30 June 2009

date night in a box

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have some very special people in your lives getting married and have no idea what to get them?

Dan's sister is getting married on the 4th of July and there is just no way we are going to make it up for the wedding. So I wanted to make sure I put together a really nice gift package to send to them. I thought and thought about what to do and finally it came to me.

I now share with you my step-by-step plan for [what I hope is] a great gift:

1. Load up the adorable toddler into the gas-guzzling SUV and head into town.

2. Stop at the local Harris Teeter for some awesome gourmet goodies like these:

3. Don't forget to pick up some snacks while you are there!

4. While you are at it, pick up a few more snacks. This is for a movie date night after all.

5. Come home, log online and go to Netflix and get yourself a gift certificate.

6. Print it out.

7. Assemble everything together in a box.

8. Don't forget the decorations on the outside of the box.

9. Head out to the local post office and ship, don't forget to bring along the adorable toddler for help and entertainment.

Problem solved.

(I also put together a small scrapbook for them to put some of their wedding photos into as well but forgot all about taking photos for the blog!)

29 June 2009

oakes family reunion: rome georgia edition

We had yet another busy weekend. A last minute phone call and a family reunion (Dan's Dad's side of the family) going on a few hours from us led to a road trip to Georgia that we hadn't planned on. Unfortunately for you while we were out having a good time all over the south, you all were stuck with a Michael Jackson post, sorry about that!

I am so tired right now I can hardly stay awake. So there won't be much story telling and zero photo editing in this post.

Dan's Dad is #2 out of 12 children. He is the oldest surviving sibling of the group. After dinner each of the siblings that were there (I think 8 were able to come this time) and their families had a picture taken.

This was our part of the family: (l-r (back) Dan's Dad, Jared, Zach. (front) Lindsay, Liza, Leah, Mabry, Me and Dan)

Oakes Reunion

In the morning we took a trip down a river through Rome, Georgia on a chartered boat. That was fun just getting to visit and meet with everyone. What wasn't so fun was the over 100 degree weather that zapped the energy from us all.

I think that the heat had fried my brain at this point.

The men who were captaining the boat were really nice. They let anyone who wanted to "drive" for a little while. Dan even took the helm at one point.

Mabry kept busy by dressing up like Popeye. Apparently the creator of the cartoon grew up working on this river and actually modeled a lot of Popeye and other characters after the river and workers he knew.

Mabry also bonded with her Grandpa and fussed in the heat.

At dinner we listened to all kinds of stories and took lots of photos.

Mabry met her cousin, Macy, who was a great new playmate. There is only about a 6 month difference between the two of them. Can you believe it?

At dinner Mabry was really cranky and none too pleased with Dan and I. Apparently it is asking too much to have her sit in a highchair and wear a bib. Great Aunt Kay to the rescue. As long as she was sitting on her lap or walking around with her she was fine. I wonder if Kay is willing to "work weekends"??

Does this Oreo cheesecake not look delicious?????

How peaceful would it be to curl up with a book and sit here for an afternoon right on the bank of the river?

Well I am off to bed. 4-5 hours of sleep a night just aren't cutting it. What did everyone else do this weekend?

25 June 2009

mj say it ain't so

I don't know why this has me so freaked out, but Michael Jackson...dead?

Maybe what really has me upset is the partical death of my inner 80s child that went right along with him as I heard the news driving down the road. You know the one with the side pony tail and neon purple bicycle shorts that couldn't help but turn it up anytime Thriller came on.

I can't even imagine what it is going to be like for me when Cyndi Lauper goes.

So sad. Weird. But so sad.

Just because I haven't posted a Mabry photo in a few days I thought I would add this one in there for you:

Thriller 6-25-09

This would be Mabry and her Dada dancing to Thriller. MTV is currently playing an endless loop of MJ videos in tribute. Which means we are having a dance party in our house tonight.

24 June 2009

link love

Cutest wedding invite ever. Wondering how I can change this around into something I can use in the future?

Hilarious audtion from America's Got Talent. At first we thought this guy was serious, so glad it was all a joke. So glad this show is back!!

50 Summer Crafts for Kids. So many things for us to try! Can't wait to start checking them off the list.

First look at Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I am a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I have to admit I am a little skeptical about what is going to happen to it now that Tim Burton has his hands on it. I am hoping he is going to surprise me and just knock my socks off.

meltdowns and movies

This morning Mabry woke up screaming. Can I just say, not exactly what you want to hear jostling you from your sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I tried to crawl into bed with her to soothe her, but she was really insistent (what with her pointing and screams) that she wanted off the bed and out of the room. I tried laying her down in my bed. Again, more screaming and pointing. She kept handing me her Sheebus and then screaming and backing up towards the wall.

