Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Worries

I was sure that Evan would have to have his tear duct surgically opened; after all, the pediatrician acted like his life depended on it. We took him to a fancy pants pediatric eye specialist at one of the world's most prestigious children's hospitals and he told us it was no big deal, but he would prefer to wait a few more months to do the procedure. Yay. More waiting. In the meantime, Evan will just have goop in his eye twenty fours hours a day. And just so you know, there is very little that freaks me out about parenting, but seeing my baby with his eyes dilated gave me the heebie jeebies.

Then, I started worrying about Liam's lack of speech. I'd chalked it up to the fact that Sydney rarely gives anyone else a chance to speak, but then she went to kindergarten and he still didn't talk. So I called the state agency to evaluate his speech and cognitive abilities. They came this past Monday and he does have a slight speech delay, but he is cognitively right on track and his fine motor skills? Well, let's just say he tested off their charts. No wonder the boy doesn't talk! He's too busy fine tuning his skills by stacking up to nine blocks (and balancing them which amazed the evaluators), drawing circles and stringing half inch beads like a three year old. They think there's nothing to worry about and his speech will just explode one of these days. Then I'll have two kids who won't shut up talk.

And then my hives came back in full force. I had them all over - in my ears, on my eyelids - you name a body part and it had hives. I was certain that my pregnancy with Evan caused them. I've had hives after each of my pregnancies and I was told that the huge hormonal change can make your body suddenly react to allergens that didn't bother you before. I gave myself allergy injections for three years after I had Sydney because allergy testing revealed two dozen things that I was allergic to (but had no idea). To avoid the long drive to the old allergist, I went to a new one in The Land of Fruit and was retested last week. Turns out I'm not allergic to the things the other doctor said I was because he did the test all wrong. I've been avoiding chocolate because of what I was told by my former allergist. Chocolate! The new allergist did admit that my years of allergy injections probably did build up my immunity to various pollens, but I probably never was allergic to the foods I was told to avoid. Needless to say, I've been indulging in those foods the last few days.

So I did all that worrying for nothing. Just goes to show that worrying gets you absolutely nowhere.

Now if I can just remind myself of that from now on.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pass the Kleenex, Please

I've been crying a lot in the last week.

No, nothing terrible happened. A lot of good things happened and as someone who cries at everything, I just couldn't help myself.

Sydney attempted to ride her bike without the training wheels for the first time. The bike is a bit small so it didn't quite work out, but she tried and for my reluctant five year old this is a big deal.


She also started reading this week. She's been reading small words for a while, but yesterday she picked up a book and just started reading it. Here she is with her free pizza for reading twelve books in October (OK, we read them to her, but that still counts in kindergarten):


And who stole my baby and replaced it with one that rolls over both ways


AND sits up?


Liam wasn't about to be outdone by his siblings. He started saying several words this past week and, sniff, got his first real haircut. We knew it was getting too long when Sydney started putting it up in a pigtail:


So he got a haircut. Here's the before:


And the after:



He did fine during the haircut. Me? Not so much. Bawled like a baby. My sweet baby boy is now a big boy.

Someone please tell me how to keep them little for awhile longer. I don't think my tear ducts can take much more.


P.S. Thanks to everyone for your responses to our birds & bees dilemma - we feel armed and ready for the next time we get "the" question.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oops and Uh-Oh

The Oops: I didn't mean to get everyone's hopes up about Ryan's birthday present! (We actually had someone call to wish Ryan a happy birthday and ask what he got after reading this.) We just usually don't get each other much so I was excited about buying him something he didn't specifically ask for. Unfortunately, for you, and perhaps for Ryan, it was not anything spectacular like a flat screen TV or a new iPod to replace his dying one. It was one of these. See? Not all that exciting. But he's mentioned getting one for a couple of years now (especially after painful dental cleanings) and it's something I didn't think he'd go out and buy for himself.

So now you know that we're really old. Because who buys a toothbrush for someone's birthday unless they are really old?

The Uh-Oh: The following conversation took place the other evening while I was putting the finishing touches on dinner. The whole family decided to join me in the kitchen and this ensued:

Sydney: "Mommy, you know how you had me and Liam and Evan in your tummy?"

Me: "Yes."

Sydney: "Well, how do you make a person? How did a baby get in there?"

Liam: "Ba la la ma pa la la la la la ya ya ya ya!"

Me: "Liam, hush. What?!?"

Sydney: "How do you make a person?"

Me to Ryan: "You wanna field this one, Mr. Biology Major?"

Ryan to me: "Not particularly. I'll let you handle this one."

