Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Beautiful Weather

Here in Houston, we're finally enjoying some nice weather! One day it was 93 degrees, the next day it was 50 degrees. And we're starting the second week of this beautiful weather. It's so nice!

We spent our weekend going to my company picnic on Saturday and attending a couple of birthday parties on Sunday. It was such beautiful weather that we decided to ride our bikes to the birthday parties. You would have thought we were the craziest people in the world - the looks we got from some people!

The first birthday party was held at a park that is fairly close to our house - about a mile away. The second party was about 4 miles further away from our house. That's really not very far on a bike, but in Houston, it's hard to imagine being able to ride that far through residential neighborhoods in central Houston in order to get to someone's house. But, it was actually very easy and a very nice change from having to drive.

I went on a recruiting trip to my alma mater a week ago and I did my best to try to convince the people I was interviewing that Houston is not really all that bad. Granted - my husband and I both hate the weather here, but we live in a neighborhood that we love and we really try to take advantage of all the outdoor activities that we can. Like biking from our house all over the city of Houston!

Anyway, mark this down, I'm not totally bad-mouthing Houston for once. This is a date to remember! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Taste Buds

Ok, I know, once again, it's been about 4 weeks since I've posted, but I've been busy! Work's been crazy and the girl turned 3 this past week. She's so big!

But, that's not why I'm writing finally. I'm writing to tell a story...

This morning, as we were sitting eating breakfast with the kids, I realized what complete opposites the kids are as far as taste buds go. I mean, the boy was sitting nicely, eating his dry toast while the girl was happily pealing the rind off her lemon slice and eating it whole - no sour face, no reaction whatsoever!!! How could these two kids be from the same parents?

This is how pretty much every meal is eaten. The boy has some "special food" (which we try sometimes to make similar to what every one else is eating) while everyone else eats "normal food".

So, the boy's diet consists mainly of cottage cheese, bread, hot dog buns, fruit, and... did I mention cottage cheese? We try to make him try at least one bite of whatever food we're eating so that he can "develop" a taste for something - anything - different, but almost every time, it ends in the boy genuinely gagging and almost throwing up.

I had heard about some people being "super tasters" and some being "non-tasters" and this could not be more true about our two kids. This article describes it to a tee:
It's not easy eating green

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I have been somewhat dismayed lately by how girly Marxo seems to be at the moment. Everything has to be PINK, she has to wear dresses all the time, and she loves all that Disney Princess crap.

However, last night, my heart was warmed...

We were sitting on the floor of their room, reading books. The girl was sitting there nicely, following along with the book when, a couple of minutes into the book, she innocently leaned over, raised one butt-cheek off the floor and let out a big ol' fart.

Then she laughed and laughed and laughed - and the rest of us did, too. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jungle Animals

Yesterday at lunchtime, I went to Target to start gathering things for the girl's PINK birthday party. Any time we asked her what she wanted to do for her party, she said she wanted a PINK party. With PINK balloons, PINK cake, and PINK balls. (I still don't know what she means by pink balls, but we'll work through that...)

Anyway, whenever I go to Target, I have to swing through their dollar section to see if there are any good toys for us to take along to use as diversions at restaurants when we go out to eat. I found a package of "Jungle Animals" and thought that could probably provide at least 2 minutes of uninterrupted time, so I got it.

There are twelve "jungle" animals in the package. I don't remember them all, but among them were: a lion, a cheetah, a giraffe, a camel, a moose, and a polar bear. Hmmm...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, school has begun for us again here - preschool, that is. And with it has come some interesting behavior.

I was really looking forward to school starting again because Fellan has been talking about it a lot during the summer. He loves his school, it's been really good for his social development, and I thought it would be just great for him to be back in school.

However, let me give you a little taste of what it's like to live with a highly sensitive, emotional, determined (aka stubborn), and slow to accept change little 4.5 year old boy.

I was late getting home from work one day and I got an agitated phone call from my husband. "Where are you and when are you going to be home?!! I've gone downstairs to take a break from Fellan and I just can't deal with him anymore!"

