Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sea World

We took the kids to Sea World on Saturday because our friend, Morgan, was in a dance competition there. She's 10 so I was expecting ballet or tap or jazz dancing. When we got there at 9am (before the park opened, which was cool), we sat down to watch the performances before hers just to see what she was up against. The first thing we noticed was the really loud bass we could hear from at least 50 yards away. I wondered if my kids would be bothered by the volume but they didn't complain at all. I think they were both enthralled by the dancers.

The group that went right before Morgan's team started dancing to a 50 Cent song. Then they started grinding. Then their outfits turned into nothing more than very short shorts and a sports braw. With sparkles, of course. I had a hard time picking my jaw up from the floor when two 8 year old girls started grinding each other. All I was thinking was, "Oh Goodness! What are we here to support?!?!" But just as I was nudging Matt and giving him the OMG look, Morgan's mom quickly turned and told us that Morgan's team is a Christian dance group and they are all fully clothed with cute songs. Whew.

I mean, I'm not naive to the fact that dance teams can be provocative. I just didn't realize it started with 5 year olds. But I saw it with my own eyes. There were several groups from around Texas, including my home town, with teams of 5 year olds competing wearing just slightly more than a bikini. I just can't imagine what those Saturday morning classes look like. Does the teacher stand in front of these pre-schoolers and show them how to thrust their hips while putting their arms behind their heads? I guess so because that is exactly what they were doing.

It was wild, to say the least. Here are some pictures of the more innocent parts of the day.

Jenna carrying Avery while we were waiting for the trophy ceremony. Morgan's team won Grand Champion and Morgan got 1st Place for a dance duet she performed. I figure they won not just because they were good at their dances but also because you didn't feel like you needed a shower after watching.
Jack LOVED LOVED LOVED the animal shows. He kept saying, "wow!" and "awesome!"
Jenna was so great with both kids. She is Morgan's little sister and since she isn't on the dance team, she was happy to play with Avery and Jack all day. I loved that she didn't mind being with the little ones even though she is so much older than they are. Here she was climbing up the rope (like a crab net) and then sliding down a big slide.
We were able to feed the dolphins in between dance routines. It was neat to touch their heads and get them to swim by us over and over.
Even Little Miss Scaredy enjoyed the dolphins. You can't really tell from the look on her face but she really did love it. She even touched one (accidently, I think) as it swam by.
She also loved the dancers. She remembered Morgan's friends names even though she just met them on Friday night. She thought they were all celebrities. They loved her right back, too. They held her and ran over to her a lot. They even sat with her while they were watching the other teams dance. It was so cute to see that.
Here's Jack asking Morgan what all that stuff was on her face after she was done with her duet dance. He was confused by the shiny make up. Morgan looked so cute (and fully dressed) all day. She was really impressive.
Jack also enjoyed stuffing his face with popcorn. He had Jason (Morgan's brother) cracking up because he kept putting popcorn in his mouth with two hands. Then he would laugh and they would all fall out. Pretty gross but boys obviously love that kind of thing.
Jack clapped and laughed at all the shows. It was neat to see how much he enjoyed himself. He would randomly just shout out, "HAPPY!" throughout the day.
Here we are at the end of a VERY long day. The weather was beautiful and we all managed to avoid sunburns. We went back to the hotel afterwards and made s'mores at the campfire. I wish I had taken pictures of that because we all really enjoyed it. Somehow I managed to forget to take my camera out to the fire both nights.

We had two very long days that ended way past the kids bedtime but they were both really great. Even without naps they managed to stay in great moods. Morgan, Jenna and Jason were great companions for the kids. We heard lots of giggles out of all of them during the weekend. I'm glad it was such a good experience and we look forward to going again sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lazy Post

I feel like I am living on a treadmill lately--constantly moving but getting nowhere. I've been busy but when I try and think of what has kept me so busy, I come up blank. I have some posts that I want to write--like about Jack's 1 year stats that I didn't post last month, and about how raising a toddler and pre schooler is so different than when he was a baby. But for now I will just post some pictures of wild flowers. Because there is nothing better than springtime in Texas.

I laugh at you while I mock you for trying to take a good picture.
Jack saw Avery taking pictures with her chin resting on her hands so he copied her. He just didn't keep the pose very long so I couldn't get a good picture.

I never managed to get him looking at the camera, but I do like that this picture shows his crazy hair. He needs a haircut; I just have issues with those kinds of things. The last time he got his picture taken he went from looking like a baby to looking like a boy. I'm afraid to do that again.

The kids didn't cooperate for any pictures of them together. Again. Thanks to the continuous shoot mode on my camera, however, I was able to get these shots of them hugging each other.


There really is nothing better than seeing all of the wildflowers in Texas in the Spring. I wish my pictures could do them justice.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Didn't They Make A Bad Movie With This Same Premise in the 80s?

Our doctor's appointment today was free. Not because of the new health care law. It doesn't actually work that way. :-) We had to take Avery for a follow up appointment with her eye doctor. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I've written extensively about these appointments in the past. They are a necessary evil--with lots of emphasis on the evil.

