Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday!

I wish you a safe and happy day filled with lots of treats and no tricks!

Happy Birthday, Juliette Gordon Low!
Thank you for founding the Girl Scouts 100 years ago!

Have Fun!
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

9 Month Update!

Yes. It's me again  . . . 2 days in a row!

I thought since I hadn't been here for 9 months, I would do a quick update to catch you all up with what has been going on in our lives.

Okay! Okay!  . . . nothing is QUICK with me!

I'll summarize this post with the good and the bad.

I'll start with the Bad.

The Bad: There are 9 months worth of stuff below.

The Good: It's mostly pictures.

The Bad: There are over 60 pictures.

The Good: There are few words to narrate the pictures. :)

Okay, maybe not a few all know I am not capable of the abridged version of anything!

Ready? Here we go!

Allison competed in the Equations Tournament at Slippery Rock University. I wasn't able to go because of work so Daddy and Grandma went to support her. I'm on Facebook and I love looking at all the pictures my friends' kids in football, cheering, band, karate, etc. My kid's sport (and I loosely call it that) is Academic Games. Seriously, how nerdy can we get here! I feel funny posting pics on FB with a caption like: "Here's my Allison at her LinguiSHTIK's Tournament." So. This is my blog and I'm going to post it here! I'm so proud of her and that brain she has in her head that I'm hoping someday she'll be a well known scientist with an amazing discovery and I can live with her and take care of her babies!

 There are 4 boys and Allison in the gifted program (GLO) from her grade level. They call themselves "4 Dudes and a Chick" at these competitions. It's too cute and I LOVE all the boys in her group . . . although, Allison likes one a little too much! Here he is teaching her how to play pinball during a break. I wish I had one of his face to show you but Curtis didn't get a good one. Don't worry though, I'll share one soon! They are joined at the hip! The Gifted Coordinator tells me that he is the male version of her! Lord help us!

Curtis and I attended a surprise birthday party with a Godfather theme. He makes a pretty handsome gangster if I do so say myself!

My favorite young adult, Stephanie, and her boyfriend, AJ, also attended. Aren't they a cute couple?

It was so nice to have an adult night out with Steph and AJ. I love that girl!

I tried a new method of cooking Brussel sprouts and I will never make them any other way again!
I cut them in 1/2  and put them on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. I sprayed them with the non-stick spray as well and added salt and pepper. Roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes and turned them every 10 minutes. YUMMY!

I was able to cross an item off my bucket list when I met the Pioneer Woman. I absolutely LOVE her!
My BFF, Susan, her daughter, Stephanie, and I met after work when she had a book signing in Pittsburgh. It was Susan's birthday so that made it even more fun!

Below is all of us girls with the Marlboro Man (the Pioneer Woman's husband). He was not only so handsome but so nice and personable too! Mmmmm, there is just something about a REAL cowboy!  I better stop right there before I embarrass myself!

Here I am when I first met Ree. She is so lovely. I told her that I had been waiting for that moment for 6 years (the beginning of her blog) and she called me a "lifer" and gave me a hug. 

Can you tell I'm how excited I was?

I took my first SPA weekend with the girls at a Day Spa in Ohio. Here is Susan and I enjoying some margaritas the night before our appointments. 

Our lifelong friend, Monica, drove in to meet us for dinner after our day. We all have known each other since our elementary school days. It was SO nice to see her. There is just something about visiting with friends you've known your whole life. We really need another visit with each other soon!

Stephanie was also with us for the Spa Day. She brought a couple of her friends with her. It's was so nice to see them forming their lifelong friendships.

Easter - We always do a lot of traveling on holidays since both sets of our parents live 1 1/2 hours away from each other. It gets to be so tiring at times but as long as we are blessed with all of them still being with us, we will continue to do all the driving between their homes.

At the end of April, Allison bridged over to Cadettes in Girl Scouts. Sadly this is the last group pic of her troop as the leaders decided not to continue on with the troop. Thankfully, we have found a new troop so Allison can continue on through the levels. She really does love it so much. Also, 2 of the other girls are continuing on with her in the same troop. I'm glad we could keep them together.

