Thursday, December 09, 2010

Warm and Fuzzy

There is something about getting lights up on the Christmas tree that makes me feel calm and warm. We got our tree earlier in the week, but we've been slow at getting it in the house. We finally moved it in last night. The kids came downstairs and were so excited to see it this morning. S has been taking special trips outside to smell it while it was sitting in a bucket against our house. This morning she just kept waving at it. When we came back from running errands this afternoon, she walked right over to it, waved hello, said, "Hello tree Christmas, (how) are you?" and went about the business of playing. J helped B put up the lights and then did the inaugural "light show" with the remote before going to bed. I bought one of those remotes a few years ago at a post-Christmas sale at Target. We've had a ball with it every year. The best part is that it really annoys a member of the family when we turn it on flash. We like to act as if we have no idea how that happened, which is quite juvenile and quite fun. Plus, we get a rise out of some people, which is a win-win in my book! We're such pranksters over here, you know!

We've been doing a lot of advent-y activities over the past week and a half. Some of the highlights have included going to the Biscuit Brothers Ho Ho Ho Holiday Hoe-down, decorating a gingerbread house, watching Rudolph (along with wearing a handmade Rudolph hat-- gotta love it when your kid is still young enough to want to look silly), touring the neighborhood lights, writing our letter to Santa, and listening to lots of Christmas music. On the agenda this weekend is going to Christmas in Downtown Round Rock, which I have never been, seeing Joe McDermott play at the Cherrywood Craft Festival, Holiday in the Park at our neighborhood park, decorating the tree, and baking our first batch of Christmas cookies.

I'm going to give you all fair warning because I strive to be a citizen of good grammar and spelling, that my Christmas card has a potential spelling error depending on which dictionary you choose to follow. It is going to say, .... wonderous joy. I didn't notice this in the slightest when I was looking at it on the computer, but once I got them in the mail, I immediately said to myself, "that should say "wondrous". I quickly looked at Webster's and they told me it is a common misspelling, but other dictionaries like urban dictionary, said it was completely fine. I also learned through Webster's that it is an early spelling used in the middle ages and throughout history in Britain. So, instead of paying full price to have them printed again, I'm going with the the idea that I am sending you a modern Christmas card with a British twist. And you'll be so kind to excuse the error if you see it as one (if you even read the written part anyway!) I feel better telling you all about that ahead of time. This way, nobody can say, "I can't believe she sent that out this way!" Hopefully the cuteness of the kiddos will make up for it.

This is also the beginning of my birthday weekend, whereby I lwill eave the 18-34 demographic on Monday. It's kind of sad. I imagine the AARP flyers will be arriving soon enough. It's also really annoying that J keeps asking my how old I'm going to be. I know he remembers and I just don't think he can comprehend how old 35 actually is, even though B is 36. B and I have plans to go see Black Swan on Sunday night. I've been dying to see that movie for months!

I'll leave you with my latest facebook update. Tonight, J and I were writing a second note to Santa. We wrote the first one at Macy's, so we weren't sure that counted. I asked him if we told Santa everything he wanted to tell him and he said, "We should maybe ask him for some wine. You know, for the adults." I love how considerate he is of others!

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Try Again

I was going to rant about how my computer and camera hate each other and that is why I haven't been blogging. Although it's true and I have about seven drafts that I wanted to include pictures, I figure I'll save the page and write about something else. At the end I will try to post some pics. If it works, you'll see them. If it doesn't, you'll just read this (if you're even here, which I doubt anyway!)

Everyone's gearing up for the holidays. We had a lovely Thanksgiving week that started off with an early Thanksgiving the weekend before at our house with my parents, brother, and his girlfriend. There was golf, shopping, going out downtown, playing with the kids, and of course, turkey. The best part was probably the crush that J had on M's girlfriend, P. It was pretty hysterical. She would walk into the room and he would go the other way. Or he would smile and stop what he was doing and just get all flustered. I asked him if he thought P was pretty. He said, "Yeah. Duh!"

S is incredibly taken with her grandpa and her "u-mar" (my brother). She loved playing with both of them. She asks about them all the time now that they are gone. I was reading books with her earlier and out of the blue she just started saying their names as if I could produce them for her on the spot. Then she smiles as if she believes that I can. It's really cute. I guess you have to be there.
We had Thanksgiving at K and C's house and had a lovely day. There was good food and drinks, games, kiddos that played incredibly well together, and little ones who cooperated enough for us to stay later than usual. I got to do the worm and play a trombone. How many of you did that on Thanskgiving? I did not do both at the same time, though! The worm came out of planning for Thanksgiving a few weeks prior over a few drinks. Next thing I knew, the list for who was bringing mashed potatoes, etc was made, and I was on the agenda for doing the worm. The trombone was part of a game we played with various instruments and songs. It was basically a name that tune game. I highly recommend it at your next get-together. Any instruments will do!
Now I am starting to get slightly stressed over birthday month and Christmas. There are 7 birthdays in Dec. in our family! There were some good posts today on other blogs about advent calendars and lists of things to do to make the holidays memorable. Loved them all. I have a list myself, but what tops my list more than anything this year is making sure my 4 year old doesn't completely lose it with our trip to TN for Christmas. The natural "how is Santa going to find me?" worry began right after Halloween and is causing a bit of anxiety in this house. And it's starting to get to me because he's asked for a drumset for Christmas. Of all years, why couldn't he have asked for something smaller?
Actually I think I've got this covered. Santa will be bringing the drumset here and will be bringing a drum pad to TN. What's keeping me on my toes is trying to figure out what goes to TN and what stays here. Don't get me wrong; it's going to be so much fun having the three cousins spend Christmas together. There will be much cuteness. I just don't want too much in either place because I don't want Christmas to be an overload. After all, it generally takes us days for J to open up his gifts. We want him to appreciate them and he wants to take the time to use everything, so it takes awhile. If he were a few years older, we could just say that Santa's leaving most of your stuff at home and Christmas is really a time for family anyway. This doesn't work as well when you're four.***

