Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Moving STINKS

SO I love changing locations, moving from one state to another. It's fun meeting new people, discovering what each area has to offer and observing each state's culture. The people around here, for example, WORSHIP the St Louis Cardinals (the pro baseball team for those of you who don't know, and if you don't know, DON'T tell anyone from around here b/c they'll string you up by your toes until you can recite the names of each player). They also smile and wave and bring you baked goods. At least in my cozy bubble on this side of the Mississippi River.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the free zoo and science center in St Louis and ample good eatin'. We've lived in Bolivia (ME) and the Phillippines (HUBBY) and the four corners of the U.S. and fully adjusted to each locale. The only thing that's been different here in the greater St Louis area has been...we BOUGHT a HOUSE. Our first home.
It's cute and conveniently easy to maintain. I love it. The only BAD is that NOW I carry the stress of trying to sell it.
We have orders to JAPAN. Yay!!!! Okinawa, no less, the Hawai'i of the Orient. Beaches! Sushi! Beaches!! We are stoked. I can't be fully excited, however, until we get this house sold. It's been on the market less than a week and I'm worried. WORRIED. It's all I can think about. Will it sell? Will it sell in TIME or will we be stuck with a mortgage payment after we've left the country? Will it sell too early, resulting in us being booted from our home before we have to leave? Will the boys break the house in half so we can't even sell it (sometimes I truly wonder). 
I didn't want to buy a home in the first place! For this very reason. 
The biggest turn off is that our house doesn't have a basement. Buyers want basements.
Because this is "tornado alley".
Why they'd want a house to fall on TOP of them, trapping them inside, instead of around them is beyond me. But it's what most want.
So I'll continue to PRAY it will sell. Because there will be others like me...
...who don't want an extra dark, dreary space to clean...
...with a foundation that cracks...
...with water that leaks...
...and SPIDERS galore...
...that uses so much electricity to dehumidify...
...and sump pump (whatever that is)...
...and sewage backup.
Right?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fabulously Fun Florida Vacation

