Friday, January 30, 2009

J's 6th Birthday

Today my sweet girl turned 6. Where has the time gone? She had her first "friend party" this year, as her anti-social nature has made her disinterested in such a proposition in previous years.
As I mentioned she wanted to go the Star Wars Clone Wars direction for a theme. This was a bit puzzling to some of the little girls, but they survived. We walked home from school together. Then, we did a Yoda inspired treasure hunt which ended with the discovery of a gold box full of light sabers. We had pizza, Yoda soda (lime sherbert and Sprite) cake, and ice cream. We broke open the death star pinata. I should have taken a picture of it before the laser beam flew off of the eye thingy. And, we opened presents and played outside. It was pretty low key and fun. I know J enjoyed it, and that is the important thing.Blowing out candles.
I love this picture of Jedi L, it is one of those pictures that perfectly captures her personality.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yes, this is my last hair related post...(for now)

Excuse the kid related bathroom mess behind my head. Here is my new haircut. New is a stretch since it looks awfully similar to the last time I had it chopped off. I agree with the opinions that preferred the picture on the left, but considering the damage/lack of hair on the front of my head right now...this was the best she could do. It's sort of in between the 2 example pictures (which I did show her). As the hair continues to grow back in at the front, I'll try to get it slowly transitioned more like the photo that was on the left. It's an ongoing process. She did a really cool thing with hand streaking in some temporary color to blend the dyed portion, with the roots (I had not colored it in about 3 months, so I had major roots. I wanted to switch to professionally applied color streaks for dimension on top of my natural color, so she is having me do this for about 6 more months until my natural color finished growing almost all the way out. So, there you have it. Not great, but anything is an improvement at this point, and it feels so great to get that nasty old hair off my head.

Continuing Live Coverage of My Hair Problems


What?! There are bigger problems in the world to be blogging about than my lifelong battle with bad hair?! Let's pretend there are not better reasons to be freaking out. I have to make a decision now, and I'm leaning between these two possible inspiration cuts. Give a shout out if you happen to be online in the next 30 minutes!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Peeping X

This guy can not keep himself away from the bathtub when his sisters are in it. He plasters himself to the side like a barnacle and squeals as if he is participating in the fun. It does not matter one bit that he just got out of the tub. He's ready to get back in.

Pop Beads

My parents got L this super cute set of pop beads that she and I like to play with during X's naptime. There are tons of them. They are a major choking hazard, but super cute and fun.

Haircut Help!

I'm getting a major haircut tomorrow and have no idea what I'm going to ask her to do with it. This I do know, it is looking like a mullet right now due to postpartum hair loss around the front sides mainly...and anything will be an improvement. If you happen to be reading this and have a totally inspired suggestion for a hairstyle for a wide face (sort of halfway between round and oval) and thin limp hair, by all means give a SHOUT! Here's a reminder of what my face looks like...

Exhibit 1: Handsome husband, beautiful children, & me...fat face, bad hair (camera adding 10 pounds directly to my FACE). Mark my words I will not send out another Christmas card wherein I look this bad. This will be the year I start stripping away the unpleasant things that having 4 children has done to my appearance. I can't fix everything, but there is room for significant non surgical improvement...I'm sure of that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Song For Today

I'm playing with kids, cleaning, and working today. It's not providing any good blog material. Here is a song that I've recently fallen in love with for your listening pleasure. It was playing during the credits of a documentary I watched a few weeks ago. Patty Griffin - Heavenly Day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Unbloggy

Excuse my unblogginess. Things are crazy around here. Little people are very sick. I've got a birthday party on deck for Friday afternoon, and all the usual crazy. We're making a Death Star pinata tonight during family home evening for J's 6th birthday Star Wars (Clone Wars) party. Two birds, one stone. Yes, I know the Death Star isn't featured in the Clone Wars movie, but I've embraced a broader theme to make it easier. I'm just getting the games worked out today, pre-ordering pizzas, making final lists, etc. She was at the grocery store with Daniel and fortuitously decided to pick out a store cake this year (Yay! I don't have to make a pyramid cake for the 3rd year in a row!) More updates to come later.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Picture (for my mom mainly)

