Welcome to our adventures. I try as best as I can to document the happenings here in our family - everything from the shenanigans to the spiritual, from the kid to the kitchen, from the cat to the catastrophes. We believe that adventure can be found in everything we do...even in the mundane tasks of the day. When we set our minds on things above in gratitude to God, we find the strength to approach life with a sense of purpose & adventure. The adventure may not always be what we have planned...but isn't that what adventure is all about?

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Monday, March 30, 2009
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
- Margaret Atwood

Today was a beautiful spring day...I would call it 68 degrees and blue skies. This afternoon I took it upon myself to start tackling the front flower bed clean up. Ok, well technically it's not a flower bed yet....but it's gonna be. Right now, it's over run with monkey grass and very lame shrubs. I hate shrubs. But I sure like playing in the dirt.

[Thanks for scanning/sending this, Mom!]

Exhibit A: This is a picture of me with my great grandpa in his garden, circa 1975, Monroe, Louisiana. Nice pants, huh? Stop laughing...you know you had pants like that.

In addition to a great veggie garden, great grandpa had a worm farm. When we would visit, I would spend time there helping him harvest the little wormies. Fun, fun, fun. What kid doesn't like playing in the dirt, digging up worms?

Fast forward 34 years (save your brain cells - I'm 37). My 6 year old is digging for worms in our patch of dirt. Another "coming full circle" for me...

It seems as though the dirt in our patch is full of wormies...and every one of Abby's worm discoveries was followed by a gasp and a "Coooooooooool". I explained to her that the worms prefer to stay IN the dirt, but she insisted on building a "worm jungle". On the concrete stair.

In case you're wondering about the elbow/knee pads - she dug these up in the garage and decided to put them on. When digging, one must be well-protected.

"See Mom? The worm jungle makes him happy..." says the Worm Whisperer

I guess it's better than being on the end of the hook, eh?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Greetings from Middle Tennessee...the region with weather that can't make up its mind. Those of you that live here know what I'm talking about.


My Mom left me with another video from the Abby Archives and since I got such a great response to the last one, I thought I'd post another. This video, like the other, was filmed in Texas at my Mom's in August of 2006. I'm sorry Mom that everyone has to see your kitchen garbage and your messy sewing room - but it's for a good cause, don't you think?? :)

Abby has always been one to worship with wreckless abandon. Those of you back in CA remember how she used to get up in front of church during the prelude and dance her little heart out. So this particular video captures her in dancing and worship (while taking a break from a sewing project w/ GMM I'm sure). I know that 2 minutes and 26 seconds might be too long for you to gaze, but I promise you the finale on this one is well worth the wait.

So, without further ado...

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

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May I receive the Kindgom of God like a child, worship with wreckless abandon and be willing to find myself undignified...

Friday, March 27, 2009
Turn your eyes, oh you dieters...

Flee to the hills you watchers of weight...

Don your armor, you enemy of the calorie...

Behold, what has come out of the Club Amaro oven...straight from the wastelands of indulgence.

I'm only kicking myself because I did not take a picture BEFORE the servings happened. And, I only know it was delicious because I had a SMALL TASTE of it. I'm practicing self-control. I'm beating my flesh into submission...it's a tough, tough job.

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Say hello to the new Club Amaro Kitchen 5-star dessert. PEACH COBBLER. Hot out of the Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker, topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. To celebrate our last night with GMM & GPP, I thought I would try to really do it up. I out done did it...

You do NOT want to know the ingredients...TRUST ME. But you do want to invite yourself over and request this for dessert. Then, you'll want to run 2 miles.

Hope your weekend is peachy...

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tonight, I'm pulling something out of the archives for your viewing pleasure. Since my has been Mom here, she's been talking about this video that she took of Abby back in August of 2006. She finally showed it to me and I was amazed at how much Abby has grown in the almost 3 years since it was taken. The best part is listening to her word pronunciation. At this point in time, her speech was mostly developed, but she was still working on those interlabial skills. At any rate, it's a precious video.

