Friday, May 27, 2016

Swim Lessons 2016

Last year we were introduced to Ms Erin's Swim School, which is a semi-private swim school out of a fellow Frisco mom's house. The classes are 4 kids and last one week (or more if you sign up for more). After years of Emler and AquaTots (which I think are excellent programs for little toddlers getting comfortable with the water), it was time for Walt to really swim. Last year, he gained so much in his week with Ms Erin that I knew we'd be back.  This time, with Oscar in tow.

Walt had morning lessons (he took the 2nd year class) and Oscar had evening lessons (beginner).  This year did not disappoint! Let's start with Walt, who sought every opportunity to do a cannonball...

While last year Walt was working on his confidence, he was really focused on actual swimming techniques this year. Ms. Erin said he's almost ready to learn to take breaths by turning his head.

My favorite part was watching him swim the length of the pool!

Now to my Oscar Man.  Oscar hasn't shown as much apprehension in the water as Walt did at his age. I wouldn't say he's fearless, but he's not nearly as cautious as Walt.  Per usual, he charmed the socks off the swim teachers and made some great swimming progress.

Oscar is such a little performer, that he waited to show this skill for the last class. He dove all the way to the bottom of the shallow end for rings!

And here he is happily jumping into the pool and swimming to the steps (with some assistance). The kids all had to say "I'M SAFE" when they reached the steps.

We can't wait to use our newfound swimming skills all summer long and are again grateful to the patience and teaching from Ms Erin! See you again next year!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Spring 2016

Summer is almost here, so it's time to randomly showcase some pics from the spring time. Not everything we do is blog-worthy, but I do want to capture the little things.

The littlest monkey after a springtime haircut

Spring means great weather and lots of outdoor time. Here we are hiking at Centennial Park

More hiking. This time with Nana and Bentley on Tachus Trail right behind our house.

Mr. B and me taking a walk. Not much running happening these days :(

Bentley is getting all the love! This time, Oscar is walking him.

Bentley found a squirrel and is showing off.

Brothers who play together, shower together. #booties

a pre-park treat. Many Sunday mornings we spend 2 hours or more outside!

Oscar and me on one of our hikes. Paying a visit to some ducks.

Oscar was INTENTLY painting a ceramic toy from Easter. 

And ANOTHER hiking pic. This time, we were with friends.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Walt Graduates Preschool

I know, it certainly sounds ridiculous. A graduation ceremony for a 5-year-old who's not even in public school yet! But, it's more about the rite of passage than the actual graduation. It's not like Walt got a passing GPA to qualify for this graduation.

Our family of four (and a half!)
The other thing is Walt is SO ready for Kindergarten -- and so am I! He's been in preschool for so long and while I love the care and education he gets, I'm really ready for the next chapter. Which is why the emotions that sprang up during the graduation were such a huge surprise! I thought I was ready! (I am). But, it definitely is a big milestone and I think my tears were tears of joy and pride for what our biggest boy has accomplished.
We opened with the National Anthem (which of course made me cry). By the way, I  don't think I learned the words to the National Anthem until I was like 9 years old.

Before the graduation ceremony, was a super cute performance by some little frogs and bumblebees

Here he is, walking across the stage and getting his hard-earned (!) diploma from his beloved teacher, Ms. Farah.
And a bow!

Walt's sweet friends, all graduated.
Walt was so excited his cousin, Jaeyln, came to see him!
Seriously - I am so proud!

Nana and Papa made the trip! Papa Ronni and Papa Chuck were there too, but I'm the world's worst picture taker so you have to take my word for it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cooking Demo with Kent Rathbun

These days, it's funny the things that will entertain us. We'll watch entire shows about house hunting or redecorating. We get excited to see tomatoes growing in our garden. We are giddy about an Amazon delivery that contains a new cooking utensil, diapers, and some toilet paper. We are domesticated!

So, when our neighbors invited us to a cooking demo at Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts (Top Chef, Iron Chef) featuring Kent Rathbum (Jaspers, Abacus), we were all about it. We love eating. Step it up a notch with a first-class chef making the meal right in front of you.  At first I thought this was a cooking class - meaning, we would be following along and making what Kent made. After we got there I was quickly corrected that it was a demo. Even better! We sat on our butts, drank wine, and listened to some amazing cooking stories from Kent -- and a 3-course meal!

Here's our group! The Allens and Bloems are foodies like us. We're very hungry in this pic.

Happy to have a night out #threenagerproblems

Watching Kent prep the appetizer. Notice the monitor above - we could look down on his workstation. He made everything look simple. 

First course: Chilled green cauliflower soup with Texas goat cheese.  Spoiler alert: the perfect green color comes from a tiny bit of spinach pureed and mixed in.

During all the food making, Kent would come out and share amazing stories from his restaurants, travels to Thailand, and just general experience cooking

Main course: Gal-Bi short ribs (with Thai chilis - hot!) and a chayote-green mango slaw. The slaw was a fabulous combo of sweet and spicy and those short ribs...woah.... Even Kent was drooling over them!

And let us not forget dessert! Citrus shortbread cookies with a blackberry-rhubarb compote. This dessert leaned more citrus than sweet so it was the perfect end to that spicy dinner. Bonus: the cookies are EGG FREE! I can't wait to make these!

Here we are with Kent. Even though we didn't actually do the cooking, we learned so much! He shared great tips about cutting, how to cook veggies (sweated or caramelized), and my favorite tips about how to perfectly mix cookie dough and cook them the perfect consistency!
We would do this all over again with Kent or any other chef! It was such a fun experience (and a way yummy dinner!) FYI - this one happened to be $75 per person, but there are multiple different classes and options through Tre's place.

