Reminiscing on the Summer of 1996

This weekend was the perfect beginning to a new summer. Its going to be an awesome one unlike any other. My daughter is at a wonderful age of imagination and excitement. At her request, we found her a train ride. They have a fairly long mini train ride through the forest at Wheaton Park not far from where we live. It is so magical to see something through a child's eyes. I am so glad to get a second glimpse into the simple joys in life that I have shrugged off. To remember how it used to feel to run through the spray of a running hose. To rediscover that there is nothing wrong with only eating your favorite part of chocolate glazed brownie and wear it on your face.

Summer gets me nostalgic for my childhood. The summer in particular that I miss most often took place in Syracuse, Utah around age 12.
I just graduated elementary school and was on top of the world. Not a little kid anymore but not quite needing a real bra ( : My "neighborhood" consisted of two parallel culdesacs with a street above and below each all filled with families with kids. To the west were spooky corn fields and a big pit we rode our bikes down. To the north were new houses being constructed that we used as playhouses and jungle gyms. To the south were our schools and a tiny grocery store named Hamblin's where we would buy dime candy and potato logs. That summer I wore nothing but short shorts, t-shirts, and Nike basketball shoes. I spent every day trying to prove my equality on the basketball court with the neighborhood boys. I never got more satisfaction than when my skills, and his lack, started to frustrate Aaron Callister. I was no longer in the talent league of his little brother and was a real competitor at Horse. I would get those boys and occasionally some girls to play horse my way where instead of getting a letter when you missed a shot you would have to complete a humiliating task (such as lick the pavement or switch hats with me for a week). When we played actual basketball games, most of the neighborhood boys joined, young and old. My brother included. I miss that. Having that in common with him. Miraculously, I didn't feel like a girl during the games. I got hurt along with the rest of them, but we just kept playing. Well sometimes some of the younger boys would cry and go home. I am grateful that I was accepted as a dude and actually have been able to replicate that in several friend groups, with varying success, since then. Being a guy is very relaxing and carefree. Girls are great friends too, but just different because they are always thinking about seemingly serious things. 
The best part of the summer happened in the dark. Night games! For some reason, time or dead brain cells, I cannot recall the exact rules of our favorite night game. What I remember is all of us cool kids hid all over the culdesac my house was in. No yard or window well was off limits. Well maybe the Loves because they were ornery kid-less freaks. Obviously someone had to be the one to find the hiders. We would get up and move to different hiding spots. Sometimes sticking together and other times taking it solo. I have no idea how or when the game was won. I just remember everyone having the time of their lives... or me! Eventually the littlest kids or the kids with strict parents had to go in to bed, but the rest of us would hang around outside and talk  and explore the darkness till like 11 pm. And that was soo dang late!
Wouldn't it be fun to go back for a day? What was your favorite summer?


Costa Vida Chicken Recipe

What I made for dinner tonight was extremely easy and tastier than I anticipated. I didn't think that an impostor recipe for Costa Vida Chicken could live up to my expectations for what homemade Costa Vida should taste like. But it was dang good. You should try it.
I didn't take a picture so just make it and you'll see it for yourself.
You need 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
A bottle of Italian Dressing 16 oz. (I used light)
3 cloves garlic
1TB Cumin
1TB Chili Powder
Cook on high in the crock pot for 4 hours.
Shred Chicken and cook for another hour

I served the chicken over a pan fried soft tortilla. Just stick a regular tortilla in a Pam sprayed pan and cook each side for a couple minutes. I think eating it this way makes it so much better.
I topped it with salad, black beans, ranch, and the chicken.


Look at my awesome (Grand)Mother's Day Card!

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.
Thanks Shutterfly! They are gonna credit me $10 for sharing this with you.

Our First Family Photo Shoot

Aurora, age 2

Aurora is a lively girl. She doesn't spend much time in one place. She loves to go to play in her new sandbox and go to the park. She loves to have one of her parents hold her while the other chases her. She calls this game "Getchu" (get you). Aurora loves robots. Her favorite shows are Wall E and Team Umizoomi. She especially likes the Umizoomi episode called "Cuckoo" which has characters called cuckoo bears in it. Many times when I ask her a question about what she sees when we are outside or who did something she will reply "cuckoo bears". She likes to tell me what she loves. "I love a cake. I love a candy. I love a robot." We play a game in the car where I say "I love Aurora" and she replies "I love a Momma." She loves to eat noodles and drink "juice" pop. She and the cat Cabello get along well. When he is laying out in the sun, she likes to go lay by him. Normally he avoids staying to close to her since she isn't too gentle with him, but the other day she called to him outside and he came. Aurora still uses her binky and loves her little yellow ducky blanket. She likes to sing twinkle twinkle little star when she is supposed to be napping. She sings the alphabet song and counts to 12. Not perfectly, but still I think shes a genius for even trying. She loves her "pa pa" (Brady's dad) and tells me she misses him all the time. She got so used to getting presents last month that she is disappointed when she wakes up and there isn't any presents and often tells Brady to bring her one home when he leaves for work. Aurora is still very sensitive to sound and has a hard time playing with other kids who make a lot of noise. She cries when kids scream or cry. She is also very sensitive about having her teeth brushed or her hair washed or combed. She seems to show all the signs that she is ready to be potty trained except for the actual desire. She told me yesterday "I am NOT going in the potty" and refuses to sit on her potty without her diaper on.Aurora is a very good communicator and I am enjoying hearing the things that are on her mind. She is very concerned about her things and will point out to me that what she is holding is "Aurora's. Not for Lola." Lola is a friend about her age. I am starting to see her play pretend with me. She will try to get me to pretend that something is happening just for fun. It is so fun!  This is my favorite age so far.
She is a smart, sassy, beautiful little girl whom I love so very much!


Me and My Lovey

Aurora's fever got to 103.9 degrees on Thursday. She just wanted to be held and rocked. She is not a snuggler so I was in heaven. I hated to know that she wasn't feeling well but was truly thankful that I got the opportunity to spend all day hugging this precious beautiful girl that was mine.
 I think that has been one of the most beautiful things about being a parent for me. I am someone's main person. She trusts me more than anyone else and I make everything all better for her. I have felt special bonds with kids, especially my nephews, but I knew that I could never compare to the bond they had with their mothers. And that's a beautiful thing.
I try to make Aurora feel special and important, but really I think she does a better job for me.
Now that you've had a second for that to digest, I just need to say how incredibly sick I am of the whiny sick baby routine. Its been 4 days!! Snap out of it. And when will the vomit smell disapear from the carpet?!