Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crazy People

I'm about to say something judgmental, look away if you are anti-seat belt. I just have to say...I am shocked whenever I see someone who doesn't wear a seat belt. Especially when that person is just a suburban mom like myself. I guess when it is a teen, or someone who I feel I don't have a lot in common with, it doesn't surprise me as much. I figure they don't know any better. I still think it is crazy...but I am just totally floored when I'm in a car, like on a field trip for example, with other moms and someone just refuses to put on a seat belt. How hard is it to put on a seat belt. What possible reason could someone have for refusing to wear one. Do they not make their children wear them either? I don't understand. Someone enlighten me. I feel like you might as well keep a loaded and unprotected gun in your house, or leave prescription drugs lying around when you have toddlers. What is the difference? Vent over.

Zucchini

Zucchini are easy to grow. I had some extra space in my garden and about 6 weeks ago, I stuck a few zucchini seeds (and 2 tiny yellow squash transplants) in the ground and proceeded to basically ignore them. I didn't know whether they would even grow or not since I was not providing them with any special attention. Well, they went bananas and I just picked a big zucchini off today with more to come. I can't believe I got a full sized zucchini already when I feel like I just planted those seeds. The yellow squash, which were little $1 transplants from Walmart are actually a little behind the zucchini which were planted from seed, but they do have a bunch of little squash developing. Next year, I'm just going to get a little packet of yellow squash seeds.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's the Yeti!

The figurative Yeti of my photographic career as a mother is catching one of J's real smiles. I have thousands of pictures of her grouchy face, or her bizarre contorted fake camera smiles. But here it is ladies and gentleman...a genuine real Juli-bean smile. To add insult to injury, I think Daniel took this photo. Beginner's luck.


Now, for something that actually looks a lot more like a Yeti...Daniel the day before a haircut with a sleepy face on. This is how much hair grows on his head in one month. It's ridiculous.

Birthday Photos

B on her official 8th birthday.
Blowing out candles. You can see she threw on one of her new nightgowns immediately upon receiving it.
Evidence that Grammy and Grampy do indeed exist.
Daddy explaining the concept of a Rubik's cube.
Opening some of her presents. Some of the highlights this year were books, nightgowns, star wars clone wars stuff, classics like a nerf gun and a Rubik's cube. What can I say, I'm running out of ideas at this point and she is not helping with suggestions. I think next year I'll give up toy items all together unless she's got some new ideas.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Haircut

I keep forgetting to post a picture of B's new haircut. She was determined to get it done, and to get it very, very short. I decided not to interfere with her vision. Daniel took her, and she came home with this look. Ignore the serious face, I interrupted her He Man and the Masters of the Universe viewing.

An Early Father's Day Post

B came home from 2nd grade with this book/story today. I'm transcribing it here, for posterity.

"My dad always tells me to have fun and do my best. My dad always tells me to be nice to my sisters. My dad always tells me to play fairly, have lots of fun doing it. He always tells me I will be an artist when I grow up because he tells that my pictures are improving and they always have been great. He tells me that he loves me so much and how good that I really will be!

My dad helps me when I need to get cereal down from the pantry. My dad helps me when I need help drawing something at home. My dad helps me when I need to get up someplace high because he lifts me into the air and sets me down where I need to get to. My dad helps me when I ask him to help turn on the tv because sometimes I can not find the remote.

If I could give my dad anything I would give him a great big hug and kiss because he is so special to me and he works to earn money for me and my family so we can live in a house and have all the nice things I have. I'd give him a hug and kiss because I love him so much! He is such a nice parent to have and to love just like he loves me.

My dad puts words in a tune to make them sound like a song. My dad has brown hair and brown eyes and he is an electrical engineer. My dad sometimes has on a striped shirt that is white and maroon, it is very nice. My dad sometimes has a beard he shaved it off though. My dad has lots of pairs of jean pants.

My dad likes to go to work. He is an electrical engineer. Sometimes we have picnics with pinatas and candy all over when someone bursts it open. My dad likes to go to work for popsicles at the picnic. He thinks they taste delicious. He likes to go to work for fun to watch us play but most of all to play volleyball!

