Friday, December 30, 2011

Last post of 2011

I know it's not the last day of the year, but I've been such a slacker, I don't expect to make another post in the next day or two...sooooo, this is my non-official last post of 2011. I'm choosing to call it non-official in case I surprise myself and log on tomorrow or Sunday! :) hahahah

So, we celebrated Christmas just the 4 of us, like I like it. I like getting up really late, staying in my jammies all day, eating whenever I feel like cooking and just chillin'. We had to wake the kids up at about 9:30 since they were OUT. Travis was quite involved in the laying out of gifts. He bought Sara a guitar and wanted to make sure she didn't see it before she actually got out to the living room. He's pretty cute. :) The girls got spoiled, as usual. Nisa didn't get a guitar, but she got money for her Wisconsin trip next month. Sara got Uggs, Nisa got dishes - plates and bowls for when she moves out. :) It was a good day. We had a simple ham dinner and thanked God for sending Jesus. Watched some tv, then after a wonderful day, went to bed early. :) Perfect.

My timeline here is a little backward, I just realized, but I'm going to tell you about Nisa's graduation which was Dec. 14. :) She actually graduated in Aug, but they only have one ceremony a year, so she walked in Dec. She was all cute in her official Pastry chef uniform and her pretty blue Magna Cum Laude cords. She met up with her sweet friends and off they went, giggling and being crazy. The ceremony was nice, and we even got to see friends who we've known since Santa Barbara (their son graduated too). We're so proud of her. She still loves her job at Swiss Bakery. She doesn't love getting up early, but likes getting home early.

She's also discovered that she loves Bass Pro Shop. We went up to the one near Baltimore the other day and she went crazy. about 90% of the people in there had camo on. She was a happy girl. My little redneck girl. She got some cam flannel sheets, a can koozie, and looked at and almost drooled on the knives and guns. Oh, and the boats and 4-wheelers. :)

Yes, then there's Sara. Sara is Sara. Going to school, sleeping, spending time with her friends, Younglife, church group, and TONS OF TIME playing her guitar. She's learning lots of new songs. We love to hear the music coming from her room. She also still loves learning new make-up tricks and hair styling things. Who knows...maybe someday she will be doing make-up to the stars. :) Although, I'd rather see her be happy in Portland or Seattle. We'll see.

I mentioned to a friend that Sara had been sick EVERY Christmas. She asked if we had a live tree, and said Sara might be allergic to it....ugh! It makes perfect sense. She's sick.. . LITERALLY..every Christmas. So, this year may have been our last Real Christmas tree. Dang. Anisa and I looked for a fake tree the day after Christmas, but they were all gone. Too bad they have sales for months leading up to Christmas so the after Christmas sales aren't that great. Stupid stores ruined my "day after" shopping days. The day after Thanksgiving sales aren't good cuz they are open on Thanksgiving.....I miss the old days when stores were closed on holidays. jerks.

On to happier items. We have red house finches bedding in our tree at night and we love it. Every evening at dusk, they sit on our deck until it's time to go into their little sleep tree. Then, between 5 and 7 a.m. they get up and sing their sweet songs on the deck or trees around. Man, I love birds, and squirrels! :) heehee

Our winter has been very warm. Today it's supposed to get into the 50s again. Next week, they say it'll get into the 30s. We'll see. No snow at all this winter which makes me sad.

My mom came up for my birthday and so we decided to take a trip to New York to see my cousin and go pub hopping. We had a blast. April's friend, Laurie met us in the city and we had a really great time at a pub called McSorleys. Very fun bar, very fun people, yummy beer. We also cruised through New York City in the car which April said was better than walking cuz we were warm and we covered A LOT of area. :) All the stores were decorated for Christmas so it was very pretty and bright.

If you want to look at my pics, you can view them on shutterfly. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Things to report

Well, it's been a little while since I've written, but not as long as some of the times I've gone with no reports. There are a few things in the Nolen family that have happened recently. Here goes...

