Monday, May 28, 2018

Pool Party Season Has Begun

We just wrapped up a Memorial Day pool party. Six families, many children, tasty snacks, and a large jug of watermelon cucumber adult beverage I concocted in my kitchen just before the party began that I must say was delicious.


It's the magical Trader Joe's Watermelon Cucumber cooler + lots of rum + a can of limeade + two cans of diet sprite. It's the drink of summer.

I have to go to bed soon because I'm tired of being tired, so this will be quick. When we last left off I was doing a lot of cooking, yoga, and running around with my children because we didn't have a nanny but I did have a job and they had activities and a school schedule that does not equal that of a full time job. The good news is, we have a new nanny! Our last nanny recommended her and we met her today during our Memorial Day party. She starts tomorrow and fingers crossed that my email of All The Things actually covers all the things because goodness knows my 5 minute rundown of How Our Lives Work After School while holding my watermelon cucumber adult beverage and playing my favorite 90's songs is probably not going to be helpful to her tomorrow.

Also a "yay" - my mom visited! Briefly, but it was super fun and productive. She drove in Thursday evening just in time to join our soup dinner and then take the kids our for ice cream to celebrate their school successes and the start of summer.

After we got the kids in bed (using the trundle part of the girls' bunk bed for the first time for Landon; I loved seeing all my kids in a little connected trio of beds) we hit the discount stores, as tradition demanded. Ross closes at 10 p.m. just to accommodate us (actually there were a ton of other people there at 9:45 p.m., something I found very surprising but probably shouldn't have; I mean, I was there too) and I got a few super cute summer dresses and a pair of shoes. I swear something happens when I walk in one of those stores with my mom. I had just been there a week ago and found nothing, but walk in with the Gigi and clothes just leap into my hands.

On Friday morning I subbed a barre class and my mom came along as a student. She did great and I gave her an A+. There was more shopping and lunch (pizza; also traditional) and then we stopped by the kids' school for the first of two early summer birthday celebrations! Landon was up first as his teacher requested we come at the beginning of recess. It was ONE THOUSAND degrees outside and I suddenly understood why Landon's clothes are so sweaty at the end of the day. He requested cookies and I found him the most adorable napkins with woodland wildlife wearing party hats. He was pleased.

We squeezed in two more stores and then came back for Claire's birthday surprise. She had requested donuts and I found her pink party llama birthday napkins that felt appropriate. She was also very pleased and we loved that my mom got to be there for both.

Gigi drove back to Houston and we continued with our afternoon of having friends over to swim, then Landon going to a birthday party, while Claire and I took Cora to another birthday party. James picked Claire up after his swim lessons ended to go to dinner since she was the only one without a birthday party and it's rare that the two of them spend time alone. So rare that when James originally suggested they get dinner together, Claire wrinkled her nose and declared it weird. James was actually really sad about this, but luckily Claire had a change of heart and decided maybe eating dinner as a party of 2 would be okay.

I made Cora leave her party early because my throat hurt, but a Starbucks Citrus Defender tea and a bit of The Greatest Showman seemed to make it better, and Cora didn't appear to mind leaving a little early to watch a movie with me. All in all, it was a very full, but very fun day. And I slept for 10 hours and woke up at 9 a.m. Saturday morning with a throat that didn't hurt anymore. Winning all around.

Our Saturday didn't have a SINGLE THING on the calendar, so we spent the day tidying up, hanging up some things in the girls' room, working out, erranding, and spending too much time around our kids who were generally good but also made us text our high school babysitter to ask if she was free at 6 p.m. so we could go out to dinner alone. She was and we did and it was wonderful. Sometimes you just want to sit at a table with someone who enjoys silence and isn't going to tattle on anyone.

Yesterday I taught my barre class and I feel like we did some more home projects, but mostly the day just seemed to go by quickly until we went to a BBQ of one of James's swim clients at 6. It was a great party - tons of food, a fabulous double-decker tree house that the kids adored, and about a million water balloons. The kids had the best time. I believe the water war was girls v. boys, except Cora was on the boys team and she took the whole thing VERY SERIOUSLY. It was so great. She patrolled her edge of the tree house with diligence and focus, if not great aim. She felt like a valued member of the team and I would have hugged every single boy there when we left if it wouldn't have mortified them.

