Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School-8/26/13

The boys started a new magnet school this year.  Hayden is in 5th grade and Emerson is in 3rd grade.  They were both accepted into the STEM program last April and we couldn't be more excited.  Their schooling will focus on problem-based learning using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  This approach will be used in all of their subjects everyday.  I think that they will enjoy this method of learning moreso than the traditional "sit on your butt at a desk and quietly do paperwork" method.  Visual and hands-on learning seems to really click for my kids so I know they will be happier at this school.  I can't wait to hear how their first day went!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to Real World. Sigh....

We just got back last night from 10 magical days in Walt Disney World.  On our last day (actually our last 10 minutes, lol), I got on the room phone and booked another Disney vacation for next year.  There was a bounceback offer for free dining in August and September 2014 if you booked before checking out of your hotel room.  If I get another PIN code for 35%-40% off, I will change my ressie to use that code instead since it would save us more than the free dining will.

Soooo, I don't really have the time or energy to sit down and give a trip report today but I will very soon.  I promise.  We had a wonderful time!  Aunt Stephanie (Clayton's sister) vacationed with us.  It was her first time there and I have no clue if she is hooked or not.  I will give her a few days to rest up before asking.  In case you are wondering how we felt about the Yacht Club, we didn't like it.  I will give an explanation when I post my trip report.  Just know that we moved over to the Polynesian after just 2 days at the Yacht Club.  The Poly is where it is at, in our opinion.  This was our 3rd stay there and we got upgraded to a Magic Kingdom view.  It was amazing to be able to see Wishes every night from our balcony.  Guess where we booked for the next trip?  Yep, the Polynesian.  We all agree that it is the best resort on property.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A New Hobby---Background Acting

After my 3rd and final surrogate pregnancy, I found myself bored and had no sense of purpose.  Yes, I know I am a mom to my boys but I need something that is "all mine" in my life.  I stumbled across a casting director's page on Facebook back when I was pregnant and got interested in doing extra work.  Unfortunately, they never had a call for a pregnant gal so I had to sit out until after the birth.  In April, I decided to put my name in the hat and got chosen to participate in the season 2 opening episode for a cable tv show.  I was 4 weeks post-partum and lactating.  I had no idea that I would never be able to get to my pump during the day.  The engorgement was ridiculous after 7 long hours of filming in the hot sun (while in a wool suit, mind you).  I knew after that experience that I wouldn't be able to do it again until after I finished pumping milk.  In June, I decided to start trying again.  I have now been in 5 episodes (well, one of those just had my 4-Runner in it, lol).  It has been a blast working on the set.  I have made a bunch of friends.  It seems that background actors are very interesting people.  In addition to the show that I started with, I got a chance to work on a HUGE show recently (I think it had 11 Emmy nominations this year).  I ended up having to bow out though due to a migraine attack that included vertigo and nasty nausea.  Blah.  I hope to get the opportunity to work on the big show again soon.  The show that I have been working on is wrapping up in 2 weeks and I won't be able to work on it again before it finishes.  I am bummed to miss out on the season finale but the third season will roll back around next spring for filming.  I can't wait! 
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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Stitch Fix #10 Review

Okay, I know that the blue pants don't match most of the tops. It is better than seeing the tops paired up with the pajamas that I was wearing before the box showed up on the front porch though. I always do photos in the downstairs guest room due to the good lighting. My bedroom is upstairs and I was too lazy to go get matching bottoms. :P

This box was just good but not great. I am starting to get really picky.  I bought the awesome black & white sweater shown at the top. The pants looked great with it but I just couldn't justify buying them. Nothing else in my closet would work with that color blue. The green top was out because I have bought a bunch of tab-sleeve tops lately. I really don't need another one. The shirt with the hearts on it had the cutest collar flaps but the beige color was horrid. I don't see how it would look good against anyone's skin color. It was also a little too dressy for my casual wardrobe. The blue striped shirt was sheer. It needed an undershirt and I just don't want to deal with layering it. It puckered ever so slightly at my chest and I don't really like sleeveless button-downs. It was easy to say no to keeping it.
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Monday, August 05, 2013

