Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Pets

I don't know if it's because it's only available a couple of months out of the year, but this is the third time this year (okay, this month) that we have been to King's Orchard to pick strawberries.  It's just so much fun, and you come home with tired children who sleep all afternoon, and lots of strawberries.  Only this time we took Brandon with us, and Brandon is not known for doing things halfway.  

Keep in mind, this place has several ACRES of strawberries to pick.  I don't know if Brandon and the boys thought they had to pick ALL the red ones, but we somehow ended up with 15 pounds of strawberry perfection.  (Notice how I was obviously in no way responsible for over picking.  Hey.  It's my blog.)  So fun.  Here's our day's haul:
So far I have made 2 pies and we have eaten A LOT of strawberries.  Here's what Dane and Aidan did yesterday.  Please notice from these pictures that we are the only ones there.  How is this place not packed?  It is super fun.  Maybe they should rename it "Dane and Aidan's Orchard".
This is why we cannot leave Aidan alone with strawberries for too long:
Dane was very proud, and very excited to be there with his Daddy.

A quick story:

Dane and Aidan have this "bug house".  You know, one of those little wire houses with a little door so you can keep the bugs you find.  Every mother's dream, right?  Well, Dane and Aidan have been anxiously waiting to put ladybugs in their bug house, and King's Orchard is a great place to find them.  In addition to the 15 pounds of strawberries, we also left with 6 ladybugs.  (Those were free--the strawberries were not.  We also had to PAY for the 15 pounds.)  The boys were beyond excited about their new pets.  Dane had them all named before we got out of the parking lot.  What are their names?  I'm glad you asked.  We have:  Wills, Jax, Carsy, C.D.S., Kelsey, and Pars.  Apparently some of them are British ladybugs.  As if naming ladybugs wasn't weird enough, Dane actually knows who is who.  He will look in the bug house and say things like "Kelsey is hanging upside-down" and "I can see Wills--he's on the leaf" and "I think Pars must be taking a rest time"  (It doesn't look too good for Pars.)  I had to google what ladybugs ate, and I found out that they eat aphids and moist raisins..  I am so relieved they eat raisins.  I am fresh out of aphids.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cousin Pictures

Seriously.  They have other clothes.  Really, they do.  Here is a sampling of the cousin pictures we had taken at Target last Friday.  (This is where you oooh and aaah over my technical prowess and abilities to get a picture from a website, onto a disc, then to my hard drive, and finally to my blog.  With only one "help me" call to my brother.)  Target has great coupons where you can get about 40 or so prints for $7.99, as long as you just select one pose to buy.  Such a deal.  If you are in any way related to Dane, Aidan, and Joel, you can be probably be expecting these pictures to be coming your way next month.  So enjoy.

This is the picture we ended up buying:
Here's about what the rest of the pictures ended up looking like:
Sorry for the short post, I have to go figure out what to do with 15 pounds of strawberries before they go bad.  I think that will be tomorrow's post.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Easter from the Easter Bunny

Happy (belated) Easter!  I'm a bit late posting pics this week, sorry.  (It takes me over an hour to put this many pictures on my blog...a bit frustrating.)  Before you think that these blue striped shirts are the only shirts they own, let me assure you that these are simply their Easter shirts.  They had them on Friday for the Target pictures with Joel, so we have a lot of pics of them wearing them.  Sometimes we let them change clothes.

We had a great Easter, the boys got Easter baskets after nap time and had an egg hunt in the backyard.  Brandon picked Easter 2008 to inform our 4 year old that the Easter Bunny does not exist.  We have not mentioned much about the Easter Bunny this year anyway, because we have tried to emphasize the "meaning of Easter".  We simply told the boys that there would be Easter baskets and egg hunts after nap time.  Dane has never questioned the origin of the goodies.  But now that he knows, I'm sure he will waste no time educating his classmates and playgroup buddies all about the deception that happens every year on Easter Sunday.  Great.  As you can see from these pictures, Dane was absolutely devastated by the news.  Turns out, he doesn't really care who supplies the candy-stuffed eggs, bubbles, and Frisbees, as long his basket is filled faithfully every Easter Sunday.