Yes, I'm biased...but it's still precious.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Forezer yours,

Please note that Feedburner subscribers may not be able to see the embedded video...please visit The Adventures of Club Amaro for access.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Reb has been workin' overtime...capturing all the haps here at Club Amaro. First of all, I'm handing out kudos to Canon for making the absolute best camera battery on the face of the earth. I have not had to charge the battery yet and I'm running this thing like Walter Payton just broke through a tackle and has 90 clear yards ahead. It's amazing. Now since I said that it's going to run out on my next shot, watch.

Anyway - got a few things to bring you up to speed on...so gather 'round.


First of all, we had a very special occasion here last night - the celebration of GPP's birthday. His real bday is on St. Patricks, so he always has green cupcakes. We certainly did not want to be accused of breaking tradition, so Abby and I got the Yellow & Blue food coloring out and had a little meeting with Betty Crocker.

We wanted to make them extra-special so I decided to try putting a little globule of marshmallows in the center (you know, hoping to create some kind of twinkie filling action). Well, it didn't really work but we did have a fun surprise instead.
The mallows kind of crept back up to the top during cooking and created a crispy little topping that was fabulouso (so I was told - I did not partake!). Most important, Grandpapa enjoyed his cupcake...and birthday gifts which included a homemade treasure box that Abby made.

After the festivities, it was time for a favorite pastime...coloring.


Abby is a fan of birds. She even has her own Bird book, which Aunt Jan gave to her way back when (Aunt Jan is a bird fan herself...). She also has a set of binoculars. This morning while GMama was in the beauty chamber getting ready, Abby was reading to her about the types of birds from her book. Later on, Abby took the binoculars outside to do some watching. We spotted a Robin's nest on the Oak tree in our front yard...YAY! It's a hefty nest too. We are hoping that Mike & GPapa will be able to put our bluebird house up in the next few days...that will give us even more birds to watch.

I thought the picture above would have been much cooler had there not been a big ol honken motor home in the background...maybe I'll have to do a little Photoshoppin' on it.

Oakie Riggin
The man-zone (aka the garage, aka the shop, aka "out there") has been seeing serious action since Gpapa arrived. Because we have a good bit of leftover debris in our backyard from the marathon pruning event that happened last time he was here, Gpapa decided to fashion something for Mike's truck that would allow him to transport more than the standard truck bed. I'm sorry that was such a long sentence...I'll give you a minute to catch your breath. Ok. So Gpapa went to work on what is now affectionately being referred to as the Oakie Camper.

This thing is a work of art...and I'm normally not the carpentry-appreciating type.

It comes apart in pieces - easy to put up, easy to take down.

Impressive...and, it can double as an Oakie tent, too.

Well...this is just too much information. I hope you've been able to take it all in. I'm going to go take a nap in the Oakie tent.

Oakie love,
Monday, March 23, 2009
I needed some wood panels so I sent Abby into the shop to hook me up.


Before you get all bent at me for letting my child use a table saw by herself, please notice there's no battery pack in it. Plus, Grandpapa was right there ready to swipe it away after I took my shot with The Reb. Not to mention, she's wearing gardening gloves which is not proper table saw attire. At least she's wearing her goggles. Grandpapa insists.

Abby spent some time hanging out with Grandpapa today in the garage while he built Mike some side panels for his truck. She was a tremendous help, as you can see from the pictures below:

We can't say that the child doesn't have a wide variety of interests...after her time in the shop, she went and had her fingers and toes painted in the beauty chamber with Grandmama.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Do you like games? I got one for ya...

Try and guess what could possibly be going on with this hair.


Perhaps the concentration level inside this brain is so intense, so fervid, that it's causing the hair to take on a new shape. Perhaps scientists would want to study this phenomenon.


