Updates

I finally managed to put my hair fire out.  With no lasting damage. I think it looks fine.  If it doesn’t look fine, please don’t tell me, just let me wander about the earth with singed hair, for the sake of my sanity please and thank you.

A few updates from our clan:

1. Mom’s home.  

She was released on Tuesday into our loving care.  Everyone (especially Ike) is ecstatic to have her back.

2. Ivanal is now officially a “high schooler”.  

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She started 9th grade last week at a brand new school to accompany our brand new house.

I think she may have been a tad nervous, but she has since overcome it.  Her proudest achievement thus far?  Friends with upperclassmen.

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3. Ike went back to school.  

Walked into class “like a boss”; that’s words from his teacher.  He’s kind of one of the older kids in his class now.  When did that happen?

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His class notes have typically said that he enjoys helping his friends clear away their place setting at lunch and put away their toys.  This is completely not evident at home.

4. Gabby has moved into the dorms.  

A nerve-wracked weekend and a total of 5 trips to 5 different Targets and she is safely settled into her room.

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I never lived in the dorms at Auburn, but I visited a few.  Hers are much nicer than any dorm I’ve ever seen.  It’s almost nicer than the apartment I lived in my freshman year.

5. We are fixing the basement.  

We have chosen a company to solve the water intrusion issues and they have already come to install a mold mediation device to make it safe for us to hang out down there.  Ike generally hangs on the door to the basement and begs to “come” downstairs.  My dad was in town last weekend and we spend some time down there in the basement family room.  Naturally, Ike tried his best to get back upstairs the whole time.

6. We sold our house!

We now are the proud owners of only one home!  We inched dangerously close to have dual mortgages but we slipped the closing in 3 days before late fees would be assessed. The closing took an epic 3 hours and landed me in rush hour traffic but we got it done.

Valentine’s Day 2015

Happy Half Off Chocolate Day!  Just kidding, that would be the old cynical me talking.  Yesterday was the big, hearty, red holiday that I used to hate, never missing an opportunity to make a snide comment about the Hallmark Holiday’s origin.

How’d I celebrate this year?  With my kids and my husband doing all things pink, red, and heart shaped.  Naturally.  What?  Who hates Valentine’s Day?  No one, especially not me.

It started with breakfast.  Pink, heart shaped, chocolate chip pancakes.  Did I cover everything cliche in that sentance?  I think so.  Adorable right?

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Pancakes are more or less a staple in my house on the weekends.  These were made with Pomegranate juice and pureed strawberries in lieu of red food coloring to keep them “Ike friendly”.  I just used the combo of fruit juices in place of the water in the “just add water” pancake mix.  And sprinkled in chocolate chips while they cooked on the first side.

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Then there were these gems that I saw on Turn it up Tuesday by Fry Sauce and Grits.

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I made them for the girls.  Ike is still a little small for that amount of sugar (he got enough from the pancakes) so he settled for a balloon.  That he has been dragging around the house since yesterday morning.

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Then we went for an ever so romantic trip to Ikea to buy Ike a kid-sized table and chair.

Later that evening, Isaac and I went to the Melting Pot for dinner, just the two of us.  The cheese and chocolate fondues were both amazing.  I can’t wait to go back.  Then we made a reservation at the ‘lazy boy’ movies (AMC Phipps) for 10:15. I fell asleep at about 8.  So, in conclusion, I totally won Valentine’s Day, but I was much too exhausted to enjoy it.

Runaway Bay

My husband requested that we celebrate his birthday with a family vacation this year.  His birthday is January 15th, so it usually falls near the MLK holiday.   This lends pretty well to quick getaways.

There is a resort that was recommended to me through a mother’s group recently, and it has been on my mind since hearing it several months back.  The resort is called Franklyn D Resorts and it is located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.  We booked it about a week out and I was weary when they told me that I had to pay the full stay up front without any cancellation (no cancellation is generally no good for a nonrev traveller).  I booked it anyway and there ended up being somewhat of a comedy of errors in getting there and back.   But we all made it, both ways.

Back to the resort.  It was better than I could have imagined.  Is it new? Modern? Luxurious? No.  What it is, is homey, cozy, welcoming, and perfectly comfortable.  It’s not huge, but it’s also not cramped.

