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


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


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


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."
"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


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 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...