Here is a poorly exposed photo of my slowly improving wall. The panels are temporarily covering the niches until the cabinets are built, the mantle/surround are coming along. I told my mom I would take a photo after I tried the temporary panel solution.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Narcissism

Confession: I have a habit of loading up my blog page and then staring at the picture of my kids in the header. I think they are so beautiful that I could stare at that picture all day. My heart hurts when I look at it because I just love them so much. I feel badly about this, like it is narcissistic to sit and stare repeatedly at a picture of my own children, but I can't seem to help it. Maybe I should change the header.

Channeling the Nester

I managed to channel the Nester's philosophy of "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" and "use what you have" today. Have I mentioned how much I love her blog? I'm sure I have. So anyway, My mantle is so close to being finished I can taste it. For 2 weeks the pieces have been waiting for Daniel to stain and hang them...it still hasn't happened. To say he's been busy at work is an understatement. The side niches in my family room are still full of electronics and junk and I don't suspect they will have completed cabinetry in them anytime in the immediate future. Projects take forever around here. So, I finally got 2 cheap $2 tension rods and borrowed 2 of my window panels (I erred on the side of more panels than I needed when I bought them) to cover the niches until they are finished. It worked out great. Imperfect, but a great improvement, and when he wants to work on the cabinets, he can just pop the tension rod right out...easy peasy. Now, if Daniel will just stain and hang those darn mantle pieces...I'll be thrilled! I don't know why he is staining them, I know they are going to need to be painted out white to avoid looking too "country-ish" in my words. But he is insisting on staining first, then evaluating whether they should be painted. He tries my patience. I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reigning in my plans

I am so glad that I didn't rush to have my floors done when I got that contract to work for the giant corporation that shall remain nameless on the blog. They recently did some layoffs, and some of the contract workers holding this same temporary contract have been laid off with no notice or reason. I never did get my confirmed "start date". Maybe eventually it will show up and surprise me. Under the current circumstances, I'm not holding my breath. As long as Daniel keeps his job, I'll be happy...even though his big company suspended all raises and numerous other things this year. My part time work is not at all necessary to pay our bills, and I am so thankful for that right now. Yay for exercising self restraint...I must be growing up. I guess there are some advantages to getting old.

If you needed more evidence

that I am crazy...here is a picture of my friend Kim and I this morning. She suggested we go super early (I got there at 5:45am) this morning for the opening of our new neighborhood grocery store. We've been waiting a long time for a close grocery store. When I got to the deli for my Boar's Head lunch meat, they said that I was the first customer they had served...ever. They were running around looking for the bags to put the lunch meat in, because no one had put them out yet. So, here I am...looking like a 90 year old drag queen at 5:45am outside the grocery store. It was fun. I'm glad Kim had the idea.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day

Happy Inauguration Day! This morning I was explaining to my girls what inauguration means, and that we would get a new President today. It turned out that B was under the impression that Barack Obama was already President, and had been since election day. It was an interesting conversation. I watched "grown up TV" during the day today for the first time in recent memory, and I enjoyed every second of it. I often find myself standing politically unsure, torn between the opinions of my family of origin, and my family by marriage and social peer group. I struggle to make sense of things and come to grips with my own conscience. I tend to just keep my mouth closed because trying to speak about politics with someone who holds very strong right wing or left wing opinions is like spitting into the wind, it never ends well. Today was not one of those days. I'm in a good mood, and admittedly shed a few tears. So to those who share my feelings today, Happy Inauguration Day!