Sara has had a bit of a dilemma. She says she has lost her passion for dance, at least on the team, so she made up her mind to quit the dance team. On Oct 20, she faced the coaches and told them her decision. It was hard for her, but she handled it like an adult and is happy about her choice. She has gotten to hang out with friends who she didn't get to hang out with while on the team because of the huge time commitment for DT and is even planning to go on a church retreat. She loves her DT family and will always treasure her memories of her time on the team, but this year is a new chapter. She's a senior and wants to make it spectacular. She's actually gonna enjoy her first long weekend this week coming up. Mon and Tues are days off of school, and normally we'd be at Dance Camp, but not this year. We might even make a trip to NY to see April and Chris....and MAC, Macy's, Times Square, Lady Liberty...... :) She's a lot less stressed and even got a B+ on her math test (she's not a math girl, and struggles with it, so this is awesome news. :)). Now, my reaction is more sadness. I didn't quit the team, and I think they need me! :) heehee Actually, I've been working on bags to sell as a fundraiser at the end of this month, so I'll still be kinda involved. Plus, I still work with Tammy and talk to Dianna every day (DT moms), so I'm still in the loop. I even told them I could still chaperone for Nationals. We'll see! :) Here she is with some friends on their way to an away football game. They had a "white out", that's why they are dressed in white (trash bags). They had lots of fun..
As many of you also have heard, we got snow on the 29th. Yeah, it came down, but nothing stuck cuz the ground was pretty warm and it was rainy along with the snow, but you can see that we got big flakes coming down. It sure was pretty. It's been cold lately, and it seems like it went from HOT to COLD real quick. I guess that's usually how it seems to go around here. We go from air conditioning to heat. Poor little heat pump. :) heehee
Last night was Halloween. 35 bucks worth of candy and not many kids. Dang. Now, I have a ton of candy in the house. Guess we better keep running to work it off. :) Now, if I can just stay motivated and work out time to go. Well, stop making excuses, that's what I need to do. :) Sara and some of her friends went out trick or treating for a bit after they went and got $2 booritos at Chipotle. Those crazy burritoholics. :) Here are the girls....We went out and took some pics hoping to start on our Christmas letter/card/pic for this year. I'm saving the family pics for the card, but here are my beautiful girls. I just love them so much. :) Especially when they're being sweet. :) heehee We had fun and wanted to at least get some pics with the fall colors. The trees are so confused this year with the weird weather we've had, so the colors didn't seem to be as vibrant as normal, but they are still really pretty. This was at Mercer Lake right here by our house. We even saw some little tiny fishies. Yeah, Anisa has taken up fishing. Her friends like to fish, so they go her "hooked". She went and bought a fishing pole and even a little tackle box with hooks, bobbers, and all that stuff. She wants to make a trip to Bass Pro Shop soon. We like to tease her about it, but she doesn't care. She likes to go out with her friends and fish. Crazy kids.I'm working on making bags, and today I'm going to work at Tammy's. She's got a lot of events and baskets to make and get ready for. Her business is taking off and I'm so proud of my friend. For those of you who I don't normally talk to, Tammy is one my Dance Mom friends, who has a gift basket business. She quit her full-time job to get her business running again (she's a single mom, so this was a GIGANTICALLY HUGE step). Anyway, the girl is on fire getting all kinds of new accounts with some big companies. I hope she makes it big. Oh, here's her website in case you want to check it out...Talk Of the Town Gifts....we ship anywhere in the country! :) I'll put extra love in any basket you want! :) heehee This is a picture of a luncheon she did for NEW - Networking Executive Women. Mali, the speaker of the day was awesome. Check out her book, A Million Fireflies. This woman has been through some crazy stuff in her life, starting with her family fleeing their home in Laos in the middle of the night when she was just 4. If you want to be inspired, get the book. :)As usual, you can click on any picture to make it bigger. :) So, now you've been updated. Hope you all have a spectacular day. Love and kisses!! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Working girl

Anisa finally got herself a big girl job. :) She is now an employee of The Swiss Bakery in Springfield, VA. :) She's kind of a "floater" right now and doing a little bit of anything they need. She's made ice cream, delivered goods to the Burke store, made cookies and stocked the store and freezer. She likes the job, but is still getting used to having to get up and go to work. She commented that she hopes she gets a day off soon because she's so tired...well, she's on her 4th day of work.....welcome to adulthood my precious child. :) It kinda sucks, but when she gets that paycheck, she's gonna be happy.

