Monday, March 31, 2008

Rave: Spring Showers

I hosted Deanna's (sis-in-law) baby shower brunch this past weekend and some of you have been asking how it went. We had a great turn out, despite it being a very busy Saturday for most people. It turned out that there were three or four church activities that were scheduled the same day....grrr...but we ended up with over 20 peeps anyway.

When people arrived, I had them: 1) Fill out an envelope with their name/address for the thank you cards so Deanna didn't have to address all of them. I had Deanna pull one at random later and the winner got a Bath and Body Works gift set. 2) Write their favorite boy name on a stick with their initials. We drew one out later and the winner got to pick a prize. 3) Write a little bit of advice on raising boys or on how boys are different from girls (this baby is #3 but the first boy. You probably can't see, but in the abc frame is a sonogram pic of him).

Despite our best approximations, we ended up with WAY too much food...which is actually ok, because now I don't have to cook all week. Thanks Costco, for all the awesome produce, muffins, and croissants. The before and after shots of the buffet....For everyone who requested the salad recipes, I'll be posting them later when I get them typed up.

Deanna got lots of great gifts---tiny man clothes and shoes in abundance. If you look at the coffee table--you'll see my grass grew! I stressed a couple a weeks ago when planting this that it would grow in time, but it did not let me down. Thanks Mother Nature, for the few 80 degree days and humidity--this is the one time I actually appreciated it. I used liter paint cans from Lowe's then attached a fat brown ribbon near the top and a skinny blue and white polka dot ribbon in the middle of the brown.

We "played" a game while she opened the gifts (idea courtesy of Andrea F.). I set a timer for two and a half minutes, and whomever's gift she was opening when it went off got to pick a prize from the prize table. This went over really well--it kept everyone's attention and they liked not having to do anything cheesy to win. Andrea created some of the giveaways, which everyone thought were awesome (of course). Other prize items: cute journals, lotions and soaps from B & B Works, compact mirror, notepad, and a cute painted plaque.

This was my favorite picture from the day. Deanna's mom, Deanna, and her Granny rubbing her big, round, ready to burst belly.

When everyone left, I told them to take a favor from the pail by the door--M&M's in a round metal tin. Not everyone obeyed because last night I had to eat 12 tins worth of candy while watching Dexter (a good, but incredibly creepy show edited for TV from Showtime about a Forensics policeman that is also a serial killer. Oh, but don't worry, he only kills bad people. So that makes it OK.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rant: Is there such a thing as Seasonal Insanity?

For those of you that share this problem, I feel the deepest empathy. For those that do not, I'd like to drop something very heavy or dangerously sharp on your pinkie toe.

I have the W.O.R.S.T. allergies, and for the past week I've done nothing but sneeze and scratch my itchy red eye balls to the point just before I do permanent damage. My entire face feels tingly, swollen, and itchy just at the sight of a lawnmower.
On the way to the store I saw a couple of those huge tractor mowers going at a big field and I almost turned around because I knew what kind of attack I would have after I passed them. But I decided hearing both boys scream "uunnnk" (milk) all day in vain would be worse. Definitely worse. That last part's a shot out to anyone who actually watched the entire movie "Almost Heroes."

So I drove by the field of h-e-double hockey sticks, and I still haven't recovered. If there was a perfect picture to describe what my head should look like based on my allergies this would be it....
...except that I'm white
...and female
...with slightly less facial hair
....and my fro is slightly less socially accepted
...and there's several hundred millions of dollars less in my bank account. But just focus on the swollen and itchy looking parts and that's what I look like.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ramblings: Spring Break o' Fun

For part of Spring Break we hauled the crew to San Antonio to meet Shamu and all his relatives. Apparently, this was not a unique idea, as most of the Texas population was right there with us. I was surprised by how many cars with Mexican license plates (which, FYI, are alot prettier than ours) surrounded us at Sea World and all the other touristy spots. Is it Sprink Break in Mexico, too?

Another wacky finding: tons of Japanese tourists. Huh? If I had to list the top 10 coolest places I'd want to visit in the United States, I'm quite sure San Antonio (no offense S.A.) would NOT be on the list. Unless they are HUGE fans of this guy and just had to go ask about the Alamo's basement.

Since we've been trying to use our video camera more, we didn't actually take a bunch of pics there, but this was by far the best part of the whole day spent there.

The boys were and are still very sleep deprived from our little vacation. Because every hotel was sold out within 30 miles of San Antonio, we ended up in a "King Suite" instead of the normal two room places we try to get. Let's just say--nothing sweet about it. Basically we were all pretty much in the same room. We hid the boys' pack n' plays behind this half-wall divider in the "sitting area" and tried to keep everyone else muffled on the other side of the room. Needless to say, no one got their necessary or usual amount of sleep. But they decided to be nice and fall asleep at about 2 in the afternoon, probably in the hopes that one day we'd still be willing to pay for college...or just feed them dinner that night. They were pretty raunchy.

