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Santa Woes.

Yesterday while at work (let’s keep in mind that I work retail and it’s the week before Christmas), my brother in law calls me (which he never calls, he texts) and asks me “Uhh.. what is Santa bringing the girls?”. My mind goes blank. “A bunch of crap.” He starts telling me that he called the girls to ask what they wanted from him for Christmas, and A tells him that she was so sneaky, and snuck into my office closet (that’s locked) and found “the jackpot”. She names two movies that are in there. The thing is.. everything from us is wrapped and under the tree. Everything she found was from Santa. Of course she couldn’t keep it a secret from her little sister.

I realize that in the giant scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal, but on top of the craptastic week I already had, this was just too much. Combine that with the general attitude and meanness coming from her, I really want to give her a lump of coal and that be it. I think Mom is going to switch one of her presents with what we had here, so they will basically get one present from Santa.

I think part of the reason I am so upset, is that all the grandparents got them the things they really wanted, so I was already feeling inferior with what Santa was bringing. And now that all the Santa has been found, I’m just at a loss. Sure I could run to Target and exchange it all, but part of me thinks A should be taught a lesson for snooping. But maybe the lesson is disappointment with no Christmas surprises? She’s stolen the joy from me of watching her open her presents and see what Santa brought her on Christmas morning.

I, myself, have learned a lesson on shipping woes for Christmas, as all of what I’ve ordered for J isn’t here and probably won’t be here before Christmas. As well as smaller things for grandparents.

I can fully relate with Clark Griswold this year…

How NOT to take a cruise.

I’ve hinted at this story before.

Once all of the reports of all of the crazy stories on cruise ships starting hitting the news stations, I knew it was time to re-visit it for the Interwebz. I must apologize in advance for the lack of pictures, once you read the story, you will understand why.

I feel like I should give you some background story. About 6 weeks after I had Addison, John’s family decided to start planning a family vacation. They wanted to go on a cruise. Well, I am generally not a fan of cruises. I think everyone should go on at least one, but it’s not how I would choose to vacation.

Being a new mommy, I couldn’t possibly fathom leaving my child to go out of the country for a week and be out of touch from the world. I mean, this little bundle depended on me to care, love, feed, and nurture it, right? So, I insisted she go.

The family told me no, but ultimately, I won that battle. So, a year later, 16 month old Addison set sail on her very first cruise. Did I mention that this was the week before Christmas? No. Okay. Are you ready? Here we go…

Addy fell in love with this big red dog.

171_16200495363_4596_nMoving on… part of the awesomeness of this family vacation was, we were all going to stay in the pimp daddy Presidential Suite on the back of the boat. All 8 of us. 1700 square feet. Dining room. 2 Master Suites. A hot tub. Wet bar. and an 1100 square foot private deck. Oh? And our view? Was off the back of the ship. It was an amazing room. It had the potential to be a vacation that was talked about in years to come.

Our first night at dinner… it was a dress up night. Look how sweet and cute little Addy was!! Oh, what a beautiful dress.

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Joseph and Tracie

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The first night, Addison threw up a little bit. I figured it was seasickness. The second day, was our first day at sea, we played on the balcony, sat in the hot tub, etc.

Now, I don’t think I’ve talked much about the fact that John battled panic attacks in previous years, but this was right smack in the middle of some of the worst of it. On the second night on the ship, he ended up getting very sick. The 3rd day, we were in port at Grand Cayman. John wanted to go to infirmary, because he thought he needed fluids. I agreed to go with him, just trying to pacify him with his increasing panic.

They said he was dehydrated, needed some IV fluids and they were going to run some tests. I remember curling up on one of those cots and taking a nap. When I woke up, I didn’t feel as chipper as I thought I should, and the doctors informed us that John had the Noro Virus. They gave the option to be flown by helicopter back to the United States or we could be quarantined to our room… EVERYONE in our room had to be quarantined. For at least 48 hours of the last person being sick. They told us that it was highly contagious. Now, maybe you are wondering what the Noro Virus is? Well, simply. YOU WANT TO DIE. It is intense abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, all while wishing the end of the world would come so you didn’t have to endure it any longer. Since we were in port that day, John’s brothers refused to come back to the room because they knew they were quarantined once they did. They stayed out all day.

