Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Note of Caution

While opening one of my Christmas presents today, a new, giant, non-stick skillet that I've been wanting for a while, I decided to take a quick second to read the enclosed "instructions" to be sure I didn't need to do anything to the non-stick surface of the pan before or during the first use. While reading, I came across this little gem:

"Caution: For safety, please keep pet birds out of the kitchen. Birds' respiratory systems are sensitive to many kinds of household fumes, including the fumes from extremeley overheated non-stick pans."

Um, apparently this has a been a problem in Italy, where the pan was made? And, let me me add that this is the one & only warning on the entire instruction sheet. So, please don't keep your pet bird in the kitchen! Consider yourself warned...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Photo Op

Every year we take a family picture in front of the Christmas tree. I enjoy looking back, and sometimes laughing, at the the way the kids cooperated (or maybe didn't!), and to see how much they have grown from one year to the next. Here is this year's photo...everyone actually smiled!

Here's hoping that your Christmas was filled with wonderful memory-making activities, and that your New Year will be blessed!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Waste Not, Want Not

This afternoon, when Alex returned home from school, he approached me with sad eyes, and informed me of the following:

"Mom, today at lunch, I didn't have time to finish, so I decided to save my dessert. But, look what happened!"

And, with that, he shows me a milky-white glove (that should be black), a drippy coat pocket, and a huge wet spot on his jeans. The dessert in question was a cup of 'pink' ice cream. And my 8 year old son, who isn't one to waste a good dessert, figured he'd simply stick it into his coat pocket to save for the bus ride home. Doing my best to stifle the laughter welling up within me, I asked, "Alex, didn't you realize that it would melt?" The response was quick and concise, "No!" At this point, I couldn't hold back the giggles, but I quickly hugged him, tried to reassure him that it was my fault for not explaining the concept of melting ice cream, then informed him that he would need to strip out of his sticky, wet clothes & coat so that they could be washed before tomorrow.

So, there you have it. I get the "Mother of the Year" award for not teaching my son that ice cream melts and isn't save-able! Granted, I've never had occasion to question his knowledge on the subject, as I simply assumed he knew that you couldn't leave it outside of a freezer for more than a bit before it changes to milk, but that might be because he's never had leftover ice cream before.

Note to self: Be sure to tell Morgann & Ian, when the time comes, to not save their ice cream cups!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Good Grief!

Geez! I leave town (and my computer) for 2 evenings and you all decide to post multiple postings!!! I'm gonna be sitting at my computer for hours tomorrow trying to catch up on my reading :)

And, when I finish reading, I'll be sure to post some pictures and interesting narratives about our Polar Express trip. Let me just say that, by special request, the kids are requesting that we do this on an annual basis with them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Aboard!!!

Well, tomorrow morning (which is technically this morning since it's approaching 1AM!), we're heading for the North Pole...well, not the REAL North Pole, but something that is designed to signify the North Pole. Here in Texas, and maybe in other places around the nation, we are lucky enough to have a real rail road station just 3 hours north of here, in the little town of Palestine, TX. And, during the holidays, they decorate, then charge an arm & a leg for each member of your family to ride said train. And, since it's called the Polar Express, and they serve hot chocolate & cookies to the passengers, they apparently get away with charging the required arm & leg! But, since it's Christmas, and we, as parents, look for those special moments that help to make extra-special Christmas memories, we will be heading north on I-45 to the little town of Palestine, TX to ride the Polar Express with our dear, sweet kiddos :)

And, let me just say that Michael & I are ranking on high on the list of the most awesome parents ever - well, according to our kids that are beside themselves with anticipation of riding the real Polar Express train, which will make a stop in the North Pole to see Santa, then returning to the station where we will get to spend the night in a hotel room!

It's the little things...that cost an arm & a leg...right?!?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

His Traditional Letter

Dear Santa Claus,

Merry christmas! How have you been? Are the raindeer ok? How are the Elf's are they going to be alrite or not. Now I am going to ask you what I want. Can I have a pocet knife for christmas and my dad want's a I-phone for christmas.

love,
Alex

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Since I've confussed the issues...

...this is a reminder that I have moved my blog to Wordpress! I've had to do some things on blogger, only to transfer them here, so feel free to stop by for a visit :)

Jingle Bells, What?

Morgann, the singer in the family, has been singing at the top of her lungs all evening. Jingle Bells is the current favorite:

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way
Home what fun it is to ride in a one who slopin sleigh, hey!

Every time I try to correct her verbage, I am quickly informed that I am not singing it correctly! Well, alrighty then...apparently if I desire to sing with her, I have to say it all 'correctly' :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

To the Birthday Boy!

Yesterday, you, my oldest son, turned 8 years old. First, let me say that I am not old enough to have an 8 year old. And second, HOLY COW! My baby boy is 8 years old!!!! The time is passing so quickly and you are growing like a weed - please stop! I currently do not have it in my budget to purchase you more pants...

I want to apologize for not giving you a proper birthday party, complete with balloons and friends galore. But, I'm hoping that the taco dinner and cookie cake, surrounded by your family, was enough to remind you of how very much you are loved. This year is getting away from me, and the fact that your birthday falls in the very hectic month of December, just 3 weeks short of Christmas, isn't helping me to not feel a bit overwhelmed at all of the things that I should be doing, but haven't done yet! The lack of a party on your birthday does not mean that I do not care for you...it simply means that between going out of town no less than 3 times (possibly 4) this month, mixed in with the fact that I am beginning to panic at my lack of preparedness for this holiday season, will allow you the chance to experience a summer birthday party :) Yes, I promise that we will invite your friends over for a pool party during the hottest part of the summer! And, we will label this pool party as "Alex's Belated 8th Birthday Party" so that we will have the excuse to purchase another cookie cake and sing Happy Birthday to you again. We all know how much you love to be the center of attention...

But, I wanted to take a minute to tell you that, even as time marches on, you are a dear, sweet boy and I will always cherish the fact that you were my first little blessing. I pray that you continue to grow in the knowledge and reverence of Jesus, and that the sweet, tender spirit you carry will always be with you. May the joy that you carry in the dimpled smile on your face be a blessing to all you encounter, and may the love of your savior, whom you invited into your little heart at the age of 4, be with you always.

And, if nothing else, always remember that I love you dearly and will always be here for you. Through the good times & the bad times; through the ups & downs that lie ahead for you; through the sad times & happy times; through it all...I will always love you!

Happy 8th Birthday, my little man!!!

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6: 24-26

Ian-isms

Gotta love 3 year old speak! Here is just a sampling:

Mommy, I win you...translated: Mommy, I'm going to beat you!

Ayex huut me (with the biggest pout he can muster and a dejected tone to his voice)...translated, I got hurt when Alex blocked my punch.

Nia, fit my yap...translated, Mia, come sit in my lap!

Mo ajuse peaz...translated, More apple juice please.

Me not yike tayots...translated, I don't like carrots...but will eat them without complaint when promised a dessert!

I hundwy...translated, I'm hungry, feed me right now before I die!

(Sounding a bit like Joe Pesci)...Yu tawkin to meee?...translated, Mother dear, are you speaking to me?

And, maybe one of my favorites: Oh, ay gowt...sounding very much like Gomer Pyle...Oh, I forgot :)

Like I said, you gotta love 3 year old speak...especially when you have a translator!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!!!


With a yummy seafood dinner, dessert and games with friends, the fact that this year, no one in my family forgot to call & wish me a happy birthday (one year no one called!), and a beautiful bouquet of roses from my sweet hubby, I don't think this day could have been any better!!!