He relayed to me the situation - out of the blue, Fellan decided he wanted to eat marshmallows. (where that came from, I have no idea - he doesn't just eat marshmallows on an every-day kind of basis!) Unfortunately, upon looking in the pantry, my husband had to inform the previously happy and well-behaved little boy that we didn't have any marshmallows in the pantry.

Apparently at that point, the boy's skull opened up and from it grew a creature so hideously upset that only reddened eyeballs and a screaming mouth could be seen. For at least 30 minutes, the boy threw a complete fit about the fact that we didn't have marshmallows. Other food options were suggested to him, but nothing would appease his hunger for marshmallows. After being unable to pacify this intense, sustained outburst, the husband retreated to the downstairs room to re-group.

I got home in time to go upstairs and find the boy beginning to calm down a little bit. By that point, he was in the stage of his tantrum that he needed to be hugged. He needs to be touched and held in order to calm down from such an intensely physical outburst. I sat with him and hugged him and tried to get him to talk to me. I knew that if I talked about food of any type, it would set him off again.

He finally calmed down enough for me to get into the kitchen, make him a quesadilla, take it out to him, set it in front of him, and move away quickly.

The boy doesn't like to be wrong. He doesn't like to be caught in a situation where he feels trapped by his emotions or his stubbornness. So, by putting the food in front of him and not saying anything, he could discover it and make the decision himself that, "Oh Yes! This is exactly what I need right now. Marshmallows? What was I thinking?!... Mmmm... yummy, cheesey goodness..."

There have actually been a few other seemingly irrational outbursts like this during the last couple of weeks. It coincided exactly with the start of the school year. You know, it's flabbergasting sometimes - the more we learn about this little boy, the more we need to learn! Whew.

I seem to recall being rather stubbornly emotional about certain things sometimes. Sorry about that, mom! :)

P.S. After calming the boy down and beginning to get on with supper preparation, I happened to look in the pantry and find a bag of marshmallows up on a top shelf with about 5 marshmallows left in it. I didn't tell my husband about the bag until a couple of hours and a couple of glasses of wine later...

Monday, August 13, 2007

I grew too much

One evening a few weeks ago, the girl met me at the door when I got home from work. She was in tears, saying, "I goo too muh! I goo too muh!"

I was still in "office mode" and was unable to switch over into "childspeak" quickly enough, so I asked my husband what in the world she was so upset about.

"She grew too much." My husband replied.

So, I turned back to the girl and asked her what was wrong. "Mommy, I'm sorry! I grew too much! My shoes don't fit anymore." *more sobbing*

This is really my fault - I keep telling the kids that they can't grow anymore. That I love them just the way they are and I don't want them to grow up. I think I've even asked them to promise me that they won't grow too quickly.

I had to explain that it was OK for her to grow and that's what she's supposed to do and that we'll just have to buy her some new shoes.

She perked up immediately. Little drama queen!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Inspiration?... Anyone?...

I haven't posted anything in a week and a half - I guess I've been waiting for some kind of inspiration. It hasn't caught me yet. I don't know why - I haven't moved quickly enough to get away from anything chasing me in at least a week and a half...

Anyway, the only life update I have at this point is that I actually accomplished something at work this past week, so it has inspired me to start tackling some things at home. Like trying to clean some things out of this place. Oh! And I actually cooked a couple of things during the last week. That's fairly momentous.

Stay tuned. Maybe inspiration will track me down soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mottos by which to live...

For years, I've had the following poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson (maybe) hanging in my office:

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

However, after having children and determining that things are seldom as perfect as I'd like them to be (including my behavior when dealing with them!), I think I'm going to change it out for a very wise quote I just received by e-mail:

"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

Surely it's better to just set a lower standard than to continuously fail at perfection. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Random musings of a 4-year-old

Yesterday the boy was in rare form - here are some of his random musings...

Yesterday morning as I left for work, the kids had the following conversation (my husband text-messaged me as I was driving down the street):
the girl: "I wish... we'll miss her all day"
the boy: "We'll miss her all day... But we won't! After nap she'll come."
the girl: "I want to watch Calliou right now!"
(It's nice they think about me so fondly... and for so long!)

