Friday, October 31, 2008

More Than You Wanted to Know (Tag)

I've been "tagged" by two friends. It's like chain letters when we were kids - or those emails that want you to send it to 50 friends in the next 50 seconds, only this one doesn't involve any hoo doo curses or anything.

One tag wants to know 7 random things about me, and the other wants to know 7 strange things about my first month as a mother. I don't know how to cleverly combine the two, so here are both.

Seven Random Things You Didn't Care to Know About Me:
  1. I've never lived alone. And, I've only lived in two cities in my entire life (both in Texas).
  2. My mother has told me I have sausage toes, ET fingers and a giraffe neck. Gotta love anyone who tells you like it is.
  3. My first pet was a gray poodle named Pierre. He was my mother's dog as a teenager and died when I was in elementary school (very old!). Not surprisingly, my first word was "puppy."
  4. I love to cook but hate to bake. But, my baking skills are getting better.
  5. I cannot draw or sing to save my life. Yet, I sing to just about every song that comes on the radio. I was asked by a choir director to not sing during a musical - instead he encouraged me to lip sync my lines.
  6. My first job was at the YMCA. I helped with daycamp finances and had to tell parents they couldn't bring their kids the following week because they didn't pay on time. Fun.
  7. I've never worked retail or waited tables.

Now for Seven Things About My First Month as a Mother:

  1. I was one of those hormonally crazy breastfeeding mothers who cried because the milk wouldn't come in, the baby wouldn't latch, the TV wasn't on the right channel ...
  2. Mitchell came home from the hospital and spent the first night in the bassinet in the living room with me. Then, after that, he slept in his crib in his bedroom with his door shut. He never slept in our room.
  3. Paul and I high-fived once after Mitchell pooped. He hadn't gone that day and we were worried, so it was a celebrated moment when that little rice-looking goo came out.
  4. Mitchell passed billirubin crystals in his urine, so I panicked when I saw weird peachy stuff in his diaper.
  5. I probably called the nurse line at least once a week!
  6. I kept very precise feeding and pooping records to show to the doctors during our twice-a-week visits. I think I just recently threw them away when we moved into our current home.
  7. "Failure to thrive" are possibly the scariest three words to tell a new mother.

There you have it - 14 things about me you probably could have lived without knowing. I saved all the nitty gritty for the follow-up emails I'll receive from my stalker fans (wink, wink).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Whitewater Adventure

So Mitchell was going potty and had been in there a long time, which is nothing unusual. He also flushed over and over again, which is also nothing unusual.

Then, he comes running out of the bathroom in pure panic!

"I put a big ball of paper in the toilet and now water's running out of it!" he exclaims with pure fright.

So, I did what any good former homebuilder employee would do - I turned off the water to the toilet. Then, I quarantined the boys in my bedroom and started the oh-so-fun task of cleaning up all that water.

There must have been an inch or two on the floor!

As I was cleaning, I asked Mitchell how much paper he put in.

"It was a ball bigger than my head," he answered, kinda proudly but still with that tinge of fright.

I soaked up four big towels' worth of water then grabbed the mop and mopped up about a third of my mop bucket's worth.

Ah, motherhood. Never a dull - or dry - moment!

An aside: I knew this moment would come from the time he first noticed how the toilet worked. I'm amazed it's taken this long!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Kids

After church this afternoon, we loaded up the kiddos and headed to the Pumpkin Patch. This year, we went to Milberger's Landscape and Nursery, a wonderful local nursery. They had a nice selection of pumpkins - plus a few huge ones - and a hay maze. The boys had a blast (though it was hard to coax a smile out of Mitchell!).

Mitchell and Noah on a giant pumpkin
(Don't tell them - it's fake!)

Noah relaxing with some pumpkins.
He could have sat on that bench all day! (I love this photo!)

Mitchell on a giant Jack o'lantern.
(This was as close to a smile as we could get.)

Mitchell and a goblin guardian of the maze.

