My last post was July 31. It was my grandparents' anniversary but it also marked the four year anniversary of this blog. Four years! I've enjoyed sharing stories and pictures but I've officially run out of gas. Writing updates feels like more of a chore and well ... I've never been a fan of chores. So I'm going to print and bind this sucker and put it to rest. Thanks to everyone who has visited, read and left such nice comments. It's been fun. Sawyer out!
Today my grandparents celebrated 65 years of marriage!! Isn't that just AWESOME? Pap-Pap is almost 92 and Grandma is 86 years old. We visited with them yesterday and I snapped these adorable pictures. Theirs is a story of unconditional love, sacrifice and commitment. Couples today could learn a lot from these two. I know I have.
Okay, I'm done talking about Disney. You get the idea ... we had a WONDERFUL trip!! And if you want to see more, head over to my Facebook page. I shared a lot of pictures there and I think it's just time to move on.
Let's talk some gardening, shall we? I never thought we'd even plant a garden given our aversion to most vegetables. (Disclaimer: the kids have always eaten their vegetables) But Mason's school had a plant sale and that inspired me to get started. So Chris and I cleared a small area behind the house back in mid-May and in went the plants.
And we had all this less than a month later ...
Our first harvest. Don't laugh ... it was an exciting day!
When we got back from Disney ...
So it's mid-July and we've picked just about all of our strawberries, at least five jalapenos and more zucchini than I can count. Every day I go out and find another one. I swear those suckers must grow overnight! Tomatoes are there but not ripe yet. And the pumpkins? Oh, the pumpkins! We already have five green ones and probably ten more on the way.
Now before you give us too much credit, we only planted things that we could make into something else (zucchini bread, jalapenos for nachos, tomatoes for salsa). You'll never catch us eating a raw veggie out of the garden. Unless we miraculously grow Pop-Tarts. And I'm still working on that.
I can't believe we almost skipped Animal Kingdom! Everyone told me it was like a big zoo and since we have the #1 zoo in the country in our town, I thought ... why bother? Soooo glad I didn't listen to myself. Animal Kingdom was our second favorite park, right behind Magic Kingdom.
We started the day on a safari. Since it was extra magic hours, we were in the first group. They say morning is the best time to go since it's cool and the animals are out. And boy were they right! We were just feet from baby giraffes, elephants, zebras, etc.
We also waited until Animal Kingdom to get the kids' faces painted. They saw it in every park, but it was always so hot so we waited until a cool morning to get it done. Mason chose some Mike Tyson-type thing. Emma picked sparkly and colorful. $27 well spent ... they both loved it!
One of our favorite meals was also at Animal Kingdom. We ate at Donald's Safari Breakfast. I'm not usually a breakfast person, but this buffet was AWESOME! We didn't have another big meal all day. Yums.
Our day at Epcot was filled with so many cool experiences. But you won't see a lot of pictures because it was also the day I was sick as a dog!! The kids were none the wiser ... I sucked it up and put on a brave face (see brave face below). But I didn't the camera out much.
There were some great rides (Test Track = AWESOME, AWESOME!!) but we had the most fun exploring the countries. Ate our lunch in Germany and I swear it was the best pretzel I've ever had!
The American Experience was pretty cool too. Emma was called up to recite The Pledge of Allegiance in front of the crowd.
Later in the day we ate at Teppan Edo in Japan. Japanese food and the Sawyers don't usually go hand-in-hand, but hey, when in Rome ... or Japan in this case. We had a great time and our chef Kumi was a big hit with the kids.
We loved Epcot and even considered going back on our bonus day. But then we discovered what was waiting for us next ...
Our third day was spent at Hollywood Studios. We had high hopes for this place and thought we'd like it so much that we would spend our bonus day there. Not the case. In fact, we finished pretty early and opted to spend the rest of our day at the hotel pool.
Don't get me wrong though, we had a great time - starting with our lunch at the Sci Fi Diner. This place is so neat!
Long after our food digested, Mason and I hit Tower of Terror. There aren't many rides in this park so Tower of Terror is a big deal. Chris had no interest in going and Emma was just a little too small. I freakin' loved it and so did Mas. We were literally lifted out of our seats and screamed our heads off! Well, we still have heads so that's not entirely true.
But most of our day was spent going to shows. We all LOVED the Voyage of the Little Mermaid Show and wished it was longer. Emma and I liked Beauty and the Beast (the boys didn't like that it was a musical). But the family fave was the action-packed stunt show.
