Sunday, April 26, 2009

Progress...... Updated: Nevermind

There are some things that have been happening here that I haven't wanted to jinx by actually publishing. But what the heck. Why not risk it? I like to live on the edge. 

1. Jack has been in daycare every day for 2 weeks in a row. That is the FIRST time this year. He is perfectly healthy and got a clean bill of health from the ENT that he saw on Friday.
2. Avery is now sleeping without a diaper. She's been spending her days without diapers since Christmas but we've been gun-shy about nights because she had a few accidents in the beginning. That's all over now and she is officially a big girl. Who still sleeps in a crib, sure, but I am working on that. The issues are mine, not hers.

Update:  ahem....she wet the bed last night....or, actually, at 6am. Rude awakening for us all. 

3. This morning Matt tore out the hedges (or are they shrubs?) in our front yard. We have hated them for  almost 4 years now--ever since we moved in--but never did anything about it because it was never the right time. We moved in during the summer so it was too hot to make the change then. By spring I was in my 2nd trimester with Avery and all of the nesting that we were doing was related to her room. The next 2 springs we put it on the market so it wasn't the right time to start over with our shrubs. Lucky for us, the market sucks and the economy is in a SHRUBS IT IS! (I guess now I can say George Bush did do something for me. ha!) 
I said he took the old shrubs out but the new ones aren't in yet. Apparently taking them out is an all day event so he wasn't able to plant the new ones. But I have been promised something about tomorrow. We'll see. I have flowers to plant and if they die I am going to be pissed that my buy one/get one free flowers were wasted. 

Update: We got terrible rain last night and more rain most of the day. The yard is a little flooded and there is no chance of getting bushes or flowers in for the next day or two. 

4. My bedroom is clean. Well, 3/4ths of the way. I still have to clean off my nightstand and dresser. Oh, and there are a few piles in the corners. But! But! There is nothing on the floor anywhere else.I put away all the clothes from the 6 loads of laundry we had to do today so there is nothing on the bed. And at 9pm tonight I actually ran the vacuum cleaner on just about every square inch of the room. All of those piles that I pictured before are picked up. I will have a picture tomorrow. I'm just too tired tonight for much more than words. 

Update: We ran out of hangers and now we have clothes laying around the room. In an orderly fashion, though. So it still counts. (should have taken a damn picture while I had the chance)

And I am going to be ticked if a tornado blows through tonight and messes up my clean room! I've never been a fan of irony.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What a Way to Make a Living

Emily had a really funny post tonight about her worst job experience that brought back a memory that I had buried deep in the recesses of my brain. I decided to share it here before it leaves my mind again, maybe forever.

Just to catch up anyone who might not know, I was a flight attendant for a major airline based in the south right after I graduated from college. I mostly flew as the first class flight attendant and tried to fly mostly to Europe or the West Coast because the flights were longer and the layovers were fantastic. I really enjoyed myself and I am so happy that my parents--my dad mostly--pushed me in that direction right after school. The thought of a 9 to 5 job just wasn't appealing to me as a 22 year old plus I wanted to see the world so being a flight attendant fit the bill perfectly. 

But some days were better than others. 

When I lived in New York I dealt with a lot of passengers with short tempers, especially when we ran out of seltzer water, something I had never even heard of before I lived on the East Coast. There were bitchy celebrities (yes, Star Jones, I am talking to you) and business men who were too important to follow FAA guidelines. 

I'm sure I don't even have to mention 9/11 as being one of the scariest days of my life, especially after learning what happened to the flight attendants on that terrible day. 

But the good times FAR outweighed the bad. I loved meeting wonderful celebrities that were kind and gracious and much skinnier than they appear on TV (Beyonce does NOT have curves in person! and she was kind enough to sign her boarding pass for me to give to my sister-in-law when her dance team was performing to one of her group's songs). Florence Henderson actually mailed autographed pictures from The Brady Bunch to my young nieces. And Julie Andrews (aka Mary Poppins) also sent them an autograph. Not to mention the Ziggy artist who drew a cartoon for me during the flight. Most of the time I enjoyed my job more than I deserved to.

