Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Long Weekend = Long Post. But You Already Knew That, Didn't You

Oh, man. I need a vacation from my 3 day weekend. Matt had his annual guy trip to the Indy 500 which left me home alone with the kids for 3 days. Lucky for me my parents were around to lend a hand but I was stupid and used that free time cleaning my house (including my bedroom) and doing laundry. 

What an idiot!

Two weekends ago Matt and I went to Dallas to celebrate little Amanda's baptism and the plan was to take the kids up on Saturday and go to the Ft. Worth Zoo. Unfortunately it rained all day on Saturday so we scrapped that plan and went to Dallas early on Sunday instead. No zoo. Avery was a good sport about it, though. So when my mom suggested we take the kids to the San Antonio Zoo on Saturday morning, I thought it was a great idea. 

Then she said we'd leave around 8:30 and my enthusiasm started to fade. ugh. But we managed to get up and out the door early on Saturday and headed down to SA. It was hot. By 11am it was already well into the 90s with almost 100% humidity and no wind. It was like walking through a wet sponge. There is no amount of tank top/shorts combination that can keep you cool in that kind of weather. We were all feeling it, and unfortunately for us, so were the animals. 

There were some interesting sights at the zoo. Here are a few of my observations:
Why would you bring a dog to the zoo? Was she trying to scare this dog into thinking that it could spend the rest of its days behind a fence with hundreds of strangers gawking at it all day? And, why does she have the dog wrapped in a baby blanket? I think what we have here is a woman with issues. 
The other thing I noticed as I looked around the zoo was all of the cowboy (or in this case, cowgirl) hats. Every other person was wearing one, which is how you know you are in Texas. In case you needed that reminder. Because we are 4 hours from the nearest border (which is Mexico, not another US state) so we most definitely know we're in Texas. But I digress....

Here are the kids when we got to the zoo. So much hope. So much optimism. So naive. 

This is Jack taking a closer look at the fish. Fish! How exotic! Good thing we went all the way to the zoo, paid $30 to get in and braved the heat so that the kids could get a good look at some damn fish.  We want to see some real animals! How about some zebras? Or lions? Or elephants! Where are those...
...looking the other way. And it stayed that way the entire time we were standing there. We never got a look at the elephant's face. No trunk shots. No cute Dumbo ears. Just elephant ass. Glad we strolled up that hill and then down the really narrow passage with our strollers to see such a sight.

The other animals were all laying around in the shade or inside the exhibit rather than out where we could see them because it was so! damn! hot. We did get to see some monkeys poop and a giraffe walking around but otherwise they were some of the laziest animals I have ever met.

Both kids slept the entire way home, which was nice, and it was clear they had a good time. Jack had a lot of energy to expend before bedtime so it was a good thing that he was at Grammie's house and not mine! 

On Sunday we went to Sunday School and then Avery came right home and took a nap immediately (very uncharacteristic) because she was excited to go to a Round Rock Express ball game that afternoon. (please don't call it a baseball game. It is a BALL game. Just ask Avery....)
At the baseball game, my parents gave Avery the following food: cotton candy, candied pecans, funnel cake and a snow cone. Clearly my parents hate me because when they brought her back to me she was bouncing off the walls. Luckily she only had a bite or two of each thing and spilled most of everything so she didn't have a stomach ache. When I asked her what she liked most about the ball game she said, "the music." ha!

That night we made dirt cake that we shared with some neighbors. 
Here is Avery posing with the dirt cake before we ate it. She was pretty impressed with herself. 

On Monday Avery went for a bike ride with my neighbor and his daughter. He pulled them in the bike trailer while he was on a light version of his regular morning ride. At first Avery didn't understand why she couldn't ride her own bike but when our neighbor came over to show her the trailer she was definitely excited! She was fascinated by his bike helmet and biker shorts. It was hilarious to see her face. I think she thought he was some kind of super hero. 

We spent the rest of the day on Monday playing outside in the pool and cooking out at my parent's house. Here are some shots of that. 
She refuses to just smile for a picture. She'll regret that one day when we are putting her slide show together for her wedding and she looks like a fool in every shot. It will be then that I will say, "I told you so!"
Jack was doing a great job pushing the toys around the back yard. These trunks are sized 12-18 months and my 14 month old boy is spilling out of them. This will be the last time he wears them, which is too bad because it was also the first time he wore them. I got them on sale at the end of last summer and I guess I forgot that he is a big boy and will continue to be a big boy. 
Avery was cute holding jack and going down the slide into the pool together. 
This is Jack eating some watermelon and blowing me kisses. 
And this is when we knew the day was over. It took me literally 3 minutes to put him to bed last night. 