I also have no idea what to give S. She doesn't really need anything. It doesn't matter much because she's only 18 months old and really won't know the difference, but I have to play it up enough so that it passes muster in J's eyes. We don't want him to think Santa forgot his sister or that she was bad or something. Believe me, we've talked about this too. He actually asked, "How will Santa know S is in TN too if she can't tell him like I can?" The kid is getting me at every angle!!

Yesterday we were in the backyard running around. He stopped for a minute to catch his breath, looked at our chimney and said, "Mom, why does Santa go down the chimney? Wouldn't it just be easier to use the front door? Instead of only using the front door when there's a fire in the chimney, he should just use the front door all the time." I'm learning to answer such things with a "What do you think?" I also told J that he could suggest that to Santa when he saw him. BTW, we've already seen Santa twice. The first day we were by ourselves and the extremely nice picture guys allowed us to say hello and have a chat without taking pictures. We went back the next day with S to get the shot with Santa. I was kind of hoping that she would freak like she did with the Easter Bunny because the picture was so funny, but she casually walked up to him, sat on his lap and stayed put. I don't think she would have moved if we didn't tell her we were done!

S has been going through the 18 month stage of being completely OCD. If she sees trash, she picks it up. If she sees something that looks dirty, she tries to wipe it away. If something drops or is broken like an acorn on the ground, she says, "Uh oh!" or "Oh! No!" or "Oh Dude!" Those crack me up. Flipping out when things aren't in the order that an 18 month wants them to be, especially when I have no idea what that order is, is not so much fun.

Well, it's back to my list making. I hope to be back here since I do miss blogging and hearing from people. We'll be realistic and try for once a week. In the meantime, if you see Santa, make sure to tell him that J will be in TN for Christmas. Thanks!

(pic upload worked!)

I took J to see a Pigeon Party downtown. It was a show of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay up Late, and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems.

S (sporting her duck hat) playing with some lettuce at an organic farm we visited earlier in the month.

S likes to hold onto the back of the tricycle while J rides it. He then crashes into the garage door and they both laugh. This never gets old. I love this picture.
***Please excuse the lack of paragraphs. Apparently since blogger let me upload pictures, it would not let me make paragraphs here even though I tried 4 times. Don't want you thinking I don't care about my layout!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Saga Continues

I know you are waiting at the edge of your chairs to find out the conclusion to my Home Depot/patio furniture story. Would you be surprised if I told you that there is no ending yet? When we last left, our consumer had six patio chairs and a table assembled with a giant hole in the middle where the glass was supposed to be in tact and holding up wonderful margarita glasses and a bowl of chips and salsa. Or something. Instead, the consumer had received an apology, a $50 gift card, and another apology with the offer of something else. Well, in between the apology and the offer of something else, I got an email that my replacement glass shipped ahead of schedule and would be delivered in a few days. Fabulous! Until it arrived and was also shattered in a million pieces. I couldn't believe the way this was packaged. Anyone who has ever moved down the street or across the country knows you pack glass in more than one layer of bubble wrap!

I was getting pretty livid at this point and composed myself for another chat with Home Depot. I received another apology and told them that I would like to return the furniture. They said this wouldn't be a problem. As long as I had the box, everything could be picked up. When I told them the box was now a makeshift pirate ship, they told me I could return everything to my local store. I told them that was impossible and that I wasn't going to make 4 or 5 trips on my own time because of something they couldn't get right. They said that they could arrange for someone could pick it up, but they would need to get back in touch with me about that. Fine. When they asked if there was anything else they could do for me, I asked to whom I could talk to about the frustrating experience I had since the end of June. I was transferred to someone who could help me, told them my story, got transferred again because they sent me to the wrong person, told my story again, got transferred for the same reason, until I finally told my story to a corporate person that handled online purchases. I spent 54 minutes of my time getting to the right person and just when I got to her, the kids woke up from their naps. Of course. I had to be quick, but she was very nice and offered me another $50 for my troubles and asked if there was anything else she could do. Since the kids were up, I couldn't think about ordering anything else at that time (and I wasn't sure that I wanted to!).

