Bramell, Party of Five: May 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Water Park Fun

As part of my affiliation with the Arkansas Women Bloggers, my family got invited to attend a free preview of the new Rogers Aquatics Center last Saturday.  It's not even open to the public yet; talk about exciting!

Since I don't live in Benton County, I'd not really paid much attention to the buzz about Rogers getting a "water park."  I thought, "Meh. A city pool. Big whoop."  After getting to actually see it and use it, let me say this:  Y'all. This ain't no city pool.  The Rogers Aquatics Center will officially open to the public tomorrow.  We are so happy that we got to see it first.  Let me give you a little pictorial tour.

This is what we called the "Big Daddy" Slides, although those aren't their true names, of course.  I'm sad to say that we didn't get to try them out because we spent our whole day in the kiddie area, which is to be expected.

Being outnumbered by our three small children made for an interesting dynamic at the water park.  There are so many attractions for the adults (48" and up), but it's impossible for us to split up and leave a 1:3 parent to kid ratio.  So, we hung out at the kids' area and in the lazy river the whole time.  No complaining here. In fact, my kids were thrilled!  Except Girl Twin, who never went into the water over her knees.  I think maybe  because it was the first truly warm day we'd had, and the water was freezing!  Or maybe, it was because she was afraid of the giant bucket of water that would periodically dump in the kids' area at Otter Holler.

A few days after this, I was talking to Big Sis and Girl Twin about the water park. I asked Girl Twin why she didn't want to get in the water and she answered, "the bucket."  Big Sis calmly replied, "It's just water. Not like it's hot sauce or something."  What??

You can find out more info about the Aquatics Center on the link above. Here are some of the highlights and a few of my observations/opinions:

--Don't let the admission price scare you; it's worth every penny.  This place is new, clean and has so much to offer the whole family.  They have a discounted admission from 4-8pm, which is what we'll probably do.  Four hours is plenty for little ones, and will get us out of the hottest part of the day.

--There is a full service concession stand with very fair pricing.  We had hot dogs and pizza while we were there.   You can also find burgers, popcorn, ice cream and other snacks.

--The dressing rooms are very nice with showers and changing areas.

--There are pavilions available to rent for birthday parties and company outings.

--Children must be age 12 or older to be left alone without parents.  But, the cool thing is, they have fantastic security systems to protect all the kids.  Many, many cameras to watch anything that is suspicious and even the parking lot area.

So, if you live around here, please go check this place out. You won't be sorry.  What a great attraction we have right here so close to home!  I have a feeling my kiddos will be asking to go many times this summer.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It

Ham & Mozzarella Pizza Bites

As you probably know by now, we have a certain affection for Petit Jean Ham here in the Bramell house.  After eating ham about 10 different ways, and in 10 different dishes, I ran across this recipe and thought it would be perfect for us. It didn't have any real directions, only photos, so I had to make it up as I went along.

Upon looking at my finished product, I declared this experiment my first real "Pinterest fail," strictly based on how it looked.

But then we TASTED IT.  Yummm. Not a Pinterest fail at all, my friends.  We gobbled it up and I even made it again for a potluck at work earlier this week.  Enjoy!

I used only diced ham slices and mozzarella, but you could easily adapt this recipe and use veggies and other meats, too.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keeping the Tooth Fairy Busy

This girl.  Those top two teeth were loose F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  Big Sis would not let us near her mouth; no touching, no wiggling and especially no pulling!  They dangled until it affected her speech and the look of her smile.  We were sure that she would swallow one or both of them, like the bottom tooth she already lost.

After I tried (and failed) for a couple of nights to get my hands in her mouth while she slept, we awoke one morning to find Tooth 1 just laying on her pillow.  No mess, no blood and no pain.  She went on to school to show off to her class.

The very same evening, the kids were wrestling in the living room while I made dinner.  I was not at all surprised to hear a screech and see blood on the floor.  Boy Twin bumped her mouth and knocked out Tooth 2!  Big Sis was near hysterics, but I have to admit, I turned my head away and giggled.

Here are the before and after photos.  Let's just say the Tooth Fairy had to take out a loan that day.  And now, she has another loose one on bottom. It's going to be a fun summer trying to feed her corn on the cob!

How have your kids handled losing teeth? Excited or scared, like Big Sis?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Twin Tuesday

 Here's a picture of me and my little monkeys snuggling on Mother's Day.  The big monkey didn't roll out of bed until 9:00am.  Lucky her, getting to sleep in on Mother's Day.
Apparently, we are also raising a nudist toddler. Girl Twin is naked about 75% of the time we are at home.  I guess I can't really blame her.
We did get to head out later for the "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" live show at the Walton Arts Center. It was really fun and we loved it! Then an early dinner out on Dickson Street with my crew--great day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Twin Tuesday

So, it's been a long time since I went on a blog rant here.  Dear friends, I've found just the thing to set me off.  Get comfy because this may take awhile.

As I was scanning my Facebook feed last night, I found this jewel: My Wife is Expecting Twins and I Am Not Happy About It from a recent edition of The Huffington Post.  Stop what you are doing and read it so you will understand the rest of my post.

