Friday, June 27, 2008

If you would like to be bored to death, please read the following.

Clever title, I know.

I have been absent from the old blog due to nothing. I haven’t been at work, so there has been little time for my brain to set to neutral, until today.

I am back in the office after a week “on the road” traveling. Only the traveling I do now is local, so I don’t think it really counts. Last weekend we had Jacob’s birthday party, which I believe was a smashing good time. But I also just love to hang out with Amy. Even the husbands got along better than normal. Jacob had loads of friends over and hot dogs and tacos to eat and a fabulous cake. He actually turned 7 yesterday, but since his plane to New Mexico to visit the grandparents leaves at 7:30am – that’s like a 4:30 wake up (Thanks Dad.) we had his party early rather than late.

He received his beloved Nintendo DS for a gift. I haven’t seen him since. Oh, just kidding, I saw him that one time on Tuesday when he came up for food- but not since.

No kidding, the kid is addicted. We have had to set some serious time restraints for the use of the system. Otherwise we might never see him.

Last night we went to eat his birthday dinner at a local Mexican joint of his choosing. We arrived early in order to miss the rush, which also was during Happy Hour. During Happy Hour they have free taco meat and queso at the chip and salsa bar and the kid ate 2 bowls of meat before our food came out. Of course then he only ate 1 taco.

After dinner we headed over to the always lovely Target in order for him to spend all of his birthday money. He had received quite the hall this year and it was burning a hole in his pocket. He purchased a new game for his DS, something Mario, I honestly don’t remember what it was. I do remember telling him that he could NOT buy the same game he already had for his DS for the Wii. Talk about a waste of money. He also purchased a Indiana Jones lego set and a Webkins earlier in the evening. He left the store with $10 still in his pocket. Or my pocket, because he always looses his money.

Emily spent her allowance that she had been saving for over a month on a camera. It is a small, cheep digital camera, but she is thrilled with her purchase as well.

I bought…. blush. I dropped mine about a month ago and have been dealing with the powder mess for long enough. It really was quite the exciting trip.

But speaking of Emily, I am reminded that I have been sneaking into her room at night and peaking into her notebook and finding beautiful drawings. Just fantastic. I think I am going to head over to Hobby Lobby this week while they are in New Mexico and see if I can find her a real drawing pad and some good color pencils. Right now she is just using a Number 2 pencil and notebook paper. These little drawings she is doing are better than anything I could ever do, much less at 9 years old, so I definitely want to encourage this gift she has discovered.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

His laugh

I mentioned his laugh in my previous post and captured this on "film" tonight.

His laughter is infectious and I love it with my whole being.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jacobs crazy dance

I have two children. They couldn’t be much more different if I had tried. But one thing they both have in common is their “whiteness.” They are both so, so white. Both my husband and I are very pale as well. Now, call it global warming if you like, but the sun seems to be out this summer like never before. It is hotter than I ever remember being, and I come from Southern New Mexico, where it is HOT! I remember growing up and getting into a car, and your legs melting to the seat, almost literally. But this summer the heat has been cranked up. And here in central Texas, it is HOT!

Anyhow, it is really hot here as of late and the kids like to head out back and take a dip in the pool. I spray/rub them down with sunscreen, with reapplication at appropriate times and they still have ended up burnt to a crisp. The first burn they got this year was horrible. They both blistered and moaned and groaned about the pain for weeks. They also stayed away from the pool for a while. They went last week to the local swim park with their sitter and got burnt again. But this time it wasn’t nearly as bad, because they had that first layer of color on them.

Last night, I was chasing my son into the bath and he lowered his britches about 3 inches on his hiney and showed me his white, white, white booty. And giggled. When he laughed it caused me to loose it and began to giggle as well. Then, ladies and gentleman, he began to shake his little white booty at me, nearly falling over with laughter.

It was one of the funniest things I have seen in weeks. That boy, shaking his white rear-end at me while laughing his infectious laugh. I finally had to walk away, but only so I could tell my husband.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh gracious- they are fabulous!

On Saturday night I decided to try and make the dessert that Kim mentioned on her blog. It seemed super simple and looked to die for.