I, too, learned a couple of things myself this Easter:
1.  When Dane is involved, egg hunting is a competitive sport.
2.  Sticky worms that I paid $1 for 10 of, are a bigger hit than new Spiderman sandals in the Easter basket.  (By the way, the worms stick on the ceiling if you throw them high enough.)
3.  Aidan throws a Frisbee better than Brandon (okay, maybe not better, but he is weirdly good at it for a 2 year old).

On another note, Happy Birthday Mom!  I am also 30 today.  30 years ago my mother had the most painful birthday on the planet.  Sorry about that, Mom.  My parents have a child who is 30.  This makes them significantly older than they were just yesterday.  I will spend this milestone birthday playing at the park with my boys and some friends, and then tonight the Dane and Aidan are staying home with a sitter while me and Brandon enjoy a birthday dinner at Carrabba's.  Life is good.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bubbles at the Park

This past Friday we caught up with Aunt Adrienne, Aunt Val, and Baby Joel for a picnic in the park.  Apparently, a lot of other people decided to go to the park on Friday, also.  I'm kind glad Spring Break is almost over.  I want my park back!  We were all having a fun time eating our sandwiches and chips, when Aunt Val pulled out the big bottle of bubbles.  What is more fun than bubbles for our 3 boys?  Well, nothing.  Okay, maybe if there were actually Ninja Turtles blowing the bubbles.  While riding in race cars.  And eating candy.  That would make bubbles more fun.  We never even made it to the playground--the bubbles were just too interesting.  I had the great idea that we would take some cute pictures of the cousins together, but this was as close as we got.

Brandon and I have discussions about who our children look like.  Dane resembles me and my side of the family, while Aidan, well, just see for yourself.  Check out these pictures of Aidan and his Aunt/Twin/Doppelganger Adrienne.
This one is Aidan trying to catch flies with his giant tongue.  Seriously.  Have you ever seen a tongue that huge on a kid?
Here is Dane experiencing the exquisite joy that is having bubbles blown directly in your face.  It's very fun, apparently.
Sweet Joel had this expression on his face most of the day.  I think he may have been a bit overwhelmed by all the cousins.
We also did "Cousin Pictures" at Target on Friday.  They turned out very cute.  If I can figure out how, I will post them on the blog (did I mention I'm less than competent on this computer)?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!  Pictures of Easter will be here in a couple of days.  I'm running a bit behind.  Have a great week!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Camp Pappy highlights

Here's a few cute photos from Dane and Aidan's very fun days with their grandparents.  

I think my dad wishes he never bought the Sponge Bob fishing pole.  Now a fishing trip accompanies almost every visit...  Nonetheless, here is Aidan with his first catfish.
Dane and his MoMo:
(I have a picture of Aidan and his MoMo, but it's vertical and I haven't figured out how to make it horizontal.)

Not sure who took this picture, but I couldn't resist how cute Aidan looks:
Not to be outdone in the cute department:

We went to the park today with Baby Cousin Joel, so more pictures coming soon!

Have a very Happy Easter!  As Dane explains Easter:  "The cross is just regular.  There's no Jesus on it anymore because He is alive!"  Amen!  

(He's not exactly sure what the Easter bunny has to do with this, but as long as there is candy stuffed eggs involved, he's all about a celebration.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I am having a date this afternoon with my new friend Mac.  He's very pale and very thin, and I am enjoying him quite a bit.  In fact, he's in my lap right now.  Yes, folks, I am no longer a PC gal.  I am a Macgal.  Being consistently 5 or 6 years behind technology, I am amazed that I am sitting on my couch in the living room and blogging online.  I'm not plugged into a thing, folks.