We let a few days pass and shopped around and couldn't find anything that was a reasonable price. I am unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on patio furniture. I just can't do it. So we decided to push the offer with HD about price matching another set with them. B called up because I was tired of dealing with them, but he called after hours and was told that there were no supervisors there. Lo and behold, we actually got a call back during regular hours from a supervisor who asked how she could help us. We picked two sets that we hoped could be price matched or discounted (one was a stretch so we decided we would take a discount if they offered it). She said she had to put it through to her supervisor. He actually called me back yesterday and was willing to price match the nicer set for us. People, we are getting a steal. And it doesn't have glass, so it can't shatter. I'm not saying it's perfect because until it is assembled and we are sitting out in our yard with drinks in hand, one never knows what could happen.

I guess the moral of the story here is that you should always calmly try to reach a solution when you have spent money and you are not satisfied with the product or service you have received. I can't tell you how many times I have just said, "Oh, okay" to someone when something is not right and have just let it be, but I have felt worse in the end because I felt like I was taken advantage of. In the end, I think we are getting way more than we thought we would, but that never would have happened if we had screamed and ranted. It also helped that I didn't back down when all they gave me was an apology. By simply saying, "I appreciate the apology, but it doesn't fix the problem," I felt that HD had to use actions instead of empty words. I will still do my best to not shop the large conglomerate mess if I have a choice, but at least I didn't feel like I got swallowed up in the large conglomerate in the end.

Oh, and the last three digits of my first order number were 666. When the corporate guy heard that, he freaked and immediately issued me a new number. Bizarre, but hopefully everything will be great now that that is fixed!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Well, if I said my lack of blogging wasn't on purpose, I wouldn't totally be telling the truth. There have been many times when I have sat down at the computer to write an update of Little Miss' birthday, our trip to Florida, the Feathernester's visit at the beginning of May. Then I get tired. That's my excuse. I've been tired. We've been busy. Good busy, mostly. Next thing I knew, June was over and July was beginning.* Whoops! This weekend was supposed to be super good busy, but it turned out to be super bad busy because both the kiddos ended up being sick on Friday. J had strep, and Little Miss was also running a fever, so the assumption that she also had strep was made. This is the second time in a month that J has had strep, so that totally sucks, and it looks like he is following in my footsteps of being a major strep sufferer. I got strep along with him the first time, but this time (knock, knock) I appear to have been spared. Little Miss' infection has been a bit more dramatic, with a higher fever, some crazy crying jags, and some explosiveness that is just not fun to write about. But we will continue on and hopefully we will be able to celebrate our next weekend of super fun busy in a few days.

(The things we had to miss because of the simultaneous sickness included a baseball game and access to a room with food and drinks, and a birthday party at the children's museum.)

Other than that, what have we been up to? Well, let's back up a few months, shall we? We began the month of May with a visit from the Feathernesters for a week of non-stop cousin talking. Squealing. Squeaking. Giggling. Chasing. It was lots of fun. We also had a visit from B's mom in time for Mother's Day. She graciously played the part of babysitter and allowed the four parents to go out and have some fun. For Mother's Day, B arranged for the three ladies to go downtown to the Ballet. He chauffered us down so we could enjoy imbibing before and after the show without worry. One of the many reasons B and I love going to the ballet is because they pour a hefty drink that doesn't do complete damage to your wallet. We also had a lovely Mother's Day brunch with K, C, Z, and J.

The Hawaiian troubadors

Two cuties in the park

J made me some bling bling for Mother's Day. He told me so.

About a week after that, we headed east to Florida for a week. This trip coincided with Little Miss' birthday. We spent a few days at the retirement village (aka summer camp for the 55 and over crowd) with my parents. J and S had multiple carousel rides at various places. The boys played some golf. J got a 7 iron from my dad (his first real golf club!). B headed back to TX to work and the rest of us headed north three hours to Disney World for a couple of days. We were in Disney for S's actual birthday, so we had a mini celebration there with cupcakes. Both kids ended up with a faceful of frosting, which was lovely. As for visiting Disney itself, we did it in a very laid back way. Since my parents live three hours away, there was no pressure to do everything all at once for fear of never returning. This made it so much easier. We spent the morning at The Magic Kingdom, where J and S rode another carousel and my mom got to ride It's a Small World with someone who actually enjoyed it. I have to admit it was much more fun riding it this time with little kids on board because it was fun to see it through their eyes, and it was worth having the song stuck in my head for a few hours. J also rode the race cars, went on the Jungle Cruise, saw the bear country jamboree, and a couple of other things. The wait to meet Mickey was an hour long, so we decided to skip that and try again later when we didn't have LM in tow.

I love this picture.

Get. This. Thing. Off. Of. Me!

Face dive into icing

After a little naptime and pool time (we stayed at Port Orleans) J, my mom and I headed back to Disney to meet the Mouse. We waited patiently for 45 minutes, checking in every once in awhile to make sure that J did indeed want to meet Mickey Mouse, and that he wasn't going to be afraid once we got to the front of the line. J's had a lukewarm relationship with other life-sized characters so far, and I really didn't want to stand around waiting for nothing. As you can tell by the picture, it ended up being worth the wait. Lots of fun. We rounded out the night by riding a roller coaster, getting some popcorn and frozen lemonade, and heading back to the hotel. It was a great first visit. I'm sure Grandma will take him back anytime he wants.

