Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The difference between boys and girls

A couple of samples of the kids' most recent artwork...

The inlaws are out of town, so their cat, Ozzy, came to stay with us for a week, or so. Our cat, Midas, is really happy about the situation. (not really!) Marxo drew a picture for them:

Earlier in the day, Fellan had made some artwork, too:

That would be:
"I will destroy you!"
"Run for your life!"
"Do not panic"
"Run"
"AAAA"

I'm pretty sure the characters in this picture are NOT Ozzy and Midas, although, I didn't ask. :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yellow, of course!

Fellan received his yellow belt on Wednesday last week and then swore the husband and I to secrecy because he wanted to tell Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Scott the news himself. They were on their way to town and his excitement was barely containable! (both for the yellow belt and for their impending arrival)

He wore his Tae Kwon Do uniform until they arrived at the house just so he could show them that he got his yellow belt. It was very cute.

So, we had a really nice visit with my family while they were here. It was especially nice because we didn't have a party to plan or run. Only Christmas. Which is, oddly enough, much less stressful! We've got the Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner thing all worked out. I even have a shopping list that I re-use every year. I think it's about 13 years old by now!

The parents and brother left on Sunday night to head back to the frozen, snow-buried North. Marxo rode to the airport with me to drop them off and she fell asleep on my mom's shoulder during the drive up there. The kids were completely worn out by the four days of festivities. And they're still both talking about how much they miss Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Scott. We're definitely going to have to do this again sometime. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yellow or still white?

Tomorrow we find out if Fellan passed his belt test for Tae Kwon Do. The test was this past Friday night and judging from the number of people who had signed up for the potluck afterwards, I figured we'd be done in about 30 minutes.

That was not the case. There were probably 40 kids who tested for their belts! And this is not a short process. First, each group had to show their kicking techniques. Red tip belts, red belts, blue belts, green belts, orange belts, yellow belts, white belts. Then each group had to show their form. Red tip belts, red belts, blue belts, green belts, orange belts, yellow belts, white belts. Then they each had to show their sparring techniques. Red tip belts... etc. We were there for 2.5 hours!

And finally, they got to the board breaking technique. In order to progress from belt to belt, the student must break a board. To say that we were a little apprehensive about Fellan's ability to do such a thing is an understatement.

And Fellan was pretty nervous, too.

Luckily, they start with all the higher level belts for this, too, and work their way down, so we had seen several broken boards before it came time for Fellan's group to go. Still, I was anxious to get it over with.

Apparently, however, I had nothing to fear. Fellan got up, did his practice kicks, lined it up, and *whack!* the board was split in two. It was so cool. Fellan couldn't have been more proud.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Of note this week

There really hasn't been anything of note happening in our house this week. Except that we've been watching quite a bit of Star Trek: Next Generation. I think the kids have figured out that if they want to watch TV in the evenings, it's a pretty safe bet that we're incapable of saying "No" to Jean-Luc Picard.

Actually, one thing does stick out as happening this week. Somehow I made the mistake of referring to growing up and going through puberty.

Marxo: What does puberty mean?
Me: Well when you get older and stop growing taller, your body goes through puberty which means that it's getting ready to have babies.
Fellan: How do you make babies?

(Oh crap... It was at this point that the husband, who had been listening in a different room, said something like, "I just remembered - I need to go downstairs for something!" He didn't actually leave, though. So, we just looked at each other and giggled nervously, waiting for one of us to break down and respond in some way.)

Marxo: You get married and you kiss. That's how you make babies.
Me: No, you don't make babies by kissing.
Fellan: Then how does it happen?!
Me: Well, the egg gets fertilized and then the baby starts growing.
Marxo: What's fertilizer?
Fellan: It's dirt! You put dirt on the egg!

(Oh for geez. Now I'm imagining all the crazy images that the kids must be creating in their minds and I can't let them think that girls get pregnant through bizarre gardening incidents. I finally work up the courage to take it to a little more technical level...)

Me: The fertilizer is not dirt. Boys have something called sperm and it's the fertilizer. Girls have the egg. So, the egg gets fertilized by the sperm.
Fellan: Where do I have sperm?
Husband (thank goodness): The sperm is in the boy's body, but you don't have any sperm yet because you haven't gone through puberty.
Fellan: Oh.

And finally, no more questions. The husband was a little worried about what the kids would go off and tell their friends, imagining that they're going to be running around yelling, "Hey! The egg gets fertilized by the sperm!!!"

My only response? Well, it's true.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Freddie

Even before I ever got pregnant, I knew that I would want the sex of the baby to be a surprise, so when the time came for us to potentially find out whether we were having a boy or a girl, we politely declined to find out.

Of course, this has all kinds of ramifications when getting ready for the arrival of the baby. There's the obvious problem regarding what kind of clothes to get, but also, decorating the nursery becomes a problem.

So, we did the same thing that everyone does: we painted the nursery yellow and green.

And for some reason, I like frogs. So, we made it a frog theme, but tried not to go overboard. I really didn't want frogs all over the place. We found a bumper set with some cute frogs on it, I made some crib sheets out of frog fabric, and we bought a gigantic frog named Freddie and put it in the room.

Freddie is so big that we used to take a monthly picture of Fellan with Freddie in order to judge his growth. We tried doing the same with Marxo, but as with all second-children the novelty quickly faded.

As the years have passed and we've accumulated more and more stuff in the kids' room, Freddie had to give up his spot on the floor and sit on the foot of Marxo's bed. But, she eventually got too tall for that, so he's been shoved between the dresser and a storage basket for the last couple of months.

Until last night...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Getting ready

Last Friday it snowed in Houston - and everyone lost their minds!!! By 4:30 in the afternoon, all the traffic from people going home early had completely cleared out and it was incredibly easy to make it home from Tae Kwon Do practice.

It was actually a great way to kick off the weekend. We spent all day Saturday and Sunday hanging out at home, putting up the Christmas tree, and making beef stew (Fellan and the husband made it and it turned out really, really good - even if Fellan wouldn't try it).

We also watched the Cornhuskers ALMOST beat UT. And if the Huskers just had any sort of offense at all, the score would have been 42 to 13 instead of 12 to 13. But, at least when the defense was on the field (which was most of the time!), I felt like I was watching the old Huskers play.

It took me back to the days of Turner Gill and Mike Rozier and my eighth grade American History teacher who would come in to class every Monday morning stating triumphantly (and measuring the unseen with one hand up high and the other just slightly lower), "Here's God. Here's Tom Osborne."

Finally, I think Nebraska Football is getting ready to indoctrinate another generation into believing that the Huskers have complete dominion of the game.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mud, mud, mud

Well, they're still working on the first side of our street. And the husband still doesn't have a sidewalk. He's taken to just working from our house these days because all his shoes are muddy and he's sick of it.

He sent me some pictures of the sidwalk in front of his office the other day. The title of the e-mail was "No man is an island".

As you can see from this picture, they've been building forms for the street and they've actually poured some of the concrete and a small portion of the sidewalk. Of course, not this part of the sidewalk.

I gave up my hope of having a new street for Christmas well over a month ago...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writing

Both the kids have become obsessed lately with writing. Everything. And displaying their writings. Everywhere.

Here's a sampling of the sticky notes that are currently adorning all walls of the house.

These two are hung up in our bathroom:

These are stuck to the kitchen cabinets:

This is on the side of the desk in the office:

I'm not sure where this one is stuck (the husband took these pictures and sent them to me on my request) but I know that it's from one day that we went hiking at the Arboretum. The kids got hooked on the fact that "poison ivy has three leaves" and decided to post notes all over the interior of the car.

I have no idea why Fellan put this one up:

And I have several notes in my purse to the captain:

...of the Titanic:

Written inside is an ice warning:

If only he would have gotten this in time...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Video Games

I have to be honest about this one: I hate video games. I was horrible at them when I was little and they only existed as arcade games at the YMCA. I really hated people watching me lose so quickly. I'm sure if I would have practiced more, I could have gotten good at them, but since I didn't like being embarrassed, I never played them.

