Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday

A long overdue installment of Five Things That Makes Me Happy Friday...
something that I usually do every Friday. 

  1. That I can take pictures all day long of mundane things, make a collage playing around on PicMonkey and share them with the world. Why? Because I like my life, and I like collages of ordinary candids and PicMonkey is fun. I share them with you... why? Because this is my space! (Not MySpace, but... you know... my blog/space.)
  2. That my Zoie is doing extraordinarily well at the early stages of Potty Training and she's not even TWO! 
  3. I am psyched up for Fat Mum Slim's September Photo A Day challenge. I've slacked off major for a few months, but I am feeling snappy with my shutter finger lately. Do you Instagram? I do! Check me out, I love finding new fellow creative Instagrammers.
  4. I am ecstatic about the new GFC, Twitter and Facebook followers I gained this week. :)
    I love to talk and it feels nice when I have new people to talk to. It makes me feel like someone may be actually listening. Ha ha. If you aren't a follower, click on the hearts to the right of this post. They link to my pages.
  5.  THAT THE RNC IS FINALLY OUT OF TAMPA!!

What is making you happy today?
<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Confessions.


I haven't done this in a while, but I have a few to get off my chest today...

Here are my Thursday Confessions:
  • Blog Hops make me feel kind of dirty.
  • I use the exclamation point waaay too much.
  • I'm in love with Honest Toddler tweets.
  • I splurged a little and bought Method dish soap and Method hand soaps for our bathrooms, only because the packaging was so cute.
  • I just recently started up a Facebook Fan Page, and it's giving me a little fear-of-rejection anxiety.
  • I'm having negative feelings towards my beloved Target, lately.
  • Zoie's birthday party is in one week and one day and I have done ZERO planning.
  • I sort of dig that my Mom doesn't like my husband's beard. It makes me feel like a teenage rebel. (A little bit.)
  • Politics are putting me in a very snarky mood.
  • My Mommy kryptonite is: Bedtime.
If you've already seen me talk about some of these on Facebook or Twitter... Oops, sorry for the repeats.  

...

Do you have a Thursday Confession? Go ahead and type the guilt away in my Comments. 

<3, Tabi :D 
 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homework Time.

This is what made me happy today... their thirst for knowledge. 
Their eagerness and patience had me in awe.
  

Shhhh... we are concentrating.
Roxy is practicing her numbers, Riley is working on his shape drawing and coloring skills.



Even Zoie got in some good scribble practice time.

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer Adventure: Cramming in a Little Education

Token group tourist photo in front of the Washington Monument.

This summer I embarked on a 3-1/2 week adventure with 4 kids in tow. Our adventure took us to MD, VA, DC and finally the Outer Banks of NC. I am attempting to journal our adventures in hindsight after learning that living out of a minivan with 4 kids was a wee bit more than I anticipated.

Sometimes finding happiness means stepping outside of your normal comfort zones. Sometimes it means feeding your curiosity and seeking out information. And sometimes happiness shows up when you experience things that are simply different and not routine.

And sometimes it means finding a new friend.

The second Wednesday of our Summer Adventure, my clan plus my Mom and little sister met up with my middle sister and her mini clan and my friend Lissa and her Lily to Metro into DC and visit a Smithsonian or two.

Growing up in the DC metropolitan area, these were the museums I was used to: big, fancy, chock full of great and ever evolving exhibits and FREE!
(Later in life, I was absolutely shocked at some of the museums that you actually had to pay exorbitant prices to get into were not half as amazing.)

On this day, we visited the Natural History Museum and then the American History Museum. But first... the METRO!


The metro in itself was an adventure. It was a first for all my kiddos. It was fast, it had tunnels, there were NO SEATBELTS!! Living on the edge, we were.


It was a good day! We saw dinosaur bones, Titanoboa (ew), Kermit the Frog, some really cool butterflies, a cave man that my Mom thought resembled Christopher, lots of other things I can't recall (because I spent a good portion of the day doing head counts) and a few of the DC sights.

The boys were happy, the babies were happy and my Roxy found a new friend in my good friend Lissa's girl, Lily.

After leaving the city, we stopped at Red Robin for dinner and I had an amazing Veggie Burger with Swiss Cheese and Guacamole. Mmmm. I should've taken a picture. Damn.

Educational Leg of Summer Adventure: Check.