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes I forget/procrastinate little holidays like birthdays and Father's Day and my own wedding anniversary.  I came across a little book the other day and figured I had probably slacked off a little in previous Father's Days, so dear old Dad deserved something special.  Many of you know my pops is a photographer.  He has also had noted careers in puplic speaking and gun-fighting (not in that particular order.)

But did you know that he also wrote books?  I found this gem on Amazon:
Okay, okay, my dad did not write this book.  But isn't it cool that someone with his EXACT NAME wrote something called "I Watched a Wild Hog Eat My Baby"?  Father's Day gifts do not get any more personal than this.  Grandchildren and a cool book.  You deserve it, Dad.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break

I remember during my school days the excitement that always led up to Spring Break every year. What were we going to do? Where were we going to go? Are we staying in town? Going to see family? Going on a trip with friends? In college, the decisions became even more fun. Which mission trip were you going on? Are you going home for the week? On a fun vacation? To the beach?

I was a couple of years out of college when I made the realization that there was No Spring Break For Grown-Ups. There was no week off work, no scheduled vacation. There's no sleeping in, no trip to Grandma's house or going to the beach. For Brandon, there will always be Spring Break Mission Trip. But until the kids are old enough to subject the youth group to a road trip with Dane and Aidan, I'm left to my own devices on Spring Break.

So what are we doing?

Dane and Aidan went to "Camp Pappy" for a few days, where, as I understand it, they spent the greater part of one afternoon crawling back and forth through a big yucky drainage pipe underneath my parents' driveway. (It's a big drainage pipe, people, not a Baby Jessica situation. If you can't remember Baby Jessica, just stop reading.) Another big highlight of the week for them was, as always, hanging out with their Aunt Lindy and their Not-Quite-Uncle Andy (whose name I've just decided to shorten to NQUA). Pictures of Camp Pappy will be coming soon. By the way, if anyone knows how to work an Apple computer, please call me. I'm completely intimidated. Aidan also caught his first catfish, and Dane has spent the week lying to my parents. He's only 4. I did not start lying to my parents until I was 6. At least.

And what did I spend my luxurious 3 child (and husband) free days doing? Eating Bon-Bons and watching Law & Order? Being productive and doing little projects around the house? Having pedicures and lunching with the ladies? Nope. Hanging out at the ER. Which, by the way, is kind of a fun way to spend a Spring Break. People are extra stupid this week. Just a tip for my readers out there: It you park your new big truck in front of a store with big glass windows, please make sure your big truck is shifted firmly into park. If you maybe did leave your big truck in gear, do not stand between the truck and the big glass window. If you do, promptly GET OUT OF THE WAY, instead of trying to stop the big truck from hitting the window. Otherwise, your temporal artery might get lacerated by a big sheet of glass, spewing blood like a geyser all over a trauma room full of people. (By the way, the temporal artery is in your head, which ups the cool factor and the gross factor of this trauma considerably.) But your truck? Your truck will be fine.

It's not an Acute MI, but it'll do.

So cool.

I love my job.

So what did you do over Spring Break?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wedding Weekend #2

This past Saturday night we went to our second wedding (supposed to have been our third...) of the year. Thank you Miss Melissa for watching the boys at home! It was a beautiful wedding and a very nice reception. Brandon even wore a tie. And look! It matched my shirt.

A couple of things I learned on Saturday night:
--Brandon and I are just not "party all night" people. It was 10pm and we were falling asleep in our champagne toast. We actually had to leave a wedding before getting cake. Very sad. (On a side note, the groom's cake was a replica of the Aggie Bonfire. I'm not an Aggie, but it was a very cool looking cake.)
--I really like the idea of champagne (Look! It's pretty and sparkly and bubbly!) But why must it taste like alcohol?
--If the best man is talking much too much during his toast, the DJ will play under him, not unlike at the Oscars when the orchestra tries to cut off the long-winded acceptance speeches.
--WalMart and Kroger do not have white posterboard at 10:30 on Saturday nights.
--My babysitter will be able to convince my children to sleep in pajamas, when I can only ever get them in underwear and a diaper.

