Friday, October 31, 2008

This is why we never take family pictures

Halloween 2008

Sigh. No chance of getting a picture where we are all looking
at the camera at the same time.

What a fun night! Jack's first Halloween. Avery's first time to trick-or-treat to more than 1 house. We had a great time with my parent's neighbors (even though they are McCain fans, as you may see by the sign in their yard). We stayed there for about an hour and then went home to trick-or-treat on our street. The kids did great and really stayed well behaved the entire night. Avery broke into the candy pretty much immediately. She didn't understand why she had to put the candy in her "purse" rather than eat it right away after someone gave her a piece. It was pretty funny, though, and we really had a great time watching her go through the annual ritual.

Jack was a trooper even though he is still getting over RSV and
he would have preferred to take a nap rather than take pictures.

Avery knows how to look at the camera but she refuses to 
cooperate just to make me crazy.

Kendel and Avery right before they went out for candy. 
Kendel is dressed as a 50s girl and she was so cute! And girlie.

Jack and Poppa hanging out while we got ready for 

I think I took about 742 pictures since it was his first Halloween
and I didn't want him to feel like the typical second child that 
never gets his picture taken.

I don't know why I bother.

Avery on the prowl for candy.

I'll just sit here. Don't worry about me. And also, can I have
some candy, too?

This is what a turtle looks like after some candy, a frito pie, 
some veggies, crackers and more candy. Time to go home 
and trick-or-treat in our neighborhood.

Man was Gary happy to see us. Jerry and Gary posed in pictures
with Matt and Jack but I wasn't fast enough to get them all centered.

Gary is so fun with Avery and she just lights up around him.

Avery trick-or-treating at our neighbor's house. She is almost
as tall as their halloween display ghost.

I will probably post a few other pictures tomorrow. I have some funny ones of Avery with a girl who dressed as a rabbit. I just thought the two of them together was hilarious, especially because they totally didn't get why it was funny. Also, we have pictures with some other neighbors and I will probably have some game day pictures to post.

Tomorrow night at 7pm Texas plays Tech in a big football game. I am a little anxious about the game but I think it will be fun to watch with some of our friends. It's an away game, which is tough, but also works well for me because we are walking in the Race for the Cure on Sunday morning. 

Obviously we have a busy weekend ahead and I am adding to it by leaving for a 4 day business trip on Monday morning. Early Monday morning. I am looking forward to the sleep that I anticipate getting while away from home. I hope that actually happens.

Seriously. Not. One. Picture. of us all looking at the camera 
at the same time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Conversation In The Car

Avery: I would like to talk about my day at school today.

Matt: Great! What did you do at school today?

Avery: I don't understand your question.

Matt: huh?

Avery: Let's talk about your day instead.

sometimes 2 isn't so bad after all. :-)

RSV and Our Politico

Nope, I didn't forget a letter up there. Jack was diagnosed with RSV this morning. He started showing signs of a cold on Saturday night and by Sunday night we knew it was probably more than just a reaction to his shots from Friday but we were in denial. He stayed home from Church with Matt on Sunday and then later in the day we skipped out on the Halloween Carnival at church because he just didn't seem up to going out. By the end of the day he was coughing a lot and his poor eyes were pretty red from not sleeping much but the little guy was still smiling as usual and so I didn't take it too seriously.

On Monday morning I checked his temperature and it was 100.1. That's kind of iffy for daycare but I also knew that shots cause a mild fever and wasn't terribly concerned. I also knew that I would get a call from daycare at some point in the day because both my parents and my Aunt are out of town and I started a new role at work this week which makes this the PERFECT time to get kicked out of daycare for a week.

Sure enough, at 2:53 pm my phone rang and it was daycare letting me know that Jack was sick and needed to be picked up. Luckily my dad's flight had landed at that point and I gave him a call to say Welcome Back! And please pick up Jack...which I know he loved based on the long sigh he let out over the phone.

My dad, bless his heart, isn't the best at gauging the severity of a fever (or any symptoms for that matter). When I asked him how warm Jack felt or if I needed to call the doctor he firmly replied that Jack's temperature felt fine and there is no reason to call the doctor. Except that when I got home he had all of Jack's clothes off because he thought he was hot. And he was right....103.5 degrees hot. And at this point it was 5:30 pm so I had to call the after hours line and talk to a nurse. BECAUSE MY DAD REFUSES TO TAKE A BABY'S TEMPERATURE. Which, I mean, I get that it isn't the most pleasant thing in the whole world but it is necessary and you need to just buck up and do it. 

