Monday, April 30, 2012

Serendipity 3 vs. Bucket List

Mike and the boys surprised me by taking me to Serendipity 3, as it was on my Bucket List! I was so excited to try their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate! If you go in the future, call ahead for a reservation. It is small and intimate, and has the cutest decorations! It would make a great place for ladies day out, or place to celebrate a family event. The sandwiches, taco salad, and kids foot long hot dog were fantastic! (I had no idea that cranberry mayonnaise was so delicious!!) The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, was to die for, and just shy of heaven! If you are in Georgetown or New York City, you MUST try Serendipity 3! We ordered the Moccchacino Coffee, and it came with chocolate shavings and chocolate covered coffee beans. The boys ordered a strawberry sundae, and Mikey's eyes just about fell out of his head when it was brought to the table. He asked how many people would be eating the ice cream, as there was no way just he and Ryan would be able to finish it all by themselves? I am so happy that I was able to cross this off my Bucket List, as it was SO worth it!

Is there something you have really wanted to try? Do you have a restaurant that you cant wait to try something on the menu? What is on your Bucket List?

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blog Dare: 121

Today's Prompt: That is when I turned into Momma bear...

We recently went to a local and very popular park, where they have a section of playground geared for many age levels. There are signs posted on each section as to the minimum and maximum age level that should be playing on the equipment, swings or slides. The boys love the biggest cork screw slide, and will play on it over and over again. The great part about this play ground equipment is that it takes a good five minutes to climb your way back to the top, as it is so big. While we were there a group of teenagers arrived and quickly took over the swings. The group got louder and more rowdy and soon began to shout, swear and say very vulgar things. They then moved to the playground equipment and took over the slide that the boys were playing on. Mikey stood aside and let the teenagers have their turn, and asked when he would be able to go down the slide again. I told him it would be his turn next, and he would be able to go again as soon as they had all gone down the slide. He waited his turn like a champ, and I stood there holding Ryan's hand while we waited. The next thing I know some huge teenage guy, knocks Mikey over as he attempts to go back down the slide, in front of his rowdy friend. I lost it!!! I made sure Mikey was okay, as he had fallen down to the next level on the equipment, and told Mikey to watch Ryan. I marched over to the group of teenagers, and demanded to know where their parents were and why the boy did not apologize to my son? The rude teenager responded with more cursing, and asked who I thought I was? That's when I turned into Momma bear...I told them that there are signs clearly posted that tells of the maximum age limit, and they all were clearly older then 8 years of age. I then gathered my kids, as they were now crying...threw them into the car, and drove over to the park ranger's office. I explained what had happened, and then the park ranger followed me back to the play ground. He told the teenagers to leave or he would be calling the local police department to have them removed from the park. While my boys went back to playing, I stood and smiled, as the teenagers left the park firing insults at me and the park ranger. The park ranger thanked me for contacting him, and said that their has been a rise in teenagers causing mischief, and he was sorry for their behavior.

I was afraid I had embarrassed my boys or caused an unnecessary scene, as I wondered if I had over reacted? When has your inner Momma Bear come out? How did you handle the situation?  

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Washington D.C. Weekend

Mike surprised the boys and I with a trip to Washington DC! Mikey has been asking to see the dinosaur bones at the Smithsonian, and Ryan wanted to see a jet. I wanted to visit the new National World War II Memorial, National Museum of the Marine Corps, and Arlington National Cemetery.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps was so cool! Ryan saw several jets, tanks, and helicopters, he was a very happy little boy! The boys then enjoyed the section about Boot Camp, and thought the booth with the Drill Instructor screaming at you was funny. I on the other hand almost wet my pants, as the female Drill Instructor was screaming at me...something about sending me home to my Mommy, as I just was not cutout to be a Marine. Mike tried the rifle range simulator, and did really well! I am so glad we made the extra trip to Virginia, as we really enjoyed all of the USMC history.

The Natural History Museum, in Washington D.C., was everything the boys wanted it to be! I was so proud when Ryan yelled Triceratops, and an older woman stopped us to say how impressed she was, as he was so young. The kids were very surprised to see how big the dinosaur skeletons really were. Mikey asked were the baby dinos were? As he really wanted to see a baby one, so he would be bigger than a dinosaur!

The National World War II Memorial was beautiful! We arrived, just as it started to down pour. Lots of people were fleeing, we just handed the kids an umbrella, and loved walking around the Memorial! Each state has a pillar, and w stopped at Missouri to honor my Grandfather. The marble surface, the fountains, and open memorial was all a very moving tribute to the thousands of men and women who gave their lives serving our great country.

On Sunday we hiked all over Arlington National Cemetery. Okay we only went to the Kennedy site and the Tomb of the Unknowns, but I had forgotten how spread out the sites really were. Lesson learned...pay for the shuttle, it would be so worth it! The changing of the Guard, gave me chills, just like it did years ago. Mikey and Ryan loved watching the precision and slow way that the solider marched in front of the Tomb. We were startled when a teenager stepped under the chain, and the Guard left his post, and very respectfully shouted that this was a place of respect and honor, all visitors will remain behind the chains and railing. Then without missing a step he repeated the same steps to get back into his required stance and walking path. It was a very special place, and both boys did really well with all of the walking.

We then ended our weekend in Annapolis, and just walked around to enjoy the great weather we had on Sunday. The kids loved looking at the boats, and found two little ducklings swimming near their mom, Mikey is still talking about the ducks!

Thank you goes out to my husband Mike, for the great weekend. He also took us to Serendipity 3, for Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, so hop over and read that post too!

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blog Dare: 120

Today's Prompt: Something that has bothered me this year...

Something that has bothered me this year, is that our family is not here with us. Our family lives in Missouri, and we live in Maryland. I am especially reminded of this during the holidays, birthdays, and on Sundays.We normally had Sunday dinner with my Mother and Father-in-law, when we lived in St. Louis. The food was awesome, but we went so that they boys could spend time with their Grandparents and our nephew Dylan. I miss my Mom and Dad taking the boys for walks, and I am broken hearted that the boys have never ridden a horse. The time spent with our families normally was at home, and did not include lavish outings. Instead time was spent playing outside, swimming, or just snuggling on the couch. I struggle with the idea that we are here, and they are there. Time is flying by, and it has been a year since we have seen or hugged them in person. These are the small things I am reminded of when I know a family event is coming up. Mikey's birthday s next month, and I know we will celebrate it, but it will not be the same without our loved ones near.

For those who live in a different state, how do you connect with Grandparents when they are so far away? How do you stay in touch? How have you coped with their absence on special days?

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Blog Dare: 119

Today's Prompt: The most ridiculous item (Think as seen on TV)

Thank you to television and their brainwashing commercials, my son has asked relentlessly for live bugs, in a niffy container. He thinks this is the greatest idea, he has ever heard of. He gets really excited ever time he sees the As Seen on TV advertisement for whatever they are currently hocking.
He tells me that he will care for them, and as everything needed is included...he would be able to do it all by himself. I happen to think these items are the most ridiculous items, I have ever seen!

Butterfly Garden
Ladybug Land
I then explained that the kit does not even come with the live bugs, that they have to be ordered and sent through the mail. The live larvae or worms have to then be transferred to the housing unit. I also told him it isn't a fast process, and they would just eat the gel food, and crawl around for a few days or weeks, getting fat. Then one night while he is sleeping they will make a cocoon, and he wont see it happen. I then explained what happens once they mature, and start flying around...they live for a few days, and they die. He was not impressed by my explanation of why I would not be making this purchase on his behalf. Instead he told me he would catch his own bugs, and I would then need to build him a bug house out of netting and wood. So, I wanted to just take the time to say thank you for giving my kid the great idea of bringing bugs into our home!

Have you seen these things on television? What has your kid begged for once he or she saw the advertisement over and over while watching cartoons? What item do you think is just ridiculous?

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Dare: 118

Today's Prompt: The most interesting person I have met on vacation...

I have never met anyone famous, but I have met some interesting people while on vacation. I went on a school trip, when I was in eighth grade to see the Nation's Capital in Washington D.C. to see the many monuments and museums. As goofy teenagers from Missouri, most of my classmates were more interested in flying in a plane for the first time, staying in a hotel without our parents, and seeing how much we could get away with while running around famous museums.  My aunt bought me a travel guide, and I spent days soaking up all of the information I could. My friends called me the "tour guide," and told everyone that I knew a ton of pointless facts. I had a mental list of things I wanted to see and could not wait to get to our Nation's Capital.