My dad taught me to ride a bike. I was scared because I thought I would fall over. My dad let go and I rode because I thought my dad was holding me. My dad taught me to talk when I was little. He said every word to me. My dad taught me to read. I read level one books and level 2 books all the way to level 5 and I know those words very, very well."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A note to my tech support team.

Dear Tech Support,

Please notice the over sized music player to your right and try to make it super tiny. Thank you for your attention. Otis Redding was of critical importance, and YouTube failed me (as usual). I trust that you will not do the same.

Sincerely,
the House Elf

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

We are having a busy weekend. Saturday we all, including X went to a movie, the bookstore, and then picked up pizzas on the way home. Yesterday we had church and dinner at Grammy & Grampy's house. Today we are getting some housework done, and having the cousins over for swimming and dinner. It is so wonderful to be finished with soccer. I swear I will catch up on this blog soon. :) Happy Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm not "that" mom.

I'm really not normally the mom that doesn't want her kids to be out of school. I always feel bad for kids when I overhear "that mom" saying she needs a drink because the kids are out of school for the summer, or she is "counting the days" until they go back to school. This summer though, I am mildly terrified for some reason by the prospect of keeping all 4 of them happy for the entire duration of the long, hot, summer. I don't know why I am letting it cause me so much anxiety, I'm sure it will be fine. I have 2 weeks left until I need to get it together and figure out a "new normal" for the rest of the summer. I think that I would give my left arm for a pool in the backyard so that I don't have to deal with schlepping them all down there every couple of days. Too bad you can't win the lottery when you don't play it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is now the place where I log my excuses for not blogging.

Today's excuses...

1. I had an unexpected appointment to run to this morning, at which X spit up stinky milk all over me. I don't know why he has started spitting up all of a sudden.

2. I am trying to squeeze in 4 hours of work into naptime and post bedtime today.

3. My dishes are spilling over onto the counter and I have 4 baskets of laundry to
fold.

4. I have dinners to cook and deliver to 2 different households tonight.

5. I couldn't fall asleep due to Excedrin Migraine last night and am operating on 5 hours sleep.

*Here's hoping for some good blog material soon before I bore y'all to death. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Because...

*I realized as I looked at this article for the second time that I should have noted that it contains a conversation with a bit of bad language, just be warned if you are sensitive to that sort of thing.

I come across a never ending stream of random and amusing things while I'm working...and working is preventing me from coming up with any good blog topics during nap time...I offer you this little post that I came across today and found interesting. I still don't think my fingers will be able to stop double spacing after a period.

Here is a song that I came across and enjoyed...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Bella!

Today Bella turns 8 years old. It is a very exciting birthday. I can not believe that I have been a mama for 8 years. It seems like longer in some ways, shorter in others. She is becoming so grown up lately that I can barely stand it. Her sleepover party was delayed for 2 weeks, due to us not getting our act together on mailing the invitations out. She was supposed to be getting a few addresses from school friends (since you can't hand out invitations at school), but keeps forgetting.

I felt it necessary to point out to her at breakfast today that 8 years ago this morning she was laying in a hospital bed eating milk for breakfast. I think she could have lived without that story, but I told it anyway. I felt it was my right for enduring 18 hours of pitocin induced labor followed by a c-section. She owes me the right to reminisce.

In more delay related news, we are still unable to schedule her baptism due to the fact that our baptismal font at our church building is undergoing some major repairs and is out of commission for awhile. I will update those who are planning to attend as soon as we get a date pinned down.

Well, I have cupcakes to go deliver to the lunch room and presents to wrap. Pictures of birthday festivities will be forthcoming.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A gardening triumph

She's a beauty. I think it is the fact that I've struggled for years to overcome a full sized tomato brown thumb. I can grow grape and cherry tomatoes with my eyes closed.
I finally got a full sized tomato to grow and ripen in full health with no cracking or damage in this hot, hot climate! It is off of a special patio variety that I have in a container. They aren't giant tomatoes, but are definitely full sized, and there are about 20 more in various stages of development currently on the plant. Not that I don't love my easy grape and cherry tomatoes, but this is a major triumph for me since I don't drench my garden with chemicals to prevent pests and whatnot. I also have an Arkansas Traveler that is looking promising and growing tons of full sized tomatoes as we speak. We shall see if its reputation for heat tolerance pays off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

24? Why not 30?

There are not enough hours in a day. In which department should I lodge this complaint?

