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.

Monday, July 26, 2010


 It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring.  He went to bed and bumped his head and he couldn't get up in the morning...

Do you remember singing that little diddy as a child?

I don't know to whom that song was referring when it was originally written, but now that song is about Ryan, for us at least.

Very early Sunday morning, he was snoring, so I kicked him gave him the universal sign to roll over (don't judge me, you know you do it, too) and as he rolled over, he fell out of the bed, hit his head on a desk and landed on the floor.  He's fallen out of bed before (granted, I was eight months pregnant at the time and took up the entire bed), but this time he hit his head on the way down and yelled.  I ran over to his side of the bed and he was having a seizure, as in a whole body convulsing, biting his tongue, cannot hear or respond seizure.

After a minute or so the seizure subsided and he rolled onto his back and began snoring again.  But this time, it was a very heavy snoring and no amount of yelling at him or shaking him would wake him up.  I immediately called 911 and begged for some help.  About seven or eight minutes later, I could hear the siren approaching and Ryan began to wake up.  His speech was slurred and he was very confused seeing as he had no idea why he was lying on the floor half under the computer desk.

Both a fire truck and an ambulance arrived carrying about ten people, all of whom came in the house and into our bedroom, a bedroom I might that is not made for ten people to stand in.  They made sure that he hadn't hurt his neck and helped him up on to the bed for further evaluation.  After asking me about two dozen questions they loaded him onto a gurney (thankfully putting a shirt on him) and took him to the awaiting ambulance.

Six hours, one blood test, one urinalysis, one cat scan, and two i.v.'s later, he was released with a prescription for an anti-seizure medicine, a referral to a neurologist and orders to get more sleep and drink no alcohol until he's been cleared by the neurologist.

If you ask him, he'll tell you that the only thing he remembers is being loaded into the ambulance and he's still kind of fuzzy on all the details between getting to the hospital and leaving it.

To say I was scared would be the understatement of the year.  Amazingly, my usual reaction of crying was not to be and I calmly talked to both the 911 operator and the paramedics (and Ryan once he was coherent) without crying.  It wasn't until I called my parents to come watch the kids that I lost it.

I'm so thankful that Ryan is OK.  We have an appointment for later in the week with the neurologist, but other than a headache, he's feeling fine.

I'm thankful for the 911 operator who kept me talking and calm.  I'm thankful for all ten paramedics who took care of him, didn't say a word about my dusty and messy bedroom and didn't comment on my completely mismatched (and bra-less) pajamas.  I'm thankful that Ryan wears underwear to bed.

I'm thankful for my parents who dropped everything and drove an hour to stay with the kids.  I'm thankful the kids didn't wake up during any of it.

And most of all, I'm thankful to everyone (via Facebook and elsewhere) who stopped and said a prayer for Ryan.  It's times like this when you can truly feel the power of prayer and the wonders that it can work.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Great TV Experiment: Phase One

As part of our ongoing goal to save money, we decided to cancel the satellite dish once our contract was up.  Our contract ended at the beginning of July, but Ryan wanted to keep it for a few more weeks so that he could watch Le Tour.  Well, Le Tour is almost over, so we've instituted Phase One of our great television experiment:  Netflix.

We've been having lots of fun streaming some shows and movies through the Wii.  Liam loves watching Veggie Tales and Ryan is having fun watching shows like Nip/Tuck.  We've got Dexter and Arrested Development on the queue, too, so I have a feeling that we're going to waste away watching all these shows.

We haven't received any DVDs in the mail yet, but that's just because I didn't add any to the queue until this evening.  And since Ryan put the account in my name, you can probably guess what I've added to our incoming movies....

1. Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, of course)
2. The Young Victoria
and finally....
3. The Other Boleyn Girl 

Phase Two is to get a refurbished TiVo box since we can't live without a DVR.

Phase Three is to get a huge antenna for the roof so that we can get the over-the-air network and local stations.

Phase Four is to send back the satellite and DVR.

Phase Five is to cross our fingers that the kids don't freak out about losing their shows.

Guess which phase has us freaking out the most....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We've had a lot going on around here!

