Tuesday, March 31, 2009

All Jokes Aside

Happy April Fool's Day!!

Seriously, I am loving April 1st and I am so glad March is over. Aside from my friend's wedding and my birthday, March just pretty much stunk.

I've written about the deaths we've been dealing with lately. My parents are still reeling from the loss of their friend a couple of weeks ago and I've been worried about them. My dad was at the hospital sitting with their friend so that his wife could run home and take a shower when he (the friend) passed away. While my dad is a very strong person, I think his friend's passing hit a little too close to home for him. And my cat died last week, too. I know....a cat is not a person, but she was my cat, given to me by my high school sweetheart. She lived with my parents for 17 years (her birthday was two days before mine) and was as sweet as could be. My dad doted on her and was with her when she died, too.

My attitude has not been helped by the fact that I've been sick most of the month, either. The pollen counts here in The Land of Fruit have been through the roof and I don't think I've gone a day without some kind of allergy symptom: itchy eyes, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, hives. Be sure to by some stock in Kleenex, because the way I've been going through them, the price of it is bound to be going up.

And then there are the hormones. The emotional and hormonal ups and downs that come with weaning are a killer. Evan became a completely bottle fed baby this week and it's just been rough on me. Not only have I stopped producing those natural "mood lifting" hormones, but I've also been saddled with the sadness of weaning my last baby. It's just a seemingly unexplainable sadness. I know that in time my body will adjust and I'll be back to normal, but in the meantime, I feel like I'm in mourning for something and I just don't know what that "something" is. See? Totally unexplainable (or is it inexplicable? - I don't know and I'm too unmotivated to look it up).

Anyway, April is here and I'm hoping that no one will die, the pollen count will go down and my hormones will get back to normal. At least I can console myself with a glass of wine or a caffeinated soda and not feel guilty about it, right?

* I promise my next post won't be this whiny!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

T is for.....

T is for Trouble, as in I'm in for a lot of it. Here is how I found Evan this morning as I cleaned up our breakfast dishes:




And later at the park, I turned around for two seconds and Liam had climbed to the top of the seven foot tall jungle gym all by himself (no pictures of that, though, sorry).


And T is for Thank you. I won a DVD in one of Mommy Daisy's giveaways. We haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but the kids are really excited about it:


Well, Sydney's excited about the movie. Liam is excited about the box.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bluebonnets and Buckets of Ice Cream

Despite the impending icky weather, we found field after field of bluebonnets on our Spring Break excursion. And, as is custom in Texas (seriously - it's custom - we saw at least six other cars stopped on the side of the road with families doing the same thing), we plopped our kids right down for some pictures:





And then we toured a nearby creamery/ice cream factory. It was a lot fun seeing how they made the ice cream and watching the machines squirt the slushy goodness into the company's trademark buckets. I think the kids found the ice cream at the end to be the best part, though:





Ryan and I enjoyed our ice cream, too. Yum!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Odds and Ends (Again)

It seems like I have way too many odds and ends posts....I guess that means I should be blogging more often. Or less. I don't know.

I had so much fun reading the names of the people that share your birthdays. I don't believe in all that astrological stuff because you'd think that people who share birthdays would have similar personalities. Some of the combinations you guys listed were quite odd: Anne Frank and George H. W. Bush, Oliver Stone and Agatha Christie, Ashton Kutcher and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Weird combinations.

My birthday was fun. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house (yeah!) and went and had delicious sushi at a restaurant that had no crayons on the table. (The crayons thing was my one requirement.) I got to sleep until 8:30 the next morning and that was just heavenly. I got up and gave myself a pedicure and then Ryan took me to Nordstrom's to look for some new shoes, but after seeing the price tags on some of those heels, I made him promise to not spend that much on something that goes on my feet. I could not in good conscience have him spend two weeks' worth of grocery money on one pair of shoes. We browsed some more, ate lunch and I finished my big day with a nap and a steak and shrimp dinner prepared by my wonderful hubby. Great day!

