tractor fun

We've been spending a lot of time outside to escape all the paint fumes. Mason's taken a liking to one of our tractors. He loves to climb all over it.

He was very interested in the cows across the road, even though he kept calling them dogs. He just learned to say "woof" when we ask him what a dog says, but it comes out a little more like foow...he makes the 'f' sound first.

Gotta love a boy and his tractor!



A little update on the addition. The drywall is all finished. In a couple days all the taping and texturing will be done. That means it's almost time to paint!! That also means that we have to decide on colors. The last few days have been spent looking at these:
We keep changing our minds, but I guess we better make a decision soon. Good news though, we have already picked out the carpet, wood for the ceiling, and wood for the floors! Some decisions are easier than others.


NYC: the longest day

We arrived in NYC at about 9:30 at night. Our plan to at least act like we knew what we were doing flew right out the window as soon as our plane landed. We had no idea how to get to our hotel. Taxi? Shuttle? Subway? We walked around in circles at the airport trying to figure out how to get outside when a nice man took pity on us and told us to go take a taxi to our hotel. So we walked outside.

Hailing a taxi shouldn't be too bad. I'd seen Phoebe do it on Friends. We found a bunch of them stopped right out front. I casually extended my arm straight out from my hip. Not to eager, but they should be paying attention, right? Nothing happened. We stood and laughed nervously for awhile and kept trying. Then the light changed and they all moved towards us. Apparently we were standing right under a traffic light that had been red. How we did not notice this I'm not sure. I think we were laughing too hard at my hailing skills. Plus, all these taxis were full. The nice man from the airport appeared and pointed down the street where we were supposed to walk. Oh! A huge line of taxies and a place to wait for them. We were off to a good start.

It got better when we got into our taxi and gave the intersection of our hotel. Our driver had no clue where it was (a theme of the trip). How were we supposed to help? We had no clue where it was either. We called the hotel, our driver called some mysterious person and spoke in whispers most of the way, and somehow we got there. We lugged all our stuff up to our room and tackled the next item on our agenda: dinner. We were starving. By now it's about 10:00pm. We made a dozen phone calls to restaurants to try and get directions. Apparently in the "city that never sleeps" the restaurants do, in fact, close. At about 10:00. We decided to just get on the subway and go somewhere and find something. We ended up in Times Square. It was exactly how we pictured New York City: lights, people, movement, crowds, etc. We walked around some and found a deli that was open and grabbed a slice of pizza. Yum! We walked around a little more and then headed back to the hotel. Afterall, we had to get up at 4:45 to get catch the Today Show!

In the morning we navigated our way to Rockefeller Center (grabbing a bagel on the way). Here we are after about 4 hours of sleep! The whole experience was awesome! They had Lee and Crystal from American Idol there and the music was amazing. We were close to the front and when we got home we saw ourselves on TV numerous times. After that we headed to Magnolia Bakery. I wish I could have bottled up the sweet smell that greets you when you walk in. Wow! So many cakes, cupcakes, and cheesecakes. I settled on a key lime cheesecake and Hillary walked out with red velvet cheesecake. We walked around some more. Notice a pattern here? We walked so much! Never have I walked so much on a vacation. Good thing I brought my workout clothes...I never once used them. We got home so late and got up so early, plus I figured with all the walking we did allllllll day that it evened out with all the food we consumed. Speaking of food: lunch. We went to Carnegie Deli. The food was ok, but the cheesecake (yes we ordered another piece! We hadn't eaten our goodies from Magnolia Bakery yet) was divine. They serve you a bowl of pickles after you sit down. Now normally I like pickles. But these....as Hillary put it, they taste sort of like grass. We checked out some old churches, went to a knitting store (Knitty City....we could get lost in all the yarn and patterns in there for hours!), and then ended up in Central Park. After all the walking we wanted to sit for awhile. We were on the East side of the park and walked about halfway across in some crazy, twisted wooded trails. They were beautiful. But we wanted to sit and we couldn't figure out how to get to the open part. Finally we found a spot.
We sat on the grass for awhile and ate our cheesecakes from Magnolia Bakery. What? We had been carrying them around all day and needed to eat them before they melted into a gooey mess. They were delicious.
Next we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the broadway show. We saw Wicked and it was out of this world. The talent of those actors and actresses was amazing. We were so glad that we went. Nothing I have seen even compares to that performance.

