A bunch of nothing.

And isn't that what Summer is all about?

I work when I can. Kids play around the house. Play out front on scooters and bikes. play out back and scream hysterically about bees. Come back in. Rinse, repeat.

This weekend we went to see WALL-E. I personally loved it and the kids did as well. I've heard parents complaining it was a 'mostly silent' movie. Hmmm, I think those parents are weird. ;-)

Last night I skipped Tommy's Zyrtec dose. (By they way, if you use Zyrtec there are good coupons on that link!!) My logic was 'well, let's see if he really will get hives again that fast. It's been a while since we missed a dose by accident.'

Well, I guess it's good to know that the meds are indeed working as they should. This morning he came to me with about 5 hives that were getting really big really really fast. But a simple does of Zyrtec from the emergency bag and they were gone in less than 45 minutes.

We already have his yearly appointment set for Wednesday with the allergist. So, Tim and I have decided it's time to go ahead and see what the other allergy tests will show. I have little faith in them. (Isn't that awful?) And I totally expect some false positives. But we'll cross that bridge when the results arrive. Doc did mention trying a possible mast cell stabilizer such as Cromolyn. We actually had TJ on Cromolyn at one point. We'll have to see where things are... Zyrtec seems to work just fine. So, maybe we'll just buy stock in them and call it done.

I think in my heart we'll never know the cause of these darn hives. But we are darn lucky they are easily controlled and not worse. So, that's where we stand on hives.

Don't we lead the most interesting life ever?

Not.

But I like it that way, so it's good!

This is a super easy, super tasty recipe for pulled pork. Takse a long time but it is really worth it. Enjoy.

Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)

1 day | 30 min prep

SERVES 10

* 4 lbs pork roast (shoulder or butt)
* 2 large onions
* 1 cup ginger ale
* 1 (18 ounce) bottle favorite barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
* barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)

1. Slice one onion and place in crock pot.

2. Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.

3. Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away.

4. Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW.

5. Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.

6. TIP: freeze ready-made sandwiches - a scoop of meat on a bun, well-wrapped. These make a great quick meal or snack. To reheat, remove wrapping, wrap in a paper towel, and zap 1-2 minute in the microwave.

7. Note: Shoulder or butt are recommended because the meat shreds very well. Other cuts do not shred as readily. It is a fattier cut, but the fat melts away in the cooking and is poured away when you discard the liquid.

8. Note 2: I have an older, smaller crock pot. The above times work perfectly for me. But if you have a newer or bigger crock pot, you may need to revise times downward, esp. after the bbq sauce is added. I think you need at least a couple of hours for it all to meld, but that may be all you need.

Why now?! Simple. Apparently I want to make it a yearly tradition that Glory escapes for a few hours each Summer. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Yeh, I left the gate not secured and had not put her collar back on her from boarding. And she got out. Sigh. Luckily, a bit of driving around found a woman, who knew the mom that had the boys that had found Glory. And she was home quickly. What sweet boys to spend time taking care of her like that!

Tori is now registered for Middle School. Wow, life changes at this point. Gym uniforms, band fees. Thanks to nightmares like the Columbine High School massacre the children are not allowed backpacks. They may carry open (may not zip) topped tote bags to and from school. That is it. So, I'm getting Tori a tote bag from LLBean since my is taking a beating and staying in really good condition.

Since school starts in early August I've started that dreaded back to school shopping already so it won't be so painful in August.

Found these yesterday for Tori at Gap Kids.



I'll still need to find her some longer 'pedal pushers' and then new shirts. Oy.

TJ finally is big enough to fit into one pair of shorts we bought over 2 years ago. And he scored some new uniform shirts in Texas. (Thanks Nana!) And luckily, Tommy can wear all of TJ's hand me downs. Phew!!

Gotta love that uniform shopping. Oh, someone recently asked me if we hated uniforms for public school. Heck NO!!!!!!!! We love it. Truly is tons less stress for me. Of course there is still the 'I want x brand of shoes!' but for the most part it's a non issue. Tori can request sock styles and express if she'd prefer jumpers to skorts to shorts or capris. I have to laugh. I was informed last year that she was 'waaaaaay too old for a jumper.' Ha! The things you learn....

Anyways, yes, we like uniforms. They rock. The kids can wear white or navy shirts with a collar, and khaki or navy bottoms. Solid colored coats (black, blue or white). White socks, and anything goes in shoes. I like it.

:-)

And that is my babble for the day. Have a good one!

We are back.

What a long, long trip it was out to Texas this year!

Our trip to Austin was a bit...long, shall we say? Interstate closures (TWO of them in Houston) along with a 'hey let's just make the interstate a parking lot for no reason for 40 minutes?' made it a bit of a headache. But it was all worth it. We had a wonderful time with Becca, Rick, Zander... and the newest members of the family: Zoe and Zack!!





And I just want to tell super momma, Becca, that she ROCKS. Nursing twins. I bow to her dedication. Great job, Momma! The babes are looking SO great! Not that I am biased or anything. ;-)

For Father's Day we ventured out to Tim's favorite BBQ joint, The Salt Lick. Yummmy! And we even got in the new air conditioned hall. You have GOT to love that.

The Dads...