This morning Matt took Jack in and they tested him for RSV right away. Since it is a virus there is nothing they can really do to help him out with medicine. We are just elevating his crib, using a humidifier, and running a hot shower 3 times a day to make the bathroom really steamy. It helps clear his throat but he still makes these sad moaning sounds. Throughout the whole thing he is still quick to smile when he sees us. Sweet baby.

Feel better soon, little man! (ahem, it would be super if you 
could be all better by Sunday since I leave for a business trip
on Monday. But any time before Sunday works for me, too.) 
What? Can't a girl make a request? Is that wrong?


I mentioned a few weeks ago that my neighbors put a McCain sticker on Avery when she was visiting with them one afternoon. I have a few pictures of her with that awful thing on her dress that I would like to share, especially because she is throwing a fit and that is funny to me.  (Allison--I know this will cost me a lot of money in therapy bills in the future but you promised me a discount!)

The Anatomy of a Fit (and a lovely gift from our clever neighbors)

Step 1: The beginning of the fit. She starts running at me yelling.

Step 2: She throws herself on the floor and starts kicking her feet. 
(the mess in her room is not actually a part of this fit. It is more a 
result of Little Miss Independent wanting to dress herself in the morning
now and pulling all of her clothes out of the closet.)

Step 3: The yelling, crying and kicking continues.
(While you are down there, do you think you could pick up
a few things off the floor? no? ok, well it never hurts to ask.)

Step 4: She's done and back to playing with play-doh. AS IF
NOTHING HAPPENED. Matt sits perplexed and wondering 
what brought that on. Jack just wanted to peek over her shoulder 
to get into the picture. I am afraid he is picking up some tricks 
from his older sister. I certainly hope he isn't!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be 2 Year Olds

One thing that you learn quickly when you become a parent is how important it is to get your halloween costume early. As in August. Before children I had no idea that parents actually buy these things so early. I was shocked on Avery's first halloween that I was getting the costume (a chili pepper) for half off because I waited until *GASP* Oct. 1st to buy it. Who knew?!? And other mothers that I met went on and on about how fortunate I was to find a costume that late. Which made me wonder how we could have missed that lesson in the parenting classes we took. She was only 3 months old and we were already way behind.

Last year I caught up and ordered her costume in September, a reasonable timeframe but still not considered early by most. She was a peacock and that was a really cute costume for someone her age. Little did I know that it would be the last time I would have a say in what she dressed as. 15 months seems so short...

This year I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween around the end of August. She quickly responded that she wanted to be a turtle. 

Me: A turtle? Really?
Avery: Yes. I want to be a turtle.

So I did what any good mother would do and waited a few more days to ask her again so that she would change her mind and pick something cute.

This time when I asked her I gave some acceptable choices to try and influence her answer.

Me: Avery, what do you want to be for Halloween? A butterfly? Or maybe a shark? Or how about a lion? Or an elephant! I saw a really cute elephant costume.
Avery: No, I just want to be a turtle.
Me: What?!?! A turtle? Are you sure? 
Avery: Yes. I want to be a turtle.

I let a few more days pass and I asked again. This time Avery looked at me as though I had some kind of learning disability and told me that she would like to be a tuuuurrrrtttttlllle. She said it slowly just in case I wasn't hearing her the first few times she had answered me.

Fine. I will get the turtle costume for you but Jack is going to be the cute elephant. I still have a say in his outfits, for goodness sake. 

So before I placed the order online I showed her the VERY CUTE elephant and then the kind of OK turtle and asked her to be very sure before I placed the order. She chose the turtle and that was that.

About a week later when the costumes came in the mail I quickly played up that LOOK!! THE TURTLE is here! Oh! The turtle! We must try it on at once!

She immediately freaked out upon seeing it and started screaming about how she wanted to be an elephant. (the sound of silence she heard after that was me imagining my head exploding)

So Matt and I faked excitement over the damn turtle costume and asked her to put it on for us. She wore it for around 2 seconds and then screamed about not liking it and promptly demanded that I take it off. Then she asked if she could try on Jack's elephant costume. ugh.

Over the weekend we finally got her to put back on the Totally! Awesome! Turtle! costume and sit next to Jack in his "lame" elephant costume for pictures. She wore it for 1 minute and I got a few shots before she started to remove the ugly turtle head. 

And just think....only a few more years of this kind of behavior before she finds some other way to make my head hurt. YAY!