It takes 2 months to get an appointment with our doctor; much longer if you want an early morning appointment. We were told to come back in April for a follow up but the soonest we could get a morning appointment was June. We settled for an afternoon appointment so that we could stick to the regular cadence for her exams.

I had a meeting at work that was scheduled to go until 4 so Matt drove Avery to the appointment and I met them there. I knew it wouldn't be a problem if I was 20 minutes late because we have never been called back that quickly in the 2+ years we have been going to this doctor. So I wasn't surprised at all when I got there at about 4:25 and they were still in the waiting room.

We remained in the waiting room until 5:10 when the nurse called us back to the exam room. We laughed when she apologized for the long wait since it was perfectly normal for the scheduling team at that office to be completely inept. Frustrating, yes. Unusual, no.

The nurse did the sight test and told us that Avery's sight had improved since our last visit, which was exciting news to us! Then she told us that the doctor would be in to see us in a few minutes. That was at 5:25 pm.

At 6:10--more than 2 hours after our appointment time--I thought Matt's head was going to pop right off of his neck because of all the steam coming out of his ears. I figured it might be a good idea to go to the reception station and find out how much longer we should expect to wait for the doctor. When I went out there I saw the doctor standing at the desk with his back to me. At the same time, Avery called out to me from the room asking when the doctor was coming in. When he heard that, he turned around with an obviously shocked look on his face.

And that's when he said that he had no idea we were in the exam room. Everyone else in the office had gone home. HE HAD HIS JACKET ON and was also getting ready to leave.

Since I could tell from the look on Matt's (now very red) face that he wasn't going to say anything nice, I quickly responded to the doctor before Matt had a chance to. I told him that we had been waiting for more than 2 hours and that it was 1 hour past our 3 year old's normal dinner time. I couldn't believe that the nurse (and everyone else in the damn office) had left without letting him know we were in there.

He responded that 3 year olds are quick to get "ants in their pants" so he was sorry to leave us waiting for so long. "ANTS IN THEIR PANTS?" Really? I think we passed the "ants in their pants" stage at about 4:30, thankyouverymuch. I don't think you get to act so blasé about something like that WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR JACKET ON to go home. The man was leaving the office. If I hadn't gone out there to ask how much longer it was going to be, we might have been locked in the office.

I couldn't believe this had happened. I was so angry that I just wanted to leave but we had been there over 2 hours and there was no way I was leaving without finding out what was going on with Avery's eyes and what the next steps in her treatment plan were going to be. Of course, I was also wondering if I should even be listening to a man who didn't even realize that we were in that room the whole time. Luckily Matt just sat quietly because I knew what was running through his mind and it was nothing I wanted Avery to hear him say.

The doctor did her eye exam and told us that we can begin weaning her off the patch each month so that by June she won't need to wear one anymore. He wants to have her vision checked again in 4 months. I can't imagine going through this again in 4 months. I certainly don't think I can be nice about the way that office is run anymore. There have just been too many bad experiences with his staff and this is most definitely the icing on the cake.

When he finished he told us that we will not be charged our co-pay for the visit. I guess picking up the $30 tab was his way of apologizing for his staff's mistake. I laughed and shook my head, "thanks, I think." I mean, there was no one there to take the money and the computers were all shut down. I don't think we could have paid even if he wanted us to.

I guess I should just be glad that we weren't locked in the office. I'm still shaking my head over the experience. This wasn't exactly the way we wanted the whole "free health care" thing to play out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Springtime in Texas

One of the most beautiful gifts nature could ever give starts to pop up all over the sides of roads and in fields throughout Texas about this time every year. Some years are better than others based on the rainfall and temperatures we have in the winter. This year is one of the most exceptional wildflower seasons we have had in a long time. I wish everyone could visit Texas for the next few weeks because flowers are everywhere and you can't help but smile when you see them.

As is tradition in Texas, we took the kids for the annual pictures in bluebonnets. And as is tradition in my family, at least one of my children did not cooperate for pictures at all. This is how it normally goes:

1. I get high hopes that THIS IS OUR YEAR and maintain an unrealistic level of optimism.
2. We get to the flower field and the kids start running around and screaming.
3. One of them sticks their thumb in their mouth when I try and get them to look at the camera.
4. Matt doesn't take direction very well.
5. One kid will get in pictures with Matt while the other one runs around wildly.
6. Matt keeps sunglasses on, which only works if you are Usher. Then rolls eyes when I tell him to take them off.
7. We attempt to get a family picture and one kid is throwing a fit or crying. Said kid thinks it is funny to ruin pictures.
8. We try and take pictures of the children together and one or both end up in tears. Generally our pictures are of them running away from the spot that we tried to put them so we could take a quick shot.
9. I start to get sweaty from all the frustration. And the running around.
10. I question why we even came at all and Matt says something about how he "told me so."
11. We go home and I look through approximately 200 pictures to find only 3 that are any good at all. sigh.

See if you can tell which kid wasn't cooperating this year....

Avery: look how perfect I am acting, mom. Cheeese!
At least we got three of us in the same frame. The thing is, I'm not sure I like the look on Jack's face. He is definitely up to something.