How did this all happen, you ask? Well, after she graduated school, we kept telling her she needed to get out there and find a job. I had found the Swiss Bakery a long time ago and she even was referred there by one of her chefs at school. She had an interview a couple of weeks ago at a fancy french bakery in DC, but the owner interviewed her and she said she thought maybe English is his second language because she could barely understand him. She was not excited about getting a job there, but knew it would be good experience. Luckily after a few not returned calls by the bakery, she gave up. I kept bugging her to download the application from Swiss Bakery and just turn it in. She finally did and went into the Burke store and the very sweet manager there told her the owner was in Switzerland and she does the interviews. She'd be back by the weekend. Well, sure enough, Monday morning Anisa got an email asking if she could come in for an interview on Wed. She replied ABSOLUTELY. She was SO nervous and went in (I sat in the car waiting for her since we had errands to run before and after AND to give her that mommy support). About 45 minutes later, she returned and said she had a "stage" (working for free to see how things work) scheduled for Thursday. She had to be there at 8:00 a.m. and didn't know when she'd be done. I kept expecting a text from her telling me she was on her way home (I was working at Tammy's). Well, she just showed up at Tam's with a smile on her face. She said she had fun, was really tired, but they liked her so much, that instead of working for free, she was hired AND getting paid for Thursday. :) Since then she's had three 8-hour days. Today is her 4th day. Yesterday and today she had to be there by 7 a.m. Not super early in the Bakery world, but SUPER DUPER early in Anisa's world. We're pretty proud of her, and are trying to be supportive and understanding when she's tired and wants a day off. We tell her we know, and sorry that she's tired, but this is what adults have to do. Growing up stinks sometimes, but there are good things a PAYCHECK. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy stuff :)

Lots has been going on and I have been slacking getting this updated. Here goes...

Dance Team has been taking up some of our time. After the whole AGT thing, the team is getting back into the swing of the season. Homecoming is this week, so the team will perform at a school pep assembly, and the game and will be walking in the parade. It looks like the weather will be good. They were asked to perform at the Field of Screams this past weekend. It was pretty fun, even tho Sara and a few others HATE scary things...I know, strange that their theme is pretty much scary. :)
Biggest thrill? Deep Fried Oreos and Twinkies. :)
They also held a 2-day dance camp for littles. The DT taught the kids a routine and then the littles got to perform at a football game. The campers were so excited to perform and did a great job. I've been doing a little bit of shopping for the Homecoming performance (which I LOVE- shopping with other people's money - hee hee).

Renee was in town last week staying with friends down in Stafford, so i went to spend a couple of days with her and the kids and friends. :) It was fun, but it stinks that she's all the way in TX now. I guess it's ok, tho, since I'll get to see some of Texas when I go see her! :) We took the kids to Build A Bear. They had a blast.

Today, Anisa has a job interview at Swiss Bakery. We're super excited and hope she gets the job...for lots of reasons, but we think it will be an awesome experience and the people who own/work there are very nice. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I am sitting here so totally heartbroken for one of my dear friends. I just found out that in February of this year, Joe's body was done fighting CF and he went Home to live with the Lord.

I met this sweet lady in the late 80s when I subbed for her at work while she went off and got married (to a Coastie). I didn't really know her when I took the job, but we got to know each other and became FRIENDS. She is a person who would do anything for anyone. Super sweet.

In January of 1992 she gave birth to her precious son Joe. What a treasure he was to his mom and dad. He was such a little cutie guy. He was perfect in every way, but one....he was born with Cystic Fibrosis. CF if a genetic disease that affects the lungs and pancreas. I only know about this stupid disease, because my little brother was born with it. I wish I didn't know what it was. I wish it didn't exist.

As a Christian, there are things that I just don't understand but I trust that God has life taken care of, but I don't have to like parts of this life. I hate that there is disease, I hate that there is deep heartache. I love that He takes care of us when we are broken. He takes care of us when we hit the bottom and we have no way of getting up without His help. Joe was a Christian guy. I know where he is right now, and that makes me smile. He is not suffering any more. There are no more pills. No more hospital visits. No more needles.