<3, Tabi :D

Wanna read more about our Summer Adventure? Click Here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heebie Jeebies, Craigs List and an Alternative

Me? I am a fan of Craigs List. It beats the hell out of holding a yard sale. Negotiating via text message or email is so much more comfortable than face to face with a pushy yard sale professional.

We have had great luck (so far) with our dealings on Craigs List, yet every single time it comes down to actually meeting with the person and the exchange of money, I have to admit that I get the heebie jeebies. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way... we've all heard the horror stories (the Craigs List Killer ring a bell?)

And then there's eBay, which I've been over since 2004 I think.

What to do when you have something you want to sell off? Or are looking for a gently used item at a much better price than retail?

Here's your alternative: Ubokia
 If you are a Craigs Lister, Ubokia might seem a little backwards at first, but trust me, it doesn't take long to get the hang of it. You see, Ubokia is buyer-centric. People post things they need to sell AND post things they want to buy. In fact, you can't start negotiations with a seller until you post a want on the site.

PLUS, it's safer! With uTrust, Ubokia is the safest way to buy online. You can even use your PayPal account for exchange of funds. (Who carries cash around these days, anyways?)

Also:
  • Buying through a blog marketplace means you are connecting with other like-minded people - making it easier to find what you want and in general your interactions are more pleasant than something like Craigslist.
  • Ubokia is easier for buyers because all they have to do is post a want and let sellers come to them. No more searching!
  • Ubokia is easier for sellers because they don't have to wait to potential buyers to view their products. They can immediately connect with buyers.
Have something you want to sell? Click here.

Have something in mind you are dying to get your hands on? Click here.

Try it out. What do you have to lose?

<3, Tabi :D


I was compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Extraordinarily Unordinary Day

Yesterday, on the precipice of the RNC and Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac, we decided to take advantage of the calm before the storm and head to Clearwater Beach. It had been a week since I had my toes in the sand and I was having withdrawals.

So, as our trip began, many unusual sights and unordinary things abounded.


To get to Clearwater Beach, we have to drive through downtown Tampa. With the RNC gearing up, our cops are out in full force. We spotted them in their military-like uniforms with their guns strapped to their thighs like Lara Croft looking under every rock, in every garbage can, in every hole. For what? Bombs is what I'm told.

Seeing them crossing the streets in groups of 10 or more was a bit disconcerting to me.

As we were going over the bridge on Courtney Campbell Causeway, Christopher points out the police boat below searching for explosive devices. I didn't know people made threats on our bridges?!? I'm starting to wonder if every political convention has this many threats attached to it. I know politicians aren't very popular, but... wow!

So, we get to the beach and Roxy and Riley start pointing out all the contrasts our beach has to the beach we stayed at a week ago in the Outer Banks (hereafter referred to as OBX).
  • The smell: it's not a fresh, clean seabreezy smell here, it's more like... hint of seafood.
  • The sand: it's much more soft, white and sugary here, not as rocky and fluffy as it is in OBX.
  • The water: is MUCH warmer here.
  • The waves: Riley referred to the waves in OBX as having a tantrum. Clearwater waves are much more relaxed. He liked that.

There was a bit of a pool built up about a foot to a foot and a half deep that the kids waded around in. In it we saw two different schools of teeny fish. Well one school had teeny fish and the other had teenier fish. It was pretty awesome watching the two swim around and, sometimes chase/run away from each other.

Christopher saw a sting ray jump out of the water.

Roxy laughed at a guy in a Speedo. (She thought he was swimming in his underwear.)

Then, the clouds started rolling in. It started sideways raining, so we packed up and trekked back to the van. We changed out of our soaking wet beach clothes and into our dry clothes and then... it stopped raining.

So, we decided to walk over and take a peek at the dolphin exhibit (which is amazing. I recommend stopping by if you are in the vicinity).


We almost got around to examining all of the dolphins when the rain decided it wasn't done. So, we hid under a roof while Daddy took the umbrella and pulled our chariot around to pick us up.

Heading home, we picked up some Thai takeout (YUM!) and I tried Thai Tea for the first time. Have you ever tried Thai Tea? (1) it's fun to say, and (2) it's pretty yummy. Kind of orangey and a big hint of Chai. Also something I recommend trying.

What sorts of unordinary things did you get around to this weekend?

