Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My favorite blue-eyed boy…

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…has been doing lots of this lately:

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Temper tantrums, anyone?

It seems as though the Terrible Twos have hit our house about 6 months early.

(Don’t worry, I still love him more ‘n’ my luggage.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Branson Part Two!

I want to finish up on my recap of our Spring Break vacation to Branson!

Saturday afternoon, after my parents had picked up Christopher to take him home with them, Stephen, Deanna and I headed to lunch at Ruby Tuesday and then spent the afternoon shopping at Tangers Outlet Mall.  I meant to take a picture of all the cute clothes I bought for Christopher but I never did do it. He got a few cute outfits from Carter’s, Old Navy, and Osh Kosh.  Stephen got two new pairs of shoes. I got some new kitchen gadgets… because, you know, you can’t have enough kitchen utensils. :)  Aaaannd one of the highlights to my day was finding out that Coach was having a 30% off sale and I received a late Valentine’s Day gift from my sweetie pie husband! 

coach

Naturally, I wanted my first Coach bag to have the well-known C’s on them, but I ended up falling in love with this one. I got it for a GREAT price and I know that I will use it for a long, long, loooooong time. Until I buy my next Coach purse, of course. Haha!

We left Tangers, stopped at Krispy Kreme for some amazing donuts, then headed to the condo for the night. We made sandwiches and nachos and played games and watched TV!

The next morning we got everything packed and ready to go. We went to Silver Dollar City, but didn’t really have a great experience. Long story short, we stood in several long lines to either get stuck on a coaster (seriously) for 20 minutes or to be turned away just a few people away from riding the ride. The last three hours at SDC we were pretty much standing in line and didn’t ride ANYTHING. It was very disappointing because that was time that we could have been spent on the road driving home instead of wasting it there. It was a LONG drive home too, because we stopped FOUR TIMES to do various things. I was SO glad to finally pull in to our driveway around 9 that night.

I think that pretty much sums up our trip! It was a nice break and with the exception of the frustrating time at SDC on Sunday and the unexpected errand that Stephen had to do for his job, we had a really good time. Now that Spring Break is officially over, I’ve started the Countdown to FINALS – 6 weeks from Thursday will be my last day of the semester and I CAN NOT WAIT!

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Car Shopping

(Edited to add: In case anyone was wondering, we are car shopping for the hubby – not myself!  We just bought my 2008 G6 last April, so I don’t need a new car. Stephen’s 1995 Isuzu Trooper is just not ideal for him anymore, especially with his new job! He is doing a lot more driving now than he used to and we are needing something a little more reliable!)

On Saturday, Stevo and I went car shopping. Um, hello. Can you say exhausting? I was (naively) expecting to just tell the salespeople that we were wanting to test drive Car A and Car B and then be on our merry little way.

But noooooo. Goodness gracious. Car salesmen want you to test drive every other car on the lot! And they ride with you, talking non-stop about why the cars on THEIR LOT are the best and why you don’t want to buy from the lot across the road, trash-talking their competitors. Then when you tell them that you’re ONLY TEST-DRIVING AND NOT BUYING TODAY they drag you into their office to “work the numbers” to try to “get you into that car today.”  Puh-lease.

I’m not a fan of being pressured into spending that much money, especially in just a few hours. We burst a lot of salesmen bubbles on Saturday.  But, we did test drive 8 different vehicles. Before we left, I made out a Ratings Sheet that we took with us. (Nerdy, I know, but it really helped!)  It included areas such as Comfort for Driver/Passenger/Back seat, Gas Mileage, Handling, Price, etc.  We rated each car after we drove it and at the end of the day we totaled up the numbers then put everything in order. It came in really handy!  Here are our top four picks.

elentra

The Hyundai Elantra came in at the top of the list. It scored an impressive 72/80.  The biggest downfall to this car was the price.  I think the salesman quoted us too high though, because we looked it up after we got home we’re thinking it should be about $2000 less than the price he gave us.  It was very comfortable, had plenty of room for Christopher’s carseat plus one for a baby brother or sister in a few years, GREAT gas mileage (40+ highway) and we like the way it handled and the way it looks.

