Friday, March 25, 2011

Regroup, Relax, Release, and Recover !

                                                    *  *PHOTO HEAVY POST* *

The kids are back at home now. I have received three tear-filled bedtime phone calls this week because they are missing me :) That fills my heart all the way to the top. I miss them too. Shoot, even Mr. Mixologist is missing them even though we.are.worn.out ! LOL

My and one of my girlfriends, took my crew and her girls and nephews to the Houston Zoo on Wednesday. I really enjoyed it and the kids did too. They have a new African Safari Exhibit that was great. One of the best things about our Zoo is that they allow you to bring in your own coolers with food and drinks. This is great and very cost effective when you have so many kids to feed. We packed a lunch of their preferred food and snacks & had a picnic halfway through our visit. The only downside was there we so many people at the Zoo because it was Spring Break. We heard they set an attendance record of over 30,000 people on one day ! WOW

KJ & Jeff  fixated on the Leopard

I love to watch children's fascination with animals and how they process learning new things. You can see the little wheels turning in their heads.

Savannah & Jeff jamming on the African Drums !

I love musically inclined, creative types and encourage it whenever possible. Trust me when I say, when our kids got on these six drums they had set up in the African Safari area, they drew a crowd. I thought I was going to start picking up money off the ground ! LOL

The Zoo Crew !

Next stop on Thursday was Schlitterbahn Water Park. The kids love it ! I have to admit, I do too. Even though they only have about 1/2 of the rides open during Spring Break, it is still a nice reprieve and my water babies get a chance to have some great fun. This park also allows you to bring in Coolers with your own food and drinks #winning.  Which keeps us from the highway robbery that is the food prices at this joint. We always get there early, find a good camp spot and spend the whole day. Mr. Mixologist came with us on this day trip and was truly a great help. When you have so many kids around water, with varying swimming abilities, it is very necessary. One of my girlfriends neighbors came along with her two daughters, so we had 4 adults, supervising 11 children between the ages of 4 and 16. We always have a strategy. One adult always stayed with our stuff, we then broke the kids into 3 age groups & each adult went with their group to ride the various attractions and we would check back at the camp spot every hour.  The kids slept like dead people after this outing ! #winning LOL

View of Galveston Bay

The kids were squealing with delight by the time we go to Galveston & they actually could see the water.

KJ is salivating thinking about the water

Kid's hate having to wait for their food to digest so they can swim to avoid cramps, but yet they want to eat snacks all day ! I know this is an old wives tale, but I still make them sit for 30 minutes after eating before getting back in. I have no idea if its true, but it's how I was raised. LOL

Bikini Ready

Cool Boys !

By Friday, I was truly spent but I still had to get ready for the annual Party that I throw every year during Spring Break, so that some of my friends & their kids can hang out with my nieces and nephews. Mr. Mixologist came up with the idea of a Fish Fry and agreed to do the cooking in the back yard. He made the Catfish, Shrimp and Hushpuppies. I hooked up some Dirty Rice, Macaroni & Cheese, Caesar Salad and my famous Sopapilla Cheesecake (got the recipe from my Mom who never fails ! ). Everything came together nicely & me and my beau are an awesome team. #winning.  Saturday was a very long, late night, but definitely a great time and all worth it. I spent the early morning hours on Sunday, washing & packing suitcases & when we got back home on Sunday night, I was in.a.coma.for.3.days ! LOL Hence the late wrap-up post !

Below is the last groups of pics, I promise LOL !

Savannah with one of my friend's son
Party Girls
What a Spread !
It was my Goddaughter's Birthday too !
Are they trying to play spades ?  LOL !

The drop off at Starbucks ! (Before the tears)

Our Annual Professional Spring Break Pic

Needless to say, me and the beau are cold chillin' this weekend. We plan to regroup, relax, release and recover. His brother from Chicago is coming in next weekend so we are planning some adult activities, and we should be fully rested by then,  but until then, I will be chilling !

How was your Spring Break !

