Monday, June 29, 2009

On the Road

Saturday morning bright and early, Brandon headed out the door to take a group of his high school students to the CIY conference in Colorado. I think all of us Texans should take a moment and contemplate the beautiful weather Hot Brandon will be experience this week while we sweat it out in triple digit weather and no rain in sight.

Since the prospect of 8 days at home alone with three children in the mind-numbing heat of Houston summer makes me want to take up drinking, the kids and I decided to hit the road instead.

First stop: To GG's house in Austin Saturday afternoon. My mom flew down to Austin and met us there, so I would have an extra set of hands to help keep the boys from playing Indiana Jones with GG's crystal. I think GG has only very briefly met Harper once before, so it was a real treat for both of them to spend a little time together. Harper, for her part, refrained from vomiting on any of the furniture, which is more than I can say for her behavior when she is at home.

GG doesn't ever look at the camera, but if she did, you could see her sassy new glasses. I hope to have half her style and sassiness when I'm 91.
Saturday night with GG was spent teaching her how to use Facebook, and gentle reminders that it may not be prudent to type and post the very first thing that pops into your head about a person. So a warning to all of my cousins out there: Your grandmother/aunt is on Facebook, and I taught her how to look at all of your pictures. So you may have to explain the one of you with the beer bong and half naked guy. "Remove Tag" is your friend.

No trip to GG's house is complete without sitting in church service with three small children (Harper vomited on the pew before communion), stories about GG's friend's broken toe which she refers to as her "Olena toe", and inquires such as "Did you get my family's black eyebrows?", which apparently are a trait unique to her side of our family, and not to people everywhere with black hair. And no, I did not get her black eyebrows.

Sunday after a yummy lunch of pork roast and Mandy Salad (a story for another time...) which the boys would not TOUCH, we loaded up the van and the kids, my mom and myself headed up to Camp Pappy (aka my parents' house) for a few days. On the way up, we stopped in West, Texas (has anyone actually driven by West without stopping there?) and waited in line behind an entire tour bus of geriatrics for some sausage kolaches. Yes, they were worth it. (And spell check doesn't recognize the word "kolache". You don't know what you're missing, spell check.)

Looking forward to a fun several days filled with free babysitting, endless stacks of People magazines, naps, some shopping, and Mom's calzone.

And I'm sure the kids will have a great week, also.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Precious Baby

Have I mentioned what a sweet baby this one is?
In her defense, the above picture was taken at a very unflattering angle.  Her legs are not quite as chubby as they appear here.

When she's not spending four hours a day eating, this is how she usually spends her awake time:
Smiling and laughing.  

And vomiting, but I don't have a picture of that at the moment.

And guess who was standing just to the left of me?
Hot Brandon

This girl loves her Daddy.
Sometimes I can't decide on just one picture when she looks this cute:
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Heartwarming Father's Day Tale

Happy Father's Day to the three men who read this blog!  I hope you had a wonderful day spent exactly how you choose.

Brandon's day included some less than desirable moments. 

We started the day off with church, followed up by lunch at Double Dave's Pizza, per Brandon's request.  Aidan apparently cannot go to an eating establishment without having to poop.  The thought of one of our little boys putting their little boy behinds down on a yucky men's room seat grosses Brandon out to no end, so he convinced Aidan that he could hold it until he got home, but Aidan still had to pee.  

So Aidan and his daddy trotted off to the men's room.  Brandon apparently got Aidan settled at the first urinal, before heading to the second urinal.  When business was complete, Brandon noticed that Aidan had blue stuff on his hands and all under his fingernails.

Ladies, are you familiar with a urinal cake?  I am not talking about a dessert of any kind.  These are the little things that sit in the urinal and get peed on every time a man visits the facilities.  The pee eventually disintegrates the urinal cake into nothingness, when it is then replaced by a fresh one.  I think it's purpose is aromatic in nature.

And, apparently, Double Dave's fancies the blue urinal cakes for their men's room.

Aidan had dug his fingernails into the blue urinal cake at Double Dave's.  

Ew.  Ewewewewew.

Brandon spent the next 10 minutes in the bathroom giving Aidan a full-on scrub down from shoulders to fingernails.  They then rejoined us at the table, where Aidan proceeded to lick pizza sauce off his fingers and tickle Harper's toes.

Father's Day can only get better from this point.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Garage Sale-ing

One of my favorite Saturday morning activities is garage sale-ing.  When I'm not sweating it out at a swim meet or watching my children scream on a soccer field, that is.  I love driving around neighborhoods, looking at houses, and seeing what people are discarding and selling for pennies on the dollar.  Some mornings, it's a bust--I'll drive around for a couple of hours, stopping at a half dozen places without buying anything.  Other mornings, like today, I find goodies everywhere I go.  
Like this.  Who doesn't need a Womens' Restroom sign?
It was free with the purchase of $3 game of Mousetrap, and it will soon be proudly displayed on the picture board in Harper's room.

And I found these cute Polo shoes in my size for $1 (I talked their previous owner down from $6).  They're navy blue and in great shape.  The stranger's foot fungus was free with purchase.
Two rolls of sassy wrapping paper free with several odds and ends from an estate sale:
If I ever lived in house that was just way too big, I would love to have an entire room just for wrapping paper and such.

This completely impractical lone piece of china for $3 at the estate sale:
I have no idea what I will ever use it for, but I felt like I needed it at my house.

I am always a little bit fascinated by estate sales.  The door to the house is open, and strangers wander around scooping up the remnants of a person's life up for sale to the highest bidder.  It always makes me wonder what my own estate sale will consist of.  Will neighbors haggle over my childhood Christmas ornaments?  Will people wonder why we owned the entire series of BBC's "All Things Great and Small" on DVD?  Will a mommy taking a morning to bargain shop sans kiddos scoop up the lone blue and white plate and wonder what happened to the rest of the set?  

I looked at old kitchen gadgets, extra lightbulbs, random bits of furniture, and one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" type of monitor systems.  (Since I was at the estate sale, I'm thinking this monitor system perhaps didn't work out too well.)  Along with the wrapping paper and plate, I stumbled across  a copy of Lake Wobegon Days that I picked up for Brandon, and this Bible:

I went to look for the copyright date, and found this inscription instead:
The (almost indiscernible) sentimental part of me could not resist it.

I also scored:

4 sprinklers-- 50 cents each (have I mentioned that we have not had rain the entire month of June?  And our grass is HURTING)

child's outdoor chair-- 25 cents

3 outfits for Harper--50 cents each

2 jeans for Dane-- 75 cents each

2 shorts for Dane and Aidan--50 cents each

a new Leapster, still in package-- $8 (we seem to have lost ours)

new in package GI Joe action figures-- $3

I returned home to spend the rest of the day with my family.  As of right now the baby is sleeping and all 3 boys are playing outside in one of the new sprinklers.  

A good Saturday, indeed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Swim Meet '09

A couple of months ago, when we put Dane on a local swim team, our intention was for him simply to learn how to survive in the water.  We live in a part of the country where the weather is "swimable" 8 months of the year, and we just wanted Dane to not drown if he was in someone's pool without floaties. 

Well, in the last several practices, Dane has been swimming the length of the pool (stopping several times along the way to "hang on the rope" and take a breath).  His coach (Coach Dane, oddly enough.  His mommy must have read The Thornbirds.)  signed Dane up for the swim meet, and reminded me that this was the last meet.  If Dane wanted a trophy at the end of the season, he would have to swim.  And so it was decided.  Our little family would experience our first swim meet.  

And I have to say, despite the 6:45 am check in time, the meet was more fun than I expected.  Several friends from church are on the team also, so it was similar to a big pot luck with all the sitting around and talking to church friends while children ran around aimlessly.  Well, a potluck with powdered sugar donuts and coffee from the gas station instead of fried chicken and unidentifiable casseroles.  And lots of bathing suits.

After all the sitting and talking and breakfast eating, some children actually swam in the pool.  

Like this one:
I have a feeling Emma, Dane, and Connor will be lifelong buddies (well, until puberty hits with a vengeance and Dane and Connor and every other little boy their age at church start battling to see who gets to date Miss Emma).
And that's a pickle Connor is eating, not some taco-gone-bad.

At some point before all the swimming started, Aidan ended up on the receiving end of a UFC takedown with two 5-year olds.  The back of his head met the concrete floor (or perhaps the foot of a comfy camping chair) and he got about a 1/2" cut to the back of his head.  Fortunately, one of the swimmer's mommy is an ER nurse when she is not breaking up wrestling Ninja Turtles and cleaning up baby puke, and was on hand to assess the situation.  I raided the first aid kit, cleaned up his little cut,  and came up with a "Leonardo-Aidan" head wrap to keep the cut clean while he played.  By the time the wrap was in place, Aidan had forgotten all about the mishap.
Later that day, we paid a visit to our wonderful pediatrician who happens to have after-hours weekend appointments available, and Aidan now sports two shiny staples in the back of his head.

I've come to the realization that the combination of being strong-willed, fearless Aidan and being Dane's little brother who plays with all the bigger kids will undoubtedly result in a handful of minor injuries for my Aidan as the years progress.
I have no pictures of Harper at the swim meet, as she was too busy being angelic and eating, then sleeping through the better part of the morning.  

Looking forward to a slightly less hectic week this week.  Tomorrow I have lunch with a friend at Chili's Like No Place Else (aside: every time I see that sign in a Chili's, I think to myself "Like No Place Else Except For Every Other Chili's You've Ever Been To".  This is why I don't work in advertising.)  After lunch, I get to watch a movie under the influence of laughing gas with no children in sight.   I mean, I have to go to the dentist for some crowns and such.  Hey, did anyone else know that when you don't take prenatal vitamins when you're pregnant that the baby leaches calcium from inconvenient places like your teeth and they all threaten to fall out of your head simultaneously after the baby is born?  So pregnant ladies, take those vitamins every morning, regardless of the "vitamin burps" you may be forced to endure for the entire rest of the day.  Brandon and the boys are going to a movie with a group from the swim team after my afternoon with the Happy Mask, and then our family will reunite afterwards just in time for bedtime.  

All of this will happen after I spend some quality time first thing in the morning looking for Brandon's contact lens in our front yard.  The sprinkler sprayed him in the eye tonight while he was watering the lawn and shot his contact out into the grass at dusk.  The gas permeable contact that costs $180 and takes 2 weeks to replace.  The contact that he needs to see and drive and not be legally blind.  Since we apparently don't own a flashlight (?!) I will be contact searching in the morning.  Has anyone seen Honey I Shrunk The Kids?  Do you think I can find a floating contraption with the helmet-mounted magnifying glass specifically created for searching for impossibly tiny objects in the grass?

Wish me Happy Searching!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things That Happened Twice This Week

Delicious blackberry cobbler (despite all of the "healthy" options for consuming mounds of blackberries, I instead opted for a Wednesday cobbler and a Friday cobbler.  We did have some company over Friday night that helped with all of the dessert eating.)  And I have grown to love my countertops.
And Dane lovingly terrifying his baby sister (okay, maybe more than twice).  I just love this "put down the camera and HELP ME, WOMAN" expression on Harper's face.
Pics and updates from Dane's first and last swim meet of the season coming soon!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Chickens

Once upon a time there was a mommy with three little children.  Big was 5, Middle was 3, and Little was just a little baby.  The mommy saw looming ahead in the very near future, a long summer mostly at home with two high energy, bored little boys cooped up inside with their baby sister.  So at the very beginning of the long summer, the mommy took charge.  

On Monday, the mommy and the kids went to Big's swim practice at the crack of 8:15 am, as it will be every day until the end of the month.  Then the mommy and kids all went to play at Pump It Up, followed by some yummy pizza at Double Dave's, before returning home for Middle and Little's nap time.  Truth be told, by 2 pm on Monday, the mommy was already pretty tired of summer.

On Tuesday, the mommy had another bright idea.  She decided that after swim practice, she was going to join some other mommies and kids to pick blackberries.  

Because what could be more fun in June than picking blackberries outside with sweaty whining children (the mommies don't sweat.  or whine.) in the 98.7% humidity of Houston summers?

I'll tell you what's more fun than picking the blackberries outside with sweaty whining children in June in Houston.

Playing with roaming chickens outside with said sweaty whining children in June in Houston.  

Big, Middle, and their legions of girlfriends chased chickens behind the Fence You're Not Supposed To Cross and played in the chicken coop while a certain mommy snapped away with her camera before the chicken/blackberry owners caught them angering the poultry.  Meanwhile, Little slept soundly in her stroller, dreaming of the day when she, too, would splash her hands in the bowl of water from the chicken coop.

After the muggy morning with all the berries and chickens, some mommies shopped a little at the attached farmer's market, then all the mommies and kids went to Chic-Fil-A for lunch, in honor of the pre-lunch chicken themed entertainment.

After lunch, the mommy and the kids all went to the pediatrician's office for Little's 2.5 month well-baby appointment, where we all marveled at how someone can grow to be 24 inches long (95th percentile) and weigh 13 pounds (95th percentile) despite vomiting formula all day, every day, on every surface in the house.

Upon finally returning to the house after the appointment, the Middle proclaimed that he was "too tired to walk upstairs for rest time", and the Big requested 10 blackberries for a snack.  (Note:  I think we can manage that, since we picked and bought over 4 pounds of berries this morning.  Not pints.  Pounds.)

Tomorrow after swim practice the mommy and Big, Middle, and Little are venturing to the movies to see a $1 presentation of Veggie Tales:  The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, then to the grocery store because we are eating blackberries and mini-hot dogs for dinner tonight.  And apparently, mini-hot dogs only flies as a main course two nights in a row, but not three.  

This mommy lives with a bunch of food snobs.  Some people have no appreciation for the miniature cheese stuffed hot dog.

Speaking of food, any ideas on what to do with all of my blackberries, other than this?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Favorites Night Friday

It's shaping up to be a great weekend--Friday started with the boys and I cleaning up the house and a last minute trip to the grocery store to get ready for our Friday night dinner guests.  I use the term "dinner" very loosely here.  We had what has come to be known as a "Favorites Night".  

Have you ever been to dinner at someone's house and had one particular dish that you just wish you could make an entire meal of?  That's sort of what Favorites Night is.  Everyone makes or brings something that is their "favorite".  We had four families over, and feasted on yummies and chatted until the wee hours of the morning.  The kids (8 little boys and 2 shell-shocked girls, not counting the two babies) ran around the house like banshies the whole night, and only one minor head injury was reported.  (It was Aidan, and he's fine.)  

The menu included:
Pickle wraps
Pink dip
a tray of Chick-Fil-A nuggets
Meat Muffins
Cheesy Potato Casserole
a yummy green bean-rice-chicken concoction
Crock-pot brisket on little rolls
Banana pudding 
Chocolate chip cake
Key lime pie

I can feel my arteries clogging as we speak.  (Hey--I ate some green beans.  Very healthy!)

I'm not entirely sure what  any of the kids ate, but they managed to go through 26 Capri Sun pouches.

On an unrelated note, here's a handful of pictures from the past few days. 

Lately, I have been letting Dane pick out what Harper is wearing for the day.  He always comes downstairs with her clothes, complete with socks and matching hair bow.  

I don't quite know how to explain this ensemble, however.  
This picture makes me shudder to look at.  The color of the flowers on her outfit.  The peter-pan collar.  The pink and brown in the hair flower that doesn't go with the clothes.  The striped socks with the flowered outfit.  The leather dress shoes.  It's just all. to. much.  At least I don't have to worry about Dane becoming a stylist.  

Harper is becoming quite the fan of Mythbusters:
Did I mention key lime pie was on the Favorites Night menu?  Dane got very curious about the lemons and limes I was squeezing, and asked for a snack.

So I gave him a lime.
It wasn't sour enough for him, so I gave him a lemon.
The child won't eat grapes, but he'll do this to a lemon:
I LOVE this little dress that I think I got at my baby shower.  I've been waiting for Harper to get out of that frighteningly-skinny newborn phase and put a little meat on her bones for her to wear it to church.

Harper would like to leave you with this parting shot:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daddy-Harper Time

For the first couple of months after Harper was born, here is what evenings at our house look like:  Dane and Aidan go to bed at about 8 or 8:30 while I give Harper a bath and try to keep her awake.  Then I turn Harper over to Brandon and go to bed myself at around 9, knowing that Little Miss will be waking up for a bottle anytime between 4 and 5:30am.

9pm marks the beginning of what has come to be known as Daddy-Harper time.  A time of smiles and tickling, of snuggling and mediocre TV watching.

A time of spitting up on Daddy's shorts.
And sometimes, a time of dancing in effort to keep Miss Harper awake enough to drink her bottle before she goes to bed.
Why is this underlined??  BLOGGER HATES ME!!

Sometimes they practice sarcastic facial expressions, a skill that will come in handy when she's a teenager:
Well, a skill that's handy long after the teenage years.  I think I 'm still making this face, and I am (ahem) definitely not a teenager anymore.

But for the last week or so, Harper has been sleeping through the night, waking up at about 7 am with a smile on her face.  Which means that soon she, too, will be going to bed at 8:30, and her mommy may just get to stay up a bit later at night like a normal person and watch mediocre TV with her husband.
Sorry, Harper girl.  You don't get to be this awake and happy at 10:30 pm for much longer.  So enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, June 1, 2009


My friends know I am on a budget.  I have been on unpaid maternity leave for almost 3 months now, and, well, times are tough.  And a gal trying to lose a bit of baby weight sometimes has to make some creative fashion decisions as opposed to buying a whole new wardrobe.  Because that just wouldn't be practical.  And I am ALL ABOUT being practical.  

And we all know that cotton is the fabric of our lives.

So please don't judge me.
At least I didn't wear it in white, like everyone else does.