Attempting to get a picture of Avery and Jack in their 
halloween costumes. Avery wasn't being very cooperative
but I continued to press on and just take a bunch of shots.
Oh, good, smile now that you are taking your turtle head off.
That's helpful. Also, pay no attention to the mail on our end 
table. We don't.

Avery removing the turtle head from the costume. 
She was done and her attitude was fading fast. Notice
Jack looking at her like she is crazy. BECAUSE SHE IS!

Jack wearing his halloween costume minus the pants
that go with it because it was OVER 90 DEGREES and 
too hot for pants of any kind. Just as an FYI, the forecast 
for Sunday was 72 degrees. I really need to change jobs 
because I want to have a job where I can get on TV and lie
to parents every day and still get paid a great deal of money.

Watching the UT game in our neighbor's garage. Avery
has her own chair over there but that doesn't stop her 
from getting into trouble. She likes to climb up on the 
motorcycle and give us all a heart attack as we collectively
imagine it falling down on her. She also enjoys throwing 
the chair like a professional wrestler and screaming really loud
for no apparent reason. It is a wonder that we are ever 
welcomed back.

Our neighbor's daughter was wearing the same cute "candy"
pants that Avery was wearing (by chance) so I broke out the
camera to capture the moment. Not as easy as it sounds. 
Notice Avery had removed her glasses, which is always fun
because then we have to play the hide and seek game with them 
and for some reason I am never the one that gets to hide.

Thanks for the cute Halloween shirts, Michelle!!! 
Sorry that this was the best picture I could get of  the
two of them wearing them. I promise Avery is actually
wearing the shirt you sent. Not that she would cooperate
long enough for me to take ONE DAMN PICTURE of them 
together. sigh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Democracy Inaction

It would have been cool to get a picture of 
Avery by this sign but she is 2, which means
you can throw out any type of plans you have
for anything. Santa pictures are going to be

Today mom, Avery and I stood in line at our local library so that we could cast our votes. Avery was wearing her "My Mamma's for Obama" t-shirt and I was wearing an Obama 08 pin on my sweater. After about 10 minutes in line a poll worker came up to me and told me that I had to put away my camera and the Obama button because they were both banned within 100 feet of the voting machines. 

The camera I understand. But the Obama button makes no sense to me at all. 

I am not a poll worker so it wasn't as though I was trying to intimidate anyone. And if you still haven't made up your mind by the time you get in line to vote you should probably NOT be allowed to cast your ballot. If you have made up your mind but then are swayed by someone in line wearing the opponent's name on her sweater, you should probably just be punched in the face and sent home. 

Anyway, I did some research and according to the Texas Secretary of State, it is considered Electioneering to wear a campaign t-shirt, button, sticker, hat, etc. within 100 feet of the polls. I still have a hard time believing that this actually sways any votes, but I was happy to comply with the rules. Interestingly, however, Avery was allowed to stay with her t-shirt and was not asked to leave or change her clothes. Mom kept telling me that we were going to get Avery thrown in jail for breaking the law but I had a hard time believing it would ever come to that. Besides, 5 minutes with her and one of her tantrums or mood swings would have them handing her right back to us with all charges dropped on the condition that we never let her near them again.

After about 20 minutes in line (which, wow! So exciting that people are voting so early!), we made it inside and signed in to vote. I am not a straight ticket voter and I don't know enough about every race going on right now to vote for each person so I voted only for the races that I had read up on beforehand. Obviously the first vote was for President and I will tell you that it was emotional for me. I didn't stand there and cry or anything, but I did get a very cool feeling when I selected Obama. What a history-making election and I can't wait to see the outcome.

It was exciting to see all the people waiting in line to vote today. My neighbor told me that he waited for 45 minutes around noon today. We waited about 30 minutes but when we left the library the line to vote was much longer than it was when we got there. It is really going to be interesting to see the final numbers of voters when this is all over.

The line when we got to the library to vote.


In other news, we are getting a cool front tonight and the high will only be 71 tomorrow. I love that kind of cool weather* when it is still very sunny outside. I am looking forward to wearing warmer clothes and finally feeling like it is fall. Taking pictures at the pumpkin patch when it is 90 degrees outside just seems wrong.  (oh, shut up! 71 is cool for this part of Texas! It was 90-something on Halloween last year so any temperature in the "comfortable" range is nice to have, thankyouverymuch!)

