Thursday, June 28, 2012 admire our first days of summer

...what a fun trip we had with our old friends!

The Moynihan ladies and the Crow crew converged on the Whitlock home for a few days of summer fun.

The Crow family left Pennington four years ago and the Moynihan's have been away for three.  But we all fell right into our groove enjoying each others' company, laughing with each other, and loving these sweet summer days full of sun, swimming, and snacks.

I took so many great photos from our weekend but here are a few of my favorite captured moments:

the boys eating lunch in the boy area

a group jump
ice cream by the pool
this lil guy participated in all of our activities 

Every time we get together we head to Rosedale park to take our traditional photo...

the group keeps growing

And we tried this pose again...

 Little ladies
 and the grown up ones

'till next time my sweet friends...

I am already looking forward to it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 get ready to go on our

...first trip of the summer!

We are so excited to be heading to Pennington, NJ for a short visit with our old friends from the 'hood down there!

This is the photo I took of Isabella and Will when I told them we were going to see the Whitlock's AND the Moynihan's!

They were thrilled!

I am only sorry that our husbands won't be able to join our par-tay on this trip.  Mark and Mike both have to stay behind in their respective states to work and Brian will be out-of-town on a 'business trip' while we are there.

I am wondering if this is a planned mis-hap on his part or if he intentionally decided he needed to get away from a house full of three women and eleven children all nine years and younger?


Perhaps I should bring along a bottle or two of wine?

Monday, June 25, 2012 do the AAR from the welcome

...I hosted last week

For those of you not in the know that is army talk for After Action Review.

I was responsible for hosting the welcome for our new battalion commander's wife.  She is a super sweet person that is easy to please and it was fun to plan this event for her.  She mentioned to me that she liked 'girly food', cheeses, coffee, and wine.

The final menu was:

Asian chicken kabobs with honey mustard sauce
Mexican egg rolls with cilantro cream sauce
Pesto/Romano toasts
Goat cheese and caramelized onion crustinis
Cheese tray
Lemon bars
Mini chocolate raspberry filled cupcakes with chocolate ganache
Iced decaf coffee bar
Citrus mint cooler
White wines
Red wines
Cake pops (as a token of thanks for the guests)

pesto and romano toasts

cheese tray
goat cheese and caramelized onion crustini
baked mexican egg rolls 

lemon bars 
cake pops

Things I liked:

  • The menu was pretty safe.  Most of the items appealed to everyone.  I was able to make most everything ahead of time.  Some of the things I froze (caramelized onions, mexican egg rolls, unfrosted cupcakes, cake pops) and others I was able to make a day or two ahead of time (sauces, lemon bars).
  • This meant I wasn't in the kitchen the entire day of the event.  And consequently I was 'spun up' that much less on the day of the event.
  • The drink options were varied and appeared to be enjoyed.  There was an option for everyone.
  • I had each guest bring a bottle of wine.  I picked up a large basket and had it waiting by the door.  Jennifer had a lovely selection of wines to take home for all of the entertaining that she will be doing.
  • Thanks to the recommendation of an old friend of mine, I made Jennifer a centerpiece (of roses and hostea) in a water pitcher that I had etched with the unit crest.  
  • Cake pops....always a big hit.  And my kids (and Katie L.) LOVE making them.  AND they can be made well in advance.

Things I would do different:
  • I had too many things that required oven time shortly before the event.  I knew this but I didn't adjust accordingly.
  • I had too many bread products.  Again I knew this but was wanted to make some familiar items and thus was unwilling to change my menu options.
  • I certainly could have used a little more color on the table.  The lemon bars were a nice color punch...and I think something tomatoey would have been a pretty addition. (However, I did not want to make mini caprese again since I had made them for this same crowd two weeks before; and Amy vetoed a balsamic-garlic tomato option.)
  • Cheese tray: I love how this looks but I feel like these are never eaten.  Perhaps they should just be taken off of the menu?
  • I would have had a shrimp option but didn't because I am not very confident when preparing seafood; especially for my guests.
Most of the things on my "I would have done different list" were things my friend Kris told me long before I had the gathering when I sent her my menu for her to critique.

Next time maybe I'll listen and then she won't be able to say "I told you so!"  

Friday, June 22, 2012 gaze at the unlikely nappers in our household this afternoon this is not a sight I'll see many more times

This photo elicits a 'lil tug on my heartstring and leaves me feeling a bit melancholy...