Have I mentioned that I love my birthday :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thoughts & Expectations

Every year, this day rolls around. I wait with eager expectation that something special is bound to happen; sometimes it does, and sometimes I'm slightly disappointed. But this day comes & goes like clockwork, just the same. Sometimes fanfare follows it, sometimes it passes quietly with only a slight whisper. Fun memories abound and long-ago forgotten dreams and intentions come flooding back to me.

On this day, I get up and go about my normal duties of mommy & wife; the laundry and dishes don't wait...they beckon to be taken care of, and so I acquiesce. On occasion, I have been blessed enough to find a bit of quiet time to simply take a nap, but rarely is that the norm on this day. Hugs & kisses abound from family and friends, but really, this is typical of any normal day in my house. So, other than a special salutation from the kids, or a smile and an acknowledgment about the importance of this day from my sweet hubby, this day turns out to be almost like any other run-of-the-mill day of the year. Almost...

This day will come tomorrow, beginning at 12:00AM and ending at 11:59PM. This year we actually have special plans to mark this day which isn't necessarily a typical occurrence. Tomorrow we will be going to dinner (sans kids) with our very special friends J&P, then going to a dessert night hosted by my MOPS group. And, this day will end like any other, with me tucking my little ones into their beds, stealing a few more kisses & hugs for the night, then crawling into my bed and falling asleep, thankful that I saw this day yet one more time, and counting my many blessings.

November 17th...this day is my birthday and this year will mark the 35th time I saw this day. I love this day, don't you?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nothing to Say...

Can you believe that I have nothing to say? It's been crazy-busy, but super-boring around here lately. The family is healthy, the puppy is growing (and testing my patience just a tad), the Holidays are just around the corner - holy cow, by the way! - and I have nothing to blog about. What's wrong with me? I think I need to go take my temperature!

Friday, November 02, 2007

2 Cowboys & a Fairy

Halloween 2007


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Death Would be a Welcomed Relief!

Ok, so maybe that's a bit over-board, but as of Sunday night, that's what I was thinking.

I woke up Sunday morning to a 7 year old complaining about not feeling well and having a sore throat, only to find out he was running a fever. So, like any good mommy, I gave him some Motrin, settled him on the couch with a bottle of water and his 'just in case he throws up' bowl, then went back to bed - it was 6:45 on a Sunday morning! Then without any warning whatsoever, my body started to ache. The ache progressively got worse and by 10AM, it was full-blown pain! Michael allowed me to stay in bed for a bit, then take a bath in hopes that the achy feeling would subside, but by 4PM, I was in tears and begging to be put out of my misery. I'd spent the better part of the day sleeping off & on on the couch, doing my best to find that comfortable spot that didn't seem to exist. By this point, I'd taken my fair-share of Tylenol and Motrin, with very little relief, and had managed to drink 1/2 a bottle of water and eat 2 pieces of toast.

Then it came to me...I was sick!! Then another thought struck me...Mommies can't get sick!! Then, yet another thought penetrated my tired brain...I was going to be left by myself, with 1 sick child and 2 healthy children on Monday, and I WAS SICK!!!!! This is where begging ensued...me begging Michael to please call his mother to see if she could help out - and thankfully she did :) She arrived yesterday, right before lunch, loaded up the 2 healthy, very bored kiddos and left. She even offered to keep them overnight, which ended up working well for me since I had to take Alex to his pediatrician today.

When we arrived at the doctor's office, Alex was very insistent that he felt 'much better' and his throat was just fine. The funny part was that while making his claims, the poor kid had a hard time forcing down his breakfast and his tonsils were protruding from his neck. We we arrived at his pediatrician, I begged her to stick that giant Q-tip down my throat like she did to him, much to his dismay, because I was absolutely convinced that I probably had strep, which I've never had in my entire life! She said she couldn't, but when Alex's strep test came back "very positive", she gave me a prescription for an antibiotic because she said that she's positive that I have it too. So, what I thought was the flu with a bad sore throat turned out to be a really bad case of strep - or so we think anyway.

I've only had 1 dose of the antibiotic, but I'm already feeling a tad bit better. Still not myself and functioning at 100%, but I had enough energy this afternoon to strip the strep-laden sheets off of our bed and wash them :) Gotta love clean sheets, right?

I guess that if I really wanted to find something positive in this, I could say that I've probably lost a little weight since I haven't eaten more than 4 pieces of toast in 2 days...but I guess that might be stretching it a bit, wouldn't you say?!?

ER's, IV's, CT's and MOPS

Yesterday morning, at precisely 5:45AM, I woke up to a pain that I can only describe as feeling like I had been stabbed. It was excruciating and I could barely talk. I had to hit Michael a few times until he finally woke up enough for me to beg him to pray. I had no idea what was wrong, but I knew it was bad because breathing was a painful process. I couldn't sit, stand, or lie down. For those of you that are mommies and have experienced a contraction, think back to what it felt like before you got drugs, with no let-up in between - it was like having 1 solid, never-ending contraction. I was miserable and sobbing, and poor Michael had no idea how to help. After 45 minutes of him insisting that we go to the ER, I finally gave in when it became apparent that the pain wasn't going to just go away. He was very worried that it might be my appendix because of the location of the pain, while I was just worried about either passing out or throwing up because of the agony. So at 7AM, with kids up & dressed (thanks in no part to me), he scooted the kids to our next door neighbor, then helped me into the van.

We raced to the local stand-alone ER where my sister works where they ran a quick urinalysis to determine that I was indeed not pregnant - Michael turned pale when the nurse mentioned the possibility. He then informed us that if we were to stay there for further testing, only to find out that the problem was my appendix, they'd have to send me over to the hospital where they would run all of the same tests again. The reason? We're cash-paying patients, so they can't transfer all of my records. The result? Two ER visits, with the exact same tests, resulting in the exact same charges!! Uugghh!!! After a quick 'look' between Michael & myself, we decided to just play-it-safe by going directly to the hospital. Thankfully, my sister suggested we go to a new, nearby hospital/ER because she'd heard several people say that they hadn't waited long to be seen. Quick? Sounded go to me - who was still in serious agony!

So, after a quick 15 minute drive, we walked into a completely empty ER waiting room, signed in, were triaged, taken directly to a room, seen by a doctor, hooked up to an IV and given pain meds, all within an hour - yes, an hour!!! Not sure what ER's are like in other parts of the country, but here, it's standard practice to wait at least 6 hours in the waiting room. Anyway, the pain meds took the edge off of the pain, but I laid on the gurney, very uncomfortably for about an hour and a half before being taken for a CAT scan - my first. Thankfully, I didn't have to drink that awful barium drink that I remember my mother having to drink (and subsequently, throw up) before each CAT scan she underwent. I was sure that if I had to drink, then subsequently throw up, that stuff, I would indeed die - I had one of those tickles in my throat that I couldn't clear, and coughing hard enough to clear it would cause spots and blur my vision, so the prospect of wretching my gutts up caused me great distress.

Anyway, the CAT scan took about 5 minutes, then they returned me to my room where we waited for another 30 minutes for the doctor to return with the results. The results? A 'complex ovarian cyst'. Yes, a cyst - something that I've had more times than I can count, but the worst that I've ever had! So, my discharge instructions were given, a prescription for Vicodin included, then I got a quick shot...of morphine - wew-hoo!!...into my IV tube before the tape was ripped from my arm (OUCH!).

After making a stop at the pharmacy, then another stop at a local fast-food spot for take-home hot dogs, we arrived home, I ate 1 dog, then headed straight to bed. There, I tossed & turned, grimaced & moaned, and rested-fitfully until 6PM. When I woke up, my first thought was feeding the kids, which I knew I wasn't capable of doing. When I inquired of Michael as to whether he'd given any thought to what he might give them, he informed me that my neighbor and fellow MOPS friend had provided spaghetti & bread. What a humongous blessing!!!