My suspicions were correct. That little guy is stronger than he looks. He tackled us both before I could even do anything to stop it.
Avery: look mom! I'm still doing great. Need me to smile standing up? I can do that.
Sadly, the only time he was this smiley was when he was laughing at our pain and frustration.
Jack: I will not look at your silly camera no matter what you try and bribe me with. I cannot be bought, woman!
Jack: ok, picking me up will make me laugh but as soon as you put me down I will go from happy to whiny in 1.2 seconds. Don't underestimate me, people.
Jack: You might think you can contain me with your arms but I will still refuse to look at the camera. And then I will escape and run around killing innocent flowers. You wouldn't want any flowers harmed, would you?
Not exactly a picture we can frame and put on the mantel. sigh.
Uh-oh. Jack's kryptonite. He loooves his Poppa. He can't help but be happy around him. But even Poppa couldn't get Jack to smile and look at the camera at the same time.
After Jack gives kisses he shakes his head and says, "I got all your sugar!" which makes me smile every single time.
And here they go...running from the perfect spot I sat them in so they don't have to actually take a picture together. You would never know from pictures but these two really do get along well.
And finally, Avery with Grammie. I need to say here that these pictures were planned and Grammie was told well in advance. She knew there would be a camera and she knew Avery would want a picture with her. I can't be held responsible for posting these pictures of her without make-up. I gave her all the information and she chose to show up au natural. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just sayin'...I don't want to see any complaints in the comments, that's all.

So there you have it. Our attempt at bluebonnets in 2010. Whew. I'm glad that's over.

Next year, though. NEXT YEAR IS OUR YEAR.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

We had a busy Easter weekend around here. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday but Sunday wasn't as great. It was in the 80s but it was soooo humid and cloudy. Kind of made it miserable to be outside, which was unfortunate for us because we planned to have brunch at an outdoor restaurant. Of course, the weather turned out to be the least of our worries because Jack + sitting still = not happening. Here's how the day played out.

The Easter bunny came to see the kids but they had spent the night at Grammie's house so we headed over there with plenty of time before church so the kids could check out their loot. They found swim suits, Princess/Handy Manny cups, Szu Szu pets, My Little Pony and a little candy in their baskets.

After we got the kids ready for church I wanted to take a few pictures because I knew they would have themselves totally messed up in a matter of minutes. Jack decided he didn't want to participate in pictures at Easter this year

(note to Jack: if you are reading this in 20 years and wondering why you aren't in any of these pictures, it is because you were being a pain in the ass and I decided it wasn't worth the fight.)

(note to CPS: saying that he is being a pain in the ass is the nicest way I could think of to describe this phase of his life.)

Moving on.
Avery was willing to take pictures but I mistakenly allowed her to chew gum while she was getting dressed. That turned out to be a bad idea when I started looking at the pictures. You can tell from her hair that it is super humid outside because we could not control the curls.
She was a really good sport to take so many pictures with us. It's nice that we will have pictures of at least one of our children from Easter. *ahem*
We just weren't able to get it together for a group shot. We all sort of look strange in every picture. This one is a good example. Something is very odd about my arm, Avery's smile is painful and Matt looks like he was out drinking too late last night.

I would like to state for the record that Avery went to Sunday School all by herself today and there were no tears. That's the first time she has ever done that. Hopefully this is the start of a new drama-free phase with her.

After church we went to the Oasis for brunch. This seemed like a good idea when we planned it--when the weather was gorgeous. It was really humid, hazy, hot and sort of rainy today, though, so it wasn't at all worth it. One thing I always forget about the Oasis is that the food is pretty bad. We keep going there for the drinks and the view, neither of which we were able to enjoy today. Plus, Jack hates high chairs so he was no fun to be around during lunch. I was pretty much ready to leave about 4 minutes after we got there. At least we had good company and some good laughs.
I love this picture because it really sums up the misery of the lunch. Our hair is ridiculous thanks to the drizzle, Jack is acting like a fool, my mom is wondering why we are even taking a picture given the way Jack is acting, and I am just hoping Jack blocks the wind from blowing my dress up.
Jack did seem to respond well to Josh, though. I just call Josh the Baby Whisperer sometimes because he always seems to get my kids to calm down.
Josh walked Jack around so he would stop being such a fussy boy. It worked.
Avery obviously loves him, too!
Jack was asleep before we made it to the main road back home. I guess running around and ruining other people's lunch is exhausting.

After the kids woke up from their nap we had an Easter Egg hunt. Avery was much more into it than Jack was. They had very different ideas of what these eggs were for...
Avery's thinking, "YES! I am totally going to win! I will definitely find more than Jack will find."

Jack is thinking, "Hmmm, how can I destroy these eggs?"
Step 1: put the egg on the baseball tee.
Step 2: look around to see if anyone is going to stop him from hitting the egg off the tee.
Step 3: knock the egg off the tee and laugh hysterically. Rinse and Repeat.

His whole attitude changed once he knocked a plastic egg open and noticed there was candy inside. By then Avery had found almost all the eggs so he just stole some from her basket. There was screaming and crying and tons of whining, which is when we knew that our day was complete.

Happy Easter, everyone!