Once we arrived, we had horrible weather, and I was wondering if we would even be able to see many of the outside venues and places of interest noted on our itineraries. It rained each day we were there, to the point we had to turn our leather coats inside out. The days flew by, and I started crossing things off in my travel guide. I snapped lots of pictures, bought souvenirs, crushed on our waiter at the Hard Rock Cafe, flew through the Smithsonian way faster than I would have liked, and almost got mugged near Georgetown.

We then hopped back on the bus, and were told that our next destination was a place of reverence, and we were not to speak loudly or make a big deal over those visiting who might be crying or standing with their hand on the wall. When we finally unloaded from the bus, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, was breath taking. The statuary in the field was moving and you could just feel the level honor and respect that was due on the Memorial site. Many of our group walked in twos or threes, but I stood back a moment and just let everything soak in. There were many mementos, flowers, dog tags, and pictures next to the Wall. I slowly walked up to the Wall and ran my finger tips over several names on the reflective surface, and knelt to say a quick prayer. I was humbled and in awe of the number of names, and the length of the Wall, it almost seemed unending from where I stood. It was then that a man approached me, and asked if I knew the man who's name, that I had just touched on the Wall?
Photo: William D. Moss
He asked where my group leader or teacher was, and I pointed out Mr. Brown. He had a quick conversation with my teacher, and we were asked to gather near the names I had touched on the Wall. My fellow classmates and I were told that the man had been coming here for weeks, and came every day to spend time with his Son. He often just stood back and watched the numerous tourists come and go, but no one had ever touched his Son's name. He said that his Son was not much older than we were, and had been drafted right out of high school. His Son was just one of many young men from their community, but his boy was the only one that did not come home. He wanted to thank us for coming to honor his Son, and to know that times were very different during the days of the Vietnam War, and many of the young men that came home, were not honored as heroes. Because of the Wall and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, he felt his Son was finally honored in a way that should have been done years before. He thanked us for our time, and shook my teacher's hand. He never gave his name to me, or told me which name was his Son, but explained that each name up on the Wall belonged to him, and the thousands of parents that lost children during the Vietnam War. He only spoke a few minutes, but his words hit home. This man, with his deep blue eyes, has stayed with me for years. As a young person, he left a huge impact on me to never forget our Veterans! He will always stand out, and reminded me that we must always honor our troops currently serving, and our Veterans. Although I never knew his name, to me he came to represent the numerous parents that have shared in his loss and for those who were never honored in the way they should have been. To this day I think of this Father every Veteran's and Memorial Day. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and thank you for your Son's service.

Have you ever taken the time to speak with a Veteran? Did you know there are currently 58,261 names on the Wall?  Have you thanked a parent who has lost a child while serving or asked to hear their story? Who have you met while on vacation that left a memory, that will always stay with you?

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blog Dare: 117

Today's Prompt: What caused me to change my career field...

When we left St. Louis a year ago, I left behind my corporate job in the field  of real estate as an administrative assistant. When we moved to Maryland, an opportunity to work from home,  came available to change my career field. The new job offered the chance for me to work from home, and allowed me to stay with the kids during the day. If I wanted to wear pajamas all day, while talking to clients via the phone, it was okay! If the kids wanted to play with play doh while I answered emails, no one was bothered by it or even knew. It was a perfect arrangement, and working from home was awesome! 

The career change also gave me the chance to focus on my blog! I am so excited to further my blog, and the opportunities that are on the horizon. I will be attending my first conference next month, and will learn so much about how to better improve my blog, and the business of blogging. I can not wait to attend Bloggy Boot Camp, in Philadelphia.

What career changes have you made? Have you walked away from something you loved, to face something new and exciting? Have you made your blog a business? What advice would you share with a new blogger? 
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Worldless Wednesday


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Blog Dare: 116

Today's Prompt: If I found $20 in my purse, I would buy...

If I found $20 in my purse or that I stashed away some where, I would buy or treat myself to:

1. A pedicure - Can you say pampering? Every Momma needs it!

2. Cupcakes! I am having serious cupcake withdrawals, and there is French Toast cupcake from the Flavor Cupcakery that is calling my name! (Yes, that is bacon on top!)

