Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours - Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Sleep for the Weary

Y'know, if it's not one thing, it's another.

Last week, Evan threw up on the off-white living room carpet...after eating blackberries.  Everyone talks about how blueberries are so staining, but no one ever mentions blackberries.  Luckily, the giant purple stain came out and it was one of those non-repeated fluke pukes.

And then I caught the stomach bug from you-know-where.  By day three of consuming nothing but miniscule sips of water and tiny bites of saltines, I thought I was going to die.  I never had a fever and thankfully no one else caught it, but for a while there in my delusional mind, I thought for sure that somehow I'd contracted some mutant combination of rotovirus/cholera that was going to land me in the hospital.  But, hey, I'm five pounds lighter now, so why should I complain, right?

And now, on top of his recent and on-going medical issues, Ryan has a terrible cold.  As I type this at 6 something in morning, he is snoring like a freight train (and has been since 4 something), which is about twenty times louder than your usual run-of-the mill train-type snoring.  I'm lucky that I got to sleep so much during my bout with the stomach bug because I'm sure as heck not going to sleep again any time soon.

I'd go sleep in the living room, but a) it's adjacent to our bedroom and I can still hear him snoring through the door (yes, it's that loud) and b) he's been diagnosed with a slight case of apnea (which might be causing the seizures) so I spend most nights just dozing and making sure that he's breathing and not sleeping on his back.  So I guess it's not like I've been getting lots of sleep anyway.

The doctors said we should look into having his tonsils taken out and that might alleviate the apnea issues and in turn that might lower his chances of having more seizures.  We thought about waiting a bit so that we can get through Evan's tear duct surgery next month (yes, yet another medical issue!), but as I listen to him snore so deeply that the bed is shaking right along with him, I'm tempted to go find a kitchen knife and perform the surgery on him myself.

Don't get me wrong, I love him more than life itself, but y'know, I need to sleep.  I haven't had a good night's rest in nearly a month and clearly it's taking a toll on my mood and my sanity.  Not even Christmas can get me out of this grouchy mood.  Now that's pretty sad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Ten years ago today, Ryan and I said our wedding vows.  Ten years.  Wow.  (For a wedding picture, click here.)

We don't have anything big planned, not with Christmas next week and a family trip to Disney next summer.  We might go out to dinner on Saturday, if I can get rid of this nasty stomach bug (nothing says "Happy 10th Anniversary" like waking up to a vomiting wife.)  And if I'm still sick, well....oh well.  We'll live.

The sweet husband that he is, Ryan bought me a new iPod Touch as my gift.  He even wrapped it in foil since the 10 year anniversary gift is supposed to be aluminum.  (Honestly, I'd like to know just who came up with the list of traditional anniversary gifts and what the point of all of it is.)

What did I get him?  Nothing.  Not even a card.  Yes, I'm a bad wife.  And yes, I am feeling completely guilty.  But we've never been big on anniversary gifts (again, Christmas is next week) and I just never a found a card that I liked.  I guess that's what happens when you both have fairly sarcastic senses of humor and all the card companies like to print are really sappy cards.

So, Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband.  I can't wait to see what the next ten years have in store for us.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spinning the Gerbil

After dinner last night:

Sydney:  Wanna hear the Hanukkah song I learned in school today?

Me:  OK.

Sydney:  It has a dance that goes with it.  (starts humming and dancing)

Me:  Go for it.

Sydney:  It's called "The Gerbil Song."
               Gerbil, gerbil, gerbil
               I made you out of clay.
               Gerbil, gerbil, gerbil
               With gerbil I will play.

Me:  Umm, do you mean dreidel?

Sydney:  Yeah!  That's it!

And then she spent the next ten minutes singing the song and doing the little dance that goes with it.

Love that kid.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Comic Relief

With all that's happened in the last several days, we've still found plenty to laugh about.  What's got me laughing the most is, well, frankly, it's mean.

During his last seizure, Ryan bit down on his tongue really hard and while the bruising is gone, the swelling is still there.  The poor guy's tongue was about three times it's normal size for a few days.  The swollen tongue has led to a terrible lisp and I'm sure I'll be struck by lightning for laughing about it, but it is absolutely hilarious to listen to him talk.

I laugh the hardest when he's reading the boys their bedtime story.  The current favorite is Dr. Seuss' Ten Apples up on Top! and when Ryan reads it to them, it sounds something like this:

"Come on!  Come on!
Come one!  Come all!
We have to make
the applth fall.

They mutht not get
our applth down.
Come on!  Come on!
Get out of town!

Applth up on top!
All of thith
mutht thtop

How can I not laugh, especially when it's in rhyming form?

Anyway, both the swelling and the lisp are almost gone and my laughter will soon turn into a chuckle.

It may be cruel, but it is nice to laugh again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Scared to Sleep


It happened again.  This past Thursday, Ryan had two seizures, one around midnight and the other around six in the morning.  The first time I managed to keep him from falling off the bed.  The second time I was in the bathroom and he hit the floor.  He bit his tongue really hard and there is now a blood stain on the carpet that I cannot get out.

There was another trip to the emergency room.   Another clear CT scan.  Another ER doctor telling me that there was nothing they could do, other than prescribing an anti-seizure medication, and we should call the neurologist.

So I called her office (which is in the building next to the hospital).  She didn't come see him.  She didn't even call me back.

(We're finding a new neurologist.)

Ryan went straight to bed and slept for twenty straight hours.  He got up once to use the bathroom.  He ate nothing but a pudding cup in over 36 hours.

The kids were told that he had a really bad headache and that he needed to rest.  They're still wondering why I won't let him drive and why our bed is now turned sideways and up against the wall.  It may look ridiculous, but there's no way I'm going to let him fall out of bed again.

Me?  I think I've cried more in the last few days than I have in the last two years.

And I can't sleep.  I've always had insomnia issues, but now I'm actually scared to sleep.  We go to bed and I lie there for hours listening to him breathe.  Every little movement has me on edge.  He rolled over and hit the wall last night and I almost jumped out of my skin.

He's feeling better today and acting more like himself.  He still has a bit of a lisp thanks to a still swollen tongue, but his memory is improving and his muscle aches have subsided.

I don't know when I'll let him drive again.

I don't know when I'll sleep again, either.

And I have no idea what to tell the kids.

I gotta tell you, it kinda sucks.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pet Peeves

I woke up in a mood this morning.  Everything seems to be getting on my nerves for some reason.  I know it will pass and by this afternoon whatever bee flew in my bonnet will fly away, but for now, I'm just in a mood.

What better time to vent, right?  Currently, I'm peeved by:

- the wind chimes that I usually adore.  We put them up in the back of the house so that we can hear them, but a cold front came through at 4 this morning and they've been jingling non-stop and I've been awake ever since.  (I think I've just figured out why I'm in this crummy mood.)  I'm fairly certain the wind chimes will be finding a new home soon.

- parents who take their kids out of school (real school, not pre-school) for an entire week or two to go skiing, to Disney or something similar just to "beat the crowds."  It's one thing to take their kids out for a few hours or even a day to go see relatives or something, but a whole week?  To go to Disney?  Really?  What are they teaching their kids about the importance of education?

- people who don't buckle their kids into car seats.  When I see a small child walking around in the back seat of a car or sitting on an adult's lap in the front seat I want to scream, "What is wrong with you people?"

- bloggers who edit their posts to only show a sentence or two in a feeder so that if you want to read the whole post, you have to go to the actual web page to read it.  I know they do it so that they get a higher number of page views for advertising/payment purposes, but all it does is make me delete them from my blog roll.  So long, Crockpot 365.