Then we headed on down to Nana & Lalo's for a fun filled week. Monday we hit Mercado's. (OMG only the best Tex Mex EVER!) after we saw 'Kung Foo Panda.'

Then Tuesday started GOLF CAMP! All three kids were in it this year. They loved it!

















Tori was a bit of a tween... okay a LOT of a tween-aged pain in the a$$ near the end. But we all survived. Friday we used the super cool fire pit.





We loaded up Saturday. Stopped at Bodacious BBQ to pick up some sauce for Uncle Don.



I snoozed off somewhere outside of Bossier City (okay, I snooze off a lot on car trips it's true!) but Tim woke me for this interesting bit.



Yeh... pretty funny, eh?

And thus ends another Summer visit to Texas. We had a blast. Thanks for having us everyone. See you next year!

Just an update

Just a typical busy Summer.

Tim is working too hard.

Tori is having tons of fun with K. They had bowling the other night (Tim went along as a chaperon with our Youth Group) and had a blast. Then they went out to Adventure Island with K's Church. They did bumper boats, mini golf, go karts, and laser tag. Oh yeh, they had a blast. Today they 'helped' K's mom up at the school by running around the campus in the dark and generally being silly.

The boys have been mostly stuck and home with me as I work. But they have been troopers about it. They are pretty laid back.

We get to meet the new cousins Saturday in Austin. Can't wait to get some baby snuggles in. And then Sunday we'll be at the lake for the week. The kids are all doing golf camp this year. Sweet. Quiet time for me to get some work in so I can play with everyone at night. I am liking that!

Tex Mex here we come! ;-)

Volleyball

Who knew? Tori came home one of the last days of fifth grade and declared she wanted to go out for Volleyball. Uh... okay?

Over the years Tori has wanted to try soccer, gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz, softball... and now volleyball. So, we are preparing to learn a whole new lingo yet again. We're already setting up carpooling for the summer clinics and camps. Girls were walking in with knee pads and braces to the High School Gym. And I was feeling a bit lost. But Tori and K (who later announces that volleyball was not for her, she just tried the one clinic for Tori) jumped in and seemed to enjoy it all.

Fingers crossed this is something she'll enjoy.

I took along the camera but didn't get any pictures. The girls let me know what they thought about me taking a picture on their first day learning stuff with the older girls. Geeeeeeeeeeeesh, mom!

No picture needless to say.

TJ had his six month pulmonologist appointment. Doesn't that breathing test look like fun?



The tech remarked, yet again, that it is amazing how well he follows directions doing the test. He has had a BIT of practice. ;-)

His numbers were GREAT. And, despite the steroids, he is still growing well. He's almost to 50 pounds. Woo hoo!

After the 2.5 hours of fun at the appointment we picked up Tori K and her brother and just hung out at the house. I attempted to work <---- insert crazed mommy laughter here. It didn't go so well!

Tori and K washed the dog and the car. (Thanks girls!)



While the boys ran around and were... well... boys.

Later on Tori was 'babysitting' next door for our neighbor. Meaning she's being a mommy's helper with a 4 year old and baby. She enjoys it and earns some cash. Works for me!

And that is our ever so interesting day...

Later!

Michael’s Blueberry Cake
INGREDIENTS:
• 1 yellow cake mix
• 1 package cream cheese, 8 ounces, room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 3 eggs
• 1 can blueberries, drained (15 oz)
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
PREPARATION:
Combine cake mix, cream cheese, oil, and eggs; mix well. Add blueberries and vanilla; stir until well combined. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until done.

LEMON GLAZE
2/3 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and rind. Whisk together until smooth and well blended.
2. Drizzle cake



These are grainy because they are just online proofs, by the way.


I've decided between me and the kids there will never ever be a good family portrait of our five. Tori and I are the WORST about stupid faces in pictures. She may not get her hair color from me, but she get's dumb picture looks from me!

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More to come later...



I am typing this post as I sip an ice cold adult beverage and listen to the waves crash on the beach below. Ahhhhhhhh.

My parents decided it was time we all had a vacation at the beach together. Sounds good to me! So we all checked in Saturday afternoon. The guys all did a stand up job getting the meat grilled for fajitas. Takes four of them you know?



Then we got up at 5:00 a.m. today for our family portraits. I know, I know... what kind of idiot schedules family portraits for 6:00 a.m.? Uh, yeh, that would be me. I really lucked up on the photographer I wanted being able to do our pictures. Our choice was that time to get the morning light on the beach... or not at all.

From the quick peek of the previews on the photographer's camera, I am betting we all love the final product. Thanks everyone for being so great. And thanks for the post photo shoot coffee, Uncle Dan. (Boy, did I need that!)

We had a great day. Tommy looked hard for shells,



but seemed especially proud of this find. Yeh, he's weird.



TJ worked hard on digging a hole. And was quite proud of how deep he got. Hey, whatever floats his boat, right?





And Tori was Tori. What more is there to say?



The swim in the ocean resulted in a quick exit by all. The girls all were stung by these nasty buggers:



In fact the purple 'dangerous marine life' flag is flying now. Everyone is staying out of the water they are so bad. No fun!

Oh well, at least there is a pool to cool off in, right?!





Tim and Uncle Dan had to leave already. Sigh. We miss them very much.

Okay, back to relaxing with the waves.

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