And then came the Atari. Oh, how I loved the Atari. I could be bad at a game in private. We didn't have an Atari for the longest time. I would always play PacMan over at a friend's house. But Santa brought us an Atari for Christmas one year and I was absolutely ecstatic. I remember my brother mapping out the game Pitfall on a huge piece of paper. He wasted HOURS on that thing!

But we never did get PacMan and I never did become a video game addict. And now that I have kids, I'm very grateful for that.

I just hate video games and my disdain for them is getting worse and worse.

We were with another family one day and while the parents were off procuring food, their four-year-old son was telling us about a game they have on the Wii and how you have to knock some guy down and then you hit him and you kill him and you kill him and you kill him. *shudder*

And this past weekend, we were at a friend's house and their four-year-old daughter was playing some game on a Nintendo DS. Our kids were desperate to play with her, but she sat there, completely entranced by that game for at least 30 minutes until they tore her away.

We had been considering getting a Nintendo DS for the kids for Christmas so they could do reading and spelling games, but after about 2 minutes of watching our friend's daughter play on this thing, we both simultaneously looked at each other and mouthed, "Maybe not!"

Nope, our kids are going to be the unlucky, deprived kids of the neighborhood. Because as long as they've still got imaginations, they're playing with them. Period.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Possible secret?

I came in to work on Friday and worked out in the fitness center. There are lockers provided in the locker room, but nobody is allowed to leave their clothing or other stuff in there - you are supposed to use the locker for only the time you're working out.

This really is a pain, but I think it led me to come up with a potentially good hypothesis on Friday at lunchtime.

I was putting away all my stuff and making sure that the locker room was the way it was when I got there. I turned off the fan and diligently put all my stuff into my bag and got ready to leave. And then a weird thought entered my mind - maybe the secret to being organized and staying organized is to think of your own house as somebody else's house. I was cleaning up the locker room and putting everything back the way I found it because it's not my space.

I would never treat someone else's house the way I treat my own. I leave crap out all over the kitchen counters, thinking that "tomorrow, I'll actually put the stuff away". I leave things out after I use them (like wrapping paper, for instance) because I just can't be bothered to put it away immediately and I'll get around to it sometime.

And then, when we have people over, or when we get into a "cleaning mode", I get so frustrated and angry that the house is the way it is, that I fly into a complete rage at whoever happens to be standing closest. (which is usually my husband)

I get mad because the nanny can't be bothered to actually put things away instead of stuffing everything into a box for us to eventually put away. I get mad because there are piles of papers all over the house that the husband and I both create because we still don't have a filing system.

And I feel like all of this stuff around the house is piled up because "people" in the house are not being respectful of "us" and our desire to have a clean house. Finally, I'm realizing that I'm one of those people who is not being respectful of myself. If I were to just treat my own things as someone else's, maybe I would be able to force some sense of order. ???

Well, I took a step towards being respectful of myself this weekend. I cleaned out all the crap that was under my bathroom sink and left only the things that I use regularly and I cleared out the spot for my "toiletries caddy" again. I usually leave it out on my counter all week - only putting it away on cleaning day so that the cleaning lady can clean off my bathroom counter. Today, however, is not a cleaning day and I put it away! Let's see how long this lasts...

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Great Butterfly Release of 2009

As promised, here are the pictures from The Great Butterfly Release of 2009...

I didn't get a good picture of the butterflies on the flowers after we released them, but they seemed to be very happy and were both sucking up nectar from the flowers. It was really pretty cool to watch them.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween

Ok, I finally got the pictures of both Halloween and The Butterfly Release of 2009 from the husband. I'll wait and post the butterfly pictures later, just to keep you in suspense - I know you're waiting anxiously for them!

We spent Halloween with some friends and trick or treated around the neighborhood. I think since it was on a Saturday night, everyone else got out earlier than us, but it was still good. The kids succeeded in getting plenty of "non-approved" candy, which I then replaced with "approved" candy and all was well.

We also attended a Halloween costume party at a friends' house the night before Halloween. The whole family had vampire costumes, but then the husband ended up being out of town. We still got a picture of me and the kids, though. They're really enthused.

And here's a pic right before trick or treating...

That's a light-up bat headband that you can't see on her head.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Started yet?

So, has everyone started their Christmas shopping already? I've been quietly saving Gift Ideas to my wishlist.com for everyone in our family for the last few months. Now it's time to start ordering! I'm bound and determined to be like Courtney and get all my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving this year! :)

Today at lunchtime, I worked out and as I was showering and getting dressed, a couple of ladies came in to do their lunchtime workout. Which, I think, included just as much chatting as "working out". They were talking about the Christmas shopping they had already done. I wish I could make this an audio blog, but you'll just have to take my word for it: Never before has a locker room been filled with so much southern drawl from two grandmothers talking about the clothes they've already gotten for their grandchildren.

About two weeks ago, though, the locker room (approximately 10 feet by 15 feet) was filled with towels when I was in there.

This is the normal place for the towels.


Occasionally, they also get piled onto this bench, too.


This was new...

Not really going anywhere with this, but I laughed quite a bit when I saw them stacked all over the place. Time to go home...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another and then I'll stop. Maybe.

Been a busy week. Had a meeting today about some really interesting stuff that I'm excited about, but it's all confidential-type stuff and can't talk about it. And actually, if I told you about it, you'd probably fall asleep because sometimes I talk in generalities about the stuff with other people and their eyes glaze over. Which I think is probably not a good sign.

Anyway, I have one last picture of a butterfly to share with you. This is from one of the caterpillars that we gave to the Preschool class. When it emerged, one of the teachers took it out to their garden and the husband was there to capture the moment. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Karate Kid

Movies from the 1980's. Wow. It's really amusing to watch them now that digital animation has outdone any special effect from the 80's.

We were looking for something to watch on Saturday after a really busy day and instead of watching Monsters Vs. Aliens for the 14th time, the husband suggested that I check out the movies available on our Video on Demand channel.

It took me just a few minutes to settle on The Karate Kid for $2. (Ralph Macchio is so young in it!)

We knew the kids would like the movie, but, oddly, we weren't expecting the all-out karate assault on the couch and air that went on for the entire movie. Fellan can't just watch a movie - he BECOMES the movie. Luckily, he didn't break anything...

The husband ended up having to rush out of town last night to try to fix a problem that developed on his current project, so we watched it again late yesterday afternoon.

Fellan has now decided that he must wear one of our cycling headbands on his head at all times, bow to me when accepting instruction from me, and call me "ma'am". I'm wondering how long I can milk this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another one

This morning as we were all having breakfast Marxo looked in the butterfly cage and said, "Um, guys, you're not going to believe this, but my butterfly just hatched!"

Yep, another one of the butterflies emerged this morning and we all got to watch it as its wings slowly uncurled and it tried to get fully out of the chrysalis. So cool!

We filled up another "flower" with some sugar water to see if either one will drink fresh sugar water.

And then we had to race out of the house and to school/work.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Butterfly!

There was excitement in the house this morning - when I went downstairs to the kitchen and glanced over at the butterfly cage, there was a butterfly hanging upside down next to an empty chrysalis! Way cool!

I yelled up to the kids that they needed to get dressed and come downstairs to see something. Finally, Marxo meandered down the stairs and discovered the butterfly.

She and I got some sugar and put it into one of the floral tubes and mixed up some sugar-water for him/her. I'll be really impressed if it drinks from it.

Here are some really bad pictures that the husband took with his phone that he hates.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ouch

I fell down the stairs last night.