But then I felt bad when my parents dropped the kids off the next day. They looked exhausted and my mom told me that she had a whole new respect for what I do every day. But how cool is it that my mom respects what I do?

The kids had a great time, even if we had to put them through grandparent detox the next day. It's hard to convince your two year old that he has to take a nap when grandma let him just "rest" on the floor with a movie on. Or to remind your five year old that she's only allowed one dessert a day.

They grew up a little while they were there, too. Evan's first tooth popped out while they were there. And one of Sydney's teeth began to wiggle. She's so excited to lose her first tooth and wiggles it back and forth all day long. It grosses me out a little bit. I'll post a picture of Little Miss Gaptooth when the tooth finally falls out.

And lastly, Evan had his clogged tear duct opened today. Ryan stayed to watch while the doctor plunged a blunt needle down into my baby's tear duct, but I left the procedure room. I sat in the hallway bawling while Evan screamed and cried. It was horrible and seemed like it lasted twenty minutes when it probably lasted less than two. Hopefully, this procedure is the end of Evan's icky eye goop. If so, the screaming, crying and bleeding (yes, there was blood dripping from his little eye) were totally worth it.

Tomorrow we're hoping to end our Spring Break by visiting the Blue Bell Creamery and taking our annual bluebonnet pictures.

I'm going to be sad when Spring Break ends.

And I'm going to be really sad when Ryan goes back to work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Blowing Out Some Candles

I can no longer say I'm in my early thirties. I'm now in my mid-thirties thanks to the passing of another year and the arrival of my 33rd birthday.

I've done a lot in my 33 years of living: graduated from college, taught over 500 high school kids, got married, bought two houses, had three kids. There's a lot more I'd like to do in my next 33 years: travel extensively, go back to work, fly in a hot air balloon, learn to make pie crust (that stuff is tricky!), read the entire Bible. I have a whole list of things I'd like to do....maybe I'll post it here someday.

For fun, I thought I'd see if anyone famous shared my birthday. Here are just a few of them: Harry Houdini, Annabella Sciorra, Alyson Hannigan and Peyton Manning. In fact, Peyton Manning and I are the exact same age. I wonder if he has list of things he'd like to accomplish in his next 33 years....perhaps another Super Bowl win?

Have you ever wondered if anyone famous shares your birthday? Check FamousBirthdays to find out. And then come back here and tell me who blows out candles the same day as you (because I'm nosy like that!).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Put on Your Thinking Caps!

Dilemma #1: Liam's speech

He is 28 months old and has a vocabulary of about 100 words and sounds (car sounds, animal sounds, etc). He's said a couple of two or three word phrases like, "Night, night, mommy" and "More milk, please." Today I caught him wagging his finger at Evan and saying, "No, no, Evan." But he's still way behind his classmates and we still have a hard time understanding the words he does use. He's a smart little guy, but he just can't verbalize his thoughts which makes the temper tantrums all the more frustrating for both him and me.

I've looked into private speech therapy (since he isn't far enough behind to qualify for the state's early childhood therapy) and here are our options:

1.) Have a therapist come to our house for 30 minutes once a week - $50 per session.
2.) Take him to a speech therapy clinic for one hour per week - $50 insurance co-pay per session if our insurance cooperates.
3.) Take him to a speech therapy clinic for one hour per week - $ unknown if our insurance doesn't cooperate.
4.) Wait and see.


Dilemma #2: Clothes

I've started cleaning out my closet and can't decide what to keep and what to give away. I'm definitely giving away all the things that are completely out of style and things I haven't worn in years (like my old work clothes). But I don't know about the rest. After Sydney was born, I was a size 8. After Liam was born, I was a size 4. And now, after Evan, I'm right in the middle at a size 6 so I've got three different sizes of clothing in my closet. Should I:

1.) Be an optimist and keep the size 4 clothes in hopes that I will get back down to that size?
2.) Be a pessimist and keep the size 8 clothes just in case (heaven forbid) I gain weight?
3.) Be a realist and get rid of both the 4's and 8's since I'm a size 6?