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Mother's Day Weekend

In an unusual weekend for me, I took no photographs. So, this post will have to go unaccompanied. We had a super busy weekend.

Friday night we went out to dinner for Mother's Day. The kids were generally well behaved. Well, the girls were quite well behaved, X had a few crying episodes...what else is new? We raced over from dinner to the soccer fields for one of B's make up games which started at 7pm. Afterward, we got some dessert at Sonic and headed home to bed.

Saturday morning we were at the soccer fields bright and early for J's 8:30am game. Then we took a little walk down the nature trail to the river and picked some more blackberries. Then, X went down for a nap, and Daniel mowed the lawn while I took my ladies to the pool. It was a good time, but we got a tiny bit of sunburn. B went crazy on the big slides, L finally agreed to go down the little slide, and J was having fun, but feeling a touch bitter about being 2 inches too short for the big slides. I told her that she would likely be tall enough next year. Saturday afternoon B had 2 more soccer games and a soccer party that ate up the whole rest of the day. The last thing we did Saturday was stop off for flowers and a card for Grammy and dropped them off at her house.

Sunday was great. For Mother's Day I got lots of kisses and hugs, dozens of cards and crafts, flowers, and a new lens for my camera (which has not technically arrived yet). Daniel and the kids made a nice dinner, which they prepared before church (and set the oven timer to cook while we were gone). They even set the table and served the food onto everyone's plates so that I didn't have to make up all the kid plates like I normally do. It's the details like that which make things special. I can't remember the last time that I was able to sit down at my own table and eat without having to do anything...I'm going to say never. The only bad part was that I had to wake up this morning and go back to reclaiming my house from a weekend of barely being home, which always creates the worst kind of mess. It was worth it. Back to the laundry.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Weekend

We have soccer, soccer, and more soccer on deck for the weekend. The rainy spring has caused a back log of make up games. I don't expect to be back here until Monday. Happy Mother's Day to all!

In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to discuss my 3 favorite things about my mother.

1. I've always known that she loved me. Always. My mother has the capacity to make her children and grandchildren feel like the center of the universe, and the purpose of her life. It is a skill that I don't think I will ever be able to fully master with the thoroughness that she has. She has a multilayer way of communicating love that is very effective.

2. She makes things that are hard look easy. I don't know how, but she always seems to have things in perfect order. As a child, I can't ever recall living in a messy house, or not having homemade dinners, or her ever forgetting things, or having to pull my clean clothes out of an unfolded basket (like my poor kids have to do on occasion.) I still think there is some secret to this that she has not revealed to me yet.

3. She is selfless and dependable. She will drop anything for us with no notice. I try not to abuse this aspect of her personality. She is psychologically incapable of putting her own needs and wants before that of her family. I think that this aspect of motherhood is dismissed in today's self worshiping society as inappropriate or unnecessary. "Meet your own needs first then serve others" seems to be the message that fills books, magazines, and television. I think that is garbage. I think that it's garbage because my mother raised me to be a hardcore mother, you put your kids first, no matter what, under all circumstances.

She did a good job. I wouldn't trade her for anyone else's mom, that's for sure. So don't ask. I'm not entertaining offers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Blackberries

I kept hearing people talk about there being blackberries that grow wild along the nature paths at our neighborhood soccer fields. So, after Julianne's make up soccer game last night, we decided to go pick some. It was family bonding at its finest. We ate them on ice cream last night, and they were good. I thought I'd kick it up a notch today, so I baked the rest of them into an apple/blackberry crisp. It's delicious. I'm pretty sure Jillian Michaels wouldn't approve of it, but you can bet I'm eating some on ice cream tonight. It's a good thing I didn't put myself on a diet. I don't know how people do the strict diet and exercise thing at the same time. It must be misery.

Life is complicated.


Sometimes, I want to strangle my husband. A lot of the time actually, we are like magnets, opposites that are unavoidably drawn together. Sometimes sparks fly. I remember so vividly how hard I tried not to love him. Needless to say, it didn't work. It still amazes me that we managed not to kill each other in the last 13 years. I really think I've been mellowing toward him in the past few, at least that's what I tell myself. I'm not sure if it is a maturing process that goes on as you age, or something else. Who can say?