Our second day was spent at the Magic Kingdom and for the first hour - it seemed we had the place all to ourselves! I had scheduled Emma's appointment at the Bippity Boppity Boutique for 9:00 so we were able to enter the park early.
On this day, we had to split up. Emma and I went to the boutique while Chris and Mason hit the rides. The boutique is no place for boys. Unless they're into makeup and dressing like a princess. But that's a whole other issue.
Emma LOVED it there. Her Fairy Godmother-in-training took great care of her: painting her nails, doing her hair and makeup and adding the perfect accessories. Worth every penny.
And after the makeover, we went to lunch at Cinderella's Royal Table. Again, worth every penny. Hard for me to say considering it was $90 for just the two of us. But she loved it and and I loved spending that girl time together. We met all the princesses. I posted all those pictures on Facebook.
This was also the day we got to meet Mickey Mouse. The line was pretty crazy but hey, it's Mickey Mouse. We got a double bonus when Minnie showed up right before went in. I'm glad we did it - we didn't see Mickey in the park any other time.
We did another parade, rode a few more rides and ended our day at Chef Mickey at the Contemporary. GREAT food! It was buffet-style so that was a big bonus for Chris. He loves him some buffets.
And best of all, Mason got to meet his favorite character: Donald Duck. Donald was so much fun and definitely didn't disappoint. Later that night, Mason wrote his pen pal Brooklyn about his trip. On the postcard I saw where he wrote "Can you believe I met Donald Duck?" So cute.
So a week after we got back from Canada, we took our big trip to Florida and Walt Disney World. It. Was. Awesome! We stayed seven days, hit all four parks and ate at some of the coolest restaurants. I've already posted most of the pictures on Facebook, but wanted to document a few here too.
Our first day was spent at the Magic Kingdom. Everything about it was magical, including the moment Emma met her favorite princess, Ariel. She had been waiting years for this. And, as luck would have it, we were last in line to meet her so Emma had extra time to spend with her new fish friend.
I was worried that Mason may be a little old for Magic Kingdom. Not a chance! He loved all of the rides: Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and the Speedway were his favorites.
And a big hit with all of us: It's a Small World. It was exactly like I remembered! I liked the nostalgia of it, Mason liked the different cultures, Emma liked the music and Chris liked the fact that it was air-conditioned. It was the first thing we did when we got to the park. And we did it again the next day.
We crammed in so much more that first day and capped off our night with the Electric Parade and the most spectacular fireworks show our kids have ever seen!
This poor blog has been so neglected lately. But I have a good excuse - we haven't been here! We went from Canada to Florida, and next we're headed to Dayton and North Carolina for baseball. All within a month! I've got plenty of pictures to share, but since my calendar says it's Canada Day I guess I'll start there.
We went up to visit the Daniels family. They used to be our neighbors, then moved to Wisconsin and now they're in Guelph, Ontario. They can keep moving farther away ... but we'll still find them. We're like an STD. (For the record, I've never had one, but I've heard they're stubborn. Lisa, is that true?)
One of our first stops on this trip was Niagara Falls.
Don't jump Emma! I'd want to get away from Lisa too, but it's not worth it.
Mason, Liam, Emma and Brandon
Only in Canada ...
Helping me make cinnamon rolls
Zlatka, Lisa and me. Z is, without question, one of the funniest people I've ever met! On this night she treated us to her version of "Country Roads" ... done with her Slovakian accent. Genius.
Chris and Will. This is the last picture I'll share because from here things got ugly. Real ugly.
Emma's first soccer season is in the books! She finished just as she started ... with a goal! Girlfriend scored three for the season and, more importantly, had so much fun doing it. Mamaw and papaw even made it out to see one of her last games.
Teaching mamaw some of her moves ...
Team party. What I love about this picture is that most of the girls are wearing skirts or dresses. So cute! And something we've never seen at Mason's team parties.
My all-time favorite teacher was Mrs. Ledbetter. I was in the third grade. And while I can't predict the future, I feel pretty confident that Mason's all-time favorite teacher will be this guy: Mr. Friedrich. Also a third grade teacher. He's made learning so much fun and he and Mason have one VERY big thing in common. Can you guess?
Pretty cool when your teacher plays all-time quarterback at recess.
Ever notice that when your youngest reaches a milestone, you don't celebrate it as much? Instead, there is small piece of you that hurts because it's another reminder that life is moving too fast. Emma reached another milestone the other day ... she graduated preschool.