FLORIDA IN JANUARY is a great place to be. The 15 hour drive was SO worth it.
New Year's Eve we hit up Legoland. It was a blast and the boys loved it! It's big enough to have a day of fun but small enough not to overwhelm. The fireworks show that night was incredible. They gave us 3D glasses with 2016 on them that made the fireworks (and any other light) look like Lego blocks. It was fun and super creative.
As sweet as they may look, the only annoying part was standing in line with these active guys. 
They constantly wrestled and knocked into everyone packed in around us. 
At least we didn't have to wait longer than 30 minute in any line.
Psh
boys 
<3 i="">
On the way to the Florida Keys we drove through the Everglades to search for wild alligators. Driving eastward on 41, we took the 94 Loop Road. This road didn't come up on my google maps search, but it branches off of highway 41 where it curves northward, about halfway through the park (right after the Miccosukee Indian Village). We never had to pay to get inside the park this way. We saw at least a dozen gators, which was good since I don't think Jan is gator "season".
They hang out between the grouping of trees in the waterways. We drove slowly and spotted some through the trees, too, though that was tiresome.
Watch out for the mammoth mosquitoes. Keep your windows up or wear bug spray. This road curves around and meets back up with highway 41. 
I never thought it'd be so difficult to find a sandy beach in the Florida Keys!
Most are full of painful rocks.
We drove an extra couple of hours to reach Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
White sand, warmish water that I swam in all day. No waves to wash my little ones out to sea. Rock outcroppings with small holes with little fish in them. It had bathrooms and a nice playground. Overall it was a great beach, though I wouldn't travel those bridges again just for a beach (I guess the Keys are more for snorkeling).
I had a shark sandwich at a random restaurant it was DIVINE. Wish I could remember the name of the place but man! It was memorable. Probably helped that I was super hungry.
The next day, after an hour of church, we walked around South Pointe Park in South Miami Beach. We watched some guys fish off the pier, which was surprisingly fun. A guy caught a large Southern sheepshead 20 minutes after casting in. The pier was big and really pretty. We had to pay to park but such is the way of life in large well-populated cities.
Afterward, we got our feet wet walking along the beach and searching for shells before heading up to Orlando.
Monday we went to Magic Kingdom. Now I've always been skeptical about Disney parks. The astronomical prices of tickets and gaudy Mickey gear. Really? It's just a theme park, right? 
WRONG
The rides alone are amazing. Super fun yet not physically painful like carnival rides, and they last LONGER. They have little characters moving along the ride joined with the thrill of the rising and falling and twisting. And the shows, full of fire, waterb fake snow or bubbles falling down on our heads (or all of the above), and parades and fireworks shows truly make it the happiest place on earth. I see why tickets cost so much!
I can't wait to return!
Once again, standing in line with these guys was QUITE annoying.  But we maneuvered the lines and figured out how to use our Fast Passes (via my Disney experience app, which is a must have) so we didn't have to wait too long.
On the boat, ready for It's a Small World. There were enough rides Logan could go on that it wasn't too annoying to take turns sitting out with him during the bigger kid rides.
Still, we've decided not to return until he's at least 44". :)
Two cuties saying hello to Goofy while waiting for the parade of lights. Rides, interactive 3D movies, fireworks...all of the funnest things in one park. A-MAZing!
Cinderella's castle was beaUtiful at night. We did 2 days at Magic Kingdom and still didn't see it all. It was by far my favorite park. Clean streets, polite people, happy staff...
I fulfilled a lot of childhood fantasies here.
Christian and Miles did Jedi training at Hollywood Studios. We signed up right when we got there in the morning and spots were filling fast.
We also loved the stunt car and Indiana Jones shows! 
Fantasmic was the prefect end to a super fun day. I must see at Hollywood Studios. We spent one day here and I thought it was plenty. I am intrigued by the movie making process so I loved it, but it's still not as filling as the meat and potatoes: Magic Kingdom.
ANIMAL KINGDOM had a fun safari ride. Not much else by way of rides but there is a fun interactive 3D bug show.
The funnest ride is called DINOSAUR. Christian and I rode together first, then I took the three oldest boys right before we left. They were FREAKED out (life sized dinosaurs chasing them, roaring in our faces, sneezing on us) but I loved it! :D There was a mountain ride we didn't have time to go on.
Thank you, Walt, for dreaming so big. We truly enjoyed our trip!
Going hard each day, they ended up passing out on the bus ride to our hotel. Sweet critters.
In another few years we'll be back, Disney World, and pad along your clean streets once again.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kamikaze crayon crawl into your dryer?

Did a crayon crawl in the dryer with your laundry (or a loved one's, c'mon, this is serious), melting all over the clothes? This is a worst laundry nightmare case scenario, but don't you dare turn those clothes into to rags (unless you don't really like them).
This happened to me but a week ago and, since there were some of favorites ing the load and the crayon was RED, I plead for help on facebook (since everything you read on facebook is true).
There are lots of crazy ideas on the internet on how to get crayon out, but I tried one and only one method and it worked! I mean, it's a straight up miracle.
This is only a little of the aftermath from the kamikaze crayon.
First you need a good dish soap. I used Dawn. Rub a little bit on each spot of crayon, making sure the whole spot is saturated. On big people clothes, this may take awhile.
Secondly, fill a tub (big enough to hold the clothes) with the ,hottest possible tap water and soak the clothes for 1 to 2 hours.
Lastly, wash the clothes on the hottest cycle with a liquid stain removal laundry soap--I used Tide--and dry as usual.

WA-LA! Every piece of crayon was gone, except the one spot I'd missed with dish soap on a pair of pants. I air dried them, started over with step 1 and it came out.

Now if it rubbed all over the inside of your dryer I can't help you. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with that...yet.

Monday, November 2, 2015

30 days hath April...