I was headed down our carpeted stairs and almost to the bottom, but I had to step over some dirty clothes that had been left laying on the stairs from swimming lessons. When I tried to put my right foot down on the step below the step I should have been stepping on but couldn't because it was covered with dirty clothes, it got caught on the hem of my left pantleg and pulled it off the stair. This rendered both feet useless and I quickly found myself sitting at the bottom of the stairs.

I sat there and took stock for a couple of minutes before answering the, "Are you OK? Are you OK?" questions coming from my husband.

My right hand is bruised, my left elbow is bruised, my right foot toes are in pain (I guess they got twisted or pulled somehow), my right shoulder hurts, and my back has carpet burns.

So, this morning, I saw that my glasses had fallen off the bedside table and I thought I'd better pick them up before they got stepped on. I bent down and *WHACK!* I hit my eye on the corner of the bedside table. I suddenly felt like I was in some kind of slap-stick comedy!

I eventually made it to work this morning and had to go to a meeting. As I was sitting down, I involuntarily groaned, which prompted my co-worker to ask me if I was OK. So I relayed the whole slap-stick story and we had some good laughs and the meeting started.

Every meeting at our company starts with a "Safety Moment" to try to make sure that safety is always on everyone's mind. The safety moment for this morning? You guessed it: Trip and Fall Accidents.

Awesome Camping and Mountain Biking

I got our camping pictures and I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself! The camping was actually very good - especially since we were camping with good friends, but I just can't tell you how cool it was to get the kids out on their bikes on the trails!

Marxo was unable to start herself on her bike when we got there, but after about 10 minutes of my helping her to start, she was off and riding on her own with all the big kids. She was so proud of herself and rightfully so! (I'm a little proud, too, in case you can't tell.)

We still didn't have our hopes up too much for the trails, though. In most of the state parks, they don't allow biking on the hiking trails and we figured that these "trails" would probably be more like gravel pathways through the park.

We were so wrong.

These were taken on the widest part of the singletrack.

(We really need to get him onto his "big" bike - but it has hand brakes and he's been too afraid thus far...)

And a picture of the master mountain bikers. I was truly impressed with them both. The trails don't have many hills, but Marxo climbed them like a mountain goat and Fellan easily went down them, too. (we made Marxo get off her bike to go down some of the hills) Neither of them were concerned with the tree roots or the bumpy surfaces - it was like they had been doing this all their lives.

This opens up a whole new world for us. I can't wait! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hold on...

Yep, I wanted to post the pictures from camping today, but the husband is unable to get them off his phone at the moment, so once again, I have to hold on and wait until (hopefully) tomorrow.

I'll just say that we had a really great time and since I can't convey the weekend with visual aids today, I'll attempt to leave you with an olfactory aid of what our one and a half days involved: campfire smoke. I'm still smelling it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Into the Wild

This weekend, the family and some friends are headed out into the wilderness of Stephen F. Austin State Park. (except it's not really wilderness, and it's not really very far from Houston...)

BUT! Suddenly, the temperature here has dropped 20 degrees overnight (from 95ºF to 75ºF) and it's supposed to be beautiful weather for the remainder of the weekend!

The park has lots of biking trails and we're planning to load up the kids' two-wheeled bikes (which they are absolutely ecstatic about) and head out there tomorrow morning. We're skipping soccer this week in the interest of family fun. I can't wait! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Results

I finally have the pictures of the favors from Marxo's party. I think they turned out really well - even if my mom and I were up most of Friday night / Saturday morning sewing tulle onto the bottom of those food covers (great idea I had, huh? THANKS, MOM!!!)

First, a picture of the caterpillars. One of these formed into an actual chrysalis yesterday!

During the party, we didn't let anyone know about the caterpillars until the very end. Then I went around and told the kids that we were going to make a craft. All the little kids came running, but there were three older boys there (Fellan's age) who are too cool for that now. They asked me what kind of craft we were going to do. I told them we were going to make flowers. "We don't want to make flowers!"

These are the floral tubes with a "wick" made of rolled up paper towel and, of course, some beautiful flower petals that were cut out by my dad, my brother, Squared, and my mom. (nobody was immune from this task-master!) I had to figure out some way to make them stand up, so they're stuck through the bottom of some Dixie cups.

After all the little kids made these flowers, I told them that they will use these flowers to feed their butterflies because they were all going to get some caterpillars to raise. About 10 seconds after I said that, the three older boys magically appeared at my side saying, "We want to make some flowers!!!" My how things change when little boys and bugs are involved...

And in order to hold the butterflies after they emerge, we told the kids they would have to have a butterfly cage. Voilà! La pièce de résistance:

It's hard to see, but you can kind of tell that there's a little bit of an overlap of the tulle in the middle of the bottom. After much discussion with Squared and my mom, we added two pieces of tulle to the bottom and they overlap. This way, the butterfly is prevented from sneaking out, but you also have access to get the chrysalises chrysali cocoons into the "cage" and then let the butterflies out when it's time to release them.

I think all the parents were pleasantly surprised with the party favors, too. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Not yet...

I got a text from the husband yesterday saying that he was required to go to Amarillo and back today and asking if I could take the kids to school and then come home early to let the nanny leave.

Well, since I didn't really have any choice, of course, I said, "Sure!" A little while later, I figured out that would mean I probably wouldn't get the birthday party pictures from him today, either. No pictures yet!

This morning came around and the husband was up and gone to the airport sometime very early. I have no idea what time it was because I couldn't open my eyes, but I know his flight left at 6:15am.

My alarm clock started going off at a little before 6:00, but I hit snooze and snooze and snooze until at 6:30, a reminder on my phone went off that I was supposed to be meeting a project manager at work at 7:00 this morning. I had to hurry up, get the laptop, log in to our stupid web-based e-mail system that makes you type in your domain, username, and password 14 times before you can actually get to your inbox and then I discovered that they've upgraded the web-based e-mail system and I couldn't figure out how to get to the address list.

Whatever. Luckily, I'm super-anal about spelling and I know exactly how to spell my Dutch manager's name. Take that!

But, after jumping through all these hoops, I've now wasted 15-minutes-worth of time that absolutely cannot be wasted in the morning routine to get Fellan to school without a tardy slip.

Luckily, I managed to get myself ready, the kids up and dressed and partially fed, and Marxo's hair re-fixed (did I mention it was picture day today?!) and made it to school (with another friend's child in tow who was even later than us and had to practically jump out of the moving car to come walk with us) with probably a full minute to spare!

By the time I got to work and into the meeting with the client, which started at 8:30 (3 minutes after I arrived!), I was riding an adrenaline high and sweating enough that I could feel a couple of drops rolling down my forehead.

And then I started getting text messages from the husband.
"Fog in Amarillo. We're stuck indefinitely in Dallas."
"Still in Dallas. We only had 7 hours on the ground to start with, 4 hours of driving, 1 hour car rental, 2 hours for meeting. Time is dwindling quickly."
"May need to turn around and come back to Houston."
" We're on a 9am flight back."

Whew, I'm thinking, that means I don't have to worry about leaving work early. A couple of hours later, while I was still in my meeting, I got this text:
" Just landed. Hypoglycemic episode on plane - bad one - hope can walk off."
Then:
"Made it to car going to drive home."

I talked to him this afternoon. He didn't sound so good. I'm thinking it wasn't just a hypoglycemic thing. That should have passed more quickly. ???

I guess I'll be going home a little early anyway.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Foot Book

Well, the birthday party was a success, but I don't have the pictures to post yet, so you'll just have to wait a day. (I know, all one of my readers is on the edge of his/her seat!)

The parental and brotherly units left early yesterday afternoon, which meant it was time for us to head home and nap! We all succeeded in the venture, except for Fellan, who never naps unless something is wrong with him.

I take after my father, however, and only nap for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. So, I sent the husband and Marxo upstairs to get in a good, long nap, and I had my catnap on the couch while Fellan watched a show on Animal Planet about a guy who lives in the wildnerness of Russia and raises orphaned bears. (It was pretty interesting - since I only napped a little while, I caught most of it.)