And then there were 3

After a very long weekend without Daniel, the big girls went back to school today...just a few minutes ago in fact. We went to a park with some friends yesterday and had a picnic lunch. It was a fun way to break up the day. It did not...unfortunately... scrub my toilets for me. So, it looks like I better get off my rear end, take my stupid thyroid pill, and get busy. There is much to do. As I read this this morning, I am grateful and happy to be able to go scrub my toilets and chase babies all day. It's all in the perspective! Have a great day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Week That Doesn't End

This has been like the week that doesn't end. Daniel was at work endless hours last week. Then he had to go in on Saturday, and Sunday (before and after church). Now we are on to a new week, and he is headed back to work. The kids have had a 3 day weekend, and I've been going it alone. It stinks. I can't wait for his project to be finished...not that the comp time he ends up taking off will replace spending a 3 day weekend alone with 4 completely crazy children. They have been so unusually hyperactive lately, I need to reign them in. Hope your weekend was better than ours!

*We're just thankful that Daniel has a job, and I'm trying not to complain too much about how much he's been working recently.

Things we accomplished alone this weekend:
*Cut down 3 dormant plants in the backyard
*Weeded the garden and added a layer of new garden soil
*Planted peas, radishes, and lettuce
*Wrote and gave 2 talks (speeches at church) and a lesson
*Did some laundry, dishes, and kept 4 kids alive and entertained
*There is still one more day to go. Maybe we'll get some cleaning done amid the crazy today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Sorry Son...Part 2

If you know L, you know she doesn't take no for an answer. She decided to dress up her brother today, and she didn't care if he liked it or not. The funny thing is that she was wearing a dragon costume and put him in a princess skirt. I guess it's time to buy more boy costumes. I had to take a picture before freeing him...I'm sorry son.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm Sorry Son

While I was at the Gap the other night, I bought my son a pair of cute flannel pajamas. I bought them in the infant boys section. They were on clearance, so I grabbed them. I pulled the tags off and washed them, then put them on him yesterday. Notice anything amiss?Neither did I at first. Nor did the gap employee who put them in the boys section apparently. They are girls pajamas. The collar has a small ruffle and is rounded, and the sleeves are fluffed a little at the top (I can't think of the word for that). Also, the print appears to be red and white under florescent store lights, but in natural light, it is red and very pale pink. All of these years of having girls and I am now buying my only son girl's clothes. Sigh. It reminds me of this...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Time Chick-fil-a Tried To Kill Me

Yesterday was my Tuesday night out. I spend about as many of my "Tuesday Night Out's" staying home as I do actually going anywhere. It's my fault, I like being home. I try to force myself out alone once a week for my own good...lest I become a hermit. Can you even be a hermit when 5 other human beings need to be touching you 24 hours a day? Perhaps not. But I digress...I decided to go exchange a pair of Gap jeans that were too big (thanks to the expanding size system wherein even my 4 c-section battered abdomen is now too small for a size 2). I was blinded by the ever so helpful Gap manager and his clearly superior fashion sense into not realizing that I was buying the right size, but the wrong length. Along with the ever expanding sizing system, jeans are suddenly 6 inches too long on my legs. I held them up to my other "regular length gap jeans", which are already floor length and it is clear that regular length has recently taken a huge step up in inches. Honestly, how many people buying size 1 jeans have a 36 inch inseam or wear 6 inch heels on a daily basis? Idiots. So, I need to exchange them again.

I also needed to drop off a bunch of baby things at the Goodwill. We have a Goodwill "Select" store. It's like a nice version of a Goodwill...in theory. I haven't been in it, so I can't say. I was about to pull in to drop off my things when I noticed a few people loitering around outside (an oddity in our area of town). I decided to skip it, and let Daniel handle the drop off. If I'm being honest...and this is my blog...so I've never found a reason not to be...I really didn't want to part with those baby items, and the loiterers were probably not very menacing. It's confusing. I want them gone, to declutter, etc.. I don't need them anymore. Something about getting rid of bassinets, nursing pillows, and newborn things just makes me want to burst into tears though. I know that holding onto the stuff won't make the kids stay babies forever, but I'd like to try nonetheless. It's best to let Daniel handle it. He won't break into tears and need the Goodwill employees to pry his fingers loose from the bassinet.