And then there was the first trip I took after returning from my wedding and honeymoon.  

It was a 3 day trip with layovers in San Diego and Miami. Sounded great on paper. The first day was uneventful and we had a great time in San Diego on our layover that night. The next morning we had 2 flights to cover. The first was San Diego to Atlanta and the second was Atlanta to Miami. It was a long day and we started early. Luckily I was the first class flight attendant so I was really only focused on about 16 people. Professionals, mostly, so they knew the drill which usually made flights like that uneventful.

The guy in 3C seemed nice enough. He was probably in his mid 40s. He was quiet but friendly during the meal service. He didn't ask for anything during the movie and wasn't drinking any alcohol. He was watching the movie along with several others in the first class cabin. Apparently he was really into the movie because he didn't get up to go to the restroom until it was over. The man in 1B had the same plan. The problem for the man in 3C was that 1B had a clear shot at the restroom and made it in there first. And he was in no hurry to get out of the restroom. 

3C started to get antsy. I started to get uncomfortable. I mean, it's a small space. I didn't have many options for moving.

After about 2 minutes the guy in 3C asked me to knock on the door of the restroom and gently ask 1B to get on with it and get out. Obviously I wasn't going to be able to do that. Then he asked if he could use a coach restroom, to which I answered yes, but the line was much longer back there. Finally after about 4 minutes (which felt like 4 hours for both of us, I'm sure), he asked me for a cup to pee in. 

A grown man.

With enough resources to have a first class seat on this flight. 

Asked me for a cup.

It took me a minute to process his request.

But a minute was too long. Before I could even turn back around to answer, I saw his pants getting darker and he looked me in the eye and said, "I'm peeing." 

Thanks, I could see that.

About 15 seconds later 1B walked out of the restroom. When he saw the puddle on the floor he had this horrified look on his face and all I could think was, "nice timing, ass."

I couldn't believe what had just happened. There was grown man pee everywhere. I had to get his bag for him so he could change his clothes. It was all I could do to avoid eye contact because I couldn't believe this just happened to a Grown Man. And then I had to get the bio-hazard bag out to clean up the bodily fluids on the floor of the airplane. It was even more awkward knowing that he could see me cleaning this up from his seat. 

Next I was required to contact the captain and let them know what had happened (which was a requirement anytime a bio-hazard bag was needed for any reason on a flight). He needed me to repeat the story.  Twice. And then he asked me to come in the cockpit and tell him again because he was CERTAIN that he must be hearing me wrong. 

Grown. Man.

The pilot was required to call the FAA and they were required to have police meet the flight. You know, on account of the GROWN MAN that peed himself on the flight. (Before you start feeling sorry for him let me state for the record that he did not have a medical problem and he wasn't drunk. He simply wanted to watch the end of the movie.)

All I could think was that I still had another flight to work before I could go to a hotel and take a boiling hot shower. Oh, and the fact that I had been on my honeymoon up until the day before and it was a million miles away from cleaning up grown-man urine on the floor of the first class galley at 40,000 feet. 

9 to 5 was starting to look really good after that.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Guess This Has Turned Into A Series of Posts

So. Apparently my messy bedroom was a hot topic around here because I got A LOT of emails about it. Only a few comments here, which I find funny, but lots of emails with further questions. Here were some common questions/comments in email:
  • Are the kids room messy, too, or just yours?
  • Can we see your whole room rather than just the piles to see the "big picture?"
  • Where is the picture of your garage?
  • When are you going to clean that up?
  • Is it against your religion to be clean?
  • Should we call Child Protective Services?
  • Or maybe should we call hazmat? (which was one of my favorites, to be honest)
  • how long has it been dirty like that?
To answer some of these questions I decided to show pictures of the kids rooms so you can see that they are (usually) clean. Jack's room, especially, because it is so small that he doesn't have a lot of toys in there. Avery's biggest issue is usually her books because she pulls out approximately 48 a night for us to read to her. But in general both of them have the cleanest rooms in the house. 