We hung out for awhile downstairs, but at one point, Fellan went upstairs and got "The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss" and came down to read it to me. He actually read the words and sounded out the ones that he didn't know! And he was sooo proud. :)

He continued to read it after Marxo and the husband came downstairs - right up until the time that Marxo's finishing of the sentences from memory became too annoying for him to handle...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Deadlines

I'm not sure why, but I just can't seem to get things done unless there's some sort of deadline looming.

Today I've been infinitely productive, but only because our client is coming to town next week and I have to have something to show him. If I could work like this everyday, I would definitely be a superstar! But a very worn out one...

Anyone figured out the secret to slow, steady progress?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Shhh... Don't tell

Marxo's birthday party is this coming weekend and every time I asked her what type of party she wanted, she would reply with some sort of princess blah-dee-blah. Oh brother. That's what she's had for the last two years. Where's your creativity, little girl?!

I knew if I kept asking her over and over, she would eventually come up with something different and that moment arrived about 3 weeks ago. She said she wanted a butterfly party with sparkly butterfly balloons and cupcakes with butterflies on them. Praise the Lord! I latched onto that idea in a heartbeat!

Of course, like any good mom does in 2009, I immediately got on the internet to search for butterfly party ideas. God forbid I actually try to come up with something myself.

One of the people who posted their party details said that she gave out caterpillars as "favors" for the party. I absolutely couldn't pass that up, so I've spent the last two weeks researching how to order caterpillars and what type of device I should get as a butterfly cage. I could have gotten these. The cheapest "insect house" I could find on the internet. Or maybe some of these and then added some tulle to the top, which would have been a cheaper option, but I thought the mesh holes might be too big to hold in the caterpillars. So I finally settled on the cheapest, self-standing option: these! To which I now need to add tulle to the bottom.

(Btw, I must say that www.wishlist.com is the best thing ever. I have wishlists for our family, plus gift idea wishlists and in trying to plan this party, it became the best place to keep the links to all these party favor options! Looove It!)

The caterpillars showed up last night. I still don't have a firm headcount for the number of kids that are coming, and I thought it would be nice to give some to the preschool as well as the elementary school, so I ended up ordering the larger number of caterpillars: 60-70 caterpillars. The general consensus is that around 60% are guaranteed to turn into butterflies, so I wanted to make sure that there were at least 2 per child.

Lord. I think we ended up with around 90-100 of the little suckers! And the instructions stated that "You Must Transfer Larvae To Fresh Food ASAP." Since I bought the Classroom Refill Kit, it came with tiny, individual cups and each caterpillar was to get its own cup. But first, of course, I had to mix up the "food" and smash it down into each individual cup!

They only sent 60 cups, so there are several cups with two caterpillars in them. I think it will be a miracle if any of them survive, but they seem to do a pretty big business with these, they must work somehow!

So now I just have to sew tulle onto the bottoms of the food cover things (I got 20 of them!) and order the cupcakes and get some fruit to go along with the other snack food I've already gotten and cut out some cardboard petals to attach to the floral tubes that I got (the butterflies need to have food after they "hatch," afterall) and pick up the entire house and get ready for my parents and brother to get here tomorrow night. Oh, and find pictures from each year of Marxo's life and buy a book for the preschool so that we can present them on Friday morning. No problem, right?

Now, since none of Marxo's little classmates' parents read this blog, I figure it's alright to talk about this here. I don't want them to find out they'll be going home with some squirmy little critters and get scared about coming to the party, so let's keep this our little secret, Ok? :)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Spatial reasoning

I'm continuously amazed at the fact that my children will stand directly in front of any door that I'm trying to open. Getting in the car? "Move back, I need to open the door." Trying to open the house door? "The door is going to hit you if you keep standing there."

When do children learn that art of spatial reasoning to see that the swing of the door could potentially knock them to the ground?

Or, in Marxo's case last night, smash her toenail, making it bleed for a good 15 minutes.

We had just finished swimming lessons and Marxo had already changed her clothes. After several minutes of waiting, she went into the boys restroom to check on Fellan, then came back out to wait with me in the hallway.

I didn't realize that she was standing directly in front of the door, otherwise, I'm sure I could have prevented it. I've become very adept now at seeing exactly what is about to happen and then figuring out how to avoid it. For instance, I never, ever bend down to help a child with anything when the child is also bent or squatting - they will always, always, always jump up right as you're at your most vulnerable and head-butt your lip or eye, causing people to wonder just what kind of horrible person your husband must be.

Fellan exuberantly bursted out of the restroom and the door took part of Marxo's toenail with it. YOWCH!!!

Marxo spent the next 15 minutes wailing and crying and I had nothing to doctor her with. I had planned that we would swing through Whole Foods for some 365-O's (365 Brand Oreo-type cookies), so I thought maybe we could make it there and I could beg some ice from the guys behind the fresh fish window.

We got there and I put Marxo on my back and headed inside with the kids. Marxo was still crying, so I figured we would have no problem getting ice from the fish guys and as I walked up to the window, I looked down to say something to Fellan, but he wasn't there!

I tried to calmly turn around and re-trace our steps, but the more I walked around looking for him, the more I imagined him running through the store like a maniac (which he usually does if he gets lost - his flight instinct is very strong) or even running out into the parking lot.

I was frantically searching through the store, looking down every aisle, hoping that I would find his wild-eyed little face somewhere when I looked over past the registers and saw him sadly sucking on a lollipop with a couple of the Whole Foods staff getting ready to page me over the intercom.

When he saw me, he burst into tears and ran to me. Poor little boy! I asked him how he was and thanked the people at the front desk. He said that he stopped by the front door to show us something, but when he looked up, we were gone. Luckily, a Whole Foods employee found him and took care of him.

And, he said, the lollipop they gave him was "OK" (the kind that we buy without artificial colors). Sweet boy - even when he was lost, he thought to check and make sure that the lollipop was of the approved kind.

We finally made it to the fish counter and got some ice for Marxo and then went on to get our 365-O's.

The husband was at a preschool board meeting this whole time. I told him that he missed a wonderful evening...

Monday, October 05, 2009

News Flash

I almost don't want to write this because I'm afraid I'll jinx it, but Fellan read a book last night.

As the kids were in bed and getting settled down, he picked out a book and read it. Even sounded out some words! My husband came down and relayed this information to me while I was cleaning up the kitchen. The husband had tears in his eyes, he was so happy!

Of course, Fellan then woke up at 3:00am and wanted to come into bed with us, which caused all sorts of agony and anger on both sides of that argument. The husband wouldn't relent, however. He just spent the next three hours sleeping in bed with Fellan...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Nothing escapes him

Fellan has a great love for learning and he surprises us many times with the observations he makes and with his ability to remember things that he learned last year or even three or four years ago.

Last year, they studied the planets of the solar system in his science class. They made bracelets with beads representing each of the planets - the first bead on the bracelet was the yellow sun, then Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc. He loved that bracelet and was so excited to tell me about it when I got home from work that day.

And then he took it off and all the beads fell off and that was it. He was done with it.

So, a couple of weeks ago, he was talking about the planets and describing something to the husband. He said, "Let's call this Venus, the farthest planet out there... did I say Venus? I meant Pluto." (I guess being a "dwarf planet" still counts as being a planet in the Science curriculum for kindergartners.)

And the other day, we happened upon a Miss Spider's Sunny Patch TV show in which there was an eclipse and he matter of factly said, "An eclipse is when the earth, the moon, and the sun all line up." And then he admitted that he had heard it the other night when we put their "Moon in My Room" CD on as they were falling asleep.

We've now decided that we're going to get all kinds of educational CD's for them to listen to as they go to sleep. At least we could then hope for him to wow the nannies with his random factual comments even if we're apparently doing everything wrong in the reading department...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Deconstruction Update

The husband finally reached his boiling point yesterday with the street deconstruction.