So I made some ka-bobs and the dessert so that once Josh got home from work he could grill up the ka-bobs and we would have a nice relaxing summer evening.

Let me tell you- those desserts- were FABULOUS! I had to stop myself from eating more than one. They were so good. Even my picky-puss son Jacob loved them, and that is the real test.

So thanks Kim, because I know have a new fabulous, easy to make dessert in my arsenal of fine, homemaking.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A pool story

I haven’t had much to say, or much time to say it in the last week. Ok, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but can’t say much of it, and I really haven’t had much time to say anything at all. So I can be mysterious about my “drama” only, its not really drama at all.

My weekend was long, boring and just kinda there. I did mountains of laundry and tried to be interested in doing anything except sit and do nothing.

We did some planning for Jacob’s birthday party, which is next weekend. We ordered/bought the cake from the best cake place in town. Really, they make donuts, but their cakes are to die for. We searched for party favors all over town, before I just went back to HEB, where I knew they were to begin with. Bought Jacob’s gift- it’s a biggie- all the money he gets for his birthday from all the grandparents is going in the communal basket for this one. I know he will just die when he opens it. When I showed Emily, he jaw dropped and she was washed over with envy. I know I did good.

However, Jacob’s party was to be a swim party, just like his lat two have been. Maybe a little more exclusive- to those an invitation had been given, but a swim party none the less. He choose it over almost every other party idea I threw at him. Only now we have a problem.

You see we have a fairly low-key above ground PVC pipe pool. I can sit on the bottom and my head is still over the water. It is perfect for the neighborhood kids and it keeps the kids happy during the long summer months. Now, the pool had been looking pretty nasty as of late, so we ran the filter all night long (hello electric bill!) scooped out the debris, added chlorine tablets and it was looking fairly good. Josh went outside to change the filter and get it crystal clear- and hopefully stay that way for the party next weekend.

He unscrewed the top, set it to the side, replaced the filter, put the lid on and what?! The screw piece was missing. With out that piece the pump will not work- water just poured out of it, for hours, until the pool was nearly drained (hello water bill!). We still can not find the stupid lid. I think one of the dogs came and took it and we will never see it again. But we literally have looked all over the yard, the house, pockets, everywhere possible, and nothing.

We may be in trouble for the party.

***Edited to add***
Josh found a replacement part at Academy today! Yeah!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jacob and Clarissa

The last day of school, Jacob received an invetation to the birthday of a special little girl. His little crush, Clarissa. He was super excited to pick out a gift and make her a card.

We had a good time and I think she will be invited to hhis party that will be taking place in a few weeks.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's what we do

Here is what my day consisted of:



And reinforcements:

And videos of our adventure:

Friday, June 06, 2008

My spin on Parenting

We have had quite an eventful week in our house and as I look back and reflect, I think about Amy’s post, which was in response to Brandy.

On Monday I received a call from my husband asking about what appeared to be bug bites of some sort on Emily’s forearm and check. There had been no bites the day before and she was asleep when I left for work on Monday so I had no clue what he was talking about.

When I got to the Y to pick the kids up from “camp” I looked at Emily’s face and arm and was concerned. Mostly because the spot on her arm was larger than a quarter and when I asked her if it itched or hurt, her reply was “hurt.” After consulting with my mother and she with Nurse Sandy, we decided a trip to the Doc in the Box was necessary. After dinner was complete Emily and I jumped into the car and headed over to the clinic. We packed books, just in case. But when we arrived, it was like a ghost town. Not a soul in sight besides the desk clerk.

After we see the doctor and are diagnosed with a boil, that is possibly a staph infection (but we don’t know because we came in when the infection was still at such an early stage that there was no puss to culture) we head over to the pharmacy and sit and wait for what seems like hours in order to pick up her prescriptions. It was a late night for us on Monday, but her well-being was my concern.

With that diagnosis, I am extremely grateful that I, after much consultation, made the decision to take her to the doctor and felt that I had made a good parenting choice.