Such an emotional day for us. Not only is our little girl growing up, but we were sad to say goodbye to Emma's class and her teachers. Now it's off to kindergarten at the big school with her brother. It will be the only year our kids will be in the same building together. Ever.
and life with the hard cast is MUCH better. He's more comfortable and getting around a whole lot easier. They'll cut the sucker off for good in mid-June and we'll see where he's at then. More than anything, Mason is ready to return to the thing he loves most ... sports. This whole thing has been harder on him mentally than physically. He's been a good teammate and cheers, but he'd much rather be in the game than sitting on that bench.
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Strawberry season has arrived, my friends. And it couldn't come at a better time either. The month of May has been a bit of a blur for us. I won't bore you with details or sob stories; I'll just tell you that I have found refuge in the strawberries.
I have been jamming my face off! Sometimes at one in the morning. Sometimes until my fingers are a bright red. My hope is to make 100-150 jars of strawberry jam. I'm even going with my girl Gomez to pick another batch of berries tomorrow. There is something so AWESOME about picking something from the ground and then turning it into something else! I realize this post makes me sound like a big ol' nerd but all these strawberries have turned my brain to mush ... or possibly even jam.
Just seven minutes left until this crazy weekend is in the books. But before it ends I have to give a shout out to my wonderful husband. Happy 36th Chris! I can't wait to celebrate another year with you. And a Happy Mother's Day to my fantastic mom. While you both deserve better tributes than this, I wanted to quickly let you know you're appreciated ... and loved.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! There isn't an ounce of Mexican in the Sawyer family bloodline. But we can still celebrate, right? Actually, Emma's school had a party and it was the perfect opportunity to wear her 'cha cha cha dress, a gift from Mamaw. And while she may have looked the part, she didn't want anything to do with the Mexican food. "The whackamole (guacamole) looked disgusting!"
As you can see, Emma got her wig busted. Just decided on a whim one morning that it was something she needed to do. She directed the stylist how much to take off and everything. I was cut out of the equation pretty quick.
When she was finished she looked in the mirror and said, "hey, I look like the girl who turns into a blueberry!" I picked up on the Violet Beauregarde reference right away. She loves that movie. The only difference beteween Emma and Violet is that Emma doesn't have bangs. If I would have been smart enough to take a picture of her FACE, you could actually see that. Oops!
I love everything about this picture. I think it's one of the best I've ever taken. The lighting, the angle, the non-pose of it all, the shadows. It's just Pap Pap. The way I see him every time I go home to visit. He's always in that chair, always looking out that window. He waves to us on our way in and on our way out. He's always wearing the little cap on his head, always wearing a thick flannel. I also like that if you look closely, behind his left elbow, you'll see a picture of a lady. It's not my dear, sweet Grandma. Nope, it's Mena Suvari. Pap Pap has a thing for her. It's okay ... Grandma knows.
Anyone who has followed this blog knows that Mason loves football and baseball. But before he was old enough to play either sport, there was soccer. It didn't last very long. Just one season.
In fact, his cleats barely got dirty. So I held on to them, waiting for the day his little brother could lace 'em up. But that little brother never came. Instead, we got a 6 lb. 10 oz. girly girl. So the cleats went to the back of the closet. I never thought they would see daylight again. But last Saturday that all changed.
Emma put on those exact same cleats and wore them to her first soccer game. And within minutes of being on the field, she scored a goal! I'd like to say it was because of her fierce skills, but maybe it was the cleats. Her big brother's cleats. Let me just hold on to that thought, okay? It is one of the few times in life my kids will have shared a clothing/shoe item.
P.S. Go Lightning Bolts! The girls got to pick their own team name. Their first choice was the White Bunnies. But the coach is a guy and I don't think he was feelin' the White Bunnies. So he steered them in the direction of Lightning Bolts :)
Each time we visit the zoo, our kids learn something new. Zoos are supposed to be educational. But there was a little too much educatin' happening during our visit last week. Sex education.
It happened at the bonobo exhibit. Fascinating little creatures. But my friend Suzi (who works at the zoo) once told me a secret about the bonobos. Simply put ... they're horny. Really horny. Google it. Suzi even has a special nickname for one of them, but this blog is PG so I won't share it.