They then sat down to eat breakfast. And while sitting at the table, the boy says, "Daddy, you know what I really want is some attention" (pause) "but you're not giving me any." My husband said he thinks his reply was something like, "Hold on a minute - I want to hear what Cadel Evans has to say." - You know, an exciting stage of the Tour de France was going at this time! :)

The boy apparently then wanted Daddy to take him outside so he could check the weather. He got outside and declared, "Yep! Still summer!!!" and they went back inside.

And then last night, we went for a bike ride and Fellan was telling me all about how we would ride bikes when he gets older, "When I get older, then I could ride your bike. And Daddy and I could ride with the babies on the trailer bike."
"What babies?" I asked.
"The babies we're going to get!" he replied.
"Where are we going to get these babies?" I asked.
"From the hossibal! I know they make them there!" he exasperatedly replied.

(Lately, he's been obsessed with us having more babies - he wants two girls. Twin girls, to be exact. How long do you think it will take for his disappointment to fade?...)

Of course, the evening ended with him stubbornly refusing to brush his teeth and crying himself to sleep because we then wouldn't read him his book, but I'll try to remember the good parts of the day instead. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mark my words...

For the last 8 years, the Tour de France has been won by an American. Last year's winner is still being questioned as a doper, however it remains a big question in my mind. The french labs that do the testing seem to be as reliable as a Yugo and I don't trust anything they say. I think they're still a little peeved that they've never been able to get any dirt on Lance, they hate that Americans have been winning, and they haven't had a French winner since 1985 - Bernard Hinault.

So, this year's Tour de France has been going on now for a week and the first big mountain stage was today. Everyone seemed to have a hard time coming up with the favorites for this year because more and more riders are being accused of doping and admitting to doping, but, even before the Tour started I figured out who the winner is going to be: Christophe Moreau.

Not that I like him at all. He's been a professional rider for 11 years and has been known to be kind of a jerk for most of his career. A few years ago, he was involved in a scuffle during a race and either punched another rider or got punched, I don't remember which.

Anyway, this year, he has become a "revelation". He won the French National Championship and the Dauphine Libere this year and I figure he'll probably win the Tour - he's French, he's probably doping (because, come on - at 36, he's suddenly a "revelation"??), but the French labs won't dare to "out" him as a doper.

So, there's my pick for the Tour. (do you think I could be any more fatalistic about this?...)

P.S. My real hopes for this year? Levi Leipheimer and Cadel Evans :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm a "Fire Warden"

In my office building, every floor is required to have 4 "Fire Wardens" - people who check the floor during a fire drill and keep everyone on the floor until we're told to leave.

So, in case you can't find my office, just follow the gigantic arrow...

I just about fell over laughing when I came in one day to find myself "labelled".


Well, as if taking a week and a half off to go biking wasn't enough, we also decided to take a mini-vacation last week. My company only works 4 days a week and since the 4th was on Wednesday, I decided it was just stupid for me to come in to work on Thursday. I was having hard enough time trying to get back into the "work" mentality anyway!

So, we decided to take a mini-vacation out to Fredericksburg, TX. We were only there for one full day, but we managed to go hiking at Enchanted Rock for the morning, visited a winery (of course!) in the afternoon, and ate our fair share of bratwursts and German potato salad while we were there.

Hiking in a "valley" next to Enchanted Rock:

Our feet at the highest point on Enchanted Rock (surveyor's mark):

(notice the runnin' back shoes?...)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tour de Nebraska

I'm a little behind in my posts, so I'll try to catch up in the next couple of days...

The Tour de Nebraska was really great! The route basically circled my hometown this year, so the kids stayed with grandma and grandpa and they all came to visit us a couple of times.