Rudy, Curtis's best friend, came home from Afghanistan and treated himself to a new car. Sadly, Rudy had to go back to Afghanistan and had to garage the car for the next 5 months. 
I would have taken care of it for him but he wouldn't even let me test drive it in the parking lot! Some friend! 

Allison and I took a trip to my parents' for a little visit and I had my camera with me so I took some pics. This is where I grew up. I only wish Allison was raised out in the country as well. We live in the suburbs for now but not as far out as I would like.

My Dad's barn.

Some weeds growing at the edge of his soon to be planted garden. I don't know why I took this but I just thought they were cool.

Walking back up to the house from the barn.

Geez! Here are more weeds! They were growing out of the gutter on the back of the chicken coop. Well, it used to be a chicken coop but it's been converted to my Dad's workshop and where he starts his plants before he plants his garden.

Some azaleas growing along the garage.

Outside in my arborvitae, I had found that a bird made a nest and left some eggs. Well, she didn't really leave them. She was watching them from a tree close by.

It wasn't soon long after that we had babies. Really UGLY babies.

And then it wasn't long after that they were starting to get cuter. Sadly, this is the last picture as they were gone the next time I looked.

Also in May, Allison and I attended the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant (Miss America Organization) to support our friend, Kristy. Unfortunately, she didn't win the title this year . . . maybe next year . . . but it was still fun. Allison wants to start competing . . . please help me!

Allison went to my sister's for a week with her cousin, Mya. Alesia takes them every year for some girl bonding time. Here they are at Kennywood amusement park. Mya is my brother's daughter. The girls were born 4 days apart and are so close.

Curtis, Allison and I went to a drag race in Ohio for a little family fun. As you can see by this picture, Allison was not impressed with me taking a picture of her eating her breakfast.

Top fuel's hard to get a picture since they go so fast!

She really does love it. It's in her blood. She gets it from her Father!

My little Nitro Girl all prepared with her hat, sunglasses, ear protection, gatorade, hand sanitizer and her spray bottle water fan thingy. No, I'm not overprotective . . . did I mention her sunblock was in her little shoulder bag?

John Force's car. Well, one of them.

I tried a new casserole. I'm sure I am not the first to invent this but it was so yummy! I call it Ravioli Casserole. You make it just like lasagna but instead of the noodles, you use ravioli. Curtis and Allison loved it so I was happy!

We celebrated Allison's 11th birthday on the 16th of July. It is crazy how fast she has grown up! Everyone says it but until you experience it, it's hard to believe how time really does fly! 

I love that she reads every card from beginning to end!

Curtis and I surprised her with a new bike but I had Aunt Alesia pick it up since it's a little hard to hide. We waited until the very end and my sister brought it from around the side of the house and Allison freaked! She screamed "Thank you, Aunt Lisa!"  It was too funny! Of course, I quickly corrected her. It's bad enough Santa gets credit for some of the Christmas presents, I didn't want my sister to get the credit for the bike!

And as you can see, Porsche is fitting in nicely with our family.

I tried a new recipe that I found on Pinterest. 
Here are the instructions: 4-6 raw chicken breasts, new potatoes, green beans (fresh or canned-really any green veggie would work. Broccoli is good, too). Arrange in 9x13 dish. Sprinkle with a packet of Italian dressing mix and then top with a melted stick of butter. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
I didn't have a packet of Italian dressing mix on hand so I sprinkled cajun seasoning on the chicken and salt & pepper on the potatoes and beans. It was so easy and definitely a repeat!

In addition to the week my sister takes both girls during the summer, Alesia also takes just Allison for a week in August. The next several pics are of Allison's visit with Alesia and Ginger.

Ginger just LOVES Allison and sleeps with her instead of my sister!
Allison loves it. My sister, not so much.

Does my baby not look like a teenager in this pic?!?
Daddy better get ready to fight the boys off!