Check out the pictures below to hopefully answer some of the questions that were sent to me. 
(I think you can click on the pictures to enlarge them)

let me just start with Avery's bow collection. She rarely leaves home without a bow or two in her hair. These are just the regular bows, not the holiday bows, because they have a separate storage place.
Avery's closet. Her shoes are in that basket on the shelf because if they were on the floor she would take them out and put them on (or ask us to) over and over again.

My nemesis, her bookshelf. 
Her room in its normal state. Yes, yes, she still has a crib in her room. I know she is ready for a big girl bed but I am not. I have a toddler bed in the garage that needs to be painted to match the rest of her furniture and I am currently using that as an excuse for why she is still in the crib. But the truth is that once we move her out of it she will never go back. I will have to admit that she is officially a big girl and I am not ready to do that. She has never tried to escape and she is such a good sleeper that we've been able to keep her bumpers in all this time so I am going to keep things as-is for now. Don't worry, though, she won't be sleeping in her crib when she starts kindergarten.  (probably)

Jack's closet. Notice the blankets all folded in a stack there. A touch of OCD. Not enough OCD to spill over into my own room, though. You may also be able to tell that he has significantly less in his closet than she does. Boys clothes are fine but they don't hold a candle to the cute things for girls. 
The rest of Jack's room. You'll notice the humidifier on the floor due to his constant tendency to get sick. We just keep in there so it is handy when we need it, which is just about every week. 

So now you know; you don't need to call Child Protective Services!

And finally, a full view of our room. Sigh. To answer some questions--no, you don't need to call hazmat. Yet. It has been building to this point since right after Christmas. I want to point out that Jack got sick on January 2nd and has been sick ever since. It's not against my religion to have a clean room. It was clean for a long time, especially when our house for sale. I'm not sure when, but it will be clean again soon and I will post a new picture then. you go!

I still haven't taken a picture of the garage but it is on my to-do list for this weekend. We'll see. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The One That Would Make Ralph Waldo Emerson Cringe

My dad loves to sit outside and enjoy nature (and bad cigars) every day. He has a comfortable furniture set outside that he spent tons of time picking out and he watches TV, reads the newspaper and works the crossword puzzles all day long. There are some fans out there to keep him cool in the hot Texas summers and I think he would consider it to be perfect if only he could move his desktop computer outside and play his solitaire from the comfort of his back porch. It is his favorite retirement resort.

That is, it was his favorite spot until that "nature" he enjoys so much started talking back. I guess all those tree houses he built for the backyard a couple of years ago have ended up attracting actual birds who saw the tree in the backyard as the perfect place to live, given its proximity to the free food and all. Apparently those birds make noises that disrupt the sounds of his TV and the cars on the toll road about 1000 feet from my parent's backyard and he wasn't going to take it anymore! 

So dad did what any good Texan would do in this case: he bought a bb gun.

Matt was actually the first person to notice the gun propped up against the cabinets in the kitchen. We were at dinner and here's how the conversation went:

Matt: So, Butch, did you get a new gun?

Dad: Yep! Just got it a few days ago.

Matt: um, why?

Dad: Those damn birds in the backyard were getting so loud. I got that gun to shoot them out of the tree. 

Matt: (looks at me and I look back and said telepathically, "he had a stroke, you know")

Aunt Debbie chimes in: it is just like Steel Magnolias!  (Matt gives her a blank look because, of course, he has never seen Steal Magnolias.)

Dad: I think word is spreading amongst the birds, too. None of them have returned and no new ones are nesting.

So, yeah. Dad is now shooting at the tree to scare the birds that he initially attracted with the bird houses because they are getting too loud. Isn't that always the way? You give an inch and they take a mile.

 Hopefully now he can listen to the TV (and the traffic on the toll road) and enjoy being outside without those pesky creatures of nature getting in his way. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Weekend

We're all still in a chocolate coma around here so the post is going to be light on words and heavy on pictures.