30 days hath April...and September...and March, May, June, July and August have 31....Or something like that. But that's about how many days I need to summarize. So here goes...
APRIL 2015
 Logan's First Easter! teehee!
 Bathroom updates! New faucets and vanity lights for both bathrooms (my neighbor helped with those). I did everything else myself, thank you very much. :) 
I painted the walls, painted the cupboards espresso and added 2 coats of polyurethane, put up new mirrors and new fixtures (towel holders, robe hanger, etc). It was a lot of work but SO fun!
I made a second garden box, planted my garden and painted the kitchen and dining room. Fun stuff! I had to add a fence around this one because some cute baby bunnies that hatched on the side of our house ATE my broccoli. sniff
And they were starting on my cabbage. Naughty bunnies.

MAY 2015
 At the beginning of this year my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes). They gave him 6 to 18 months to live.
 I (ME, TAMARA who's fallen asleep at the wheel) drove my four kids out the whole 30+ hours to CA. It actually wasn't as excruciating as I'd thought it would be. It was DEFINITELY worth spending a month with my awesome family! The six of us kids, right here. Sex-ay! My dad was tired but I know he loved having us. He's been responding really well to treatments so we're hopeful it'll give him a couple more years with us! He's the best Dad ever and I love him so much.
Here he is with all his grandkids that were present.

JUNE
Elijah turned 3 and got many gifts from his aunts and uncles.
 My childhood BFF, Shauna, and I with our kids (4 each). Visiting me at my dad's house. :) Love her!

On our way home we drove through Provo. We met Alan's cousin at the Bean Museum on BYU campus. We have fond memories of this placed from when we lived there, but man has it changed. We saw friends and family (my 2 nephews there for school) and had a great time.
After we returned home (Alan flew to CA and drove us home), we spent a day at The City Museum). It's like a big hamster cage for people with big ball pits and endless places to climb and slide. Fun times! The boys are begging to go back, of course!

JULY
Elijah decided he was ready to potty train and boy was I excited. Especially since he trained so quickly and so well!
On the fourth we watched fireworks at a park and got bitten by mosquitoes. This month we toasted hot dogs and marshmallows in our fire pit (another of my April projects) and pretended to camp out back (the boys chickened out). Somewhere in there I turned 30-something.

AUGUST
The boys up to their normal shenanigans. Playing on Elijah's bed slide.
 Logan LOVES to go up and down the slide! :D haha! He's such a happy, funny guy.
I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!
Gettin' naked in the sandbox. Yah know, the usual.
I made this sandbox using wood the previous owner had left behind as a horseshoe pit. I spray painted it red and made a lid.
Digging out this thick, deep-rooted grass is stinkin' hard but so worth it.
Another April project...a bench made from free wooden crates and stained with free deck stain I saw advertised on Craigslist, topped with the leftover board from the sandbox lid.
We visited a lot of splash pads and enjoyed the remainder of our summer break (I didn't love fighting with the two oldest to do their summer workbooks each day, but they finished them right before school...Yay!). School started mid-August, which I thought was early, but many others started even before us!

SEPTEMBER
School, St. Louis Zoo,  Christian turning 9 and Logan turning 1, mine and Alan's 11th year anniversary. Sidewall chalk, the park, swimming at friend's and sprinklers. I had a turkey I needed to use in the freezer so I made a mini thanksgiving feast.
I started preschool with my neighbor who nannies twin 3 yr old boys and another girl and her son. We take turns teaching once a week and it's been a blast! Visited a farm last day of Sept for preschool. It was so much fun. The kids fed animals, picked apples and played on a big, fun playground. Christian cut his hair for the first time...during class He said his hair itched him. S'mores, hosting a baby shower. It was a very busy month!