He felt better after some fluids!

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This was our pimp daddy balcony. 171_16200415363_9660_nOur living room and dining room area

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Sweet little Addy

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 Right after this picture was taken, I went down. I can remember actually calling my mom and telling her I just wanted to die on American soil. Without going into extremely gross details, just know that the sickness is INTENSE. And at times, completely uncontrollable.

With the entire room unable to leave, they brought us food, drink, took our clothes to the laundry, and cleaned the room twice a day. They even had a concierge go out a shop for my mother-in-law at one of the stops we missed. On lobster night? We ordered 12 lobsters… no one ate them, but they were there. They were very accommodating to the sickies. But still, we were sick, trapped on moving vessel at sea. Slowly, every single one of us went down. Maybe you’re thinking, “48 hours of sickness doesn’t sound that intense.” Let me assure you, the effects of this sickness lasted for over 2 weeks. You felt like you had been beaten with a baseball bat and then run over by a Mack truck for TWO WEEKS.

The one stop we did get off on was at Cozumel.

And we ran into these guys. Don’t know who they are? Well, they are Nelson. The amazing twin duo from the early 90′s. I was obsessed back then. I was equally as starstuck as an adult.. they were my first concert and I talked to them for forever about it.

171_16200545363_7405_n We tried to enjoy Cozumel as much as we could….171_16200535363_6773_n

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We tried to enjoy a nice dinner date on the boat, but with us getting over the sickness, we didn’t have much of an appetite. 
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Nelson was the on ship entertainment. They even pointed me out in the audience and told my story. Yep. Childhood dream came true!!! 171_16200570363_9042_n

I have never been happier to see the city of Miami, and get back onto dry land. Maybe you think the story ends there? Nope. You would be wrong. You know how at Christmas time you run from family gathering to family gathering? Well, that’s what we did. And what happened, we couldn’t have predicted. You see, with the Noro Virus, we learned, that you have a carrier. One who really doesn’t ever show the same symptoms. That person was Addison. So, at every gathering, Addison infected everyone. My aunts house. Both sets of parents. My grandmother, who took it back to her nursing home and passed it around. Several of them ended up in the hospital from dehydration. The week after Christmas, we saw where an entire town in Europe was infected with it.

So, my advice to anyone going on a cruise is to WASH YOUR HANDS. Seriously. You do NOT want this mess. This story is the reason that children are no longer invited or welcome on J’s family vacations.

It has only taken 5 1/2 years for me to be convinced to go on another cruise. We set sail this summer on the Allure of the Seas. And you can best bet, we are staying in separate rooms!

Running Ruts

Confession Time. I’ve been in a running rut. For a few weeks. It was really just a gradual thing. I was going to take a week off after Tuscaloosa, to re-coup and get some things done that get neglected during intense training like I was doing. Then I had BlissDom. Then I couldn’t meet Shannon for a long run… and still haven’t. I ran a long run last Sunday– 8 miles. I did one on Saturday–9 miles. No where NEAR race pace or a PR. But things are starting to heat up around here (literally), it was 80 last week. And heat isn’t a factor that I have dealt with for a while.. and it’s taking a toll on my running. I am afraid that in all of my mopping and laziness that I have lost my sub 2. I haven’t put in the training that I should or the distance and I only have myself to blame. I was well on my way to a 1:55 half and now? I think I’ll be lucky to break 2:05. I’m not shaking a stick at that, but it does stink that I “threw it away” in Tuscaloosa because I wanted to “save it” for Nike.

Anyway, back to my rut. I am very blah about the running. I am having a hard time making myself run, and I am certainly not enjoying it. My friend Mary told me to go grab every race medal that I had and to put them on to remind myself that I am a Bad Ass. So, I did. It helped a little. I read this post by Jen Hatmaker too. I did what she said by making a giant list of everything that I need To Do, and am marking them off one by one. I do love a good list. That has helped some.

I finally was able to force myself to get up early and run on Saturday, and while it wasn’t some amazing “Oh yes!! This is why I run!!” run, it wasn’t terrible either. I watched the sky turn from dark to purple to pink to orange and I semi-enjoyed it. At this point, I’m just glad to be logging the miles, whether they are fast or not.

Molly and I also decided (finally!!) on our outfit for Nike Women’s. I’m pretty excited about it.