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We had a two bedroom suite which gave us an enormous amount of space to spread out.   All the rooms have a beautiful balcony to enjoy ocean noises and gorgeous sunsets.

There were three restaurants, all of which are open air, and also one grill near the pool that served food in between the main three meals.  There’s one bar, but there was never a long wait.   The food was delicious.  Nothing super fancy, but everything traditionally Jamaican.  Jerk Chicken, Patties, Broiled Oxtail, fried plantains, fresh caught fish, OMG!  The restaurants weren’t huge, but they were attended very well.  There was a hostess to greet us at each, even the poolside grill, there was a person to get us drinks from the bar, and there were waiters and bussers to keep everything moving.

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The beach was beautiful.  A bit small, but sunny, calm, and clear.  They had towels and chairs that we could use as well as snorkeling gear (I passed because EW fish!) and some nonmotorized water activities.

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But the best, most spectacular part of this tiny little slice of Jamaican heaven?  The Vacation Nanny.  Um yes, that is a real thing!  A VACATION NANNY! A person who let’s you (the parent) enjoy the vacation.  It’s amazing.  Every resort everywhere should do this!  No they shouldn’t.  Because I love FDR and I want to go there every year.

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Our vacation nanny was Shavalenne, which I am sure I have mangled both in spelling and pronunciation.  But she was great, superb,  the best thing ever.  Ike just loved her, he lit up when she arrived in the morning.  She let him pretty much lead, and she followed and did whatever tickled his fancy.  But she was also firm and made sure that he didn’t get himself hurt; no eating peoples shoes, or launching himself into the pool, etc.

I’m not sure if we can give this credit to Shavalenne, but since we got to Jamaica Ike’s been a champion eater.  He’s a big eater, generally, sometimes, like when he feels like it, no more than once or twice a week.  But we’ve been home for a week now and he’s eating me out of house and home!  Whenever he felt like it, he and the nanny would belly up to the grill and get a bite to eat.  This was in addition to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner that we at with Ike.   I probably just jinxed the whole thing and Ike will refuse to even sit in his highchair tomorrow.

We went, we ate, we lounged on the beach, we enjoyed each other’s company.  We did Jamaica and we loved it.  I cannot wait to go back.  FDR is going to become a regular destination for us.

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32

Jay-Z was completely right, 30 is the new 20.  All throughout my 20s I worried incessantly over turning 30, this mythical milestone seemed to be the apex and it was all downhill from there.  But 2 years in, I have to say, 30s are where it’s at!

In my 30s I have:

  1. Gotten Married.
  2. Birthed a perfect  baby boy.
  3. Gained an incredible step-daughter.
  4. Bought a brand new car, all by myself!
  5. Settled into a career (not a job) that I hope will carry me through retirement.
  6. Developed a very deep love and affection for a good bottle of wine.
  7. Lost all inclination to drink cheap beer, or beer at all for that matter.
  8. Been the happiest I have ever been.

This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, my husband helped me celebrate it all weekend.

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I love him.

He started with beautiful flowers and chocolate on Friday, and a balloon that said still perfect after 30 years (because we can still round down even though the 30s are awesome).

Then on Saturday, Gabby came home from Indiana and while at brunch with some friends Ike stuffed some JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE concert tickets into his pockets.  On the floor, in the middle, amongst the totally amazing lights, sound, and all of the Justin-ness I can handle.

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Our seats were GREAT!!!

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Then Justin picked up his stage.

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And they got EVEN BETTER!!!

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Look he’s totally talking to me right here.

Sunday, my actual birthday, we went to breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Thumbs Up. I even splurged and got the crazy huge hot chocolate coffee with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.  I was then much too full to eat my breakfast.

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My sister and her friend came over in the afternoon and we baked Christmas cookies.

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This is one of my fondest memories of my birthday growing up.  My mother would make a ton of cookie dough and all my cousins would come over and we would make a grand mess in the kitchen cutting, baking, and decorating sugar cookies.  We did the same thing to my house, and it was splendid.

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After the cookies, the kids opened one of their Christmas gifts.  It was matching pajamas, because I am officially that mom.  But they looked adorable and I want them to alway match now because it melts my heart all the way down!

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Thirties have been wonderfully full of blessings so far, so much so that I am looking forward to what else they might have in store.  And maybe even beyond, is it possible to get better?  Is 40 the new 18?  I hope that time will tell.