Matt got home from his trip last night and must have thought he was in the wrong house when he went into our bedroom and it was totally clean. I give it 5 days before it is messed up again. It will be at least that long before Matt's suitcase is unpacked and back in the garage.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well Thank Goodness That is Over

Since my dad has been gone on vacation for 2 weeks to visit my brother's family, Avery has been....oh, how do I say this nicely?  CRAZY.  Specifically the bat shit variety of crazy.

She is used to going over to my parent's house every day after school and staying past dinner so when we messed with her precious schedule she made us pay. Here are some of the pleasures we have had during the last 2 weeks:
  • she has deliberately peed on her floor while looking me in the eye. 
  • she hit Matt in the face 3 times
  • oh, and then there was the time she ran around the parking lot at daycare screaming and refusing to get into our car. Cars had to stop and wait to park until I caught up with her and carried her kicking and screaming to the car. 
  • refused to put on shorts so I wouldn't let her go to the grocery store with me. She ran out of our house chasing after me down the driveway--in her underwear. Screaming and crying and snot flying everywhere. (for the record, I still didn't take her to the store)
  • refusing to get dressed most mornings. I have grown to hate mornings. She wakes up so happy and then when we have the nerve to ask her to put clothes on for school she freaks out.
  • oh dear Lord the crying. The falling to the floor. The whining. The screaming. You get the idea.
  • she has turned into little miss SASS lately. And she knows it. 
  • suddenly her ears have stopped working because she definitely doesn't hear me when I tell her anything.
Lucky for us my dad is home now and hopefully she will fall back into her routine soon. I don't anticipate her automatically turning back into a human but I hope it happens in the next week or two. I have had just about enough of the creature that has taken over her body.

Who, me?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

We had an exhausting weekend. (bet you thought I was going to say great! wonderful! weekend.) Exhausting is more fitting.

My dad has been out of town for a week and mom has been working late so we have been adjusting to coming home and making dinner every night. I realize regular people are used to that but we aren't so it has been a little tiring. It's good to be with them at home so we can play in the neighborhood but they are so used to seeing my parents and it is very clear from Avery's behavior that they are off schedule. She is a creature of habit so not going over to my parent's house every night has made her difficult to deal with. 

To say the least. 

Despite the fact that we would have both preferred to sleep for 2 years straight, we woke up early on Saturday and we were out of the house by 8:30 heading to a farm about an hour away to pick strawberries. We had been using this trip as the "carrot" to get Avery to behave for 3 days and our threats of not going seemed to do the trick when we needed them to. We had to hold up our end of the deal or we would have lost all credibility. Even if it was hot and humid outside. (seriously. don't mean to be a complainer but IT IS ONLY MAY!)

Avery started asking if we were there yet when we were only 10 miles outside of town. SHE'S ONLY 2!! I thought we had a few more years before that started.

Here are some shots from our time on the farm:

Avery feeding Jack strawberry ice cream. She was giving him the tiniest bites possible to qualify as sharing. C for credit.
Jack had no fear with the goats. I didn't let him touch them, though. I didn't want to take any chances of him getting sick. Because let's be honest...he doesn't exactly have the best immune system. 
Avery picking strawberries. She loved it. She really liked to hold the basket and pick out the ripe strawberries but she wasn't a fan of actually pulling the strawberry off the bushes once she saw bugs around the bushes. 
Jack had a hard time waiting to eat the strawberries until we got home and rinsed them. 

We were out of there by 11 and on our way home to the sweet comfort of air conditioning. It's the simple things, really.

The kids and I spent the rest of the afternoon playing inside while Matt did yard work. In that heat. You should have smelled him. ACK.
Avery twirled around the house in a tutu during the afternoon. She likes to pretend that she is in ballellet class (she adds an extra set of L's). Funny since she was always so afraid in actual ballet class...
Jack has fun no matter where he is. He played in the laundry basket while I folded clothes and Avery danced all over the place. 

We all stayed in on Saturday night, mostly due to the lack of energy and babysitter to do anything else. And I couldn't wait until Mother's Day because Matt was making homemade cinnamon rolls for me!


Here is a picture of the cinnamon rolls that Matt made this morning. Bless his heart. He worked so hard on these. 