- people who don't understand that we don't like dogs.  We're just not dog people.  Two of our three kids are warming up to them and aren't as scared of them as they used to be, but one is still terrified of them.  We're working on it, but in the mean time, I wish some people would be a little more understanding.

- the yummy garlic chicken recipe that makes the house smell like garlic for three full days after I cook it.  It's too yummy to not cook it anymore, but sheesh, the smell is killing me.

- the list of people we have to buy gifts for this Christmas keeps getting bigger each year.  Between us, Ryan and I have three sets of parents, five siblings (with spouses), eight nieces and nephews (with another on the way) and four great nephews (and another on the way).  I honestly don't know how much more I can stretch our Christmas budget.

But, on the upside, the boys asked Santa for only one thing each this year and I managed to find them online yesterday at a pretty good deal.  Whew!  At least I feel can feel good about that!

Wanna play along?  What's one of your current pet peeves, holiday-related or otherwise?

P.S. I promise to be in a better mood for my next post.  :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

As is tradition here at Dress-up and Diaper Changes, I thought I'd sum up our Thanksgiving with a little song.  (You can see last year's post here and the one from 2008 here.)

To the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas":

On my Thanksgiving Holiday, my family gave to me...

...12 forced family photos
...11 hours of TV
...10 pleas to share
...9 hours of chit-chat
...8 broken toys
...7 kids running wild
...6 pounds of sweet potatoes
... a 5 day old nephew.........
...4 rounds of vaccine-related diarrhea
...3 rounds of liquid tylenol
...2 bowls of gumbo
... and a whole lot of smiles and hugs.

(To explain a few of these - Ryan's niece brought her 5 day old baby for everyone to snuggle - fun!  Liam had his 4 year check-up yesterday and got five vaccines; poor guy has been running a fever and dealing with some stomach "issues."  And since we spent lunch with my family and dinner with Ryan's family, we decided to have seafood gumbo with my parents rather than face two full Thanksgiving meals in a row.)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This past weekend was our second family camping trip.  The first, you may remember, was in May and not exactly loads of fun due to the heat, the bugs and some pretty nasty bathrooms.  The weather was much nicer this time, the bathrooms were cleaner and while there were fewer mosquitos, we had to deal with bees this time.

Anyway, I thought I'd sum it all up Clint Eastwood style.

The Good:
- Sydney and the boys loved riding horses.  Sydney got to ride by herself and she did a great job of starting, stopping and steering.  She told me that she liked her horse because it "followed the rules".  Yes, my child is as Type A as I am.
- The location was beautiful.  We camped right next to a huge lake and the leaves on the many trees were turning beautiful red and gold colors.  I could have spent the whole time sitting by the lake looking at the trees.
- The food was awesome.  Once again, the dads did all the cooking and the Saturday night dinner was fried turkey with all the fixings.  Yum!
- Sydney had lots of fun running around with her little friends.
- I got to take a nap with Evan Saturday afternoon.  It was cool and breezy and it was nice to get some afternoon rest.
- At the bonfire Saturday evening, Liam fell asleep on my lap about ten minutes into it.  This is a kid who wipes off my kisses, so I enjoyed every minute of his slumber time snuggles.

The Bad:
- There were bees everywhere which freaked the kids out.  Anyone know if there's such a thing as bee repellant?
- My horse (who was named Booger, I might add) decided to help himself to a little snack inside the trail guides' cabin.  The horse walked into the building (not a barn - a building meant for people) as soon as the guide put Evan in my lap.  He did just fine for the rest of the ride, but he had me worried.
- Even with all the beauty of the location, there were about six little boys who spent the entire time playing video games on their Nintendo DS's.
- Every time we went to find Sydney after she ran off with her friends, we found her playing someone else's DS.  That's exactly why we won't let her have one!

The Ugly:
- There was a terrible car accident that shut down the highway on our way there.  A drive that should have taken 1.5 hours took 3 instead.  Ugh.
- The first night was cold and damp and none of us slept very well on our air mattresses.
- One little girl didn't notice that there was a bee in her drink and was stung on her lip.  The poor thing was miserable.

Overall, it was a fun weekend.  Camping is still not my thing, but I'll do it because my kids like it.  I'm just glad the family trips only come twice a year.  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:

- today's beautiful fall weather: a clear blue sky and cool temperatures.
- Liam's great progress report from speech therapy.
- Sydney's awesome, all A's report card.
- being able to meet Ryan in The Big City for lunch this afternoon.
- being able to drive around downtown in The Big City without getting lost.
- the times I'm able to go to the library or a book store and just browse.  (Yes, I'm boring.)
- our family's upcoming "Candy Day" when all the girls get together and make hundreds of pieces of chocolate candy.
- my knees that are still holding up after two weeks of walking/jogging on the Couch to 5K plan.
- our great families who attended Liam's little family birthday party and gave him such sweet gifts.
- the walk-in clinic at a local pharmacy that was able to see me Sunday morning before Liam's party.  (On a related note, I am not thankful for allergies/sinus issues.)
- decongestants that don't make my heart race or make me feel woozy.
- the neighbor who asked us to feed her cat over the weekend.  It sure was nice to hold and pet a purring kitty.  :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Card Talk

This post of Swistle's, outlining her scoring system for Christmas cards had me cracking up.  (You really must read it - it's hilarious and oh-so-true.)  I've always been all "eye-roll-y" when the Christmas cards start coming in and now I've got a scoring system to back up my snarky comments.

I remember getting Christmas cards/newsletters from some friends of my parents who had two girls the same ages as me and my sister.  Everything was all "Daughter #1 got so many awards she started turning them down so other kids could have a chance" and "Daughter #2 is head cheerleader and captains of both the basketball and volleyball teams" and "our kids are full of rainbows and sunshine and never do anything wrong."  (OK, I made all that up, but you get the picture.)  I'd compare their achievements with mine (not making too big a fool of myself at gymnastics or managing to honk out enough notes in the right order to win a spot in the "good" band) and just sigh.

Not that my mom didn't write great newsletters; she did - really.  She didn't embellish or get overly braggy.  She didn't include the news that I had mono my junior year.  She didn't include the news that after years of arguing about it, I was finally allowed to quit piano lessons.  And she (thankfully) didn't include any pictures of me during those awkward junior high years.  I remember sixth and seventh grades being particularly bad years.  (Someone really should just pull blue eye shadow off of every single store shelf in America so that no one else even has the opportunity to look as clownish as I did in the 80's.)

She did, however, almost embarrass me to death when she mentioned that "in addition to going to high school, Jana has a part-time job pushing pills."  I worked in a pharmacy, folks, counting legally prescribed pills.  "Pushing pills" is a whole other thing - even I knew that at the ripe old age of 16.  I cannot imagine what our friends and family thought after reading that, especially the braggy family whose angelic girls never did anything wrong.

So if you get a Christmas card from us this year it won't have a newsletter.  It won't have glitter.  It won't contain any special announcements or news.  In fact, according to Swistle's scoring system, it would probably score pretty low.  But it won't embarrass our kids.  That's what my blog is for.  :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This week I'm thankful for:

- our photographer friend who took some fabulous pictures of our family.  If you get a Christmas card from us, you'll get to see one of them.
- satellite radio.  No commercials!
- antibiotic drops that are helping poor Evan get over yet another eye infection.
- our sweet neighbors who are all just genuinely nice people.
- finally getting some much needed rain.
- being able to reserve library books online.
- online shopping.
- the joy I get from watching the kids go through the holiday toy catalogs.  They'll only get a tiny fraction of what they're wishing for, but I love to watch them dream.
- beautiful fall flowers.
- sleep; after several nights of insomnia in a row, I am really thankful to get a full night's sleep.