Anyway, the cooler temperature gave me a chance to put Jack in a hat when we were hanging out with the neighbors tonight. I love him in hats because his hair is so blonde that he always looks bald. Not that he has a ton of hair, but is long enough to spike slightly and the boy deserves a break from the bald jokes.
Matt and Jack talking to the neighbors. Matt 
is also holding Avery's doll, if that helps any...

The boys were very interested in Gary's story.

Always good for a smile, even when his sister isn't.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkins and Lucy

We took the kids to the pumpkin patch this weekend. Jack loved it and he is the perfect age for pictures there because he is sitting up like a champ. When we took Avery to the pumpkin patch for the first time (2 years ago) she was only 3 months old and wasn't sitting up at all. Those pictures were more about propping her up against pumpkins and then hoping she didn't fall before we could snap the shot. It ended in tears, as I recall.

Jack loved it and was very cooperative for pictures. Avery pretty much ran around and avoided the camera at all costs, but I did manage to get a few of them in. After I showed her all the pictures she complained that there were more of Jack. **bangs head on desk**

holding a "Jack sized" pumpkin

cooperating for pictures

The only one I could get of both of them. I had
to weigh Avery down with a pumpkin to get 
her to stay still. 

Avery and dad--he grabbed her before she 
ran off.

Jack really loves playing in this activity gym.

He is happy to stay in it and play as long as 
he can still see me. Kind of defeats the idea 
that this keeps him occupied while I get things
done, but it is somewhat helpful.

I love putting him in his "Tiny Democrat" shirt
when he visits his very Republican Poppa.

The kids had a great time at the park on Sunday.

Lucy is getting back to her spunky self. She still isn't 100% but after 3 nights at the Animal Hospital and a bunch of money spent trying to figure out why she kept puking, she is home with us again. Actually, that's not quite true. She isn't home with us, she is home with my parents. Because they have pretty much claimed her as their own and won't give her back. hmpf.

Back home but still not smiling a lot for the camera.

In other news.....

I am done with bootcamp. Didn't lose an amazing amount of weight but I did tone up some and I am definitely stronger because of it. All in all, I think it was worth it. Hopefully it is just a good jump start to get my pre-pregnancy body back. (ahem, pre-FIRST pregnancy)

Early voting started in Texas today and I plan on going to vote tomorrow. I will take the kiddos and show Avery how the system works. She knows all about WHO to vote for but isn't really sure HOW to vote so I plan to show her how it works. I am very excited about the numbers that are showing up to vote early and hope that is a good sign for the good guys!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I would love to just sleep for 24 hours

I am exhausted. So much is going on right now and I don't feel like I am getting enough rest.

We are busy every night except Tuesdays and it is really starting to catch up with me. Between boot camp (yep, still going to that regularly), photography classes, a church group we attend on Friday nights, football games, Sunday School and Church, I am exhausted. And that doesn't even take into account Matt's once a month weeknight poker game (which happens to be tonight), some cooking classes we are taking and some election activities. 

But the real exhaustion started last Thursday.  That is when Avery somehow injured her thumb (the one that she sucks while she sleeps) before she went to bed. I wasn't home for the bedtime routine because I was at a photography class but I learned something was wrong the hard way. At midnight Avery woke up SCREAMING. That never happens around here so we thought she was very hurt. But when we got into the room she just wanted to be rocked. After a few minutes she was fine and I was back in bed. Until 1 am when the screaming started again. This time it was Matt's turn and once again she was back in bed pretty fast. We went back to sleep already so tired from getting up twice and just when I felt like I was falling asleep she started screaming again. For heaven's sake...

In the morning she asked me to kiss her "ouwie" and showed me her thumb, which looked awful. No wonder she woke up so much. That must have really hurt and we felt so bad for her. Our minds immediately went to Friday night with the clear expectation that we were going to be in for some rough nights. And that is exactly how things have been for the last 5 nights. She has a terribly hard time falling asleep since she can't suck her thumb. It is kind of a nightmare with screaming, crying, and property damage involved. Once she is asleep she has pretty much stayed that way (except for Friday night) but getting her to go to sleep is amazingly hard. We aren't used to this because she has always been super easy to get to go to sleep so I am having trouble controlling my anger when she screams at the top of her lungs and throws ridiculous fits. On Sunday afternoon she fought Matt for 3 full hours (while I was at a baby shower) and ended up not ever going to sleep for her nap. She actually tore the ties on her bumper pads in her crib and pulled her sheets off the mattress during that time. 