I love how the Hawaiian shirt clashes with Minnie's dress!

After we got back from Disney (my first solo flight with two kids, I might add), we had one day before we had LM's birthday party. It was a fun-filled day. Since there were going to be just as many big kids as there were little ones, we decided to spring for some outdoor entertainment in the form of a bouncy castle. This ended up being one of the best party investments ever. I paid for four hours of fun and the guy was supposed to pick it up after the party ended around 2. He called me at 1 and asked if it would be okay if he didn't pick it up until 6. J had a blast. His buddy that lives down the street even came back later on so that they could both jump some more together.

Birthday outfit.

Owl cupcakes.

Unfortunately, two days later, we had our first bout of strep. We were blaming the bouncy castle.

Let's see... what came next? Ah. Father's Day. We went to a "meat and mustaches" barbecue and K/C's house. The men dined on some pork stuffed with bacon, wrapped in bacon thing while the rest of us spared our arteries and had other BBQ fare.

All that's missing are the cigars
I think I also forgot to mention that we have had a birthday party every weekend since LM's birthday party on May 30. It's been exhausting. We still have three more to go and then I think we are going to be done for a bit. Other than that, LM has been walking all over the place. She started shortly after her birthday, and she has been almost running since. She's talking a bit, too. Some of her favorite things to say are owl, bye bye, and bub bub (blueberry), and burp. She says other stuff here and there, but those are pretty consistent.
In other news, I'm a bit irate at Home Depot. I'm sure some of you are saying, "Duh!". We ordered some patio furniture on June 23 from them. It was on sale, free shipping, so we were excited. We hemmed and hawwed about whether to get a table that had some glass in the top, or if we should go with the tile top. Either way, we were concerned with breakage. We went with the partial glass one. It arrived about 2 weeks after ordering just in time for July 4th. Super. We put the chairs and table together and went to put in the glass. The glass was in the box and was shattered in a million little pieces. Yeah, we forgot that rule about checking things before assembly. So, we called HD and told them and they apologized and said they would send us a replacement, but it would take 10-14 days. At 14 days, we called them to find out where it was, only to learn that it had never been ordered. The customer service rep apologized again, said it would be ordered, and also gave us a gift card for $50 for our trouble. That was 12 days ago, so I called today to find out the status of this glass so that my table would no longer have a giant hole in it. The lady told me that this set is on backorder and would not be available until August 27 at the earliest. I tried to keep calm and expressed how this was extremely frustrating, and how a little bit of communication on their part would have done a lot of good here since I have had useless furniture for a month. She offered to have someone come and pick up the furniture if I wanted to return it, or she said she would match the price to something comparable that is in stock.
Those words comparable and in stock are the tricky ones. B and I spent months looking for furniture that we didn't think was too ornate and that was also reasonably priced. I'm not satisfied with any of the options, so unfortunately it looks like I will be returning things and starting from scratch. I can't decide if that's better than waiting a month for the glass to come in or not. My concern with waiting is that it will end up being shattered again anyway.

Sigh. This is the stressful life I live, people.

Well, I think I'll leave you here for now. Hope you like the pictures even if they are a few months old. I really wish uploading to blogger were faster, or I really would do it more.**

*clearly July is now ending and August is beginning. I started this post weeks ago!

**It took literally all day for me to get all of these pictures uploaded. My computer does not like blogger one bit!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Almost One

Dear Little Miss,

I just put you to sleep a few hours ago for what is technically your last sleep as a baby. Tomorrow you turn one and officially enter the land of toddlerhood. You took three steps a few weeks ago and then decided that crawling was a much easier mode of transportation for the time being, but today when one of Grandma's friends asked if you could walk(we are off in Florida visiting the grandparents), I stood you up on your own and you took four small steps for her. This is typical of your emerging personality. You definitely want to show people what you can do, but it's only on your own terms.

A year ago tonight I had just finished a meal of catfish tacos and an extra spicy virgin bloody mary. Grandma arrived earlier in the day and told you that you had to wait to arrive until she got here to watch your brother. You did exactly as you were told and came the next afternoon. Today as I was asking you not to bite my arm and shoulder for the tenth time, I wondered if you would ever listen as well as you did last year. I am sure that there will be some good moments and some not so good ones in this area.

Your brother is so excited about your birthday. Part of this is because he knows you get to have cake for the first time. The other part is because he knows he will also get cake. We will also be going to Disney World. This is not really a trip to celebrate your birthday, as it is also a trip for J and Grandma, but you will be coming along for the ride and will hopefully also have a good time! I am very excited to see you put icing to your lips/face for the first time, but I have to admit, I am really looking forward to Sunday when I get to make owl cupcakes for your birthday party at home.