I didn't have the energy to force myself to do anything else exciting, so I decided to get a Chick-fil-a milkshake and head home. If you haven't had a Chick-fil-a milkshake...you need to get one...that's all I have to say about that. So, the Chick-fil-a night staff must have some secret homicidal tendencies, because the girl who put the whipped cream and cherry on my shake was a lunatic. Chick-fil-a has these lovely little dome lids for the shakes. A logical person would fill the dome with whipped cream and then stop. That is what the dome is for...right? Apparently it is not obvious to everyone, because she not only filled the dome with whipped cream, she continued onward and upward. And upward, and upward and upward until there was a second free form dome of whip cream standing 3-4 inches above the plastic lid on my cup. On top of that she precariously dropped the maraschino cherry (which I hate, and I had no kids with me to fight over who gets my maraschino cherry). All of this would have been amusing if I wasn't in the drive thru...but I was. So, I tried to pull out of the parking lot without disturbing my giant mountain of whipped cream and sliding cherry. That wasn't working. So I tried to lick down the mountain of whipped cream to the level of the plastic dome, but I don't love whipped cream that much, so the endless mouthfulls of straight whipped cream was not that pleasant. All this was going on while I tried to merge into traffic. Then the cherry that I was trying to avoid fell into my mouth and tried to choke me (did I mention I hate cherries). It's a miracle I'm not a road pancake right now. People must have thought I was a drunk driver. If I see that Chick-fil-a employee again, I'm going to make a mental note of her name. She must really love whipped cream. She almost gave me a starring role in some off the wall driver's ed film like "Blood on the Highway", except in this version there would be as much whipped cream on the highway as any other substance.

Monday, January 12, 2009

If Only I Believed in Reincarnation

I've talked a lot about the frustration of trying to manage all of the cleaning and general maintenance work of this family. That is actually my number two frustration in life. It is also temporary. I know that someday, it will just be Daniel (if he's lucky, LOL) and myself to keep up after.

My number one frustration in life is permanent I'm afraid. It's been haunting me as long as I can remember...always I guess. I am interested in practically everything. I want to learn about more things and do more things than I could accomplish in 10 lifetimes. I hate the fact that it is impossible. I can't raise 4 kids, have a dozen different careers, and live a dozen different lifestyles. Life is short, there's no time. So, I'm always picking up new things, and having to let things I've already done go (like the semi-pro couponing...it was fun while it lasted, but time's ticking and there's more to do). So, I've been meaning to start posting occasionally about some of my somewhat unusual interests...unusual for a suburban soccer mom at least.

That was a long explanation to lead into an obsession I've had for the past 5 years or so...homesteading. I am mesmerized by people who practice homesteading, and have read more blogs, articles and message boards on the topic over the years than I can possibly justify...especially considering I don't expect that I would have any luck convincing my professional nerd to move to the middle of nowhere to homestead with me. I don't ever seem to get tired of reading about it though, and related subjects. Here are a few of my favorites in this genre...Down To Earth, Little Homestead in the City (not to miss!) videos from this family on youtube here, Homesteading Today. I could go on all day, but I'll limit myself to posting those three.

Does anyone else have any unusual interests? Wait, wait, don't tell me...I don't need anymore interests! Okay, I changed my mind...tell me...if you have any to share.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Snow Blast 2009

Here are the kids at our annual Snow Blast. The weather was about 75 degrees the day before Snow Blast, and abruptly plummeted overnight just in time to keep the snow frozen...and my whole body...I hate the cold.

J climbing the rock wall. She was eager to try it. B said she didn't want to try it, until she saw how eager her little sister was. Then she..."changed her mind".

X's first snow experience. It was more like a giant pile of snow cone ice than real snow. But you take what you can get in Texas.


Sledding down the snow covered hill is always the highlight of snow blast. The only downside is that this event is always SO CROWDED. They need a lot more snow for a crowd this size.

