Monday, September 28, 2009

Rave: We have LIFT-OFF or more accurately-- Lift-Up

So after 4+ weeks of impatient, frustrated anticipation....the TAUPE (no--not white. And no--not almond!) garage doors have arrived and been installed. I was convinced after all the hassle and setbacks with the order that I'd walk out to look at them, after listening to them being installed for three hours, and see bright white or light pink or something else TOTALLY! WRONG!

But LUCKILY (and even luckier for the installer, who would've been hanging upside down from the spanking new, awesomely quiet, super-strong, battery-backed up garage door opener) the doors were the right size and color and the installation process went smoothly. And now with the new opener, we can even open and close the garage door without the kids running downstairs, panicked and screaming about nonexistent earthquakes and thunder.

Now the next "our house is falling apart" hurdle is a new air conditioning unit for the upstairs. It went kaput about two weeks ago and we've been suffering through it in the hopes that the weather will suddenly, uncharacteristically turn freezing and stay that way til Spring (when I say "we've been suffering," I mean the kids that sleep up there, because let's face it--if Jeremy and I would have to deal with the sweltering heat every night, that dang thing would've been replaced 13 minutes after it went out). Unfortunately we've had many days in the 90's and the kids have lost half their body weights via sweating. Texas just isn't one of those places you can get by without an a.c.

We've gotten a couple of quotes and Alex will once again be spending all his vacation days and after-school hours assembling tiny plastic trinkets in his room that's been temporarily converted to a small sweat shop in order to earn some extra money for all these household repairs. Ironically, it's also literally a sweat shop because the thermostat reads about 83*...and will continue to do so until he earns the $3800 to replace that dang a/c unit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ramblings: Boys Gone Wild

I'm fairly sure I could get arrested for posting these since the "subjects" are very underage. But I just really felt the need to expose you to the sight that our poor neighbor girls are exposed to on a way too frequent basis.

Nakedness inevitably results when the boys play together in the back yard longer than, oh...maybe about 3 minutes. Invariably the water hose gets turned on, people get wet, start stripping, and the rest is history. But they have NO compunction about going about their various leisurely activities BUCK NAKED. Sliding, swinging, jumping on the trampoline...not a problem. (The sliding ALONE makes me a bit squeamish--couldn't valuable dangling participles get injured without a buffer between them and a hard plastic slide?) I added a modesty patch to Aidan to protect your innocence. You're welcome.

Anyway, I saw the boys at the top of the treehouse--actually, I saw two FULL MOONS in the treehouse, and then I realized they were actually carrying on a CONVERSATION with the poor sexual harassment victims across the fence. The girls that live over there are probably ranging in ages 9-15 and they spend alot of time out on their trampoline, which happens to be right on the other side of our shared fence. The boys always love watching them play and laugh on their trampoline and have been working up the courage to holler something at them for awhile now. And then... there they were--just chit-chatting away in all their naked glory--not a care in the world--with these older women who were probably wondering why these crazies were allowed to hang out in the backyard (let alone socialize) completely nude.
Girls across the fence, I promise you that I do my very best to keep their bits and pieces covered at all times. But ever since they learned to remove their own clothing, I've been fighting an uphill battle. So sometimes, I confess, I give up the fight and let 'em strut their stuff. Unless of course it's sunny out, and then I make them apply SPF 50 to those white cheeks first.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ramblings: "Biggest Loser" Rejects, or just BIG Losers

I've been planning to unleash these fabulous pictures for open mockery for several months now, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Everytime I think about how horrendous our old, now expired, license photos were, I'm still shocked the DMV didn't refuse to issue our drivers licenses on the grounds of "Extreme Atrociousness." Stop laughing. I mean it. Right now. At least stifle your laughter a little because I can hear you all the way through the computer and you're going to wake up my kids. Man, we were QUITE a couple. A very bloated couple, that is.