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Madness !

It's Wednesday, so we are halfway through the Spring Break visit and I am beat. Since my mind has forgotten, my body is starting to remind me of my age ! LOL. The mini-van turned out to be the best idea. As far as comfort on a long road trip, you can't beat it. With two DVD screens, all the bells and whistles, including awesome storage and room the move around, the kids were definitely more than comfortable. One of my cousin's daughters couldn't come because she didn't want to miss her baby sisters birthday party this coming Saturday, but my other cousin's son, who is 5 quickly volunteered to come in her place so now my nephew who is 4 has somebody to play with.

Savannah picked out the flowers with me
Brunch turned out really great. The food was wonderful of course, but the quality time with my extended family was the best part. I might have decided to have a Mimosa or should I say a few, but whose counting ? LOL Here are some pics from the table I put together at my parents. My oldest niece picked out the flowers.

This 4 yr old is serious about his game !

I had planned to take the little ones to the Houston Rodeo Carnival on Monday, but the rain, nixed that idea so were were indoors the first day. They really enjoyed bowling  & we will definitely do that again. Whoever came up with the idea of those bumpers on the aisles for the less skilled, is a genius, we even had a couple of strikes !                                                
The chair massage was her favorite part.
                                                                               Later I took the girls to the nail shop, while Mr. Mixologist hung out with the boys. Tuesday, we took our annual Spring Break Photo & let me tell getting 6 kids, picture ready and keeping them that way is no simple feat ! We were happy with how they turned out. I will post some later.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Reminder: You can shop twice as fast when you leave kids at home                       
For dinner last night, I let them get some ingredients to make their own pizzas and they had flour from their ears to their toes, LOL but  they came out pretty decent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Cheffin' it up !
                                                                              We used Turkey Pepperoni and Turkey Italian Sausage, but it was still a little salty to my taste, but they of course thought it was delicious because they had made it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

I cannot tell a lie, my back is killing me right now ! LOL I think its the constant, bending & picking up stuff as well as lifting some of the younger ones, the constant movement that sadly, my body is just not used to anymore ![ Reminder: Increase treadmill time.]   I have been washing more clothes and dishes in these few days than I probably washed last month. Seriously though, the hugs, smiles and the love of these kids is so worth it. This is my cousin's 5 years olds first trip this far from home alone, without his parents & he is doing great and having fun and that is what is important to me.       

The hugs are totally worth it :)
What are you doing for Spring Break ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?           

Beautifully Complex                                                                                                                                              

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gimme a Break !

Whew ! I am so glad it's Friday and the truth is I am totally worn out. I am getting ready for Spring Bring with my nieces and nephew and it has been quite a chore to get prepared. First of all at work, it's like I have to work double time just be off. I have worked very late every.night.this.week. I have to make sure than anyone can pick up one of my cases and know exactly what's going on and try to put out any "potential" fires that could occur while I am out. Even though they can reach me via cell phone, I just don't want to think about work if I don't have to. I just sent my last work email about 10 minutes ago, so I am officially on a break until March 21 ! Woo Hoo !

We are getting ready to hit the road in less than 2 hours. After going back & forth with Mr. Mixologist, I finally agreed to rent a van instead of a utility vehicle. I had to just be honest and admit my vanity was the problem. I just think mini-vans look corny LOL ! I don't know why I think I am too fly to drive a  minivan  LOL ! But each year this annual Spring Break Trip just gets bigger and bigger (two of my cousins are sending their daughters too) and it's just not practical any more.  I am just glad that I will be cold chillin' reading with my Nook Color in just a few hours headed up the road.

Speaking of "cold chillin'", this week of all weeks, my AC decided to start tripping. Now you know with six kids here next week, we would HAVE to have some cold air.  My house is over 20 years old and I bought it 4 years ago. Home repairs are the bane of my existence, I swear ! Anyway, this is one of those times when I really appreciate blog land and how resourceful it can be. You know my blogging buddy and friend IRL Tiffany in Houston just had the same situation and blogged about it here.  Well, I sent her a message on Twitter and got the contact info & her AC guy met with Mr. Mixologist yesterday to discuss the problem & he came over bright and early this morning & completed the work I needed done for a FRACTION of what 2 other's had quoted me earlier this week. So I really caught a major break today & am soooo grateful. Shout out to my girl Tiffany !