**bangs head in frustration**

Fortunately for us her thumb is healing nicely and she should be able to suck it again by Friday or Saturday. Obviously we would love it if she just sucked her other thumb but that would require her to lay a different way than she is used to and heaven forbid she did something new and different...

The other thing weighing on my mind is that my dog, Lucy, is sick right now. She has a blockage at the base of her stomach and is unable to keep food down. She is at the vet now (for the whole night) which means this is the first night she has ever slept in a crate. I am sure she is miserable. We go out of our way to leave her with friends or family when we travel so that she doesn't have to ever stay in a kennel. I am so worried about her and I hope that they are able to remove the blockage asap. 

For those of you that don't know, Lucy is our yorkie. She just turned 4 on the 2nd of Oct. We have had her since November of 2004 when Matt gave her to me for my birthday.  She is our first "baby" and I will be heartbroken if she doesn't get better.

No matter how Avery does tonight, I have a feeling it will be a restless night for me...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Is It Getting Ugly or WHAT?!?!

You might be thinking that I am referring to the Presidential election, which would be a safe bet since things are definitely hitting a new low on the campaign trail. Man! Can you believe that McCain is ok with people in his crowds yelling out that Obama is a terrorist? Please! Senator McCain you KNOW he is not a terrorist and shame on you for allowing that to happen at your events. Not to mention the lovely Gov. Palin being introduced by a Sheriff at a rally (which I have a problem with, but that is another topic) calling Obama by his middle name (what the hell are you implying, officer?) and having someone in the crowd shout, "Kill Him!" when she spoke of Obama. AND THE CAMPAIGN DID NOTHING TO DISTANCE IT'S SELF FROM THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE!!

A new low indeed.

But actually, the subject of this post is about the ugliness that is potty training. Because Avery is a tricker. She has been going to school with panties on for the last 3 weeks and has only had 2 accidents (just didn't get to the potty on happens...I get it). We thought we were on the right track. We thought we had this whole potty thing down pat.

But today she decided to forget all about telling us that she had to go potty and it wasn't the wet kind, if you get my drift. It was probably one of the grossest times I have had as a parent. 

And to make matters worse, I had to give her a bath immediately after and she pretty much refused to take one. It was as though I was giving our dog, Lucy, a bath because she was clawing her way out of the tub, scratching, panting and slipping out of my grip constantly. Her screaming wasn't helping my ears at all. I'll just go ahead and deal with the fact that I may never hear the same again. You would have thought that I was bathing her in boiling water. 

(side note: I wish I could bathe in boiling water after that because ewww ewww ewww.)

After that awesome experience which came after a long day of meetings at work, she decided to play the standard 2 year old game of "I want that/NOOO! I don't want that!" Ever heard of that one? Oh, it's great. The way it works is that the toddler asks for something and the unsuspecting parent responds by actually getting the [insert requested item here]. Then, just for grins, the toddler starts screaming and saying, "no! no! I don't want [insert the very same requested item here]. 

And then the parent's head explodes.

Luckily Dora the Explorer calmed her down and she went to bed like a champ. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

I know that we will look back and laugh about this in the future. Probably the near future because if you can't laugh at this stuff you might just curl up in the fetal position and cry a lot. But right now, as tired as I am, it is just plain ugliness. 

Now, back to watching the debate. John McCain's level of passive aggressiveness is hitting new lows. :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Look Who's Talking...

Whoever it was that taught my daughter to talk should be ashamed of herself. Here are some samples of things she said to me just. this. weekend.

  • Stop talking to me!
  • No! NOOOOO!
  • I don't want to wear that shirt. NOOOOOO.
  • I don't like that. (when talking about just about every food item, most drink options, and any outfit I tried to put her in)
  • I don't want to go to Sunday School
  • I don't want to go to sleep
  • I don't want to leave the park
  • No! No! NOOOOO!
Seriously. I have had just about all I can take of a whiny voice and a bad attitude. And she is just at the beginning of the terrible 2s. Plus, friends have told me that 3 is no better. Incredible.

The thing that gets me most is that she can go from raging brat to sweet as pie in 2 seconds flat. Which makes it obvious that she is capable of being well behaved and just choosing not to. She is doing a great job of testing my patience, that's for sure.

The good news is that Jack can't talk yet and he is in a great mood 99.9% of the time. If we had to deal with him in this kind of funk at the same time I think I might go a little crazy. I know that I am part way there already.

Any tips or advice on how to get through this stage of toddlerhood would be wonderful.