The second best part: Jeremy convinced the kids to ride this big water ride called the Journey to Atlantis---equivalent of Six Flags' Splash Mountain, or an intense Log Ride. Anyway, Alex backed out about three times at the point where you load onto the boat, but finally summoned the courage and said, "I just HAVE to do it!" (This could have possibly been because Maddie was like, yeah, sure-- I'll ride it. Big whoop. And what seven year old boy can be outdone by his four year old sister? Not Alex.
The main drop is VERY steep and we just had to buy the ridiculously overpriced picture afterwards because it just told the whole story perfectly. You probably can't see it very well, but Maddie looks like she's a terrified corpse, and Alex has a death grip on Jeremy while trying to bury himself in his armpit. I don't think they really enjoyed the ride as much as being able to tell everyone they went on it. Since we've been back I keep finding them sitting, just staring at the photo in awe of their bravery.

Aidan discovered cotton candy. He's a fan. Can't you just feel the stickiness? It was worth it--he was quite literally glued into silence during two shows. Avery licked it once, then refused it every time Aidan tried to shove it in his mouth. Must be for those of us with a more distinguished palette.

There was also a bunch of this---there's a reason they call those things "Crackberries". Jeremy had a big motion due to be filed that day and he was editing and stressing over it amongst all the joys of navigating the crazies thru the crowds, dealing with tantrums, and trying to read the dumb pictorial map. More than once it was in danger of being thrown in a puddle of penguin pee. See! I do exist. My kids are going to look back at all our pictures and think I took separate vacations---which is not a bad idea. But I actually made it into one shot with Avery. I couldn't bring myself to think about how many diseases we were all exposed to from the boys dragging their "B"s around everywhere. I can't believe I actually allowed it that close to my face. If I'm dead when this posts, you'll know why.

Maddie loved everything...until about 4 when she crumbled onto the 100 degree asphalt and said, "I just can't take it anymore. My legs are just too broken."

On the way back home, we managed to visit a big cavern tourist attraction. The kids panned for gems and then couldn't understand why we wouldn't let them take the 70 minute tour of the cave...during which we would have to carry their brothers --who could have easily been, at this point, confused with demon spawn--on slick walkways through the dark.

After quick car naps for the boys, we managed to burn a couple of very methodically planned out hours in San Marcos at the most gigantic outlet mall you've ever seen. I could've spent the whole day in the Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma outlet alone. But surprisingly the rest of my family does not value finding the perfect lampshade. (FYI--if you live by a Children's Place outlet, I picked up a bunch of cute tights, gloves, stocking hats, socks and other odds and ends for 50 cents each. Might be worth a trip. See # 2 at right.).

We eventually made it home in one piece and as we pulled into the neighborhood, Avery screamed "YAAAY!" and started clapping. And the next morning when we tried to load him up in the car for church, he had flashbacks and screamed "NO, NO, NO!" That's what my bum was thinking too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ramblings: Maddie's Musings

In the car, five minutes after Aidan threw up on himself:
"It smells like BONNET in here!" ("bonnet"=vomit)

Sliding down the fireman's pole on our swing set, giving Jeremy a flash of the horror he would feel if she says this in, say, 14 years:
"I really know how to work this pole good."

After Jeremy told Alex he had something sticky in his hair:
"What if WITCHES lived in our hair?"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rant: Stranger Danger

I haven't publicly ranted in a while, so here goes.
I know very few men/boys that enjoy crafty stores. This goes for nearly-two-year-olds as well. And since in the past two weeks, I've dragged them to Hobby Lobby and Michael's about 6 times for various project supplies, the crazies have had their fill. This is a picture of them much younger, having their fill of picture taking. Is it sad that I love this picture? Ah, the things we do to our kids.

OK. Back to the rant. Just imagine it: my traveling circus requires two shopping carts, so I push one and pull one behind me. I've actually gotten pretty good at this but it's always awkward getting though crowded aisles and around corners. The boys will grab, throw, eat, smash, and destroy anything within arms reach so I have to be very strategic while browsing. (The double stroller is on hiatus--they fight too much. Hair pulling, head butting, pinching, you name it. They are MUCH happier having their own rides).

Typically I keep them entertained by dispensing a variety of snacks (which they grab, throw, eat, smash, and destroy). So I'm constantly monitoring the mess trail, fetching dropped items, dodging the hurled sippy cups, replacing snatched beads, stickers, or whatever else they've scored --all while trying to find what I've come for. Now imagine me in a full-blown sweat after precisely 7 minutes of this--or don't, that's kind of gross.