The breakdown in communication between myself and a toddler can be very frustrating especially when you are operating on less than 6 hours of sleep.

I asked if anything hurt (sometimes when a tooth is coming in she acts this way, but will point to her mouth to let me know something is wrong) and she shook her head no. Hungry? No. Thirsty? No. Want to play? No. Want to go back to sleep? No. In the end I had no options left so I just let her stand there and cry.

As quickly as the tears came they left and she went running into her playroom as happy as could be. So I did what any sleep deprived parent would do, I laid back down and just listened to her play for about 20 minutes before dragging myself up to start the day.

Has this happened to anyone else? The best guess I have is that maybe she had some sort of a nightmare??

In other Mabry news, she hits, a lot. She even has this bully-like scowl she puts on her face as she hits. You tell her "no" and she will smack the door frame, wall, couch, anything that is near her "victim" in an attempt to show that oh yes she can hit. Then she usually looks at me or Dan and smacks us again. My kid is a bully. What tips do people have out there to stop this kind of behavior? We tried hitting her back to show her it isn't nice. We tried time out. She just keeps doing it. Nothing phases her.

I can just hear my parents now dropping to their knees and thanking God for gracing me with a child who is just as stubborn as I was (am).

This afternoon Dan is taking me to see the new Transformers movie. He has been talking about this for months now. He went yesterday and bought the tickets and even coordinated with the box office attendant the precise moment the doors will open to the theatre. Ensuring we have seats in advance wasn't good enough, we need to be the first ones in there with the very best seats. Or so that is what he told me last night when I complained about having to be there almost an hour before the movie starts.

Has anyone read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger? I had never even heard of it until this morning. Several people were writing about how the book has been turned into a movie and someone had posted this preview:

I am really intrigued. So as soon as I finish The Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult (thanks Jen for the suggestion!) I think I might have to get this one from the library.

Well I am off to take Mabry on a walk around the neighborhood before the sun makes it too hot to even step outside.

23 June 2009


Is anyone else sick of the media fire storm that is Jon and Kate? I can't believe I am even going to feed into everything with this little rant, but I just feel like getting something off of my chest. I haven't been watching the show but broke down on Monday to watch the "big announcement." Part of me was secretly hoping that the kids were actually going to be put first and they were going to cancel the show altogether.

That didn't happen.

As a matter of fact Kate actually made the statement, "The show must go on."

WAKE UP! This isn't just a show. This is real life for eight very small children. I challenge Jon and Kate to actually put their children first and do what is best for their kids like they claim to always be doing.

I challenge the rest of us to change the channel anytime their show comes on. Send TLC, Jon and Kate the message that we as a society aren't interested in watching this family fall apart.

ripley's aquarium: myrtle beach

While visiting Myrtle Beach we spent part of the afternoon checking out the Ripley's Aquarium. We had met up with a few friends, John and Chris, for lunch and they came with us to the aquarium. (I think part of the appeal was the Heaven sent A/C that filled the building, perfect when it is 100+ degrees outside.)

Mabry's reactions to the fish were so funny. She laughed, clapped, pointed, and even blew kisses to the sharks.
Myrtle Beach Ripley's Aquarium #10

These two didn't have any fun. Nope, none at all. Just look at their faces when I asked them to pose for a photo:

There were a few places where you could actually touch some of the animals. Mabry was terrified of the sting rays and practically clawed me to death trying to get up to high ground (my head) and away from the rays. None of the rays even came close for me to touch. I did get to touch a bonnet-head shark though, which was fun. The boys, they were with Mabry staying far, far away from the tank. Wussies.

I also held a horseshoe crab. They are huge and kind of weird. Mabry was brave here and touched one when I flipped it over. (So did Chris and Dan, though they still didn't want to hold one.) You can see Mabry's fat little hand in this one reaching out to touch the crab I am holding:

One area of the aquarium has tanks that actually go right over top of you. (The Ripley's in Gatlinburg, TN had this too when Dan and I went there.) It was strange to have the sharks going right over top of you. The creepiest part was when you would see their eyes following you.

They have a whole room devoted to babies. The coolest tank in there were the mermaid's purses. These are actually pouches that hold shark eggs:

Hope you enjoyed photos from our little getaway. We will resume regular posting tomorrow.

22 June 2009

celebrating dada dan

For Father's Day Mabry and I decided to treat Dan to an impromptu trip to Myrtle Beach. Last year he had a training mission and so he missed his very first Father's Day with Mabry. We wanted to make this one special to let him know how special he is to us.

Senor Frogs

Myrtle Beach is only two hours away and so we figured it would be a great place to go and spend some family time. A 24-hour mini vacation if you will.