We had 10 months of a dairy free, soy free diet together. At first I thought it was total hell, but towards the end I was so used to it that I was surprised at the fact that milk didn't actually taste that good to me anymore. In a way I am grateful to having had to be on such a restrictive diet because it allowed me to lose all of my pregnancy weight and thensome. That really made the lack of goat cheese/queso worth it! Thank you for that little silver lining.

You have a beautiful, almost toothless smile. You have a shy, yet sneaky look when you are meeting someone new. You love time with your daddy and even though you get a little distressed when I leave the room, you really get upset when I come back and you have just discovered that I have been away.

There are many pictures where you look the way I did as a baby.
Many people can immediately tell that you and J are brother and sister.
You still have very little hair.
Your grandfather, daddy, and I think you look like your grandmother, with whom you share a name.
Your bright blue eyes stand out to everyone who sees you.

I know that the terrible twos are right around the corner, but I am hoping that I have more strength to handle them than I did the first time around with J. He wasn't that bad, but I have the feeling that you are going to be, oh, I don't know, more persistent, perhaps? I think you are going to be equally as talkative and just as fun, though!

You have not been much of a cuddler for the past year, but tonight as you briefly rested on my shoulder before I put you to sleep, I told you how glad I was that you have become a part of our family. And, just as I was glad at the revelation on J's first birthday that we hadn't broken him yet, I am just as pleased that we still have yet to break you, too. I guess we're doing something right.

I hope you have a wonderful first birthday and many more happy birthdays to come! I love you.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Or something like that.

That's how my daughter tries to say guacamole. She's pretty consistent about saying it when she sees an avocado, so I think I will consider this one of her first words.

Other things that J and I think we have heard her say:

onahnah (jonah)

nana (banana)





bye bye

I truly am amazed that she can get a word in edgewise with the mile a minute four year old we have in the house, but she sure is doing her best to try!

San Diego was great. Will post with pics soon.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter!

J kept saying "cheese" and looking away from the camera.

The little girl is not always serious...

Got J's egg cup two years ago when we went to Switzerland and crossed over into France for a day. B's cousin, M was nice enough to get one for the Little Miss.

Texas Bluebonnet spring rite of passage... if only I hadn't dressed my girl like a boy.
I had no luck getting both of them looking and smiling at me at the same time.

She was so into these little yellow wildflowers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I Can't Believe That She is Ten!

Today is the 10 month birthday of our Little Miss. J is blown away that she is 10. Concept of time is still a bit tricky, so even though he knows that she is still a baby, he can't quite comprehend how she has a larger number than he does. He acts like he gets it when you explain it, but then he says stuff like, "Yeah, kind of like having one week and then 30 seconds in a year." I have no idea what he means, but if it works for him, I just go with it.

As I was attempting to get my daughter to eat some pieces of elbow macaroni, all she did was pick them up and then smear them across the high chair tray. This got me thinking (yet again)about how much more difficult she is to feed than J. Once in awhile I can get her to try a bite of something, but it usually ends up on the floor or in her seat. This girl is tough! It took me forever to get her to eat more than a teaspoon or two at every meal, and I thought that she would go to true solid food and abandon baby food altogether, but I think she is just very slow and picky. She seems to be one of those babies that you have to offer a food to at least 20 times before she will accept it. The tough part about it is once you offer her something that she doesn't like, she signs that she's all done and then nothing else is getting into her mouth whether she likes it or not. The only exception to this are bananas. She will eat a banana if it's mashed, pureed, cut up in chunks, or right out of the peel, anytime, anywhere.

The funny part about this strange little eater of mine are the combinations she will accept. In some ways she's quite the bougie eater. She's not a fan of carrots, but she LOVES a combo of carrots, apples, and mangoes. Will she eat mango by itself? No. She won't eat squash on its own either, but pair it with apples and it's going in. She will suck down blueberries, especially the tiny, wild, organic, frozen ones from Costco. I can mix blueberries with green beans and I might be able to get her to eat a few spoonfuls. She's not a fan of pears by themselves, but she will grab a whole pear out of my hands and suck all of the juice right out of it. She only has two little teeth buds right now, so we'll see what happens when she gets more.

I've been feeding her more meats because her iron levels came back a bit low at her last doctor's visit. They seem to be her thing. I can mix up some ground roasted chicken or turkey cutlet and put it into anything and she will barely bat an eye at it. That texture is fine, but she hated when I offered her couscous. I don't get it. Last night she finished all the chicken and carrots I made her and she still wanted more, so I was feeding her the chicken dry. She kept eating it and washed it down with a little water. Mmm, mmm, good! It really looked disgusting. We won't be repeating this tonight because she woke up at 1:30 last night with the biggest diaper and I am pretty sure it's because she ate about 3 times more than she usually does at dinner.

Little Miss has finally taken to the idea that books can be fun. She has been sitting for 15-20 minutes at a time for the past few days as I read to her. She's figured out how to sign "book" and while I repeated the book "What's On My Head?" for what I think was the 10th time in a row, she signed "thank you." It was so sweet. She did it every time I started reading the book again.

