Tuesday, July 26, 2011 No comments
Oliver is officially a U.S. Citizen! We woke very early this morning and made our way to the Federal Immigration office in Newark. We stood in the snaking line around the building to go through security and then we waited in another line to meet with the adjudication officer. Lets just say Oliver made his presence known---he only expressed what all the adults were suppressing---frustration at having to wait.

Once we got his Certificate of Citizenship, we weren't required to stay for the swearing in ceremony, we left. I didn't take a photo in the ceremony room because Oliver just wasn't feeling it at this point. I decided to take a photo when he was a little happier...after he had had his celebratory Dun*kin D*onuts.

We Put Another Check on Our Summer List...

Monday, July 18, 2011 No comments
playing in the sprinkler!


Sunday, July 17, 2011 No comments
The BBQ was Saturday and I think it was lots of fun. Chloe and I spent the best part of our Friday afternoon prepping and making some dishes in advance so I could be outside with the guests instead of in the kitchen. Unfortunately I was sporadic with my photography and didn't actually get many shots during the dinner.

The Setup---

We had two large tables for the adult and a children's table. Chloe helped me spray paint the mason jars earlier in the week and they were so cute on the table with sunflowers in them. I love BBQ places that have the brown paper on tables so I copied that idea. I also had the last minute idea of writing the menu on the paper.

The Menu---

All the berries in the desserts were the berries the kids and I picked. I prepped the meats the day before and Matt fired up the smoker early in the morning. It may not be the prettiest, but it is the real star of the show---

And, as seems to be the new tradition, there was the washing of Paul's Porsche. Its amazing the labor children will put in if you let them play with water.

And the finished product....


Friday, July 15, 2011 No comments
A week in my life via Instagram....

Things have been busy with swimming and diving eating up most of our days. We have two swim meets this week in addition to practice. Wednesday's swim meet was 6 hours long!

We have our annual barbecue coming up this week and I have been menu planning and grocery shopping. My food shopping was interrupted Wednesday when we had to evacuate the store because of a bomb threat! I wasn't going to let a hoax stop me and I eventually completed all my shopping once we were allowed back into the store. I didn't get to snap a photo of all the hoo-haa because I was trying to wrangle two kids in a parking lot full of fire trucks, bomb squad vehicles and 100s of people.

I had to make a beverage run for the weekend BBQ and I may have wept with joy when I placed these two cases of beer on the checkout counter. See, this beer just became available in NJ. It has only been sold in the neighboring states of Texas recently and now its making a national debut. It tastes of Texas. It's my favorite, so much so that we named our first dog, a Clumber Spaniel, after it.

If anyone at our BBQ finds this beer unacceptable, then I find them unacceptable and they can go home...without tasting the 'cue cause its a Texas BBQ and you have to have a Texas beer that you can now buy in New Jersey!!

We've had wonderful weather this summer. Not a lot of humidity like summers past. Perfect weather for sipping some iced tea, which I have been keeping in mass quantity in the refrigerator.

I realized that with the evening swim practice and late night swim meets that I haven't cooked a decent meal since summer began! I could only remember making spaghetti. I had to make it a priority to make a decent dinner one evening--Parmesan chicken cutlets, grilled corn and rice. The kids ate it up like I hadn't fed them in forever.

The kids and I went raspberry and blueberry picking. Oliver wanted to hold the container. About halfway through filling the large container with raspberries Oliver decided to try one. He tasted the raspberry, yelled, "Goss!" (that's "gross" in Oliver speak) and dumped the entire container on the ground. Raspberries aren't a lot of fun to pick---they're scratchy and have lots of bees on them. I'm using these berries to make a cobbler for the BBQ. If the cobbler has a little dirt, grass and rocks in it too, sorry. I had to salvage what I could from the ground.

Now, when it came time to pick the blueberries, Oliver was all on board! We couldn't pick those fast enough. Lets just say I had to give the farmer a few extra dollars for the amount in my son's stomach.

life rearranged

Complete Randomness

Thursday, July 14, 2011 No comments
Random photos from my camera and phone from the past week.

At Chloe's swim meet---I tried to snap the chaos when it began raining, sprinkling really, no lightning, all the kids bolted out of the pool and began acting like they were going to melt. Weren't they in a pool filled with water in the first place? I found it all a little absurd that people would wrap themselves in towels and huddle under umbrellas when they were wet to begin with.
Oliver's face after he got into his sister's Fun Dip and decided to use it as war paint instead.
Matt & Chloe at Candlewood Lake in Connecticut.
Oliver at the pool during Chloe's swim practice. He carries the football everywhere while at the pool and it usually leads to some toddler confrontation when someone tries to snatch it from him or offer to throw the ball to him--which he doesn't like.