I should probably stop and say that Matt has started peeking at my blog every once in a while. Which makes things a little tricky for me. Here's what I'll say about the cinnamon rolls: they looked and smelled terrific! And the outside of the rolls were great. 
(ahem, but if Matt didn't read my blog I would probably say something along the lines of: it really helps if you read the directions and follow them exactly. Especially the first time you make something. You aren't a Top Chef yet. And also, check to see if they are fully cooked before you coat them in icing. But it was incredibly thoughtful of him to try.) You know, but I would only say those things to you guys, not Matt. :-)

I taught Sunday School this morning and then Matt arranged for my mom and me to go to the Central Market Cooking School for Mother's Day Brunch. It was amazing. And perfect. And so nice of him to do that for us.

After brunch, we came home and made some frozen banana treats with the kids. Jack was really into it. 
He almost ate an entire banana by himself, which is a lot for a little guy. There are no pictures of Avery doing this activity because she hated it. Poor Matt thought it would be such a fun thing to do with the kids and as soon as he started coating the first banana with honey Avery freaked out. She ended up just wanting to go over to Grammie's house to play in the kiddie pool instead. Nice try, Matt. 

These are the flowers that Avery's Godfather sent me. I love them! And if Avery doesn't stop acting like a "terrible 2" soon, he will get to experience the joy of having her around much more often because I am going to play the "Godparent" card and drop her off at his house! 

(kidding. I wouldn't do that to poor Josh.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Things like that just don't happen in real life

When I was watching TV the other day I saw a commercial for a moving company. It showed the mom and dad thinking of how wonderful and easy the moving company was as they are in the car on the way to their new home in a different state. Then it showed the teenage son and a voice-over saying, "hmm, I wonder what cheerleaders in Florida wear." All I was thinking when I saw that commercial was how unrealistic that teenage thought was.

I was a junior in high school when my parents moved to Texas. At the time I think it was probably the worst thing that ever happened in my life. Looking back, even though I know it all worked out, it still boggles my mind that I had to leave the friends that I had my whole life right at the peak of my adolescence. And worse, I think, was that I moved from a small town where I knew everyone and they all knew me to a much bigger city and a school that wasn't used to getting new kids. The kids in my class had all grown up together and there wasn't much room for a new person in any of the groups. It was pretty awful.

I'm not saying that there weren't nice people, because there certainly were. But that was mostly at church where we had kids from 3 of the high schools in the area. There were no kids at church that were in my grade at my school. Talk about living for the weekend!

On the first day of school in Texas I sat all by myself at lunch. It was a huge blow. First because I would have never let that happen at my old school in Illinois if a new kid showed up and second because I had gone from having lots of friends and options for lunch to nothing at all. Things were even worse for me than I expected.

I went straight home that night and begged my mom to let me move back "home." I said that I would live with my friends (without ever asking them, of course, but I was desperate). I know that my mom felt bad for me and tried to understand what I was going through but she also knew that there was no way she was going to allow me to return "home" to Illinois. Frankly, we were all lonely and missing Mascoutah. We weren't prepared for just how much that place was a part of us.

The only things that got me through that first year away from Mascoutah were letters from my two closest friends, Theresa and Liz. Theresa sent letters all the time (remember letters?!? wow that makes me seem old). Sometimes I would get several a week from her. She would also send tapes of her talking or whatever music she was listening to at the time. I would send notes back, too, usually about how different kids in Texas were from what I was used to. In the land of football, all the guys are huge and the girls seemed so much more worldly than I was. It was all very strange. Liz would send big cards that made me laugh. I pretty much ran to the mailbox every day after volleyball or softball practice. I visited several times that year, even attending the homecoming dance my senior year with all my friends back home.

I quickly found people to sit with at lunch but I did not make lifelong friends with anyone from my Texas high school. I can barely remember many of the kid's names.

When I was a senior in Texas I met a guy through a friend at church that ended up being my first love. We dated until our senior year of college and I have very few memories of those years that don't include him. Even though we didn't go to the same high school, having him close made my senior year much more bearable.

But it definitely wasn't the same as having all of the senior rites of passage with friends that had been around my whole life. Theresa and Liz did their best to keep me informed of everything going on at home--even including me in the senior yearbook for Mascoutah--but I longed to be there with them enjoying prom and graduation with all of the people that I had grown up with. I knew them and they knew me all the way back to first grade. I remember when Laura had a brain tumor in the 6th grade and when Flora's foot got run over by a car in the 4th grade while we were riding bikes at the park. I know about all of their first kisses and they know about mine. It's wonderful to still have them all as part of my life. I just always wonder what it would have been like to finish high school with everyone that I was so close to.

