Friday, March 30, 2012


AM over at Playing With Fire listed the things she would do if she won the giant lottery that's in the news today.  I thought it would be fun to do the same!

If we won the huge lottery, I thought it would be fun if we could.....

- hire an attorney and money manager to help us deal with the inevitable paperwork and confusion.
- pay off our houses.
- fill the kids' college funds.
- donate a bundle to the church.
- remodel our current house.  I sure would love to have a bigger/more modern kitchen, some hardwood floors and an office.
- take a huge trip to Europe and hire a personal chef to go with us to ensure that I could eat anything I want without worrying about food allergies.
- enroll the kids in any activity they'd like.
- finally get my teeth fixed once and for all.
- start a non-profit that provides high-quality subsidized daycare to low income families and single moms.  Wouldn't it be great if people could go to work and not worry about the safety and health of their children?*
- help support various medical research teams in developing therapies and cures for both asthma and epilepsy since both of those affect our family.
- let Ryan start the business he's been talking about for years - a crawfish shack like the ones we see in our hometown.  You might be able to take the boy out of the bayou, but you can't take the bayou out of the boy!

But all of this is dreaming since we don't buy lottery tickets.  It sure is fun to dream, though!

What would you do with all of that money if you won it?

* Not too long ago, the owner of a home daycare in the Big City near us locked all of the children she watched inside the house while she went to the store.  The house caught fire and all of the children died.  I can't help but wonder if the parents of those children used her daycare because it was all they could afford.  Such a sad, sad situation.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cruise Director

So, yes, our Spring Break was in fact last week, as opposed to this past week, but I am just now getting around to posting about it.  I wanted to post earlier, but once again, I cannot access any of the pictures I took.  And please don't tell me it's "user error".  It is a "stupid, old computer" error.  Ahem.  Anyway......

I don't know about you, but the week of Spring Break is when I take on a whole new role as a mom.  I call it cruise director mode.

Most of our usual activities are canceled for the week giving us five (or nine, depending how you count it) days of total boredom freedom.  While I can usually count on piano lessons or a Girl Scout meeting to help break up the week, I couldn't rely on those and had to find a way to fill all of that lovely free and unstructured time.  I know a lot of people take trips during Spring Break, but it simply wasn't in our budget this year so we had to make due.

So I put on my cruise director hat for the three "entertain me because this is soooo boring" pint-sized residents of our house.  We planted strawberry bushes.  We went to the library.  We read lots of books.  The kids spent some time with both sets of their in-town grandparents.  We played a little Wii.  We tore up our deck and filled in the back yard in preparation for a new swingset.  Sydney practiced piano.  She also finished a project for school.  We went to see "The Lorax." We went out to eat at a fondue restaurant.  Sydney had a friend sleepover.  We made cinnamon rolls for said sleepover.

And probably my favorite activity of the week: pillow sumo wrestling.  I have both pictures and a video of this, but since my computer isn't cooperating, you will just have to trust me that this was the cutest thing ever.  I had each child put one of Ryan's t-shirts on over their clothes and then I stuffed two pillows between them and the shirt (one in front and one in back).  For over an hour, they rolled around on the floor, knocked each other over, piled on top of one another and had a blast.

Ryan watched the video and commented on how creative of an idea it was.  It wasn't my idea.  I got it from this blog.  You should check it out if you're looking for fun ways to entertain your kids.  In fact if you scroll down through a couple of entries, you'll see her pictures of the pillow sumo wrestling.

Anyway, the week passed by more quickly than I thought it would, but I made the mistake of keeping them too busy because they now think they're going to get a whole summer of being entertained.  Little do they know that I  have traded in my cruise director hat for a teacher's hat; I've already started thinking about what kind of educational activities to bore them with over the summer.  Workbooks, flash cards and reading - oh my!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Funnies

* Sydney has four potential songs for her upcoming piano recital: a piece by Mozart, the Star Wars theme, the Harry Potter theme and the Beatles' "All You Need is Love."  Quite an eclectic choice, I'd say.

* Every time Sydney plays the Star Wars theme on the piano, the boys grab their light sabers (or as they call them - life savers) and begin playing "Jedi battles".