OK, first off, I am very open-minded and I believe that everyone has the right to an opinion and to share that opinion.  Taking that into consideration, I am totally appalled by what this dude has written.  I can say that because I CARRIED TWO KIDS IN MY BELLY FOR 36 WEEKS.  As a rebuttal, here is what I want to say--

1.  This is NOT about YOU, mister.  She is doing the hard part and don't you ever forget it.  There is no way for me to explain what it's like to tote around two growing babies inside you.  It's scary, uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  It's exhausting; and it's the hardest thing I've ever done.  I'd think it may be comparable to carrying around a 20-pound bowling ball for about four months without ever putting it down, not even to sleep.  There's no going back now; she needs your support now more than ever--not you grumbling about how you wish she wasn't having twins.

2.  Nobody, I mean nobody, could have been more shocked than I was on finding out we were expecting twins.  For God's sake, I was 19.5 weeks along--this is something most people find out much sooner.  We were scared, too.  That's OK.  We were scared we couldn't afford all the formula and diapers...daycare...a bigger house.   It will pass, but something new will always pop up to scare you more.  

3.  Since you already have a kid, you knew what you were getting into.  I'm sorry your child was difficult and doesn't sleep well.  That comes with the territory of parenting.  You will eventually get sleep, it just won't come right away.  You deal with it, just like we do, going to work drop dead tired every single day.  We're still alive.

4.  It takes two very committed parents to take care of twins (plus one), I promise you this.  I can tell this guy isn't going to be much help.  THANK GOD for my superdad husband.  You know what? He changed the twins' first dirty diapers because I was still out cold from anesthesia.  You know what else?  He didn't complain about it.  Just like he never complains about getting only five hours of sleep at night, or not getting to watch SportsCenter or go drinking with the boys.

5.  Sure, having twins is overwhelming at times.  Being outnumbered by your children is difficult, period.  There will be times when you don't have enough hands to accommodate everyone; when one baby is vomiting all  over you while the other is  blowing out diapers.  Believe me, I know.  You'll have to figure out a system to feed both babies at the same time, before they can hold their heads up.  You know what? You will.  There will be times that you are so tired that you can't remember what day it is, or you find your car keys in the refrigerator.

Then the day will come when those same crying, demanding babies beg you to push them on the backyard swing.  They will cry for you to play catch with them, even though they can't catch yet.  And that, my friend, is freaking fantastic.  Those are the moments when all the sleep deprivation, the vomit and poop don't matter anymore.  When your little 2-year-old looks at you and says, "You're my best friend," nothing else matters.  Just wait for it.

6. Is it really fair to say you wish she wasn't having twins? I guess if you are all about being honest with your feelings, good for you.

Look at this:

How can you look at that and say you wished one had a "genetic anomaly?"  Really? That's selfish.  How can you say that you're regretful of getting pregnant?  

Those babies need me.  They need me to love them, take care of them, protect them and teach them how to be good people.  Just like your twins need you, buddy.  Quit whining about it and do your job.

These sweet babies are about to turn three.  I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, and they never had any problems.  I consider myself lucky to have them and wouldn't change a thing.  Yes, sometimes the fighting, biting and bickering are enough to make me run away...but I never get past the driveway.  They are mine and I love them with all my heart.  I cannot imagine my life without these two little mischievous, ornery, stubborn and precious kiddos.  

And I'm not too chicken to use my real name.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Conversation With My Kids

Last night, the kids were playing at my feet in the kitchen (as usual).  Boy Twin was being mean to the dog, but I'm still not sure what happened.  He probably either hit her or threw something at her.  Bless her heart, Fergie puts up with a lot of crap from those kids.

Big Sis:  Aww, Fergie, are you OK? (giving her a hug)


Girl Twin:  She's not talking.

Those kids.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Pinterest Made Me Do It

I love, love, love to eat chicken Parmesan; in fact, that's what we had for Christmas dinner last year. But I don't love to cook it.  It's a little bit more time consuming than I like, especially on weeknights.
SO...when I saw this little gem on Pinterest, you bet your hiney I pinned it.  When I clicked the link and saw that the blog title was named "Chicken Parmesan Casserole--HOLY CRAP!" then I knew it had to be good.  You can't just blindly make that kind of statement without backing it up.  The blog is very cool too; these girls apparently spent an entire summer making recipes from Pinterest and blogging about it. 
The only thing I modified in their recipe is that I used thawed chicken breast tenders and cubed them, instead of whole breasts.  Put a little olive oil and garlic in the bottom of a baking dish, then put in the chicken pieces.  I covered it with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese and crushed croutons.  Repeat the layering process. Bake on 350 for about 45 minutes, I think.  I was so surprised that the croutons gave it the taste of breading on the chicken.  I served it over bowtie pasta because that's how we roll.  Add a salad and some bread and it's done.  DELISH!

If I'm remembering right, even the kiddos ate this one.
Sorry, Blogger is giving me fits today so my photos are jacked up.  Oh well.

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