They provided him - at 4:57pm - with a metal plate on the day that they dug the 12 foot hole so that he could get out of the house. Just enough time to make it across the street to let the nanny go home.

Since that point, they've filled in the 12 foot hole with dirt, which is actually just mud since it's been raining over the last week here. So, it's still fairly difficult to get into his office.

During this whole process, the husband has been noticing that they're providing access for everyone else to their houses, but they really haven't been very worried about providing access to the husband. So, he finally got mad enough to call the construction management company yesterday afternoon.

He told them that he was annoyed that they dug a hole in front of his office and then filled it in with mud. Couldn't they at least provide some crushed rock like they have for everyone else's driveways? And speaking of driveways, it sure would be nice to have one! They've provided one for everyone else, but not a driveway to the alley, which provides access to the office's garage. We have some stuff over there that we'd like to get out of there, but can't.

And speaking of garages, he told the guy, "As I'm talking to you right now, there is a worker over there peeing on my garage door." *silence*

Apparently, the magnitude of his discontent was finally understood by the manager - the nanny reported that some of the men were being given a talking-to later in the afternoon.

You know how I said that I didn't really mind them doing this construction? It's only been three weeks, but I'm beginning to get tired of it already...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Of

Last week, one of Fellan's spelling words was "of". The first time we asked him and Marxo to spell it, they both wrote down "uv".

The next day, the husband asked him again to spell "of". He was determined not to get it wrong this time. After much thought, he said, "F U!"

(By the end of the week, I think he finally got it right on his spelling test.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Slow, quick, quick, slow

This past weekend was kind of like a dance class, but instead of slow, slow, quick, quick, we were able to divert one of those "slows" to the end, which was quite nice.

Friday morning started off with a relaxing morning of taking the kids to school and then going for a bike ride with the husband. It was our anniversary (and also my mom's birthday - Happy Birthday, Mom!), so we decided to go for a nice lunch at one of the best restaurants around, Churrascos. We both got the lunch special of the day, lump crab meat in some kind of really great sauce, over a churrasco steak. We split a bottle of wine, too, and finished with some extremely good espresso.

By the time we got home, we had just enough time to get the bags packed for the evening's activities. We picked up Fellan from school, had him try on his soccer cleats from last year, they didn't fit, so we rushed to Academy and picked out new shoes for him in less than 15 minutes. We ran from there to Tae Kwon Do, and then to the craft store to get supplies for Marxo's birthday party, then on to Fellan's soccer practice.

Saturday morning, Fellan's soccer game was at 9am, and from there, we ran to Arne's Warehouse, where we found plates, napkins, and party blowers for Marxo's birthday party, as well as Halloween costumes for us all (we're going to be a vampire family!). Then on to Marxo's soccer game. Quick lunch at home, and we were off again to a birthday party for one of Marxo's friends and finally a birthday party for one of Fellan's friends!

Yesterday, we had nothing to do. We went for a family bike ride and then hung around the house for the whole afternoon and evening. We made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots, and salad for supper and then told the kids stories about what they were like when they were babies. A nice finish to the weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where the sidewalk ends

The street deconstruction has now become deconstruction of the sidewalk, landscaping, and access to the huband's office! He's currently trapped inside his office because they dug a 12 foot hole in front of it. He says the picture doesn't do it justice...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

MY bread

Since we started trying to get rid of artificials in our food (following the Feingold diet), I have been making bread instead of buying it. I have had a bread maker for years, so I'm happy that I'm finally using it with regularity.

Lately, however, I have noticed a disturbing trend regarding my possessiveness about the bread. I get really annoyed when anyone else (really just the nanny) cuts the bread because they just can't do it as well as I can! I'll come home and the bread has clearly been hacked apart by someone with lesser bread-cutting skilz.

Last night when I got home, I took a look at the bread and was, once again, annoyed. For one thing, it was nearly gone, and for another thing, it was cut so that one slice was normal at the top, but thin at the bottom and the next slice was thick at the top and thicker at the bottom! Argh! Show a little respect for the bread, lady!!!

This morning, just to taunt me, the husband sent me a picture...
A picture of my poor, disfigured bread with its crazy angles juxtaposed against the clean lines of the toaster.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I love Vitamin C

I continue to avoid the crap that the rest of my family has. I'm going to give credit to the Vitamin C that I've been taking every night and every morning. 1000mg each time.

Quite awhile ago, I worked with this crazy guy who ate raw sprouts on everything. (I don't really like raw sprouts and I don't trust them because of this.) But, aside from grossing me out all the time, he told me that his brother takes 10,000mg a day of Vitamin C and hadn't been sick for something like 5 years. So, as cookie monster says, "What the heck. Me give it try!" (Except 10,000mg seems a little excessive... so I'm opting for only 2000mg.)

This morning Marxo had a pretty bad cough, but Fellan's was getting better. My husband is still sniffling a lot, so I'm going to be spending the evening covering my face to deflect the errant coughs and sneezes and washing my hands frequently.

If all else fails, I'll just get some of this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homework Failure

Ok, we forgot to copy the calendar with all the homework for the month, so this weekend we weren't able to get a head start on homework. So much for that!

Instead, we had my husband's 20-year high school reunion activities to attend and a birthday party on Saturday evening.

By Sunday, we were all really tired and I think we've all come down with some kind of illness. The kids are both coughing and my husband was moving pretty slowly yesterday. It caught up to me today - I have something that feels like it's going to turn into a runny nose. Not quite yet, but soon...

So! I made sure to go work out at lunchtime today! And I took some extra Vitamin C this morning. Maybe this year I won't end up with some kind of chest/head cold that sticks around for 2 months. I'm making a concerted effort this year and trying to stick to the plan.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

On the other hand...

Marxo is still in Pre-K. She loves reading and doing all of Fellan's homework with him. We've had to start separating them when we read or do homework together so that Fellan doesn't get so frustrated all the time with Marxo answering all the questions before him!

BUT, we think we've figured out a pretty good plan for getting Fellan's homework done without the bickering - while also inspiring him to learn it better.

The teacher this year is giving us a monthly homework sheet. So all of the nightly homework is spelled out for the entire month.

Our plan is to make a copy of this sheet before we have to turn in the folder this coming Friday and have Fellan do the homework on Saturday and Sunday so that he's a little more "fresh" for his homework time.

Then, on the weeknights, we'll have Marxo do the homework - with help, of course, from Fellan. He LOVES that. He really does enjoy helping her to learn something - and not in a mean way, he's just a helpful little boy.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reading

Fellan is in first grade. He hates sitting still most of the time. He doesn't show much interest in reading.

We got our first list of spelling words this week. I've been dreading this because I expect that it will cause both my husband and I undue amounts of stress. How in the world is he going to pass a spelling quiz when he doesn't want to read?!

So, on Monday evening, we got out the list and started asking him to spell the words.
cat
c-a-t
hat
h-a-t
man
m-a-n
and
a-n-d
at
a-t
(etc.)
He got them all with no problem except for "the". "The" seems to be a really tricky word for some reason.

So he knows all the sounds that the letters make, he just hates being forced to read!

This is becoming a problem. The nannies seem to have started judging us. One of them came up to the husband the other day and started quizzing him:
"Does Fellan read yet? Do you read to him every day? When you read together, do you read to him, or do you make him read the book? Do you have books for Fellan to read?..."

Oh brother. We're of the opinion that he's doing fine. There are other children in his class who don't read yet either. And when we've talked to the teacher, she specifically has said that there are all different levels of knowledge in the class - and that's OK. It's OK. It will come - I have no doubt.

We learned this lesson the hard way with potty training. He cannot be forced into doing something that he doesn't want to do. So, we're waiting patiently, trying not to force it too much and make bad connotations for him with reading.