Of course, everything worked out in the long run. I had a wonderful group of friends from church that went to the same college that I went to. I made lots of great friends at UT; people that I am still close with today. I travelled to a lot of great places as a flight attendant after college. And most importantly, I met my husband in a town that I was just temporarily living in as a flight attendant. I can't say that my life would have taken the same path had I stayed in Illinois. I'll never know for sure, but I doubt it.

I don't go to high school reunions with the people from my school in Texas. The great news is that I do go to the reunions with my friends from Illinois. I am still very close with several friends from Mascoutah and I am in touch with many, many of them thanks to social networking sites. Being able to talk to these people whenever I want feels like a warm hug.

One thing I do know for sure: I was definitely NOT thinking about what the damn cheerleaders in Texas wear as I was driving to my new house. That commercial is total BS.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Updated: Why is it so hot already?

It has been 90ish for the past week. Tomorrow it will be 95 degrees. And the worst part is the humidity. It isn't normally this humid in Austin so we are all kind of suffering a little. I don't mind 95 when it is dry outside--and when it is July, not May--but this crazy heat has to go. Just being outside while the kids are playing is miserable.

Tomorrow my team from work is going to play kickball against a few other teams. I was excited to play when we planned it a few weeks ago but now that it is going to be ridiculously hot and humid I am not as excited. Hopefully we will have a good breeze.

This whole global warming thing kind of sucks. 

Updated: our team lost. 2 out of 2 games. To the SCHEDULING team and the PROGRAMS team at work. There isn't a more humiliating defeat than that. Several of their players only weighed 38 pounds based on the size of their legs.

 (aside: seeing work friends out wearing athletic clothes is a little awkward. All the skin that is normally covered by dress pants is exposed. It isn't always such a good thing).

I'm not sure how we will all be able to show our faces at work tomorrow but I will say that what we lack in kickball ability we make up for in fun. No one had more fun than we did out there in the ridiculous humidity. And in the end, that's all that really matters!

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Must Read This!

Any Jen Lancaster fans out there? If you aren't familiar with her work, do yourself a huge favor and check out one of her books: Such a Pretty Fat, Bitter is the New Black and Bright Lights, Big Ass. 

Hilarious! You know, if you are into that whole laughing thing. 

Anyway, her newest book, Pretty in Plaid, is coming out tomorrow. I can't wait to read it! I hope you find her as funny as I do. I read her blog and she never fails to crack me up.

My friend Micha was actually the person to clue me in to Jen's work. I guess that means I owe her one. Dammit. I hate that. 

Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Melissa and Stan's Baby Shower

On Saturday night we threw a couple's baby shower for our friends Melissa and Stan. They are expecting their first baby, a girl to be named Denali, in early July. Since Stan is from Alaska (which is where Denali gets her name from) and Melissa is from Texas, we decided to have some fun with the theme. 

Denali will have a purple butterfly room so we incorporated purple butterflies as well. We had a ton of fun preparing for this shower. We are all so happy that they will be blessed with a precious daughter in just 8 more weeks. Here are some photos from the party.

We gave Mel these slippers. I had a pair similar to these with each of my kids and I loved them. I hope they bring a smile to her face during her stay in the hospital. 

When they were opening gifts for Denali it was as if Stan had never seen any of the baby items before. Melissa was explaining what to do with everything. Good thing he is a fast learner! 
Melissa and me hanging out in after a long night. Most of the guests left around 1am. How many baby showers can say that?!
This is our Sarah Palin Pinata. You know, because she is the governor of Alaska. That's all. I mean, it just fits with our theme. Nothing personal. (but don't think it didn't feel good to hit that pinata with a bat! 
Here's Mel warming up for the pinata. And here's Stan wacking it hard enough to get all the candy out! He felt bad for being the 2nd person to hit it and knocking all the candy out so he asked that we tape it back together. ha!

Next we played Pin the tail on Rick Perry (the Gov. of Texas). It took about 6 people before we hit the bulls eye, but it was a lot of fun to watch people try. 

Our party favors--purple, of course!
One of the cakes we had. The bakery did a great job! In keeping with the Alaska/Texas theme we also served "Alaskan" crab salad, salmon, brisket, and Texas 7-layer dip. We started the night with an Exxon Valdez chocolate fountain but the motor died and we ended up with a fondue oil spill instead. 
Of course we had purple flowers all over the place. It was a lot of fun picking them all out and Josh was really helpful with arranging the flowers (it helps to have vases with holes in them)!