OCTOBER
We took a family trip to the zoo. I love it, especially since its free. My favorites are the hippos and elephants. They have a new polar bear that was swimming around and head-butting the glass! We hit a fall festival on base. They had free chili, hot dogs, face painting, bounce houses, balloon animals, pumpkins and a cake walk. Fun memories were made. Can't wait to hit that next yeary.
 Christian surprised me with breakfast in bed (Shredded Mini Wheats and 3 marshmallows, a standard meal) with a note, "thank you for the kind things you do". I about died from the cuteness.
The carrots in my garden presently feed about 20 black swallowtail caterpillars.
In my family we swap buying gifts for one another's family. My dad has us this year. My sister told him I want a hammock-swing from Lowe's and he bought it, early so we can enjoy it in the beautiful weather we've been having. It's 4x the max spending limit but I'm not complaining. :-D I'm in heaven! I love it so much.
We had fun trick-or-treating with the boys (and at the trunk or treat at our church the night before). I started family themes for Halloween a few years back and it's been so fun. This year we were super heroes. Today I bought our costumes for next year. I won't say what we'll be, but it's gonna be bloody fantastic! (wink, wink)I always love this time of year that begs for hot cocoa, sweaters, boots, warm snuggles and fun holidays.

Monday, February 9, 2015

WE LOVE OLAF!...or so I thought


They have a place here in Illinois called Eckert's Farm and a few weeks ago I saw they had a photo op with Olaf and Sven from FROZEN. 
Elijah LOVES Frozen, especially Olaf, so I thought he'd love it.

It wasn't the first time I'd thought wrong. :O  :D

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Highlights...

Highlights of the past months...
SEPTEMBER
Logan Taylor was born! Weighing 8lb4oz (1 oz less than Christian, making him my second biggest baby). Doctors thought he'd be six pounds. Pishposh! :)
Alan delivered him! His own son as his first delivery of his medical residency. Huzzah!
The boys were thrilled to greet their new brother.
Though Elijah liked to view him only from a distance. He does NOT like the competition.
My dad came for almost two weeks to help with the kids. They LOVE Grandpa Bascom. :)
My dad (and Logan) and I drove up to Nauvoo, IL to see the LDS church history sites. It was a fun and memorable time. One of my favorite pictures was taken through the hole in the door of the prison where Joseph Smith was shot. It's the actual bullet hole of the shot that killed Hyrum Smith.

OCTOBER
Christian got baptized! I can't believe he is eight, already.
 Alan baptized him and grandpa Bordon confirmed him a member of the Church. 
The Spirit was so strong, confirming to us all that Christian was truly following Christ into the waters of baptism.
 Christian was happy to share his special day with Logan. Logan was blessed right after his the confirmation. The Spirit was strong there, too. Loved it! Love him and Him! :)
Alan's parents, his grandparents and my dad were able to be there. I'm sure my mom was there, too. :)
It was such a special day...I'd dare even call it blessed.
The boys love October with pumpkin carving, soup season and of course Trick-or-Treating!

DECEMBER:
 Miles turned six. He was SO excited.
 He got a Hide Away Pet and Playdough. I really have to keep them away from commercials. Their whole Christmas/Birthday lists consisted of "As Seen On TV" toys. :P
 Logan's First Christmas. He didn't give a hoot. But I did. :) Happy First Christmas, baby.
Santa Came! It wasn't a huge Christmas (though there was also a big basketball game out in the garage, too) but it's not what Christmas is really about and we want all of us to remember that.

JANUARY (thus far):
 We drove south to Oklahoma to visit Alan's grandpa and his sister and my brother in Texas. Along the way we were able to catch up with some good friends! We love to maximize road trips. :)
We went to a fun museum with Alan's sister and her family. The boys' favorite things were the remote control cars and earthquake simulator.
Leaving the museum...Miles, surprisingly, was the only one who WALKED down the steps (he's usually bouncing all over the place but he was sick). love my BOYZZZ
Christian and his cousin, JJ, are such good buddies. :D My bro has some really precious kids.
My brother's favorite face. HUH?

We went with my brother's family to Chuck E Cheese's to celebrate Miles's 6th birthday (which was back in December, if you're not keeping up to speed). It was wonderful seeing family and friend! I love my husband for instigating these trips; I'm grateful family is as important to him as it is me. Love him!