We're trying to creatively introduce reading into our daily lives in different ways. Last night, we broke out the sidewalk chalk for the spelling words. We point out his "sight words" on signs around town. My husband got him to write the letter to me on the computer the other day. Baby steps. On a tight rope.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Roof!

So, out of the blue, they showed up this morning to put the new roof on the husband's office! It's just across the street from our house and you know what that means, right? Right. No street.

The construction workers have been building dirt driveways to all the other people's houses on the other side of the street each night, but for some reason, they haven't bothered to put anything to the alleyway that serves as access to the office.

Apparently it's not really making much difference, though. The forklift with all the shingles has been baha-ing over the curbs and through the mud with no problems.

Now we just need to hope that the radar is correct and there won't be any rain until late this afternoon. Even though it's really, really cloudy today. Faith in technology, faith in technology...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rainy Weekend, Bad Curry

The rainy weekend sure did put a damper on outside activities this weekend. But, it did mean that we got to watch a few episodes of Star Trek: Next Generation, we washed all the laundry, and made it to Costco to stock up on laundry detergent, fruit, and wine. Exciting!!!

I attempted to make curry chicken in the crock pot again yesterday. I made this once before when my parents were here back in February, I think. It took me awhile to build up my nerve again because it was a very disappointing dish. It smelled really great, but then tasted like absolutely nothing.

I read that in order for curry spices to be flavorful, you have to cook them first in order to release the flavors. So, I put all the spices in a pan, put a little bit of grapeseed oil in there with them and semi-sauteed them for a little bit.

It still didn't work. Once again, it smelled fantastic and then tasted completely bland. I don't know what I'm doing wrong - if anyone can help me, I'd love your advice. The combination of other "stuff" in the dish is really very good (chicken thighs, garbanzo beans, sweet potato, and green beans) and I think it would be a really, really good meal - if only it tasted like curry, like it's supposed to! *sigh*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Three day week

Whew, after that three day week, I was bushed today! (kidding!)

The street deconstruction is coming along nicely - the kids have been enjoying "breakfast theater" for the past couple of mornings. The husband set them up yesterday morning and this morning with TV trays and chairs at the front window so they could sit and watch the big equipment while eating their breakfast. I think they're going to be disappointed tomorrow morning when/if they don't show up. I don't think I'll be very upset if they don't show up tomorrow, though. It's rather loud at 7am when they start and the whole house shakes when they pound the concrete to break it up.

I took the kids to school this morning and then went to the grocery store and when I tried to get back to the house, I couldn't! There was a backhoe and dump truck in the way. I ended up having to go around the block and park about halfway down the street. Still, it didn't bother me very much. We've talked to the construction guys a few times already and they're really pretty nice. And I'm soooo looking forward to having a nice, dry street as a Christmas present.

Not much else going on today. Fellan got in trouble at school today for not following directions, but he did really well at Tae Kwon Do. I think by the end of the week at school he just has a hard time keeping himself together. The teacher doesn't seem to be very bothered by it and she keeps saying he's doing well, so that's good.

We have no birthday parties or other events planned for the weekend. I'm really looking forward to just sitting around and watching Star Trek. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next Generation!

This past Saturday afternoon, I forced Marxo to take a nap with me. She's getting old enough that she can skip them a lot of the time, but there are times it's just so obvious she needs to sleep!

When she and I got back downstairs after naptime, Fellan told me that I needed to check the
computer. I opened it up and found this letter he had written me:

dear mom

I am having a great time. I am watching the science channel.

Love,
fellan


Awesome!!! To celebrate my little geek, we broke out the Star Trek: Next Generation DVD's. Aside from Picard's general overuse of the phrase "What the hell is that?!" in the first few
episodes, they're great shows that teach cultural respect and problem solving. And the kids like them, too!

In other news, this is what our street looked like yesterday. It's begun.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Abduction

I found this picture again recently. My husband sent it to me right after we got back from vacation in early August. The nanny hadn't gotten back from her vacation yet and the kids were left to their own devices any time my husband had to take a work phone call.

On this particular day, the kids had apparently decided to play the game "Mouse Trap". The e-mail I got from my husband said, "Went to clean up mouse trap - couldn't find the mice. Then I found this! Where do you figure they're taking her?! :)"

(Click for larger image)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Street closure

I love four day weekends! But they still go by too quickly.

On Saturday and Sunday, we were able to get in a couple of family bike rides, but yesterday, we had to spend the day cleaning out my husband's office of all the cardboard boxes that have accumulated in the garage for the last year.

Turns out that they're going to start ripping up our street today (supposedly - although I talked to the husband a couple of hours ago and they were just putting up "wrong way" signs up all day) and we wanted to try to get the garage cleaned out before they do that because we're hoping to be able to park over there when our side of the street is torn up.

They put a sheet of paper in our mailbox on Friday saying that the east side of the street would be closed starting on Tuesday and that it would be closed for a month. I assume that after they're done with the east side, they'll move on to the west side. Which would mean that the street will be closed in one way or another for a minimum of two months, but I'm not holding much hope of that being the maximum amount of time - the street one block over has been closed for five months already. *sigh*

We've been looking forward to this street reconstruction for quite awhile, though. About 11 years, actually! Since we first moved into our house, water has collected in front of our driveway and the only way to get rid of it was to sweep the street down after every rainfall, yard watering, or car washing from anyone "upstream" of us.

In the last few years, we've given up completely and just come to enjoy the sound of toads outside our window in the springtime. But now, there is hope! - Although I do hate to get my hopes up too high because they usually get dashed pretty quickly. There's always the possibility that they'll screw this up and leave us with an even larger moat!

Well, that's OK, Marxo thinks she's a princess anyway. We'll just make it a proper moat, fill it with alligators, and install a drawbridge. I hope the alligators don't eat the toads. I kind of like the little buggers.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Day off

Today was my day off from work and I spent it as usual - going to Target and then Sam's, but today, I got all crazy and made a side trip to the Container Store. Woohoo!

Actually, my husband and I usually try to go for a bike ride on Friday mornings and then I do the shopping in the afternoon, but it was raining this morning and the husband had too much work to do. There goes my motivation, huh?! Actually, we're planning to go for family bike ride tomorrow morning and hopefully Sunday morning, too.

This afternoon I got to finally see Fellan in his Tae Kwon Do classes. We signed him up for Tae Kwon Do and Marxo for gymnastics this fall. We'll see how it goes. Marxo has already been invited to join the trampoline team and I know she would love it, we just don't seem to be able to work out the logistics of going to an additional practice with two working parents. Plus, SHE'S FOUR! Isn't it a little crazy to get her into "real" competitive sports at the age of four? (and no, YMCA Soccer doesn't count as a competitive sport.)

Tomorrow is the only day this Labor Day weekend that we have nothing planned. We're headed to a friends' house Sunday afternoon for a pool party and have a classmate's birthday party on Monday morning. We're going to make the most of tomorrow. :)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Motivated (for the moment, anyway)

My friend Courtney asked on her secret blog, "How do you keep yourself motivated?" regarding working out and getting healthy.

Well, I haven't been very good about keeping myself motivated lately. And by lately, I mean for the last 6 years, 4 months - which is, coincidentally, the exact age of our first child.

Before having kids, I was in the best shape and health of my life. I hadn't been to a doctor (aside from the yearly OB/Gyn check-up) in probably 8 years, I had tons of energy, and I never fell asleep during those boring meetings at work. I attribute all of this to the fact that my husband and I exercised every day and ate about half the amount of food that we ate before we got healthy.

It's really easy to backslide, though. We've both gained quite a bit of weight and definitely need to do something to regain our aerobic fitness level. Vacations aren't as fun anymore when you can't count on your body to respond to crazy physical challenges as if they were nothing. I've gotten sick the last two Fall seasons and I don't bounce right back. But, just wanting to have more fun on vacations and wanting to not get sick every Fall weren't enough to push me back into an obsession with physical fitness.