“I would have given anything to keep her little. They outgrow us so much faster than we outgrow them."    -Jodi Piccoult

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 finally say "Hello Summer" today was FINALLY the last day of school as well the last day of soccer.

I am not sure who was more excited to see today finally come:

Myself or The Big Kids

I am tired of bed time routines, lunch-making routines, and getting-ready-for-school-WHY-YES-you do-have-to-brush-your-hair-before-school routines!

I am ready for less structure, more hanging out, less stress and more outdoor time.

Summer here we are!

last day of school at the bus stop
This lovely lady...who drives a rowdy group of children back and forth to school each day, just adores all of the children at this school on her route.  She even....(GASP) goes to the school music programs and talent shows voluntarily just to support these kids.

with Ms. Sandy
 Isabella with Mrs. Bezanilla...

her last hug as a third grader
 William with Mrs. Abbass...

his last day as a second grader
 William with Mrs. Jones...

he started the year in first grade with her.  She was a great teacher for him (until February)!

 Getting their soccer awards:

Phew.  We did it.  

And what better way to celebrate than with ice cream!

What a school year!

Monday, June 18, 2012 post a video

...that Isabella captured.

Video's like this are priceless.

They are certainly blackmailing material.

For now we can all enjoy this one...

...and we'll have a smile on our face for the rest of the day.

(From your perspective he is standing on Isabella's bed watching himself in a full-length mirror.  The lip-syncing at the end is priceless!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012 wish a Happy Father's Day the best Dad's I know.

I love Mark with all my heart...

And I am certain my Dad loves us with all of his.

My father-in-law and my brother-in-law are also pretty great Dad's.

As is my own little brother....

Happy Father's Day to all of you.

Bless our families.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 go to Abbey's last... game of the season.

Team Crow

Things I enjoy:

I enjoy watching Abbey participate in her activities because she gets so excited to go.

I enjoy seeing her all dressed up ready to participate.

I also really enjoy getting to chat with the other moms.

Things I do not enjoy:

I do not enjoy the mad rush that occurs both before and after each of the evening's activities.

I do not enjoy the rush to get dinner.

I do not enjoy the rush to find the sports clothes, the water bottles, and all of the said sports accessories.

I do not enjoy rushing to get there on time...

  • so this child of mine can spin pirouettes on the soccer field or

  • so she can practice spitting water from her water bottle as far as she can or

  • so she can take herself out of the game because she is 'tired of running'.

I do not enjoy the rush to get home to bathe the heathens.

And I do not enjoy the rush to get everyone to bed.

Nevertheless despite Abbey's declaration the other day that:
"Mom, I want you to un-sign me up for soccer.  I am kinda tired of running around and stuff."
I persevered and helped her stick it out for the last game and for the treasured soccer trophy.

Abbey with her coach
I did catch an action shot of her this evening:

And finally I caught this adorable photo of the Team Crow/LaGrange cheering section:

Although I am a broken mom from weeks of soccer (and baseball) I am certain Abbey will sign up for a  repeat season in the fall.

P.S.   The big kids get to experience another week of soccer bliss!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 start a project

...or two

or three.

Today was the day I was going to get several things on 'my list' done.

Instead it turned out to be a day that I got a lot of things started.

The cake pops...

Nearly fifty.  Rolled and dipped for the first layer of chocolate.

Still need:

  • colorful blue layer
  • yellow swirly layer
  • white sprinkles

The cupcakes...

Only baked.

But there are a bunch of them.

Still need:

  • filling (raspberry)
  • frosting (ganache)

The toy room....

Oh my.

I think the toy box threw up.

This photo was taken thirty minutes AFTER I started working on it.

What on earth do I do with all of those stuffed animals?

Still needs:
  • a miracle
  • a dump truck
  • a mom without child 'helpers' who keep finding their 'long lost toys' that were headed for the donation bin.
Something tells me the tub in the back isn't quite big enough for this project.

Sunday, June 10, 2012 watch Isabella's bridging ceremony she is a Junior Girl Scout

It was a beautiful afternoon for the girls' sweet bridging ceremony.

It is fun to look back at her last bridging ceremony...

And then reflect on today's ceremony.

getting ready with her friends

this year she got to help a Daisy bridge to Brownies


now she's a Junior
Not much has changed with our little girl in these two years...she is such a responsible, bright, and caring little girl...except that I adore and love her even more.