I've recently been noticing how many of his best qualities are starting to shine through in our children. It is a special thing, a transcendent experience. I think it is a combination of them having his DNA, and the fact that he has put so much of himself into being a hands on father to them since the moment they were born. I can fault the man on many things, but his parenting skills are not one of them. It is hard to stay mad at him for very long with these four amazing kids walking around amplifying and reflecting back at me all of the good in him.

As for the reason I wanted to strangle him today...we had to go to the county court and pay a fine so that they wouldn't put out a warrant for my arrest. Why would they put out a warrant for my arrest you ask? Because my beloved husband didn't renew my vehicle inspection sticker...which lead to me being pulled over last month and harassed by an overly aggressive police officer...which lead to my citation going missing...which lead to me receiving a letter stating that a warrant for my arrest would be issued if I didn't show up and pay a fine...which lead to me wanting to strangle him...which lead to me being distracted from my anger by this hunk of stud who smiles at me with his daddy's big brown eyes and crooked smile...ugh. I surrender.

Push!

L is striving to become a personal trainer when she grows up. I advanced to Level 2 of the Shred today. She sat behind me, on my bed yelling "PUSH! PUSH Mama! Push nicely." Then she handed me my weights.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My life is flashing before my eyes

When my girls got home from school today, B opened the door and called my name in a weird voice. I of course had a mini heart attack because I over react when I think something might be wrong. It turns out her classmate/friend/sender of Valentine flowers had followed her home from school and was standing in my garage...waiting for permission to come in and "work on some drawings with Bella". I granted my stunned permission with the qualification, "only if his mother knows where he is". The little punk outsmarted me...he had already texted her for permission. Why is a cell phone wielding 8 year old boy texting people in my garage? Serenity now!Because I insist on documenting all of the minutia of my life on this blog...I sneaked to the window like a spy for photographic evidence of this event. Luckily his mother only granted him "15 minutes" before he had to come home.

He used those closer to 30 minutes to dazzle her with his conversational skills, including asking pertinent questions about what I can only assume was every single fact he had managed to gather about her over the course of the school year. We ran the gamut from "where are your tomato plants" to "what days do you have soccer".

My favorite quote from their conversation:

Boy: Hmmm...I can see by looking around here you guys have a lot more money than me. So, what does your mom do for a living?

Belle: She stays home and takes care of the babies...and us...and sometimes she works on her computer.

Kids are hilarious. And in my house's defense, the boy comes from an enormous family, we aren't exactly Rockefellers.

And a final noteworthy item. My son jumped out of his crib today. Stop the ride, I want to get off.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

A Man-bug. Awwww. You should just stop reading this post right here and end your day with this adorable picture. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The peas' bathroom has been sustaining water damage since we moved in. We have warned them and warned them. We knew we would have to rip out the trim sooner or later due to all of their bath and shower related splashing. Jules discovered this little science experiment on Friday. NASTY! I did tell you to stop reading, didn't I? Maybe this time you will take my advice and CLICK AWAY! CLICK AWAY BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
You're sure?


Really sure?


You think you have an exceptionally strong stomach, and can handle the ugly?


Guess who doesn't have an exceptionally strong stomach?


That's right...me on day 1 of the 30 day shred. Aaaaahhhhh! Blech! You have 4 babies, you pay the price. I can't believe I just posted this photo on the internet. I must have hit my head while trying not to pass out during the shred this morning.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can I die now?

*Updated*

Day 30: Done, done, done, DONE!!! Yay! Updated stats and photo to come.

Day 29: Spent ALL DAY hiking around the Arboretum with a group of 2nd graders, and all night hosting a sleepover party. Exercise, but no shred.

Day 28: Shredded.

Day 27: Barely sat down today, and didn't shred either. I'm lame. Aren't you supposed to finish strong? 3 more days.

Day 26: Shredded.

Day 25: Shredded.

Day 24: Sunday...no shred. 6 days to go!

Day 23: Shredded. I'm firming up and slimming out, but not losing any weight on the scale...probably because I didn't have any muscle before and it weighs more than fat.

Day 22: Got exercise, but not the shred.

Day 21: Shredded.

Day 20: Shredded level 3. It was more painful today because I'm sore from changing levels yesterday. I'm starting to doubt the weight loss claims on this dvd, because I haven't lost a single pound. I was only hoping to lose 3, not the 20 listed on the dvd cover, but still...annoying. I guess all my new muscles are heavy.