I'm the most sad for my friend, Wende. I don't think I can even come close to imagining what she's had to go through this year. I'm thankful that she knows the Lord and will continue to look to Him for strength. I also know, that because of who she is, she has a lot of people to love and support her.

This is a sad post, and I apologize, but the main point of it is to ask you all for your prayers for Wende and Jerry and everyone who was touched by Joe's special life. I also would like to ask for prayers for my brother, Blake and another friend, Matt, who has CF and all the families affected by this stupid disease.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

College?? Psha...she's DONE!

Well, Anisa is now a certified Pastry Chef. She has her AA degree in Pastry and Baking. It's weird to think that I have a baby who is now done with one degree (she's not sure what's next).

On Wed, 9-21-11, we trecked into the city to the Building Museum for her Portfolio Show. All the graduates show off what they have learned/what they do. Some have their AA, some have finished their BA. There are culinary students, graphic artists, musicians, video artists....a little bit of everything artsy. :)

The day actually started on Tuesday. Anisa had to go into school to make her desserts. She chose to make french macarons. Macarons are actually like little puff cookies with a frosting-ish center. Lots of people know of the coconut macarOOns, but those are not the traditional french cookie. Macarons can be made of almost any flavor combination you want. She chose to make Orange Creamsicle (by Daddy's request), Lemon-Lime, and Raspberry. There is an exact method to making macarons (I found this blog and it tells an adorable story of making them and how they are so temperamental). The humidity in the air has to be just right, the batter has to be beaten just right, the oven temp has to be just right...there are many many ways to ruin the little cookies, and only a couple of ways to make them perfectly. They have to have a perfect "foot", and a perfectly domed little top. I'm so proud of my baby who made very nice looking and tasting french macarons...I didn't know she had it in her! :)So, on Wed, we drove into DC in rush hour traffic. Our normally 20-30 minute drive became an hour long stop and go fest. Luckily we had Toby Keith, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton to keep us company. Plus, we can always find stuff to talk about, other drivers to talk smack about, etc. :) We arrived at the Building Museum right on time. Anisa ran in to find her table and we started unloading. Luckily, her table was right between her 2 good friends from school, Shakyla and Sama'Ria.The idea of the Portfolio show (from what I can understand) is to basically show what they've made in their Capstone class. She had to "build" a bakery from the ground up. She had to find a property, shop for it - ovens, counters, sinks, tables, lamps, display cases, etc. then come up with her total business plan. She chose to name her "bakery" CRUMBS. She came up with her menu and logo. We had shopped and I had sewn for this event. We ran to Joann's and found some cute fabric to make her a tablecloth and a cute little apron. We hit the Container Store and found some little spice racks to display her little macarons. Target was where we found her little 3-tier dessert holder. Then off to Michaels for flowers and ribbon. She was set. Didn't really know what to expect once we got to the show, but her table turned out to be one of the most decorated/pretty tables. :) I helped her get her stuff inside, then headed home to get Travis. It only took me half hour to get home. :)Travis and I headed BACK into DC, found parking and went into the show. There were potential employers, teachers from the school and of course, friends and family. It was fun to see all the other chefs/artists and what they made. We walked around, tasted some of the other foods, looked at the art and listened to music. We chatted with some of the other students then went upstairs to watch our baby at work. We watched as people would stop at her table and she would explain her business and desserts. We really enjoyed seeing people's reactions to her macarons. As one of the chefs took a bite, we saw him nod his head positively. She smiled and chatted and just looked cute. :)She said she was nervous about the whole show, but when it was all finally over and done, she was disappointed that it was over. I was amazed to look through her portfolio to see all the work she had done to "build" her bakery. It was one of those "Wow, I didn't realize my kid could do something like that", proud mommy moments. Of course, I'm proud of my kids, they're awesome (except for those times when they're being little turds, but that's normal). But sometimes they do stuff that still shocks me. God really did give me some GOOD girls. I'm gonna really enjoy watching them as they become productive citizens....and I hope you all can enjoy some of Anisa's sweets someday. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some of my latest stuff

Well, I've been a little busy crafting lately. Lots of fabric, but not lots of quilts. BAGS! Yep, some might call me a bag lady, but it's just a phase. :) (*click on the pics to make them big).