Tonight? Another MOPS friend provided us with a yummy chicken enchilada dish, complete w/ rice & beans and tortilla chips. And, yes tomorrow night is taken care of too!!! Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am for my MOPS group? These ladies are amazing!!!! Whenever someone is in need, our group is quick to pull together to help, whether it is meals, childcare, transportation, or just prayer. I'm always very happy to pitch in to do my part, but it's a completely different thing to be on the receiving end. It's humbling, and yet I'm so very thankful for what God has provided for us. To know that the family is being fed when I cannot stand in the kitchen to prepare a meal, it's absolutely awesome!

Anyway, today I'm feeling better, but only slightly. I no longer feel that I have a knife wound, but I am still very sore and tired. I've had a hard time just laying around, so I did attempt to vacuum, but only succeeded in getting 1/2 of the living room done - Michael scolded me, then said he'd finish the other 1/2 :) The rest of my day has consisted of sitting, then standing, then sitting, then standing some more, taking a shower, then a bath, then sitting a little more. I'm tired of sitting, but should probably enjoy it while I can, huh?

ER's, IV's, CT's and MOPS

Yesterday morning, at precisely 5:45AM, I woke up to a pain that I can only describe as feeling like I had been stabbed. It was excruciating and I could barely talk. I had to hit Michael a few times until he finally woke up enough for me to beg him to pray. I had no idea what was wrong, but I knew it was bad because breathing was a painful process. I couldn't sit, stand, or lie down. For those of you that are mommies and have experienced a contraction, think back to what it felt like before you got drugs, with no let-up in between - it was like having 1 solid, never-ending contraction. I was miserable and sobbing, and poor Michael had no idea how to help. After 45 minutes of him insisting that we go to the ER, I finally gave in when it became apparent that the pain wasn't going to just go away. He was very worried that it might be my appendix because of the location of the pain, while I was just worried about either passing out or throwing up because of the agony. So at 7AM, with kids up & dressed (thanks in no part to me), he scooted the kids to our next door neighbor, then helped me into the van.

We raced to the local stand-alone ER where my sister works where they ran a quick urinalysis to determine that I was indeed not pregnant - Michael turned pale when the nurse mentioned the possibility. He then informed us that if we were to stay there for further testing, only to find out that the problem was my appendix, they'd have to send me over to the hospital where they would run all of the same tests again. The reason? We're cash-paying patients, so they can't transfer all of my records. The result? Two ER visits, with the exact same tests, resulting in the exact same charges!! Uugghh!!! After a quick 'look' between Michael & myself, we decided to just play-it-safe by going directly to the hospital. Thankfully, my sister suggested we go to a new, nearby hospital/ER because she'd heard several people say that they hadn't waited long to be seen. Quick? Sounded go to me - who was still in serious agony!

So, after a quick 15 minute drive, we walked into a completely empty ER waiting room, signed in, were triaged, taken directly to a room, seen by a doctor, hooked up to an IV and given pain meds, all within an hour - yes, an hour!!! Not sure what ER's are like in other parts of the country, but here, it's standard practice to wait at least 6 hours in the waiting room. Anyway, the pain meds took the edge off of the pain, but I laid on the gurney, very uncomfortably for about an hour and a half before being taken for a CAT scan - my first. Thankfully, I didn't have to drink that awful barium drink that I remember my mother having to drink (and subsequently, throw up) before each CAT scan she underwent. I was sure that if I had to drink, then subsequently throw up, that stuff, I would indeed die - I had one of those tickles in my throat that I couldn't clear, and coughing hard enough to clear it would cause spots and blur my vision, so the prospect of wretching my gutts up caused me great distress.

Anyway, the CAT scan took about 5 minutes, then they returned me to my room where we waited for another 30 minutes for the doctor to return with the results. The results? A 'complex ovarian cyst'. Yes, a cyst - something that I've had more times than I can count, but the worst that I've ever had! So, my discharge instructions were given, a prescription for Vicodin included, then I got a quick shot...of morphine - wew-hoo!!...into my IV tube before the tape was ripped from my arm (OUCH!).

After making a stop at the pharmacy, then another stop at a local fast-food spot for take-home hot dogs, we arrived home, I ate 1 dog, then headed straight to bed. There, I tossed & turned, grimaced & moaned, and rested-fitfully until 6PM. When I woke up, my first thought was feeding the kids, which I knew I wasn't capable of doing. When I inquired of Michael as to whether he'd given any thought to what he might give them, he informed me that my neighbor and fellow MOPS friend had provided spaghetti & bread. What a humongous blessing!!!

Tonight? Another MOPS friend provided us with a yummy chicken enchilada dish, complete w/ rice & beans and tortilla chips. And, yes tomorrow night is taken care of too!!! Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am for my MOPS group? These ladies are amazing!!!! Whenever someone is in need, our group is quick to pull together to help, whether it is meals, childcare, transportation, or just prayer. I'm always very happy to pitch in to do my part, but it's a completely different thing to be on the receiving end. It's humbling, and yet I'm so very thankful for what God has provided for us. To know that the family is being fed when I cannot stand in the kitchen to prepare a meal, it's absolutely awesome!

Anyway, today I'm feeling better, but only slightly. I no longer feel that I have a knife wound, but I am still very sore and tired. I've had a hard time just laying around, so I did attempt to vacuum, but only succeeded in getting 1/2 of the living room done - Michael scolded me, then said he'd finish the other 1/2 :) The rest of my day has consisted of sitting, then standing, then sitting, then standing some more, taking a shower, then a bath, then sitting a little more. I'm tired of sitting, but should probably enjoy it while I can, huh?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Blog Address!

Well, since my friends & family have voiced their opinions about the new blog versus the old blog, I think I've decided to make the switch! I'm moving, so please note (and update) my new blog address: www.chaoticadventures.wordpress.com. I've also linked the address to the new blog, so feel free to come on over!!! Don't dessert me just because I'm moving on...we can still be friends, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm Indecisive Too!

Giving props where props are due...I stole the title of this post from Notes on a Napkin.

Ok, so I've been going crazy trying to set-up a "test blog" at Wordpress, but it's driving me nuts. Take a look and let me know what you think! What I'm not liking about Wordpress is the photo upload capability. Though you can upload photos, it seems to limit the size - and it's very cumbersome to do. If I had a reason to change from Blogger, it would be the fact that the template was so easy to customize and change to fit my desires, unlike the Blogger templates that are already set-up and require that you know how to write code (which I think is HTML) to change. I do not know how to write code and neither does my local in-house geek, which leaves me stuck with whatever Blogger gives me. I like flexibility, which Wordpress seems to have. Well, until it comes to modifying your font and font size - haven't figured that out either! But whichever forum I choose, it needs to be stupid-proof, and I'm not sure that Wordpress is... Anyway, thanks to Katrina for enlightening my blogging horizons :)

Find a Cure!

Are you aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

As many of you know, I lost my mother, Shirley Vanzant, to breast cancer more than 5 years ago, so to me, awareness is everything. But being aware isn't enough; we need to be proactive in prevention and early detection. If you haven't done so already, go here to make a donation to help find a cure for this awful disease that affects approximately 120 in 100,000 women annually*. If you know of someone that has been affected by breast cancer, you can make the donation in her honor or memory. If you are blessed enough to not know someone that has had to fight this disease, but want to donate anyway, it would be an honor for you to do so in my mother's memory. And, while you're there, read the latest information on early detection and prevention. Learn something, then pass it along to the women in your life! And, while you're at it, make a point to click here daily. Doing so could mean the difference between life & death for a needy woman!

*Statistic found at www.komen.org

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

She's Finally Here!