Playdates & Potter Wands

J had a soccer friend over for a play date on Friday afternoon. I had to step in and pull B out of the playing because she was completely monopolizing J's friend like the social vulture that she is. She loves being the center of attention.
These Harry Potter wands that B&J got for Christmas are very popular with the babies. It must be the flashing lights and sound effects. X crawls all around the house with it making spell casting noises with each crawly step.

Friday, January 9, 2009

9 Months Old

Look who turned 9 months old yesterday. He's getting to be such a big boy! Unfortunately, he has me entirely wrapped around his little finger...or maybe his 2 bottom teeth pouty mouth...that one gets me every time.

Career Day

It wasn't much...but I didn't have much warning. They looked more impressive in person. I think J's pose and expression here involved channeling her inner librarian.

It's Great To Be A Florida Gator

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why?

Why do my children come to tell me at 8pm, when they are going to bed that tomorrow is a "dress up as the career you want when you grow up" day? I think this is the 3rd time this has happened. Zero warning. Now, while they flit off to bed and slip into a peaceful slumber...I have to think of how to dress them as an artist and a librarian. The librarian should be pretty simple. I'll wrestle her wolf mane of hair into a bun, put a cardigan on her, and put an old pair of my glasses on a beaded chain...maybe some blue eyeshadow if I can find any around the house. I can't think of any way to incorporate books into the ensemble, but maybe it will hit me while I'm sleeping. The artist is going to be a little harder. I think I've got an old small apron around here somewhere that I can splatter with paint. I think the paint splattered apron and maybe hair done up with 2 paintbrushes stuck through like chopsticks would add something.

If you are reading this in the next couple of hours feel free to toss out any brilliant ideas. Off to dig up and apron and bead a chain. Motherhood...it's a glamorous business.

Milestones

I think it has finally happened (knock on wood). I think L is finally potty trained. There have been no accidents for 2 or 3 days. And she has been wearing underwear even out of the house and at naptime (I'm still going to do a night time pull up for a little longer as insurance to protect my precious hours of sleep). She is also finally all the way off the binky, even at night. Yay! Such a BIG GIRL! I need to take her to pick out some "unner wears" since she doesn't really need the thick training ones anymore.


X is getting into everything, and drooling and biting his way to tooth number 3. He's currently rocking 2 bottom teeth and will have a top one soon. He bit L yesterday and she was NOT happy. Maybe now she will stop biting us when she gets excited. That was totally my fault, since she was a baby I've been pretend biting her like a lion when we are laughing and playing and rolling around. Parenting mistake number 3,001.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Wii Fit Commentary

*I tried to post this yesterday but Blogger wouldn't let me upload the pictures. So, I'm posting it today. In retrospect...yes I am sore, Daniel was a healthy weight (congratulations honey), and I wish I had waited to take pictures because a few minutes after I took these pictures I came back in the room to find J doing all the Yoga poses...hil-ar-i-ous!

Other random facts from our day yesterday...Daniel was working late and going straight to church last night, so we did homework, dinner, and baths early and then snuggled on the couch to watch Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, while X drooled all over us. I really liked it. Any movie with Dustin Hoffman is sure to be a winner. I should have known that. We would recommend it.

From Yesterday:
I'm totally going to be sore tomorrow if the girls and I keep playing with this thing. B commented that it was "great" that we were all at a "healthy weight" according to the Wii Fit. Daniel hasn't stepped on it yet...he may buck that trend. I thought that I should note here that B is currently 47 pounds and 3'11" tall. J is currently 44 pounds and 3'8" tall, you know, for posterity. Here are my favorite girlfriends doing the ski jump...

Wii Fit

I'm madly in love with my new Wii Fit that finally came yesterday...and not just because it told me I weigh 106 pounds and have a BMI of 19.22...but that helped. I almost kissed it (because my scale and my flabby baby belly is telling me 110). I wonder how accurate that is? It unfortunately followed that by telling me my Wii Fit age is 45 years old! 45! Hello! Not good. Sigh. It is so fun. Fun and hard. I LOVE IT! Now I need to get my mom over here to try it. I know she would love it too. Do you have a Wii Fit? Do you love it? "Hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone home?" Name that tune. I'm feeling a little loopy today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Have you heard about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act which takes effect on February 10th? I had heard something about it awhile back, but didn't realize the extent of it. It looks like my girls will be wearing a lot of hair clips since I enjoy making them so much, but won't be able to sell them or even give them away unless this changes. I think I've finally got the perfect stretchy wire to work with the bending of the clips too. Que sera.