A friend of ours was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the end of last year. The prognosis for her was horrible and the thought of her children, who are the same age as our children, having to grow up without their mother is just absolutely unthinkable. She is thankfully doing everything she can possibly do to beat the disease, and from what I can tell, her prognosis has improved, but we don't know for sure yet.

This is actually what is motivating me now. I'm afraid that some life-altering illness could come along and try to get me while I'm unhealthy. And I don't want that to happen to me. I want to be so healthy that if it catches me, I'll be able to give it a better run for the money, or that it might bypass me altogether. We can hope, right?

I worked with a woman who told me one time, "I plan to live forever." That's kind of a silly thing to say, but once you think about it, it's a good idea. She wasn't saying that she would live forever, she was just saying she is planning to live forever - and she's planning to live forever by eating good foods, exercising and taking care of herself. I'm making that my plan, too.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Golden Locket

About a year or two ago, Chick-fil-A gave away condensed versions of some "classic" stories. I think we ended up with The Wizard of Oz, Great Expectations, The Prince and The Pauper, and one I had never heard of, A Little Princess.

We've read A Little Princess a couple of times and it's a nice story. The kids like to listen to it because it finally ends up in a happy ending, of course, but I think they're also intrigued by the fact that the little girl's name is Sara.

The other day, we were in Target at the $5 DVD endcap and found the movie A Little Princess, so we couldn't resist. We bought it and ended up watching it this past Sunday evening.

In the book, Sara's wealthy father dies from disease and the event is approximately one sentence long. I guess it's something that didn't leave a huge impression on the kids. Apparently parents die all the time - and the mothers seem to be always dead in children's stories to begin with - so no big whoop.

But in the movie, Sara's wealthy father has gone off to war and there is one scene that shows him dying as he tries to save another soldier. Well. That definitely made a stir. Why did he die? Well, it's a war and everyone tries to kill the other side in a war. But why would they do that?! Well, it's just what happens in a war. One side decides they hate the other side and then they kill each other. Mommy and Daddy, I'm sad. I love you. I don't want you to die.

By this point, Fellan's rosey little cheeks and tearful eyes were too much for either my husband or I to handle and we both got a little weepy as he was hugging us.

The British government seizes her father's assets and the only thing Sara has left of her father is a golden locket with his picture and her mother's picture (who had, of course, previously died). But, the evil headmistress at her boarding school takes that away from her, too, and makes her become a servant in the school.

In the movie, Sara and her not-dead-only-had-amnesia father are eventually reunited and all is well again. And once again, during the reunion scene Fellan had us in tears again because he "loves us so much and wants to have a golden locket to keep our pictures in." (dramatically clutching an imaginary necklace to his heart)

I spent quite a bit of time Monday trying to find a "boyish" (as Marxo would put it) locket, but they don't exist. I think we're going to try to talk him into a photo dog tag instead. We don't want our sweet boy to get beat up for showing his friends his golden locket.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finally

Well, I finally did it. I finally got over my fear of working out at lunchtime and having to shower and re-do my hair at work.

The thing that pushed me over the edge was the fact that school just started again and we never got into an evening workout routine over the summer without school. I'm thinking there's no way we're going to be able to figure something out during the school year!

So, I sucked it up and decided to try it out this week. It's surprisingly not too bad. I've gotten into the bad habit of just wearing my hair in a ponytail all the time, so it's no big deal at all to dry my air and pull it back into a ponytail.

But the real bonus to this working out at lunchtime thing is that I don't have to shower and wash my hair in the morning! I can roll out of bed, give myself a quick rinse in the shower (only to wake up), get dressed, and make it to work a little earlier than usual.

I don't know why I didn't try this sooner.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An alien was here

We're still having issues with Fellan being afraid of the dark and thinking that there are aliens in the bedroom with him. I had hope earlier this week because he slept through the night on Sunday night without waking up being afraid. But last night was a very bad night.

I heard him calling for Daddy at 1:30am, then again at 3:30am, and eventually my husband had to take the camping pad down to the kids' room and sleep on the floor with Fellan so that he would calm down. The husband says that he's not sure Fellan even slept last night - which I would believe because I thought I heard him chatting with his baby doll when I finally got out of bed at 5:30 this morning.

I guess he's still afraid of aliens. He's at least thinking about them very frequently. This morning, he apparently said, "Well, an alien's definitely been in the bathroom - it smells gross in there." But Marxo immediately fessed up. "I poopy farted* in there." (LOL! Thank goodness there was an explanation, otherwise we'd have to deal with all smells being related to aliens, too...)

*Poopy fart: What we originally called really stinky farts, but has now become the term for all farts in our family. (Doesn't every family come up with a special term for farts?) :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school for Fellan. This year he only knows two kids in his class and in talking to the other parents, it seems they've done this for everyone - I guess they're really trying to mix the classes up.

We asked him if he saw his girlfriend during recess and his response was, "Yeah, but I told her 'no kisses' because I was busy playing tag." Typical boy. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eyes in the back of my head

During our trip to Colorado, I had to finally let the kids in on this fact: All mothers have eyes in the backs of our heads.

It's something I remember my mother telling me and I had the exact same reaction as our kids. They were curiously intrigued, but they've finally gotten to the point that they understand joking and sarcasm and after about 2 seconds, they both simultaneously said, "No you don't!"

Aha, that's when my eyes had to kick in. "Get your fingers out of your mouth!" "Stop playing with that toy and get it out of your mouth!" "I told you to keep your fingers out of your mouth." etc.

Good thing they haven't quite figured out that there are mirrors in the front of the car and that the sounds they make are a complete give-away to what they're up to. They'll learn it quickly - too quickly, I'm afraid. But for now, I'll keep up the act. We moms need to retain our air of mystery as long as possible!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation Update

It took us a good week to recover from the fun of our vacation! We had a really good time, but it was seriously exhausting.

We got there late on Saturday evening and spent Sunday getting acclimated to Colorado. We also had to go find some trailer bikes to rent - that was much more difficult than we imagined. But, after visiting four different bike shops, we finally prevailed and spent the evening relaxing.

On Monday, we tested our conditioning and rode with the kids to Breckenridge. It was probably only 10 or 11 miles, but it's all uphill. We hung out at the river bank in town, ate lunch, got a little rained on, and then headed back down to the condo. Unfortunately, we didn't get very far since my front tire was flat. And then, of course, it really started raining.

We finally found some shelter from which we would not get squeezed out (some people are really rude!) on a covered bridge and managed to get the tire changed, the rain stopped, and were on our way. By the time we made it back - racing another huge rainstorm home - I was seriously worn out!! I managed to stand up long enough to make some spaghetti and then we all went to bed.

Tuesday was a hiking day - we hiked the steep way to Lily Pad Lakes - and managed to meet some people there from The Woodlands. (Can't get away from those damn Texans!) :)

Wednesday was another biking day. This time we went to Copper Mountain. Once again it was all uphill on the way there, but downhill the whole ride back. In fact, Marxo spent nearly the whole 2 hrs on the way up singing and she spent the 45 minutes back squealing! While we were up there, Marxo jumped on the big trampoline/bungee-corded-harness thing - doing back flips, double-back flips, and front flips. (this cemented the fact that we REALLY need to get her into gymnastics since she had never before done any of this, but followed directions and fearlessly did everything the "instructor" told her to do) There was also a miniature golf course there and we all played a round.

On Thursday, some friends came up to visit us and go hiking with us. We hiked again to Lily Pad Lakes - this time from the flat direction - and managed to break our record of avoiding the rain. We got caught this time, but were luckily fairly close to the car at that point.

Friday was our final biking day (thank goodness!). We rode to Keystone and on the way back, we stopped in Dillon and took the Water Taxi across the lake to Frisco.