Maybe I found a feature on The Reb that creates wild and crazy hair. Maybe I used my CVS bucks to get some free hairspray and styled it this way.


Maybe there's some Bill Bixby/Incredible Hulk kind of thing going on where the hair can't control itself and starts wigging out.


Or maybe...


She's doing this:

Did you guess right?? I used the "continuous shoot" mode on The Reb to capture 143 shots of Abby jumping (in the span of a few minutes) while Gmama & Mike turned the rope.

And, FYI...they did not sing, "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack...all dressed in black, black, black"

Can I tell you that I did NOT enjoy looking at them so much. Do you know what jumping does to your face when the force of your body hits the ground? As my friend Kathryn would say, "it ain't pretty, kitty". I mean, c'mon...Abby is a cute kid...I can't imagine what some of US would look like jumping rope.


Let us get that scary thought out of our mind by looking at this:

Ahhhh....much better.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009
Settle down Billy Joel fans...

Just wanted to give you a quick update on recent Club haps. Last night we had a bon fire in B & M's back yard. It was killing three birds with one stone, really. For one, you have a nice way to burn the branches and leaves from recent pruning events (and your Christmas tree, if you still had it...which we did) While you watch all that burn, you gotcherself a nice toasty fire, perfect for keeping warm AND toasting marshmallows. One word people: S'MORES. It's all about marshin' the mallow. The kids love it. I know Abby does for sure - it's a chance for her to walk around with food all over her face and me not chase her around with a wet wipe.

After the kids went to bed, the adults stayed by the fire and started throwing some really COOL stuff on the fire. Like our 4 month old Christmas tree. OH YEAH. The burn factor was off the hook. I came home with a sunburn on my chest - I'm not kidding you.

On a cooler note...Club Amaro is joining forces with the B & M household to start a HUGE garden. This year, we are doing it in their backyard since none of us know what we're doing - it's better to just screw up one large plot, right? Actually, it should just be more fun all working together. Did I say it's going to be big? Yeah...big. Today, Mike picked up a pile of horse poop in his truck and him & M tilled it into the ground. I've worn out the "crap" jokes 10 times over. We're excited to get going - and I'm sure The Reb will be snapping as we go. Stay tuned...

WELCOME GMM & GPP...as I write this, Grandpapa & Grandmama are on approach in the Sweet Rig. They'll be rolling in any time. They are here for a 10 or so day visit. No telling what kind of shenanigans will turn up... Again, stay tuned.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend...stay out of trouble!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I have added something new to my job description. Tooth-puller.
I submit to you, Exhibit A.

After quite a number of weeks being loose, Mr. Tooth decided he'd had enough. He could no longer stand the incessant wiggling and touching by Mr. Pointer Finger. So this morning, when Mr. Tooth was almost perpindicular to the gum line, I just stuck my pinchers in and took care of biz. Abby didn't even know what hit her. She was suspended in this confused state...not sure whether to be mad at me for pulling her tooth without asking, or excited at the fact that she's just crossed over into a new season of dental glory. As she stood there with blood trickling out of the newly created hole in her gum line, I yelled at her, "GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR". She snapped out of it and giggled all the way down the hall.

I'm having flashbacks of my orthodontist yelling at me for not wearing my retainer.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Whad up, peeps...

I got a sweet love note today...actually, I get sweet love notes everyday. Lots of them. Trees have sacrificed their life for the sake of the notes I get. But this one ranked extra high in sweetness.

I love that she loves me to the moon & bake. How cute is that.

One last thing:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRANDPAPA!! See you in a few days, we'll have the green cupcakes waitin for ya...

Saturday, March 14, 2009
Hey y'all...just been out exploring today with The Reb (ok, I changed it's name again...I'm so fickle). It's been off an on raining today - a perfect opportunity to get some water droplet shots. I can't believe I took my boy out in the sprinkle, but I was very protective. Can I just tell you, I'm in love with The Reb.