Dilemma #3: Free Day

My parents are keeping all three kids for 48 whole hours next week! I am excited beyond belief. This will be my first big block of completely child-free time since before Evan was born 10 months ago. What should I do with my free time?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Circle of Life

When I was young and we'd drive to northeast Texas to visit my grandmother, I always looked forward to the fabulous meal that she would have waiting for us, but I dreaded the conversations I knew we would have while eating it. They usually went something like this:

My grandmother to my dad: "Do you remember Joe Wilson who used to run the feed store?"

My dad: "Yeah....he's a nice guy. How's he doing?"

My grandmother: "He died last month."

My dad: "Oh. That's too bad."

My grandmother: "You know Ethel from church?"

My dad: "She goes to the same beauty parlor as you, right?"

My grandmother: "Not anymore. The cancer's eaten her up." (I always loved how she said "the" cancer)

We used to laugh about these conversations on our way home. We didn't understand her obsession with death. But now I completely get it. Because now when we go visit our parents, Ryan and I get to hear all about the latest funeral or cancer diagnosis. It's downright depressing.

In the last few weeks, three of our friends have lost their fathers. As I type this, another friend is sitting by her father's bedside watching him take what are most likely his last few breaths. Her father happens to be one of my parents' best friends.

And while I know death is just another part of the life cycle, I'm still not used to dealing with it. And explaining it to Sydney makes it even worse, especially since she's really curious about it and likes to talk about it a lot. I'm honest with her (sparing her the adult details, of course), but it's still hard. Sometimes being an adult/parent just stinks.

So if I'm a little quiet this week, you'll know that I've got a funeral to go to. And I've got another sympathy card to buy. The fourth one in as many weeks. See? Downright depressing.

Fortunately for my emotional state, the circle of life in my little corner of the world is continuing: a dear friend of mine got married yesterday and I have several friends who are expecting babies in the coming months. Heaven knows we deserve to hear some happy news after the month we've had.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Updates and Such

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. The weather has been phenomenal so we've been outside quite a bit to take advantage of it. Despite the piles of oak pollen polluting the neighborhood, we decided to have a picnic at a nearby park on Saturday.

Sydney enjoying her pb&j:


Evan after a lunch of peas:


Liam, man on a mission to hit me in the head with a tennis ball:


Having fun on the seesaw:


Going for a walk around the lake:


Liam, refusing to rest with Ryan:


Sydney, practicing her balance beam skills:


Evan, playing with a bunny:



The spring cleaning is going slowly, but it's going. I've already filled a box of stuff from our closet (including about a dozen pairs of shoes) and plan on cleaning out my clothes next week once the dining room is available (post book club) as a storage area for the giveaway piles. I've already packed up my nursing tanks and bras since Evan is down to two feedings a day. Needless to say, I will not miss the icky nursing gear at all.


Speaking of the dining room, I bought a cute new table cloth for my book club hosting next week. (By the way, you know you're getting old when you have fun looking at table cloths.) Alli asked me if I'd settled on a menu yet and I think I have:

Pulled pork
Fresh green beans cooked al dente with slivered almonds and a spritz of lemon juice
Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in a light vinegarette (as the salad)
Banana pudding

I figure it's southern, but not too fattening. I'll let you know how everyone liked it next week.


It's supposed to be cold and rainy the next few days, so hopefully I'll have more time to post. Until then.....

Friday, March 6, 2009

Food for Thought?

I'm set to host one of my book clubs week after next and I need some help with my menu. For the record, this book club leans toward "book themed" meals to add to the ambience of the discussion.

For example, for our Wicked discussion, we had key lime pie for dessert since the main character in that book is green. For Animal Farm, we had beef stew and breadsticks shaped like dog bones. The book we're reading for my date is To Kill a Mockingbird and I am so excited because it is one of my all time favorite books.

Since the book is set in Alabama, southern foods are a must. I'm thinking about having crock pot pulled pork as the meat since Scout dressed up as a ham at the end of the book. And I'm pretty sure I'll have both biscuits and cornbread available because you can't get much more southern than that. Sydney said she'd help me make banana pudding for dessert.