* For the past few evenings, the kids have told knock-knock jokes at the dinner table.  After about five nights of hearing, "Knock, knock," I asked them to please stop.  About thirty seconds later, Evan said, "Ding dong."  Now they tell ding-dong jokes at the dinner table.

* I had to take Liam see the ENT for a hearing test since he failed the one he had at school.  Unfortunately, the office is just a few blocks away from the zoo and due to Spring Break visitors, we were stuck in some terrible traffic.  After sitting at one particular traffic light for ten minutes (I'm not kidding!), Liam declared, "What's wrong with these people?  Did they forget how to drive?"  Yes, folks, even five year olds get road rage.

* To celebrate my birthday (a bit early), we took the kids to a fondue restaurant last night.  Evan and Sydney chowed down, but Liam wasn't as thrilled about the meal as the other two.  When we asked him why he wasn't eating the main course (mostly meat and vegetables), he said he was just saving room for his favorite part - zedert.  In excited five year old boy language, that translates to dessert.

* After burning our forearms several times while leaning over the hot fondue pots to help the boys, I asked Ryan what he thought the appropriate age should be for a first fondue restaurant visit (as ages 3 and 5 didn't work out so well for us).  He replied that the ideal age for a first visit to such a restaurant was 25.  Sounds good to me.

* Sydney attended her first birthday party sleepover this past weekend.  When we picked her up, she told us that she stayed up until 1 am.  The next day, she told her grandmother that she stayed up until 2 am.  Two days later, she told a friend that she stayed up until 4 am.  I'm guessing that this is the 3rd grade version of a fish tale.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Outside the Comfort Zone

Homebody.  Shy.  Introverted.  I'd definitely use all of these words to describe myself.  When given a day off (usually Mother's Day when Ryan takes the kids over to his mother's house for the day), I like to lounge around at home in some comfortable clothes.  I might watch a snooty British movie or read a book.  I might give myself a pedicure.  I usually take a nap.  But unlike a lot of women, I won't use my "day off" to go shopping with a girlfriend or pay someone else to paint my toenails.  I'd rather be at home, by myself, in the quiet.

So when I scheduled a painting party at our house last month, Ryan was completely shocked.  It's one thing for me to host a book club meeting since I like to read, but for me to invite a bunch of people over to paint (something I don't usually do).....well, that's just weird.

One of my book club friends teaches painting and in January, she posted pictures of painted wine glasses on her Facebook page.  They were absolutely adorable and I thought it would be nice to paint some for my mom for Mother's Day.  So I invited several people to come over to learn how to paint wineglasses.   I invited my sweet next door neighbor and members of both of my book clubs, even the woman who called Santa un-Christian.  Sometimes it's really hard to be nice to people you don't like, but I try.  I really do.

So after some yummy desserts and a couple of glasses of wine to help us relax, we got started.  Two hours later, I was left with the following:



(My favorite part - the inside of the glass)

(The stem)

They don't look as pretty as the ones my friend posted on Facebook, but I think they look pretty good.  And I don't know that I'll give them to my mom after all, just because I think I could do a better job, but I think they're pretty darn cute.

And....I stepped outside my comfort zone, which is a huge deal for me.  It was obviously a huge deal for my kids, too, because they were just as shocked as Ryan, especially Sydney.  But I think it's important for my kids to see me do things that are out of my comfort zone so that they won't be afraid to try something new and take chances.  After all, aren't most of life's regrets chances that were not taken?

Another positive to come out of all of this is that I think Sydney has decided to have a painting party of her own for her upcoming birthday party.  Of course, I don't think she'll be painting wine glasses (after all, we live in Texas, not France), but I can't wait to see what a group of giggly nine year old girls will paint.  I'll be sure to post pictures of the pint-sized painting party, too.  If I can paint something halfway cute, I know those girls can!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

For Posterity

Not too long ago, Sydney asked me what I do all day while she's in school.  I think she thinks I watch TV and eat fun foods while she's slaving away at math and reading.  She never wonders where that pile of clean clothes comes from and she doesn't seem to notice when her bathroom is cleaner in the afternoon than in the morning (which, I guess, begs the question - why do I bother cleaning the bathroom at all if no one is going to notice? - but that's a different post altogether).  So I decided that for posterity's sake, I'd write down one day's schedule.  This is mostly so that when my kids read this blog way into the future, they'll know that I did more than nag them, eat forbidden foods and let my brain rot away in front of the television.