After the show we took the subway and walked some more to Wine30 to meet up with Ryan's cousin, Kelly, and her friend Patrick. We totally got lost on the way. We did that a lot too. We would look at the map and figure out where we needed to go and then when we got off the subway we would be all mixed up and start walking in the wrong direction. Like I said, our acting like we knew what we were doing was going very well. Plus it was about 12:30 in the morning and we had been up for almost 24 hours. We made it to Wine30 and had a wonderful time with Kelly and Patrick. I wish I had gotten some pictures with them. Maybe we were too tired to think of it, but bummer! Next time I suppose. I think we made it back to the hotel about 1:45. Needless to say we did not set the alarm clock for the next morning. We needed to catch up on some sleep. We had more walking and sightseeing ahead of us. Stay tuned!


salted peanut cookies

Chocolate chips. And peanuts. Lots and lots of them. After I had creamed the butter and sugar for these babies I realized that it makes 10 dozen. I love cookies, but 10 dozen? The good thing is I'm sending them with Ryan tomorrow. He's going fishing with a couple friends. They will need lots of cookies. I didn't want to disappoint. And these cookies didn't. I've never had a cookie before with peanuts in them, but it works. Especially paired with chocolate chips. Salted Peanut Cookies
from Taste of Home: Cookies and Bars

1 1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. salted peanuts

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. 10 dozen.

Coming soon....NYC pictures!!


one year!

Happy birthday, sweet Mason! We celebrated his birthday a week early while most of our family was in town for my cousin's graduation. We had a wonderful time with friends and family. Mason's actual birthday was yesterday. I returned from New York just in time to celebrate the big one year! And what an awesome year it's been. We have so enjoyed watching you grow and change. You are so different from the tiny baby we brought home from the hospital, but you bring us just as much joy as you did on that first day we held you. Here are a few snapshots from your big day: Lots of friends and family (and babies!) came to celebrate with you.

You look a little excited about what's coming, but don't be fooled....

You pretty much wanted nothing to do with your cake. You weren't quite sure what to do with it.

And you weren't a big fan of us helping you either.

We tortured you longer than you would have liked, before we let you get back to your toys.

Yesterday we celebrated with an apple muffin.
Mason, you are a wonderful son. At one year, you:
~pull yourself up on everything
~are starting to let you and stand by yourself
~have 4 teeth
~love to open your mouth really wide and suck in air
~can say dada, mama, dog, uh-oh, no
~can hold up your finger when we ask you how old you are
~put both arms up when we say "so big"
~are lightning fast! You know how to get where you want to go
~laugh all the time
~talk and sing
~give your stuffed animals hugs
~love to brush your teeth and comb your hair
~hardly ever sit still
~still fall asleep in the car, when your not talking nonstop
~make so many new expressions
~keep us laughing and fill us with so much joy

We love you Mason!
mommy and daddy



The past few days have been full of family, friends, and to-do lists:) It's been pretty much a constant whirlwind going from one activity to the next. Thus far, I've:
  • cleaned my classroom, finished report cards, and checked out for the summer
  • said goodbye to my partner teacher
  • come home to a house more than double in size since Ryan took down the wall that separated the {old} house from the new addition

part of the wall, coming down

    cleaning up after the wall is down!

  • put up our garden fence

  • planted our garden

  • Karly was a huge help! She played with Mason while we worked in the garden

    and then came over and baked his birthday cake and watched

    him again while Ryan took down the wall.

  • finished up some birthday presents (sewing/knitting)
  • watched my cousin, Lacy, graduate from high school

  • spent a lot of time with my extended family
  • celebrated Mason's first birthday
  • cooked a whole bunch of food (50 cinnamon rolls anyone?)
  • cleaned layers and layers of drywall dust off just about everything
  • went to a graduation party and laughed with my family

  • made it through uncle Lee's birthday (we miss you!)
  • did countless loads of laundry
  • packed (a little last minute) for my girl's trip to NYC
  • packed for Mason's stay with Grammie and Grandpa

See what I mean? It was a busy weekend, but fulfilling. I love my family so much.

In a couple hours I will be onto the next whirlwind adventure. Navigating the Big Apple (did I mention I can barely navigate my hometown?) with my friend Hillary. Getting to as much must-see/must-do/must-eat-here places as possible. And catching up with more friends and family.

Be back soon:)