At least I have an excuse---sort of. I believe when this first license photo was taken I had just had Alex, which accounts for at least some of my swollen-head featured in the picture. The hairdo---all I can say is that I immediately sent a mailbomb to my old hairdresser. Why would I purposely accentuate a volleyball-shaped face with a wedged haircut that was obviously way too form-fitting to the aforementioned volleyball head? Huh? Can anyone answer that for me? And how come it seems like every time I look back at pictures during/after pregnancies, I always have super unattractive, pixie-short haircuts atop my swollen, water-retentioned, flabby shar pei-looking head? I'm sure I thought it was a good idea when I was pregnant, hormonal, and sweating to death trying to blow dry long hair. Note to self: Short hair + 6 months before/after/during Pregnancy= a very BAD idea.

Jeremy's first shot was taken during the time period we jokingly refer to as his "bigger" days (but you have to puff your cheeks out with air when you say it). Nobody we know now, that didn't know him then, can believe he was ever "big." So to prove it we always whip out this drivers license, and then they're pretty much just left in stunned silence.

This was also back in the days when people used to ask him if he played college football. He would usually totally LIE and say 'yes,' even though he was pretty much just too embarrassed not to have a good reason to which to attribute his "bigness," other than late night snacking and Reece's peanut butter cups. Probably half of the Harvard Law School class of 2003 thinks he was some sort of behemoth, bone-crushing, wall-of-a-defensive lineman or something during his college glory days. (Look at me knowing a football position!)

Our lives with this bad license were also complicated by the fact that the chick typing in his info put in the wrong year for his birthday, making him a senior citizen. Note that it says 1924. We used to get TONS of AARP stuff in the mail. And anytime we had to fly, we practically had to have clearance from the President because of the age discrepancy. We were the people you HATE to be standing behind in the security line. Apparently, they had a hard time believing he couldn't look that awesome at 80 years old?

Anyway, Jeremy was nice enough (detect the sarcasm, please) to wait until I was pregnant with Maddie to lose his extra 80 pounds. Which of course meant that I was gaining, and he was losing. Men--take note. DO NOT DO THAT TO YOUR WIVES. It's mean and evil and you should be punished. I had to hear about how every week he needed a smaller belt, how his clothes were hanging off of him, etc. All the while, I'm trying to squeeze my fatness into pants WITH ELASTIC WAISTBANDS. Talk about depressing.

(Trust me--I don't just get pregnant in the belly area. I turn into a slightly front-heavy version of the stay-puff marshmallow man--I mean, my ELBOWS even get huge. (Man, I'm glad I never wore any sailor-themed maternity clothes or the likeness would be uncanny!)

Luckily, last year we were able to get them retaken and get another photo op to try and redeem ourselves. I have to say, they turned out about 1000 times better, even though I look like I'm wearing clown makeup because of their digital camera settings (I hope) and Jeremy looks like he's wearing eyeliner. And I'm almost 75% sure that he wasn't wearing any that day. Well, at least not that much. What a difference a few years, and oh, about 120 pounds, can make.

If you have a drivers license photo that beats our horrendous ones, I wanna see it. And if I get some good ones, I may just have to mail out a prize or two.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ramblings: Nacho Favorite Scent

Saturday we took the kids to a sporting goods store to try and round up the last few items Alex needed for his baseball uniform. We searched high and low but only ended up about 2 of the five things we needed--apparently everyone had already been out shopping for 'youth small' black baseball pants and 'youth small' cups to protect the family jewels, because I've looked several different places and there are none to be found.

(One sales guy even tried to convince me to buy a size 12-14 cup and then just buy some really tight sliding shorts to wear over it to hold it in place. Are you kidding me? The kid would look ridiculous with a GIANT, oversized cup bulging out of his small baseball pants, not to mention how uncomfortable that would probably be. I'm just guessing here--I have no ability to test it or any relevant cup-on-junk experience to know, but come on. The HUGE cup, really TIGHT spandex shorts combo doesn't sound like a great solution for ANY problem I can think of...but how about you just order more smaller sized cups?)

Anyway, so as we were shopping, I had one cart with 1/2 the crew and we went to go look for black socks. As we pulled up to the sock display, there was a horrible, terrible, nastiest-of-the-nasty B.O. cloud around the area. It was emanating from one of the employees, crouched on the ground restocking an area of the socks. Whoa. Talk about potent. I scooted the cart a safe distance down the aisle and hurriedly tried to find the size and color I wanted (you guessed it--black 'youth small').