From the sounds of the title, you'd think I was speaking of a baby...well, she is my baby if you consider she's only 6 weeks old :) I've named her Mia Joy - we'll stick with calling her Mia (pronounced Me-uh). Mia means "mine" - which she most definitely is - and Joy speaks for itself. So, here's hoping that she will be the sweetest little puppy that every lived - my joy!



Thursday, October 04, 2007

Deep, Dark Secret

Ok, so I have a confession...I am not a neat-nick! There, I've said it!!! I feel so much better :) Well, sort of, anyway. Ok, so that statement isn't necessarily true - I do like things to be cleaned and in their place, but I do not enjoy being the one that does it. I would much rather pay someone else to do it for me, thus the reason I so loved my Valentine's Day gift this last February. Anyway, I tend to just turn a blind eye to clutter, until it suddenly bugs me so badly that I cannot think of anything else. This sends me into a cleaning fit, whereby things suddenly start to disappear - right into the trash!

Here, let me give you a small glimpse into my world - our upstairs playroom:

Here is the before. Notice that there is very little floor showing through the toys scattered here & there. This room as been in this condition for 2 cleanings - or 4 weeks. I know what you're thinking, but please don't say it. I thought the same thing every time I passed by, but it was so much easier to simply pull the door closed, or to tell guests at Ian's birthday party last weekend to simply "stay downstairs". I've been very well intentioned over the last month, telling myself each & every Tuesday or Thursday that I must clean the playroom, but there was always something else to do, which left the playroom as last on my to-do list. Do I dare admit that even the kids wouldn't enter this room for fear of impaling themselves on a stray Lego or Kinex? (I was going to take more thorough pictures, but I couldn't get into the room without hurting myself, so these were taken from the doorway - really, really sad, I know!)

And, here is the after. A mere 2 1/2 hours later, and our playroom is now 'playable' again. Generally when cleaning upstairs, I require the kids to help. But, in order to do any real cleaning (which means that I can actually get rid of months & year's worth of broken kid's meal toys and junk), I must be left alone. When I try to throw things out with the kids nearby, my trash bag inevitably ends up empty and the broken toys end up back in the bins! Notice the 2 trash bags standing near the couch? One is full and over-flowing, the other is about 1/2 full, and awaiting the next room on the agenda. Now, the trick will be to keep it cleaned! Otherwise, I will be at this again in about 2 months, and I'm sure that's a very positive estimate on my part.

Ah! I feel much better after getting that off of my chest :) Now, on to Morgann's room...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our Newest Addition

At less than 5 weeks old, she won't be able to come home with us until after October the 10th, but she's ours and we're all very excited about her homecoming! She's a little black toy poodle - isn't she adorable?!? Morgann & I picked her out when she was just 10 days old, then prayed that her personality would be a good match for our family. After visiting with her today, I think she's going to be perfect for us :) She just laid in the kid's laps and licked (and chewed just a bit) on their fingers, then fell asleep in my hands while I was holding her. It must be a sign...our cat did the exact same thing to me when I first held her, and she's turned out to be a great pet for us. So, I'm praying that she will continue to be very easy-going and sweet. And, best of all, she will remain small - only 8 pounds or so when fully grown, possibly smaller, which I'm hoping for.

Anyone wanna help name her?

Better Late then Never!

We finally had Ian's 3rd birthday party yesterday, and, judging by these pictures, I think he had a good time :) His real birthday occurred while I was away at the MOPS Convention in Florida - yes I was away during my youngest son's birthday, having a blast without him - so we decided to hold a small party for him here at home a week later. Thank God for trampolines and friends with 'jumpy thingies' !!! And, a special thanks to God for a beautiful sunny day :)

In case you can't tell, the theme that Ian chose was dinosaurs...his new favorite!
The day before the party, and a last-minute afterthought on my part, I remembered that I hadn't yet ordered a cake or cupcakes - can you tell he's the 3rd kiddo? Thankfully the grocery store was able to accommodate a request for 18 cupcakes in dark colors. We purchased a small bag of miniature dinosaurs and completed the decor ourselves :)

Happy 3rd Birthday Baby Boy!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Segulja Look-Alike Meter







These were tons of fun to do, and the results are really surprising to me! Anyone that knows our family would say that Alex looks more like his daddy and Morgann is the spitting image of me and both of my sisters! Ian has always been a toss-up, but in recents months has started to look more like his daddy, so the last one wasn't as big of a surprise.

So, if you have nothing better to do with your time, and have some fun pictures to look through, click on the link above and try it out. You might find yourself shocked, just like me :)

*Addendum: I tried this again with 3 different pictures and the results were different - Alex & Ian looked more like daddy, while Morgann looked more like me. So, if you want to skew the results one way or another, try different pictures :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

To MOPS and back!

Hi All!

Just letting you know that I'm still alive and well, just a bit tired. I returned yesterday from a 4 day trip to the MOPS Convention in Orlando, where I managed to sneak in a few hours of sleep here & there :) I think we spent more time having fun, though, which was sort of the point, I guess. As a group, the MOPS Convention offers a great time for steering teams to bond and get to know one another, as well as allot of learning opportunities for everyone in attendance.

This year, participants were offered 3 separate workshop opportunities, so here is a brief synopsis of those that I chose to attend:

1) Fun & Exciting Family Time, with Kirk Weaver. This workshop offered some great ideas, meant to bring families together. One of the biggest points that really stuck out to me was the statement that "spiritual training was never meant to be provided by only the church, but that it should start within the home". This is something that I know very well, and I was surprised by the fact that it stood out me like it did, but the reality of my life is this...my kiddos don't get enough of me & Michael. They get some of us, but not all of us! Teaching our children spiritual values should begin when they are very young, not when they are older and it's too late to train them. One example he gave to us was this: Give your 3 or 4 year old child a magazine (he suggested something like "People") and ask them to pick out 3 or 4 examples of 'modest' clothing, then 3 or 4 examples of 'immodest' clothing. Once they complete that task, then discuss their choices with them. He said that by discussing modesty to them at this age, the discussion about purity will be a natural step as they get older, then abstinence, etc. He said that waiting until the teen years to begin discussions of modesty will only become a tug-of-war and a battle-of-wills that no one will win. Good points!!! Check out their website at www.famtime.com.

2) Creating an Intimate Marriage, with Dr. Jim Burns: Really, I don't have allot to say about this one because the title speaks for itself, but I did manage to walk away with some good points from this workshop that had little to do with intimacy, and more to do with marriage and husbands :) First, he gave 3 really good points that I thought I should share: (1) Have a non-negotiable date night, even if it includes the kiddos! It doesn't have to cost money to be a date night, so child-care isn't always required. (2) Only be out of the house, away from the family, 3 nights a week - less is better! Don't let life, careers, commitments, etc., take you away from home. (3) Give your spouse VETO power. Let them say NO to something that you want to do and respect their decision. But, that VETO can should go both ways, so th
at you can say NO as well. He also spoke about the "Pain of Discipline" versus the "Pain of Regret". This, in a nutshell, means that you can either suffer through the good decisions that aren't always easy, or make the easy choices now and suffer through the consequences later. Pretty simple! He will have several books available soon that discussed these things in more detail, so visit his website at www.homeword.com.

3) Creating a Great Dad-Great Mom Partnership, with Dr. Robert Hamrin & Dr. Jack Elwood: Wow is about all I can say about this one. These 2 men have a ministry to dads and offer "Great Dad" workshops. Our MOPS group is going to see about setting one up for the men in our lives this year!!! I cannot imagine that any man in attendance wouldn't walk away with something positive. I took lots of notes on this one, but the biggest section is titled "The 3 Know NO's": (1) No comp
laining, (2) No Comparison, and (3) No Criticizing. Such good, basic principles, and so hard to follow. I know what I'll be working on...

