Friday, July 03, 2015

A Couple Days at Callaway Gardens

After 2 days of being on my feet non-stop (from party-prep) I was ready to relax! We did just that on the beach on Robin Lake at Callaway Gardens. We have been there a couple times before. Once on a day trip with my parents when Mateo was a baby, and another time we spent a couple nights when I was about to pop with Marcelo - our last trip as a family of three.
Ernesto bought a golf package and we took my parents (who were in town for Marcelo's birthday) as a late father's day gift. My dad bet Ernesto that we would not be out of the house by noon (Ernesto said 7am! ha) but we actually left by 9am, so I thought that was pretty good.

After the hour+ drive, the kids were excited to reach the beach and like I've said before, when they are happy, I am happy.
No waves, and practically bath water, Robin Lake is a great place to spend a day!
Here I am showing off my 22 week belly.
On a side note: I feel pretty good about how I look here guys, but when the skirt came off that changed. I was like a sausage stuffed in this non-maternity one piece. That suit saw it's last beach/pool until next year. Now that all of the sugar cookies, cake and ice cream from Marcelo's party has set in, I will definitely need to buy a maternity suit.
Everyone was pretty tired. The sun just does that to you right? We ordered take out BBQ from Three Little Piggies and ate outside the Mountain Creek Inn (which is right down the street from the park entrance). They have a tranquil courtyard with tables.
Tranquil, that is, until we arrived.
The koi had to do some fancy swimming to keep up.
We stayed at this Inn back in 2013 and we really liked it. The package Ernesto bought was for two golfers in one room. It was probably not intended for four other family members to tag along, but we are a close family. Yep, we did it...all six of us in one room!
Of course, the boys did not nap that day, and Marcelo was so overtired that he couldn't go to sleep. At 8pm, my mom and I loaded them up in the car. We were going to buy some breakfast items, and in 2 minutes, both were out like a light. Whew! So much easier. Unfortunately that didnt last long, and Marcelo woke up screaming 2x during the night. I had to take him out to the car. UGH! That NEVER happens and of course it was a night we were sharing a hotel room! No bueno - Sorry padres!
The next morning this guy woke up as happy as can be. We woke up tired, but can you be annoyed with a face like this?
The guys had an early tee time, so my mom and I headed into the Gardens. First stop, the butterfly garden.

The boys now know what a gift shop is, and it is never much fun to venture in with them.
No Marcelo, I am not buying you four squishy catapilars! Mateo had about 5 things picked out, but we finally narrowed them down to two bug catching kits.
These were at total hit, and although overpriced (as most gift shop items are) wood buy for a couple hours of entertainment. The boys kept their eyes on the ground waiting for a bug to walk by. They were a great team!
What we ended up finding were tiny frogs. So exciting!
We captured 4, but after an hour or so they started really slowing down in the cages, so the boys agreed to set them free.
We sat through most of the birds of prey show, before needing to escape. They are not quite ready for bird lectures yet. Watching the fish and turtles is more their style. Anything where they don't have to be quiet is more their style.
Oh and running with no restrains.
These troopers fell asleep like clockwork while my mom and I strolled arouNd the art exhibit inside.
We sat in rocking chairs chatting until the guys were finished golfing and joined us outside for more adult conversation. We made our way back to Atlanta that evening and my parents flew home the next morning. Although they may not want to share a hotel room with us again (always an adventure!) I think they had great time. I know we did!
If you live in Atlanta, Callaway Gardens is definitley worth a trip. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Marcelo Turns TWO with a Dinosaur Party!!!!

A couple years ago I bought a set of dinosaur cookie cutouts at Homegoods. As Marcelo's birthday approached I couldn't really pinpoint a favorite "thing" for him. (A day after the party Ernesto said BUGS! You should have had a bug party! NOW you tell me!?)
He IS facinated with bugs and that would've been a great idea, had you mentioned it BEFORE the party mi amor. I went with the dinosaurs...starting with this cute invitation I found on Etsy.
I asked the designer to add a little picture of the birthday boy, which she did at no extra charge.
My mom flew down on Wednesday night and on Thursday we baked theese cute cookies, the inspiration of the party!

Actually all of the baking was done ahead of time. Im such a planner! (wow, I never get to write that!) I used my moms chocolate zucchini cake recipe for the cupcakes, made this chocolate buttercream frosting and piled it high.
The plastic dinosaurs were from Target and I spray painted them white (toxic?) and warned everyone not to eat them. I bought a cute 8" cake pan and plate then tried a new recipe. A White cake with a raspberry filling/topping. Im so glad I did. It will be my go to white cake recipe from now on. What made it so special? Almond extract in the batter. Oh and a fresh raspberry sauce in the middle and spread on top. It was divine!
I finished off the sides with the chocolate buttercream frosting, and added a bigger dinosaur topper.