 They do a "little" school shopping at the outlets. Can you say spoiled????

They went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History . . . one of Allison's favorite places.

They hung out with one of Alesia's friends and her son at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

Hmm, I would have made her wear a harness on this wall! 
No! I'm not overprotective!

Allison loves the little kids and is so patient with them.

All dressed up ready for dinner!

Did I mention spoiled before? Aunt Alesia permits her to have her own dessert at dinner! Seriously?

     With nearing the end of summer, I picked up this cute little pool on clearance at Target for $12.50. It was just big enough for Allison to cool down in. Our neighbor's great grandson was here and stepped right in with his clothes on! He was too cute and had too much fun!

She had such a blast!

We went shopping with my Mom and Allison picked out stuff for a tween room. Hopefully the border will come in soon and we can finally update her room!

The first day of school. I am not even going to mention that it was a struggle to get a pic this year from my 6th Grader!
Oh wait! 
Did I just mention it?

Princess enjoying the new furniture! Not quite what I had in mind but if you are going to have pets, you have to deal with not having a perfect house. And yes, I own stock in lint rollers!

This next pic is not of the best quality because it was taken with my cell phone and it's a dumb one, not a smart one. 

Anyway, we have struggled with Allison gaining weight for years. It is so frustrating. I always knew my kid would have a problem with weight but I thought it would be being overweight not underweight. She is just a peanut and she seriously has only gained about 5 pounds in the last 4 years. We actually go to the doctor's every 6 months for a weight check. Well, this year she has finally gained weight! We are so excited! She has put on 7 pounds since January and has maintained it! She still only weighs 58 pounds and is the smallest kid in her 6th grade glass but we will take it. Her face has filled out (not as much in the pic below because she has food in her cheeks) and she looks so much healthier these days. So anyway, when we went to dinner and she was eating so good, I just had to take a pic! I had to laugh because the buffalo chicken wrap was dripping so she said she would put a napkin in her shirt like Baba (my Mom) does. And yes, that is her shake and she finished it!

These next several pics are of a photo shoot we did with Allison at McConnells Mill State Park. I am no photographer but I am very happy with how they turned out. Thank you Curtis for carrying around the chair for me!

I love her hair curly but she's really into having it straightened right now so I went with it because that is who she is at this age.

She hated the frame. I loved the frame. 
Please help me through her teenage years!

Being my silly girl!

And then very calm and relaxed.
You want my life, don't you? There's never a dull moment!

She kept on striking poses and most of them I loved!

This one I had made into a canvas for both sets of Grandparents.

Actually, this is the one I had made into a canvas for my Mom and Dad but then when it arrived, I thought maybe it was too serious. 

What do you think?

This picture I had made into an 18 x 24 inch canvas for us and it is just breathtaking! 

I love it and can't wait to hang it up after we paint the living room!

Yes, this is the chair I brought with us that Curtis carried around for me through the woods!

Love the look on her face here.

Yes. We had a wardrobe change in the middle of the woods! Daddy shielded her with his jacket. 
She's so somber in this one.

My little gypsy girl! This is the last and final wardrobe change. She looks so in her element out in the nature. Don't you think? I, of course, was having a panic attack climbing the rocks!

I had to zoom in for this one! I couldn't have made it over to that rock if I wanted . . .even if George Clooney was there . . . or George Strait . . . or the Marlboro Man!

She cracks me up with the looks she gives me sometimes!

Yippeee! This is the final one!
It was starting to get dark so this one didn't turn out that great. 
I tried playing with the color a little and end up with this.
It's a little artsy but I really like it!

 See. I promised that was the last one!

I'm sure there really isn't anyone still reading this. I probably lost everyone a few dozen pictures ago. 

Scratch that! There probably are 3 people that made it to the end so I'll thank you personally!

Thank you to the love of my life, Curtis! 

Thank you to my sister, Alesia!

And thank you to my BFF's Mom (and my second Mom), Sandy!

Have Fun!
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