It started when Sara needed a cosmetic bag for her AGT adventure. I looked at patterns/tutorials on the internet for a little bag that was easy to make. I found this awesome tutorial. I tried it and I.LOVE.IT! It's SO SUPER EASY and fast to make these little bags. I've made about 5 or 6 of them, since Sara's friends have seen them and have wanted them. Plus, my kids needed them. Oh, and btw, we ended up finding a Vera Bradley bag for Sara for her bigger stuff, but she uses her little cupcake bag for smaller things. :) Here's one of the little cupcake bags I did and one with Hello Kitty. Not loving the handles on the cupcake bag, but since I made this one, I've managed to perfect the handles. :)

While scanning through the tutuorials, I found this incredibly cute site/pattern. I made the little lunch bag cuz I liked the idea of it (it's the second tutorial down on the right side of her blog). After I made it, it was sitting around and I thought I'd better take it to LA in case I couldn't use my Eddie Bauer little backpack/purse (we were told we couldn't have any logo gear in the audience). This was THE.PERFECT.BAG for my sudoku book, The Help (which is a great book, go get it and read it), and lots of snacks (I was the snack mom). I put some iron-on vinyl inside in case any liquids spilled, but probably won't do that again. It's too crunchy. Anyway, here are 2 of them that I made...the purple one is the one I took to LA, the sushi one is on it's way to it's new home. :)

I also made this little pyramid/teepee bag that I found here. I like this tutorial, but I wish it was all on one page (you have to click on NEXT to see the next step). Oh well. I use it for my little tylenol, advil, pepto bismol, etc that I keep in my purse. :)

Another project that I've had in my brain for a while is a WSDT waterproof blanket for the cold, rainy, wet football games that we will be sitting through, starting this Friday night. This is the official logo of the team for now. Coach J made it and it's now on everything. :) heehee Anyway, this is just one of the tied fleece blankets, but I sewed on the logo made of silver metallic fabric, BUT inside, I sewed that rubberized flannel (you know the kind they make baby mattress covers out of). So, now when Sara sits on the damp, metal, freezing bleachers, she won't get wet OR freezing. :) It's THICK and HEAVY! But, I like it and I'm sure it will get lots of use and Sara will have lots of people huddling around her to snuggle in it.

So, now for the non-crafty picture. I found this while we were at Michael's yesterday and had to buy them. They're good, but I had to have them cuz of the name. :) heehee

Why were we at Michaels you ask? Well, Anisa will be all done with her AA degree in Baking and Pastry tomorrow. Today she will be cooking macarons all day at school, then tomorrow she'll present them to employers, chefs and family/friends. It's part of her capstone class. She had to "build" her bakery from the ground up. this is the final presentation, so yesterday we spent the day shopping for the last minute display items she needed. I will make a whole post on that after her presentation with pictures and everything. Of course, we're super proud of our girl. Now, she just needs to get a job! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Wow, I'm getting pressure to post, so I better do it before anyone kills any poor defenseless creatures! heehee Julie, I still love you, but I'm sad you didn't go make sure the little guy was dead. He maybe suffered a painful death.

Ok, on to happy things. As most of you know, Sara's dance team, The Fabulous WSDT, was on America's Got Talent. We left on August 1st thinking that we would be there for a week. That turned into 3.5 weeks, then a 4.5 day break then another week. It was fun, but super tiring and stressful for the kids and coaches. They had their first routine DOWN since it was their Nationals routine that they had been performing for a year (with a few tweaks/new music). But they had 3 days to make up, learn and clean their next 3 routines. Us parents were only there to be GoFers...Go fer lunch. Go fer make up. Go fer this and that. We also got to do a little sightseeing in LA/Bev Hills, so it was fun, I just with the kids could have done more playing. We DID get to take them to the Santa Monica pier one night and they had a great time, but at night, it's a little scary to take 17 teenagers who are cute to an amusement park type area with strangers. I've posted most of the pictures on Facebook, but I'll stick some on here too. :)

When we got home from our trip to CA, Sara had to start school. Lucky for her, we had major flooding in the area and school was canceled on Friday (the day after we got home). She started school yesterday AS A SENIOR! OMG. I can't believe it. Here's my baby on her first day...