But after my latest journey through Hobby Lobby, I was waiting at the check out revelling
in the success of our miraculous trip. No crying, no fighting, and minimal effort to entertain them.

I have to digress to point out a few things quickly. First of all, you must understand how OBSESSED Avery is with balls--he lives and breathes to play basketball. From the minute he wakes up to the minute before bed, he is playing "shoot it" with one of his 65 balls. Secondly, I am NOT one of those parents who thinks their kids are cute when they are doing annoying or obnoxious things, and then they want everyone around to notice or acknowledge the kid (this drives me crazy!) I am speedy to attend to obnoxious behavior, distract, or divert the craziness as best as possible.

Ok. Now I can continue. So I'm revelling. The checker is ringing up my junk and I'm digging through my bag full of regurgitated goldfish, used wipes, half eaten granola bars, etc. to find my wallet. Avery notices a HUGE display of Easter baskets full of soccer and basketballs. These baskets are seriously life-sized to the kid. He begins loudly saying "Ball, ball, ball" over and over again. "Yes, that's a ball. Wow. I see that. How many are there?" I say trying to distract him from his Rain Man-like "Ball" rant. But Rain Man continues and so I ignore. He's just excited and they are both BEING GOOD for once, so I pick my battles and ignore the babbling.

That is, until I'm startled by a loud, abrupt "SHUSH," and I quickly look up to see an obviously cranky older woman about a foot from his face. (She and a friend were checking out at the register behind me, so we were back to back before this). It takes me a minute to figure out if she is playing with him, you know, trying to be cute with him. Nope. She actually barked the shush, if that makes sense. The shock and horror must have shown on my face because then she says to me in a snotty way, "Well, it worked."

Well congrats, lady. You shut up a little kid excited about his favorite thing in the world by scaring him to death and WAY overstepping the acceptable standards of stranger to baby contact. About 13 possible ways to react ran threw my head in the probably 10 seconds after this happened. I was still trying to finish paying and gathering my purchases, but I kept dealing with the urge to turn around and offer an equally inappropriate "shush" in her face as she was discussing rhinestones with her probably equally cranky friend. (I'm not bitter...heehee).

But I resisted. I think I probably bugged her way more, in a way more fiendish way. I chose #7 of the 13 possible reactions and leaned down to Avery and whispered, "Look Avery. Look at all those balls over there!" HA! Now just imagine, even louder than before,"Balls, balls, balls, balls." I had to smile to myself as I wheeled out with Aidan and Rain Man.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ramblings: Privacy Please

I was sick last night, so after the little boys went to bed, Jeremy took Alex and Maddie to get some ice cream. When they sat down, Alex said to Jeremy in a very serious voice, "Dad, I have a question for you, but I've been waiting to ask you in private."

It's funny that he phrased it like that, but I'm sure Jeremy got a bit nervous regarding what subject matter was going to be brought up if "privacy" was needed for the explanation. Alex has been bugging us lately about wanting another brother or sister and how that comes about, about what "bad things" could possibly be on the internet, and exactly what are all the curse words out there.

So when Jeremy asked him what his question was, he said, "Dad, what are taxes?" Ahh. He threw Dad an easy one. He saves the dicey questions for me, I guess.

And after that explanation, he said (with very funny phrasing again), "I would really like to arrange a time when I could shoot a real gun."

What?! Taxes and firearms? He must be watching CNN secretly or something.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ramblings: Rainy Day; Raves: Good Music

In Texas we are experiencing some really wacky weather lately. Yesterday, I spent all day outside with kids in sunny 70 degree weather. Today: rain, rain, and more rain and right now my computer tells me it's 35 out there. It's even supposed to snow tonight or tomorrow. Last Saturday was almost 80, and in excited anticipation of Spring, we went and bought the boys sandals (while buying Alex a new pair of soccer cleats. His feet are suddenly growing nonstop). Looks like they'll be wearing them around inside the house for awhile.

But today has actually been kind of a nice rainy day. After loading Alex on the bus and dropping Maddie at preschool, the boys and I went to run some errands. Of course the rain started while we were in the store and I got drenched loading up the boys in the downpour. So we made a quick run thru Sonic (to get a life-time's portion of Diet Coke--for me, not them), came home and changed into sweats. I managed to polish of the last of my Thin Mints (dang those Girl Scouts), flick on the fireplace (yeah, it's a fake one) and enjoy some good music while cleaning up around the house. I made an impulse purchase of some "ruby" lipgloss while out today--red's not usually my choice in lipwear, but I figured it was worth the risk for the buck fifty I paid for it on sale. A little brightness on a dreary day never hurts.