We decided to prolong the wonderful family trip and drove down through Roswell, NM to check out the aliens. We were pretty disappointed - we didn't see a one! This hasn't prevented Fellan from being terrified of the dark and waking up every single night to tell us that he heard/felt/saw an alien in their room and that he needs to come in and sleep with us. I'm hoping the beginning of school next week is going to exhaust him enough to finally sleep through the night again. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I considered it...

You know, every time I came to my blog page over the last couple of months to check on the "Blogs I Read" section, I thought to myself that the title of my last post would be the perfect way to just let a blog die. But, the reason I started this blog was so that I would have a place to post cute stories about the kids and keep my parents informed of what's going on in our lives. (I'm obviously not good at either of those things, but those were truly my reasons for starting the blog, and it's good to have a "strech-goal" in life...)

Since I last wrote, I attended my 20th high school reunion, went to Venezuela on a business trip, my pen-pal came to visit us last weekend, and now we're getting ready to head to Colorado for a week of vacation.

The reunion was really nice. I got to see a lot of people I hadn't seen since our wedding nearly 16 years ago and I think everyone else had a good time, too.

The trip to Venezuela was also really nice. Caracas is a beautiful city and the food was wonderful. I even got to practice some of my Spanish and it inspired me to finally order a membership to El Puente (which I've been wanting to do for about 8 years now!) so that I can continue to practice and hopefully expand my vocabulary enough to hold an intelligible conversation with the client some day.

Pen-pal? Yes, pen-pal. In third grade my class and a class from Indianapolis exchanged letters. I got paired up with someone who would end up becoming the only constant friend from my childhood. For me, it seems that friendships come and go, mostly depending on whomever I'm located close to (or working with) at the time. I'm really a bad friend, in that regard. I'm so glad that my friend Courtney has a blog so that I can at least keep up with what she's doing from time to time!

My pen-pal is sort of the same story, except that we've never been in the same location. We write to each other fairly infrequently, but we realized this past weekend that we've now been friends for 30 years! The first time we met face to face was when she came to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. Then I was part of her wedding, and we've visited her a couple of times through the years, but this was the first time she was able to make a trip to Texas. It was so fun having her here with us and we're hoping that it will end up being an annual trip! :)

Last night, I spent the evening getting the kids' clothes ready for the trip. Tonight I need to start thinking about my clothes. And I need to figure out what food we're going to take along with us - we're driving and it's so much cheaper to buy in bulk at Sam's here!

I guess that brings us up-to-date. Maybe I'll have time to post something next week, but I kind of doubt it. We'll be too busy biking and hiking, I hope!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Motivation gone

My motivation seems to have gone on hiatus for the day. I'm supposed to be lifting weights and then making a quick trip to Target or Whole Foods or someplace constructive, but instead, I'm sitting here pretty much doing nothing. I just had my second breakfast, so I'm waiting to get hungry enough to have my lunch.

While I was perusing some other blogs, I remembered I took a picture this weekend that I just have to post. My company's picnic was this past weekend and instead of having a traditional picnic where everyone gets together at a park or something for food, my company has been having their picnic out at a "ranch" with bunches of activities for everyone. This has, oddly enough, become a highlight of the year for our kids. They LOVE my company picnic. Which is pretty cool - I like to watch them have fun being kids.

One of the things they immediately started talking about when I told them that we were getting close to the date of the picnic was the climbing wall. Marxo and Fellan have been obsessed with climbing a climbing wall for about two years. Actually, Marxo has been quite a bit more obsessed than Fellan.

When we got to the picnic, the begging began - please, can we do the climbing wall? Please? Please? PLEASE?! We needed to eat first, but then we made our way over to the climbing wall. Marxo wasn't quite ready to do it at first, so Fellan got the harness on while Marxo went off to the gigantic inflatable slide. Fellan climbed up about half way, then dropped, then climbed half-way again, and he was done.

When Marxo finally decided it was time, she climbed, lost her footing and started dropping, but caught herself before getting to the bottom, climbed some more, dropped a little, and then made it all the way to the top!

I snapped this picture with my phone right before she dropped. Awesome! I love to see her do things like this because it convinces me that she really did get some of my adventure-loving genes and not just the princessey ones that she must have inherited from her father. Uh... or... maybe that didn't come out right. :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Random stories

The other day I was leaving from work and had to wait on the elevator. I heard it ding and stood next to the doors waiting for them to open. Only they didn't open! After waiting a few seconds, I turned around and caught the elevator that actually did open right before it left the floor. Luckily, there was nobody on the elevator...

Could have been the same day, but I don't remember for sure, I was sitting in a teleconference listening to a guy from Switzerland telling us about their hyper-compressor and all the cool features it has. He got to one point in the presentation and said "eunuch". I was pretty sure he wasn't trying to say that the secret behind the amazing performance of their compressors was that they make them out of castrated boys, but it took me probably two full minutes and several "eunuchs" later to figure out he was saying "unique".

The other day right before we all headed upstairs for bed, Fellan turned to us and said that regular mattresses have springs and they cause pressure points which can make you toss and turn all night. But tempurpedic mattresses are made of foam and they don't make pressure points. (I'm not kidding, he basically regurgitated the entire commercial to us completely out of the blue.) We assured him that the IKEA mattress he sleeps on is made of foam and so he shouldn't have to worry about pressure points while sleeping.

He's a walking infomercial - he tells us about 5 hour energy drink, perfect push ups, rapid bath pet bathers, and on and on. I think that means we watch too much TV.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last day of school

Today was the last day of school for both the kids. Fellan apparently cried and cried today because he's going to have a different teacher next year. He's such a sweet little boy - I think he wanted to give his teacher another hug before leaving, but she was apparently done with that, telling the kids, "No more hugs!" I guess she's happy the year is over too. ???

Anyway, the excitement at Marxo's school was that one of her little classmates fell off the monkey bars this morning and broke her arm! Yikes! Marxo spends nearly ALL her time on the monkey bars these days - she has callouses on her hands. (If I didn't know any better, I'd think that we were forcing her to do hard labor in the fields based on those little hands.) I had no idea that falling into that springy mulch stuff could still break an arm. It's a good thing my husband, a.k.a. "Safety Dad," wasn't there. Marxo would have been banned from the monkey bars for life if he would have actually witnessed the accident.

I finally got the Sears pictures put onto my USB key and brought them to work today. Here's a cute pic of the kids. At the time this was taken (last weekend) one was a kindergartener and one was 1st year pre-school. Now I have a first-grader and a 2nd year preschooler!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Idiocracy

To top off the Memorial Day weekend, we tried to get the kids to bed early Monday night and settled down for a nice evening of watching a movie we'd had on the DVR for months: Idiocracy.

We heard about it and thought it would be funny, and although it was funny in certain ways, it was still lacking in others. The gist of the movie is that the army freezes an "average Joe" for supposedly one year, but it ends up being 500 years. Society has, by that point, degraded into stupidity-fueled, violence-ladened reality TV - as in, pretty much everything is reality TV - and everyone is now super-stupid. (And, of course, the world is covered in trash.) The "average Joe" is now the smartest person in the world and he has to save the world from itself.

So, the funny and rather sad part is that I could totally see the US going down this path! But, the movie itself just wasn't very good. My husband actually fell asleep about 30 minutes before the end. When he woke up, he asked me what happened and I was able to summarize what happened in the end in one sentence, [**spoiler alert**] "They send Joe to Rehabilitation, a reality-TV show where all contestants get killed, but just before he gets killed, they realize the plants are growing, so they save him and he ends up becoming President." I just looked it up on Wikipedia and apparently it has "achieved a cult following". Egads. Another example of why I can see the US ending up like this.

Now, if you really want to see a great post-apocalyptic movie, I highly recommend WALL-E. The downfall of society is just so much cuter and easier to watch! And the hero of the movie is a loyal, hard-working, lovable robot. What's not to love about that?