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Look who is turning four years old today:




He's one big ball of energy that still loves to cuddle.  He loves to play rough but gives the best hugs, too.  He's mischievous and sweet all at the same time.  He drives us crazy but we love him to pieces.  And now he's four years old.


I joke with him and tell him that he can't grow up and he has to stay my little baby forever and he just giggles.  

Seriously, where does the time go?

Sunday, November 7, 2010


When we joined a church in The Land of Fruit a while back, we decided to get as involved as possible.  We teach Sydney's Sunday School class once a month, I've taken the training to serve communion and I've gotten involved in the committee that puts on the events for children and families (Easter egg hunt, fall festival, etc).

So far everything has gone quite well.  I've cooked pancakes and prepared hot dogs, sold tickets to events, donated many bags of candy and spent countless hours cleaning up after all of these events.  I haven't been able to help set up for the events as much as I'd like because they always seem to do that on Fridays and I don't feel comfortable letting the boys run around the church while we're trying to work.  At ages two and three, I feel like they need a lot of supervision and I just can't give them that while decorating tables and such.

So at today's meeting to plan our Christmas event, one of the committee members lamented that she winds up doing most of the decorating by herself.  I pointed out that I'd be happy to help on days that the boys are in Mother's Day Out, but the setup days never seem to fall on one of those days.  I said that I couldn't really work with two kids needing so much attention.

Her response?  "That's a load of bull.  I've been bringing my son up while I do all the decorating myself since he was eighteen months old.  I just let him run around and entertain himself while I do all the work."

I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach.  I simply don't think my boys could entertain themselves for hours on end without destroying things.  It's great that her kid is so well-behaved, but you know what?  My boys (one, in particular) are rambunctious, energetic and even a bit mischievous.  There is absolutely no way I'd let them just "run around."

I don't know if she saw me steaming or what, but another committee member agreed that she'd love to help decorate, too, but her boys were also too rowdy to be left alone.

In the end, the committee chair promised to look into hiring the church babysitter to watch all of our kids in the nursery for a few hours while we set things up.

But now I'm irritated.  One part of me feels like telling them to shove it and the offending committee member can just continue to play the martyr and do all of the decorating herself.  And the other part of me feels like showing up, putting the boys in the provided nursery and working so hard they'll wonder how they ever did it without me.

Ugh.  Some people.

No wonder various churches, charities and organizations have a hard time finding members and/or volunteers.

What's that old saying?  "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"?  Maybe that should be amended to, "Don't bite the head off the volunteer willing to help you."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I've made it a habit to dedicate Thursdays in November to thinking of the little things for which I am thankful.  Here's what I'm thankful for these days:

- cooler temperatures that make it actually feel like fall.
- chocolate swirl pumpkin cheesecake.  Yum!
- the sweet Mother's Day Out teachers that love my boys almost as much as I do.
- the way Liam says, "I love you all day long."  (the highest compliment ever from a nearly four year old boy)
- the way Evan kisses me on the cheek when I pretend to be sad.
- how excited Sydney gets when we're about to finish a reading a really big book together.
- my crock-pot.
- yummy crock-pot recipes.
- my sweet husband who says I'm an awesome cook.  (I'm not - he's just really sweet)
- our great neighborhood that makes trick-or-treating lots of fun.
- on a related note, neighbors who give out snack-sized Snickers bars for Halloween.
- the feeling of usefulness I got when I explained some basic tenets of Islam to the ladies in my Bible study group.
- the fact that I live in a country that allows me to voice my opinion through voting.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Flying Pigs and Such

Quick - look out your window.  Did you see a pig flying by?  No?  Well, wait just a minute...there will be one flying by in just a moment.

You see, I, a self proclaimed professional couch potato, started jogging.

Yep, you read that correctly - jogging.

Well, I'm working on it at least.  I promised myself that when the weather cooled off (which for us is usually November and would you look at that?  It's November 3rd), I'd get outside and get moving.

I had Ryan download the Couch to 5K podcasts onto my iPod and I started this past Monday.  With my weak knees, I don't know that I'll actually be running five kilometers by the end of nine weeks, but I'm definitely going to give it a shot.

I don't see any marathons or even half-marathons in my future, but I'm hoping that if I stick with it, I'll see some smaller pants in my future.  :)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Playing the Game

Last week, I had my annual parent-teacher conference with Sydney's teacher.  It was a run-of-the-mill "this is how your kid is doing" kind of conference.  This is opposed to the "your kid is a pain in the rear end" kind of conference that I'm sure I will be attending once Liam starts school in a couple of years.

Anyway, Sydney's teacher revealed that she's at the top of her class in both math and reading.  In fact, the teacher could only test her to a certain level (per school district guidelines) for reading, but she's sure that Sydney is reading well above that level.

She basically said that she spends so much time tending to the kids who misbehave and the kids who are academically behind that she feels like she's ignoring Sydney and a couple of other kids who are reading and doing math at similar levels.  And here I thought we moved out of The Big City and to the suburbs to avoid this kind of situation....

The teacher told me that our best bet is to prepare Sydney for the Gifted & Talented test that will be administered early next year.  Honestly, I think Sydney is more of a high achiever than a GT kid, but then again, only 1% of school kids are officially gifted; the rest may qualify for GT services, but they're really just high achievers, too.

So I turned into one of "those" parents and bought a test prep book this past weekend.  I figure that we'll work on some of the skills and such, but I honestly don't know if Sydney will qualify for our district's program.  If she does, great - she'll be challenged a bit more.  If she doesn't, then we'll continue to supplement her education at home with plenty of museum trips and the like.

I just wish I wasn't so disappointed with the current system.  I shouldn't have to play a game to get my child a challenging education.  Granted, it could be worse.  But, you know, it could be a lot better, too.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Whew!  I am so glad Halloween is over.  Somehow it has turned into a four day affair around here and all of us are exhausted (even the always energetic Liam who had trouble waking up this morning).  But before you judge me for overindulging my children when it comes to this candy company sponsored holiday, I simply couldn't say no to any of the activities.

First, there was the Halloween carnival at Sydney's school:


And then the kids trick-or-treated at The Bank.  This is the only time I get to chat with Ryan's coworkers, so we always go on this one.  Of course, the only pictures I got were of the kids swarming one of the 30 bowls of candy lining the hallways of The Bank:


Then the boys decorated pumpkins pre-school style:



And then we had our church's Halloween carnival.  Unfortunately we didn't get a lot of good pictures there.

And, finally, the traditional neighborhood trick or treating.

Sydney, the cowgirl:


Liam, aka Spiderman:


And Evan, our little dinosaur:


Despite giving away a ton of candy at the above events, we were left with two huge bags full of the sugary stuff.  I'm going to let the kids keep a little bit of it and then I'm going to box up the rest of it and send it to our adopted soldier overseas.  I figure the army can afford the dental bills.  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday, Pumpkin Patch Edition

Yes, it's my favorite time of year - fall!  Now if the weather would just cooperate so that it would actually feel like fall....

Anyway, a sampling of this year's trip to the pumpkin patch:


(Yes, he has a faux hawk...very fitting for him, no?)





Friday, October 22, 2010


Dear Ryan,

Happy Birthday!  Love you!

Your Wife


Dear Grocery Store,

Please quit remodeling and moving things around.  I can't find anything and neither can your "associates"!  I'm down to one box of macaroni and cheese and if I can't find it again next week, you get to explain to my two year old and three year old why they can't have any for lunch.