Anyway, the Sawyers witnessed some of this crazy bonobo lovin.' In broad daylight. This poor female was minding her own business when seemingly out of nowhere the male came swinging over (like a bat/bonobo out of hell!) and made his move. There was no foreplay. He went right to work. And it was all happening so fast. Chris and I knew we should probably get the kids out of there, but it was like a train wreck. And we couldn't stop watching! Same for about a dozen other people who had gathered around. Hey, free bonobo porn.
And when it was over, it was over. Mr. Bonobo was done. Chris and I saw it. He was at attention and then, well ... he wasn't anymore. A one hit wonder.
The kids were already distracted by yet another bonobo who was reaching around to pull out his own poo as it was leaving his body. I won't tell you what happened next. You'll probably want to eat at some point today. But definitely guh-ross.
As for the sexual encounter we had witnessed, Chris and I thought we were in the clear. The kids were distracted so we didn't think bonobo lovin' would come up again. But it did. At supper that night. Mason said he knew what had happened. He used the word "humping." Oh dear. I thought we'd leave it at that since he didn't really understand the act of sex. But then Chris started to explain further. I quickly tossed a crescent roll at him and announced that we didn't need to have this conversation yet. Not with a 9-year-old. Thanks a lot bonobos. You horny little freaks!
I know Easter was five days ago, and I'm a little behind, but it's Spring Break at the Sawyer house and let's just say ... things are not moving at warp speed. Haven't had the alarm clock plugged in all week. We're doing whatever we want, whenever we want. And that includes blogging.
So now back to Easter. Our kids went on four egg hunts. Isn't that nuts? We called it 'Easter Tour 2010.' But each one was special, starting with this one in our backyard.
Egg Hunt #2: Eggsplosion in Pickerington. HUGE. Friends of ours attend the church that hosted this event and they did a remarkable job.
Many of the eggs were dropped by helicopter and then shortly after ... chaos!
Egg Hunt #3: The 60th Annual Canal Winchester Easter Egg Hunt. We go to this one every year because it's put together by the most adorable old ladies from the American Legion.
Egg Hunt #4: It actually took place at my parents' house, shortly after this picture was taken. But this picture is more important since we're all in church ... celebrating the Resurrection.
A wonderful week of celebrations! There was also egg coloring, basket giving, etc. I have even more pictures but I just haven't gone through them all yet. I'll do it soon, but for now I have n appointment with 'The Real Housewives.'
There is a term in the television news business that I love: "news you can use." You see, there is a big difference between the shooting in downtown (which will NEVER affect your life because it was probably drug related) and a story that can actually improve the quality of your life. News you can use. Granted, ALL news should be news you can use, but its not. See Jesse James having sexy time with a chick named Bombshell.
Anywho, I'm always in search of news I can use. Recently I discovered some things that have made my life a little easier, particulary in the kitchen. And I wanted to share. I'm a giver.
The first: coupon clipping. I swore I'd never be a clipper, but now that I have more time on my hands, I've found that it really works! The other day I spent $217 at Kroger and saved $79. I also got three free bags of Nestle Toll House morsels and two free boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats. Some of my fave coupon sites: Redplum.com, Coupons.com, Frugal Girls. You can also find deals on Kroger.com. They send coupons right to your card ... no clipping required.
More valuable than the coupon clipping has been my meal planning. I usually plan 2-3 weeks at a time and then post it on the fridge. This has CONSIDERABLY cut down our grocery bill and also my frequent trips to the store. I know working moms are rolling their eyes right now like, yeah right, when in the hell am I going to meal plan? But I think planning would have helped me a LOT when I was working.
Okay, on to other matters. People always ask me how I get my cookies so soft. It's a trick I learned from my Grandma Hubbs many years ago. After you've baked your yummies and let them cool, put them in an airtight container and add a piece of bread on top. Soft, chewy cookies for days.
Cleaning your microwave: get a damp wash cloth (MUST be damp or you'll have a fire and I can't be responsible for that!) and then hit the power for 30-40 seconds. Loosens up the gunk and you should be able to wipe it down easily.
Want to avoid red sauce stains in your plastic containers (I'm talking to you, Chris Sawyer!)? Just spray the container with cooking spray first. Genius.
Make your brown sugar soft again: throw in a piece of bread and leave it overnight. It really works! Bread seems to be my go-to item, doesn't it?
Ever wonder why your yolk turns gray when you boil an egg? Oooh, ask me ... I know, I know! You've boiled it too long. I can boil the perfect egg (bragging) but it's not because I taught myself. I learned from the queen.