6:15 Wake up and get dressed
6:20 Make a pot of steel cut oatmeal
6:25 Make Sydney's lunch and boys' snacks/drinks
6:30 Prep and start crock-pot dinner
6:40 Wake up kids, prod Syd to get dressed
6:45 Prepare kids' breakfasts
7:00 Help boys get dressed, brush teeth, put on shoes and jackets
7:15 Leave for 4 mile bike ride to & from Syd's school
7:50 Hop in the shower
7:55 Get dressed, fix bowl of oatmeal
8:00 Eat breakfast, apply makeup, do hair
8:15 Check e-mail, Facebook
8:25 Prep boys' swim bag, nag boys to go potty and put on shoes
8:30 Put the rest of the oatmeal in the fridge
8:35 Leave for swim lessons
9:00 Sit through Liam's swim lesson while entertaining Evan
9:30 Get Liam dressed, sit through Evan's swim lesson while entertaining Liam
10:00 Get Evan dressed, leave for birthday party (boys eat snack in car)
10:40 Attend birthday party (eat lunch while there)
1:30 Arrive home from party
1:31 Tell boys they can't play Wii
1:35 Separate laundry, start load #1
1:45 Go through party goody bags
1:50 Make Liam do his homework
1:55 Clean out dishwasher, re-load with breakfast dishes
2:00 Clean/scrub stove
2:15 Start laundry load #2
2:20 Talk to Ryan on phone to clarify earlier e-mail
2:30 Clean kitchen counters, sink, breakfast table
2:35 Tell boys they can't play Wii
2:45 Sweep kitchen floor, wipe up spots by hand (not enough time to do a full mop job)
2:55 Mix ingredients for a loaf of bread, let rise
3:00 Fold laundry load #1, start laundry load #3
3:15 Check Liam's homework
3:25 Explain game to the boys
3:30 Check e-mail, Facebook, blogs
3:45 Check regular mail, wonder if there will ever be a day we don't get a medical bill
3:50 Take some ibuprofen to ward off oncoming headache due to goody bag noisemakers
4:00 Punch down, roll out and shape bread, let rise again
4:10 Clean up bread mess
4:15 Leave to pick up Syd and friend from choir practice
4:45 Fold laundry load #2, start laundry load #4
5:00 Ask Sydney to start her homework, ask boys to clean up their homework/game mess
5:05 Tell boys they can't play Wii
5:10 Put bread in oven, go over spelling words with Syd
5:15 Type up and post notes to the Sunday School internet group
5:25 Remind Syd to practice piano
5:30 Make a pot of rice to go with crock-pot dinner
5:40 Remove bread from oven and let cool
5:45 Make a fort with furniture and blankets for the boys
5:50 Fold laundry load #3, start laundry load #5
6:00 Set table, serve and eat dinner
6:40 Clear table, store leftovers in fridge, load dishwasher, wash pots
6:50 Fold laundry load #4, start laundry load #6
7:15 Read the boys a story, put kids to bed
7:20 Watch TV with Ryan
8:00 Fold laundry load #5
9:00 Take a shower
9:30 Set dishwasher, check on kids
9:40 Brush teeth, fall into bed, leave laundry load #6 in the dryer for the morning

Minus the birthday party, this pretty much describes my everyday.  There are slight differences, of course.  Some days we have to take Sydney to piano lessons or Girl Scouts.  On a very rare occasion, I get a break from cooking dinner and we'll go out to eat.  And on the days that the boys go to pre-school, you'd think I'd have time to rest, but I usually don't.  I'm either running to the library, buying gifts for upcoming birthday parties, cleaning something that doesn't require "help" from the peanut gallery or doing one of a million things on my ever-growing "to do" list.  Today, for example, I will spend my "free" time digging up some plants that have died and replacing them with some plants that have to be moved before Ryan installs our new deck this weekend.  Fun times.

I can't imagine doing all of this and having a job outside the home.  I have no idea how women/moms these days do it all and still have time to breathe.  And as much as I'd love to get a job once Evan goes to kindergarten, after reading the above list, I honestly have no idea how I'm going to have the time to do that.  But, at least I know that I can show this to Sydney someday and she'll have some proof that staying at home isn't a vacation from work!