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?