With this diagnosis she is required to take 3 teaspoons of antibiotics twice a day for 10 days. 10 days! I can hardly remember to take the medicine I have been on for 9 years daily, much less remember to make sure my child takes her medicine twice a day for 10 days. I have forgotten almost everyday, but bless her heart, she has not forgotten and has self medicated nearly everyday.

I don’t like it one bit. Next thing you know, she will be dosing her own baby with their medicine.

So, I had a point.
We are not always perfect. Hardly ever. But our efforts do not go unnoticed. And honestly, when it really matters, we get it right. I got my child to the doctor. Almost too soon actually, and that is what matters. Luckily, I can lean on her to remember to take her medicine on her own, because I know she can. Plus, she hates it when I nag her. And let it be known I am not claiming to do everything right, I rarely do. But I know I get it right when it counts. And that is what really matters.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Disney World Do's and Dont's

Because I was “begged” to give a list of my do’s and don’ts of Disney World and because I have nothing interesting to say today, here is my list.

Disclaimer: This is what worked for or didn’t work for my family. Everybody vacations differently- especially us.

Don’t try to see everything. We tried to see everything we could the first couple of days and as we slowed down to enjoy what we could, we really enjoyed it. I know there are miles of cool, fun, fabulous stuff we didn’t even think about going near the last couple of days. And we were ok with it, because we enjoyed the places and things we did see. Plus, now we can always plan to go back, for longer. And if you know that you will not see it all you won’t force yourself to

If you are planning to make evening ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) for any place while traveling go with early evening over late. We had some of both and the early evening reservations allowed us to head back into the park revived and energized. We were actually able to see more this way than on the evenings of late reservations, because those evenings left us with very little time after we finished eating for time in the parks. Or, just plan your sit down meals for lunch.

Plan. This is so very important. I know that we were able to enjoy ourselves as much as we did because of all the planning. I was very commando, as some Disney travelers are, we really flew by the seat of our pants, but we had acquired some key information and were able to use it in order to minimize our wait times and increase the fun factor. One key piece of advice: If your kids want to ride Dumbo, DO IT FIRST. Period. Be there when the gates open and get to Dumbo as quickly as possible. You may still be in for a 20 minute wait with this strategy, but it is better than the 90-120 minute wait later in the day. Also spend time at these websites: All Ears and DIS boards. I received SO much invaluable information from these sites. I also highly recommend picking up books. I carried my Unofficial Guide with me almost everywhere during the months leading up to the trip. We also picked up The Complete Guide to Walt Disney World a few weeks before the trip and it has quickly become a favorite of my husband who has lent it out twice already to people traveling. It has lots of fun, colorful pictures and lots of trivia and facts included as well. I also picked up the Passporter which was nice, but not my first choice. We used this one for the wonderful descriptions of the restaurants and food available, which is nice to have because there are so many different kinds of eateries, many that we found because of this book.

Take more sunscreen than you ever think you will need. Florida is HOT and sunny. We took a can of spray sunscreen for the week. I mean seriously, these usually last us an entire summer, but we were out by day 3. And sunscreen prices in Florida are inflated beyond control. We had to pay $11 for another can of it, because that was all that was sold at our hotel. Better to have too much, than to run out.

If it is in your budget, stay on-site and in a Moderately rated hotel. We stayed on-site, in a Value rated hotel. The hotel was nice, but just a room. If you have children they will NEED to swim. And the value resorts have a pool, but they are just a pool. The moderately rated hotels have POOLS. They have really cool slides and they are larger and just nicer. Not just a hole in the ground. Next time we will pay the little bit extra to bump up in the hotel ratings. But I think staying on site is fabulous. There are so many perks to it, plus you are simply immersed into the whole Disney culture. Which is what I love anyway.