So this would mean that every children's resale shop, Etsy shop, Goodwill/Salvation Army, endless small businesses, etc. will have to go out of business? I don't know how this could possibly be allowed to go into effect as it stands. It's crazy.

You Know You Are Avoiding The Grocery Store When...

you're willing to make bread, tortillas, and enchilada sauce from scratch to avoid having to grocery shop.

I really don't feel like grocery shopping. Our grocery stores are inexplicably far from our house. We are getting an awesome new grocery store in our neighborhood...FINALLY! It doesn't open until Jan 21. I'm playing some kind of mental game in avoiding grocery shopping as much as possible until our store opens...16 days.

Bringing It Into Balance

Sometimes I get frustrated. I feel like my entire life (at this point) involves just trying to bring everything in our life back to a zero station of sorts. The kids went back to school this morning, and Daniel went back to work. The baby peas and I continued trying to dig out of the hole. The laundry hole, the dishes hole, the toys scattered over every square inch of this relatively large house hole. You know the one. Mostly, I tried to do all of this in 5 minute bursts alternating with building with blocks, wiping bottoms, saving X from behind every door in the house (he likes to get stuck behind doors), etc.. So, I work and work and work all day, and if I'm lucky...and the stars align...I make it to zero. The laundry done, dishes done, kids happy, and house generally inhabitable. I should probably embrace the fact that this is success under the circumstances.

This is why I work part time (at home). It is the tiny little part of my life where I do something that involves more than bringing things back to even. I can do something, and feel like I accomplished something other than redoing the same series of things that will only be undone by nothing more than the ticking of the clock, over and over and over.

This sounds like a depressing post. It's not meant to be. Tone is sometimes hard to convey on the internet. I think there must be some kind of secret to being satisfied by the process of bringing your home back into balance again and again. I don't know the secret. If you are totally satisfied by this process, feel free to enlighten me as to what I'm missing. I would be totally happy to do a few things... be at home to take care of the kids, cook and work on the side. Unfortunately, I don't have people to come clean my house and do my laundry and dishes on a daily basis. That would be awesome. I underestimated the sheer volume of cleaning, dishes and laundry that having 4 children would create. The kids are great, I certainly wouldn't change it. But, holy moly do they create a ton of housework. It's legendary. I have no idea how my mother in law survived the housework involved in having 8 children. I can't wrap my mind around doubling what I already do now.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I've been off-blog for the past few days doing the typical new year stuff. You know, cleaning up and storing Christmas stuff, organizing, playing with little people who are all home from school until Monday. As cliche as it sounds, I am determined to get this house into some improved organizational condition. It's been a rough 2.5 years of having babies and endless minor renovations around here. We need to start cleaning up, digging out, and making it look like people actually live here. Its been looking like a team of REALLY slow construction workers have been squatting for 2 years. Not pleasant.

I'm working on pinning down a flooring choice and am leaning toward a medium/dark brown bamboo...pictured below. Feel free to comment, I'm not 100% committed yet.After swearing that I would never let Daniel do this project because of the extreme length of time his projects take to complete...he's starting to wear me down. After reviewing this very helpful website, the thought of paying someone $3+ per square foot to install the floor makes me want to scream. It's not exactly rocket science and we currently own every specialty saw and tool known to man. I'm wavering....WAVERING! None of this is relevant until my mantle and shelves are finished either. This would be at the tail end of that project. Do people really pay $2,000+ for installation of a prefinished hardwood floor? That just seems like madness to me. Maybe I'm just super cheap...entirely possible.