escape

Coming in at number two on the list (67/80) was the Ford Escape. I. Love. Escapes.  I would be insanely jealous of Stephen if we bought this car for him.  We both loved the comfort, extra room, and appearance. The gas mileage is good for an SUV but it’s not good compared to the Elantra.  Also, it’s on the VERY UPPER END of our budget. The only way we could afford something like this is if we were to get it for a great price and a LOW APR.

fiesta

There was a tie for third place (65/80) between the Ford Fiesta (above) and the Kia Sportage (below.)

sportage

The great thing about the Fiesta is the sticker price.  Less than $15,000 for a brand new car?  Yes, please!  it also has awesome gas mileage (40+, like the Elantra.)  The biggest drawback was the size – it’s comfortable enough for me and Stephen driving to school, but not big enough for our family in a few years.

The Sportage was the very first vehicle that we test drove and we LOVED it. It’s more of a crossover instead of an SUV like the Escape. It was very smooth, very comfortable, had plenty of room (although it is a bit smaller than the Escape) and had really good gas mileage for a crossover - average of 31 highway.  It’s a few thousand less than the Escape, so that’s a positive, as well.

Another thing we have to consider is the fact that the Hyundai and the Kia both have 5-year Bumper-to-Bumper and 10-year Limited Warranties, whereas the Fords have 3-year Bumper-to-Bumper and 5-year Limited Warranties.  When we consider the fact that our loan could very well be a 5-year loan, we would definitely prefer the better warranty.

There are lots of other factors that we have to consider. We don’t feel like there’s any one vehicle that is standing out above the others. It’s a really tough decision! We like different things about all four of these vehicles. One minute we’ll think that the Fiesta is the way to go because of the price and mileage, but the next minute we’re thinking that the Sportage is the way to go because of the room and warranty.

If you have any advice or opinions about any of these cars (or just about buying a car in general!) I would love to hear it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Branson, Part One!

So, I’m back on the blogging bandwagon (but don’t be surprised if I fall off again next week.)

I feel like I have so much to catch up on, but I have no idea where to start! 

The most exciting thing I have to blog about is our Spring Break vacation that we took last weekend.  On Thursday evening, we headed to Branson (“we” being Stephen, my mother-in-law, Christopher, and myself!) to the condos that we have this year!  We arrived late Thursday night. (When possible, we do our long drives at night, so that Christopher can sleep.  He’s still not a huge fan of his carseat for long periods of time.) We went to bed at 1:30 in the morning but I think the last time I looked at the clock before falling asleep it was 3am!

Christopher woke up around 9 and we had our breakfast and then started getting ready to head to Silver Dollar City for the day!  My parents also happened to be in Branson (no, we did not plan on being there at the same time —my parents had originally planned to go skiing in New Mexico, but the weather wasn’t good for skiing so they ended up going to Branson) so we all met up together at SDC. Christopher was SO surprised to see his Granny and Pawpaw there. The look on his face when he saw my mom was hilarious!

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This is Stephen and Christopher when we first got there and were waiting on Nana to buy herself a ticket. You can tell Christopher looks thrilled. Haha! (He was already getting tired – he didn’t get his normal amount of sleep the night before.)
ALSO – please ignore that dirty old shirt that my hubby is wearing. ;) I’m trying to convert him, I swear!

We headed to the “little kid” section of the park. There were only a few rides that Christopher was tall enough to ride. The grandmas went on the rides with him. He LOVED them!

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This was the first ride he rode – he was SO excited to finally get in a caterpillar after standing in line for 10 minutes. His face here cracks me up – just sitting in it made him so happy
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Waiting for the ride to start…

Then going ‘round and ‘round and up and down!
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The next ride he rode was the jumping frogs ride.  This one basically did the same thing as the caterpillars, except the frogs went up and down on their own, kind of “jumping” around.  The caterpillar had a button you could push to take you up. 03 18 11_209803 18 11_210103 18 11_2119   03 18 11_2115 03 18 11_2117 03 18 11_2118

We also rode the “shootout” ride (I don’t know the names of all the rides.) It is basically a boat that you ride around in and you have a gun that you can shoot at targets and see who gets the most targets. It’s not a “kiddy” ride, but Christopher seemed to enjoy it.  Then we rode the steam train. At this point we’d been at the park for a few hours and C was really needing lunch and a nap. The train takes about 20 minutes to ride and he cried a little on it just because he was sleepy/cranky/hungry.  I asked a nice guy in front of us to take our picture. It turned out really good except that Christopher wasn’t looking at the camera. However, it’s the only picture I have of all of us and I really like it.03 18 11_2153 

The plan after the train ride was for us to eat lunch at the park then for my parents to take Christopher so that Deanna, Stephen and I could ride some adult rides and so that C could take a nap. (My parents had been at SDC the day before so that were good with leaving after C had ridden all the kiddy rides.) It ended up not working out because of a work favor/thing Stephen had to do, so we ended up just leaving the park early and taking care of Stephen’s errand. Christopher took a much-needed nap in the car while we did that, then we went to The Landing to do a little shopping and had dinner at Cantina Laredo. Their beef fajita meat is to die for. Beef fajita quesadillas = happy tummy.  They also have a very yummy (although expensive) Guac Appetizer that they make fresh right there at your table. Yum.O.

cantinalaredo

We ended the night we some ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery at the Landing (which is not that good compared to Stone Cold Creamery) and headed back to the condo for the night.  I think we went to bed around midnight, but I woke up with gallbladder pains at 4 in the morning and was up till 7:30 dealing with that. (That was my third “attack” in a week. More about that in a separate post!) C woke up at 7 and Stephen took over duty with him 30 minutes later so that I could try to get an extra hour of sleep in – but I ended up sleeping till 11:00. I couldn’t believe that I slept that long, but I felt much better. My parents met up with us and took Christopher home that afternoon so that we could do some outlet mall shopping (a separate post!) and then return to SDC on Sunday morning to ride a few coasters. (Also a separate post.)  All in all it was a great little vacation and I look forward to doing it again very soon!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

i heart sunny saturdays

First of all – HELLO, Spring!

Can you say GORGEOUS? Cause that’s what the weather was today!  We spent the morning inside but headed over to my parents house for lunch to grill hot dogs and hamburgers with them and my brother & Britney. We didn’t eat outside, but we could have.  Hello, sunshine. I love you.  After we finished eating, we spent some time outside. Christopher LOVES to ride the four-wheeler.

My mom has several pretty gardens and since I suddenly found a love for gardening last year, I decided to steal a few of her plants. She divided up some Hostas for me and I also stole a few Daylilies that weren’t getting enough sun where they were at. I’m excited to plant them at my house!

After we left my parents house, we went over to my mother-in-law’s house. We were there for several hours and spent the whole time outside.  She and I are going to do some landscaping to her backyard and I even got a head start this afternoon by cleaning out some weed-filled flower beds! Tomorrow, she and I are going to buy some dirt and flowers so that we can start working on it. I’m going to do some work over there tomorrow, but most of the major work will be done on my Spring Break… which is a less than a week away! Can I get a Hallelujah!?!

I’ll take some before and after shots of all that we do in her backyard! I’m so excited about it because it’s kind of like a blank canvas that I’m getting to work on. My yard is really small and my front yard is almost all shaded, so there’s not much that I can plant. Even though I’ve become obsessed with gardening, I haven’t been able to actually do much. Not the case with her back yard though, and I’m excited to get some dirt under my fingernails and make it pretty!

Moving on to the next piece of business – Spring Break. It starts Thursday at exactly 2:45 when I get out of my Instructional Technology class!  Stephen and I are driving home from class, then throwing a few last-minute items in our suitcases and heading to Branson! It’s the three of us plus my MIL. We’re staying Thursday through Sunday and I’m really excited about it. We’ll be going to Silver Dollar City and doing some shopping and stuffing our faces eating at Catina Laredo. It will be nice to get away and have fun at SDC, plus Christopher needs a few more 18-month Spring clothing items and I love the great deals at the Outlet malls there.

I hope everybody is having a great weekend and enjoying the gorgeous weather!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I walked into my room a few weeks ago to find this and just HAD to run and find my camera so I could snap a few shots.

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PRECIOUS.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

update via phone pics!

I’m blogging from my laptop tonight while sitting on the couch and catching up on DVRd shows.  I don’t keep my pictures on the laptop; I keep them on the desktop because that’s the computer that our Photoshop program is on.

I wanted to blog but don’t really have much to say and I prefer to blog with pictures, so I decided to download Windows Live Writer to the laptop and email myself a bunch of pictures from my phone to myself so that I could then download them to the computer and blog about them.

That’s just how lazy I am I roll.

cutie
I love this little boy and his sweet, sweet smile.

makeup 
Playing with my make-up brush. :)

backpack
His Nana bought him this precious backpack while she was in New Zealand. I think it is so so cute and he looks SO big wearing it!

jonquils3
jonquils1jonquils2
I dug up a TON of jonquils from my yard. This is our 3rd Spring here and these jonquils have always come up but they never bloom, and it looked kind of strange with all these random tall green things in my yard. So, I decided to dig them up.  These pictures are just from ONE afternoon. (I think I spent about an hour pulling these up.) This was probably about 75% of them.  I gave these to my mom.  A few days later I dug up the rest of them and gave those to my mother-in-law!

I also had a cute boy help me dig up all those jonquils. ;)
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He is SUCH a good little helper.

gardenflag
I got a garden flag last summer and I just love it! I love changing it out with all the seasons and holidays. I found this flag back before Christmas and snatched it up. I’ve discovered that it’s hard to find “O” monogrammed items like this.

spades
Almost every weekend, Stephen and I play Spades with my parents.
This was one of my
really good hands from last weekend. I think I bid 7 on this hand? We LOVE playing cards!

mavs
Christopher got this Mavs jersey from his Aunt Cristin & Uncle Jim last year for Easter and Stephen has been dying to put it on him ever since then!  He is finally big enough for it and with the nicer weather we’ve been having (or at least had for a week or two there!) we finally pulled it out! I think C-Monster is just adorable in it!

cars2
I logged onto the computer at school today and this was the first thing that I saw when I opened the internet. I know – I’m 25 years old – but Cars is one of my favorite movies and I am really excited about Cars 2! I took this picture and texted it to Stephen along with the text “YAAAAAAAY!!!!”  Haha.

bradfordpear_hip
Annnnd, last but not least, I finally downloaded the Hipstamatic App.  It’s pretty neat!  I took this picture of a Bradford Pear blossom that I stole from a tree at school.  I love Bradford Pear trees – they are so pretty and symbolize the end of winter/beginning of spring for me. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sweet boy (wearing his favorite camouflage rain boots) and the ridiculously large mess he can make in his room.  :)

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Valentine’s Day

I know I’m blogging about Valentine’s Day two weeks late, but at least I’m blogging! (I promised yesterday I would. I’m not gonna lie, though, it was hard for me to drag my butt off the couch from watching Who’s the Boss re-runs.)

Stephen had to work on V-Day and I had homework, so Christopher and I spent the morning together then he went to my mom’s while I started working on homework. Stephen stopped by in the middle of the day and surprised me with roses and cupcakes, even though we are SUPPOSED to be on a diet.  Cupcakes are one of my favorite treats and Stephen has a “tradition” of getting me cupcakes on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day every year.  He said he couldn’t not get me cupcakes just because I was supposed to be dieting! 

I told him I would eat one or two and then send him back to work with the rest of them so that they wouldn’t be a temptation for me. (Fun Fact about Steph: I like to put cupcakes in the fridge [they are SO yummy cold] then eat 3 for breakfast. Just keepin it real.)

SO, anyway, I ate one and pulled one out to set aside on the dining table for the next day (or after Christopher went to bed. Same difference.) That evening, when I put Christopher in his high chair, he noticed it (the boy can spot a sweet treat from 20 feet away) and pointed at it, but I really didn’t think anything of it.  After he finished his dinner I took him out of his high chair and started cleaning the kitchen.  I realized after a few minutes that things were very quiet….(which moms of toddlers know is a bad sign.)

When I looked up, this is what I saw:

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It was all over his face, hands, pants, and floor.  Apparently when he got it all over his hands, he thought it’d be fun to rub it into the floor…?  Not sure. Anyway – I took that as my cue NOT to eat a 2nd cupcake and it got thrown away. Right after Christopher {and the floor} got a good scrubbin, that is. :)

EDITED TO ADD: After I wrote this and posted it, I was re-reading it and noticed for the first time that Christopher’s shirt says “Dad’s Mischief Maker.”  How appropriate.  ;)