Im so dissapointed in my pictures by the way. When the party was starting I quickly snapped pictures with my phone. I need to pull out my big camera for occasions like this. Duh Cindy!? The iphone is amazing, but it can't do everything.
The night before, we hung up the recycled "Feliz Cumpleaños" banner and Marcelo's monthly photos from the first two years of his life.
( I am so glad I took the time to do this. It's great to see the changes. I will actually have a break from the monthly shots until baby #3 arrives. Whew!)
We blew up some balloons and I left a few presents on the table for him to wake up to. Of course big brother woke up first and thought he could open birthday boy's presents and just show him what he got. Ha! I held him off, but Mateo definitely helped with the opening.

Legos and walkie talkies. The ladder was kind of a joint present, but isn't that a win-win? Both boys are excited and happy. (I do that for Ernesto all the time. I buy him a gift that I can enjoy too. Makes sense, right? Surprise Chicago trip!? Win-win!)
My mom was such a big help (per her usual). She filled these little paper cups with treats and helped me set everything out just minutes before the first guests arrived.

It was so cute. (not that you can tell with these shitty pics! ugh!)
My dad ran electric into our shed for the party. (I hope my dad just busted up laughing.)
This project that took a little longer than he expected. (isn't that always the case?) When I finally cried and told him that I didn't need light in the shed as much as I needed shredded meat for the tacos, he promptly heeded the crazy pregnant daughters wishes and shredded all of the meat. THEN he ran to Office Depot to pick up this print of Marcelo for the table.
I love you so much dad! Thanks for your help!! Ernesto has found it very handy having light out there!
After everyone stuffed themselves with tacos de puerco y carne, beans, and several salsas we sang to the birthday boy and cut the cake.
Then it was time for this beast. I was so happy when I found this dino online at Target.

We are earning a reputation for our parties and piñatas. I don't think we will ever be able to have birthday party without one. And why would we? Nothing and I mean NOTHING gets kids excited like a piñata.
Marcelo is really getting better at hitting everything piñatas too. Practice makes perfect.
Of course he still needs a few more parties to catch up to Mateo. This boy is almost a profesional.
All the other kids gave it swing after swing....
This dinosaur was a tough one. Finally the strap broke and the dino fell to the ground. Since the candy didn't fly out, Ernesto stuck his hand in the busted head and threw the candy to the swingers below.
I think everyone had a great time at the party...I know the birthday bay did! Thanks so everyone who came out to celebrate with us!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A New Couch...Finally!

We have been long overdue for a new couch. Five years ago, I bought one on ....wait for it....Craigslist, and I loved the mid-century lines.
My intentions all along were to have it recovered. Of course the longer I sit with an idea (or plan) in my head, the more likely it is to change. Kids came, dirt piled on the fabric, a spring popped (it was great for jumping!) and I gave up.
I have been in love with the Maxwell sofa from Restoration Hardware for several years. Ernesto's brother has it and it is the BOMB!
However, I just couldn't justify spending $4k on a couch. With 2 toddler boys and another baby on the way, I know my furniture still has years of serious wear and tear to look forward to.
BUT I couldn't stop thinking leather was the way to go! Leather lasts a long time and cleans up easily. For a couch that was going to take me through the dirtiest years of my kids' lives, my budget was somewhere around $1000, and I have never seen a good looking leather couch for that price...not even at IKEA. So, of course, I constantly had one eye on Criagslist.
I found this one last week. Seller was asking $1100. She had a matching loveseat which I did not need.
There were a couple things that bothered me. 1. The color. I was really wanting a more saddle color instead of chocolate brown. 2. The cusions seemed a little too puffy in back, and I really love the 2 cushion set up vs. three. 3. It looks like the leather had a seam right across the seat?? No.
I was reaching guys...ready to get rid of my current couch and basically SETTLING for something good enough.
Ernesto finally agreed to go see this couch with me, but by that time, the seller decided they didn't want to sell their set separately. She apologized, but in the same text told me that the JCPenny Outlet had some of their "Signature Sofas" on sale for $999 and looked very similar to hers.
I immediately went online to check out the sofa and my jaw dropped. I got so excited. Yes! It was almost an exact match to the Restoration couch! Nine feet long, only two cushions AND it had feather cushions!
Yeah, online it was one sale for $3500!? But at the outlet $1000. I was sold! You know I live for a good deal! We were there when they opened Saturday morning and had probably 10-12 couches to choose from.
Each one varied in color, some leaning red-ish and that was not appealing to me. We did however, find one that was perfect!
So, can you tell which one is the Restoration couch and which is from Penny's?
Pretty tough right?
We are pretty happy with our purchase. And although it is not a lux depth (of 42") like the Resto couch, it is still long enough for two adults to stretch out and relax. I'd like to think that is worth the $3500 savings.


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