Day 19: Shredded. I moved to level 3 today, because I was so sick of listening to level 2. I'm not going to lie...it wasn't fun. Particularly these Sumo jump things...owww.

Day 18: Shredded. I'm going to go to level 3 on day 20.

Day 17: Sunday...no shred

Day 16: Shredded.

Day 15: Shredded.

Day 14:
*(I ended up with less work to do than I planned, but still didn't shred)* It is a very unusual day. I am scheduled to work 8 hours. I virtually never do this because it is so nearly impossible to pull off with my children to care for. Today will likely be the only day I do this in 2009, because I'm not an entirely crazy person. I find it unlikely that I will be shredding today, unless I do it tonight.

Day 13: I think I have this stupid DVD memorized. I usually shred first thing in the morning. Today I had to do it in the late afternoon, and it was much more painful due to already being tired before I started. I hate exercise. I can't wait until this 30 days is up so that I can switch to something less miserable.

Day 12: I'm getting sick of shredding, sigh. However, I will persevere for 30 days because I said I would. Plus, I've impressed my husband with my perseverance, you can't put a price on that.

Day 11: Oww. I'm paying for my weekend off today. Level 2 kicked my trash this time. Maybe it won't suck so much tomorrow, but I doubt it.

Day 9 & 10: Mother's Day Weekend, 4 soccer games, 1 soccer party, swimming, berry picking, church, etc, etc. Totally didn't get a chance to shred.

Day 8: This stupid blog post is keeping me honest. Every day I dread the shred, but I know I have to answer for it here. Today at Level 2 was harder, because I'm sore from yesterday's advancement.

Day 7: I advanced to level 2 today. I was super sweaty and purple when I finished, but felt fine as soon as I was done. I'll probably be sore again tomorrow though.

Day 6: I am still hating the first half of level 1, but the 2nd half does not really bother me as much anymore. I've noticed a significant lack of back pain for the past couple of days. I have had varying levels of daily back pain for the last 8 years.

Day 5: Not so sore anymore. I still huff and puff through the whole level 1 though. Planning to go to level 2 on day 7.

Day 4: Still sore as heck, but able to complete level 1 without wishing for death. Considering level 2 in a few more days.

Day 3: It's Sunday, "a day of rest"...forget the darn Shred

Day 2: Someone please put me out of my misery.

Day 1: What kind of hell have I brought upon myself?

I've read about the Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred on several blogs now. I'm not normally one to buy exercise videos...it seems so...1982 or something. However, after reading Big Mama's post on this dvd, I just had to give it a try. I have a serious self esteem issue that revolves around my baby belly. So, I picked it up at Target today, along with 2 handy little weights. I officially completed Day 1 of the 30 day shred about 20 minutes ago. Seriously guys...I can barely move my arms to type this, and my legs almost collapsed in the shower. I thought the girls might find me dead on the shower floor when they get home. Mark my words, I will complete the 30 day shred. I just hope I don't actually lose 20 pounds in the process as the cover suggests, I wouldn't look good at 88 pounds...but I bet it would fix my mom belly.

The Houston Chronicle is a Liar who Lies.

Perhaps you remember my quest for great local restaurants. I decided to start trying different places in an attempt to develop some local favorites. I've had enough of chain restaurants. So, I decided to give "Tornado Burger" a try. I figured, if the Houston Chronicle says it's the best burger in Houston (or some such claim)...it must be pretty good. Well, as I mentioned the Houston Chronicle is either crazy, or a liar. I got the spicy cheeseburger, because it was highly recommended by Tornado Burger fans. It was awful...really, really awful. I can tolerate a pretty good amount of spiciness, but this thing did not have a yummy spicy flavor, it had a "I just ate a mouthful of raw garlic and jalapenos" flavor. After that, I couldn't taste much, so my opinion of the rest of the meal may be invalid as I could no longer feel my tongue. The rest of the peas had regular burgers. The general consensus was...meh?. Bella stated that Grammy makes better hamburgers, clearly we should pay her more. For half the price I could have just had Burger King, and I'm not a big fan of Burger King...but it's better than Tornado Burger...6 thumbs down.