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BFF's

Isn't it funny how we only ever remember to snap pictures of our kids...
even when visiting a far away friend?
This post is about friendship. Those true friends with whom you form a bond so strong, it doesn't matter how far away you move, how long it goes between conversations, how heated the fights get... well, this seems to sum it up:
"True friends are the ones who never leave your heart, even if they leave your life for awhile. Even after years apart, you pick up with them right where you left off."
- the Internet (Seriously, I have no clue... do you?)
I have 3 friends up north, who I am talking about in particular. These are the chicks I had on my Must See list when "planning" our Summer Adventure. 

I first met and bonded with all three of these girls in my high school years. Since then, over a decade has passed. All of us have experienced falling in love, heartache, pregnancy and childbirth, and many many other rites of passage into adulthood. Yet when we get together, we are the same people we were back then.

People don't change, I know this. Who you are inside was decided in your genetic code, long before birth... it's in your soul. This part of people never changes. Only the superficial stuff changes.

What's super fun about meeting up these days is (among other things) seeing our children play together. It's a huge reminder and beautiful portrayal of the whole circle of life.

It also reminds me how mean it is that we all live so far apart. Luckily, we have Facebook and texting and those few, precious times when we happen to be in the same state and are able to rearrange our hectic schedules to meet up to physically check in with those pieces of our heart.

In direct contrast with yesterday's post... all the craziness of traveling around was definitely worth it and I feel like one lucky lady I was able to pull it off.

<3, Tabi :D

For posterity: other pictures of BFF playdates here and here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Day We Visited the National Zoo

(1) The Deneweth kids + cousin Logan posing on the Bear statue. (2) My caged wild animals.
(3) ZoBo behind bars, "I'm innocent, I swear. Look at my innocent blue eyes!"
(4) A bee trap was the winner of Zoie's attention. (5) Cute tortoise column to the reptile house. (6) The Zoie and the Frog.
(7) Panda Bear! (8) The kids playing prairie dogs. (9) The elusive giant pizza at the zoo.
The day we visited the National Zoo it was H-O-T. And that means a lot coming from a Florida girl.

The day we visited the National Zoo, we were 1 week plus 1 day into our Summer Adventure. We had traveled from our house in Brandon, FL to a friend's place in Charleston, SC to my parents' in LaPlata, MD to my sister's house in Fredericksburg, VA to my dear friend Butha's in Winchester, VA and then down to our nations capital to visit the zoo. All while living out of a minivan and suitcases and all while 4 children being under the supervision of one (ahem) adult (me).

If that sounds overwhelming, well... you are right. And the stress of it all seemed to culminate on that scorcher of a day at the zoo amongst the caged animals.

The five of us traveled down the mountains of VA to the zoo and met up with my parents, my sister and Sunshine. Also, my other sister and her two boys and my friend Tabitha with her four kids. I'll do the math for you: that makes 17 of us.

It started out well enough (except we were about an hour late meeting my folks... but that's almost a given with me) until I almost peed my pants, so I rushed my clan in as soon as we found our parking spot and made a beeline to the nearest bathroom. After I emptied my bladder, I thought, "The worst is over, the rest of the day is fun fun fun."

Ha! Until 20 minutes later when at least 2 kids were complaining about the heat and how thirsty they were and then how stinky the mammal house was and then there was the meltdown over the lemonade machine not working and water just would not do!

Luckily, we did have a few happy and memorable moments. And I got some cute shots of the kids and one measly shot of the star of the National Zoo, the Panda Bear.

We did leave the zoo with souvenirs and Roxy's little stuffed Panda is her favorite friend at the moment. She loves her Pandy. :)

That day, I decided I was actually crazy thinking I could pull this trip off. I decided for the rest of my DC Metropolitan area tour I would camp out at my Mom's place and not move my suitcases until it was time to head down to OBX. <-- That was the best decision I could've made. I probably would be writing posts from the insane asylum if I didn't make that decision.
I'm so happy my Mom didn't mind ( Thanks, Mom! <3 ).

This was also the same day we learned that Dylan should not have red jello. 

<3, Tabi :D

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Disappearing off the face of the Blogosphere

Holy wow! I had a blast these past 4 weeks, took lots of pictures and experienced lots of new experiences.

But (!) it turns out I can't be Super-Mom and Blogger-Mom at the same time. Also, it turns out that traveling around a bunch and living out of a minivan with 4 children and a husband 5 states away is a lot harder than it (initially) sounded. Am I crazy? Or brave? I flip flopped on the answer to that question many times and still don't have a solid answer.

The bad news: I had a major lapse in my blogging.