Mabry was able to try swimming in a pool for the first time and we found she must be part fish. To say she loved the water would be an understatement of the year.

It was so hot while we were there. Over 100 degrees in the sun. Awful! It zapped all of the energy out of us. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

We took Mabry to the aquarium too. Those pictures coming tomorrow! Hope everyone else had a great weekend.

21 June 2009

happy father's day

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DADA! Love you so much!
Your Little Mission Impossible Girlie
Mission Impossible

20 June 2009

roll along...

Playing in the pool #3

The gym across the street that I sometimes use was closed yesterday, which meant no work out for me. Instead Dan and I figured we would take Mabry for a walk around a park that is located in the teeny-tiny downtown area of the teeny-tiny town we live in. While we were there we also walked to the library to drop off some books and then walked up to the hardware store for a few supplies.

While Mabry and I were waiting for Dan to find what he needed in the store a pleasant man came up to us and suggested that we might want to go outside. Apparently every year on the Friday before Father's Day our town does a wagon train right through downtown. Complete with horses and several covered wagons.

Mabry couldn't stop squealing and laughing and pointing at the horses. There was a Shetland pony that almost gave her an aneurysm when she saw it. I wish I would have had my camera to capture the whole thing.

While we were waiting for the wagon train to come through Mabry and I were able to really get a good look at the locals. Up to this point aside from a friendly smile or wave at the post office we haven't really interacted much with (or paid attention to) anyone in the town.

From our shady little street corner we got to see a woman sitting handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser crying and slamming her head into the seat. We heard a toothless woman yelling on her cell phone while clutching a purple Little Mermaid purse. There was also an older woman walking around with a framed kitten poster under her arm and a furry (maybe kitten fur come to think of it??) wintry look bag on the other arm talking to herself. But my favorite was the teenage girl who stood right in front of us wearing a tube top with a bra (not strapless) and both of her butt cheeks hanging out of the way-too-short short shorts she had on.

Oh my, my. Where are we living?!

Temperatures have been somewhere near the 100s around here lately. Perfect for heating up the pool, not so perfect for doing anything else outside. Mabry loved waking up for her nap and spending time splashing around out on the deck.

In the evening I worked on another purse for the shop. Sometimes it is fun to work on something with no pattern. Just being creative and seeing where it leads. In the end I came up with this:

Cheri Purse

So far all of the purses have been named after women in my family. Liz is my Granny. Wanda is my Gramma. Lois is my great aunt. This newest purse is named for my mom, Cheri.

What do you think?

19 June 2009

recipe, review and book suggestions

I made "homemade" ice cream last week when we had some friends over for dinner. This dessert is one my mom used to make for me as a child. Love it. (Recipe at the end of this post.) In an effort to clean out the freezer (and indulge our sweet tooths) Mabry and I polished off the last of it the other night.

Licking her plate clean

Mabes liked it so much she felt compelled to lick her plate clean, in the process ensuring she would get a bath before bed.

This next picture makes me laugh because her cheeks seem like they are ready to burst they are so chubby. (Thirty years from now I can just hear her thanking me for such a nice comment.) There have been too many instances where she has flipped herself over the side rail on the bed and landed (via her head) onto the floor for my taste. Dan and I are now in the process of teaching her how to back to the end of the bed and then slide off.

While talking to Aunt B on ooVoo we were trying to show her what Mabry could do. It turns out Mabry can basically assume the position of a beached whale. She also claps for herself. A lot.

In case you have never heard of ooVoo before, it is kind of like Skype only you can video chat with more than one person at a time. In my opinion that is the only benefit to the program. I might just be partial to Skype, but I found ooVoo to not be so user friendly. Great to use when talking to more than one person over video, otherwise I suggest sticking to Skype.

I need help. Does anyone have some recommendations out there on some good books to read? I am currently averaging about a book every three days. I am quickly running out of things that I know are good and don't know what to go for next. Help me!!

Homemade Cookies and Cream Dessert

1 pkg. Oreo cookies
1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream (I usually just buy the cheapest store brand)
1 regular size (I think it is 8 oz.) of cool whip (again I just buy the off brand low fat stuff)

1. Smash the Oreo cookies. You could use a rolling pin and put them in a plastic bag. Usually I just dump them all into the largest bowl I have and then using a pastry blender smash them up. It works really well and is super quick and easy to do that way.
2. I heat up the box of ice cream for about 20 seconds or so in the microwave to loosen it up and then add that to the bowl with the Oreos.
3. Stir the ice cream and cookies up until they are pretty well blended.
4. Add the Cool Whip to the mix and blend completely.
5. Spread evenly into a 9X13 metal pan and put in the freezer to harden.

If I make this around lunch it is always ready by dinner time. We cut the ice cream into squares and eat it.

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