The first two nights of the tour, we stayed in towns with wineries! Yeah - wineries in Nebraska - whodathunk?! The first winery wasn't spectacular, but that didn't stop us from splitting a bottle of wine that afternoon. The second winery, however, was really good. We, of course, felt it necessary to split another bottle of wine that second night and we ordered a case of it! We're pretty sure this tour was designed with us in mind. (Good thing we do so much "training" every evening here so that we could keep up with all the drinking during the bike ride.)
The third night we went out for a nice meal together - and split another bottle of wine. And the fourth night, we stayed in Wilber, Nebraska, the "Czech Capitol of the USA" (they even hold a "Miss Czech USA" pageant every year!). Of course, the evening was capped off with a traditional Czech meal and a couple of huge bottles of Czech beer.
Oh yeah, besides the drinking (which, of course, was the most important part) we also did some biking! It was beautiful and fairly challenging! For the first 2.5 days, there wasn't a stretch of flat ground to be seen. And the hills were pretty steep. I had trouble walking the 2nd and 3rd nights because my legs were so sore! But I got a massage on the 3rd night and that seemed to help my legs quite a bit for the 4th and 5th days.
So, yeah, the biking was really very nice. Most people think of bicycle tours as being in the California wine country, or Vermont, or some other spetacular place, but I'd have to say that this one is probably nicer than those places. There are no people in Nebraska, you know! No people = no cars! It was great. And the roads were nice, too - you know, no cars to mess up the roads! :)
And it was just so nice to visit all these tiny little towns in Nebraska - the Rotary Clubs and church groups staffed rest stops for us and we ate every day in whatever local bar was in town. It was pretty cool.
Definitely something we'd like to do again! And we're going to try to convince other people to come with us next time... Any takers?...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quick Update

Sorry, my adoring fans, but I only have time to write a quick update on the goings-on in our parts.

We've mostly been trying to ride our bikes in a futile attempt to get ready for our upcoming vacation. We've unfortunately discovered that our 30-something bodies don't recover quite as quickly as our 20-something bodies used to. And since this is the most riding we've done in 4 years, our bodies are really not appreciating it.

We've also been busy trying to de-clutter. De-cluttering the house and our lives. We're in the process of trying to get rid of one motorcycle, but that involves actually getting it running! It's out of our garage, though, which made room for the workbench, which made room for a cool bookshelf from IKEA! :)

Aside from that, work continues to eat into our real lives - not a good precedent to uphold - and I've also decided that the US Passport Agency is woefully understaffed! Our nanny (a US citizen) is supposed to be traveling home to El Salvador in less than one week and she still doesn't have her renewed passport that she applied for in early March. AND if you call the Passport Agency number, the only thing they tell you is that they don't have enough people, to call back later, and then the automated system hangs up on you. It's infuriating. Word to the wise: if you think you'll be traveling overseas (or Canada or Mexico) in the next year, apply for the passport and pay for the expedited delivery. You might get it in about 6 months.

Whew. How's that for the most convoluted, rambling "short post" ever?...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Note to self:

Ride for 23 miles with Fellan in tow on the trailer bike, then take him swimming for 2 hours at a friends' house - he'll actually get so tired, he'll take a nap on his own on the weekend - for the first time ever!!!

Monday, May 14, 2007

What more could I ask for?

Every Monday morning, people at work ask all their other coworkers that one question which I always think is only asked out of politeness, "How was your weekend?"

Well, my weekend was great! It started off on Friday evening when my husband suggested that I take my road bike out and see if it still works. I haven't ridden my road bike since the boy was about 6 months old, so considering that stretch of time without any mileage, the bike did great! My butt? Not so much. I think I'll be getting a new saddle sometime soon. There's no way I'll be able to put enough miles on that saddle to get used to it before our biking excursion this coming June. :)

On Saturday, we went for a family bike ride in the morning and then rode our bikes up to Allen Parkway to watch the Art Car Parade. This was the first year we were finally able to go after many years of conflicts, one type or another.

And Sunday was a Mother's Day bonanza:
  • The husband and kids went and got me bagels, coffee, and flowers.
  • Then it was time for the family bike ride...
  • ...with our ride finishing at the Houston Grand Criterium - yep, a real bike race in Houston!
  • Then lunch and naps for both kids (yay!)
  • And to top it all off, we went to IKEA, where the kids are both now able to stay in the supervised play area while we get to wander around and not yell at children. How refreshing!
  • And then (as if this wasn't all enough) we picked up the kids from the play area and went and ate dinner at the IKEA cafeteria.
Yes, yes, I'm easily amused, but it really was a very fun and relaxing weekend. The husband did a good job of making it a nice Mother's Day weekend. :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nice, strong cup of milk

The girl is increasingly asking to drink out of cups that don't have lids or that are not "sippy cups". And usually, she wants to drink milk from a big-girl cup.

So, we'll get her a cup of milk and every time we give it to her, she takes a long drink, puts down the cup, sighs, and says, "Now that's what I like: a nice, strong cup of milk."

Monday, May 07, 2007

It's just what I always wanted!!!

Well, since I last posted here, I think I've had a birthday, Fellan had a birthday, and my older brother had his 40th birthday (notice how I made sure to tell you that he's my older brother, making sure that you know I'm not yet 40. Far from it. So far that I can hardly imagine what the world will be like four years from now when I hit that mark...)

Anyway, my parents and my brother were here this past weekend to have a collective birthday celebration. Much fun was had by all, but my favorite part was the opening of the gifts. Not just because I got presents, but because I love to watch Fellan open presents.

Fellan is a very sensitive and emotive little boy. He has high, high, highs and low, low, lows. Opening presents is always a high, high, HIGH! His enthusiasm is infectuous and it's really genuine enthusiasm that he brings to every present opening.

Every time he opens a present, he will invariably scream with delight, "Wow! It's just what I always wanted!!!" or "It's the [insert vehicle type here] that I wanted!!!!" (Fellan requested matchbox cars for his birthday - we are totally overrun now...)

I would love for him to retain this ability to be thrilled with any and all presents, although, I'm afraid that I may have ruined it for him already.

I specifically told my mom what I wanted for my birthday and how to order it and then when my brother got to town, I actually went shopping with him and picked out my own present. So, when I opened my presents, I also exclaimed, "Wow! It's just what I always wanted!!"

I'm hoping I haven't made him feel too self-conscious. He is a very sensitive little boy, too, afterall... *sigh*

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Time of Discovery

The latter part of March and beginning of April have been dubbed by the preschool teachers, "The Time of Discovery". They mentioned this to the husband one day and it's really true.

Suddenly, all the children in Fellan's class "get it". They get everything. They're totally comfortable at school and with the friendships they've made throughout the year. They're just amazing little creatures and I feel so lucky to be able to be a part of this school and see such growth of character from 4-year-olds.

One of the things that Fellan has suddenly "gotten" is the ability to swing. By himself. He no longer requires pushes from us.

This is a huge, huge thing for him. Swinging is, by far, his most favoritist thing ever to do. If given the opportunity, he would swing for over an hour and not play on any other equipment at any given park.

And so, in an attempt to save our sore arms, we have tried ever since he started using the "big kid swings" to teach him how to pump his legs. "Straighten! Pull 'Em Back! Straighten! Pull 'Em Back!"

Apparently, one of these teaching episodes must have been quite memorable (I'm hoping it was due to the loving supportiveness of my instruction) and now if you ask him who taught him to swing by himself, his answer is always, "Mommy!" Poor Daddy never gets any credit... :)

Runnin' Back Shoes

For those of you who don't know me, I'm not much of a girly-girl. However, it seems that despite her mother, somehow Marxo is learning some of the finer aspects of being a girl.

She loves all kinds of pretty, frilly outfits, and if I ever let her choose the bow for her hair, she will always choose the biggest pink bow that we have (which are all hand-me-downs from one of the neighbor girls - I definitely didn't buy them!).

She loves it when you tell her that she looks pretty (and I must admit I use that to my advantage fairly frequently in order to try to make her wear whatever it is I want her to wear so that I don't have to try to pick out something else! - "But you'll look so pretty in this shirt...")

And she especially loves the multitude of shoes that the neighbor girl has handed down to her. Every day she chooses different shoes to wear. Here lately, however, her favorite shoes are a pair of hot pink tennis shoes that she calls her "runnin' back shoes". Apparently she did pick up something a little "non-girly" from the football season. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I overheard a conversation between my husband and the boy the other night:

Fellan: Look at my farthead!
Husband: Your what?
Fellan: My farthead!
(at this point, I was thinking that little-boy humor must have finally seeped into Fellan's class from the older kids' class)
Husband: What's on your head?
Fellan: No, look here! (pointing to his forehead)
Husband: Oh! That's your forehead!
Fellan: (thinking a couple seconds) It's my fivehead!!!
(much laughter all around...)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Remember how I said that we were all sick for a couple of weeks? Here's an actual e-mail I sent to my mom on Monday after the first weekend of being sick: (she asked me how I was doing)

Better today than last night.

After watching the kids dry-heaving all night long for two nights, I was really afraid I was going to do it, too. But even after trying to will it all to come out the hind end, I ended up throwing up anyway. I hate throwing up.

After I threw up, I took the anti-naseau medicine that the doctor had prescribed for Marxo. It worked like a charm! I was able to sleep from about 10:30 until 5:00 when a big thunderstorm and hail came through.

Of course, that woke up the kids, so I went down the hallway, thinking that I would climb into bed with one of them and they might go back to sleep. But, when I was telling Marxo to move over, I touched her sheets and discovered that she had thrown up.

She threw up while she was laying on her back, so it got all in her hair. I ended up having to give her a bath. Then I changed her sheets and finally, I got them both to lay back down for a few minutes. I was just hoping I could make it through the next few hours until the nanny would get there and I would finally have a break from the gawd-awful weekend.

But then I heard the phone ringing and so did Fellan.
So we all came downstairs at around 7:10 and I checked the messages. It was the nanny - her daughter had been up most of the night crying with an ear infection, so she needed to take her daughter to the doctor. She would not be coming in afterall.

Oh - and when we came downstairs, I tried to turn on the lights in the dining room and one of the lightbulbs burned out (quite fantastically) and tripped one of the breakers, so the lights in the dining room and kitchen wouldn't work.

I eventually made my way downstairs to the garage to try to trip the breakers and get the lights back on, but after I messed around with them, even more lights wouldn't come on.

At this point, I was still not feeling very well, so I just laid on the couch and gave the kids some saltines and animal crackers to eat. The husband was still sleeping, so I left him up there until 9:30. At that point, I decided he had slept enought and he'd better come and help me figure out how to get the lights back on.

He's finally feeling better today after having a fever since sometime on Saturday afternoon. He claims he didn't get any good sleep from Friday until this morning from around 2:00 until 9:30.

I just can't wait to go back to work tomorrow so I can have a break. :)

Friday, March 23, 2007


I figure I've gone long enough without any kind of update on the goings-on here in my little world, so I'll just give you a brief over-view of what's happened in the last month or so.

At the end of February/beginning of March, we went on vacation to Colorado. My parents came out from Nebraska for the first weekend (and brought frozen Runzas for us to enjoy while on vacation, bless their hearts!). The kids had a very good time with grandma and grandpa and the husband and I were able to go skiing together for a day.

We got in a little skiing during the remainder of our week there and attempted to get the boy up on skis. We enrolled him in ski school one morning. I had serious doubts that he would stay for the entire session just because he's very slow to warm up to new situations and he gets very scared about anything remotely dangerous. So, we spent a couple of days talking about it - how the boots would feel, how to walk in them, how the skis are slippery, etc. We even visited the ski area and looked at the boots and skis he would rent and checked out the "magic carpet" that they have to get to the top of the bunny hill.

We actually got the boots on him and the helmet on him. Then we went outside to meet up with his teacher and the other kids. That's kind of when he lost a little steam. But, we went over to the little hill and actually got one ski on him. But then he fell down and he wanted Daddy. Immediately. But Daddy was busy trying to put mittens on the girl, so he wasn't immediately available. Well, that was the end of it. The boy would not continue on. He just couldn't recover his composure, so we cut the lesson short and went into the lodge. The husband and I took turns skiing for a couple of hours and that was that. Maybe next year...

After we returned from vacation, we've basically all been sick! Everyone came down with some sort of affliction the weekend after we got back and I'm actually still struggling with some kind of sinus infection. But we seem to be on the mend. Hopefully in the coming week, I'll be able to catch up with everything I want to post! Write at you soon! :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Snails? I want a dog.

Remember when I set up my cute little office fish tank?

Well, it has since become completely overgrown with algae - the snails I had in there didn't do their job very well and then they died. So, last night I decided it was finally time to go to the pet store to get some more snails.

We made it a family outing and as we drove up to the pet store, I told the kids that I needed to go get some snails.

To which, the boy responded, "Snails? I want a dog. A sleeping dog." ???...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Baby Tara(h)

Apparently, people are getting annoyed with the fact that I haven't posted here lately. So, to appease the masses, here goes:

Towards the end of my pregnancy with the girl, we gave the boy a little baby doll so that he could get used to the idea of having a baby around and so that in case he felt the need to hold a baby once his sibling arrived, he would always have an "unbreakable" option.

The boy definitely takes after his father in the fact that he is a caring nurturer and he has bonded quite deeply with his baby doll. To this day, he doesn't sleep without his baby. And several months ago, he named her Baby Tara(h). [The husband and I don't agree on how this should be spelled - I say "Tarah", he says, "Tara"]

I'm quite proud of the fact that he named his baby. Not just because he named her, but because he chose a name for her that doesn't already belong to someone we know. It seems to have been a unique thought and considering the difficulty we had when we were trying to come up with names for our kids, I'm even more impressed!

Anyway, meet Baby Tara(h) - pronounced (tah-rah):

One eye open and one eye closed - isn't that the way all well-loved baby dolls are supposed to look? :)

So, one day last week, Baby Tara(h) went to school with the boy. Upon his arrival, a group of his little classmates (all girls) told him that boys can't have babies. This incited a very lively discussion between Fellan, the girls, the boy's male teacher, and my husband. The husband tells me that he excused himself from the conversation after they had covered the difference between having a baby and giving birth to the baby and after they talked about all the different methods of feeding a baby. I think the girls were satisfied by that point, but I predict there will be many more of these types of conversations.

(Especially since last night as the kids went to bed, they were having quite a lively conversation about penises and paginas...)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Code name for the girl

Since I've now got a code name for the boy, I thought I'd check out my T9word function to see what would come up for the girl's name. Her name is not very popular, so I expected a similar outcome as for the boy's name.

But I typed in her name and oddly enough, it worked perfectly. Well, I couldn't have that, so I typed in an alternate spelling that we had considered for her name. Much better: Marxo.

Fellan and Marxo. Those are some code words I can live with. :)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fellan's Story

Part of the requirements of the boy's preschool is that each parent must work at the school about 5 to 6 times per semester. My turn to work at the school was a week ago on Friday.

I always have fun working there because I love seeing the boy play with his friends and I get to see what he actually does every day at school. But last Friday was even more fun because they've started something at his school that is pretty neat - the kids each get to tell a story and then act it out. It wasn't the boy's turn during my "parent-helper day", so I've been anxiously asking him every day after school if he got to tell a story that day.

Finally, this past Friday, I forgot to ask him about it, but found a sheet sitting on the dining room table. The front page was an explanation of the project:

"We are please to contine to participate in a variation of the Classroom Storytelling Project that originated with participation in the School Literacy and Culture Project at the Rice University Center for Eduation... As a part of the literacy curriculum, in our school, your child will act out adult written literature. S/He will also be dictating and acting out his/her own stories. Copies of your child's storieswill be sent home so that your child can share them with you. We encourage you to take the child's interest in these stories as far as they wish to go. Act them out with siblings and friends. Enjoy the enthusiasm your child brings home along with the stories. The stories may be factual or fictional, or some combination of both. Children tell stories that help to make them part of the community of children in our school and to cement developing friendships... The stories will be dictated by your child and as children go through stages in making sense of this language, occasionally a story will have nonstandard grammar. For example a child might say, 'He goed to the store.' We will then give your child the choice by rephrasing the sentence as 'He goed to the store, or he went to the store?' If the child chooses the nonstandard grammar, we will write what he/she says. Ultimately the words of the story belong to your child..."

Ok, I know that's a really long explanation of the story, but I just think this project is so cool. After seeing how excited the kids were about the story on my parent-helper day and how important is makes the story-telling child feel, I couldn't wait to see what kind of story the boy would come up with.

The day before the boy told his story was "teddy bear day" at the school - every child had brought a teddy bear to school and then the teddy bears spent the night at the school. When we arrived the next morning, the kids weren't allowed to go into the school room right away because the bears had gotten into some "mischief" the night before. :)

So, Fellan's story was:

My bear was stringing on the beads. Then I found him. I got him to the circle.

My husband wasn't home until almost bedtime Friday night, but when I found the story, the kids and I read it over and over, acted it out, and the boy was thrilled about his story. By the time Daddy got home that night, both the kids knew the story by heart and were very excited to tell him all about it.

We went and got the page with the story written on it and the boy stood in front of his Daddy, holding the page with both hands, proudly reading his story. When he finished reading, he put the paper down by his side and took a very deep bow. I'm not sure who was more proud, the boy or his Daddy. It was the cutest thing.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I've been trying to get better over the last couple of years about being organized and remembering things, so one of the tools I've begun to rely on heavily is my phone. I set reminders for myself in it all the time these days and when I go to edit the "content" of the reminder, the keypad on the phone automatically goes into "T9word mode" - it's supposed to be kind of smart and predict what you're trying to type - a pretty cool feature when it works.

But, most of the time for me, it doesn't work. I set reminders for myself to go pick up my son and when I try to type in his (not very well-known) name, it comes out "Fellan". And because I'm too lazy to change the mode to the regular, horribly time-consuming text messaging mode, I just leave it!

I just set myself a reminder to "Go home" early today and instead, it says "In good". If anyone ever gets ahold of my phone and tries to snoop into my life, they're really going to wonder what kind of strange code words I use for myself. :) It's always good to keep people guessing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What will the teachers think?

I was away last week for work and when I returned, a new term had entered the vocabulary of the boy (aided by my husband, of course): Going commando.

The boy now loves to announce, "I want to go commando!" and he immediately strips off his pants and his underwear (or pull-up in the mornings) and puts back on his pants.

I can't wait for him to pull out this phrase at school...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Busy times

Just in case anyone has been wondering, I really am still alive. I just can't believe how busy I've become in the last couple of months and how different this is from my previous job. I actually go through entire days without an opportunity to peruse the internet. This work thing is really getting in the way of my life!

This past week, we finally wrote our Christmas letter! I think we're going to try to send out our Christmas cards this coming weekend. Pretty late, eh? But since we haven't sent any out in about 4 years anyway, we figure we're doing well to get them out at all.

My husband took the first stab at the letter and he included a section talking about our potty-training woes (which are still fairly large woes around our house even still!). And while this has pretty much consumed all our time over the last 6 months, I still thought maybe we should foreg0 the details of our trials. I just don't think that's something the boy would be very happy about reading a few years from now, if he goes through our old Christmas letters someday. (of course that doesn't seem to stop me from writing about it to the entire internet! Hmmm...)

So, we toned it down a little bit and instead talked about the kid's general demeanors and how different they are. I added a sentence saying that if we were to predict our kid's future professions, we think we'll have one independent and dramatic theoretical nanophysicist and one compassionate and empathetic professional bicycle racer. Which do you think is which? :)

Since I mentioned the potty-training topic, I should give you a quick update! The girl is done - except for night time. She still wears a pull-up to bed at night, but otherwise, I can't remember the last time she had a real accident. Of course, the boy is still fighting it, but he is doing much better. I'd say we might be to about 40% with the boy. He has finally determined that "going nekkid", or at least sans-pants, helps him to remember to use the potty. And that's a big step.

And the girl just likes wearing no clothing, period, so I'd have to say that probably 75% of the time in our house, the kids are runnin' around in minimal (if any) clothing. We have resolved ourselves that we are going to get new carpet and new furniture once we finish this little phase of our lives!

Anyway, that's what's been going on around our house! Now it's time for me to go check on some other peoples' blogs and see what's going on elsewhere. Until next time...