* My parents have decided to sell their home in The Old Hometown and move to The Land of Fruit to be closer to us and my sister's family (she lives on the other side of The Land of Fruit).  I've been helping them pack up their memories and organize a giant garage sale.  I'm piggy-backing on their sale and finally parting with all of our baby gear.  Both the move and the selling of baby gear are a bit bittersweet for me.

* I went with some book club friends to see "Wicked" one evening last week.  It. Was. Awesome.  If tickets didn't cost so much, I'd go see things like that more often!

* Liam has decided to sit with us in "big church" on Sundays.  He did okay this past Sunday, but it was all new and exciting.  A few more Sundays of "Sit still!" and "Shhhhh!" and "No more candy" and I have a feeling he'll be begging to go back to the nursery.

* Sydney's sleepover went quite well this past weekend.  She and her little friend played and laughed and had a great time.  Despite my tendency to be a sleep nazi, I let them stay up until 9:30 (which is a huge treat for Sydney).  They went on to giggle, read silly books with flashlights and change sleeping accommodations until 11:15!  It was fun, but I was glad to go back to watching three kids instead of four.

* I think Evan is almost ready for potty training.  After my experiences with Liam, I'm not sure I'm ready for potty training.

* After everyone's wonderful suggestions, we made some great plans for our staycation.  And then Ryan was asked today by The Bank to postpone his vacation for a week or two.  Hurray - more disappointment.  Stupid work.

* On a more positive vacation note, we are going to try our hardest to get to Disney World next summer.  We'd like to go before Sydney completely outgrows her love of all things princess.  And I don't care what The Bank says, once we make plans to go, we're going!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


One of my favorite segments of "Saturday Night Live" is the news, specifically when the anchor (Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey or any combination of the three) does a short aside titled "Really!?!".  It is very sarcastic like me and makes me laugh every single time.  If I could be a writer for the show, these would be my contributions*:

Designer diapers?  Really?!?  Do you really need denim or paisley diapers?  Do your baby's friends make fun of her because her diapers are plain white?  I mean, really.  You do realize that they are more expensive than the plain kind, right?  And that your baby poops in them and then you throw them away, right?  That's why they're called disposable....because you dispose of them.  Really.

So, Florida, you're really not going to close the Panhandle beaches.  Really?!?  Golf ball sized tar balls are washing up on the beaches and you're not closing them.  Do you really think tourists (who can't get their deposit back unless the beaches are officially closed) are going to, say, spend ten long hours in a car with three children just so those children can swim in a condo swimming pool?  Really?!?  

Oh Facebook "friend", you really think your life is so hard, do you?  You, the mother who dumps her three year old off at daycare five days a week and has a nanny come in three days a week for her one year old, despite her "I'm a proud stay-at-home mom!" declarations.  Your housekeeper and nanny both cancel on you due to the rain and now you're stuck in your "dirty" house with your one year old and you want me to feel sorry for you?  Really?  You who brags that you shop at Nordstrom so often that the valet guy knows you by name.  You who has to go get a massage and a facial after one tough day at home with, gasp, both of your children.  You really want me to feel sorry for you?  Really?!?

*Yes, I know these are mean and sarcastic.  They're supposed to be, so no nasty comments, please.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Book Reviews, Part IV (Elizabethan Era Historical Fiction)

What many people would call an obsession started with one book.

Out of curiosity, I read The Other Boelyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory.  I'd heard great things about it and wanted to read it before I saw the movie and while I'd always had an interest in the Tudor Dynasty, this book launched me into an entire year of reading about Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.  All of it historical fiction, of course.

First, I read a series of books by Diane Haeger.  Since all the plots pretty much run together, I'll forgo the individual synopses and just list them.

The Perfect Royal Mistress: A Novel
Courtesan: A Novel
The Queen's Mistake: In the Court of Henry VIII
The Secret Bride: In The Court of Henry VIII

Haeger has written many more than those listed above, but my library doesn't carry them all.  Her books are just as entertaining as Phillippa Gregory's, but like all historical fiction, many of the details are creations of the author's imagination.

