I kept giving Trey updates on how much farther we had to go.  About 20 minutes into the race we were soaking wet, running up a hill and tempted to slow down for a walk break.  After the turn around on the hill, Trey surprised me by picking up the pace again.  I checked my watch and told him we only had about half a mile to go so we kept pushing.  Our goal before the race was to run it in under 30 minutes, which would be a personal record for Trey. 

As we passed the 3 mile marker, I looked down at my watch and told Trey that we had this.  We made the turn towards the finish line and Trey grabbed my hand just before we crossed... and I forgot to look up at the clock.  We did it! 

Trey looked at his watch and his time was 28:02.  We were thrilled when we checked the official race results and found that we both had a new PR of 27:50!!! 

Running a night race was a great experience but it never cooled down outside like I expected.  In fact, the temperature was 97 degrees AFTER the race.  The heat made it much harder to catch my breath and it also took longer for me to cool down. By the time we took this picture, we had drank LOTS of water and sampled more food from the vendors. 

There was no beer tent at the race so we headed out to BJ's brewhouse in Lewisville for our post race beer. 

Trey and I both ordered the seasonal brew called Nit Wit which was really refreshing and the Margherita Fresca flatbread.  It was the perfect ending to a long day!