Noah heading into the hay maze.

Mitchell running through the hay maze.

Frick & Frack, Together Again

Since I stopped working, Mitchell stopped going to his daycare everyday. And, he's missed his buddy Devin everyday! Yesterday, we went to the annual fall festival, hosted by the old daycare, and these two picked up where the left off, making silly faces, jumping all around and throwing out all the potty words in the 3-year-olds' dictionary!

And, Noah got to pet a bunny!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Potty Humor

This morning, while brushing his teeth, Mitchell passed a little gas. Here's how the conversation shook down:

Mitchell: Did you hear that tooter, Mommy?
Me: Yes, it was loud.
Mitchell: Did you think Daddy was here?

I just cracked up and couldn't stop laughing! We laughed for what seemed like forever.

It was the (funny) start to a great day (I hope - we'll see what his teacher says when I pick him up this afternoon).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First There Was Evite ...

I'm all for emailing people with information. I'd much rather type up an email than call 10 different girlfriends to set up a girls' night out.

So I saw this story on Seems that after you Evite someone for a great night out, you can warn them that the fun may have given them an STD.

This group, inSPOT (Internet Notification Service for Partners or Tricks), has created e-cards you can send anonymously, informing your friend that they might need to go to the doctor after your date.

I feel like Phoebe Buffet when she was possessed by that old lady - now I've seen it all.

I'm not sure which e-card is my favorite. I'm kinda partial to the "I got screwed while screwing, and you might have too." The "You're too hot to be out of action" features a nice, sexy back. But, I think my absolute favorite is this one:

I applaud inSPOT and organizations like it to encourage people to come clean with those they may have infected.

I know, I'm sort of poking fun at it - my inner conservative (no matter how small she is) kinda raised an eyebrow when I read the story's headline. Once I went to inSPOT's website, I realized that it really is a great idea and a great service. It's bad enough to try to break up with someone, but to drop that kind of bomb on them ... Glad to know there's an e-card for that. (Hallmark's probably kicking themselves for being beat to the punch!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Crisp

I know, I usually don't post recipes here - I try to save them for my Foodie Mommy blog, but this recipe is too good to not put here, where more of you will see it and maybe even make it! This recipe may have been in a Southern Living sometime ago. All I know is that my friend Kristen made it, it was delish and I hand-wrote a copy of the recipe on a piece of paper that I've been using for years.

Pumpkin Crisp

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon, if you prefer) – I usually use way more!!!
1 package butter-flavored yellow cake mix (I use Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish.

Stir together pumpkin, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour into prepared dish.

Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle evenly with pecans. Drizzle butter over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now Reading: When I Grow Up

This morning at church, we were treated to something very special. Phil Simpkins, a member of our church, read his newly published children's book to the kiddos during the service!

When I Grow Up: P.J. Style is the story of little elephant P.J. who has big ideas about what he might want to be when he grows up. He tries on lots of different options, from a dentist to a teacher to a doctor and more.

Phil's sister, Linda Kay, was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident several years ago that caused severe brain damage. Phil said that he and Linda started the idea for P.J. about 10 years ago, with the notion that he'd write the book and she'd illustrate it. Since the accident, Linda has lived in assisted living while she makes strides to walk and talk again. Phil moved forward with the plans to write the book and turned to the publisher for an illustrator.

The result is a beautiful book with heart. Phil is donating all of his profits from the book to help defray his sister's rising medical bills.

I snatched up five copies this morning at church! We gave one as part of a gift at Mitchell's classmate's birthday party after church today, then he wanted to give one to some of his friends - triplets! - from school who were also at the party. We have a few copies earmarked for some other friends as well. And, it's a real hit - I just read it six times to Mitchell - and he's begging me to read it again.

Scanning the web, the book is available at all the major bookstores and other online outlets. If you need a great book for the younger crowd, then consider When I Grow Up: P.J. Style. It's guaranteed to make you - and your heart - smile!