I also finished a quilt on our little 4.5 day break to send to my friend Amber who just had her 3rd baby boy (pray for her). :) Her and her husband have rival college teams. She's an Iowa Hawkeye and he is an Ohio Buckeye. So, i thought it would be appropriate to make the quilt in their team colors. The pattern is called Anita's Arrowheads, but in our house, it's called Anisa's Arrowheads. My friend Ann Marie gave me the suggestion and it was a good one. Super fun pattern.

I'll post more pics later of all the fun I'm having making little bags. I'm on my way right now to make some more so I must quit for now. Have a super great day. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

obsess much

Ok, I have a new little sewing obsession. These little pouchy totes, bags, or whatever you wanna call them.....I call them TOTALLY FUN TO MAKE! :)

I made the blue one as my experiment and gave it to Nisa. She loves it, but isn't sure what she'll use it for. Last night one of her friends came over and she really liked it, so while the girls went shopping, I whipped out the pink one for Sasha. :) I timed myself making the pink one and from start to finish it took about an hour and a half.

I used this tutorial that I found while looking for a cosmetic bag pattern. I used 8x8"squares instead of 6x8 rectangles and I quilted my fabric before I made the bags, so they have seams showing inside, but they're lined. :) I also loved her tip on using zippers that are longer than you need. It makes them so much easier to handle. I went and bout about 10 more zippers so I can make some more.

I also made this little owly bag. I went to a quilt shop in town that I had never been to, and found these cute fabrics. So, I made this bag. I like how it turned out ok, but kinda figured it out as I went (didn't use a pattern). I also lined it and put a little pocket inside. Not sure what I''m gonna do with it, but it was also fun to make...and I LOVE the owls. :)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

4th of July in DC and baby bugs

I'll go with the baby bugs first, but I don't want to scare anyone if you don't like bugs, you can scroll down past the pics..I won't be offended - I won't even know you did it. :) So, since most of you who are reading this know me, have known me for a long time, or at least have seen through other posts that I like animals and creepy crawlies. I don't even kill bugs in the house. I save them in a cup and release them. I DO kill mosquitos and gnats, but only when they are biting me or flying into my eyes! A couple of weeks ago, I found these little eggs on the screen door. I didn't know what they were, but I looked at them through a magnifying glass and saw that they were super cute. They had little smiley faces. Of course, I had to take 500 pictures of them, but this one is the best.I made Anisa look at them later because, like her mom, she loves little creatures too. She googled "smiley bug eggs" or something like that and found out that they were baby stink bug eggs. Days later, we went out to look at them and they had hatched! And, her search was correct. They were baby stink bugs. A lot of my friends have had lots of problems with stink bugs, but we have only had a few in the house every once in a while (I hope I didn't just jinx myself). Here are the babies having a baby stink bug convention.After another couple of days, they all took off. We watched them and their movement around the door then one day we came out and they were all gone. Probably flying to bother some of my friends..sorry.

This part of the story is better for most people cuz it has nothing to do with creepy things, but fire! :) FireWORKS. In DC! We're really hoping to be going HOME next summer to the great Pacific Northwest so we're trying to take advantage of living near Washington, DC. I've learned over the years to try to see as much of the area that we're in as we can because we may never come back. This year I told the family we're gonna go into the city to see the fireworks over the capital. We didn't quite make it into the city, but we were on the edge of the city so we could see the Washington and Lincoln Monuments and the capital building (we could even see the Library of Congress in the daylight). I don't care who you are, the view of this city is spectacular...see...We got to the park at about 3:30 in the afternoon so we could get a good seat, and we found a perfect spot and plopped down for a hot, steamy wait for fireworks. Luckily there was a threat of a storm so there were clouds covering the sun a lot of the day. It was still humid, but we didn't have the sun beating down on us. We sat close to lots of people with BIG, EXPENSIVE cameras.It was fun to see them and listen to them, but you know me, I don't just sit and listen. We started talking to them and found out that a lot of them were in photography/camera clubs. They were super nice. I told Anisa that we are lucky cuz whenever we go someplace like that, we end up by someone cool. As evening drew near, lots of other people showed up and because our spot was so great we had to shoo a lot of people out from in front of us. dummies. Please, please, please. If you ever go somewhere where you KNOW there are gonna be lots of people, either show up early so you can get the spot you want, or be ok with sitting in the back and your view not being so great. Don't squish in front of people who have the good spot. :) Whatever. We watched the show, and at the end, started walking toward metro. We had decided to try one station, but it seemed like everyone else was going to that one, so we took off in the other direction toward Arlington. Well, the crowds around the escalators were HUGE, so we continued on our little trek and walked to the Pentagon. That station wasn't crowded at all, and we got on a train right away. Travis found out when we got home, we walked about 2.5 miles, and it was worth it...although we were all sticky icky when we got home cuz it was so humid out - which, by the way, it never really stormed. We got a couple drops, but no real rain.