It probably doesn’t help that I have gained about 5 lbs and with that, a gut. It also doesn’t help that the girl in Lululemon Friday night asked me if I was about to start my period when I mentioned my pooch. No, but thanks for making me feel bad about myself.

I guess what I am saying is, while I am not in the “I’m gonna Clowney this!” running phase that I was a couple of months ago, I’m also not in the “running is stupid” phase that I was. Baby steps, people. Hopefully, I can rally in the next two weeks before Nike. And maybe I can find enjoy of my Beast Mode to pull out that sub 2 hour half. I am just not sure. I honestly have no clue how running ruts affect your speed, because being semi-speedy is new to me.

If you have any pointers on how to get out of a running rut, I am all ears, please. Or if you have any extra Beast Mode laying around, I’d be glad to give you my address so you can send it to me.

Mommy Trials.

We all have those days, right? Where our kids are absolutely driving us insane. The days that you want to hide in the bathroom with your iPhone and a bag of chocolate just so you can play on Twitter and Pinterest? No? Don’t tell me it’s just me…

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Anyway. See that adorable little girl? Well.. she is trying my patience. And if either of us live for her to see 18, it’ll be nothing short of a miracle. She argues. She back talks. She does what she wants even after being told no. I’ve taken away iPads, tv shows, even getting a vote on dinner. Her attitude is getting better, but the general arguing.. it’s enough to drive you to drink. But let’s be real… in a battle of wills… I will always come out the victor. I basically invented the game of being stubborn. So, my M.O. has been to stay on top of her attitude. Constant correcting. Which means.. I feel like I’m constantly yelling at her. That I never say a kind word to her. That I am over her shoulder telling her what a crappy job she is doing. (Okay. Not LITERALLY that last one.. but it sure starts to feel that way.)

John says, “You just need to calm down with her.” Me: “But she just doesn’t LISTEN to me.”

Prime Example: Easter morning. Girls come into our bedroom, I am (TMI coming) peeing in the bathroom, and ask Addy if the Easter bunny left anything. She obviously has forgotten that part of Easter, and her eyes light up. I said, “go stand by the bed with Daddy and we will all go look together in just a minute.” I come out of the bathroom. John is on his iPad with Claire laying next to him… no Addison. Me: “Where’s Addison?” J: “uhhhh.. *he yells* Addison!” She comes running in. At this point, in my pre-caffeinated state, I completely lose it. I start yelling, “I told you to come in here and stand by the bed for 2 seconds! Why couldn’t you wait?! Did you hear me say that?!?!” Yes, she responds. So, I spanked her. (GASP. Yes. I spank my children.) I was just appalled that I had to spank her BEFORE we’d even had a chance to look for the Easter baskets. It was the same ol’ song and dance through getting ready, going to church, and getting through the traditional Easter pictures.

I was exhausted by the time lunch came around.

Then, Sunday night, I was reading on her iPad, and I got started talking to John and scrolling through her pictures on there. You see, she loves to take pictures of herself and especially video.. mostly How To videos… much like you would see on YouTube.. obviously my daughter is a vlogger in the making. But as I was watching her little videos, I heard myself SCREAMING at her in the background. She obviously was NOT putting on her shoes like I was asking… so, yes. I was right (Aha!). But I was absolutely horrified. Is that what she hears out of me? The next video.. while I am not screaming, I am not being very nice. I know I was in a hurry and needed them to hurry.. but they didn’t know that.

After watching those videos, Hubs turned to me and said, ” This is not the relationship you want with her. You have to change the way you react.”

So, I have been fighting every fiber in my being this week and trying a more mellow approach to my eldest.. I’m still correcting what she does wrong or when she misbehaves.. just a little less high pitched version. I don’t want her to tune me out. I want to have a good relationship with her. But I also want her to have manners and be kind. Sometimes, I need to remember that she is just 6 years old and not 16, like she wishes. She is still a child and should be allowed to be a child. There has been less drama with her, and I think she’s been a little kinder to her little sister… so. We shall see where this takes us.

 

Motherhood Moments

I have had a few WTF motherhood moments this week…

Monday, my mom picked the girls up and took them to Chick fil A for a snack and to play. Turns out that Addy KISSED a BOY on the playground. She doesn’t even know his name. Never seen him before. Ummm.. WHAT?! This proves to be a problem for the future and I am going to need some Xanax for it.