So, there you have it. My MOPS Convention workshops in a nutshell. I cannot even begin to describe the blessing that MOPS has been to my life! The blessings just roll-over into my family, my marriage, and my friendships - which is the point! The women that God has placed in my life, at this moment in my life, are all heaven-sent and I love each & every one of them very much. Getting to go to convention with them? Well, that's just bonus!!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Teaching & Learning

Ever wonder how exactly one might teach a 2 year old patience? Yeah, me to!

I've discovered that trying to teach Ian the words "Wait" or "Just a minute" is about as easy as bathing a cat. He just doesn't get it, and doesn't seem interested in getting it. He's relentless when it comes to repeating himself - one cannot say the same thing over & over again quite enough, apparently.

And, it seems that he's doing a bang-up job of teaching his brother & sister this same technique. I always figured that the older kids would teach the younger kids both good & bad habits, hoping against hope that the good would out-weigh the bad. But, it seems that while the younger kiddos seem to be oblivious to the good habits that he/she might learn from the older kiddos, the older kiddos have discovered that if you say something enough, and drive your mommy & daddy bonkers, you will either get what you want, or get punished. Most of the time, it's punished, but every now and then I find myself yelling "OK" just to get them to zip-it! Maybe not the best parenting move, but I like to tell myself that I could always do worse. Gotta pick your battles right?

And, you would think that the punishments would be enough to prevent them from repeating themselves, but not our kids! Nope, they have short-term memories and seem to completely forget that their constant badgering does nothing to help their cause. But, you have to give them credit...they are definitely persistent...and they get that particular characteristic from both mommy & daddy.

Isn't persistence a virtue?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Being Negligent!

I've been a really bad blogger this past month, haven't I? My life feels as if it's completely out of my control and in the hands of another person who joys in seeing me run from here to there and back again!!! I thought that once school started, life would slow down just a bit, but it seems that I was sadly mistaken. This past week found me running even more than the previous week, which meant that I managed to neglect my blog again. Here are a few 'Back to School' pics that Michael managed to snap as we shuffled the kids out the door this last week. Hooray - school is back in session :)

This is Alex on his first day of 2nd grade. His smile looks sort of weird and...well, gummy! I'm starting to wonder if his top front teeth are ever going to grow in??? I cannot believe my baby is a 2nd grader!!!

This is silly-girl Morgann on her first day of school. This was almost the only picture we got of her smiling. The rest of her pics are very pouty, as she found herself left behind while her best friends, Kate & Emma boarded the bus for Kindergarten. Her birthday falls in December, which means she is only in Pre-K this year, much to her dismay. But, at least we got 1 smiley picture. Her current infatuation is braids, thus the double-pigtail-braid look. Too bad I never learned to French braid - Cori :)

And finally, this is Ian getting ready to leave for his first day of preschool. He will be attending 2 days a week with Morgann, which means I have 2 blessed days all to myself! He did really well on the first day at drop-off. The 2nd day he cried for more than an hour. Talk about feeling a little guilty. He is my 'cautious, don't make changes to my routine & schedule' kid, but I keep telling myself, "This too will pass!" Hopefully I'm right, or this is going to be a long, hard school year for him.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Gearing Up for Another Year!

School starts on Monday and we've been busily getting ready - getting back to earlier bed times, getting up early, and buying new backpacks & lunch boxes. You know, the general 'Back to School' hub-bub that has basically overtaken the nation for the last few weeks - we've been right in the middle of it. And, once the kids go back to school, my life will get back to some semblance of normalcy and I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis.

The agenda for today - do my best to get some of my work done this morning, finish up a few MOPS agenda items, then spend the rest of the day in the pool - after all, it's the last day of summer!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Stuck in a Storm

Well, as promised, I'm here with a tale to tell!

As I mentioned before, we left Houston for South Padre Island a week ago last Thursday (that would be the 26th), departing home around 10AM and arriving in SPI at 6:30PM! It was a long drive, but actually passed fairly quickly thanks in large-part to fact that we had never made the drive before so the very 'nothing-ness' of terrain was new to see. Of course I can't go without mentioning that we also had portable DVD players on board to occupy the masses :) With a quick stop in Corpus Christi for lunch about half-way through, the kids did extremely well and, I'm thankful to report, gave me nothing to blog about.

Then Friday rolled around. On our first day there, we (and I do mean all of us, kid's included!) slept in until after 9:30AM, so we lost a good portion of our morning just trying to get breakfast and dressed for the beach (you have no idea how long it takes to sunscreen 3 wriggling children - unless you have them!). Anyway, after much ado, we managed to get down to the beach with the help of my dad and our mini van. Though the beach was less than a block across the street from where were staying, our apparent lack of decision making meant that it required our taking the van down there to carry all of the stuff we felt we needed. We took 3 bags of beach toys, a beach umbrella, 3 beach chairs, a large bag full of "stuff", towels for 6, 2 or 3 boogie boards, a cooler full of food, drinks & ice, and probably other paraphernalia that I've forgotten about. Anyway, after unloading, dad said that he would just park the van on the side of the road so that we could load it up to get everything back home. Then he left.

So, there we are at the beach, playing and having a wonderful time when we suddenly begin to feel sprinkles. They were very sporadic, but an alarm started to sound in my head. After a few minutes, the sprinkles started to come closer & closer together and before long, we found ourselves huddled under the beach umbrella hoping that it would just 'pass'. No such luck! The sprinkles became a light shower, and the light shower became a full-blown rain. About that time, my sister & I decided it was time to load up and head home! Of course, getting Michael's attention to relay that information wasn't quite as simple, as he was out in the surf riding the waves and having a good old time, oblivious to the fact that it was raining. Well, actually I think he knew it was raining, but just didn't care.

My problem was that by the time I had decided to load up, it wasn't just raining, it was pouring! Buckets & buckets of water, I swear!!! Michael was angrily heading back to shore by this point and my sister & I were busily grabbing shovels, buckets, towels, bathing suit cover-ups, and whatever else we could grab. The kids were just standing there crying - not because it was raining and we had to leave the beach after a short 45 minutes, but because they were getting wet!!! Quite the sight, I am sure, if anyone had been looking, but everyone else was doing the same thing we were.

Anyway, once my arms were filled with the first load of gear, I dug out my keys from the "stuff" bag and headed to the van. Since I was a muddy, soggy mess by the time I got there, I decided that moving the van closer to the beach entrance might be a smart move. So I jumped in, started it up, and hit the gas - my car rolled exactly 2 or 3 inches, then sunk! Apparently the solid, well-packed sand my dad had parked the van on wasn't quite as solid when it got wet! I immediately put the gears into reverse and hit the gas again, sinking the tire even deeper into the mud. Nice huh?!? I sat there for a second pondering my next move and decided that I should just run back down to the beach for another load, and maybe a kid or 2. About half-way there, I met my sister who had 1 crying child in each arm - so I grabbed one and headed back to the van to drop them off. Of course, having children in the running van meant that I couldn't run off again, so there I stood, looking like a homeless person in the rain, waiting for Michael & Melody to return with more stuff.

Around that same moment, a nice family of non-American origin walked past me so I decided to see if anyone spoke English. Thankfully 2 of them did, so I asked if the 3 large, strong men in the group wouldn't mind giving me a quick push to see if we could get the van out of the mud. Thankfully they agreed, so I jumped back into the van while they pushed from behind; the van moved forward onto solid ground without much fuss :) I was so thankful that it didn't take much work, and told them over & over again how much I appreciated their help, even though I don't think they could understand me.