Anyway, here are some of the fireworks (**click on the pictures to make them big**). It was a good show. Beautiful fireworks over a beautiful setting. If I get to do it again, tho, I'll leave Travis home (he hates crowds and the thought of waiting for a REALLY LONG TIME for Metro makes him crazy) and go right down into DC. :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In case you didn't get an email....

Hey gang,
Sara's Dance Team made it to the final 20 in America's Got Talent Video contest. It's time for America to vote...go here.. and you can vote. I'd love it if you'd vote for West Springfield Dance Team. :) If they win the video submission contest, they get to go to LA and perform live and compete for the big prize...$$ :) Please pass the link along to all your friends and they can pass it along to their friends and so on..and so on..and so on.. ;) Oh, you can vote every day until July 8!! :)

Thanks for your help and I hope you all are having a wonderful day! :) Hugs and kisses...Cindy :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

storms and painting

I'm finishing the painting in the next few days. It looks so good. I love fresh paint. Right now I'm working on my bedroom. It's taking me a long time since I'm having the move furniture around, tarp EVERYTHING, and going over each wall with a second coat cuz I'm covering up a different color. I don't mind, but I want it done...I want to just be able to look at it. :)

Last night some crazy storms blew through. I'm not sure if the thunder woke me up, but I stayed up a while and listened to it. I'm a little tired today, but hopefully I'll get to bed early tonight.

Dance practice has started for Sara already. We're having a fund raiser tomorrow at Outback. Yummy, but I'm not sure if I'll get to eat. Last year I spent most of the time outside with the kids holding signs. We'll be doing lots of carwashes and dance camps over the next year...ugh, but it's nice to fundraise instead of having to fork out the entire chunk of money it takes to be on the team, and Sara can help contribute...that's the best part.

Anisa is in WI right now for a couple of weeks. She went out to visit friends and go to Country USA. She's super excited about that, and will probably have lots of pics to share when she gets home. She's been seeing friends and riding Aaron's dirt bike. Poor Aaron. He probably hasn't had much time on it cuz Anisa is a bike hog.

Not much else is going on here. Sara's last day of school is Monday..technically Tues. is the last day of school, but I'm told that NOBODY goes on that day. I guess the teachers would be happy to not have anyone there so they can clean up their classrooms and not have to come back in. I'm not sure what our summer plans are...we are not taking our Ireland trip...long story and I'm pretty bitter about it. I'm sure we'll come up with something. My bff is moving to Texas, so I know I will be making a few trips down there, possibly one this summer...we'll see. Sara has a week-long babysitting gig lined up to earn money for her Wisconsin trip in a couple of weeks. I'm planning to go to the Capital for the 4th of July this year. It MIGHT be our last chance if we get to move back home next summer. So, that's my update. Not much excitement, but that's ok. Life is exciting enough without all the added stuff. :) Hope everyone is great. love and kisses!! :)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Our 3 girls

One of my cute little friends just bought an Element. I'm so happy and I hope she loves it just like we love our little Foxy girl. She also asked me to post a pic of the new little preciousness by her big sisters (yes, you all know I'm a freak and all the vehicles are names and gendered...whatever!). So, here they are. Baby, Foxy and Little Girl (still haven't figured out her appropriate name). You can see how itty bitty she is, but she's oh so fun to drive. :) And she only sips gas unlike our other 3 rigs, which is great at STILL over 4 bucks a gallon.