So then Jeremy comes a few minutes later with the other 1/2 of the crew, including Alex. Right as I'm about to motion to Jeremy, like "Let's get outta here, it totally reeks," Alex hollers really loudly, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"

I frantically try to shake my head at him to get him to be quiet, but I'm panicking because I realize he's not going to be quiet about it and he won't be distracted. I start worrying that he's going to start guessing ALOUD who the stinky culprit is, but then he says, "WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE NACHOS IN HERE?

At this point, I'm starting to crack up because he's innocently hollering about a mysterious nacho aroma, when in fact there are NO nachos, all there is is stinky armpit, hygienically-challenged, make-you-want-to-shower-immediately, B.O. floating around. Jeremy was looking kinda confused and started sniffing the air (probably becoming overpowered and lightheaded by the odor) so I mouth to him, "It's B-O... B-O. Not nachos... B-O," and I sorta motion down to the clueless guy with his back to us, still vigilantly sorting socks.

We took off from the sock section pretty fast after that. And the whole rest of the time we were in the store, Alex was perplexed how that one far corner of the store emitted such a strong nacho smell.

I don't know what kind of nachos that kid has been eating lately, but I think I'll pass on nachos in the near future. Or pretty much forever after that. And I'll continue to stand by my decision to pass on the genius suggestion of the giant cup/extra small spandex shorts solution.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RAVE: P is for Preschool

{Insert sound of a heavenly choir of angels singing the Alleluia chorus over and over again}

Today is (duh, dum, dum--that was my weak attempt at spelling out the sound of a drumroll)...

The First Official Day of the Boys Preschool!!!

Yes I realize Avery's picture is blurry and one day he will accuse me of loving him less because of it. My camera battery was croaking and I was trying to take the picture and remove the lens cap in one motion, which = blurry. Sorry.

This day's been a long time coming--the older kids have been in school for two weeks now and the boys keep asking me when they get to start. We went to Meet the Teacher last week but as we were walking in, the school nurse called me because Maddie was sick in her office and needed to be picked up. Well, there was NO telling the boys we weren't going in to see their classroom because I'd been talking it up all summer to get them excited about it. Plus, I knew the teacher wanted to meet them and size us just how much protective equipment she needed to wear the first day.

So I felt super crappy but I asked the nurse, "Uh, ok. Uh. Is it OK if I get there in like 15 or 20 minutes? Will she be ok?"

Dead silence. "Okkkkay," she finally says really slowly like I really AM indeed the super crappy mother I feel like making a sick kid wait 15 minutes. But seriously, are all parents within 5 minutes at any time of picking up their kid? So we made a rush through all the classroom info--where to hang the backpacks, where to put the lunches, where the bathrooms are, etc. They immediately ran in and started getting puzzles and blocks out to play with--I could've left them without them even noticing. That's how I like it---I already feel guilty for enjoying the few hours of alone time while they're there, and the last thing I need is to think that they're crying pathetically or feeling abandoned. Not going to be an issue with these two, I don't think.

But just as they were really starting to have fun, and before I could take them around the rest of the building to show them the music room or where they eat lunch, I had to rush them out and back to the car to go get Maddie.

"WHY MADDIE SICK?! WHY WE HAVE TO GO GET HER?! WHY WE CAN'T STAY AND PLAY?!" They weren't too happy about having to take off so quickly. But they did like to talk about barf and throw up and all the other things involved with Maddie being sick.

So today they were so excited when they saw their new lunchboxes in the fridge, all packed up and waiting to be loaded in their new backpacks. I guarantee they will only eat a few bites of everything because they get so distracted by all the other kids and things going on, meaning they will be STARVING when I pick them up just like the other two used to do.

And as much as we've tried all summer, I'm only sending 50% of the duo fully potty-trained. Luckily, the teachers are taking pity on me and allowing Avery to go anyway. She assured me that they always have a couple (usually boys) that haven't quite caught on yet. Well, Avery REALLY hasn't caught on--he could, but he's stubborn and says "he likes to" poop and pee in his pull ups. What do you say to that?

I love that confused/"no fair" look on Avery's face when I break it to him that he isn't going to be riding the school bus.