This is Oliver's Heisman Trophy shot. And, yes, he's running at the pool and I am probably shouting, "No running!" as I am snapping this photo.

The First Swim Meet

Friday, July 08, 2011 1 comment
I wish I could say this summer has been relaxing, but the truth is that it has been busy. Busier than when Chloe is in school. There is little down time and besides Kung Fu twice a week we are at the pool twice a day for diving lessons and swim team practice. We're home just long enough to throw wet towels in the washer/dryer and to let Oliver nap. Diving lessons end next week and we will just have swim team practice going forward so the back and forth at the pool can end.

Chloe's very first swim meet was Wednesday. It was my first experience at a swim meet and it wasn't the best introduction to competitive swimming as it was chaotic and disorganized. I can't even begin to describe the confusion and chaos at the meet. The meet was supposed to start at 5: 00 p.m. but after an hour of standing around trying to find someone that knew what was going on and where we should be I had enough and stepped in to organize swimmer check-in while three other moms obtained the master swim list and began organizing the swimmers by using pens to write the event, heat and lanes on the kids arms so they would be able to know what they were doing. We did get an apology letter from the head coach and staff this morning apologizing for the chaos--which was really her passing the blame on the pool for staying open during the swim meet. She promises the next event will start on time and be organized---lets just say I have my doubts. For someone that has been coaching this team for 15 years she should have it down like clockwork regardless of whether half the Olympic sized- pool is open for general swim (especially when the event was in the 25M pool, not the Olympic-sized pool).

All the chaos and confusion put stress on the kids and Chloe began whining that she didn't want to just "sit around" while this all got figured out and kept asking to go to the playground. Not knowing when the event would start or the order of the event, I couldn't let her run off to play for fear the event would start at any minute.

When the time finally came for the event to begin (almost 2 hours after the original start time) I was totally stressed and on "high alert". As Chloe stood at the side of the pool waiting to compete I didn't know how she felt or what she was thinking. She kind of looked like a "deer in headlights" not quite sure what was going on.

And, she got a little miffed when she learned she was only swimming 15M because she swims in the 5-6 age bracket because of her June birthday (even though she's 7). She's been in swim lessons (both group and private) since she was 11 months old and can currently swim a 25M pool back and forth for 45 minutes straight).  I'm not bragging when I say the kid is good, really good for her age, and that she should be in the 7-8 age bracket but the coach told me those are the rules and then quipped, "she'll do really well and win all her heats, " which seems unfair to me & Matt. I was still a nervous wreck when it came to Chloe's first event, the 15M freestyle and the "Tiger Mother" may have come out in me. Chloe won handily over the others--2nd place is to the right of Chloe in the video.

Chloe went on to win backstroke too. Its hard to read her sometimes and what she is thinking. After the backstroke, she got out and asked, "Did I come in first?" to which I said, "Yes!" to which she responded with, "Can I go to the playground now?".

Its all good fun.

So, what does Oliver do during all this swimming? Well, he stays with our babysitter for the swim meets but is in tow for diving lessons and swim team practice. He spends his time in the kiddie pool area.

Have a great weekend, I'm off to diving practice with the kids....

Momentary "Girliness"

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 No comments

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

First Full Week of Summer Break

Friday, July 01, 2011 No comments
We're one full week into summer break and two catalogs arrived in the mailbox touting "Back to School". SERIOUSLY? The kids in this part of the country JUST got out of school and we are supposed to start thinking about back to school clothing and backpacks? Not a chance.

So far summer has been busy. Chloe has diving practice in the morning and then its back at the pool in the evening for swim team practice. In between we either spend time at the pool, ride bikes or try to get some grocery shopping done. Thankfully, one of my friends has been taking Chloe to swim team practice in the evening and a few diving lessons so I can get Oliver to bed on time or to other appointments. We've dubbed her Chloe's "swim mom" and she cheers for Chloe and even taped her at lessons.

We've made a few checks on the "Summer to Do" list---we made stepping stones and caught fireflies.

The garden is coming along nicely, though the only thing ready to harvest are the pole beans. I have been mothering the yellow watermelon plant, trying to ensure that it produces fruit for Chloe.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!!