The Arnold Family visit

We had company from Sturgeon Bay about 2 weeks ago, but now it seems like forever ago. Randall, Mary, Em and Olivia came to stay with us over a long weekend. We had a COMPLETE BLAST~ It was so fun to see our VERY FUN, AND AWESOME friends. ;) We totally exhausted ourselves by seeing as much as humanly possible in 5 days. Monuments and Memorials, National Cathedral, the Capital, Library of Congress, Arlington and we even got an air show in at Andrews AFB. Oh, and a shopping trip too. :) heehee

It all started on Wed, they arrived in DC in the afternoon. We got them safely home and got Popeye's chicken, red beans and rice and biscuits for dinner at home so we could catch up. The next day we headed into the city to see the Library of Congress and do the Capital tour. The big time bummer about the capital tour was that they now do not allow ANY, NONE, ZILCH food or liquids inside no matter what. We threw away a bunch of food and 5 brand new water bottles. Ticked us off, but we wanted to go inside. Lucky for us we had already had hot dogs from a cart! :) Or wieners, as we so lovingly called them. :) On our tour, we found out that we could get passes from our senators to go into the Senate gallery. Yeah, you know the place where you see on CSpan?? We got to sit up in the balcony and see what happens there. The day we were there, not much was happening, but it was still cool. We rode into DC on the Metro so the A Fam could experience THAT. :) I still think it's kinda fun to ride metro.

That night we headed to Chipotle because it was also Sara's 17th birthday. She was a pretty happy chickto get a Chipotle gift card and a Robek's (her favorite smoothie place) gift card and a pair of Toms shoes. Click on Toms to see what THAT'S all about. :) Her pals, Hannah and Dori joined her for her delicious burrito.

Friday we headed to Andrews AFB to check out the air show. It was SOOOOO.COOOOL! I really liked the Thunderbirds and their extremely loud jet blasts! Oh, and Travis' plane. :) The weather was perfect. Overcast and cool, but that also meant we didn't prepare for sun rays! We all got a little crispy. Em got super crispy. When we are all done looking at planes, we found out that Anisa was out of school and wandering around Georgetown, so we decided it was the perfect change to hit Georgetown Cupcakes – famously known as DC Cupcakes on TLC. So, we headed to that side of town, found Anisa and her school pals, got our cupcakes and figured since we were so close to Arlington National cemetary, we'd take a chance and see if it was still open (it was late afternoon by then). We got there with an hour to spare! We went to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, then looked at the headstones on our way to the old Arlington House where we got a fabulous view of DC. By then, it was time to head out since the park was closing. We found our way to the Iwo Jima statue and took pictures before a huge school group showed up.

Saturday, we went to the National Cathedral (one of the Nolen family's favorite places). There was a wedding going on at the end of our trip, but while we were wandering around looking at the cathedral, the musicians were practicing. There were 2 violinists and the organ player. OH MAN. The music sounded so good in that church. Wow. We sat and watched them practice for a bit, then took the gang downstairs to show them where Helen Keller was buried, then we got in the elevator to the top and looked out all the windows over the city. We wandered through the garden before it was time to load up in the van again and head toward DC to check out the monuments and memorials. We saw the Washington Monument and the Lincoln, Jefferson Vietnam, WW2, Korean War and Martin Luther King Jr Memorials and feed some squirrels - really, what is a trip to DC without feeding some little fuzz balls? :) Too bad that the Reflection Pool is being refurbished and wont' be done for 2 years, so it was kinda ugly with tarps, cranes and dirt. It was hot and we were all pretty drained from the rest of the weekend, so we headed home to chill.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church. After all that we had done and seen in the last 3 days we were all ready to just relax, so we went shopping at Tyson's Corner (not relaxing at all, but fun). :) We enjoyed a late lunch at Gordon Biersch and got home to enjoy the last part of our visit.

Monday, we had to say good-bye to our wonderful friends. What a super time we had, tho. I love company, and when it's FUN company, it's even better. :) But, of course, my family and friends are all fun. :) heehee