Friday, May 6, 2016

24 Weeks

Baby is the size of a large zucchini

How far along: 24 weeks

Total weight gain: I'm done answering this question.

Maternity clothes: Still yes. I foresee maternity clothes in my future into September.

Sleep: Still sleeping pretty good and I'm just rolling with it. I realize that terrible sleep is coming and certainly will only get worse before it gets better.

Best moment this month: Trip to NYC!

Miss Anything: I still miss wine. Judge away. I'm not against a small glass every now and again, but it's not the same. I start with a glass that consists of about 4 sips of wine and am lucky to get halfway through. After the first sip I just wish it was a full glass that could be savored, so it's almost not even worth it. I also miss my normal-sized wardrobe :)

Movement: Finally! Movement! Man, it sure took a while to feel this (which is so surprising to me given this is my 3rd pregnancy. You'd think I'd feel it extra early). It took until probably 22 weeks to get some good kicks and just now (23-24 weeks) she has settled into some movement patterns (after I eat, if I'm lying down...)

Food cravings: No cravings, but I do enjoy fruit. I'm still eating for 2.

Anything making you queasy or sick: No, but a late night will make me feel hungover. (Which is really unfair).

Gender prediction: Girl!

Labor signs: nope (thank goodness)

Symptoms: I'm feeling good, but I can tell the physical aspects are starting to creep in. I'm trying to ignore them. But, reclining with my feet raised is my most favorite position.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy, though work has been super insane (and probably will be for the next two months). Just trying to find some pockets of "me" time to walk or do yoga to keep my mind on straight.

Looking forward to: A bit of the same from last month. It's time to move Oscar up to his big boy bed. I foresee that happening this month. I'm looking forward to lots of fun stuff in May and June!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made Of

Boy, do we love this city. A few months ago it was determined that a big work meeting that I plan would happen in NYC. I immediately began making plans for Chris to join me. I saw it as a last opportunity for the two of us to sneak away before baby girl (and while I still feel pretty good).  This trip didn't disappoint.  It's best told in pictures.
The trip started as a business trip. Me and my company hosting 10 customers at the Waldorf Astoria. Our room overlooked the Chrysler Building (cue "Annie" music)
Since I was the meeting planner and key contact for the hotel, I win fancy water and cupcakes in my room! 

The first night we went to the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square and enjoyed the rooftop for a bit.
After a loooong (but successful) meeting, we took the customers to a great restaurant in Midtown called Trattoria Dell'Arte. What you're looking at is not a pizza, but a GIANT chicken parm that took up the whole plate. This was AFTER I was done eating it.  
Friday morning starts our long weekend. We headed to Grand Central to take the subway to the 9-11 Museum. 

There are zero pictures that could even begin to do this museum justice. What an outstanding job recapturing the events, emotions, and just physical aspects of that day. 
Most impressive was all the remembrances of the victims.  Here is one of the memorial pools. The water just keeps falling down, down, down.

We were emotionally drained after that experience, so came back to the hotel to recharge. Chris went out to get me hot nuts and asked if I could see him from our hotel. I spotted his shoes.
Pre-dinner cocktails. Chris enjoyed trying all the different Old Fashioneds. I enjoyed a mocktail in a real cocktail glass:)

Obligatory Times Square picture. 
We were killing time on the way to dinner and I had to snap my pic in Rockefeller Center. I was really hoping Jimmy would just pop out of those doors. 

On our way to dinner - all cleaned up! That night we ate at Butter in Midtown.  VERY cool vibe inside. At first glance it seems like a good-ol-boy's steak house, but the music and food presentation is very hip and trendy.  Of course, the gnocci mac n cheese was stupid good.

Saturday morning and another subway ride, but this time to Brooklyn. We got a great visit in with Chris's cousin, Allison, her precious girls Elizabeth and Avery and her husband, Turner (photographer). They live in a perfection suburban (term used lightly for you Frisco folks) area of Brooklyn. 

Saturday was pretty much the only day we saw sunshine. The temperature inched its way just above 60 degrees, which felt balmy after the cold, wet days previously. So, we walked! We took the subway from Brooklyn back to Manhattan, stopping off in the Flatiron District.

A gorgeous, spring day!

Obviously famished (after a hearty bagel and egg sandwich) and some subway maneuvering, we stopped in Eataly for a "snack".  It's a good thing we didn't find this place earlier in the trip or I may not have left. It's an Italian market but also has little mini tasting restaurants throughout. Here is our salame and cheese plate.
And, this squid was simply mouthwatering. Pan seared, not fried, with an arugula/orange salad. Food heaven looks something like this.
After all that food, we walked... again! This time, we took the subway uptown to Central Park. Did you know there is wildlife in Central Park? This very not shy and well-fed raccoon was roaming around right in front of us (no zoom necessary).

Selfie in the Park!

That night, we had theater tickets, but decided to grab a light dinner (seriously, were we eating our way through the city??) beforehand. With some extra time to spare, we got a pre-theater drink at a hole in the wall across the street and Chris spotted Christopher McDonald on our way out. 
Here's the Belasco Theater where we saw "Blackbird" starring Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels. Not the lightest of subject matter, but boy the acting was pretty incredible. 

The celeb stalker in me sniffed out a crowd after the show. We were sitting next door having dessert (eating, of course) and I could tell something was up. Right outside was the stage door, and a very civilized crowd gathered. Out pops Michelle Williams who happily signed autographs and chatted with a few people. 

About 10 minutes later, Jeff Daniels came out and we incredibly personable. Trust me, I've met a lot of celebs. My advice is always, "If you really like someone, don't meet them."  9 times out of 10 it's a huge disappointment and likely no fault of theirs. They meet SO many people. But, Jeff not only took his time signing autographs, but made nice chit chat and went on his way.