***Now I'm off to drive them to preschool!***

I'm back--from dropping them off and from 2 glorious hours of running errands, doing some shopping, and exploring this weird new-found QUIET freedom. I keep checking the clock and keeping a mental countdown--"ok. I have four more hours. Three more hours. Oh man. Less than 2 hours. I better get moving..."

This preschool thing is A-OK. I'll let you know if I still feel that way when I pick them up in a couple of hours, napless and exhausted from such an exciting day.

P.S. Someone please email me and let me know if the bloggity blog blog is still being naughty. It was having some issues last week, but I've spanked it sufficiently and I hope it's behaving better now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ramblings: Yeehaw

Saturday was a crazy day. Jeremy and the kids had a church primary activity in the morning that required Jeremy to wear a hilarious costume. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I get one. He texted me about 20 minutes into the activity saying, "I feel like such an idiot." Let's just say he was wearing fake body armor and carrying a sword.

Then in the afternoon, the kids were invited to a birthday party at a skating rink that was around way back when I was a kid going to birthday parties. They've only slightly renovated it over the years and it still has that familiar smell of rental skate disinfectant mixed with sweaty kids and burnt popcorn. Ahh, memories. The one improvement was that now they have these pvc pipes with wheels contraptions that help the kids learn to skate without fracturing their tailbones. Sorry these are bad--I was behind the plexiglass on twin patrol. I really wanted to get some good ones of Jeremy contributing to the sweaty smell in there but my phone died. Maddie enjoyed trying to learn, but Alex was mostly just frustrating and spent the whole time crying and whining about how impossible skating is.
The boys had a blast because the whole back area was a room filled with bouncy houses, jumbo bouncy slides, and a giant inflatable caterpillar that you could climb inside. You had to pry apart the tightly inflated opening to get in, then crawl the length of it, and you popped out a similar opening at the tail end. Here's the gross part: the opening looked just like a body part south of the border, and watching the kids pry the sides apart and crawl up inside and then disappear, was almost more than I could take. This isn't the exact one, but it's almost the same. And it wasn't just me--another mom I was talking to was just as disturbed by it as me. My phone died just after I took the pictures of the kids skating, so I couldn't document how gross it looked watching my 3 year olds climb in and out of the "opening."

Then, Saturday night Jeremy and I went to the Cowboys v. 49ers game in the new Cowboys stadium. He had gotten tickets in one of the swanky boxes from one of his clients. And while I don't mind watching football, I'm definitely not a rabid fan. It wasn't like I was tempted to wear silver and blue body paint or anything. Mostly I was going along because 1) it was a night out of the house and that's always a plus, and 2) I wanted to see what all the hype was about this new 'wonder of the world.'

I have to say, the thing is pretty impressive. It's really enormous. Really. And the giant HDTV thingy hanging in the middle really is as cool as they claim, but also a bit distracting. I think I only looked down at the actual players maybe twice. The rest of the time I just watched the big TV and sampled all the food they had in the box for us. The worst part: all they had stocked in the fridge besides beer was Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. Sick. The walls of the boxes are glass and I could see the people next to us enjoying Dr. Pepper and I almost held up a sign, "Please sir (Oliver-style), may I have a beverage, please?" Or I could've ordered one for $7. Seven dollars. Seriously. For a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke. Sheesh.
But the best part of the evening was bypassing all the crazy busy parking lots that cost anywhere from $40-100, which is alot considering you still had to hike quite a ways to get there. We had also gotten a parking permit to one of the special people parking lots. We were about four rows away from the entrance--not too shabby. We walked in behind a group of 4 women that Jeremy swears were some of the players' wives.
But I can promise you that Jeremy WILL be sporting some type of body paint on Saturday when he, Alex, and some other guys he's taking arrive at the stadium for the Oklahoma v. BYU game. And he'll be shelling out the big bucks for parking cuz he won't have the special people parking permit. But he'll be so nervous and stressed that he won't care. He's already been stressing this week about the "guys [the BYU football players] being intimidating by the stadium." Oh my. I feel bad for anyone sitting anywhere near him at the game. He's not necessarily the funnest person to watch football games with--he gets really psycho and screamy. I may be checking myself and the kids into a motel Saturday night if they lose. It won't be a pretty sight.

Yea. BYU managed to win and now we won't have to replenish our stash of anti-depressants...yet. The football season's still pretty fresh.