Cool Beans

I love when the weather begins to get a little cooler, and Starbucks introduces their special holiday flavors.

Pumpkin Pie Spice is the current offering, and I've been craning my neck to check out the drive-thru lines of every Starbucks I pass while driving around these days. And, Target has a Starbucks inside, conveniently right by one of the doors. Mitchell loves that Starbucks has the special flavors, too, because it means they'll make him a tiny chocolate milk. Hey, it's mother-son bonding!

I've bought the flavored coffee creamers, hoping to recreate the flavors at home, and I've mostly been disappointed. I mixed together the Pumpkin Pie Spice and Hazelnut creamers and enjoyed that combo.

Anyway, one of my SITSas has just started her own gourmet coffee company called Get the Bean, and she's giving away coffee every week to help launch her business! Stop by and drop her a line pointing out your faves - who knows, you might have a Starbucks in your own home in no time! (I'm trying to narrow down my choices - I have my eye on Creme Brulee of course, Eggnog, Gingerbread and Dulce de Leche.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cibolo Nature Center

Today was one of those rare early Autumn days - crisp and not too warm but not too cool. The sun was so clear! We took a late afternoon trip to the Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne. My friend Mark, who lives in Boerne (and designed the Nature Center's website) has told me how beautiful it is there, and he was right! We can't wait to go back!!!

(Oh, I fixed my digital camera, so I took lots and lots and lots of photos. You can check out my Shutterfly album by clicking here. The flash forced on several photos, so some are washed out and overall lighter than I like. I realized what was happening and was able to get some with no flash. Those are always my favorites.)

NKOTB: Then & Now (Or, How I Spent my Friday Night)

Last night, a group of us relived our youth and went to the NKOTB concert. (For those of you who’ve blocked those memories, that’s NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!) The boys have reunited for a tour and should really be called the Back-Again Middle-Aged Men on the Block. Then again, BAMAMOTB just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

As I drove to meet up with Ashley, Heather and Monica, I started to think about those five (yes, five!) NKOTB concerts I saw years (years!) ago and how things have changed.

Then: Taco Bell or a Happy Meal before the show.
Now: Fancy salad, soup and sandwiches at Panera.

Then: Listened to a NKOTB tape the whole way there.
Now: Listened to a NKOTB CD the whole way there. (Though, I had it tuned up on my iPhone, but Monica sprung for the CDs.)

Then: Went to concert in back seat of Shelbi Maxwell’s mom’s Mercury Cougar.
Now: Went to concert in back seat of Monica’s Acura (with Monica driving, of course! We didn’t need an adult chaperone.)

Then: Side ponytail, smiley face t-shirt, spandex shorts and Keds. + NKOTB button – probably a huge one! (Come on, that was in style!)
Now: Sassy short ’do, black tank, trouser jeans and leopard print horse hair flats. + NKOTB flair – the small one! (Come on, I was in style!)

Then: Excited about almost being old enough to babysit.
Now: Excited about almost holding Baby Jude – Ashley’s due at the end of the month, and Jude danced along all night long!

Then: Probably hadn’t kissed a boy.
Now: Have given birth to two boys.

Then: Sat on the lawn at the outdoor theatre at Astroworld.
Now: Sat in corporate box seats at AT&T Center. We had rafter seats and arrived to be upgraded to better seats. Then, Heather's friend called and said they had four seats in her husband's company box. So, we sat in awesome seats!

Then: Dr. Pepper.
Now: Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay. (Gotta love the fancy seats – they have good food and a full bar instead of hot dogs and beer!)

Then: $10-$20 spending money
Now: Debit or credit.

Then: No t-shirt – probably ran out of money on Dr. Peppers.
Now: Bought t-shirt after the show from guy in parking lot. (Also, slipped parking lot attendant a tip and got an up-front, reserved spot by the door. How grown-up am I?)

Then: NKOTB Rulz!
Now: NKOTB Rocks!