I am looking forward to visiting with my family this weekend before we head back with the kids. My visit at Thanksgiving got cut short due to a death in my beau's family, so I missed some of my cousins. My mom is having a Chicken & Waffle Brunch tomorrow morning at the house in my honor and has invited all my cousins, aunts & uncles, so I am excited about that. I am going to do my best to not drink any Mimosa's but that will be really hard for me ! LOL My BFF thinks I am spoiled & I always try to deny it, but my parents really are very considerate of me. I think it's just that my friend comes from a family of 8 children, whereas it was just me & my sister, so your parents can just do more & give you  more attention. But I do really spoil my nieces and nephew, so its all love !

That's what's going on this Fabulous Friday in my world.

What are your plans for the weekend ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Me..........Randomly

I cannot believe it is almost mid-March. I am really worn out from the weekend ! I have been trying to gear up for Spring Break. My nieces and nephew will be here next week & I have to get ready & get this house ready. In between trying to make sure everything at work is in order, for me to vacation in peace and the cleaning & shopping, etc. around here, I am already worn out & those kids aren't even here yet ! LOL I can forget about getting any rest next week.

I have been using my treadmill a lot more lately, and have been feeling much better and more energized because of it. My lower back is feeling better, as well as my knee that was bothering me so I don't have any more excuses. All of the weight loss going on in Blogland is a good thing, it has been very motivating. With Springtime approaching, I don't want to regret not doing anything about these love handles from lazying around all winter with my beau. LOL.

My Aunt is having some serious health challenges and it makes me hurt. It is hard to see how it affects her, my cousins and especially my Mom and my other Aunt. It is also a reminder of how much we can't control in our lives but at the same time it makes me reflect on how much power we DO have in certain areas and that I should always continue to try to work to improve the areas that I can change.

I have a close friend, whose ex-husband probably has an undiagnosed mental problem. That along with him being a substance abuser (cocaine & alcohol) makes dealing with the situation (they have 2 young children) very challenging. He sends her some very scary & cryptic text messages. It really makes me uneasy. I pray for their protection constantly.

I always take the little ones to this place to paint ceramics they can take home to commemorate their trip. I try to mix it up and keep their trip's fresh & exciting with new activites. This year I wanted to take them to a pottery place, so they could make their own, but you have to be at least 8 yrs old, so that means some of the little ones won't be able to participate so I am looking for something else crafty/creative for them all to do. If you know of anything in Houston, please send any ideas my way. I may just go to Hobby Lobby and Michael's to see if I can be inspired.

Me and Mr. Mixologist went to see The Adjustment Bureau this past weekend. I really enjoyed it. It was more love story, morality play, than espionage and thriller. I must say, Matt Damon is still such a hottie. I thought there was a lot of chemistry between him and the female lead. It really did make me think about fate and free will. For example, you get held up at a drive through, frustrated by a delay only to drive up on a serious accident minutes later in which you very well could have been involved in, if you had not been delayed. As I have gotten older, I have learned to just take unexpected delays as a blessing that I can't see.

I did not have one. drop. of. alcohol this past weekend. I know that sounds bad, as in, am I an alcoholic or something ? LOL But honestly, I can't think of the last weekend when I did not have some wine at a minimum. I have a serious desire to drink in social situations and at home, especially on weekends. I decided to try to cut back because of the calories. They really add up. This coming weekend, we will be road tripping to pick up the little ones and the following weekend  after a very sober Spring Break, I will be doing the same thing, taking them back, so I think I will probably shoot for 30 days with no alcohol to see if that helps me drop some pounds.

Today, what is randomly you ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex