Family Fun

Early in the summer I lined up a non-stop, action-packed weekend for my little family of 3. It included swimming and an outdoor fair. I thought it was a home run for a fun time. I was WRONG. There was sweating,whining, inappropriate footwear and the fact that Trade Days does not support my cash-free existence . . . and most of those problems were mine. How was I to know that it would be 200 degrees in the shade on a June Saturday in Texas? Oh, wait, it's been that way my whole life! And I have sworn that as long as I am still wearing a coat in my office all summer, I will never complain about the heat outside. So after that little debacle outdoor Family Fun was cancelled for the remainder of the summer.

Fast forward to this weekend. Supposedly, it is cooling down in some portions of the country. And in North Texas we haven't seen the sun in about 10 days. Outdoor Family Fun is back!

So this weekend's adventure was the local balloon festival. We were able to meet friends there and watch a parachute team, balloon launches, and the balloon glow. It was a definite improvement from the summer's Have Fun or Else campaign. However, I will say that there are good features for great seats and there are not so good features. Good features: great view. Not so good features: the non-stop territory war you will enjoy with the people around you who are just laying in wait for you to head for the bathroom so they can stake a claim. But it looks like everyone avoided a Hatfield-McCoy situation and was able to have a good time.


Blessings for the Fatted Calves

I have a confession . . . I have been keeping the fatted calves in hiding. Because, you know animal sacrifice is so last season. . . or just so B.C. Your choice. Anyhow, these bad bovines of the human anatomy are mine. And they seem to be with me regardless of my size or fitness level. Most days, the calves and I are at peace with one another. In fact, sometimes I kind of admire them - they seem strong somehow and we all know that keeping me from toppling over in utter (udder?!) klutziness is an enormous task. But there is one thing that the chubby drumsticks have been keeping me from, and that is my pursuit of the perfect Tall Boot. Oh how I would love to slide my perfectly average size foot into a sleek leather boot and zip, zip, zip away. But alas, this has not been possible. Until now. Behold, the fuller calf Tall Boot. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival. If I were less thrifty and pragmatic, I would be on the hunt for some of these or maybe even these. I'll keep you posted on what happens when my full calves meet what used to be fully calf.


This Blog is on HOLIDAY . . . still

Several (2) of you have mentioned the shocking lack of sharing coming from the blog as of late. There are lots of reasons for this, but most of them come down to my daunting workload of extra-curricular activities - it takes a lot of time and attention in order to maintain my FarmTown acreage. However, fear not, for I will be bringing tidings of great excitement . . . soon.

Though all of the children have returned to school, I am refusing to acknowledge the impending end of summer until the last possible second. If you need me, I'll be out running through the sprinklers and chasing the ice cream truck.

Stay tuned . . .


Parenting Confession 1001

I have to confess one of my many areas of weakness as a parent: I can't draw with sidewalk chalk. Please direct your eyes at exhibit A below. This was supposed to be a frog. Jonathan mentioned its striking similarity to a frog who met a semi.

This masterpiece was supposed to be a dinosaur. It's possible that they are extinct as a result of embarrassment.

So obviously, any artistic talent I pass on to my family will be recessive. Fortunately, I still know how to operate a motor vehicle, locate a McDonalds, and read a story - all skills prized by your average preschooler. I think that we will muddle through.


Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!

We are so grateful for our freedom and to those who continue to preserve it.


Hulk Hands

Did you know they make green play sand? Those people at Crayola are pure geniuses.

I know this looks like the bargain basement sandbox, but really, I'm just trying to make it obvious to the neighborhood cats that this is not a rest stop.

An additional humorous bonus of the green play sand is that it sticks to Jackson's hands and makes them HULK HANDS! He didn't think this was nearly as funny as I did, but he prefers the Dirt Avenger as his personal super hero. You know the one with dual Swiffer Dust Phasers and a Dustbuster jet pack.


Best Buddies

This weekend the dog I thought would never grow up turned over a new leaf. She's just over two now. Everyone told us that she would be behaving better by two, but honestly, I didn't believe anyone. I am starting to see the light.

Sometime after this she snuck out in the backyard, gnawed on a brick, and later horfed in her kennel. Well, you can't expect her to give up all her vices at once, now can you.


"The best laid plans of mice and men . . ."

What I had planned for my evening tonight:
Race home, intercept child, send husband to meeting, prepare nutritious/delicious/FAST meal for the child, have "eureka" idea for creative play activity with child, bathe child and bid adieu for the night, complete painting project that has been in progress and on hold for no less than 2 weeks, perform organization and tidiness miracle on the homestead, receive husband home with love and joy, vegetate

What I got for the evening:
Raced home, intercepted child, sent husband to meeting, discovered that I am still a culinary disaster, extracted child from refrigerator, compromised on a chocolate pudding compliment to grilled cheese dinner (protein, dairy and carbs - look at the excellent balance there), discovered that child had not scheduled today as an eating day (I really believe he only eats 2-3 times a week; he seems fine with this. I'm just trying not to make up the difference myself), went out after the mail and discovered that the odd stillness indicated that perhaps the weatherman was not exaggerating about the "severe" storms this time, turned on TV, told child no less than 1 zillion times that he could not scream louder than the emergency broadcast signal, switched to weatherman, watched the sky turn an odd shade of green, called the husband to nonchalantly ask when he might possibly be able to come home, decided that the dog should go out, broke up a wrestling match between the dog and the child that started with the dog trying to drink out of his squiggly straw and ended with minor scratches and tears, corralled dog on leash, watched entire weather radar turn red, took phone calls from husband en-route that got cut off TWICE, completely lost power, decided it was time to hang out in the bathroom, had to find flashlights while hobbling around the house in the dark holding the child and dragging the dog, welcomed husband home to the dark bathroom with his happy little family, enjoyed some assistance in minor crisis management, decided we could come out of the bathroom, watched husband and child eat chips for dinner, dressed child for bed by flashlight (he has been mostly silent since the evacuation to the bathroom), cursed the blasted electric company, put the child in bed, realized that the smoke detector is beeping again because it has a low battery and this time it is the one in the vaulted ceiling that I don't have a prayer at reaching, sang the praises of the husband with extra height and more balance than me, read a book by flashlight, sent husband to bed at 8:30!, read book by flashlight until power came back on at 11!

My own little mini-drama! Sadly, the biggest learning here is that I am unequivocally dependant on my electricity. And that I have to get all the smoke detector batteries changed before they bite me again!


Meet the New Mouse in Town

This is Jackson with a few of his friends. These days he is pretty tight with "Mick" Mouse. Apparently, Mickey and Minnie had a few relatives Walt didn't want to talk about.


Good Times

We got to spend the evening with Adays this weekend. It had been way too long! We were starting to think that one or both of us were in Witness Protection!

In celebration of the dawning of summer, we snuck in a trip to the local splash park - an hour is about all our kids need.

Jackson checked out all the splashers.

And then he was on to more excitement.

Duck-riding requires ferocious concentration.

Everyone loves a good duck ride, right Brian?

Hanging out with the guys.

Giving rides to one of his favorite little ladies, Ella.

When you've been friends this long, it's quite a switch to call it a night at 8:30 (it wasn't long ago that the night started then), but we were all plenty tired.

** Update on the BBB: Jackson has been doing great in the Big Boy Bed. However, he did start Thursday off with a bang by falling out of the BBB at 3:45 AM! He's a mover, so we hear shuffling and such from his room all the time, crib or not, but this crash was a little more significant. He was stunned for a few seconds and then turned on the wail full blast. I tried to hang back so that both parents weren't rushing in and elevating things to code CRISIS. Jonathan went in and checked him out, talked to him, and put him back in bed. He went straight back to sleep. Seemed more offended that the bed bronco had bucked him off in the night than anything else. It wasn't until the next morning that we realized that he had gotten a yucky cut behind his ear. He didn't even tell us! What a trooper! Since he launched himself off of the head end, it is now relocated securely against the wall. I guess we were being a little optimistic about that.


B3 Weekend

Yesterday was B3-Day at our house! Big Boy Bed Day! Jackson has probably been ready to give up the crib for quite some time, but I just couldn't make the leap. He is growing up SO fast! So even though I put it off as long as I could, this weekend was selected as THE weekend for the move - just in case things went horribly a miss, there is that extra day of rest! Yesterday, Jonathan and his dad went and picked up the bed. Then my dad stopped by for a visit and helped us set up the bed. Everyone knows that when you are taking such huge strides toward manhood, it is imperative that you surround yourself with all your favorite guys! As soon as the bed was set up, Jackson was leaping in, laying down on the pillow to show us how it is done. We went through the normal bedtime routine and helped him get in the bed, half expecting that we would see him soon. He was a complete no-show. Slept all night in his big boy bed and rushed into our room at 6:30 this morning. We are so proud.


Molting Motorcar

The word you are looking for is SAD. Just pitiful. Xzibit called and that sweet, hot pink faux fur dash with matching seat covers could be mine if I play my cards right. In its defense, we did promise the Altima that it just had to make it through the MBA. We just didn't think it would hold us to that promise by literally falling apart. Oh, and that superior craftmanship above? That was all mine. It would only be better if I could have worked in a hairclip of some sort.


Surely not

You know, I was thinking just the other day that there is no better way to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ than with . . . car-related tackiness. I wouldn't have known where to start, but fortunately I saw this. . . in the parking garage . . . at my office!

Yeah, you better hide those in the parking garage. You just never know when Elmer Fudd will go on the hunt.

And if your car isn't bunny-ready, you could always dress up your goose. Apparently they are back from migrations. Check out the nose. These two are better than a guard dog any day. They eat less anyway.


Gas-Guzzling Gladiator

Some of you might remember my love-hate relationship with my car. Well, yesterday she managed to up her cool-factor quite a bit. A little Honda Civic tried to mess with her and she rearranged his grill. It was a typical girl-fight - she crumpled up his license plate and shoved it into his front bumper. Seriously, I did get rear-ended yesterday night and when I got out to inspect the damage, I was amazed to see that the Equinox was in pristine condition (as pristine as a car can be when it gets a bath twice a year). Apparently, Equi prefers her trailer hitch as her weapon of choice. This is only funny because it is the wimpiest trailer hitch ever created. I would be surprised if it could tow a Rascal scooter. But everyone was safe and the damage was not mine so it really was a minor speed bump in my evening.

I've saved the funniest part of the story for last . . . When I called 911 to ask them to come and file an accident report, the first question the operator asked after checking for injuries was this: "Has the accident already occurred?" Umm, no, but I was just about to go on a rear-ending rampage and I thought you should be the first to know. Here's your sign.


Toddler Vocabulary Quiz

Q1. Jackson wants a "tish". What should you do?

A1. Bring him the Kleenex box. Let him pull the tissue out ALL BY HIMSELF. Hold the tissue so he can blow his nose. That's right . . . he blows his own nose. My daddy claims that he thought I would never learn to blow my nose. Apparently, I was a snot sniffer. I promise I am over it now.

Q2. A "mo-mo" has been spotted. Where are you?

A2. You are more than likely hurtling down the highway, but don't think that excuses you from your responsibility to express your extreme excitement about the motorcycle that just went whizzing past you. The little guy LOVES motorcycles. He searches them out whenever we ride in the car. He begs to check on his Grandpa's bike every evening. He can spot a Harley symbol at 50 paces. Indoctrination? Maybe just a little.

Q3. How many times will Jackson repeat no before he thinks his slow-witted parents are able to understand?

A3. Exactly 3 - no, no, NO. At this point, it is really adorable. He starts in this sweet little voice and shakes his head. We are feeling the expiration date on this brand of adorable quickly approaching.

Q4. Which is more important - the names of items or the sounds they make?

A4. Obviously the sounds, and you should give anyone who tells you otherwise the crazy look.

Q5. Jackson keeps announcing "peas" and seems to be playing air guitar on his chest. What is going on with this kid?

A5. Isn't he polite? That's please . . . and you better figure out "please, what?" soon . . . or else things could get ugly. Incidentally, he prefers his peas frozen. Umm, whatever it takes for you to choke them down, I guess.

Hugs and Kisses from Dark Helmet

Preparing to go ludicrious speed?
May the schwartz be with you!


Aided by the Gator

If a love for a certain beverage makes one a Gator, I will soon need to start writing checks to the University of Florida. You see, a week of stomach stress has left my poor little guy a Gatorade addict. It all started innocently enough. We were battling dehydration and I asked the pediatrician if I should give him Pedialyte. The doc said (and I quote), "Have you ever had that stuff! It's gross! He's old enough for Gatorade." All righty then. I won't be testing that out. For the record, I did not try a single baby food that I fed Jackson. Not one. The potential for retching in front of him when the strained peas passed my lips was far worse than the thought that I haven't previewed every morsel he's ever consumed. But I'm not sure Gatorade is any better. USA Today gives this little history on Gatorade development:

"In 1965, Florida researchers, led by Robert Cade, after studying sweat to see what nutrients the body lost during athletic activity, created a fluid to replace them. The researchers convinced the Florida football team to use it, but they could not interest their own school in marketing the new-fangled concoction, and couldn't find a anyone else until Stokely Van Camp began producing it in 1967."

Yeah, I think I'm going to pass on that marketing angle as well. "Gatorade. This is what your sweat tastes like."

Regardless, Jackson LOVES the Gatorade. So we gave it to him instead of milk all last week. This afternoon, his stomach completely recovered (mostly because he gave the nasty bug to me!), he ripped open the fridge with super-human strength so that he could show me that his beverage of choice was in there. And there were to be no substitutions. I was becoming concerned that he would stage a sit-in right there in the kitchen. He won that round. However, he was later tricked into drinking the moo juice because there was a straw option.

Oh, and he prefers the BLUE Gatorade. Surely it's because RED and BLACK RAIDERADE is not available!


Madness of the Residential Kind

Poor, poor blog. How I have neglected you. Honestly, these days, more often than not, I am looking at my calendar and wondering where the time has gone. For today, I thought I would fill you in on where January went.

Last month, Tiffany pointed out that it looked like we were doing some remodeling. Well . . . not exactly. Ever since Jonathan and I have had cable television, we have watched a lot of HGTV (mostly when I had custody of the remote). I was completely captivated by the transformations people were able to make to their homes. Jonathan was more than a little inspired by the power of incorporating real estate in one's investment portfolio. And once the house-flipping show genre came on the scene, we were constantly saying, "We can do it better." I was saying that from the comfort of my couch, probably wearing sweats. My beloved, on the other hand, was quite serious.

And so in November everything fell into place and Jonathan bought a house of his very own. And the marathon of remodeling began. The house was built in the early 80s and it enjoyed every decorating trend of that stylish period. Floral wallpaper, intercoms in every room, saloon doors in the master bath, Aggie maroon toilet/shower/countertop, a Red Raider wet bar, and the most evil wall-to-wall wood paneling man has ever known. We painted every square inch of that house. And we did it as a family (me, Jonathan, his mom and dad, and one crazy two year old). It was pure madness.

But in the end, that house looks great. I am so proud of all the hard work Jonathan put into it, and I am even more proud of him for turning our couch potato conversations into a reality. Oh, and just so you don't think I am boasting without evidence, the house was under contract after 6 days on the market!!!

There is but one issue left one the table - how do I get this paint out of my hair?

Below is the AMAZING transformation. Enjoy.


Two is Terrific

My sweet baby boy is turning two today! It has been a crazy, wild ride and even though I am still desperately searching for the user's manual of motherhood, I continue to love every minute. Jonathan and I are so blessed to have this sweet little guy in our lives.


We love you.

2 minutes old

2 days old

2 weeks old

2 months old

12 months old

20 months old

2 years old


The Christmas Craft

Christmas seemed to arrive like an atomic blast around here this past year. I am just now making my way out of the bunker. But one craft project did survive the bullet train of a holiday celebration. The family Christmas stockings? No, those made it as far as the stacking of fabric in my dining room. The "quiet book" I had planned for Jackson? Nope, it's in the dining room too. Years and years of scrapbooking? No, no, let's not overexert ourselves. This year's completed Christmas craft is BRADY BLOCKS! They were so much fun to make and they turned out pretty cute! I'll be leaving the rest of my craft projects for my crafter's intervention. I wouldn't want to disappoint.


Scanner Sunday: My other college education

In the name of all that is fun, Tiffany has brought us a blessed new holiday: Scanner Sunday. It is a day for us to stop and reflect on what we did in the days before digital cameras. Back when we had to make choices like, "am I ready for double prints?". Earlier this week, Tiffany pointed out that I know what's what when it comes to toilets. But the story of how I know this is oh so interesting. Long ago, Tiffany and I got the opportunity to be some of the very first residents of new apartment-style student housing at Texas Tech. We went to severe lengths to obtain this privilege, because opportunities like this didn't come every day. The plan was for me, Tiffany, and Joy to inhabit this lovely "town home", but when construction wasn't finished on time (HUGE shocker), we begged the Housing and Dining powers-that-be to find a way for us to live there anyway. And they did. They matched us up with this lone girl whose three other roommates had cancelled out on her and put all of us in a "flat". We all got our own rooms so we figured "sure, whatever; just as long as we don't have to go back to the dorms". It was the oddest situation I have ever been in - 2 semesters and 10 words exchanged. Anyway, T and I had our rooms on one side of the flat and we shared a bathroom. We were overjoyed that it was just the two of us - since it had been us and our sixty closest friends in the dorm sharing a bathroom the year before. We took some great classes that semester, but I am afraid that the one that may have made the biggest impact on me was the one for which we did not register - Toilet Plumbing 101. We had this toilet that would barely accept 1 ply. Here are the things that I learned that year.
  • "Water-saver" sounded like a great idea, but there are just some instances where I want as much water as necessary - flushing would be number one . . . and number 2. I promise to save the Earth some other way.

  • There is a way to stop an overflowing toilet. It is the water cut-off valve and it is nothing short of a minor miracle.

  • Not all plungers are created equal. Using the cheap red rubber instrument is futile. Any clog worth your time will laugh at the red rubber plunger - and by laugh I mean splash a big mess on your new shoes right before a big date. The Master Plunger is the only plunger you will ever need. We seemed to like to display ours prominently.

  • Pipe snake - cool in a disgusting sort of way.

  • The "water-saver toilet" is mandated by law. At the time, we had some theories about the involvement of our now Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. However, now I can't remember why we were laying the blame on her.

  • Plunger skills are another thing you should look for in a life-mate. However, since mine were honed to such a superb level, J is forced to exert plumbing excellence on the hair clogs I create in the sink pipes (he is horrified).

Yeah, I learned more things that year, but it's the memories that I took away that make me who I am today - completely warped.

Me and Tiffany take on our toilet. I have the Master Plunger. T apparently has the muscles.

This is how Joy felt about the whole experience.

Not Pictured: 4th Roommate


Just when you thought it was safe . . .

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom, my eagle-eyed spotter, Tiffany found this little gem.

Stay tuned for a riveting story of one of greatest lessons Tiffany and I learned during our sophomore year of college. There's drama, intrigue, and a plunger. It made us who we are today.


Why most construction sites do not include a 2 year old . .

Full can of paint, meet Jackson . . .
Full can of paint, we are not friends. You must be destroyed.

So, Dad, you weren't going to need that paint, right?

Carpet removal . . . check