Me to Ryan: "Oh, come on. You have a degree in this."

Ryan to me: "I didn't learn this in college. I learned it in elementary school."

Me to Ryan: "But not from a teacher. From your friends. This is Texas, after all. There is no class on this in Texas."

Ryan to me: "True."

And then Sydney wandered off, tired of waiting for us to give her an answer.

You'd think we'd have come up with an answer for this by now, seeing as she's old enough to remember both of her brothers being in utero. But, like the stereotypical ostrich, we've had our heads stuck in the sand hoping that she'd never ask.

I guess I should come up with some sort of age appropriate answer, but I have no idea what that will be. We don't want to overwhelm her with too much information or scare her or whatever, but we also don't want to lie to her.

Help? Anyone?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Ryan's birthday. I won't tell you how old he is, but he's five months older than me, so if you know how old I am, well, you can do the math.

Tonight we'll be having steak for dinner and cheesecake for dessert to celebrate. Sadly, I don't know how to cook/grill steak, so Ryan will have to make his own birthday dinner. But, I did make the cheesecake, so I'm not all that terrible of a wife.

And he'll be getting a surprise present from all of us, too. We usually don't get each other much for our birthdays (the adults, that is) and if we do, it's usually something we've asked for so there is very little element of surprise on the birthday front. But he has no idea what he's getting this year and since I bought it while Sydney was at school, he can't grill her for information. I guess he could try to get it out of Liam or Evan, but I think they'll keep my secret safe.

Anyway, in honor of my super old husband, here are a few pictures of him being the great dad he is. These were taken at Sydney's school carnival a few weekends ago:





And here's a few without him, just because I think my kids are so cute:




Happy Birthday, Ryan!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where's the Beef?

I posted a while back that we were going to start going meatless at dinner twice a week. Ryan informed me that Sundays would count as one of ours meatless days: we have a family tradition of eating popcorn, fruit and cheese in front of the TV while watching AFV every Sunday evening. He also informed me that chicken and fish were borderline vegetarian to him as well. What can I say - the man likes his beef.

So, I planned our dinners accordingly last week.

He had band practice Tuesday evening and found his own dinner between work and practice, so I made vegetarian pizza for me and the kids. Their half was plain cheese pizza and my half was spinach and artichoke pizza (and no, we didn't eat it all in one sitting - Sydney and I ate leftovers for lunch the following day):


To avoid too much sugar, I didn't use jarred or canned pizza sauce. Instead, I combined half a can of tomato paste and a tablespoon of canola oil (Dr. Oz says to use olive oil, but I'm allergic to olives).

Wednesday was our official vegetarian night. I made lentil or "healthy" hamburgers as Sydney likes to call them. I found the recipe on allrecipes and we all scarfed them down. Sydney had American cheese and ketchup on hers while Ryan and I had Swiss cheese and fresh spinach leaves on ours. I couldn't find sweet potato fries (a healthier alternative to regular fries that we usually bake in the oven) at the grocery store, so I opted for veggie chips instead for the side:



This recipe is definitely a keeper despite the fact that the patties tend to fall apart a lot more easily than beef ones.

Thursday was also semi-vegetarian. My friend Tory suggested that we give spaghetti squash a try instead of eating traditional wheat pasta. I'd tried it before and Sydney turned her nose up at the "crunchy spaghetti", but this time she gobbled it up. I made my own spaghetti sauce, again from allrecipes and made meatballs to appease my carnivore husband.


Two thumbs up for this one, too, especially since the sauce recipe made enough for two meals. We now have a canister of yummy sauce in the freezer for another night. Score.

So, the experiment is going well so far. I haven't decided what we'll do this week - perhaps a spinach quiche. I can't wait for it to cool off a bit more so I can break out the soup recipes!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Twitter Meme

I was tagged by Mommy Daisy for the "Six Things About Me Twitter Meme." I'm supposed to list six things that you probably don't already know about me. No one is really sure why it's called a Twitter meme (really short statements maybe?) and I'm not actually on Twitter, but this meme will let me pretend that I am. :)

1. I've never dyed my hair.
2. I love dried cranberries and put them on/in anything I can think of.
3. Green is my favorite color.
4. I think it would be fun to be a meteorologist.
5. I like playing games, but I'm overly competitive and a sore loser so no one will play with me. Although, I would like to add that I think I've gotten better about both of these things over the years.
6. I've made Christmas stockings for Sydney and Liam, but haven't even started on Evan's.

Consider yourself tagged (if you want to be)!