Our weekend started at the church associated with Avery's daycare. They had an Easter egg hunt and games. Our neighbors went with us. Do you think Avery is excited to be there, or what?
The girls showing off their balloon animals. Avery has a butterfly and E has a rabbit. Can you tell that Avery's hair is straight? I was able to get her to let me blow dry it straight thanks to my friend Lauren and her sneaky bedtime story. Avery is deathly afraid of turning into "Frizzy Lizzy!"
Here are the girls, with some of Avery's friends from school and their eggs after the big hunt. I just knew that all the fun and running around in the morning would mean that she would take a great nap but she tricked us and decided not to nap at all. After the night we had on Friday (the smoke detector going off and waking up both kids, Jack fighting a cold and Avery deciding that sleep is for the weak), we were pretty devastated that she didn't nap at all. I think kids can smell fear and exhaustion.
This shot was taken in the evening but you can see that it is still somewhat straight. Man that Lauren is a smart one. I wonder if she has any stories about little girls who whine too much...


Jack and Grammie before church. The funny thing about this picture is that my mom is physically incapable of taking a picture with her eyes open so when I was taking this shot she was really concentrating on not blinking. It makes me laugh every time. But look! It's an Easter Miracle!!! She kept them open. Sure, she looks a little freaky with her eyes! wide! open! but at least my kids will be able to look at this picture and actually tell what color her eyes are.

The 4 of us before church in my parent's house that felt more like an oven. It was really hot in there and that is making me think that my dad is starting to turn into my grandmother. The rest of us were burning up and he was talking about how cold it was. My grandmother used to wear a sweatshirt and jeans even when it was 85 degrees outside. If the calendar said winter, she was going to dress the part. It was sunny and in the 80s here on Sunday so I believe that we are now on the path to having my dad turn into his mother. The next thing you know he won't be able to figure out how to use the answering machine. 
The kids going through their Easter loot before Church.
Jack doesn't really understand what is going on and he didn't get to eat any candy so to him it was just another day. Except that he had to wear clothes whose colors are normally reserved for a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Sucker.

On another note, we are all going to hell for laughing at Avery's 2 year old vocabulary. Since we weren't sure that telling her the whole Easter story would really make sense in her mind, we kept it simple and told her that we were celebrating Jesus' Resurrection. She caught on to the big word pretty fast and said it correctly 2 or 3 times on the way to church. But afterwards when she was trying to show off that she knew why the church crowd had tripled its normal size, she proclaimed that we were celebrating "Jesus' erection!" Everyone got a big laugh out of it and Josh (who joined us for lunch) kept bringing it up in the most uncomfortable ways.

And for that, we are all going to hell. But Josh will definitely be leading the way.
Seriously, so yummy! 
Just like her mother, she was quick to put on the comfortable shoes after church.
If only I could get that shadow off his face. I hope it isn't Jesus hanging around to curse Avery for her potty mouth.
PRAISE THE LORD, I am walking! Kind of. Listen, 27 pounds is a lot to have to lug around so you can't really blame the guy for going slow with this steps.
At the end of the day when it was time for bed. They were so tired from the egg hunts, the good food, the new toys and of course all the candy. I think the truly miraculous thing is that this picture was taken at 7pm and they have not ruined their outfits.
She loved every bite of that candy, though. Next year Jack will get to participate more but this was definitely her best Easter ever.

Turns out it wasn't as light on words as I expected...but those who know me aren't surprised at all. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tonight at BookPeople

One of my favorite bloggers, Heather Armstrong of, was in Austin tonight to read from her new book, It Sucked and then I Cried

I'm not sure of the exact moment when I turned into the kind of person that would get excited by a book reading, but here I am. My high school self is currently mourning the loss of any "cool" that might have been left inside of me. I not only went to a book store to hear an author read from her book, I marked it on my calendar months ago. And recruited a friend to go with me. I might as well start wearing "mom" jeans.

My friend Micha went with me. We started at Z-Tejas for drinks and queso before the reading. I have to stop here and say how awesome it is to be able to write that sentence. Drinks! With friends! Like a normal person! I got to read the drink menu with the intent to order something! I had one and a half drinks in the 2 hours that we were there, which is still not much but it is a good start. I was beginning to feel the effects and decided to stop before I finished the second drink, especially given that we 1. got slightly lost on the way there and 2. I almost got hit by another car--his fault, I think--before we got there. I will work my way up to 2 drinks in 2 hours...eventually. 

