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.  :)