But now I can't decide what kind of vegetables to serve. Normally, I'd make cole slaw and potato salad, but those are really summertime dishes. I don't want anything too heavy (like green bean casserole) because the pork and banana pudding will be quite rich, but I can't think of any southern-style veggies that don't contain lard, butter or heavy cream. Also, I don't think I want to go overboard with the whole theme thing. The pork, biscuits, cornbread and banana pudding are probably enough for everyone to get the point. But, since I'm from the South, I don't really know what other kinds of veggies to pair with the foods I've already chosen.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I have a problem. I'm a keeper. I like to keep things for a really long time, longer than they need to be kept. This is not to be confused with hoarding, though. We don't have twenty multipacks of two ply toilet paper stacked in a closet somewhere or piles of newspapers lining the hallways of our house.

I simply have a hard time getting rid of stuff. Random stuff. Like the typewriter/word processor thingy that my grandmother (who passed away a few years ago) gave me as a high school graduation gift. I used it to write my papers in college and haven't had an actual need for it since then, but I find myself struggling to get rid of it. Ryan and I have discussed this one particular item and its need to find a new home more than once. Our conversations usually go something like this:

Ryan: Can we please get rid of this thing?

Me: But what if we need it?

Ryan: We have a computer and a printer. I don't think we'll need it.

Me: But what about the typewriter function? What if we need a typewriter for something?

Ryan: We won't need a typewriter. Everything is computerized now.

Me: But my grandmother gave this to me.

Ryan: She also gave you her pearls, her silver and her coffee table. I think you're set.

Me: But......

And on and on it goes. And not just with the typewriter, but with a lot of things. Like my clothes. Sigh.

I really need to clean out my clothes. There are things hanging in my closet that I've moved four times and never worn. The wind suit I wore in the early 90's is an example. Or the green suede jacket my mom got me for Christmas my freshman year of high school. Yes - my freshman year of high school which is longer ago than I care to remember (let's see, my ten year reunion was five years ago, so carry the one and well, you get the point). My problem is that I'm emotionally attached to things and I just can't give them away. Seriously, I cried when I had to sell the first car I ever bought all by myself. Little green Honda Civic, how I miss you still.

I have no problem getting rid of other people's stuff because I'm not attached to it. Before we moved, Ryan cleaned out his side of the closet and I had no issues helping him make a giveaway pile of his clothes. I didn't really clean out my side of the closet then because Evan was only one month old and I wanted to get back down to my pre-pregnancy size before tackling the job. Deep down, I know I could have done it, but I used the "I'mstillfatfromhavingababyandIreallywillwearallthisstuffagain" excuse to avoid doing it.

I'm aware this is a problem and I am doing my best to ensure that my kids do not inherit it. Sydney likes to keep every single thing she makes at school and church. We're talking 3-4 little projects/coloring sheets per day. For a while, I threw things away while she was at school (nothing important, just letter tracing worksheets) and let her fill a box with the art I didn't throw away. A couple of months ago, I made her go through the box and pick a few things that she wanted to keep. We took pictures of other things that she liked, but we didn't have room for (like the huge Cinderella mural thing she painted in neon pink) and then I had her throw the rest away. I want her to be able to be sad about getting rid of things, but more importantly, I want to teach her to actually get rid of them despite feeling sad.

Well, I've decided that I've got to practice what I preach and get rid of some stuff. A LOT of stuff. Maybe we'll sell it or just give it away, I haven't quite figured that part out yet, but there are a lot of things that just need to go away. There will be tears involved, I'm sure. I'm tearing up just thinking about the two bins of maternity clothes that I'll never wear again and the baby equipment that we've outgrown. But it's time for this to happen.

I'm sure I've bored you to tears with this post, but I really believe that professing something to the world makes one more accountable for the actions that have been promised. So here goes:

I, Jana the emotional pack rat, pledge to clean out the closets, garage and attic of all things that have gone unused and unworn for the last year.

Wish me luck!