We agreed that the guys were way better now than they were then. They sang mostly the older stuff, as they looked at their middle-aged mommy audience and realized we were there for “Step by Step” and “Please Don’t Go Girl” (but, we all sang along to “Summertime” as well.)

Back then, the morning after the show, we probably slept in super late, ate something like donuts for breakfast and gabbed about how cute Donny was.

Today, I’m up early with kids, sucking down a cup of coffee, probably will have toast with peanut butter and a banana for breakfast and am blogging about how hot Jordan was! (I have a whole new lust respect for Jordan!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Say What?

Mitchell and Paul are watching "Goosebumps" while I'm reading junk.

I hear Mitchell ask ...

"Can we get a dummy, please?"

(BTW: The story they're watching is about a dummy that comes to life and does bad things!)

Oh, and Noah is attempting to put on one of Mitchell's Crocs. Scratch that, now he's eating it!)

Happy Bosses' Day

Dear Bosses,

Today is Bosses' Day, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to thank you for the lessons you've taught me over the years (especially these past few months!).

Don't be afraid to climb to new heights.

Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.

Always grab life by the horns.

Sometimes you have to break the rules.

Sometimes you have to stroke someone's ego.

Never under estimate the power of a stare-down.

Sometimes it's OK to just slide by.

Happy Bosses' Day to the best little bosses. I love you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Say a prayer today

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. We all have girlfriends who have experienced this most tragic of loss (and some have experienced it themselves).

So, today, please say a small prayer for those babies who never got to enjoy this great life and for the families who will grieve for them forever.

You're encouraged to light a candle at 7 p.m., regardless of your time zone. The idea is that this will keep a candle burning all day for those who've passed on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get Saucy & Win!

Today, those great ladies over at The Secret is in the Sauce are running an all-day blogathon, complete with fantastic price.

If you don't know about SITS, you're missing out! They scan the blogosphere for some of the neatest, most creative blogs you've not stumbled upon.

If you see this little bug, then you're encouraged to leave a comment (and show your SITSa some love).

I've found quite a few great SITS blogs that I now read regularly, including:

The Cottage Cafe. She was featured just last week on SITS, and I'm totally knocking off her craftiness, especially these fabulous tags!

Where Are My Angels. This top-notch mom was featured just yesterday, but her stories of parenting her wild children touched my heart. Two of her daughters were born with Downs Syndrome, and she said along the way someone told her that meant they were angels. Hence the name - she wants to know where her angels are! I've just recently met a woman who's daughter has Downs, so this is blog is a great resource in my learning about it.

Cherry's Jubilee. Okay, I'm totally stalking her artsy self! I want to make those sparkly candy corns ... maybe this afternoon. Oh wait, I have two boys - I don't have time to make anything sparkly (unless I want them sparkly too!) I'm also using this as a resource for MOPS crafts, as I'm now the assistant craft lady.

Confessions of an Apron Queen. Now, I don't consider myself funky vintage, but I do love a good apron. Now I want to buy up everything available on Rick Rack Attack!

Pennies in My Pocket. Again, a recent SITS honoree, but her site is full of great deals and steals, plus a question of the day that really makes you stop and think. Oh, and her daughter is completely adorable!

So, stop by The Secrets in the Sauce, get a little saucy, visit some new blogs and maybe win a great prize in today's blogothon! Who knows, maybe one day I'll be the SITSa of the day!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Okay, it's medical complaint day, I guess.

I called my GP's office to schedule a flu shot. The receptionist tells me, "We're not giving flu shots but I can schedule you an appointment."

What tha ...

I asked why I would need an appointment if they're not giving the shots. She proceeds to tell me that the doctor does recommend that all of his patients get a flu shot but that it's just not financially worth it for him to purchase the shots this year. The she asks again if I'd like to schedule an appointment.

"What, do you you want me to book an appointment to come see your new office?" I asked, like a smart a$$. I don't think she liked that very much!