By this point, we were in full hurricane-type rain! In case you're not familiar, it rains so hard that you can hardly see your hand in front of your face, and the wind blows it in every direction making it even harder to see. It's the kind of rain that you don't want to drive in, and if you are driving when it hits, you contemplate pulling to the side of the road until it lets up a bit. And, here we were, running around in it!!!

Anway, the van was loaded up with muddy, wet kids, toys & towels, and Michael had the umbrella in hand, so while he walked back to the condo, I drove the rest of us home. My sister, who had run back earlier to get help from my dad when the van got stuck, met us at the door with clean, dry towels. While she stripped each child and threw them into the tub to warm up and rinse off, Michael & I made a few trips up and down the 3 flights of stairs to get what we could out of the van (like our lunch!). By this point he was fuming mad and mumbling to himself while I was laughing hysterically. I couldn't help myself. I figured there was no reason for the both of us to be upset that our first day at the beach was rained-out, so I decided to try to make the best of it. I was also hoping that if it was going to rain, that it would all happen on that day and not stretch out over the course of our vacation!

My next task was to figure out what we could do, indoors all day, in order to occupy the troops while it rained almost continuously. Answer? We ate our picnic lunch indoors and played Wii Sports. Hey, at least we got some exercise, and thank God we brought the video games! :)

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On Vacation

I forgot to post that we were leaving Houston for a 5 day vacation to South Padre Island! We're here now and while I have a little bit of time, I thought I would post the working titles of a few of my upcoming posts:

Stuck in a Storm and I'm Going to Die!

These should keep you guessing for a few days while we hope to enjoy a few more days of sun & surf here on the coast. Suffice it to say we've had loads of fun and my camera is getting a great work out while we build some fun family memories :)

I'll be back in a few days!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Angels are Singing!!!

Notice the profile picture? It only took me what, a week, to get it to upload?!? Good grief!!! And, for anyone that cares, it's not the pic that I had intended to upload, but it works for now :) It's my own little Ziggy. The original picture looked a little distorted and my second choice didn't work very well for several reasons, so until I can get a more recent family picture, this will have to do - my little Ian being super-shy. Again, not that you care, but I'm just so darned excited that I was finally able to upload a new photo!!!

*walking away from the computer at 11:45PM, heading to bed while patting myself on the back*

Monday, July 16, 2007

Help

Can someone remind me how to go about changing the picture on my profile? For the life of me, I cannot remember how to do it, and everything I've tried has not worked....HELP!!!


P.S. To Amy - It's still not working! That's what I've been doing, but the problem is that when I paste the new URL into the field, then click on save, it just reverts back to the old URL and picture - it won't actually change to the new URL and save it! This is super frustrating because I all I want to do is to post a newer pic of the family....I think I'm going to have to contact Blogger's Help :( This should be fun!

My Ballerina Girl


These were taken last Thursday, right before Morgann's very first ballet class. She was sooooo excited, she could hardly stand still enough for me to get these pictures!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Up to my eyeballs in MOPS!

I'm still underneath about a foot of MOPS paperwork, preparing for our upcoming summer retreat. It is at this retreat that we will plan an entire year in just 1 1/2 short days (Friday night through Sunday at noon). It's a busy, semi-stressful retreat, rather than being the typical fun-get-away retreat that most of you might be more familiar with. But, by the time we say our goodbyes to each other that Sunday afternoon, the year is planned.

But my work will just be getting underway at that point. I am the Finance/Membership coordinator, so it is my job to keep our budget updated (something that will go under a full over-haul during the weekend), and our membership database as current as it can be. Our first meeting in August or September will find me sitting at a table all by myself, making sure that every smiling face that enters our doors receives the Member Handbook, a packet of forms that they need to fill out and return to me, and a bank bag full of dues payments. As you can imagine, I will be really busy for a few weeks getting membership info updated or added into our database, but once that is completed, I'm hoping that my life will slow down for a while - well, until January rolls around and we have new members join us, existing members leave us, and everyone has to pay their Spring dues.

So, it is until the time that I find myself well into our MOPS year, that my blogging will be rather sporadic. I will not completely disappear and will definitely make a point of reading my favorite blogs as often as I can find the time. But, unless something that is really blog-worthy happens in my house, I will probably only post every so often. Please promise me that you will not stop checking back often, as I love to get the occasional comment from my friends :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ian's Disappearing Act

As I go about preparing my notes and such for our upcoming MOPS summer retreat, I find myself a little tight for time. So, the first thing to go is my blog, unfortunately. I hope to return a little later on with funny stories, but for now, you're going to have to make due with my latest horror story:

Today, amidst the joy of running errands with all 3 kiddos this morning, I decided to take them all to the mall for lunch and play time on the indoor playground. When we arrived, Morgann started to complain about not feeling well. I chalked it up to her blood-sugar being a bit low (cereal with marshmallows doesn't exactly fit the description of a healthy breakfast, but it worked into my busy morning schedule beautifully!), and insisted that she eat at least a few bites of her Taco Hell taco. Once we finished up our meal, and Morgann took the bare minimum of 3 bites, we cleaned up our table and headed down to the playground area. I had intended to stop into a shoe store to see about getting Morgann some new tennies, but she said that she preferred to just go play.

When we arrived, the boys stripped their feet of shoes and socks and headed off into playground heaven. Meanwhile, my sweet little girl decided to curl up onto the bench, lay her head in my lap, and quickly pass out. She took a good 30 minute nap while the boys played and we waited for daddy to show up. It was only when he arrived that Morgann woke up; but she proceeded to lay her head on Michael's shoulder while we walked back to the food court. It was when I asked Morgann, my little sugar fiend, if she wanted a cookie, and she said NO, that I knew something was definitely wrong.

After the boys finished their cookies and Michael completed his meal, I decided to stop by one of the hamburger places to get a re-fill on my drink. I stood at one end of the counter while Michael stood with the kiddos at the other, waiting for me. After about 2-3 minutes of standing there, I finally got my refill and went back to where Michael and the kids were supposed to be. It only took a second to realize that we were 1 kiddo short - Michael & I just looked at each and in harmony said, "Where is Ian. I thought he was with you!".

And we were off - in different directions - searching under tables, the nearby ride-station (filled with coin operated toys that the kids love to climb on), every corner and cranny we could find - but with no luck. Ian wasn't anywhere to be found! About the time my heart climbed into my throat, Michael got my attention and said that he just heard an older man talking with a security guard about finding a little boy...standing alone in the parking lot. At about that same moment, I saw Ian sitting in someone else's arms, sucking his fingers looking not even a bit concerned that a stranger had him, and not his mommy or daddy!

I immediately ran over to the man and grabbed my son, thankful that someone had found him and brought him back into the mall. The guy looks at me and says, "I swear to God, he was just standing out there in the middle of the parking lot, looking around". I felt like the worst mommy in the world, but was so grateful that an honest man had found my child!

Really, I could have kissed him at that exact moment, I was so thankful.

As we all walked back out to the van, I looked and Michael and informed him that I would be purchasing one of those leash/harness things for Ian tonight. Yes, I'm going to put a leash on my child....for his safety and my sanity. Don't judge...I now understand what would possess a parent to harness their child...shear terror!!!

Thank God Ian's angels were working overtime today :)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Well, the title says it all! Yes, it is in fact raining here again today - or it did for most of the day. Thankfully, at 10:18PM, the raining has stopped. But, the forecast for tomorrow? Isolated Thunderstorms. The forecast for Wednesday? Scattered Thunderstorms. Thursday? Isolated/Scattered Thunderstorms. And so it goes for the entire 10-day forecast.

My first question is this: Can someone please explain the difference between 'scattered' and 'isolated'? A thunderstorm is a thunderstorm as far as I'm concerned. And it definitely concerns me when it's thunderstorming on my house each & every day! For the last 3 months it's been nothing but rain -sometimes only a drizzle, sometimes it's coming down by buckets. But, it literally precipitates every day. Can I tell you how sick I am of rain???? Can you tell???? Do I have a bad attitude???? Can I tell you that I'm really worried about whether or not we will ever see the sun again????