Today we focused on the backyard to prep for our pool party in the afternoon. New chairs, cleaned out pool toys, new inflatables... we were ready. I apparently took one single picture because I was busy with my beverage, music, and friends, and I'm not even sure what the picture was supposed to be of, but the pool/yard looked great and the party was very fun. I love pool party season.

Oh! Exciting news for me- I finally ordered a new laptop. I bought my old one in 2013 and it was broken in six different ways, but I kept using it because it worked (most of the time) and I could think of so many other fun things to spend money on, but then James's laptop had to go to the shop and he used mine and he was horrified by all my "oh well that doesn't work, you have to press this + this + this to make that happen" and "oh yeah, if you close the screen the keyboard turns off and won't work again until you restart" etc. etc. So I ordered a new one! And I feel like I have to plug Ebates again because in the last two weeks I've gotten two $100+ Ebates (10% for our bunk bed and my laptop; 10%! of free money, just waiting to be mailed to you) and if you aren't using it, you're seriously missing out. I've made over $2,000 since I signed up a few years ago- sometimes it's just pennies (my Target purchase last night earned me a whopping $0.60), but I just always make sure I click it and it adds up.

On to food. There won't be a ton of cooking this week because it's short, but these are two of my favorite recipes so they seemed worth sharing. And I'm obsessed with this lunch recipe too.

Lunches: Marinated Lentil Salad. I've had this nearly every day for the past two weeks. I make it just as written, subbing chopped up spinach or arugula for the parsley, and add fresh chopped avocado and hard boiled egg each time I serve it. It is my new favorite thing.

Tuesday: Pasta of some kind (James will wing this one; I'll be at a friend's birthday party drinking all the wine while James makes something tasty for the kids), garlic bread

Wednesday: Jambalaya, Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits (from a box, because they're freaking amazing)

Thursday: Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas, Spanish Rice

Friday: Last Day of School Party! We're catering it because the last week of school is craziness and we just want all our friends to show up at our pool with their children and some beer, no other preparation needed.

And finally, because I'm too excited to wait, we got a couple proofs back from our photographer from last week's family photo session and I LOVE THEM. I love them so much. I love how the colors came together, I love the lighting outside, I love that you can't tell it's super humid and everyone except the curls on Cora's head was melting. We look happy and cohesive and like ourselves. Everyone's outfit was from their closet, except Landon's and he was SO EXCITED about having a "fancy" Under Armor shirt that he didn't even mind missing a birthday party for the photos, and it all just came together so well.

I mean, that's so them. My party pack, now in rainbow colors.

And this sky and the lighting? Our photographer is a magical unicorn.

And this picture. I love it so very much. We didn't have engagement photos done because I was in Europe and James was having major jaw surgery in the few short months between our sort-of-engagement and actual wedding, but I feel like this is what I would have wanted them to look like.

I love that man. I also love my shoes.

I really really can't wait to see the rest. And with that a happy last week of school/first week of summer to you all! It's supposed to be 109 here by next Saturday, so while I think summer actually starts later in June, I'm going to go ahead and claim it already. May we stock enough Watermelon Cucumber cooler to make it through.


  1. Those pictures! You are all absolutely darling!

  2. If you ever want a different take on the lentil salad, you should try this one. the dressing is really good. I do it with goat cheese, arugula, no raisins, and 1/2 a red onion

    1. I DO want a different take on the lentil salad! I'm kind of obsessed with them right now. It all started with this recipe ( and now I want to eat all the lentils all the time. Thanks!

  3. Love the colors in everyone's outfits!

    1. Thanks P2P! The blue water wall forced me to move outside my usual blues/pinks default and I just love the bright and fun results!

  4. Thank you for the beverage recipe - I'll be trying that this weekend. It sounds like a contender for my new "boat drink."

    The outfits are amazing, your photographer IS a magical unicorn, and who makes those shoes?

    1. Yes! it's so refreshing. It would be fantastic with tequila too (which is what I'm trying for our Last Day of School party on Friday).

      And thank you!! The shoes are Steve Madden from DSW (

  5. Those pictures are awesome!!!!

    I’m totally trying your adult beverage.