Before I get too wound up, I want to take a moment to eulogize the old Power Shot S45...a camera I like to now refer to as "Old Faithful". OF's fate is yet to be determined at the moment. But after 16,224 pictures in almost 6 years I would say it's earned it's place in the Club Amaro photography hall of fame. It's been a good friend...and he deserves every bit of the retirement that's coming. Oh, I imagine I'll pull him out for a time of reminiscing...perhaps take him a place or two for old time sake. But make no mistake, The Reb is top dog now.

These shots are straight out of The Reb...no doctoring of any kind other than a crop. The resolution on this boy is so stinkin big that I can crop it down and still have it be higher resolution than OF. I had to take these shots quick as I didn't want to stay out in the sprinkle...for this, I'm loving the "AUTO" setting.

Shhh...close your eyes. Can you hear Gus Portokalos? So there you go.

Stay tuned for my next post where I show you how to make a leprechaun trap for Saint Paddy's day (or as Abby would mistakenly pronounce it even though I correct her every single time, Satan Patrick's Day).

Oh yeah - one last thing...a little message for my brother.

For those of you who don't know Steve, go meet him and listen to him sing here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Rebel came early...kudos to Amazon.com and UPS.

This is my first official picture. I wanted to share it with you... And because I know that you care, here is another fascinating shot.

And then there's this one...

And my personal fave:

The big girl camera will now be referred to as "The Rebel"...please adjust your memory banks. Of course, now I have to figure out how to use him. Those 2 years of high school photography are not helping me right now. Ed, where are you? Thank goodness for pal Julie at Lost Luggage who has promised to help (even if she ridiculed me for buying the "Canon Rebel for Dummies"). My goal is to stop using "AUTO" by months end.

Stay tuned...

the rebellious shutter bug.
Monday, March 9, 2009

This picture was taken on Sunday - the day after the big "spring forward" event that Mike is always so excited about. I on the other hand lament each year about my loss of sleep. Why is it that I was awake taking this picture of two sleeping people? Hmmmm...I was so disgusted by their inability to stay awake that I left the house and went walking around the neighborhood.

Speaking of walking - lately during my walks in the hood I've been noticing certain things happening. Maybe I've been watching too much Plant Earth for my own good. But the birds are active... I think if there were no trees on the earth to get crazy over, I would definitely be putting birds as my number one thing to observe. I am especially loving the Robins. There were not too many Robin's out in California where we lived. Neither were there Cardinals. We get a pretty good dose of both of them here. Anyway - the birds are frolicking, the time is changing, we have had 2 straight days of 80 degree weather. I would say that spring is in the air. Although I wouldn't mind another good snow, the warmer weather is like an old welcome friend. Walking in 10 degree weather has not exactly been fabulous, I must say.

Speaking of birds...for those of you on Rebel watch ("Rebel" is my new big girl camera, by Canon, the best company ever...love the Canon) he'll be arriving on Thursday. Actually, that has nothing to do with birds. But I will probably be taking pictures of birds...so that's good. Yeah, just think of all the pictures I'll be boring you with from now on!

Speaking of pictures (I'm trying to be better with my segues...how am I doing?)...I thought you'd like to see a picture of my daughter NOT being cute. The utter silliness that happens here can only really be experienced in person, but this picture can at least give you a little glimpse into life at Club Amaro.

Just a side note to this picture: I thank God that the growing out of the bangs phase lasted two days. We went back to her Dora the Explorer look when we got haircuts this past weekend. HA-LAY-LU-YA!!!

I hope that you are enjoying the change of seasons and noticing the little things that are happening in the environment around you - even if it's just bird flirting.

love you all!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Today's post in is honor of the bone head that I saw sitting on his riding mower smoking a cigarette. Nice.

Here's something totally random, but right now I'm listening to Abby talk to Uncle Anthony (happy birthday Uncle Anthony!)...she started to explain something and said, "it's complicated". What is possibly complicated when you're 6?