And, here I was thinking that I had planned the perfect summer-fun this year! Right in our own backyard, a trampoline and a pool! How much more fun could it get? What reason could we possibly have to stay inside of the house when so much outdoor fun awaits? Oh wait! I forgot...it's raining...again!!!!

And, just to prove that I am indeed doing my best to find the positive, at least the electric bill won't get up to $675 again this year! With all of the rain, it's keeping things cool, if not a bit soggy, so the A/C isn't running constantly like it did this time last year. So far, we're still in the high $200's so I'm trying to be thankful for the savings.

That's about all of the positive I can muster for now.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saddle up your Horses!

This week is VBS at our church. Last year I volunteered and enjoyed every minute of it. But this year, I decided to give someone else the opportunity to fill that need. I've become one of the "drop-and-run" parents and I'm loving it :) This year's theme is "Avalanche Ranch, where kids take a wild ride through God's word!"

So, while Alex & Morgann go to Avalanche Ranch every day from 9-noon, Ian and I are enjoying our quiet time together. Right now, he's quiet...and I'm really
enjoying it :)

Now, if the rain will just NOT come today, maybe we'll be able to enjoy our backyard oasis of fun! Granted, enjoying it means sloshing across a muddy backyard where the grass is too tall, fighting the mosquitoes that are at epidemic levels this year, and freezing our tooshies off should we dare to enter the pool - rain water makes it very cold! - but, hey, at least it won't be raining.... So, here's to hoping for a dry, rain-less day :)

Update: 11:20AM - It's raining - hard! Darn it....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Good Day

Yesterday was a busy, busy day for us! We started by leaving the house by 8:40AM, heading off to the grocery store. But, this wasn't just a quick trip; it was a full-blown, full-cart, serious grocery shopping event. And, with summer in full-swing, I had absolutely no choice but to load up all 3 monkies for the adventure. Generally I choose not to take them with me, but we were desperate - out of literally everything - bread, lunch meat, fruit, juice, etc. We had nothing to eat for lunch, unless we wanted to suck peanut butter off of a spoon, but since Alex hates peanut butter, and I prefer mine with bread, I figured I would just have to suck-it-up and go. So, we did :)

After more than an hour, and a few extra sugary-sweet treats that I hadn't planned on, we were heading home to unload. The kids did remarkably well, and we even received a few words of praise from the store employees on how well they behaved! I was still a bit frazzled from trying to keep their squeels and laughter to a quiet roar, but I felt proud that my kiddos made it through the store without so much as a sniffle or whine! Granted, I'm not going to bank on everything always being that easy, but at least it was a good start to the day :)

Once we got the car unloaded (which turned into a 3-ring circus since all 3 kids wanted to help carry the bags into the house) I quickly separated the pantry items from the fridge & freezer items, put all of the cold items away, then loaded up the kids for yet another trip to the store. This time it was our local Target. It was here that Ian had a small melt-down, including a few high-pitched screams, but once I settled him down we made it through with almost no additional hoopla! By this point, my confidence was building.

Once home again, we happily (and quickly) ate our lunches, then headed out the door for a 3rd time. This time to play :) We made our way to my friend D's house where we loaded she & her son, then off we went to the bowling ally. Last week, while at the bowling ally with her son S, she had managed to secure a couple of free bowling passes (valid daily through the entire summer) for both Morgann & Alex. So we decided that an indoor game of bowling sounded like a splendid idea - and apparently the entire city of Tomball did the same! I don't think I've ever seen so many kiddos in one bowling ally in all of my life!!! They were everywhere, and, unfortunately for us, hogging all of the lighter kid-sized balls! So, it was up to me to help both Morgann & Ian when their turns came around. We made it through the 8th frame (with only one incident of the ball getting stuck on the lane because it just wasn't rolling fast enough), then decided to throw in the towel.

Our next stop, for the first time in almost 2 years, was the library! And, before you scold me for not taking the kids there more often, you have to remember that I have a very loud, hard-to-handle 2 1/2 year old little boy. I very rarely venture into a store with him, much less to a library where the #1 rule is to be quiet!!! But D had told me about a Science class they were doing with Bubbles, so we figured that it would be loads of fun for all ages. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we not only found out that the class she was told would be outdoors was being held indoors, it was limited to 50 children who's parents had made reservations. As you can imagine, we were all very disappointed. But, the librarian gave us a little sliver of hope by suggesting we stick around to see if maybe there would be a few spots left-open by 'no-shows'.

So we sat...for 30 minutes...hoping for at least 2 openings. While we sat, all of the kids found a few books to read, look at or discuss. Everyone of my kiddos was being extremely well-behaved, and my confidence was growing by the minute. When we hit that 30 minute mark, a well dressed, soft spoken woman came into the children's section and announced that they indeed had 5 spaces available for children aged 5-12, so off Alex & S ran, big smiles across their faces. But as you can well imagine, we also had a few tears from poor Morgann, who hasn't quite reached 5. She was completely heartbroken that she couldn't see the bubbles, and my heart hurt for her. It's no fun being too young. Thankfully, we were in a library full of books for her to look at, and D & I took turns reading to her, so her mind was quickly focused on other things, with thoughts of the bubbles all but vanished.

And so we sat, reading books to the remaining 2 kiddos for more than an hour! And, can you believe that little Ian had only 1 minor melt-down? I had to scoop him up and run him out the door into the hallway, then explain that if he didn't stop his tantrum, the library 'people' would make him go outside, by himself, without his mommy. His eyes got sort of big at that thought and he quickly quieted down, lifted his arms to me and said, "hode me". Of course, I couldn't say no to that, but my little false-hood worked - we had absolutely zero tantrums for the remaining afternoon.

By the time we finally made it back home, it was well after 5PM and all of us were completely worn out. Ian took a brief nap in the car between the library, D's house and home, but even he was still exhausted. What started out as a crazy, scary day, turned into a wonderful day for all of us :)

And, if you can believe this, I'm planning another library trip next Wednesday....someone talk some sense into me, will ya?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Jumpin' Good Time

Daddy making the kiddos 'jump higher'!

Daddy making the kiddos 'fly' while Ian crawls to safety!

Mama Chris (Michael's mom) getting in on the act, and having to take a breather!

Ian catching air :)

Hope all of the daddy's out there had a great time making fun memories with their kiddos, and a wonderful Father's Day!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Just another rainy Saturday...

It's raining, again, and here we are, trying to set-up more playground equipment in the backyard! What's with the rain? Why can't it rain during the week when Michael is at work? Why is it that the heavens choose to empty on Saturday when Michael is home and we are attempting to work in the yard?

The rain has been off & on all day, so we've been in & out trying to setup our new trampoline - the one bought by the grandparents on the same Memorial Day that the first pool was purchased! It's been sitting in boxes in our garage, precariously laying on the ground between the 2 cars for several weeks now. Getting in & out of the garage without running over them has been stressful; avoiding them and not hitting the side mirrors on the brick walls while backing out or driving in has been even tougher, though I'm happy to report I've managed to successfully maneuver my van with no accidental dents or damage!

I'm also wondering about the death-wish Michael & I seem to have? I'm sort of tired of all of this manual labor!!! Isn't there someone we can call that will come do all of this set-up for us? You know, like movers - you just call them, then sit and watch them pick-up and load or unload a house-full of furniture and boxes; you don't even have to break a sweat if you play your cards right! So anyway, I'm wondering why we haven't hired someone to come make our backyard f
un? But, no, we're doing it the hard way, one spring at a time. We started this morning and have gone back & forth between cloud-bursts all day - it's now 5:26PM. We're inside for about the 3rd time and still have lots of work to do. We managed to get the trampoline all set-up and in jumping order, but now we're working on the safety net.