We did get a chance to hang out with some of our favorite people (and the subject of "Wedding Weekend #4" coming in July), Jenni and Jeremi. It was so nice to chat without getting interrupted by children screaming and tattling. This picture is funny because there is copious amounts of alcohol in front of us, and I'm pretty sure only one drink was had between all 4 of us. But it looks like the Youth Minister and Worship Minister were gettin' tooted up.

Thank you Laura and Laney and families for sharing this special day with us. We had a great time!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

Dane and Aidan are big fans of Daylight Savings Time. It means playing outside while Mommy cooks dinner. (I use the term "cooks" very loosely. It was chicken nuggets and strawberries.) It means getting to eat outside on the picnic table and playing outside after dinner until the timer goes off for bathtime. We went back to King's Orchard yesterday and picked more strawberries--this time I made 2 pies. And I had 2 extra little boys, along with Dane and Aidan. It was a very busy, tiring day for everyone involved.

Here's a couple more pictures of my cute boys from yesterday.

Last night, I was putting Desitin diaper ointment on Aidan's little heiny, and he looked down and said "my make-up". How confused he must be when I tell him I'm going to put on my make-up. Hmmm...

Here's a picture of Aidan smelling Dane's breath.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Your Rainbows are Safe

We were reading an ABC book and had gotten to the "W" page:
Dane: What's this?
Mom: It's a wasp.
Dane: I don't like wasps. They sting people. But they don't sting rainbows. Only humans and statues.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Letter to Dane's Future Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Mrs. So and So,

I am writing this a year and a half in advance so you have plenty of time to prepare. I am Mandy, Dane's mother. I will be the one in my car in my pajamas dropping him off late and sometimes forgetting to send him with lunch. Please take this wad of cash and use it to cover his lunches for him so he doesn't starve this year. Also, sometimes his father will be getting him dressed in the morning, so please excuse the constant soccer uniforms and weather-inappropriate clothing. Here is a coat, please keep it next to the wad of cash because Brandon will never send him to school with a coat, no matter how cold it is outside.

Please don't ask me to be a "room mom". I am not good at things like decorating cupcakes and planning Valentine's Day parties and remembering other childrens' names. I'm doing good to remember your name. We are also terrible at cute projects that my children are supposed to do at home that will eventually be put on a bulletin board somewhere. One night (I don't know, maybe it was tonight) I remembered at 8:00 pm (aka bedtime), that a boot was due (decorated) the next morning. I'm sure the intention was to have a bunch of cute little boots with "western theme" in honor of the Houston Rodeo to put on a bulletin board surrounded with cute little bandana-print ric-rac. I'm sure, after seeing this boot, that you wish your bulletin board had a "back". What, don't other kids have Ninja Turtles and glitter paint on their boots?When it comes time to sign up to bring things to the aforementioned Valentine's Day parties and such, I can usually be counted on to sign up for the easy stuff, like plates, due to my profound inability to decorate cupcakes. I also don't do creative "mom" things like make handmade holiday cards with thumbprints on them to hand out to Dane's classmates.

However, if you ever need someone to demonstrate how to use the defibrillator or the correct method of putting tube in your nose that reaches all the way to your stomach, I'm your girl.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Dane's Mommy

Not to be left out, here's what Aidan's been up to the last several days:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Plague

This weekend was supposed to be another road trip to Dallas. "Wedding weekend #2". There was a mom's lasagna dinner to eat, a bridal brunch to attend, an aunt's birthday party to celebrate, a beautiful wedding Saturday night, and a baby shower on Sunday to wrap up the weekend.

Instead, we are confined to our house. Between the four of us, there are one case of bronchitis, 3 infected ears, one ruptured ear drum, one "death cough", 4 antibiotics, 5 trips to the doctor this week, many, many breathing treatments, and one very angry tummy. And of course, a 4 year old with energy to spare.

The plague has struck the house. We are afraid to venture outside, lest lightning strike us on this clear day in Houston.