I would like to add that Micha MADE FUN OF ME this morning when I told her that I wanted to get to the bookstore early to get a good seat. She mocked me openly. But when we got there at 6pm it was filling up fast. We got the last two seats together (there was a huge standing crowd by the time it started) and we were two of the last people to get wristbands for the first group to get their book signed. So Micha, you can suck it for making fun of me. 

Anyway, here are some shots from tonight.

Did I mention that Heather is 7 months pregnant? Poor thing on all of those airplanes and security checkpoints.
I was balancing the book on my head in honor of Chuck.
Heather with me and my chins. We'll discuss this later.
Heather and Micha. Look how artistic I am to get the books in the photo, too. 

We had a really good time (sigh) and I am so glad we went. (dear God you might as well take me out back and shoot me.)

Meanwhile, Matt was in charge of getting both kids to bed at the same time. It didn't go quite as well as he had hoped, especially with Jack. I guess now isn't a good time to talk to him about going to see a personal trainer on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7pm. I wonder if he'll notice if I just sneak out on those nights? Maybe he will just think I got lost in one of the piles in my bedroom. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You're Kidding, Right?

I am currently listening to Jack through his monitor. He is coughing up a storm. The amount of slime coming out of his nose is actually impressive. His temperature was 102.8 when I put him to bed tonight. That is down from the 103.1 temperature I took before his bath.

At least we know it isn't an ear infection since his tubes were put in with no problem yesterday morning. I think that we just have to resign ourselves to the fact that if there is a cold or virus within 100 miles of Austin Jack is going to catch it. But I have to tell you that it is extremely frustrating. He has only spent 1 full week at daycare ALL YEAR thanks to various illnesses that he has been fighting off left and right. It can't be fun for him and it is definitely not fun for us. I thought the tubes would stop the madness but apparently I was being too optimistic.

I just don't have anything funny to say about this topic because it is getting really old. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Know You Have Been To The Doctor Way Too Much When You Have Met Your Annual Deductible Before the End of March...

We are going to the hospital very early in the morning to have tubes inserted into Jack's ears so that he will QUIT GETTING SICK every other week. We had to do the same thing with Avery so it isn't so traumatic for us this time. Sure, there is reason to worry anytime your kid goes under general anesthesia, but we are much more laid back about it this time around. (I mean, seriously, raise your hand if you have had to get tubes in your kids ears. See. It's a lot of you.)

We are really hopeful that the tubes will help with his string of illness bad luck. He has been on some sort of antibiotic for about 80% of the year so far. And the really heartbreaking part for us is that he is still the happiest little guy most of the time. He is so laid back and content so we hate that he has been feeling bad for so long. I can't wait to see what he is like when he actually feels well!


Like all good Texans, we took our kids to the nearest patch of bluebonnets and made them take approximately 163 pictures. For those of you outside of the Lone Star State, bluebonnets are our state flower and they grow all over central Texas in the spring. All true Texans dating back to the invention of film have had their pictures taken in bluebonnets. If you ever meet a Texan on vacation in Europe please feel free to ask to see their bluebonnet pictures. They will have them. 

Since our kids are Native Texans, they will have pictures in the wildflowers around the state from every year of their lives. Except 2008 because Jack was a newborn during wildflower season and I just couldn't get my act together enough to get out of the house (or brush my teeth for that matter) so I missed it. 

Here's what happened when we took the kids out for pictures this year:

Avery liked it and actually cooperated somewhat with pictures. Don't get me wrong, she is still a 2 year old, but I did manage to get a few shots of her.
If you enlarge this shot you will see her knee is scraped with dirt already. We had been there for 1.2 seconds before she fell on her knees. 

This one is for Theresa. Finally a picture of me (and my boobs). Obviously dad's attempts to get them to look up worked...they just weren't looking up and at the camera. hmpf.
Jack's first bluebonnet experience. He wasn't sure what to make of them. It is against the law to pick them so we kept yelling "no! no!" when he started to reach for them. The last thing we need is to have to come up with bail money for this guy. 