A Disgruntled Shopper


Dear Radio Station,

You claim to play today's latest hits.  Let me clarify, you claim to play today's latest rock/pop hits.  Please quit sneaking in a country song every fifth or sixth song.  I know I live in Texas, but if I wanted to listen to country music, I'd listen to an actual country music station.

About to Find Another Station,
The Only Texan Who Doesn't Like Country Music


Dear Helicopter Parents,

I understand the desire to both give your child some freedom and protect them at the same time.  Really, I do.  But you either need to pick them up from school in your car or ride your bike with them as they ride their bikes home from school.  Driving alongside them as they ride their bikes a)blocks the road for the people going over 5 mph and b)makes you look like crazy parents.

Thanks So Much,
The Mom in the Red Minivan Who Keeps Rolling Her Eyes at You


Dear Political Pundits on Both Sides of the Aisle,

Seriously, you need to either put your money where your mouth is or just stop talking altogether.  Either get some guts and run for office or keep your opinions to yourself.   Quit telling people what to think and let them think for themselves.   YOU are what's ruining this country - not the government, not the church and not the people who have opinions contrary to your own.  YOU.

And to the people who spend all day watching one-sided "news":  get a life and find a new hobby.

A Voter Who is Sick of ALL of You

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Look who learned how to ride a two-wheeled bike this past weekend:


He's still having trouble turning and starting, but he's now riding without training wheels!



After a hard day of riding, he had some relaxing to do:


And later that evening (after the kids had gone to bed), Ryan and I were watching a little TV when we heard some snoring from the hallway:


Big day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Theme Song

I've heard that as a person ages, they get more of a "I don't care what anyone thinks" attitude.  From what I've read, for many women that comes around age 40 and while I'm just shy of 35, I think I'm just about there.  I've gotten to where I really don't care what others think about my not fixing my hair or wearing makeup six out of every seven days.  I don't care that I'm the only minivan-driving mom in the neighborhood who doesn't like for her kids to listen to cheesy children's music (Sydney's current favorite group is ABBA).  And I don't care if others think I'm weird for having kids who read food labels and talk amongst themselves about why limiting their sugar intake is a good thing.  In fact, I'm kinda proud of that one.

In the spirit of not caring what others think (about most things anyway), I have a new theme song.  What?  You don't have a theme song?  I highly recommend it.  It's actually kind of empowering to have a theme song, especially when it comes on the radio and you think the singer is singing it just for you.  You might find yourself dancing around the house belting out the lyrics right along with the radio (look - another thing I don't care that you know about me!).  Anyway, here it is:

Ryan and I went to see Sara Bareilles in concert a couple of weeks ago, and boy, she can sing.  She's not one of those singers who has to have her voice re-engineered by some sound tech after she's recorded a song (I'm lookin' at you, Taylor Swift).  She has a fabulous set of pipes and as great as the song is on the radio, it was ten times better in person.  No, I didn't get up and dance around while she sang it.  But I did feel like she was singing it just for me.  Well, maybe not for me.  But I'm pretty sure she was singing it for all of us who really don't care what others think anymore.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


We gave up the whole "trying to hide things from the kids by spelling them" gig a few years ago when Sydney began to read.  In fact, I was kind of irritated when our pediatrician said at Sydney's last check-up, "She doesn't need any S-H-O-T-S this time around."  Really?  Has she come across a seven year old who can't spell the word shots?

Anyway, we've decided to go to DisneyWorld next summer (hurray!) and out of sheer excitement, Ryan and I discussed it at dinner last night.  Not wanting to spill the beans on the big trip, we reverted back to our old spelling tricks.  Knowing that most of the words we were spelling were unfamiliar to Sydney, it wasn't too hard to sneak things past her.  If there was a critical word that I knew she knew how to spell, I spelled it out super-fast.

Me:  So I was chatting with some friends today and they said we really need to plan out any D-I-S-N-E-Y L-U-N-C-H-E-S or M-E-A-L-S that we're going to have with C-H-A-R-A-C-T-E-R-S in the next couple of weeks.

Ryan:  Like which ones?

Me:  There isn't a T-O-Y-S-T-O-R-Y one, but there is a P-I-R-A-T-E one and a P-R-I-N-C-E-S-S one.  There is a T-O-Y-S-T-O-R-Y pizza place that we could do for lunch one day.

Ryan:  OK.

Sydney:  What are you talking about?  Where are we going?

Me:  And I heard that at E-P-C-O-T you can go to F-R-A-N-C-E and eat.  R-E-M-Y might be your server.

Ryan:  Who?

Me:  R-E-M-Y.  The one from R-A-T-A-T-O-U-I-L-L-E.

Ryan:  Oh.  That sounds like fun.

Me:  And we definitely have to go the M-O-V-I-E park.  They have a really awesome T-O-Y-S-T-O-R-Y R-I-D-E that I heard all three of them will like.

All the while poor Sydney was moving her lips and trying to sound out all the things I was spelling.  I don't think she caught any of them.

We'll eventually tell them what's going on, but with the trip still many months away, I don't want to hear about it non-stop from now until then.  So for now we'll keep spelling - at least until Sydney's spelling skills reach the point of no return.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here We Go Again

Last week was such an awesome week.  Liam got into the new speech program, Sydney found out her new best little friend from school lives in our neighborhood, I had my teeth cleaned and the dentist found no other problems (this, in itself, is a miracle), my Bible study was lots of fun, Sydney brought home a fabulous report card and the weather was beautiful all week long (hence the lack of posts).

It was seriously one of the best weeks I've had in a really long time.  And then....

...Ryan had another seizure early Friday morning.  He didn't fall out of bed like last time; he just had a seizure at 4:30 in the morning.  Because he didn't hit his head, I didn't call 911 this time, but I did watch him carefully until his neurologist's office opened up and then I gave her a call.

Per her instructions, he spent the weekend resting and I spent the weekend playing chauffeur since he wasn't cleared to drive.

We went to see her yesterday and she lined up a couple of tests and handed him a prescription for some hoity-toity anit-seizure medication that, even with insurance, is going to cost us an arm and a leg.  Seriously, is there such a thing as a doctor who knows how much tests and medications actually cost?

But you know what?  I'm willing to do whatever it takes to never have to watch him have another seizure again.  He doesn't remember them, but I sure do and they are some of the scariest things I've witnessed.

We're doing everything we can to solve this mystery.  And by everything, I mean everything.  We're researching.  We're looking into generic medications.  We're looking into dietary changes and exercise regimens.  Ryan's co-worker has him looking into acupuncture.  Vitamins, minerals, nothing's out of the question at this point.

It may take us a while to find the solution, but we're determined to find it.  If nothing else, his seizures have reinforced for us that life is short and we're going to find a way to get him healthy so that we can enjoy life to the fullest.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Answered Prayer

Liam has now been in speech therapy through the local school district for six months.  Granted, he missed a couple of months during the summer, but I worked with him all summer practicing the exercises his therapist gave him.  He's made some progress, but he still has a long way to go.  In fact, his therapist pulled me aside after his session the other day and asked me how I thought it was going.  I replied that he's slowly getting better and she replied that he's not getting better fast enough.  In fact, she thinks he's regressing on a few things.

I honestly think he was having an "off" day, but she got me worried.

I started looking into putting him in private lessons again (in addition to the ones through the school) and just got overwhelmed at the cost of it.  I got all hand-wringy (my usual response when these sorts of things occur) and I honestly had no idea what to do.  So, I did what I usually do - I prayed about it.

And then, the speech therapist called me and said that the speech program at another school in the district was trying to fill a couple of openings.  Instead of two 30 minute sessions a week, it's two 2 hour sessions a week.  Four hours a week vs. one!  "Sign him up!" I practically shouted at her.