The Rules: If you’ve been tagged with the meme game from Twitter, you must post 6 things no one knows about you on your blog. Then you tag 6 more people. (don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged.) Leave me a message letting me know that you’ve accepted the tag. Let me know when you’ve posted your list. Have fun!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Political Gripe

I don't talk about my political beliefs here to avoid stepping on toes, but I just have to get some things off my chest.....

Let me start by saying that I'm one of the "undecided white women" that the pollsters keep talking about on the news. I tend to make my decision just a few days before the actual election, so I definitely will not be telling you who I'm voting for or trying to convince you to vote for that person because I have no idea at this point.

So, here goes:

The electoral college should be abolished. It's simply not fair to those of us who live in either very conservative or very liberal states. Case in point: if I were to vote for Obama, my vote would not matter. More people vote Republican than Democrat in my state (seriously, my state is so red that the political map makers ought to draw flames around the borders) and since whoever gets the most popular votes gets all of the electoral votes, then my vote truly does not count. For five years I preached the importance of voting to my students using the "every vote counts" line knowing that it's not true for all Americans when it comes to presidential races. BUT, I still vote every year and I take my kids with me when possible just to ingrain the importance of it into their memories.

Despite my gripes with the electoral college, I am kinda glad that we're not being bombarded with political ads, mailers and phone calls. I feel sorry for the poor people in the swing states who will be spending the next month throwing out half of their mail and screening their phone calls.

Also, I don't understand why people can't separate their feelings about a candidate and their feelings about a candidate's beliefs. I really admire both Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. Both of them are excellent role models for today's girls, proving that you can be both a mother and a leader. I don't necessarily agree with their positions on all of the issues, but I still admire them for their strength and courage.

And what is up with the media? They seem to focus on the outward appearance of the female candidates more than the issues. Palin (and Clinton during the primaries) gives speeches day after day, focusing on the issues, all while having idiots in the media focusing on and making fun of her clothes, hair and accent. I don't hear the media criticizing Joe Biden's (icky looking) hairdo or John McCain's (boring and blah) suits. Just another example of the double standards that exist in our country.

Anyway, I just had to vent a bit. And now I feel much better.

Do you have any political gripes?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Money Matters

No, this post isn't about the economy, although I think I'm just worried about it as everyone else even if I don't quite know what is going on. Despite the fact that I am certified to teach economics to high schoolers, I only had two economics classes at the local community college's summer school session. Isn't that scary?

Anyway, back to topic. Ryan and I have been toying with the idea of giving Sydney an allowance to help her learn money management. She was salivating over the latest American Girl catalogue and just had to show us all of the teeny tiny outfits she wanted for her doll. As she flipped through the pages making her desires known, Ryan added up the cost of all that she wanted: a whopping $245. We had her pull out her piggy bank and count out it's contents: $12.46. I showed her the prices of the things she wanted and we determined that all she could afford was a pair of tights for her doll. She began to cry.

We told her that she could start saving her money so that she could buy what she wanted for her doll, but she accumulates money so slowly (birthdays and holidays are few and far between), it would take her five years to build up enough to buy anything substantial. So we thought about giving her an allowance, but we're not quite sure how to go about it.

I didn't get an allowance. I was expected to do my regular chores without payment, but if I wanted to buy something I could do extra chores and earn some money. Even without a regular allowance, I learned the value of a dollar. This is certainly an option, but I wanted to hear from those of you who had allowances.

So, I guess my questions for you guys are:
1. Did you get an allowance when you were growing up?
2. How much did you get?
3. Did you have to do chores to get it?
4. Did you actually learn the value of money by getting an allowance?
5. Did you have to use your allowance to buy clothes and such or was it just "fun" money?
6. Did your parents make you budget your allowance (10% to savings, 10% to church, etc.)?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


We've had a week of "firsts" around here.

* Sydney had her first experience with homework. Her teacher said at Parents' Night that she didn't like to give homework to kindergartners, but I guess the two week Ike Break put the kids a little behind and now they have to play catch-up.


*Evan had his first cereal. He was not all that thrilled by the experience.


* I got to use our new Sit 'N Stand stroller to take the kids to the bus stop this morning. All of us are loving it!


* I took the boys to their first SongPlay class this morning. This is a class for moms and kids at our church that meets once a week to sing little songs and dance. Liam had a blast doing the hand motions and clapping. He even made a little friend during snack time. I'm so glad he enjoyed it.

* And, Liam got his first of what I'm betting will be many black eyes in his life. He was climbing on a box trying to reach something when the box slipped and he hit his eye against our built in entertainment center. He looks so pitiful, but he seems to feel just fine, unlike his mother who is still skips a heartbeat every time she sees it.