My Goodreads and fellow blogging friend, Fran, noticed my budding obsession with the era and suggested that I try Robin Maxwell's books.  Fortunately, my library carried more of her books than Haeger's.  I read:

To the Tower Born
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
Virgin: Prelude to the Throne
Mademoiselle Boleyn
The Queen's Bastard: A Novel

I thoroughly enjoyed her books as well and found myself actually liking Anne Boleyn after reading them.

I got a little burned out on the Tudor dynasty, so I'm taking a bit of a break from books on the subject.  I'm sure I'll pick them back up at some point soon, though; I simply find Henry VIII and Elizabeth I too fascinating to ignore for long.

After all that reading, I never did see "The Other Boleyn Girl" movie.  Anybody know if it was any good?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer of Disappointments

When I was little, I dreaded disappointing my parents.  Yeah, I got spanked a few times and was sent to my room more times than I can count, but the worst punishment of all (and the one that really kept me from repeating whatever terrible thing it is that I did), was disappointing them.  They didn't even have to say anything; I could just see it in their eyes.

I used to think there was nothing worse than disappointing my parents.  And then I had kids.

Disappointing my kids is way worse.

First, we pulled Sydney out of gymnastics this summer so that we could do swim lessons and start piano lessons.  Well, the place we want to do swim lessons at requires the kids to take one lesson a day for two straight weeks and I couldn't find two full weeks in a row where we didn't already have plans (Vacation Bible School, trip to San Antonio, etc.).  So that was a no-go.  And then the piano teacher I'd lined up canceled due to childcare "issues."  So no gymnastics, no swim lessons and no piano (which makes for one very looooooong summer, I might add).

Second, we had to cancel our trip to the Florida Panhandle thanks to the lovely oil spill.  While the beach we were planning to go to isn't as filthy with tar balls as others, we don't want to take any chances with our kids' health.  We'll lose our condo deposit, but we'd rather that than have Liam go into a horrible asthma attack due to petroleum fumes.

The boys didn't really know what we'd planned, but Sydney did and telling her we weren't going just about broke my heart.  She'd been looking forward to it for months, especially since she knew that this was the first big (out-of-state and not visiting family) vacation that we'd planned in years.  We did our best to suggest some cool things we could do on our cliched "staycation," but the look in her eyes about killed me, especially when both she and I know that she'll have to hear about her classmates' summer trips to Disney and the like once school starts up again.

I thought I'd cheer her up by letting her host her very first sleepover this weekend.  I invited two of her little friends from school and while one mother was just as excited as we were and accepted our invitation immediately, the other responded with, "Sorry, we don't allow S. to go on sleepovers yet."  My rational, adult self completely understands this.  However, my inner seven year old wanted to retort with, "Fine.  I didn't want you to come over to my house anyway."  Luckily, my adult self won over when responding to the other mother, but the thought of disappointing my child yet again made me want to cry.  To make matters worse, the kids are recovering from a little stomach bug, so I might have to cancel on the friend who accepted so that she doesn't catch it.  More disappointment for a little seven year old girl who's had a summer full of it.

I know disappointment is a part of life and I know that coddling my kids and protecting them from it is not good for them.  But, you know, I can completely understand why some parents do it, especially if they've got a daughter whose "sad eyes" could win her an Oscar.  Sigh.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Book Reviews, Part III (WWII Historical Fiction)

For some reason, I read a lot of books set in the World War II era.  Most of them were book club choices, but some of them were my own.