I'm going to fill out all the paperwork today and meet the other therapist to make sure he's a good fit for the program (ensure that he's potty trained and has only articulation problems), but I think it's going to work.  It's perfect for him, actually.  It'll be on two days that he's not in Mother's Day Out and one of the little boys who is currently in therapy with him now is switching, too, so he'll know someone.  And it gets even better!  The mom of his therapy buddy approached me about carpooling so she's going to drop them off and I'm going to pick them up.   Evan will still get his afternoon nap and I will have a bit of free time, too.  And, since it's through the school district, it's free (well, our taxes pay for it, but at least it doesn't cost us anything extra).

Score another one for God.  He definitely answered our prayers on this one.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Funnies

Each of the kids had has laughing last night during or after dinner:

Sydney:  Can I pack my lunch tomorrow?

Me:  OK.

Sydney: 'Cause I want to put a cookie in my lunch.


During another conversation with Sydney (who, as a rapid talker can dominate the entire dinner conversation):

Liam:  My turn.......My turn!.......MY turn!.......MY TURN!.......MY TURN!

Ryan:  Ok, your turn.

Liam:  We saw a fire truck and firemen at school today.


And last night as I was putting Evan's pj's on him:

Me:  Where did my baby go?

Evan:  I don't know.  Let's go look.  (He looks around his room.)  Oh no.  Where did baby go?

Me:  You're my baby.

Evan:  I not a baby.  I a big boy.

Sad, but true.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shameless Plug

Thank you to everyone who gave me some ideas to deal with Liam's night-time training.  We've been talking it up to him the last few nights and took away his bedside sippy cup of water so we might just get brave and start working on it within the next week or so.

And now to totally switch gears.....


OK, I'm going to shamelessly promote a friend of mine who is in the final stages of getting a business started.  If you live in the greater Houston area, please keep reading!  If you live elsewhere, well, you should look into shopping at a franchise of this great store near you.

I met my friend, Sherri, eight years ago at our former church in Houston.  Her daughter, Zoe, and Sydney had the best time playing together and when she (Sherri, not Zoe) started a business selling squeaky shoes, I was so impressed.  In fact, she's the one who inspired me to start my own chocolate business (before we moved to The Land of Fruit).

Now she's onto an even bigger and adventure: she and her husband are opening a consignment store for maternity wear, kids' clothing and baby gear called Kid to Kid.  It's located in the Galleria area (on the corner of San Felipe and Post Oak) and with a great location like that, it's sure to have very high quality clothing and baby equipment.  It's going to be the go-to place for all of those ritzy River Oaks and Memorial area folks when they're ready to part with their kids' outgrown clothes and gear.

From her website:

"We will be opening soon and will be paying you cash up front for your gently used children's clothing, toys and equipment, as well as maternity items. You will also have the option of earning an additional 20% if you choose to take in store credit."

You can't beat a deal like that, especially if you're like me and finally ready to empty your closets and attic of items your family is no longer using.

If you're on Facebook, you can become a fan of their store (if you're my friend, you can look them up through my page) and receive the latest information regarding their opening and any upcoming events.

Be sure to check it out - I know we'll be stopping by to both sell and buy, especially since we've got so many kids on our Christmas list this year.  I'm a sucker for a great deal, I know that her store is bound to have loads of them!

* Sorry about the font size - Blogger does some strange things and I don't know how to fix it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Potty Woe

*Clap, clap*

Ok, folks.  Need some advice here.

How do you night (potty) train a boy?

Three months after Sydney day trained, she started waking up with dry diapers and that was the end of that.

Liam?  He day trained nearly nine months ago and wakes up every morning with a completely full diaper.  He turns four in a few weeks and while I know it will be a while before he goes on his first sleep over, it's about time he night trained.

So, here's where you come in...

How in the world do we go about night training the boy?  Wake him up a few times a night to go?  Let him wake up soaking wet a few times till he gets the point?  Make him change his own sheets?

I am clueless, I tell you.  Absolutely clueless.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Fact Friday

1.  There's a guy down the street who is always sitting at a table in his garage when we drive past.  It's Texas, it's hot, and he's sitting in an even hotter garage.  During the spring, he sat there guarding a bunch of tiny plants sitting under heat lamps.  Now he just sits there staring into space.  Anyone wanna take a guess at what kind of plants those were?

2. I am always amazed when someone recognizes me when I'm out and about.  It's usually someone I've met through church or Sydney's school, but I guess I've always assumed that I have one of those boring, forgettable faces that no one would remember.

3. Evan had to stay home from Mother's Day Out this week due to a horrible case of pinkeye.  I realized how spoiled I'd become in just two weeks of having both boys out of the house for two days a week.

4. Sydney had her school pictures taken today.  I felt bad because we didn't order any, but jeez, they are so expensive!  Plus, I find it creepy that you can pay extra to have them "softened" and "retouched."  Kinda takes the fun out of school pictures if you ask me.

5. I signed up to host book club this month and it turned into a baby shower for one of the members.  Now I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything pulled together.  How in the world do I get myself into these things?

6.  Sydney informed me of her Christmas wish list:  The Chronicles of Narnia movies and a laptop computer.  A laptop!  Yeah, right....keep dreamin' kid.

7.  The big bosses at The Bank asked Ryan if he wanted to move to NYC.  Are you kidding me?  My parents just moved to The Land of Fruit to be closer to us!  He politely declined and then was told that he'll be traveling a lot more in the coming months.  Oh well, at least he'll build up some airline and hotel points.

8.  It's supposed to cool down next week.  Granted, for us that means highs in the eighties, but I'm already giddy with anticipation.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

We were cooped up all weekend due to the rain so when the boys began splashing in the puddles during a light drizzle, I abandoned my Type A personality that would normally cringe at the thought of their clothes getting wet and muddy and grabbed the camera instead:







Saturday, September 18, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

As a general rule, we only allow the kids to have one dessert a day (if that, many days they don't get dessert at all).  Most of the time, they get a cookie or a small piece of candy after dinner, but if they spend the day with either set of our parents, we know that they'll get their daily serving of dessert there.  It's a given:  grandma's house = dessert.

So when the boys spent Friday with my mom, we just knew they'd had something sweet.  But after dinner (back at our house), Liam asked for dessert.  Our conversation went something like this:

Liam:  I want dessert, please.

Me:  Did you have dessert at Gram's house?

Liam (avoiding eye contact):  No.

Ryan:  You didn't have a cookie?

Liam:  No.

Me:  You didn't have a popsicle?

Liam:  No.

Ryan:  You didn't have ice cream?

Liam:  No.

Ryan:  What did Evan have for dessert?

Liam:  A cookie.

Me:  Evan, did you have a cookie at Gram's house?

Evan:  Yes.

Me:  Evan, did Liam have a cookie, too?

Evan:  Yes.

Aha!  We've now found a fail-proof lie detector test for Liam (age 3).  At least until Evan (age 2) turns three and learns how to lie, too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More Pillow Talk

After years of talking about it, we finally bought a new bed.  Ryan's recently divorced and perpetually-working-out-of-town brother offered to give us his unused spare bed, but after hearing about his latest dating adventures and exploits, we politely declined and filed his offer under "Ewww" and "No, thank you."

So we took advantage of both the Labor Day sales and the kindness of grandparents who practically beg us to babysit and took the holiday weekend to do some childless mattress and bed shopping.  Ryan had already done a little shopping, tried out a few mattresses and had a good idea of what he wanted.  Me?  I didn't really care.  As long as it was comfortable, I didn't care if it had foam, springs, coils or tiny little fairies giving our backs support. (No, there aren't beds with tiny little fairies inside, but wouldn't that be cool?)

We'd never shopped for a mattress before, so the whole experience was a little weird.  There's nothing like lying on a series of showroom floor mattresses under the eager and watchful eye of a salesperson who is desperate to meet her holiday sale quota.   Firm vs. soft, coil vs. foam, pillow top vs. plain - too many choices!  And how, exactly, are you supposed to know after lying on a mattress for five minutes that it's "the one"?

I pretty much just let Ryan choose what he wanted (firm, with coils and a pillowtop) and do the negotiating (definitely a skill he excels in and I most definitely do not).  While he was dealing with the details, I searched for and found the fancy Tempur-Pedic mattresses.  I tried one out just for the fun of it and I am so glad we didn't plan to get one of those.  In just five minutes' time, I felt like I was being sucked into it like quicksand and began sweating.  I can't imagine sleeping on one of those night after night.

As for our new bed, Ryan did a great job in choosing it.  So great, in fact, neither of us wants to get out of bed in the morning.  He's actually missed his morning workout several times in the past couple of weeks because he turns the alarm off and immediately falls back asleep.  We joke that we should send it back and get a less comfortable one.

As for the kids, all three of them are enjoying their "new" beds.  Liam likes being in his "tall" twin bed and Evan loves his big boy bed despite his being unable to sleep in one spot.  We never know exactly where in the bed he's going to be when we get him up in the morning.  Sydney is excited to sleep in a big bed and likes to sleep right in the middle.  Just like her mother.  :)

Now we just have to find new bedspreads.  My mom said she'd make a quilt for Liam and one for us, so that just leaves Sydney and Evan.  Hmmm.....I think I've just figured out what they're getting for Christmas.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Making Al Gore Cry

We're the kind of people who drive their cars until they're nearly dead.  When we bought our mini-van a few years ago, we thought we'd have it for at least ten years or so.  But now that I'm on full-time chauffeur duty, I just don't know if it's going to make it that long.

Just today I drove:

- to Sydney's school to drop her off and then back home.
- to church to drop the boys off at pre-school and go to Mom's Bible Study.
- to the post office.
- to home to get a coupon.
- to McDonald's to get lunch.
- to Sydney's school to surprise her with lunch and then back home.
- to church to pick up the boys from pre-school and then back home.
- to Sydney's school to pick her up and then back home.
- to swim lessons.
- to my parents' new house for a quick visit.
- and finally, back home for the evening.

Just today, I drove 44 miles.  44 miles!  And sadly, I'm averaging only nine miles a gallon.  My carbon footprint is growing exponentially and if you listen hard enough, you'll probably be able to hear Al Gore and Ed Begley, Jr. crying because of it.

I'm exhausted from doing nothing more than driving all day long and I know it's only going to get worse as the kids get older and into more activities.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pre-School Days

The boys started pre-school today!

Liam has decided that smiling for pictures is so last year, but here he is with his military-style haircut (no, it's not a military pre-school, but don't think that doesn't cross my mind a few times each day!):


Evan was excited for his very first day of school:


Here they are together:


Liam gettin' down to business (so busy he couldn't stop and give me a kiss):


And Evan was excited to be able to do a puzzle without his big brother's interference:


And what did I do while all three kids were in school?

Well, I didn't go to Bible Study.  I'd signed up to take a pretty intensive Bible study course (one where you read the entire Bible in ten months), but no one else signed up for it so it was canceled.  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go to the Mom's Bible Study on Thursdays instead.

I managed to get dinner in the crockpot, straighten up the house a bit, fix some buttons on a couple of Sydney's school jumpers, sew up a couple of stuffed animals that were losing their stuffing and wrap some birthday presents for an upcoming party.

Overall, it was a productive way.  And, more importantly, a quiet day.  :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Laws of Parenting

Remember all of those laws and principles of science?  Laws of thermodynamics, law of gravity, yada, yada, yada...

Well, I thought it was about time for some Laws of Parenting:

1. The Law of Diminishing Babysitting Returns -  The number of kids you have is in inverse proportion to the number of people who will babysit for free.

2. The Theorem of Crumb Explosion - No matter how many times a day you sweep your kitchen floor, it will look like a war zone by the day's end.

3. The Food Fundamental - Even though your toddler refuses to eat what's on his plate, he will have no problem eating off of your plate despite it being the exact same food.

4. The Date Night Truth - On the rare occasion when you and your spouse get to dress up and go out on the town alone, you will inevitably find a breast milk stain, trails of dried spit up, a smearing of poop or remnants of whatever your child ate that day on your clothing.  Despite all of your hard work to look otherwise, you will still look like a mom.  Most of the time, you'll laugh about it and won't care.  Unless it's silk.  And then you have permission to cry.

5.  The Potty Principle - Despite making your child go potty before leaving to go someplace, he or she will declare in the loudest voice possible upon your arrival to said place, "I need to go potty right now."  You don't dare refuse him; you most certainly don't want to face the inevitable consequence of doing so.

6.  The Laundry Law, Part I - No matter how hard you inspect your child's clothing for stains and stickers before washing it, you will miss something and he/she will wind up having a permanently stickered/stained piece of clothing.

7. The Laundry Law, Part II - After experiencing Laundry Law I, you will make your kid wear the stickered/stained clothing anyway.

8. The Pocket Principle - Every pair of pants or shorts you own that has pockets will wind up containing stray goldfish crackers, stickers, barrettes, pigtail holders and/or used tissues.  If you're not careful, your clothes will fall victim to the Laundry Law, Part I.

9. The Hand-Me-Down Clothes Postulate - The older your child gets, the more you will appreciate hand-me-down clothes.  Ironically, the older your child gets, the less he or she will want to wear them.

10. The Axiom of Exponential Love - The amount of love you have will grow exponentially with each additional child.  It may defy some law of physics, but there is always enough love to go around.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Really Bad Game of "Telephone"

Has it really been over a week since I posted?  Sorry.   Liam is no longer napping during the afternoons which leaves me pretty much no time to post.  However, he and Evan start Mother's Day Out next week (squeeeee!) so I'll have at least two days a week to focus on something other than speech (Liam), ABC's (both of them) and talking about the coolness of potties and the big boys that use them (Evan).

Sydney started school over a week ago and can I just tell you how much I loathe the whole drop-off/pick-up thing?

Our school district, like most across the country, is suffering from financial strain so the school board decided to raise some money by charging those who live less than two miles from their assigned school a fee to ride the bus.  Apparently, anything under two miles is considered "walkable".  I'd like to see them walk 1.91 miles (our distance from the school) both ways twice a day with a seven year old, a three year old and a two year old.  But I digress.

We paid the bus fee last year - all $64 per month.  Yes, per month.  That's on top of the really high school taxes we already pay.  Ridiculous, no?

So this year, Sydney is a "car rider" which means I have to pack up all three kids and spend about an hour a day driving to and from school through miles of 20 mph school zones and waiting in lines of cars that wrap around entire blocks of the neighborhood.  Ugh.

I've figured out a short-cut for the drop off so that's not too bad.  But pick-up?  It's a never ending nightmare.  The thought of having to do this with three kids at various schools for the next fifteen years makes me want to move out to the country so that we're well over the sacred two mile mark.

The pick-up "system" involves a set of numbered stars along the school walkway and two overworked and sweaty teachers with bullhorns yelling out kids' names.  Teacher A reads the kids' names off of the required name sign that parents hold up and like a not-so-fun game of "Telephone" yells the name to Teacher B who uses her bullhorn to yell the name and a numbered star for the kids to stand on.  Ideally, six cars should pull up to six numbered stars and their kids will be waiting for them.  Once those six cars are loaded up, they leave and another six cars take their place until all of the kids are picked up.  Notice I said ideally.

In reality, it's a train wreck.  There are probably 300 car-rider kids (about 200 of whom would ride the bus if their parents didn't feel like they were being ripped off) and try as they might to keep the kids quiet so that everyone can hear the names being yelled by the bullhorn teachers, it's just impossible to keep them all from talking.  There are many kids who don't hear their names.

And then there are kids like Sydney who have hard to pronounce last names, so what they hear is either just a first name or a full name that has been butchered so badly by the "Telephone"-playing teachers with bullhorns that the kids don't know that it is indeed their name being called.  I told Ryan that I want to show up to a faculty meeting sometime and make all the teachers practice pronouncing our last name so that 1) my child can hear her full name called and 2) I'm not the offending line-holder-upper every day.  I don't think the teachers would appreciate my little pronunciation tutorial, though.

Anyway, it's a pain, but it is what it is.  We all get to sleep a little later by driving rather than riding the bus, so that's one positive.  It's probably the only positive, but a positive nonetheless.

And who knows, if the traffic gets much worse, the district might retract the whole pay-for-bus-service thing.  Hey, I'm allowed to dream, right?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Second Grade Swooning

Ever heard of Silly Bandz?  They're really thin, rubber bracelets that come in various shapes (hearts, castles, animals, etc) and they are the newest craze among the elementary school crowd.  Actually, they're not new, they're just new to Sydney since I've avoided them like the plague after hearing about them several months ago.

Kids collect them and trade them.  Heck, I've seen adults collect them and trade them.  They're like baseball cards, except they're completely worthless.  And probably germ-ridden.

Anyway, someone gave Sydney a few of them a month or so ago and after seeing her classmates wear them to school the first day, she insisted on wearing hers yesterday and today.  She informed me that one of the boys who sits at her table claims that he's going to buy a whole bag of them just for her.

And then I watched my seven year old girl swoon.  I almost threw up on the spot.

I can certainly understand why many schools have banned them after watching my usually sensible daughter go gaga over strings of rubber and a boy who's promised them to her.   I'm wishing her school would do the same.

Seven years old and swooning over a boy.  Seven years old.  Where did my baby go?

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School!

Today was Sydney's first day of second grade:


She was a bit apprehensive about her class assignment and sad that none of her friends were in her class, but she had a good first day.

The boys were a bit lost without her, but I broke out the alphabet cookie cutters and we kept ourselves busy:



I hope everyone else had a great first day back, too!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun Fact Friday

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on the Big Bed Swap.  I think we'll try having the boys in the same room (with no toys, just books) and see how it works out.  Who knows....if it works, maybe we'll wind up with an extra bedroom!  Oh, and to answer your question, Tien, Evan is now a master at climbing in and out of his crib - we never know where we're going to find him in the morning!


It's been a while since I did the whole "Fun Fact Friday" thing and seeing as I don't have enough about any particular subject to write an entire post, I thought I'd just put them all in one spot.

* We met Sydney's 2nd grade teacher this morning.  All Sydney knew about her was that she's the lady who "squeezes kids' arms too hard when they're crying."  This does not bode well for my sweet, sensitive daughter who cries about everything.  The teacher seemed nice and I am really trying to keep an open mind about her.  We shall see, I suppose.

* For fun, the kids and I rode Houston's light rail train from end to end one day this week.  We got off a few times to look at some interesting things and then walked a couple of blocks to meet Ryan for lunch.  The boys loved riding the train and they all did a good job of not gawking too much at the homeless people (although Liam did comment on the man sitting near us that had no arms - boy was that was a fun conversation). I think we're going to make it an annual event it was so much fun.

* Since I loved P & P so much, I decided that in addition to my book club books, I'm going to read all of Austen's books this year.  I've finished Persuasion and am hoping to check out Sense and Sensibility (or as Ryan calls it - Dense and Densibility) the next time we're at the library.  I think I'm turning into a book snob.

* Sydney is loving the Netflix streaming thing.  Her favorite thing to watch is Scooby Doo and she's asked if we can make some Scooby Snacks.  Ummm......I don't think so.

* My parents have officially moved to The Land of Fruit.  It is awesome having them just ten minutes away.  I am predicting that Ryan and I are going to get to have a lot more date nights in the future!

* My niece is starting high school next week.  High school!  How did she grow up so fast?

* And on a related note, when did I get so freaking old?!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bed Hopping

Anyone out there have kids who share a room?  Does it work?  Do they keep each other awake?

Our little mischief-maker and stereotypical middle child, Liam, does not like to sleep alone.  At least four nights out of every seven, he sneaks into our room and crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night.  One of us immediately takes him back to his own bed, but we usually find him in Sydney's bed or Evan's crib in the morning.  Sometimes we find Evan in Liam's bed.  It's a real game of musical beds around here.

We're thinking about letting the boys share a room for a while.  Once we get our new bed and do our bed swap-a-roo thing, we might just put the boys' beds in the same room.  They're 18 months apart and spend all day fighting playing together and we thought they'd want separate rooms, but they seem to really enjoy sleeping together, too.

We're just worried that it will take them way too long to fall asleep or our early riser (Liam) will wake up our deep sleeper (Evan) way too early and cause some major grumpiness.


Monday, August 9, 2010

A Little Reality TV Isn't Such a Bad Thing

During the day, I generally let the kids have control over what we watch on TV (within reason, of course).  We don't watch a lot of it (remind me to tell you about our new TV time rules sometime), but since I get to watch what I want after they go to bed, I don't mind watching what they want during the day.  While channel surfing one evening last week in between bath time and bed time, I stumbled upon an old episode of Super Nanny and informed them that I wanted them to watch it.

I don't usually watch shows like Super Nanny because I'm not really into the whole reality show thing, but the preview for it showed a little boy having one heck of a temper tantrum over snack time and I thought the show could provide me with a teachable moment or two.

Boy, howdy.

The five year old boy on the show threw temper tantrums about everything.  He didn't get waffles for his snack.  Tantrum.  Mom had to leave to go to work.  Tantrum.  Mom wouldn't buy him a toy at the toy store (which was apparently something she would do 2-3 times a week!).  Tantrum.

And not just a whining, annoying kind of tantrum.  A screaming, thrashing, throwing himself on the floor kind of tantrum.

After the third or fourth one, Liam had his mouth open out of shock and Sydney turned to me and asked, "What's wrong with that boy?"

I paused the show (hurray for DVRs) and we talked about how the boy was acting, why he was acting that way and ways that he could improve his behavior.

At one point, Jo, the Super Nanny, knelt down in front of the crying boy and said, "That's enough.  Stop crying.  Mummy said no toys today.  That means no toys.  The end."

Sydney looked up and said, "You say that kind of thing to us all of the time."

Yep.  I sure do.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something right.  And I'm glad my kids saw other kids getting disciplined in a similar fashion.

I don't really like reality shows, but I might have to start recording that one.  I think it's good for the kids and if nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm doing an OK job as a parent.  I think every parent needs that kind of reassurance from time to time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Review - Pride & Prejudice

It's official.  Jane Austen has ruined all other books for me.  I finished Pride & Prejudice and wanted to cry because I didn't want it to end.  It was seriously that wonderful.  Like most of Shakespeare's works, it took me about a third of the book to get into the groove of the language, but once it clicked, that was it; I could hardly put it down (despite already knowing how the story ends).  I absolutely adore the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and I'm almost sorry that Evan turned out to be a boy because had he been a girl his name would have been Elizabeth and then I could have said that wonderful name out loud all day long.  And Mr. Darcy!  Oh, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.  I can just imagine the young ladies of Austen's time swooning over him like today's teenagers do over Twilight's  Edward Cullen.  He's tall, handsome, rich, compassionate and completely and utterly in love with Elizabeth.  The writing, though difficult to understand at first, is prose at its absolute best and while the "woe is me for no one has asked me to marry him" whining grew a bit old, I had to remind myself that for the women of Austen's class and time, making a "proper match" meant the difference between a life of prosperity and one of poverty.  If you're looking for a period romance novel, this one is for you.  Run - don't walk - to the library to get it!  *****


As a reward for finishing the above book, I watched the A&E version of the movie, or as I refer to it, the Colin Firth version.  Let me tell you, there is nothing better than Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy.  Granted, I have a slight obsession with the man (Colin Firth, that is), but the movie is even better than I remembered.  It follows the book better than most movies do and it made me sorry that I hadn't read the book earlier (so that I could reward myself with the movie).

The Keira Knightley version is good, too, but it leaves quite a bit out of the original story.  I will say that the cinematography and musical soundtrack are better in this version and I quite like both Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but they just don't live up to Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the other version.

And if you're as obsessed with Pride & Prejudice as I'm appearing to be (really, I do like other books and movies!), you have to watch Lost in Austen.  I'm serious - go find it right now.  In this charming movie, a Miss Amanda Price of present-day London switches places with the fictional Elizabeth Bennet and bumbles her way through the story, changing the outcomes of several of the plot lines.  New details concerning the character's histories are revealed and you will find yourself cheering for some of the unlikeliest characters.  You will even come to adore Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Bennet, who in the original story is quite overbearing and annoying.  This movie is now one of my all-time favorites.  And I can watch it any time I want through the Wii thanks to Netflix - yay!

OK, I promise that's it on Pride & Prejudice.  If you've made it this far without being bored to tears, then I applaud you.  And if you're still willing to talk to me after a post full of swooning over fictional people, then you are true friend.  :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Letter to my Children

My Dearest Children,

Your father and I have such dreams for you and your futures.  As your parents, we worry about you and we worry about the choices we're making on your behalf.

Our job as parents is not to make you happy all of the time.  Our job is to turn you into responsible and productive adults.  With that in mind, please take note of the following:

* This household is not a democracy.  It is a benevolent dual-dictatorship, the dictators being your father and myself.  We welcome your opinions on various matters and we will take them into account, but we will make the final decisions regarding pretty much everything.

* Whining is not attractive.  If you don't like what I cook for dinner, then don't eat it, but don't ask for something else, either.  You've heard the phrase, "Beggars can't be choosers", right?  Well, your lack of income means you are perpetual beggars and therefore do not have the right to be picky about the food we serve you.

* When you are old enough, you will learn how to do most of the household chores.  Scrubbing toilets, washing and folding clothes, mopping the kitchen floor and mowing the lawn are not beneath you.  When you become adults and have households of your own, you can choose to spend your money on housekeepers or yard crews, but for now, you'll learn to do it yourselves.

* You will learn to pick up after yourselves.  If you spill your drink, you will grab a towel and clean it up.  If you drop food on the floor, you will throw it in the trash and wipe up the floor.  I am not your own personal maid and will not do things that I know you are capable of doing yourself.  Also, I may ask you to help pick up a mess someone else made.  I know it's not fair, but y'know, this is a family and sometimes we have to do that kind of stuff.

* The world does not owe you anything and you shouldn't expect it to.  Honesty, hard work and perseverance will get you the things you want.  You might not get them when you want, but they will come.  Delayed gratification is a lost art in this country, but trust me, you will appreciate things more if you earned them yourself.

* You are no better than anyone else.  Your gender, skin color, religion, social class and level of education do not make you to superior to people who are different from you.  And if I hear about you saying or doing anything to the contrary, you better watch out.

* On a similar note, no one is better than you, either.  You are perfect just the way God made you and if your so-called friends begin to treat you with disrespect or as if you're not as good as them, it's time to make some new friends.

* Please marry whoever you think will make you happiest.  Your father and I don't care about their race, social background or gender.  If they treat you with respect, can support you when times are rough and make you happy, go for it.  We will love whoever you love.  (One exception: a convicted serial killer.  I don't know that we'll be that open and accepting.)

* Lastly, we will love you no matter what.  We may not agree with some of the decisions you make, but as long as we know you made those decisions for yourself, we will love you.

Love Always,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pillow Talk

Ironically, we decided to buy a bigger bed the day before Ryan's big accident.  Evan climbed out of his crib for the first time the night before which tells us it's about time for a real bed for him.  We're short on beds so we decided to do a big bed shuffle:

* Evan will get the trundle bed that Liam currently uses (it's about 6 inches off the floor).
* Liam will get the twin bed that Sydney currently uses (it usually has the trundle bed stored beneath it).
* Sydney will get our double bed.  It's an antique that I inherited from my grandmother and I am thrilled to have a daughter to pass it on to.
* And this leaves us with......well, nothing.  I guess we could sleep on our camping air mattresses, but I don't know how long that would last.

We've decided to get a queen-sized bed since our bedroom is not large enough to hold a king-sized bed, the infamous computer desk and the vanity and chest of drawers that match the antique double bed.

So now we have to decide what kind of mattress we want to purchase.  There are just too many choices!  Do we sell one of our children spend a fortune and buy one of those fancy Tempur-pedic thingies or do we take advantage of the sale a local mattress place is having on it's plain-ole vanilla Sealy/Simmons mattresses?  Then there are the "get one big mattress with two different firmness settings so you're both comfortable" mattresses that I keep seeing on TV.

See?  Too many choices.

Anyone have a mattress that they just love?  Or, if love is too strong of a word to describe how you feel about a mattress, one you really like?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who Says You Have to Leave Texas to Have Fun?

Thank you for all of the kind thoughts and prayers for Ryan.  He's feeling much better and the neurologist thinks that it was an isolated incident.  Whew!  He'll have a couple of more tests next week, but we're not expecting anything out of the ordinary to show up.  In case you're wondering, I haven't kicked him once for snoring since it happened.  And we're planning on buying a bigger bed soon (we currently sleep in a double bed) so the chances of either of us rolling off the bed will be a lot slimmer.  (I thought about just putting the toddler bed rail up on his side of the bed, but we're going to need it for Evan fairly soon.)

Before the whole falling out of bed incident, we had our "Thanks a lot, BP" staycation.

Because Liam loves all thing space-related, we took a day trip to the Johnson Space Center.  I hadn't been in years, which is sad considering we live less than an hour away from it.  We all had a great time.

Sydney and Evan had fun trying on the astronaut's helmets:



And we really enjoyed seeing the rockets, the giant hangar where the astronauts practice their maneuvers and the old control room (think Apollo 13).

Then we decided to cash in the points Ryan has earned with all of his travels to NYC and spend a few days at Hyatt's Lost Pines resort near Austin.  What's the point of saving up all those points and never using them, right?

We spent the entire time going down the slide.  All three kids had a blast on it (oh, who are we kidding.....Ryan and I had fun, too):




And here's some proof that I was there, too:


We also had some fun just lounging around:




(Yep, he's yawning.  We actually managed to wear that boy out!)

For a little one-on-one time, Ryan took Sydney out to dinner one evening and let her tag along to band practice with him.  Another evening, she and I snuggled up and watched the first Harry Potter movie together.

It wasn't Disney World or Europe or a Caribbean cruise, but it was lots of fun and I know the kids will remember it for years to come.