This weekend we have two birthday parties. One is downtown at a park and the other is in the complete opposite direction an hour later. I have yet to figure out how we are going to go to both, but we'll do it somehow. J has to make three birthday cards this afternoon because the second party is actually a double birthday. These parties make numbers 4 and 5 for March. J has probably eaten his weight in cake this month.

We also have a lot of yard work to do. All of the rain left us with a ton of weeds and other dandelions. We need to get a bunch of dirt and put it in the beds near our foundation because we have gigantic puddles. Our garden isn't even started yet because we have sprinkler issues that are going to be addressed on Monday. It's going to be 80 degrees tomorrow and it's gorgeous today. I'm pretty excited about that.

Well, I hoped to be able to share a pic of J and S today, but the computer still does not have all of the stuff I need on it to download stuff. Right now it is basically an Internet machine. We'll try soon. In the meantime, please send good labor vibes to my friend, B in CA. She's not in labor yet, but would really like to be, and she's pretty much run out of labor inducing things to try. Since I have sooo many readers, I thought I would just put that out there for her.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

And How Was Your Day?

This impromptu song that J was just singing as I was putting S to bed pretty much sums up today:

I feel like making bad choices. Oh yeah! I feel like making bad choices. Oh yeah. Should I make bad choices? Oh no! But I feel like making bad choices!

I hear it's going to be made into the four year old theme song and be played on all of the major kid networks.

The wine is in the glass. Now.

Monday, March 08, 2010

9 months (a little late) and Could You Say that Price Again?

Little Miss has had one cold or another for over three weeks. I feel so bad for her because it seems that all I do to her lately is wipe her nose. She also had pink eye last week, and now she's holding onto a cough that just won't give up. It's not an awful cough as far as coughs go, but it was annoying enough to wake her up about 6 times last night. Of course, that also woke us up.

We had our 9 month visit to the doctor today. She's 27.5 inches and only 17.5 lbs. That's average height and 25% for weight. J was like that too except he was even taller. So she's a sweet petite, but as someone said to me the other day, "But her smile is as big as Texas." I smiled back at the lady and thought to myself, "Well, as long as her smile is like that and not her ass, she'll be fine."

J is becoming a bit bipolar. One minute he's super sweet to us. How many four year olds thank their parents for making a lovely dinner? The next minute, he's whining up a storm and throwing himself on the floor because he was asked to throw something in the trash. It must be so hard to figure out this big world of rules when all you want to do is play. Oh, and the foot stomp has become one of his favorite signs of disapproval. Perhaps I should enroll him in tap dance classes?

So in between drafting the first part of this post and today, we've had another computer break, a car battery die, two teeth pop through, high 70s weather, and mid 30s as well. The runny noses are still everywhere. We have no idea if they are allergies or just one cold after another, but we're all feeling well enough to play a lot.

I had a great time on Monday. Monday was window day. Back around Christmas we had a guy come out to give us an estimate for new windows for our house. I should clarify that these people solicited us to come and give us an estimate. We figured we'd let them because we knew that windows could be expensive, and it would be a good thing to know the ballpark we would be in when it came time to do that sort of thing.

The estimate was $12,000 for the house. Brett and I kind of chuckled and said that there were plenty of other things we'd like to do first.

Last week the same company called us back and said it was kind of slow for them and they'd love to work with us on the price they quoted us back in December, and could they come out and talk to us again? We figured why not. I also called another company that I knew would be more expensive and asked them to come and give us an estimate as well. Both people came on Monday.

The first guy to come was the expensive guy. We were told that the talk would be between an hour and an hour and a half. When we had to cut him off at two hours to pick up J from school, he still wasn't finished and we still didn't have a price from him. We tentatively agreed that he could come back and tell us all about how much better his energy efficiency was next Monday, but in my heart, I knew I would be canceling that appointment. If you can't sell me something completely in two hours while I feed a baby, change a diaper, dress a baby, and hold a baby in my lap for most of your yapping, you don't get my business. I guess he was trying to build a relationship with us, but it didn't work.

Later that afternoon we revisited with our friends from earlier in December. It was a new guy because the old guy was "no longer with the company." I told them this surprised me because I thought his dad owned the company. The guy said while that was true, he was trying out something else. New guy asked what the old guy quoted and we told him. He said, "Well that sounds about close. Let's take a look and see what we can do for you." I should also mention here that he gave us a fabulous presentation with a heat lamp that went up to 400 degrees and when you put their top of the line glass in front of it, you couldn't feel the heat. Brett and I know what glass we'll pick when we go live closer to the sun!

After much measuring and figuring, the new estimate with all of the "marketing" discounts came out to...... wait for it.... okay.... here it comes.....


And the guy was actually brave enough to ask us if we wanted to sign up for his financing plan that had no payments for a year. No really, he did.

Now you know me, I often say what's on my mind. So I asked the obvious question, "Why in the world is your price double?" He told me it's because we have 31 windows that would need replacing and that's a ton of windows. I agree that's a lot, but how is it double? He said the other guy must have made a mistake. Of course. Blame the guy that no longer works for you.
I told him that is the price of a car. He said, "But these will last longer." I told him that's a year of college at most schools (Colgate not included, of course). He didn't respond to that.