Rules and Niceness

I love rules - most of them anyway. Some, though, just make no sense. For instance, I refuse to speed in a school zone, but who cares if I drive 10 over the speed limit on empty Canyon Golf Road in the middle of the afternoon?

One rule I firmly believe in is waiting your turn. As a kid, I must have been shoved out of line or passed up, because as a grown up, I will tell other grown ups to wait their turn.

Case in point - last week, I stopped by the meat counter to pick up some steaks. I waited for several minutes before someone finally came over to help. Well, he asked the guy who just walked up if he needed help. I spoke up and politely said that I had been waiting for several minutes and that I'd like to select some steaks. The other man huffed at first but then admitted that he had just walked up.

Last week, I lamented about making an appointment for getting the boys' hair cut. I believe that the reason we make appointments is because we have other things to do than wait around for the next available whatever.

This morning, I had to take Noah in for another blood draw. So, yesterday, I went online and booked the appointment then took a few minutes to fill out the top of the paperwork.

I get to the lab this morning, and it's filled to the max with people waiting. I sign in and notice that two people with scheduled appointments before mine hadn't been helped yet.

There was a woman waiting who is one of my favorite characters in any situation - the one who tells everyone that she's so busy and can't believe she has to wait and gets up every few minutes to ask who's in front of her on the list because she really needs to leave because she's going out of town this weekend and still needs to get home to pack and meet a friend for lunch and now she's going to be late because she has to wait. (Have you ever not had to wait at a blood lab?!)

After I signed in, I peeked into the back and noticed that they were short-staffed, so I quietly asked the lady behind the counter if they were honoring scheduled appointments due to the back-up. The phlebotomist turned intake nurse said yes and that they were just running a few minutes behind.

That Woman - the one above - jumps up and starts complaining that she has somewhere else to be. At that point, the phlebotomist told her, "You know, we're really backed up here, and it's just me and one other girl. So, the longer I have to stand here and listen to your complaining, the longer you're going to have to wait because there are three scheduled appointments and two walk-ins before you. I suggest you go sit down so I can get to them and then get to you."

I wanted to applaud!

As That Woman stormed back to her seat, she started asking everyone else if they knew they could book an appointment and that it just wasn't fair that some of you knew but no one told her.

I wanted to laugh! It's on the top of the form she was given by her doctor! (I noticed it on mine so I casually looked at hers.)

Just a minute or two later, we were called back. I apologized to the phlebotomist that some of the people were being so rude and lamented that I don't know how they do it all day - listen to the complaining and all. She gave me a half-hug and thanked me! She said no one ever takes their side. "Then again," she says, "you scheduled an appointment, so you must be nice."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Seasons Readings

My boys were born readers (especially Mitchell), so we celebrate each event with special books. Here's the rundown of what we're reading (over and over and over again!). If you're looking for a great Halloween book for a special someone, this list would be a great starting point.

Mouse's First Halloween by Lauren Thompson. This may have been Mitchell's first Halloween book ever. It's the story of a mouse who learns that things are "not so scary after all" on Halloween. We love this one, and I don't mind reciting reading it over and over.

Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks. This book is adorably written from the point of view of a spider who just wants the family to love him as a pet.

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler. How does Skeleton cure the hiccups? With the help of his friend Ghost, of course! This book features beautiful illustrations.

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories retold by Alvin Schwartz. Grandma and Grandpa brought Mitchell this collection last weekend, and we've read it dozens of times already!

Five Little Pumpkins pictures by Dan Yaccarino. Grandma and Grandpa brought this one, too, and I think it was meant for Noah. Mitchell loves it, and it's a quick read.

That's Not My Monster by Fiona Watt. This book is adorable! It's a touch-and-feel book, and Noah can't get past Page 1 - "That's not my monster. Its eyebrows are too hairy." He loves those hairy eyebrows (watch out Brooke Shields!).