So, today (yes, it's Saturday I know) at 4pm, we went to a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. I think the last time I saw that many people in one place I was at Oakland Stadium for an A's game. It's not right. If Abby's classmates moms weren't there, I would have totally climbed up the Skee-ball ramp and put all Abby's balls in the 50k hole. I can feel you wagging your finger at me in disdain...c'mon you can't tell me you haven't wanted to do that.

Don't forget to spring your clocks forward. Mike - who LOVES the "spring forward", likes to start prepping for Daylight Savings Time early...like a week before. If I had a dollar for every time this week that Mike said, "this time next week it's going to 5pm right now....THAT RULES!" I would have enough for a new lens for my big girl camera. He really starts getting geeked out about it the day before...acting like the time has already changed sometime around lunch. At 11am he is saying, "We better have lunch now so that we won't be too full to eat dinner." Then at 4, he's suggesting dinner so we won't be too full to go to sleep. And don't even get me started about the changing of the clocks...they get set way before their time. I'm surprised we don't have a party at Chuck-E-Cheese to celebrate the time change.

I'm just grieving the loss of my hour of sleep...


Thursday, March 5, 2009

'Sup y'all. I know those of you living in Middle Tennessee are probably rolling your eyes at me right now. YES - ANOTHER SNOW PHOTO MONTAGE! For those living in much warmer climates (especially those who like to rub it in by posting beautiful pictures of a warm day at Seaport Village on their blog - no names mentioned, Casa de Luggage) I couldn't possibly live with myself if I didn't give you a little glimpse into our Winter Wonderland as seen through the eyes of my soon to be replaced digital camera.

This past Sunday we woke up and were delighted to see the 'hood covered in snow. It had fallen all night and left somewhere between 2-7 inches (depending on who you talk to). Of course, you know how I get all geeked out about trees - well I think that my fall color obsession has been replaced with neckid snow covered tree branches.

Ok, so this tree is not neckid. It's that darned oak tree that won't let go of it's leaves.

Since the 3 of us are all California transplants to TN, the whole snow thing is a brand new experience. Snow in California is something you GO to (ie. the mountains, or skiing, etc.) It doesn't just happen on top of your house. So we really lose our brain cells when snow appears. Childish tendencies surface...and some of them have a shorter distance to go than others. At least Abby has an excuse - when you're 6, some things are more acceptable. Picking your nose in public, walking around with a big oatmeal globule on your shirt, telling people they have a big nose. But for us older folk.......are y'all feelin' me on this?

Case in point...my husband, sweet precious man that he is. The man cannot stop throwing snowballs at the house. Forget building a snow man or making snow angels - no, let's peg the house.

The truth of the matter is, I LOVE that about Mike...he is so young at heart. It keeps things interesting around here to say the least.

ONION (other neat items of note):

It's small, white and it's loose. What is it you ask? ABBY'S TOOTH. I'm bracing myself for the awkward missing tooth phase of my daughters life. Why do those new teeth gotta be so big? Do they not know the small preciousness that is Abby's mouth? We shall see, but I'm praying for perfect and straight...join me.

It's black, expensive and it fits nicely in your hand. What is it you ask? It's my new BIG GIRL CAMERA!! I have been saving up for it for six months now. I have resisted every temptation to spend my money on the latest cool crafting tool, paper and embellishment so that I can graduate into the digital SLR gang. I am VERY excited to say the least.

It's loud, wet and an utter disgrace to the coupon commando image. What is it you ask? It's me, crying and grieving over having to spend my CVS Extra Care bucks without rolling them over. It's criminal, it's horrible, it's dispicable it's inconceivable and it's just wrong. I don't know how long it will take for me to get over it...pray for me.

Yaddah, yaddah...that's about it for now. I hope you are all well and enjoying your climates. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know you're out there. Don't be shy...

happy happy,
joy joy,

Bocephus, the snowman