 

Where the Wild Things are Party

Ike’s first birthday party was themed after the Maurice Sendak book “Where the Wild Things Are“.  Isaac and I were both fans of this book as children, and the character Max in the book suits Ike just perfectly.  Don’t you?

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Gabby and I had a little photo shoot with the wild thing a few weeks before the party.  We took some of his best shots and added a 4×6 photo to the favor bags.

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Planning the party was somewhat bittersweet. It was fun to plan all the details of such a fun theme, but it did force me to face the reality that my baby was growing up.

A lot of the details for the party were handmade, courtesy of Pinterest.  Follow insearchofthe25thhour on pinterest for the full details.   But here are some of my favorites.

The favor bags.  These are cotton muslin bags that I used an iron-on shirt transfer to put the image from the book’s cover on.

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Inside the bag is a small bottle of bubbles, rock-shaped chocolate candy, and a photo of Ike in his Max costume.

Book Art.  I used dollar store frames and printed images from the books to display notes about the party scapes.

The ones I used read:

Now Stop! Be Still! Please Take a Moment to Sign Ike’s Book

Oh Please Don’t Go!  We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So

Then All Around From Away Across the World He Smelled Good Things to Eat

The paper tree forest.  Gabby helped out with this one A LOT.  Hanging paper balls from the ceiling and green streamer “vines” from the cabinets.  Gigi and I puffed the balls and opened the fans.

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All of these decorating items were purchased from a party supply store except the leaves, which were cut from construction paper.

Fruit Boats.  These were construction paper sails, little food trays, and kebab skewers.  They were filled with red and yellow fruits, we used watermelon, red grapes, strawberries, and some pineapple.

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Crown sandwiches.  These may be my favorites.  I used this cookie cutter to make the shapes and filled the sandwiches with chicken salad.

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Some of the other tasty treats from the party included:

  • A Cheese Ball
  • Pasta Salad
  • Mexican Rice (Ike’s fav)
  • Fried Chicken
  • Green “Monster” Punch
  • Crown Frosted Rice Krispie Treats (thank you Dori!)
  • And CAKE of course there was CAKE!

The cakes were purchased in Indiana at a local bakery.  The smash cake was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.  It got Ike super messy though with all the black icing.  I loved it!

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T
he full sized cake.

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Ike’s smash cake.  And his “I am one!” banner, purchased on etsy.

In place of a traditional guest book, we asked Ike’s guests to sign a copy of “Where the Wild Things Are” for him to keep as a memory of his first birthday.  The little messages turned out really cute and I am glad he will have this memento.

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Gigi found the two little boats to use as decoration during the party.

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Gigi also had this fathead made, of my fatheaded baby.  I love it!  We took it home.  I think Ike would like to display it in his room when he is a teenager.  We used this as a photo drop for the guests.

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The wild rumpus sign over the highchair was also purchased from etsy. 

I had a “decorate your own crown” activity using paper crowns and colored pencils.  I found some pencils that were shaped like tree limbs at World Market.

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We used an existing mirror to display Ike’s monthly photos.  It made me a little teary-eyed to see my baby growing up before my eyes.

Finally, the guest of honor.  I knew that the max costume would be a bit much for an endless family party, so I bought him this simple onesie that declared him “King of all the Wild Things”.  Also purchased on etsy.

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There you have it.  Ike’s birthday party looking picture perfect to be archived forever and ever as the day that mommy was amazing.   Ha! Thank you to everyone who kept me sane and helped out with this.  I will have to post some of the actual party happenings in a separate post.

The post has been linked at

Oh to be young again

Isaac and I both attended SHPE’s national conference last week in lovely (rainy, cold, and cloudy) Detroit.  There is a lack of photos in this post, because most of the time we were both in work-branded attire.  We (my work) recruit there annually and are a major sponsor to the organization.   The candidates we get interest from at the conference are always stand outs and they are from schools across the US all in one place.  SHPE’s mission is very simple, but powerful as well.

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.  credit.

The students I have talked to at this conference have often accomplished more by their Junior year of college than I have, or even hope to have, in my entire professional career.  They hold multiple certifications, they are entrepreneurs, and many have overcome obstacles to make them first generation college students.    I look forward to this and, the counter part in the spring, NSBE every year.  It is most refreshing to escape the cynical working world of corporate america (as wonderfully shining and happy-family-oriented as my company may be) to get a new rose-colored perspective from young students.