Shake dem Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa. This came as a set with Skeleton Hiccups from Mitchell's preschool's book sale the other day. It's beautifully illustrated and extremely annoying to read! The pumpkin-headed narrator hosts a hip hop Halloween ball and makes odd comments about each of the guests. I secretly hide it behind all the others when Mitchell wants to read!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall Boys

Noah is a 100 percent walker now. He is fiercely mobile, too, going up and down the front porch stairs like a pro and chasing poor Max almost as fast as she can run away!

Mitchell isn't a fan of having his photo taken these days. It's too bad he's my child! I always have my iPhone at the ready, snapping all day long!

Yesterday felt like Fall. The air was crisp, the sun had that special hue and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. So we spent quite a bit of time running around in the yard. Check out the boys' fall hair cuts - we went Monday for Noah's first and Mitchell's long-overdo trims.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Twisted Mister

My girlfriend Jen lamented that she showed her daughter a video she saw on Dooce and that it scared the begeezus out of her 3-year-old daughter.

I've avoided showing Mitchell the video because I knew what his reaction would be; and I showed it to him a few minutes ago, and I was right.

Mitchell has been begging to watch it again and again and "one last time" and "really one last time this time."

My little twisted boy - he loves all things scary so Halloween is almost better than Christmas!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

(I Always Feel Like) Somebody's Watching Me

This morning, Noah and I did our weekly Wednesday run to Home Depot after dropping off Mitchell at school. As I was walking in, these two guys came in behind me. Then, they stood pretty close to me as I put Noah in the cart. I assumed they were waiting (impatiently) for me to move, so I moved over the side and apologized. Then I walked into the store.

I'm not sure why I looked over my shoulder, but there they were - no basket - right behind me! I stopped off to the side to pretend to look at light bulbs - and they did too.

Then, I walked to the middle of the store to buy drawer pulls, and they did too. They stood a few feet away while I counted out 30 pulls.

After that, I walked up front to pay, and they did too. They had one item. They even stood in the same self check-out line as me, even though all the others were empty.

I realized that I had one pull that was the wrong style, so I went to the back to get another one, and they did too.

By now, my creep radar was blaring!

I made it back up to the front and went to the cashier who oversees the self check-out area (don't even get me started on this set-up!). I whispered to her that I thought these guys were following me around the store. She intentionally took forever to ring up my one pull. I guess this annoyed them, so they left.

Or so I thought.

When I started to walk out the doors, I saw that they were sitting on the lawn tractor display just outside the door. I turned around and told the cashier. Then, she and I chit-chatted for several minutes. All the while, they would alternate taking turns walking near the door to look in.

Finally, the cashier called the store's loss prevention specialist (read: really huge, intimidating guy who doesn't wear the orange apron), who went outside and told them to get off the tractors.

So then they went and hung on the back of their truck - which was parked right across from my car.


Then, they started alternating walking back toward the store to check the door.

I stood inside the store another 15 minutes with the cashier and the loss prevention specialist watching them. Eventually, the loss guy had enough and went out and told them to leave or he would call the police. They finally got in their truck and left.

We waited a few more minutes then the loss guy walked me to my car and waited beside me until I was backing out of my space.

I've been extra freaky since, and at Target this afternoon, I kept darting my eyes around the parking lot and store. Tonight, we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's, and I was vigilantly watching over Mitchell. As we were getting in the car, I got onto him for wanting the mess with everything. I told him that a dark parking lot was no place to hem and haw while getting in the car.

I was followed once before while Christmas shopping. I know for sure that I was being followed because I left the shopping center and drove to another and so did the follower. Then I drove to another store and so did he. Finally, I drove back to a store I had been in earlier and told the cashier what I suspected. She had me describe the guy then hide in the dressing room. About a minute later, she came back and told me he had come in the store. She eventually asked him to leave if he wasn't there to make a purchase and said he was just looking around like he was looking for someone (not even pretending to be looking at their stuff). She called one of the shopping center's security guards to walk me to my car a few minute after the creep had left the store.

Thank goodness Paul made it home from his business trip this afternoon. I'd probably be too paranoid to sleep tonight!