Don’t force your kid to ride something that frightens them. As frustrating as it can be, just don’t. We saw way too many kids being drug onto rides that the child didn’t want to be riding. Jacob tried everything he was tall enough for once. And only chose a few to ride more than once. Like I mentioned earlier in my daily re-caps, he loved the ride parts of the ride, but the story lines got to him on several of the rides: Expedition Everest and Tower of Terror. He rode EE more than once, but would shut his eyes at the “shadow part” that was too scary for him. The Unofficial Guide does a great job of letting you know if a ride might be too intense for a child, but like anything else everybody’s kids are different. This also goes for the characters. has never been a fan of characters at any theme park we have gone to. I finally think I figured it out. He was fine with all the “face” characters, but the only “fluff” one he would see was Mickey. And Scooby Doo at Six Flags. But those are the 2 favorite characters, so concessions were made. I think they scared him a little. Not enough to scream and cry and make a scene, but enough to where he wasn’t interested in meeting them or taking a picture. But, he did always want an autograph.

Give you kids their own spending money. This really worked for us. They got to buy what they wanted and I didn’t have to tell them no. Even if your budget is $20 per kid, they will quickly learn to budget it and buy something that they really love and will want to keep forever, rather that some junk that will be forgotten within a week of your return. I think this may have been one of the best ideas we had, because the items that our kids bought are still in high demand in our house and items that can be “played” with are, on an almost daily basis. That horrible Indian Jones hat is put on at least one head everyday, and it has been nearly a month since we purchased it, which is long past the life span of most toys in this house.

Make sure to take lots of funny pictures of your family in hats. And you don’t even have to buy them! We only purchased one set of ears for each kid, but we had lots of fun with the hats that are located in nearly every shop. And we didn’t take pictures with nearly half of the hats available. This is a fun way to “shop” and not spend any money. Plus, it takes you out of the heat for a few minutes.

I think that if you just slow down and remember that it is a vacation, you will have a great time. Once we did that, it was some of the best days our family has had in a long time. I am glad that we did it, and I can’t wait to go back. In 2011. At least that’s the plan. :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Disney World Update VI

On our last day in the most Magical Place on earth we went back to the Animal Kingdom, so the kids could ride Expedition Everest once more and maybe we could catch a few of the shows we missed earlier in the week.

When we arrived the crows were considerably lighter and we walked over to the Expedition Everest and we all four rode it together. Once we got off Emily wanted to ride again, but Jacob was done with it. So I went back onto the ride with Emily while the boys hung back and shopped. After we were done Josh rode it with Emily while Jacob and I shopped. So Emily rode it 5 times total and loves to tell anybody who will listen how many times she rode the coolest ride at Disney World.

After our time at the roller coaster we headed over and caught the Nemo show. It was SO cool. It was all puppets with people in the stage next to them, singing. It was just really neat. Once that was over we walked right onto It’s Tough to Be A Bug, which is one of my least favorite shows. It is a 3D show with smells, air, pokes and prods. Not really my idea of fun. Josh and the kids liked it, but me…not so much.

We head over to Dinoland to try to ride one last ride, but Jacob is too short so we play a few carnival games just to kill time. We are all starting to get a little depressed and the exhaustion from the week is quickly catching up to us.

We have our last lunch and start working our way out of the park. As we are almost to the exit we find Lilo and Stitch and stop to have our pictures made. Jacob will have nothing to do with it. It was very typical Jacob. We hit the last gift shop on the way out and Jacob spends the rest of his money. He buys a Mickey Mouse pirate ship play set. One piece has been destroyed by the dogs already, but the rest still gets a lot of play at bath time.

We arrive back at our hotel to wait for our car to pick us up and Emily plays with some of the chalk they have on the sidewalk outside our hotel. As we load everything into the car we are all a little sad and decide then that we will be back.

Once we got to the airport we realize that we are about to stand in the longest lines of the week: Security.

Disney World Update V

On Wednesday May 7th we woke up extra early and headed out to Epcot.

We were really excited but sad at the same time. We knew our time was coming to an end. We arrived before the gates opened and kinda wandered around checking things out. The opened the gates and then held us back, similar to what they had done at nearly every other park this week. Our first order of business was Soarin’. We figured out who to follow and when the rope dropped, we high tailed it to the ride. We only had about a 5 minute wait, and that is because there is a little movie you watch prior to the actual ride. This is one of the newest rides to the park, and none of us had ridden it. You basically feel like you are hang-gliding. You are pulled out over a huge IMAX type screen, which is on the ground and then you watch this movie and you can feel the breeze in your hair and the aromas of the pine trees and orange orchards as you “pass” over them. It really was such a cool ride. I think it became my new favorite ride.