3. Sandals - I wore my last pair till they fell apart. I need a new pair, and want something fun that has a splash of color.
Source: kohls.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

I think I could break away from the guys for a few hours, and splurge. Yes I know $20, is not much, but it would be a fun little challenge, and I know I am up for it. What would you spend twenty bucks on? How would you treat yourself on a budget?
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Blog Dare: 115

Today's Prompt: When I wish my husband would lie...

My husband is my biggest fan and supporter, but because he knows me so well, there are a few things he likes to tease me about. There are have been several times that I have wanted to crawl under the table and hide!

He is the first to tell everyone, that I burned macaroni noodles...who the heck does that? He normally backs up a conversation about my cooking, with a comment about how he enjoys my baking. "She cant cook a gourmet meal, but she is an awesome baker." There are times when I wish my husband would lie, about my cooking skills, or lack there of.

I am also the first to admit that I am not the queen of vehicle maintenance. He has mentioned in countless conversations, how I "destroyed," his bachelor/chick magnet truck with a smoothie, right before we got married! He fails to mention that we were in an accident, and it flew out of my hands on impact. It is not my fault that the smoothie coated the dash and windows with sticky smoothie and strawberry seeds for weeks! Fifteen years later, and I am shocked in the ways that little story manages to pop up in conversations! I just wish he would let it go!!! I also might have killed my Ford Escort, when I did not keep up with the maintenance, but we aren't talking about that!

Are there stories or things that you wish your partner would fib about or not bring up? Does your spouse bring up things, that happened years ago? Does he tease or in a joking way, manage to bring up these stories or facts when others are around?

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Blog Dare: 114

Today's Prompt: Good reasons to turn down a marriage proposal...

Are there good reasons to turn down a marriage proposal? I came up with a few:
  1. He doesn't get along with or adore your parents.
  2. He doesn't want children, and you want them with every fiber of your being.
  3. He doesn't share your appreciation for family gatherings or holiday celebrations.
  4. He isn't grounded in a faith that you were raised on, and you can not come to an agreement.
  5. He isn't smart with money, and he wont hand over the check book.
  6. He doesn't adore all of your hobbies, and will not encourage you to pursue them.
  7. If either of you are under the age of 21.
  8. If you are a St. Louis Cardinal fan and he is Chicago Cubs fan...it just wouldn't work.
  9. If you cant imagine growing old with him.
  10. If the thought of marriage freaks you out, or you have any doubts.

There are many reasons to marry someone, but I haven't really given much thought as to why you should not marry. The person you choose to live your life with should make you weak in the knees, and yet you miss when you are not together, and should know and love everything about you.

Have you ever rejected a proposal? Know of someone who has proposed and was turned down? What reasons do you think someone should say no?

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Blog Dare: 113

Today's Prompt: The uncomfortable silence...

I have already shared with you my first birth story, but I have not told you about the other woman who was, "with," me the whole time. At the time my doctor was debating what to do with my stalled labor and my son's questionable heart rate, the "other," woman was wheeled into the room. She had her mother with her, just like I did, but she could not have been any different than me. Her mother was covered head to toe, and she herself was in heavy labor, but wore a hijab. She never spoke English, but she labored loudly, and I couldn't help but be thankful for the thin curtain that separated us. After my son was born, I was sent to recovery, and once finally cleared I was taken to my room. I reveled in the stillness and calm of the quite room! Whoo hoo, no roommate!

Many hours later, medical staff came into the room and wheeled in the woman who I had shared labor and delivery room with. She had a huge entourage with her that now contained her husband, a religious man, and huge group of women. Before I could even wave hello, or acknowledge my new roommate, the religious man pulled the curtain closed, and started praying very loudly. I heard finger cymbals being chimed, more prayers and then the strangest sounds from their side of the room. This activity went on for an hour or more, all while I sat there in my bed trying to sooth my now very hungry son. It was a tense moment as I knew I had just heard some kind of religious ceremony or event. The room finally cleared out and there was silence.

