Ever After
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  • January17th

    Both Bryan and I sense the clock winding down all too quickly on this special time of our lives . . . the chapter when our kids are at home and love doing things with us.

    And so even though there were a million things we should have been doing on Bryan’s RARE day off from work–installing baseboards in our family room, dejunking our garage, washing the windows . . . the list is endless–we, instead, spent a wonderful day with Buck.

    We let Buck choose three things he wanted to do that day. His wishes:

    1. Go to the zoo
    2. Play at the playground
    3. Eat ice cream

    After snapping a silly self-portrait, we headed off for the day’s adventures.

    First stop, the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainsville, TX. It’s a small, inexpensive zoo that Tad (aka “Buck”) was convinced they named after him, so it made it even more exciting for him. Tad loved feeding the giraffe and the goats (he preferred the baby goats to the big, aggressive, billy goat that nibbled fingers). When the goat licked his hand, he giggled and said that the goat put slimy lotion on his hand. We also enjoyed seeing a baby kangaroo in his momma’s pouch, and watching the boy kangaroos wrestle, but Tad’s favorite exhibit was the zebras; he was convinced that they were his “brothers” because he was wearing his zebra hat that day.

    A fabulous playground is situated just outside the gates of the zoo, so we didn’t have to go far to fulfill Buck’s second wish.

    He would have stayed there all day if his tummy hadn’t started to rumble and remind him that mint chocolate chip ice cream was awaiting him at Beth Marie’s in Denton.

    If Bryan and I had three wishes, we might just selfishly wish that Ari, Vivi and Tad would stay little forever; but because we love them too much to do this, we’ll just wish for more days like this when our girls are out of school and can join us, too.

  • January4th

    a sunBEAM!

    Posted in: Tad

    Sunday was a big day for our little guy–his first day of Sunbeams. His new Primary teacher had stopped by the night before to bring him a cookie, and he couldn’t be more excited to go to church.¬†He awoke early and dressed himself–one button-down collar white shirt, two sweaters, Lego Batman undies, and gym socks. No pants. He had a bit of a stuffy nose so we tried to talk him into staying home with me (I was sick), but he was determined to attend. Thankfully, I was able to coax one sweater off and one pair of pants on before he bounced off to church.

    When Ariana was three, I was a single parent with a new job in a new state. Life was crazy.
    When Vivi was three, Tad was a newborn and Bryan was bishop. Life was crazy.

    Life is still crazy, but in different, more manageable ways. Perhaps that’s why I am enjoying this stage in Tad’s life more than I was able to with my girls??? Or maybe I’ve just grown into this motherhood thing??? Or maybe I should just stop over-analyzing everything¬†and just embrace every moment of this magical stage!

    Thanks for brightening our lives, little Sunbeam.

  • January2nd

    To put it mildly, we are OBSESSED with Chopped, the Food Network show where contestants are given random (and often weird) baskets of ingredients and are expected to create culinary masterpieces in a ridiculously short amount of time. Each round, one contestant gets “chopped,” and in the final dessert round, the two remaining chefs compete head-to-head for a $10k prize.

    A few nights a week, you can find us all huddled around the television watching DVR’ed episodes. We each guess at who will be chopped and who will win. We gag at some of the ingredients–from testicles to brain, rattlesnake to rabbit–that the chefs not only have to cook with but that the judges also have to eat. We laugh at some of the crazy things they come up with. We even occasionally cry with the judges (yes, literally) when a favorite underdog defies all odds and beats his or her cocky counterparts.

    When we’re not watching the show, Vivi and Tad will sometimes play “Chopped” with our fake food assortment. Tad even presented us a crayon-sketched creation of “ganache” yesterday before church, and he often randomly mixes words like “creme fraiche” and “panzanella” into his sentences.

    But the biggest chopped fanatics are Ari and BT. During the Christmas break, they enjoyed staying up late and watching episodes together long after the rest of us had gone to bed. Ari loves the cooking, BT loves the competition and Ari’s companionship. He also loves giving her a mystery basket of ingredients, 20 minutes, and watching her whisk around the kitchen as she crafts her own concoctions.

    Yesterday for a pre-dinner appetizer, she successfully used the new panini press we got from Grandma and Grandpa Hess to create a crostini of toasted garlic bread topped with melted mozzarella cheese, pan roasted fresh tomato, Parmesan cheese and dried basil.

    The rest of us then act as the judges and give feedback. Tad especially got into it. He normally starts his prayer by saying, “Dear Heavenly Father, this is Buck.” Yesterday, he said, “Dear Heavenly Father, this is a judge.” Hilarious!

    As good as the food is, watching BT and Ari bond in this fun exercise of creativity is priceless.

    And just in case one of the execs from Food Network ever happens to read this–if the contestants on the show could just embrace the 3rd commandment–“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” or, more likely, if the producers would at least bleep out this offensive language, the show would be perfect.