After Soarin’ we headed straight across to Mission: Space. Also a newer ride that we had not ever been on. This is a ride which is so “intense” that they have a gentle side and a high intensity side. We put our big boy pants on and all 4 of us rode the more intense side. In this ride they spin you so fast that you feel like you are taking off into space. The “problem” with this ride, is that if you look to the side you can become very disoriented and nauseous. If you follow the rules, you get the thrill of the ride, and no throwing up.
Both Josh and I looked to the side for a second and both of us felt the effects of this choice. Both kids followed the rules and were totally fine. The ride is really fun and very realistic. We all enjoyed it, but were not jonesing to get back on it. Right next to Mission: Space is Test Track and we jumped into line for it. It was very cool, and one Josh feel into love with many years ago. It was still really neat and the kids enjoyed it. It was also nice that the ride was so empty that we were able to be in a 6 person car with only the 4 of us. When you finish the ride it dumps you into a showroom for GM and the kids ran up to every car and got in and pretended to drive and got finger prints all over the glass for some poor cast member to clean off.

Jacob had been eyeing the Mickey ears all week long, but could not commit to a pair, until he saw the sorcerers set. He tried them on and he was sold.

Josh tried a pair on for fun as well.

After Test track we walked through a butterfly garden, and I took about a bazillion pictures. I could of stayed there all day long. It was so neat to see all the butterflies.

After the family dragged me out we headed over to the World Showcase to have lunch. We ate in Japan, at a nice little place were we had chicken teriyaki and rice. It was nice. Jacob ate something completely different. Nuggets, I am sure.

After we ate we headed through the rest of the showcase, taking in all the cultures and shops. The kids both got a henna tattoo at the India pavilion and Jacob didn’t follow directions and his was gone within 5 days, but Emily did follow the directions and hers lasted at least 10 days. It was very cool and I wished afterwards that I had gotten one as well. They both really liked the way it looked and were totally excited to be able to do something like that with their spending money, something I never would have paid for myself.

We eventually made our way into the United Kingdom Pavilion. And guess who was right around the corner? Why, it was Mary Poppins!

After we had seen her we walked off and Josh got into line to get us something to drink, and I took the kids to take some funny pictures and Emily went to wait in line with her father.

Jacob wanted to go watch Mary Poppins.

Here he is watching her:

Here is our view of her:

And here is the last picture he asked me to take of her:

I am afraid we may have a stalker on our hands. J

We continued on through the countries, enjoying the ride in Norway, the miniature trains in Germany, wishing for a vacation in France, watching an amazing 360 video of China and walking through the plaza in Mexico. I really enjoy the World Showcase. We wandered into Mexico just in time for our early reservation and enjoyed a lovely meal there. Not as wonderful as we had remembered, but good none the less. After the meal we rode on the Mexico ride, which was horrible. It is a boat ride with movie clips from the Three Caballeros. It was bad, just bad.

We wondered back into future world and went on Space Ship Earth. They have recently redone this ride and it was better than before, but already outdated, as technology is growing by leaps and bounds. When you get off this ride it dumps you into a world with educational video games and interactive games like shuffleboard. The kids and Josh were really enjoying it so I stepped away to the Kodak camera shop and bought myself a new camera neck strap with Mickey icons on it. It is so much softer and not nearly as scratchy as the neck strap that came with the camera was. I love it.

We made our way back into the World Showcase and settled in for the fireworks show. We were determined to catch this one, since we had missed the show at the previous days park. Illuminations is a neat show, but I don’t really “get” it, so it is never really touching to me. It was ok. I really enjoyed Wishes at the Magic Kingdom ten times more.

After the show was over, we, along with 50,000 of our closest friends started heading out and we got caught up in the shops at closing. Big mistake. The lines are SO long and there are so many people and the kids were tired. We finally made it out of there and headed back to the hotel for out last nights sleep at Disney World.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

BFF Beatdown

Amy and I worked on this Sunday afternoon in response to another pair of bloggers...

So without further delay: