BBQ & Boating

Monday, June 28, 2010 No comments

We seriously like BBQ. I'm talking wake up early in the morning and stoke the coals and wood chips in the smoker kind of BBQ. I have my BBQ bible that I use to tell me the exact concotions of rubs (we're dry rub BBQ fans here) and I make our mop sauces using the same BBQ bible. We decided to invite some friends over to enjoy our first firing up of the smoker. On the menu:
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Brisket
  • Smoked Ham
  • Smoked bratwursts
  • Pulled pork
  • Cole Slaw
  • Potato Salad
  • Barbecue Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pecan Pie
  • Banana Pudding
  • Peach Cobbler with ice cream
With the exception of the Pecan Pie (I bought it) and the watermelon and cantaloupe everything was from scratch. The food turned out great and the kids kept themselves and us entertained with water gun fights. It was a great time. Unfortunately, I took one picture the entire time. It's a photo of all the kids washing a friends red Porsche (Matt decided to channel their energy and love for water and spraying others with water into something productive).

On Sunday, we took the boat out for the inaugural excursion. It was a great time. We rode around the lake and would anchor and swim. Both kids did great. We had a fun time on a beautiful lake. The combo of sun and fun wiped us all out and everyone called it an early night.

Chloe observing while Daddy takes the boat out of the dock.

Going for a swim in the lake.
Chloe with her beloved super soaker.
Oliver manning the bow of the boat.

Semi-Charmed Life...

Thursday, June 24, 2010 2 comments
is the name we gave our new boat. Matt decided to surprise us all and took the day off today so we could all go and pick up the boat before the weekend. We woke up early, made the drive from NJ to PA and went through the walk-thru of the boat and the in-water test of the boat itself. The kids seemed to enjoy the boat. Oliver didn't care too much for his life vest but he will get accustomed to it, eventually.
Matt with the kids on the dock, getting into their life vests before boarding our boat.

We brought the boat back this afternoon and registered it in NJ so we can go on the water legally. Matt and I took a boating course and got our boating licenses last week. We loaded all the mandatory gear on board and even dined on board the boat this evening in our driveway. We can't wait until our first real outing this weekend.

Matt going over the boat with the marina/boat sales owner.

After debating if we would name the boat and what we would name the boat, we decided on the name today as we were driving to the marina and listening to Thir*d Eye* Bli*nd. Its one of my favorite bands of the 90s and when we heard the song today, we both thought it was a fitting title.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010 No comments
Finally! I don't know who is more excited to have school over with, me or Chloe!?! It just seemed to drag on and on this year---June 23---school is officially over and Chloe is going into the 1st grade! The Texan in me still has my mind set that school should get out around Memorial Day not Independence Day!

I am excited that Chloe is done with half-day school and will go full-day next year. That means I don't have to interrupt and gear Oliver's naps around Chloe's half-day schedule. I felt like we were constantly coming and going and that all we came home for was for Oliver to nap and then I hit the road again!

This last week of school has been party central. Chloe has a pool party everyday this week. I managed to snap some shots at two of the parties that we have attended thus far.

Chloe always complains about how cold the water is and then she dives right in. Oliver had to watch from the sideline and play peek-a-boo with Mommy.

Why I Have Hearing Loss

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 No comments
Big sister and little brother playing. It's adorable, but loud.

First Day of Summer

Monday, June 21, 2010 No comments
It was a hot first day of summer, in the 90s and so humid. I bought a mister and set it up in the yard to keep Chloe cool while she rode her scooter. Lets just say, she didn't use it to mist herself, but to get soaking wet. It then inspired her to go and get her watergun. Oliver was a little more unsure of the mister but just wanted to crawl around in the grass and check things out.

In the meantime, Chloe has two more days of school (yes, school is still in here---can you believe it?) then its real summertime fun.

Father's Day, Anniversary and Recital Rolled into One

Sunday, June 20, 2010 No comments
We celebrated Father's Day in NYC. Chloe had a dance recital in Tribeca for her Chinese dance class. No photos or recordings were allowed during the recital so I don't have anything to show. Chloe did a fantastic fan dance.

After the recital we went to a nearby park. It was 91 degrees and humid in the city. Both kids had on matching "I Love Dad" shirts in honor of Father's Day.

It was also our 12th anniversary and I had made reservations to eat out in the city here. I thought it was fitting since they claim to be child-friendly and the name was fitting for our anniversary. All I can say is I tried. Its hard to find a restaurant in NYC which is truly kid-friendly. Eventhough this place claims to be, they have two highchairs and both were broken! After we ate, Matt asked where we were going to eat for the rest of the meal.  So, for any of you who visit NYC and want to go to this place. Don't. Its WAAAAYYYYY over-rated and over-hyped.

After our meal, we walked down the street to pick up some British food provisions. After purchasing an $8 bag of Twiglets we decided to head back across the Hudson.

In the end, eventhough our dining wasn't the best, the time spent as a family was great & the kids enjoyed themselves.

What I Love About NJ

Saturday, June 19, 2010 No comments
Jersey tomatoes, homegrown basil and locally made Mozarella.

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Happy 1st Birthday Oliver!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3 comments
Look who is one today!!

Many months ago I scheduled Oliver and Chloe's well-checks at the doctor's. It happened that the only opening was on Oliver's birthday so I took it. I didn't know that an easy well-check was going to turn into a diagnosis of a skin rash, an ear infection and two immunization shots for Oliver! Poor little guy! He hasn't been bothered by his rash/ezcema or his ear infections and has still been his happy self, which would explain why the ear infection diagnosis came as such a shock. Otherwise, Oliver is doing great and growing rapidly. Our pediatricians suspect Oliver is not going to be of a slight frame but may be a big boy! He's grown nearly 4 inches and gained 5 pounds since we brought him home. He is 60th percentile on the weight and height charts.

No Respect for Motherhood

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2 comments
Honestly, the tv thing is a mystery to me. Not quite sure where she got that one from.

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Chloe's 6th Birthday!

Monday, June 14, 2010 1 comment
Today was Chloe's 6th birthday! We were under orders to wake up before Chloe and yell "Happy Birthday!" when she came downstairs. It ended up that Chloe managed to get in our bed last night (or early this morning) and we were shoved awake this morning and told to get up and go downstairs and get ready to yell our birthday wishes because she wanted to get up!

We had cake tonight and opened presents. Chloe was so thrilled by all the phone calls she got today from friends and family. She felt like a celebrity.

We didn't have a birthday party this year for Chloe since the kids birthday's are only 1 day apart. We told Chloe that we will have parties every other year, alternating for each child. Next year, Chloe can have a party for her 7th birthday. She handled it quite well and didn't seem to mind that she didn't have a big to-do. Of course, she has already started planning next year's party!

Several weeks ago Chloe's scooter was taken from the front of our house after Chloe left it on the sidewalk. We bought Chloe a replacement, but got her a different model. It's lots of fun!

I went in search of a good bakery for Chloe's cake and went to a bakery several/many towns away. I should have known better. After blowing out her candles, Chloe informed us she doesn't really like cake and would have preferred an ice cream cake. Ah, the gratitude.

Well, at least Oliver enjoyed Chloe's birthday cake--at least I know he will eat his cake this Wednesday!---

Chloe had a good birthday. She and her Daddy are playing with some of the Star Wa*rs items she got today right now. I am sure sans party, sans ice cream cake and sans Mom & Dad refusing to follow her birthday commands to a "T" that she had a fantastic 6th birthday.

***And on a side note...I told Chloe it was time to go to bed and she said, "But I didn't have dessert!".  I reminded her that she had birthday cake to which she said, "Yea,  but I didn't want that!". Lord, grant me strength.

Hiking & Celebrating

Sunday, June 13, 2010 No comments
We went for a hike today in the nearby mountains. After 4 years of living in New Jersey we are still amazed at the things to do and the beauty of the state (considering its NJ and gets such a bad rap). The hike was a moderate one about 3 miles long. We took both dogs. It was stress getting everyone going but worth it in the end.

Where we hiked is the county ski slopes in the winter (hence the chair lift in the background of the photo). Chloe was so excited on the walk because she spotted a deer and her fawn who were shadowing us along the crest of the mountain.

Later in the day we went out to eat for Chloe's birthday (which is Monday). We went to a hibachi restaurant with fabulous views of the mountains and NYC (unfortunately it was a cloudy, foggy evening and the views were obscured). Chloe had a great time at the restaurant. There was a koi pond and our chef kept her enthralled all during dinner with his cooking. She wanted to watch him cook and didn't want to eat.
Peter, our chef & entertainer.

We sat at the table with a family of four. They live in a nearby town now but were originally from Scotland, very close to where Matt's grandfather lived. They were nice and very accomodating of our little screamer, Oliver.

You're never to young to learn to eat with chopsticks. **If you think this kid looks like he is a riot and a ham, you'd be correct. He's pretty darn cute and personable when he isn't making your ears bleed!**
Chloe wanted to wear her silk robe a friend brought back for her from Thailand. It was the perfect accessory.

Mommy, Chloe & Oliver enjoying dinner.

Daddy, Chloe and Oliver outside the restaurant.

The World Cup

Saturday, June 12, 2010 No comments
It's a game fit for this household---the U.S. takes on England in the World Cup. Chloe & Matt are rooting for England and Oliver and I are cheering for the U.S.

Kindergarten Performance

Friday, June 11, 2010 No comments

The kindergarteners had their end of the year performance yesterday at school. The children performed a play on how the Brazilian beetle got it's gorgeous coat. Chloe was the end narrator. The other children dressed as butterflies, tortoises, birds and lizards. Chloe was a little disappointed she was the narrator because she didn't have a costume and had to wait for the other children to perform. In the end, I think her music teacher and kindergarten teacher did a good job convincing her that her part was the most important--summing the story all up.

Chloe singing the final song at the end of the play with the beetle.

Telling the moral of the story.

Singing with all the p.m. kindergarteners (or at least the one's who got in the picture).

The end of the show--she finally smiled!


Tuesday, June 08, 2010 No comments
Carrots & Spinach. Not a favorite.

The Dance Recital

Saturday, June 05, 2010 No comments

Rehearsals were last night for Chloe's dance recital and the actual recital was this morning. You can't take photos or videos during the actual recital so I had to take them all during last evening's rehearsal. Oliver did great at the rehearsal but we opted to have our babysitter watch him for the 3 hour recital show.

And for the grandparents viewing pleasure, a video:

I Spy

Friday, June 04, 2010 No comments
A tooth bulging up through some bottom gums! Could it be, the first tooth for our first birthday!!??

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The Memorial Day Weekend

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 No comments
We decided to break out the camper for the first time this season on Memorial Day. Problem was we decided to do so a few weeks before Memorial Day. If you want to stay at a nice campsite on a holiday weekend you need to book well in advance, like February.

I called around for available campsites with no luck. I thought I was fortunate when one called me back to tell me they had a cancellation and we could camp there. The site had been recommended and got good reviews.

We packed and left on Friday afternoon. The campsite was in the northern Pocono Mountains. Not too far away. The campground itself wasn't too bad. I liked it. Matt did not. It just wasn't our cup of tea. It was in the middle of nowhere, about a 20 minute drive to the nearest town and there wasn't anything much to do there!!! Normally we would survive (I mean we are camping afterall, even if it is in an RV, usually all we need is a pool) but it was a three-day weekend and there was a Formula 1 race and the Indy 500 to watch on tv. Matt wasn't pleased.

We decided to make the best of the weekend and drive to the large lake about 45 minutes away. There was a visitor center at the lake and we could get brochures on what there was to do in the area. We got some guides on hiking trails and set to drive the lake to check it out.
Chloe sporting her lake look.

We made it about 1/3 of the way around the lake when Matt told me to pull into the marina. We got out, saw all the boats in dock and on the lake and Matt decided we should go into the boat showroom to check things out. Those that know us well shouldn't be that shocked at what transpired. Send Matt and I into any motorized vehicle showroom and you should know what will happen....

The boat.

We bought a boat! I mean we didn't buy it that exact moment, we did go to 2 other boat dealers on the lake. We actually have been talking about getting a boat. There are some great lakes in our area and our kids do enjoy the water. We DID wait a whole 24 hours before we returned to buy the boat!

Matt, Chloe and Oliver on a hike at Lake Wallenpaupack.

Chloe was excited when she saw the people on the lake skiing and tubing. Matt says the boat is a gift to the kids for their upcoming birthdays in June (wasn't it just a few weeks ago I joked about buying Chloe a Porsche for her 6th birthday?). I don't know if that one will fly, but that's our story and we're sticking to it. We pick the boat up on June 12, just a few days before Oliver and Chloe's birthdays.

So, it was the most expensive camping weekend ever and from now on I will search out campsites closer to the action and with tv. Well, I guess now we will be camping by lakes as well.

I know two little bodies that were kept busy on the weekend and got worn out.