And finally, make your home smell like spring: I saw this on one of the blogs I read and it. is. awesome! Most of you know I detest the smell of vanilla, but you can barely smell it in this little concoction. Your biggest challenge may be finding rosemary! I went to three stores before I finally found it. Who knew there was a run on rosemary this time of year??
Okay, that's it. Call me Heloise. Or Tammy will work just fine. Hopefully you found at least one thing in here that will help you along. That will justify all this typing :)
What a privilege it is to live near the top-ranked zoo in the country. And I know how privileged I am to have developed a close relationship with many of the zoo staff members. It is one of the things I'm most grateful for about my time at Channel 10.
Anyway, Emma and I made our first trip of the season last week. My friend Gomez and her adorable, chubby-cheeked son Colin came with us.
I'm sort of obsessed with the primates (Lisa, insert obvious Chris joke here). I could spend a whole day watching the gorillas and bonobos. Fascinating.
And here is Em with sweet Colo. You can read more of her story here.
First time we've ever been at the manatee exhibit while they were feeding them and also cleaning the tank. Kinda cool.
Primates are my favorite but the flamingos come in a close second. Just something about the color. And would you look at that sucker's neck?!
And before we left Emma took a seat on Heather's bench. We would never visit the zoo without taking a minute to visit with our friend.
There are two things you may or may not know about us.
We spent our honeymoon night in the employee break room at a hotel. Oh yeah, it's true.
We had booked this particular hotel because it was close to the airport and our flight to Mexico was leaving at 7 the next morning. But we left our reception late and showed up to the hotel around 2 a.m., only to learn they had given our room away! It was the Ohio State Fair weekend, they were desperate for rooms, and when we hadn't shown up, they released the room.
They offered to put us up in a similar room across town, but since it was only five hours until our flight, we declined. So, they offered up the employee break room. We were exhausted, so we took it. The staff felt terrible about the whole thing and so they tried to make it as comfortable as possible for us. That included pushing two couches together! We slept a little, but the absolute highlight was around 6 a.m. when there was a shift change and hotel employees kept coming in to punch their time cards! And there we were .. looking up from the couches on our "romantic" wedding night.
We lived in North Carolina the first two years of our marriage. But how we got there is what makes this story interesting.
We knew we wanted to move away and be by ourselves as soon as we got married. If we stayed in Columbus, we would have been hanging out with our college friends and we thought it was time to grow up a bit. Just a bit. We're still painfully immature. So anyway, we put names of states in a hat where we may want to live ... and out came North Carolina! Chris applied for a job, we moved down there, then I got a job and that was it. We LOVED our time in the Tar Heel State and made forever friends. It's also where my love affair with the beach began.
Not sure why I'm sharing these stories now, almost 14 years later. Guess I just want them documented for posterity.
Today I was switching our St. Patrick's Day decorations to Easter and while Chris was downstairs I asked him to bring up the white bunny that goes on our front door.
After about five minutes he came up and said he couldn't find it. I told him what tub it was in and that it was a white, fuzzy bunny. Ten minutes later he came up and said, "I found this one." That was it! He told me he had seen it earlier but didn't think it wasn't the right one because it didn't match my description. He claims I wasn't "specific" enough. Look at this bunny ... could I have been any MORE specific?! White. fuzzy. bunny.
The past week has been a blur of baseball, ballet, bills and bulbs. But today we stopped to celebrate our Irish heritage! Actually we're a mix of everything, but there is definitely Irish in there. My grandma's name is Frances McMahon and Mason thought she was an actual leprechaun when he was little :)
Speaking of Mason, here is the tired lad before getting on the bus today:
And here is my little lass before her day at preschool:
How we celebrated: green milk all day, green mashed potatoes for lunch, Leprechaun Fizz, sweet shamrcocks, a scavenger hunt for the pot of gold, leprechaun pee in the toilet and dinner with the Walsh clan tonight. I freakin' love this holiday!
I found these pictures on the computer today and if your heart can smile, mine is grinning ear-to-ear. They were taken at Emma's farm party last summer. I didn't share the pictures then because I was on my blogging "break."
Anyway, the joy on Emma's face here is just ... WOW! I took this picture at the end of the party when we were getting ready to release the balloons.
And this picture was taken just minutes before. Mason did something so completely unexpected, so heartfelt. He grabbed a pen and was writing messages on the balloons to people in heaven. I only saw a few of them: To Micah, To Heather, To Riley. It touched my heart so much. It was such an unexpected, sincere moment that will stay with me FOREVER. And I'm so glad I had the camera to capture it.