So then he said, "You've invited us to your home two times. You obviously want these windows. Why can't you give me an answer right here and now? (Brett said that we would "think about it"). I told him, "You just gave me a quote that is double what you originally quoted us and you say that this is the lowest possible price you can do? For that much money, I would hope you would let me "invite" you to my home 4 or 5 times if need be." He yessed me up and down and gathered up his stuff to leave. I know he was pissed by the original quote and couldn't figure it out. I don't know if the first guy messed up or what, but we will obviously not be getting new windows anytime soon. The best part? A cute 4 year old who thought he had to be completely charming to our new friend as he left. "Bye bye! It was nice to meet you! See you again soon!"

I can only imagine what that guy was really thinking as he said, "See ya later, buddy" and drove away.

We went inside, had a good chuckle, and opened the windows for some fresh air.

S is ten months old on Friday. Maybe I'll get some pictures up soon.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

And on to Four (A Few Weeks Late)

My parents are too poor for real teething toys, so I eat my brother's socks.

I steal toy guitars from 4 year olds in order to feel special. Yep, you're indeed special!

The rightful owner of said electric guitar gets a go at it.

Looking more like a 4 year old hippy birthday boy, J opens his saxophone from his sister.

Rockin' electric guitar cake. Notice the comma cupcake. I am that kind of nerd. Punctuation is important!

(The strings are licorice laces, which is why they do not look straight. Also, you have no idea how much red coloring went into making that color frosting. Everyone's teeth looked bloody. It was a great combo with the black frosting. I didn't get any teeth photos though.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rough Life

J: This is the hardest thing I've had to do in all my life.
Me: What's that?
J: Ugh. Moving this laundry basket. It's totally the hardest thing of my life. Ugh!!!

J: No, that's my guitar. You, S, you have to wait for the bacon to cook before you can play my guitar.
Me: What does that mean?
J: It means I just made it up and she needs to wait a long time to play my guitar because it takes a long time for bacon to cook.

Yesterday the blackboard part of the easel, which was facing the wall, looked like something out of a horror movie. Written in scratch handwriting were the letters D I E. I saw it and called to B so that he could also take a look. Confused, we asked J to come over. We asked him if he wrote that. He said yes. Since I was uncertain if he knew what he wrote, I asked him. He said, "Well, I was trying to write Davy Crockett, but I didn't know how to so I only wrote Davy. (side note, he has a cd from They Might Be Giants called Here Comes Science, which is totally awesome and has a song about Davy Crockett in outer space)

Well, if you say it slowly with a Texas accent, you hear the D, then you hear Ay, which could be mistaken for I if you really stretch out the twang. He forgot the V sound and went straight to the E instead of a Y. Makes perfect sense. But it was still a little freaky when we first saw it.

We helped him write Davy Crockett. I'll have to post a picture of that. And the other stuff from his birthday that I said I would. I'm bad, I know.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Don't Cry For Me, Argentina!

The truth is, I haven't left you!

I finally have two kids napping at the same time and finally felt the need to get my pictures off of my new camera. Here are a few to keep you happy. I have to admit that I have taken very few pictures of J lately mainly because I tend to shoot these of the little miss when he is taking a nap or is at school. There is also the fact that any time I take out the camera he yells, "Take a picture of me! Take a picture of me!" Then I have to take a picture, show him the picture, ogle about how great the picture is and so on. It gets tiring. I have to admit that this isn't how I always feel, but right now I am pretty annoyed at J for deliberately pushing his sister down so that she would get hurt. He announced it, did it, then laughed as he ran away. Needless to say, he was put in his room to think that one over and to give me time to come up with a reasonable consequence. Anyway...

Little Miss loves dressing up like a bear to scare the kitties.

I have an unfinished post about Christmas, which I am going to still add with some pictures. I keep writing posts and then not finishing them. I really am sorry to those of you that look forward to these. I can say I will try to do better. With the impending 4th birthday on the way next week, I better. For now, enjoy these.

That's a blueberry and some whipped cream, not a big gross booger.

PS. I forgot to mention that my daughter is now 8 months old! And standing! And looking like she wants to walk early like her cousin L! Please do not encourage this!!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I Know You Still Want to Hear About Christmas Even Though It's Feb!

(okay, i tried to post this about ten times, but blogger did not like my new camera and kept rejecting my photo uploads. I finally got it to be nice to me (feb. 4)

The last of the family visitors departed on Monday, so I finally have some time to figure out how to use my new camera and share the fun of Christmas with you.

I feel like Christmas went on for about 16 days because that's how many days J didn't have school, and that's about how many days he was spoiled by the attention of one person or another in our house. It was great though.

We began our Christmas fun by taking J to see the Nutcracker downtown. I had no idea if he would be interested or if we would be leaving early out of boredom, so we just went with it. Anybody who ever goes to the Long Center in Austin, get a glass of wine. Let's just say the pours are very large, and it can be very dangerous when you pre-order your intermission cocktail and happily find an extra glass that you didn't order sitting with the drinks you did order. It made The Nutcracker that much more enjoyable! Turned out that J loved every bit of the show--the dancing, the jumping, the swordfight, the toy soldiers, getting a nutcracker of his own during intermission, eating goldfish and a cookie at 9 pm, and clapping for everyone. He was very sad when we put away the music and his book a few days ago and is looking forward to going again next year.