Wardrobe change!! She was asking about where flowers come from. Always with the questions...WHO taught her to talk?
Then out of nowhere she started lifting up her dress. As if I was going to stop taking pictures because of this act of defiance. She clearly doesn't know who she is messing with.
Jack also survived the wardrobe change. It would have been nice if I could have actually taken some shots without the shadow on his face. Guess this means we will have to go out again next weekend.
This one is also for Theresa. Plus, Jack just looks cute with his hands up because he was saying "ta-da!" to the camera. My eyes are only halfway closed because I have two kids. AND I AM TIRED. 


Later on Saturday we went to an Easter egg hunt in the neighborhood. For the 0-3 year olds it isn't so much of a "hunt" as it is a "pick up off the ground." They don't even attempt to hide them. Which, if you ask me, is an insult to their intelligence. I mean, you could at least put some eggs behind rocks or something. All they did was lay a bunch of eggs on the ground RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN and then let the kids run out into the grass and put eggs in their baskets. Where's the challenge in that? If you ask me, we are raising a bunch of softees by not making them search harder for Easter eggs. 

Seriously? How hard is that? Eggs are EVERYWHERE. 

Jack managed to grab a few eggs during the hunt.
And here's Avery showing off her loot after the hunt was over. She was pretty proud of herself and I didn't have the heart to tell her that there isn't much skill involved in picking up eggs (in plain sight!) off the ground. Finding hidden eggs, on the other hand, is impressive. 

How are we going to cultivate a society in which people rent--or buy!--metal detectors and walk up and down the beach searching for coins that fall out of people's pockets? We are at risk of making this kind of behavior seem odd. I'm just sayin'.....

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Post That Will Make the Male Readers Uncomfortable

As you could tell from the pictures in my last post, I kind of have some trouble letting go of things. I still need to post a picture of my garage because it certainly illustrates what I mean. I have New Kids on the Block stuff from the 80s. I have school papers from 4th grade. I even have letters that my friends in Illinois mailed me when I moved to Texas. I have the binder we used to plan our wedding right next to a box of old sheets and comforters from our guest room that we had before Avery was born.

I have issues.

So you can understand that weaning Jack, most likely my last baby, from breast milk hasn't been as quick and easy as I expected. For me, not him. 

I quit nursing him 2 days after his first birthday. We planned our trip to Vegas and I knew that would be the perfect time for him to get used to going to bed with a bottle since I was going to be away. It worked for him just fine. He hasn't seemed to be bothered by the bottle at bedtime or when he wakes up in the morning. In fact, we have quickly moved on to a sippy cup since he is transitioning so well. 

I, on the other hand, am having trouble letting go. Not so much of nursing (anymore) since he is so over it. But I am still pumping each night and sending a bottle with him to daycare every day. It started simple enough--my body didn't automatically QUIT producing milk so I had to pump for comfort and I haven't stopped yet. It is naturally getting to be less and less each time and THAT is making me sad all over again. In a matter of a few weeks it will be over for good.

I think it is hard to give it up because nursing was so incredibly hard for me with both kids. I have friends who have absolutely no problems with it at all. No supply issues, no pain, no infections. That just wasn't the case for me. I can recall in the first 6-8 weeks with both kids that it would hurt so bad that my toes would curl. (And I won't even mention the bleeding) (or the infections--multiple) (or the embarrassment of airport closets) (or the exhaustion) (or the leaking. my God the leaking) (or the multiple trips a day to the Mother's Room at work when there were meetings and deadlines to hit) (or that my male boss liked to tease me about it--in a funny way, but still) (ha! see how I did that? Not bringing any of that up? ahem) Nursing was probably the hardest thing that I ever did and it feels like such an amazing accomplishment that I was able to keep it up for a year with both kids. With Jack I didn't even have to buy formula until he was more than 11 months old (thanks to a business trip).

Which is why watching it slowly come to an end is difficult. For so long I was the sole source of nutrition for my kids and now they don't need me at all for it. I liked that I was able to give them everything they needed. I worked damn hard to give them that and now I am having trouble letting that part of the parenting experience go.

Mother Nature is helping things along and pretty soon I won't have a choice in the matter. I get that. It is that looming invisible date that is kind of breaking my heart.

Of course, I am looking forward to wearing a real bra again! It's been 3.5 years. Women still wear those, right? :-)