Happy 35th Birthday to Me

I cannot believe that I am 35.  Geez!  That seems so old.  My mom took us out to lunch at Asian Cafe and then took my kiddos back with her.  Since we were alone, Clayton and I decided to head out to Dandelion Market in uptown Charlotte (it is NOT kid friendly).  We went there for our anniversary last year and fell in love with it.  They don't serve big plates.  The menu features many tapas (small plates) and you are supposed to order several to split with the people with you.  It is great because you get a little bit of everything and don't overeat.  To start, we ordered one of the specials.  It was an avocado/fresh crab/diced peppers thing (shown below).  It was ridiculously good!!  Clayton and I can't quit talking about it.  We want to go back just for this.

For our second round, we ordered the shrimp & grits and the macaroni & cheese.  The macaroni was good but the shrimp was amazing.  Actually, the grits is what we both adored.  They were topped with goat cheese and it worked so well with all the other flavors.  It looks like the plate only had 2 shrimp but it actually had 4 large ones.

For round 3, we ordered a sausage stuffed pepper.  It was good but not our favorite.  We were full by then so we didn't finish it.

Round 4 was dessert.  I ordered a trio of creme brulees.  Creme brulee is one of my favorite desserts and this didn't disappoint.  The flavors were chocolate, green tea, and vanilla.

Oh, I forgot to mention our drinks.  Clayton had a beer sampler and I had 2 martinis.  The first martini was a blueberry lemon drop and the second one was pear.  They were both good but the pear one was my fave.
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Friday, August 02, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge, Painting, and Disney Magic Bands

Hayden, Jasmine, and Emerson being silly

Our besties, the Barnes', came to stay with us last weekend.  We miss them so much!  I wish that we lived near them in Raleigh.  Anyway, the guys took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge on Saturday.  My sweet cousin works there and gave us free passes.  They had a blast in the waterpark while Natascha and I went to IKEA.  We had a fun time shopping but the boys were happy to have missed out, lol. 

At IKEA, I just couldn't resist buying the boys an easel and watercolor paints.  They have both been wanting to paint for a while now.  After the first 30 seconds of setting it up, I realized that I should have bought 2 easels because they fought over it immediately.  Ugh.  Lesson learned.

Check out our new Magic Bands from Disney!  We are so lucky.  There were 4 resort hotels chosen to participate in a test using these new devices and Yacht Club was one of them.  The testing phase is 8/2-8/25.  Normally, these bands are gray but you can customize them beforehand if you do so within a certain timeframe.  I love the cute box presentation!

So what is do these bands do?  Well, they are essentially the same thing as the Key to the World cards that you get when you check into a Disney resort.  They will open our room door, get us into the parks, be used to charge things to my credit card, and they are preloaded with 3 fastpass + times per day (4 fastpasses on the days that we go to the Magic Kingdom).  I picked out our fastpass + times recently and now we know what time we can do things like Space Mountain before we even leave home.  Considering that the parks are going to be at a high rate of occupancy during our trip, this will be invaluable in saving us time.  At first I thought it would be a pain in the butt scheduling everything so much but it worked right into my plans rather easily.  On most days, I have us riding the 3 biggest attractions in each park as soon as my schedule says we will be there.  All the fastpasses I have are back-to-back timewise.  In Hollywood Studios, that means that we will ride the biggest 3 rides (Tower of Terror, Rockin' Rollercoaster, and Toy Story Mania) in the morning and be done with those by lunchtime at the Sci-Fi Dine-In.  In Magic Kingdom, we will ride all the mountains (Space, Splash, and Big Thunder) and Dumbo first thing.  Why Dumbo?  Well, you have to do it once each trip.  You just have to.  Any Disney veteran knows that it has an incredibly slow line though and I hate waiting forever in that line.  Space Mountain is worth waiting for but Dumbo?  No way. 
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