The S family cookie exchange party was the following day. This year I decided to do it smaller, so I only invited mamas and new babies. Dads and big kids went for a play date and enjoyed each other's company without destroying my clean house in the process. Cookies and pomegranate chamagne cocktails for the girls and mayhem running around for the boys. It was a win-win for all involved. There was a bit of drama with our good friends C and Z at the end. They were involved in a car crash that ended up totaling their car, but thankfully they were both fine and the car did its job of protecting them. We spent the rest of the day being grateful for our health and for each other.

My parents and brother arrived a few days later, just in time for B and I to discover that our refrigerator wasn't working properly. We noticed that our milk wasn't as cold as normal, but I just chalked it up to the fact that rice milk probably just doesn't get as cold or something like that. Well when the rice milk felt luke warm and the fridge registered a temp of 55 degrees on the top shelf, we knew we had a problem on our hands. Merry Christmas!! We took everything out of the fridge and put it in the garage fridge (thank God for that!). B proceded to use a hairdryer to melt ice that he found at the back of the fridge. I know you aren't supposed to do that, but all we had in our heads was, "Where will we put the prime rib?" We were desperate. Once B got as much ice out as he could, we let it run empty for a couple of hours to see if the temperature would stabilize. No such luck. We decided to deal with the situation after Christmas when we could unplug the entire thing. In the meantime, we only put beverages and things that didn't really need to be kept that cool in there. Everything else was kept outside.

Christmas Eve was lovely with some cookie decorating at one of J's house in the morning followed by our traditional Rudy's BBQ dinner. K, C and her fam also joined us for the fun. B and I received a fabulous gift of Whole Foods cooking classes from them. Then it was time to play Santa and go to bed.

As a child, Santa used to individually wrap the items in our stockings and leave it by our beds so that we had something to do when we woke up in the morning. In some ways, the stockings were almost more fun than the gifts under the tree. Having them wrapped made opening that mundane pair of socks or toothpaste that much more exciting. Not very green mind you, but not so bad when you consider that Santa saved all of the small leftover pieces of wrapping paper from the year before. I decided that our Santa would do this for J this year.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. I thought that J would be up at the crack of dawn. Instead, both he and S slept in. J slept until 7:45 and then proceeded to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to himself about 5 times before he wandered out of his room. Santa left his giant stocking propped up against his door so that he wouldn't trip on it in the dark. It fell to the ground, J ran past it, realized it was there and said, "What is that thing doing there?" So much for needing to keep him occupied.

J's big wish this year was for a bike. Did you know that Santa's elves work magic on craigslist and help you find red and black bikes? They do. The only problem is when you pick up the bikes in the dark and don't notice the scratch marks and extra work that is going to be required of you when you get it home. B ended up putting on a new seat, grips, painting the chrome, and spot painting the body. It really looks great now. Did you also know that it is nearly impossible to find a helmet that doesn't scream, "Please beat me up now!" I was so excited after searching high and low to come across a blue one with a single soccer ball on it. J also asked for knee pads and elbow pads. He even got racer gloves.

So there J was downstairs looking at the Christmas tree. Naturally the bike was too big to fit under the tree, so it was placed over by the couch. J ran to the tree, scanned all the other gifts, took a deep breath and said, "But no bike." He didn't know what to do with himself. I told him to turn around and that's what he literally did (a 360) Then we told him to look by the couch. When he saw the giant package, his heart lifted a bit. He unwrapped it, got excited at the sight of the bike, looked down beside it and said, "No helmet. I can't ride it because I have no helmet." I told him that maybe Santa put the helmet with the other presents. This wasn't any good. The poor kid was nearly in tears. We told him to try out the bike inside without the helmet. As he was doing that, I grabbed the bag with the helmet and placed it out in the middle of the room. The kid died when he saw it. Phew!

Christmas was pretty light for the Little Miss, but that's the way it should have been considering that her favorite things that morning were the bows and paper. Besides, she's been too busy with things like crawling and pulling up to be bothered to stop and play with a new toy or two.

B and I went to see Trans-Siberian orchestra one night. His boss gave us tickets to that and to another holiday show that we also took J. The show was really good, but because it had been non-stop excitement, B and I actually fell asleep during part of it because we were in the dark. Oops. It was just a quick snooze, but honestly the rest of the show was good.

We had more visitors for New Year's, which meant more spoiling of grandchildren. There was also babysitting available for going to the movies (haven't done that since last Christmas) and picking up craigslist finds like china cabinets. I've been looking for awhile, and B and I couldn't really agree on a style, so I finally found one that was a compromise. We need to do some clean up work to it, so I'll post a picture when it's done. Everyone who has seen it thinks it was a great find. I'm just excited to get stuff out of my garage and into it!