Another beef I have...why is it that safety makes everything so much more difficult? Michael says that safety means 'no fun' and I'm beginning to agree with him. The trampoline was a piece of cake to set-up - the safety net that goes around it will take hours! So, while I sit here trying to dry out for the 3rd time today, I'm weighing the pros and cons of just letting the kids jump around without the net (for instance: PRO - the trampoline is finished and doesn't require anymore work; CON - ok, so maybe letting someone fall off the edge onto their head isn't the best choice a parent could make when considering the well-being of their children; at least the trampoline would be finished!)

Enjoy the pictures while I keep thinking...















P.S. No, it isn't even slightly chilly here! At the first sprinkle, Alex ran inside and grabbed his water-proof winter coat and gloves so that he would stay dry.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Everyone loves a Jumping Party...except Ian!

Today was our MOPS Leadership play date, a day set-aside for all of the new MOPS leaders for next year's group to get together, some of us actually meeting for the first time! Each year we set aside one morning to meet, visit and play, before diving into the planning phase for next year. As we did last year, we decided to go to a local inflatables party place. If you haven't ever experienced one of these places, you must find one - or open your own local franchise - because they are so much fun! Both kids and parents can jump, slide and climb to their heart's content. I always get such a workout when we go to this place, because my kiddos usually insist that I follow or lead them around the entire time we're there. We all get totally exhausted, but have a blast doing so, which makes my sore, achy muscles all worth it!

Today I happened to be lucky enough to (1) remember my camera for the first time in a very long time, and (2) catch an action shot of Alex & Morgann coming down one of the slides together. The other picture was taken of Ian, my less-than-enthusiastic non-jumper. For whatever reason, he opted to stick close to mommy today, as long as mommy wasn't on or inside of one of the 'cawy tings" (read scary things). He is usually right in the middle of the fun, but today, not so much! Oh well...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Me and the Boys

I spent the entire day with my 2 boys, and it was gloriously more pleasant that I would have dared to dream! With Michael out of town for the weekend, and Morgann off to the beach with my sister-in-law for the day, I had prepared myself for what I figured was sure to be a really tough, long day. But, thankfully I was very wrong in my assumptions.

The morning started out earlier that I had anticipated since the kiddos didn't get to bed until midnight - yes, you read that right! It's a long story, but I went out with some friends for a spur-of-the-moment girl's night out and it was wonderful! Anyway, since the kids didn't get to bed until midnight, I assumed that they would be sleeping in a bit later than 8AM. Sadly, I was wrong. So, the day started a little earlier that I had hoped it would, but that didn't turn out to be a bad thing. We ran all day!!!

As I mentioned, my sister-in-law took Morgann to Galveston for a girly day of fun, leaving me with Alex & Ian. My original plans were to load the boys up and to head to a friend's house for a day of swimming and rough-housing as only boys can do, but when I made a slight modification to those plans, it ended up completely changing the course of the day for us.

We started by heading to a not-so-close mall to drop off Michael's iMac for repair at the Apple Store. Once I arrived, I had to sign in, then wait for someone from their Genius Bar to help me out. Thankfully it was slow today, so the boys had computers to play games on while I sat for only 20 minutes or so. I left the store Mac-less (it's being repaired under warranty - Hallelujah!) and took the boys to the food court for lunch. Of course, everyone wanted something different so simply ordering and gathering our food and drinks took a good 20-30 minutes! Once seated, we had a surprisingly enjoyable, and thankfully, un-eventful meal, followed by a quick ride on the carousel - Ian & I stood by and watched Alex. Once the ride was over, we made a bee-line to the inside play ground for a quick 20 minute play time. Within that 20 minutes, the boys were able run off enough steam that once back in the car, Ian passed out while Alex sat quietly writing his "I miss you daddy" letter in the backseat.

From the mall, we headed back to our side of town for a 3PM appointment at the kid's hair salon. After the boys were appropriately shaved and glued (hair glue, that is), we ran home to quickly empty out the car of all of the toy cars, kid's meal toys, papers, books, Legos and other miscellaneous items that seem to find their way to the van over the course of a few weeks. My next stop was the oil & lube shop that gives you a free car wash (and vacuum) with purchase - thus the reason for the quick clean-out of the van. While at the oil change place, the kids started to complain that they were hungry and came to a consensus that they wanted pizza. The first place that came to mind was the little pizza joint up the street that had just opened - it's run by a giant mouse by the name of Chuck, and has a ton of games and rides that are sure to tire-out even the most awake of kiddos within only a few hours. So, I promised the boys that if they would continue their 'good' streak of behavior, we'd head that direction just as soon as the car wash was complete.

Next stop? The pizza joint. We ordered and ate, then played for another hour & a half - it's truly amazing how long 25 tokens can last 2 boys! By the time we left, I was ready for bed!!! But were the boys? Of course not! They both started begging for a movie night. Ian was really pushing for Feck (Shrek) while Alex wanted Flushed Away. I pulled rank; we watched the Apple Dumpling Gang since we hadn't seen that one in a while.

I'm happy to report that 10:30PM, both boys were put to bed with almost no fussing. I'm hoping that I won't be too far behind them because I'm completely exhausted. Currently, I'm waiting on my sister-in-law to get here with poor Morgann who is, apparently, in desperate need of a bath. I'm thinking that she'll sleep dirty tonight, and will get a bath in the morning (as will her bed sheets). Somehow, bathing her at 11PM doesn't appeal to me right now; and, as Michael always tells me, a little sand never hurt anyone! Let's hope he's right.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Born to be weird!

This is what Alex exclaimed as he rounded the corner wearing this:


He had just departed the shower, which would explain the soaking wet hair, but the choice of bedtime attire made me laugh. I couldn't help myself. I mean, look at him! I guess maybe he was making an attempt at creating a new super-hero?

You can't really tell what he has on, so let me describe his choice of wardrobe for you:
Black winter gloves covered by shin guards - on his lower arms
A hand-made Indian vest thingy he made in 3 year old preschool
His white Tae Kwon Do belt
Soccer socks
Pirates of the Carribean boxers

And let me reiterate that it was he who announced "Born to be weird" and not me :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Throwing Caution to the Wind...

...my youngest son, Ian, now 2 1/2 has apparently found his bravery bone. The child that wouldn't touch the pool water with his big toe unless mommy or daddy were there to cling to on Sunday afternoon, has now taken to leaping off the 2nd step of the pool ladder without giving it another thought. Thank God I had already put his floaties on him because I was totally unprepared for his sudden leap of faith. Head plunging under the water, he came up with a shocked look on his face, then proceeded to talk himself through returning to the step (using his best high-pitched mommy voice, "kick, kick, kick, kick,....) then jumping off again...and again, and again, and again.

Gonna have to be sure he's never outside without me now, darn it - sometimes fear is a good thing, you know?

Oh well! Wish I'd had my camera because his smile was absolutely priceless :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Gonna have to buy it!


Have you seen this book? Have you heard anything about it? Why is it that we've had to resort to writing books about this sort of thing? What happened to the things we used to innately do when we were kids - bike riding all over the neighborhood until it was too dark to see; playing hide & go seek in the backyards of everyone on the block with about 15 other kids; playing kickball or softball in the cul-de-sac; going door to door selling anything & everything you could think of to make 50 cents for ice cream from the ice cream truck; building a fort out of your mom's old sheets and tree branches? When did it all come to an end and suddenly change?

I am so going to get this book for my son & husband! Talk about male bonding time...