I finally got Buddy the Elf out on Monday night. I was so proud that he decorated the girls pink Christmas tree.

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He was out for all of 30 minutes before Claire comes to tell me that Addy touched him. Well, the elf loses his magic if that happens. Addy is telling me she didn’t touch him and Claire is saying she did. Given Addy’s history of lying, I am not believing her. I try to explain to her that Buddy can’t get back to Santa if he loses his magic… nothing. I am so put out when it’s time to leave for school. Then? I find this:

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This is not mine. I start questioning the girls since it was on the bench that their school bags were on. Addy says it doesn’t belong to her. Claire says Addy took it from mom’s. So I ask Mom if she has seen it. Nope. I ask John. Nope.

So, in an effort to inspire their conscious, Buddy doesn’t move Monday night. Tuesday morning, I question the girls again. Still standing firm with their answers.

Addy gets a little ‘tude with me and Redneck Mommy came out. But you know what? She scared the crap out of the reds and I got some answers.

Turns out, Claire was lying. Addy *almost* touched Buddy. I made C apologize to Addy. Also? Claire stole the ring from her teacher. SERIOUSLY?! So, I made her apologize to Addy again. Then, I apologized to Addy for not believing her.

Man, motherhood is hard sometimes.

Also? That creepy elf needs an instruction manual for when things pop up that I have no clue how to answer. I’m not the best with lying and when Addy pips up with “You tricked us! You decorated the tree!!” I start stuttering and looking around for someone to throw me a life raft.

Shipping FAIL

As I run around like a crazy person this week preparing for Claire’s birthday party that is Saturday, I have to also think about Monday, when we leave for New Orleans. Last week, I ordered Claire’s presents from Disney and I ordered some clothes for New Orleans from Forever 21. I ordered them the same day. I am obsessed with tracking my packages and as soon as I get the e-mails that they have shipped I start tracking them. I noticed yesterday that the Forever 21 order won’t be delivered until Tuesday, January 10th.

Umm… what? That’s not going to do me any good.

I called Forever 21 where the guy spun me some story about how I ordered it on Friday and it didn’t get processed that day and then Monday was a holiday (No it wasn’t, please don’t lie to me.) and that I have the option of tracking the package and when it gets to my local facility, I can call them and ask them to hold it and go pick it up.. Yeah. I’ll just get right on that. But while I was on the phone with the Forever 21 idiot, my door bell rings. My Disney package that I ordered the same day as Forever 21, has arrived on my doorstep. Hmm… Disney had it together to get my stuff shipped out, why couldn’t F21? I guess I should say the obvious answer is look how these two companies do customer service and brand management. I think that’s a post for another day. Seeing as how F21 is always getting busted for sweat shop and child labor laws, as well as suing peeps who talk about their clothes on the Internet, while Disney does everything to ensure you have a magical time in their parks and their customer service is out of this world. I guess that’s the price you pay…

Anyway, so now I am faced with finding an outfit for the game. Could I wear something I already own? Sure. Do I want to? No way. I want something new. This is the championship and I want something sparkly.. like a crystal trophy.

I saw this at Anthropologie, but I think $98 for a top is way out of my price range. Even though it’d be perfect!!! 

I also just thought to check on Claire’s outfit that I ordered, and I 3 day shipped that and it’s going to be delivered on Monday. *sigh*

I guess there will be a lot of naked people running around this weekend.

Or it looks like a trip to Birmingham just became extremely important for tomorrow.

FML.

Ruben Studdard Half Marathon Review

 

Before I begin on our fun filled weekend, I thought I would give you the 411 on the Ruben Studdard Half.

This was an inaugural event so, I didn’t have high expectations for it. The Expo was at the Birmingham Museum of Art– pretty cool place. But, it wasn’t really an Expo, it was more like a packet pick up. No vendors. Parking wasn’t a problem. I think they said around 800 runners ran the half and they did a 5K and a fun run around Linn Park.

The course? It was kind of awful. I think that this has the potential to be an awesome race.. it’s a fundraiser for the Musical Arts programs and they could do bands or groups or school choirs at different parts around the course.. otherwise, it’s boring and you are running in a not so fabulous area of town.