It had only been two hours but I was surprised at how in the stillness, I could hear the other woman soothing her son in Arabic. I was quite surprised when an old woman opened my curtain, walked over to Mikey, poked him, whispered something over him, then smiled at me, and walked away. She never spoke a word in English, and to this day I have no idea what she said. I then heard her leave the room, and the heavy door close behind her. I then heard the other woman, "May I open the curtain?" I was then face to face with the "other" woman who introduced herself as Akleema, and her son Omar. She apologized for her Grandmother, and explained that she had just given a Blessing to Michael. She asked if this was my first child, and explained that the first born son in a family was a huge Blessing in their faith, and to her husband. The ceremony I had "witnessed," was her husband and local Cleric, saying the name of Allah in their son Omar's ear, and calling him to prayer. It is a great honor, and even more reverence is given if it is the first male child born into the family. She then asked if I was offended by her Grandmother's actions?

There was uncomfortable silence...for a few seconds, but it seemed much longer than that.

I said no, of course not. She smiled and said she was so happy to have brought honor to her family, and was happy to hear that Michael was also a first born son. The idea was new to me, I had read about such ideas in the Bible, but our faith and family did not hold it in the same reverence as this woman and her family clearly did. I did not have any more in depth conversations with Akleema, between her guests and my family, we stuck to our own sides of the curtain. She was discharged from the hospital the same day that I was. Prior to the nurse and her husband gathering her things, we had one last conversation. She said that Michael brought honor to our family, and would go on to do great things. She told me thank you for understanding, when she prayed 5 times each day, often in the middle of the night. She wanted to let me know that it was the first time she had been in the same room with a white woman for any length of time. She explained that she and her family owned a local Arabic market, and stayed within a four block radius. The experience of sharing a room with someone not of her faith and culture was new and foreign to her as well. She smiled in my direction, one last time before her husband entered the room. There weren't any goodbyes or long drawn out looks of motherly understanding. Akleema and Omar were gone.  Once again there was silence.

Have you ever witnessed something that was clearly a time of reverence, but had no clue as to what was going on? Have you ever had a little old woman "Bless," your child in a foreign language? Were you humbled to find out what it was like on the other side of the coin? Have you ever considered that you might be foreign or "strange to someone else? I was so honored to have met Akleema and Omar, and every year on Mikey's birthday, I say a little payer for Omar and his Mother.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Blog Dare: 112

Today's Prompt: My favorite leisure magazine...

Do people still read magazines? My favorite leisure magazine has always been "People Magazine," but I haven't looked at one in a year. Between the Internet and Twitter, I get updates on the "Stars," on a daily basis. I love all the mindless gossip, and what so-so wore to the red carpet, or the latest information on up and coming movie stars. The side by side comparison of who wore it better has always been a fun read. Just knowing that the stars shop at the same exclusive boutiques, that I will never be able to afford, it is fun to laugh at their fashion blunders.

The last magazine I read was the monthly publication for parents, called "Baltimore's Child," as there is a local community calendar and is a source of local information. I enjoy reading the monthly features, as the topic isn't always the same. It is fun to see what fun things are happening locally, and what we can do as a family. The kids on the cover are always, so stinking cute! I love that I can also, see all of the same content on their website. It is a great resource, for this busy mom!

Do you read magazines? Do you see the same information on the Internet?

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blog Dare: 111

Today's Prompt: Must have food items for the summer...

Must have food items for the summer are:

  1. Watermelon - Both of the boys love watermelon, and can not wait for them to come into season. They both love eating watermelon, and spitting out the seeds! I try buy seedless, but they aren't as sweet.

2. Barbecue - Nothing says summer like the sweet smells of BBQ! I just love the smokey flavor, and BBQ sauce slathered meat.
Source: google.es via Carla on Pinterest

3. Lemonade - The cool refreshing taste of lemonade is the only way to quench thirst in the summer heat.

When I was a child, summer time was spent outdoors as a family. The barbecue grill was a source of a family meal, and long conversations. The TV wasn't on, cell phones were not glued to our hands, or a laptop to be found. Times were simple, the air was warm, and it was time for bonding and sharing the days events; all while BBQ sauce drips from your fingers while eating pork steaks and ribs.

Now I'm dreaming of summer! What foods define summer for you? What did you do as a family on summer evenings? Have you eaten a pork steak, even know what one is? What is your favorite BBQ item?
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