Rave: Good Music

I pretty much always have music playing around the house. Different types for different times, activities, or what moods I'm trying to get the kids in. Lately, I've been enjoying some of my standards: Jason Mraz, KT Tunstall and The Weepies. Pretty much anything by them is good, and it's mellow enough to have on without making the kids wild and crazy. I recently found and have also been enjoying Jaymay's "Autumn Fallin'", which is good mellow stuff too.

For wild and crazy dancemania, or for good cleaning tunes, we turn on Maroon 5, old school rap like MC Hammer or KrisKross (I shouldn't be admitting to this, should I?), or this Latin music Jeremy and his sister downloaded. The kids have no idea what they're hearing or singing, but there's always a good fast beat. Check out Orishas on iTunes if you're curious.

My nice mellow day has just ended. Avery is refusing to nap, and in doing so, woke up Aidan. At least I still have the lip gloss, right?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ramblings: Partners in Crime

This is what happened when I was off vacuuming the rest of the house this morning. Aidan and Avery helped themselves to their favorite snack and then escaped to the office to dump it everywhere.

Avery was so upset after Tyson sucked up all his "fyoot woops." He kept giving me the "where'd they go" hand sign while giving Tyson the stink eye.

After I managed to clean up the fruit loop fiasco, I thought I had them distracted enough to go shower. I was wrong. They made it into the envelopes.
And then apparently they unleashed their destructive forces upon the kitchen bowls...
Luckily, this morning's messes were all easy-cleanups. Most days are not so fun: like when they finger painted the entire kitchen with yogurt that Maddie had abandoned on the table, then threw potting soil all over it. Or when they used my lipstick to decorate themselves and my bathroom. What gets really old, is that they do these crazy things all day, everyday, sometimes more than once a day. You'd think that eventually they'd get bored emptying out every drawer in their dresser. Nope. Still good fun on a daily basis.

Ramblings: Weekend Update

Please excuse the fact that I've been toying with the blog colors. I can't seem to find one that I enjoy when it pops open on the computer.

So, as expected, the Buble concert was fabulous. We didn't know if we could take a camera in, but I managed to snap a few really bad-quality pics with my phone. We had great seats and great snacks--I scored some cotton candy. It was most excellent and I didn't have to wait until we go to the state fair again.

Good thing Jeremy has long arms--he managed to get the phone high enough to snap this one as we walked up to the convention center. And, hello! Everyone of you is in trouble if my makeup always looks this white and no one has told me. I look like an albino, for heaven's sake. Perhaps I will blame it on the poor lighting/camera phone. But Jeremy looks oddly tan next to me, so that can't be it.

Definitely a great and entertaining concert--He's funnier than I expected. But the funniest thing I heard all night was the 55ish year old woman sitting behind us say to her friends (when they announced Buble's entrance), "Oh my gosh! I hope I can keep my clothes on!" Of course Jeremy turns to me and says, "That makes two of us." I'm assuming she did because I didn't see a bra or underwear come flying past my head. But really, I was too afraid to turn around and make sure.

After the concert we went to check out a casino. But if you've ever been to Las Vegas, the casinos of Shreveport can be described only as...hmmm...pathetic. However, I did play some slot machines (as promised) with no luck. But I probably did gain lung cancer from all the second hand smoke I inhaled in the few minutes I was there.

But then we saw the most disturbing and amazing thing of the whole night. We passed a dealer that had the biggest head and neck I have ever seen on a human being. I don't think this picture can do it justice (which I took while pretending to be taking one of Jeremy standing next to him). Look at the dark haired guy just to his left as a size-reference. That guy was standing right up next to him. Really. I mean, it looked like maybe he was wearing one of those prosthetic necks they put on people on Montel or Tyra Banks, you know, right before they send them out with a hidden video camera to document how terrible people treat you when you weigh 400 pounds.
(I will apologize if I've offended you because you know this guy, if you're related to this guy, or if you ARE this guy and stumbled upon this blog--probably because the weight of your giant head got the better of you, it fell forward, and somehow banged this website into your keyboard. And now I'm sorry that you probably need a new keyboard).

The return: We made it back in one piece, grateful for the short vacation. But little did we know, Alex would be the next to catch the stomach flu that night. He spent the whole night and next day throwing up everywhere. I'll probably be next for being so mean to the freak-bighead dealer. Dang that Karma.

Augh!! I can't believe I forgot to mention our star sighting. We were waiting outside the Hilton for the valet to bring our car before the concert, when a SUV pulled up in front of us and Michael Cera got out of the passenger side. He said, "Hey what's up" and then walked in the hotel. We are die hard "Arrested Development" fans, so seeing "George Michael Bluth" was a big thrill. (He was also in Juno--which we saw and was really good; and SuperBad--which I didn't see.) Probably not so thrilling for him was when Jeremy followed him all the way to the elevator to make sure that it really was him. So they had a stare down as the elevator doors closed, but I was right. It was him. What the crap's he doing in Shreveport?