Plus, being around so much youthful energy makes me feel young again.  Or rather, tricks me into thinking I am actually young again.  I am not.  I have to relearn this the hard way every year.  This year, on Thursday, we stayed out hanging around the hotel bar until, oh I don’t know, 12:30am or so.  Yeah it’s now um, Tuesday, I think I’ve almost recovered.   Maybe one more day, or week, whatever, I’m an idiot.

Note to self for next year: YOU ARE NO LONGER 20, YOU HAVEN’T BEEN FOR SOME TIME NOW, YOU NEED ALL OF THE SLEEP TO FUNCTION AS A “FAR-CRY-FROM-RESPONSIBLE” ADULT!

We  brought Ike and Gabby met us there a little later as well.  And grandma Gigi took two days off to come and help with the little monster while Isaac and my’s schedules overlapped Thursday and Friday.  Ike grandmasareawesome please don’t ever forget that.

Gabby has been trying to decide between a Marketing major and an Electrical Engineering major for some time now.  SHPE is one of the country’s largest engineering societies geared mainly towards collegiate students.   It attracts numerous fortune 500 companies to their gigantic career fair, and those companies often host workshops to help college students with everything from resume writing to helping find their professional calling.   Gabby attended two workshops and the career fair.  The career fair can be quite daunting at first, and she was shy about talking to recruiters.  But there was one place that seemed to spark her interest towards the end of the day.  Also, the free giveaways always help to break the ice.  There was a certain cosmetics corporation in attendance that was a particular hit.

Isaac lead a workshop for our company on the basic principals of Project Management.  He did awesome and all the students raved about him and our business.  We both conducted coop student interviews during the conference.  Isaac made an offer on the spot.  I interviewed two phenomenal students for two other departments, I found zero candidates for my own department.  Ugh.  Electrical engineers are so weird man.  Sorry husband (and daughter), but Aerospace nerds are way more sociable.  Generally speaking of course.

I mentioned we brought Ike.  It seemed like a good idea in theory.  We could work opposite schedules, and I didn’t have to wig out about milk and bed times and general baby safety/happiness.  Perfect.  Except, not at all!  He was a complete brat the whole trip.  Screaming on planes.  Screaming at dinners.  Screaming in hotel rooms.  Screaming in carriers at career fairs.  You get the picture.  We went out to dinner with all of the recruiters one night, and he was passed back and forth between me, Isaac and Gabby until dinner came, mostly to keep him from crawling down the stairs (why are their three flights of stairs in a restaurant in the first place?).  Then, once dinner came, he proceeded to gobble up all of the meat and throw every single green pea on the floor.

Oh and he discovered how to do this as well.

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Now every time the bathroom door opens there is a thundering sound of knees and palms hitting the floor in fury to try to get to the toilet paper.

But it wasn’t all bad.  Ike did take his sister and I out to dinner Saturday night.

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P.S. Happy Veterans day to all the Vets out there, namely; Mom, Dad, and Uncle Johnny.  Thank you all for all you do (or will do or have done).  We take for granted the luxury of living in a country that is safe.  We take for granted our freedom to go out and do things like VOTE and not fear being harmed for expressing our voice.  It takes a bravery that I cannot fathom to put your own person in harm’s way for the good of complete strangers, but I am so grateful that you do it.  So go hug a Vet before the day is done.

Gosh Darned Sunday Drivers!

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heck both ways before entering a busy street.

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oh the baby store is having a sale.

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-Turn

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hat’s that guy so mad about, I used my signal.

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aha 75% off sippy cups!

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That was fun, oh hmm, where were we going again?

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o you remember?

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M
e neither, let’s go to the playground.

 

Clearly we have had a fun filled weekend.  Nothing big to write about.  I kind of love it, it’s been very relaxing, not having 50-thousand things going on at once.  We’ve had time to go to Music Class, and take walks, and cook banana pancakes for breakfast.

Oh one exciting thing did happen this weekend…Someone met Rihanna yesterday, and has been talking about it for days.  And days.  Rihanna said she was beautiful.  Which of course she should have already known by now.   Apparently it’s a big deal coming from someone outside of the family.  That is also famous.  And beautiful herself.

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