The good news: I have lots of material to post and I will do my best to scrapbook our Summer Adventure of 2012 on here so you can fully appreciate what an experience we had.  

I digress...

Did you know today was the first day of school?!? My Roxy started 1st Grade, and my Bear started his first day of VPK! By the end of this school year, I will be a certified Mom/Taxi Driver, for sure!

Here are some pics... because what fun is the First Day of School without pictures?


Roxy left the nest first. Her school starts at 8:00 am (very scary for a non morning person like me)! Daddy drove her this morning (well... he always does) and walked her to her classroom. First graders are upstairs, don't you know? Her teacher is Mrs. Bird and Roxy is excited that 11 out of the 16 kids in her class are girls.

 My Bear was so excited for his first day,
he finished his entire checklist one whole hour before we had to leave the house!!

Speaking of the Bear...


I was a bit nervous with this guy. He started his first day of VPK and said he was excited, but showed a little apprehension. When we went yesterday to meet his teacher (before the first day), he had a death grip on my hand the entire time. But, he had a blast and is so happy his friend, Logan is in his class with him. He also told me that his teachers are super nice, but he can't remember their names yet (we'll work on it, sorry Ms. Harwood and Ms. Navarro if you read this). He is excited to go back tomorrow. Phew!

How did Zoie do with all this, you ask?



This baby didn't have a first day today, but she did fight me as she was trying to leave with Daddy and Roxy (she even waved and gave me kisses). 

Then, as we attempted to drop off the Bear and leave, as soon as she realized I was trying to leave the building without her brother, she got so mad!!  How dare I leave him there?? Luckily, after a few minutes, she calmed down and had a great time playing in the play center at the Y, then spending a little quality time alone with her Momma.

So that's it! I will now attempt to make dinner, bathe 3 children and have them all in bed by 8 pm. All before Christopher even gets off work. Damn those crazy insurance claims hours!

<3, Tabi :D

... phew! It feels good to be blogging again! :)

....... and be sure to stay tuned for some Summer Adventure posts!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The LaPlata Tornado of 2002


While at home in LaPlata, MD we got around to looking through some old pictures. I came across this sweet poem written by my then 10 year old sister. I thought it was too sweet to not share.

A little backstory... 10 years ago, in 2002 there was a tornado that ripped through this little town that effected many people and many many homes and businesses were damaged. I lived in Florida at that time, but came home soon after and saw the aftermath of this horrible natural disaster. My family and their home were one of the lucky ones, but unfortunately many of their neighbors' were not. One of the casualties of that storm happened to be the family vehicle, a 1996 dark green Jeep Cherokee. This poem is about that Jeep.

The Green Jeep

It was old and not working.

It seemed like it was hurting
so we had to let it go.

I know it might seem silly but I love that Jeep.

It saved me from many things like weather and hail
But one thing I will always remember is
It saved me from the tornado.

It was a nice day and I was sitting in the Jeep with my older sister Tiffany. Then all of a sudden a tornado came and damaged many things in it's path.

When the tornado was gone, I looked around.
The only car left standing was the Jeep. The Jeep had saved my life.

I love that Jeep
and will always cherish it.

Now that the 96 Jeep is gone
I will miss it because it saved me and I have many fond memories in it.

Good Bye beloved Jeep.

I <3 you and I will forever miss you.

... The Jeep

- poem by Trisha Kohansby, aged 10
 <3, Tabi :D

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Snapshots from Winchester, VA


When our Summer Adventure took us to Winchester VA, I expected to spend some time catching up and reconnecting with good friends. What I didn't expect was how beautiful it was!

<3, Tabi :D

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Adventure Bits + Pieces


(note: pictures are out of order... silly iPhone app)

1. My ZoBo is LOVIN' all the extra attention and cuddles. 
2. Riley and another upside down kindred spirit. 
3. We caught a bite to eat at Red Robin (gooood Veggie Burgers!) and Zoie needed her picture taken with this Lady Liberty. 
4. All 8 kids at Butha's dinner table. It's a good table! 
5. The coaster at FunLand. 
6. Zoie headed to the park. 
7. At the tippy tippy top of the climbing apparatus. 
8. This stuff (Riesling) tastes exactly like flat Ginger Ale. That is my highly educated wine tasting opinion. 
9. Two frozen kids at Red Robin. 
10. The rolling hills of northern Virginia. I will need to stop and take a proper picture before leaving these mountains. Sooo pretty. 

<3, Tabi :D
 
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