"Skeletons at the Feast" takes place in Poland and Germany during the height of the war.  A relatively wealthy family is forced to leave it's home on the border of the two countries and head west to try and outrun the Russian army.  Since the men of the family are forced to stay and fight for Germany, the women are sent with a wagon full of supplies and a captured Scottish soldier who, as a prisoner of war, was forced to work on the family farm.  The family faces horror after horror on their journey and meets several people along the way who change their lives and their outlook on life forever.  This was a real page turner for me and I literally could not put it down.  It reminded me of "The Sound of Music" (because of the whole "family trying to escape....will they make it? aspect), but without the unrealistic, squeaky clean Disney quality.  ****

This book may have a mouthful of a title, but it tells you exactly what the story is about.  "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is set on Guernsey Island during and immediately after World War II.  Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands and was occupied by Germany during the war.  To make their lives more bearable, an eclectic group of islanders form a book club.  Because food is scarce, one of the things served there is potato peel pie, which sounds quite unappetizing and makes me feel a bit guilty about the yummy things I eat at my book clubs.  Anyway, the story is very sweet and while the characters' lives were not easy by any means, I really enjoyed reading a story set during the war that didn't concentrate on the blood and gore of the era.  *****

"Sarah's Key" is another one of those oh-so-popular story within a story novels.  The outer story takes place in modern day France and is told from the point of view of an American woman who is married to a stereotypical Frenchman.  She's a mother and a journalist and one of her assignments is to write about the time when occupied France was forced to send it's Jews to the concentration camps.  The inner story revolves around a young Jewish girl named Sarah whose immigrant parents were sent away.  However, as a French citizen, she was allowed to stay in France.  The two stories intertwine as the journalist uncovers some very unsettling details about Sarah's family and her husband's family's role in the deportation.  This book is very well written and was another good page turner.  The outcome of the outer story seemed a bit contrived, but the inner story was fantastic.  ****

I picked this book up on a whim when our library wasn't allowing me to reserve books and I am so glad I did.  Like the "Guernsey" book above, "La's Orchestra Saves the World" is another sweet WWII era book.  La is a young, widowed Englishwoman who spends the war in the English countryside.  To aid the war effort, she works tirelessly on a neighboring farm raising food for the soldiers at a nearby military base.  To pass the time, she organizes an orchestra made up of herself, local townsfolk and a few of the men at the military base.  Their concerts help liven the spirits of the community in a time when spirits were at their lowest.  This was a fairly quick read, but just as sweet as sweet can be.  ****

I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, but this very well-written book by Alan Bradley was wonderful.  "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" is set in rural England during the 1950's and stars Flavia, the world's most curious and outspoken eleven year old.  (While not technically a WWII era novel, I figured that being set in the 1950's made it close enough for review purposes.  :)  )   Flavia is obsessed with both chemistry and torturing her two older sisters until one day, she stumbles upon a body in the family's vegetable garden.  Her obsession turns to solving the murder of the mysterious man and clearing the name of her father who has been arrested for the crime.  This is the first novel in a series starring Flavia and I'm eager to read the rest.  Flavia is a fun and interesting character (although if my daughter acted like she does I'd lose my mind) and the writing style and prose of the novel is delightful.  I can hardly believe that this is the author's very first book! If you like murder mysteries, you'll like this one for sure.  ****

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ten Years

Ten Years Ago:
~ I was 24 years old.
~ I had just finished my second year of teaching.
~ I was driving a green Honda Civic.
~ I was living in a tiny little apartment overlooking a perpetually green and unusable pool.
~ I had just gotten engaged to Ryan.
~ We started planning our wedding.
~ I signed up to take a sociology course at a nearby university in the fall "just for fun."  How dumb was that?  Teaching full-time, planning a December wedding and taking a college course just for kicks.

~ I am 34 years old.
~ I'm a stay at home mom to three kids, ages two, three and seven.
~ I drive a red mini-van.
~ I live in a four bedroom house in The Land of Fruit.
~ I'm happily married to Ryan.

Ten Years From Now:
~ I'll be 44 years old.  (Yikes!)
~ The kids will be twelve, thirteen and seventeen.
~ I will have a head full of grey hair.  (see above statement)
~ I will hopefully be working at least part time.  Doing what, I have no idea.
~ I'll probably still be driving a mini-van.  Or a flying car.  Or a flying mini-van!  (Hey, it's the never know.)
~ I'll still live in our four bedroom house in The Land of Fruit.  However, I'm hoping that I'll have a remodeled kitchen by then.  :)
~ I'll still be happily married to Ryan.

How about you?  Where were you ten years ago?  Where do you think you'll be ten years from now?