I am just going to tell you.. I got super nervous for this race. Savannah seemed like so long ago (WHAT?!) and I was unsure of my abilities. I really hate failure, people.

Anyway, the course started towards Legion Field and I started out WAY too fast. Mile 1 was ran in 8:43. I have never in my life, ran a mile that fast. I reeled it back in, Mile 2 was 10:46. I passed the first water station and me being me, had my phone in my hand and looked down at it, and tripped over a patch in the road. I caught myself before completely tumbling, letting the Otterbox take the brunt of the force. It held up nicely. I, of course, flashed everyone behind me when my skirt came up. Whoops. Anyway,  I was mentally a mess. All over the place. Trying to keep myself in good spirits. I was getting sick and trying not to let that bother me. As we were rounding out through a serious sketch part of town, I am just going to tell you, that the ghetto, has NO road budget. I was going down a slight hill, and tripped over a crack in the road and completely lost it. I barrel rolled at least once, if not twice down that stupid hill. I was in shock. I tried to survey the damage. My hand and knee were bleeding. I checked to make sure I didn’t rip my skirt.. nope. It came up as I fell and I had some nice road rash on my hip. My pride.. was pretty battered. A girl heard me fall.. (yep. That’s what she told me) and came to my rescue. I was so embarrassed. But also? A little disappointed there would be no video evidence, since I love when people fall. I even YouTubed clips to try to show you what I looked it, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Sads for you.

I knew we had an aid station coming up around mile 4.5 (Yep. I wasn’t even half way finished). I stopped and asked for a band aid. This guy, whips a band aid out of his pocket, and pours Powerade in my wound to clean it. In the process, he pours Powerade all in my Garmin and it quits working. Thanks, yo! Then puts a band aid on my dripping wet hand. Yep. It didn’t stay. 

The course continued through more boring parts of downtown, with zero spectators, except for my Dad, Karen, and two adorable little red heads. Oh wait. Black Girls Run had an extra water station for us (THANK YOU!) and Lululemon had some of their awesome peeps out with their signs. I hit the 10 mile mark at 2:02 and basically fell apart. My quads were over it. I needed band aids and mentally, I was DONE. The fall may have helped me get my perspective where it needed to be (JUST FINISH!) Ashley came back and found me and ran/walked with me the last 2 1/2 miles and I’ll be honest, I probably would have just walked the rest of it if it weren’t for her. She helped push me and tell me what was up ahead.

I will say this.. My name got called over the loud speaker.. of course, I was the only person coming through the finishers shoot, but who cares?!

Addison asked me if maybe when she was 7 if she could run with me. I told her she could run with me anytime. 

My boo boos. I won’t show you the road rash on my hip. But I will say, I am still pretty banged up. My legs aren’t that sore. I am able to walk around like a normal person, so maybe my body remembers what it’s like to recover. I’m going to have some gnarly bruises though. Battle wounds, some would say. Becca told me I was making memories on the course. Either way, I’ll take it. Half marathon #4 done. 2nd in 2 weeks. 1st fall. Definitely a runner now.

I think this race has some great potential, but I am not sure I would run it again. It was not flat, like the website said. It needs more aid stations and course entertainment. The bling was nice. You know, I am all about the bling. Finish time 2:46. Not the sub 2:40, I wanted, but with two falls, I will take it and not complain.