Did I mention Brandon will be leading worship tomorrow morning? I caution you to sit at least 3 rows back, outside of the "germ zone". Aidan and I will be worshipping from home tomorrow.
Wouldn't it have been much more interesting to read about our fun weekend in Dallas? Check out John or Brandy's blog. Maybe they'll have pictures from what was supposed to be the fun weekend I was having. Congratulations Cliff and Andi! I'm sure the wedding was beautiful.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hostess with the Mostess

Brandon and I are not coffee drinkers. We are "English toffee flavored cappuccino from Valero" drinkers, but not "Automatic timer on my coffee pot so it's ready before I'm awake" coffee drinkers.

Approximately 8 years ago, a giddy couple is registering for wedding gifts. They spy a little 4-cup coffee maker that would be perfect for when the parents are visiting for the weekend. They recieve said coffee pot as a wedding gift.

1-8 years later, the still-giddy couple still has no idea how to use the coffee maker. Whenever the parents or any other form of company is over, they have to make their own coffee. It took us an entire year to figure out that you have to buy filters to put in a coffee maker to get it to work properly. Sometimes I have a group of ladies over to the house, and there is always someone who knows how to work this thing. I keep some sugar in a little container in the pantry that I pull out when my coffee drinkers are over, because aren't you supposed to offer sugar with coffee? Lots of people like sugar in their coffee.

Tonight: I am in the kitchen preparing my little bowl of freshly picked strawberries for dessert, and decide that since it is dessert, I will even sprikle some sugar on my already-sweet strawberries. Out comes the special coffee-sugar in the container in the pantry. Yum yum.

It's salt. Not sugar. Salt.

I'm sorry to anyone who has ever been served coffee at my house before. Now I know why my dad always goes to the gas station on the corner for his morning brew when he stays over.

I Heart Strawberries

One of our favorite things to do in Springtime 'round these parts is actually not the Houston Rodeo. (I personally love the rodeo, but Aidan is not really a rodeo guy. Or a circus guy. But that's another story for another time.) It's picking strawberries at King's Orchard. Several times a year, we take the boys out to shape up some strawberry plants, simply because we love figuring out what to do with 8 pounds of strawberries when we get home.

This time, we took advantage of the PERFECT weather, and went with our buddy Alex and his mommy Keri. A great time was had by all. Alex ate his first ever strawberry, and Aidan tried a few of the green strawberries for himself. Those were met with mixed reviews. Dane spent the day posing for the camera.

Here is Dane in his "muscle pose" (or is that an "up yours" pose...hmmm). Aidan is simply focused on the strawberries. Here is Dane making "hungry eyes" at the strawberry. Note the guys with the tractor in the background doing actual farm work. We were very impressed.
Aidan, by the way, has graduated from eating the strawberries directly off the plant like he did last year. Now he squishes the berry beyond recognition, wrestles it from the plant, and shoves the whole thing, leaves and all, into his mouth. Sometimes he spits out the leaves, sometimes he doesn't.
You thought I was kidding about Dane spending the day posing for the camera? Check out the "jazz hands".

We rounded out the trip with a very windy picnic lunch, and Dane relieving himself on the ground right next to the picnic table. I would have tried to stop him, but I was too busy putting Aidan's diaper back on after he had removed it. I Heart Dane and Aidan.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Blind Leading the Blind

We can send a man to the moon. The internet is at our fingertips. My van has doors on it that I don't even have to open. Technology is truly amazing. But to my knowledge, blind people still cannot drive a vehicle.

Or can they?

Here are the words posted on the drive-up ATM machine outside of my bank:

"Audio assistance available for the vision impaired."

If a blind man is driving a car, he may have a little more to worry about than whether or not he has Fast Cash. Like the blind robber behind him waiting for him to pull his money out of the ATM. Or the blind bus driver with a busload of hemophiliac orphan children about to run into him. (This is an ER joke...this would be an ER's worst nightmare.)

My apologies to all of the blind people reading this. I'm sure they enjoyed the pictures of Brandon's play-doh car much better.