P.S. Apologies on the different picture sizes.. still trying to figure all that out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been a tad difficult for me. Addison is having complete emotional blowouts about the smallest things. Here are some examples: She’s been wanting to watch a lot of Toy Story, so John picked up some Toy Story soup at the grocery store for her. When she saw it, she completely flipped out, exclaiming,” I only like Princess soup!!!” So I dug around and found Dora soup and she seemed okay. The VERY next day, she begged if she could eat the Toy Story soup because “It was her very favorite!!”. Tuesday, I was trying to get them ready to go to MeMac’s for a little bit and she flipped out because she didn’t want to change out of her pajamas or brush her hair or brush her teeth. 
One of my best friends is in the hospital with kidney stones and I told her we needed to say a prayer for her and she fell out again. She didn’t like saying prayers, she didn’t like Rebecca, she didn’t like me, she didn’t want to talk to Jesus. The stuff really hurt me. I was on the verge of tears. I just kept thinking… who is this child? Why is she talking to me like this? I haven’t raised her to act like this. When John came home for lunch, he had a big talk with her and that seemed to help. 
Yesterday, after one of her many drama filled tantrums, she told me she wanted to go shopping. !!!! What? I informed her that I don’t go shopping with mean girls. Only nice, friendly, and kind little girls get to go shopping. 
And now, Claire sees Addy acting like that and is starting to mimic the behavior. Shoot me. Just shoot me now. 
She is sending me on an emotional roller coaster of emotions. I don’t know what to do. We’ve tried spankings, spankings with the wooden spoon, time outs, taking toys away, big talks. I need all mothers of girls to weigh in on this! Is there a stepford daughter program I can put her in? I want her to be able to express her emotions, but not throw fits. I am trying to get it through her head that when you act nice, you get the things you want, but if you act ugly, those things get taken away. How do you do it??? 

Lady Biz Saga Continued…

When we last left off, I was burned by the receptionist at my lady biz doctor and was made an appt for Tuesday. So, on the big day, I arrived with a couple of minutes to spare, and sat down to wait. A few minutes passed and they called me back to pay my co-pay. So, I went back there. The woman asked my name and appointment time and I told her and she couldn’t find me on the list. *red flag* So, she just wrote me down and took my $20. I asked her if I came at the wrong time– I am super paranoid about going to the doctor at the wrong time. She told me no that it hadn’t printed off for whatever reason. So I head back to the waiting room. About 15 minutes later, the receptionist called me up there and asked why I was coming in today. I tried to keep my cool, but I am pretty sure my eyes were shooting daggers at that woman while I told my brief story of the crappy receptionist. It was probably her anyway.

So, I head back to my seat with the assumption they were working me in. Once I was the only person left, I was called back. I kinda sorta unloaded on the nurse, but tried to not take it out on her, afterall, it wasn’t her fault. But she told me she was told I called and cancelled my appointment. UMMM WHAT?!!?!?! No, that didn’t happen, at all.

They ended up doing my yearly exam… gotta love a little cervical scrapeage.  Dr. F told me that she thought that my problem was an egg popping out of my ovary. Not sure if I believe that or not, since I have NEVER had that happen before. But, a ultrasound wouldn’t have done any good since the fluid is gone now. But, she didn’t feel any cysts or anything on my ovaries, so I opted to not have an ultrasound.

I am still pretty jacked about the front office issues. Not sure what to do. It’s not my doctors or her nurses fault and I was assured by Dr F that I would be seen the day I was in pain if it happens again. She also encouraged me not to skip out my b.c. anymore unless I wanted #3.

So I ask you, virtual friends, what would you do in this situation? Change doctors? I would have to go an hour out of town to see someone in a different group. Change doctors within the group? Write a letter to the office manager? Let it go completely?

Ahh.. Saturday.

Saturday. A day for relaxing. Right? Well, what was going to be a fun day for Princesses, quickly turned to crap. A stop at Duchess Doughnuts, first thing, earned Addison the beating of her life because she ran out into the road after I told her to stay right by me. 
Yes, I beat the crap out of her in the middle of the road. Right after I had my heart attack.
She continued to not listen, which had me wondering if she is just now starting to get jealous of Claire? Is that even possible? 
I must show you my new snack. Toast, Nutella, and banana. YUMMY. 
Also thought I would share my new favorite summer dish. It’s called Summer Pasta. I used penne, because we had it at the house, but you can use any kind.
Mix 1 cup EVOO, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, 4 Roma tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper together and let it get to room temperature.
The keep to this, is letting the pasta cool off some. I noticed the last time that the cheese melted immediately, and caused for clumpy cheese, but I let it cool a little this time and it didn’t.
I mixed faster this time also.
Mmmm… yummy. If you like pasta, garlic, and tomatoes.. it’s delish.
But then.. I had this to do.. (Which didn’t get done.)
I blew up a pool and a bouncy ball and let the girls fight over them. Seriously.
The sat in the pool and watched Pinocchio.
And I looked like this at the end of the day. Crazy hair. Crazy eyes. Nutella on the face.

The moral of this story? Don’t let your husband go out of town for 3 days. Especially when your children are daddys girls.

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