Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blogroll news and other early morning ramblings

I just spent way too long doing something that I have been putting off for equally way too long.

I just put commas in different locations in the above sentence and no matter how I read it, it just didn't seem to sound like it should. So, grammar nerds--forgive me.

It is the wee hours of the morn and I am thinking that my girls aren't going to understand, nor deserve, my grumpiness when one of their monitors awakes me soon. Plus it is my hubby's turn to sleep in, so I will be doing it solo. I pray now that they don't wake up at the same exact moment. Boy, those mornings are rough!

Jerry and I are trying something new. Since we attend church on either Saturday or Sunday evenings, we are taking turns letting one another sleep in on the weekend mornings. Today, I didn't crawl out of bed til 8:40. It was glorious. Especially since I went to be pretty early too...before midnight that is.

The goal is for whoever is getting up with the wee people, to jump up and turn off both monitors at the first peep heard. Then exit the room closing our door behind them...quietly. Take the kid or kids, if both noise makers are awake, down the stairs for morning milk and some form of quiet activity until the other parent climbs out of bed.

So far, this little routine has been awesome. Jerry just needs a little more training. He tends to linger in bed a little too long when the alarms...I mean monitors...start sounding. I think he is hopeful that they will fall back asleep. Not likely.

Anyways, I guess all that sleeping in this morning tricked my body into staying up way too late. But, due to this energy (and a 11PM latte), I have blogroll news!!! I finally got around to updating my blogroll. I'm excited that I procrastinated so faithfully too. I got to use Blogger's new Blog List feature...and it rocks. You can just upload your Google reader feeds...which I'm sure would be so easy...had I ever really used Google reader. I had to type mine in one by one, but it was still a snap. The best thing is that it shows the most recently updated feeds at the top.

Go check it out...it's over there on my side bar. If you are a commenter here...you are most likely on it. I have found some fun blogs through comments. I feel like I might be missing a few though. My favorite list is messed up...or maybe I saved some to favorites under my hubby's user name. I'm not sure. But if I missed you, or you would otherwise like to be added, just leave me a comment. And, when you are updating yours, I'd love to be added!

The ones with an asterisk next to the blog name are my "real life" friends. You know, the people that I've actually talked to...face to face. And the rest of you guys...it sure would be a privilege.

Thanks and goodnight. Good morning. Good morning is what I meant.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm glad my camera is always nearby

I walked into Jade's room late last night. I tend to do this around 11PM or so just to check on her, say a quick prayer over her, and see if she has any appendages that need covering.

We keep it pretty chilly around here, so I was shocked to see her little legs completely exposed.

I was having trouble not allowing myself to reach out and pinch a bite off of her thighs. I just love baby blubber. All that chub and not one ounce of cellulite. I'm thinking she was switched at birth.

I was concerned that pinching those ham hocks, as Mommy Esquire would say, might wake her. So I did the only other reasonable thing and got out the flash camera. Two quick flashes later and she was still sawing logs.


I think the craziest thing about this picture is the fact that she is wearing Lily's PJs from just last summer. At which point Lily could run, hop, skip, jump, etc...she was almost three. At this point Jade doesn't even pull herself up. Stay tuned for some video of her funny crawling style.

**************************
I'm not sure what Lily was trying to accomplish, but this is the ensemble she insisted on wearing to summer camp today.

Yikes. Kudos on the light up Ariel shirt. It goes nicely with the water theme they are doing this week. She must have heard me talking about the cowgirl week they'll be doing later in the summer and wanted to get a head start.

Its possible she sensed that a couple of pictures had been taken of Jade overnight and didn't want me inching any closer to evening out those stats. Not like Jade is even close, much less gaining on her, but she came up with a crazy outfit for the camera just in case.

You've got to hand it to her though. It was quite a feat getting those socks pulled up that high and those boots on with only one working arm. Envisioning the final result, you know I wasn't lending a hand.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oooops. Yesss! Nooo! Ewww!

Those four words pretty much sum up our last 24 hours.

Oooops.

The DryPro Cast Protector that we were so excited about a few weeks ago, failed us. We had only used it once for a fun water park trip during Big Girl Weekend. It had served us more for keeping Lily's cast dry during baths. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but when your little girl's other name is Ariel, it is. When acting out various scenes from The Little Mermaid can occupy hours of your child's time, those hours being cut in half due to water scenes being eliminated can take its toll on the family. Lily needed her stage back. The bathtub is her stage.

So, late Sunday, The Little Mermaid Act 7 was taking place in the master tub. Somehow, even after multiple successes with the DryPro cover, a leak occurred. Jerry comes down the stairs telling me that we have a problem. A dripping wet cast kind of problem.

Ooops.

The doc on call actually offered to meet me at the ER to recast it. I immediately felt awful about the overwhitened teeth comment I had made earlier. He earned every penny for those snow white teeth...even on Sunday night at the ER apparently. I was shocked over what a big deal it really was. Then, realizing that an entire company makes their living by selling waterproof cast covers...it made sense. Duh...you really aren't supposed to get these things wet.

We decided to forgo the ER trip and went the hairdryer route instead. The doc mentioned it would take 4-6 hours of the hairdryer on cool to get the thing dried out. Well, Lily lasted a whopping 45 minutes...that being at 3 different 15 minute intervals. I was suffering too. Boy that cast started to reek as soon as it got wet. Spreading the foul smell all over the house with the hair dryer was a little much for me.

So an appointment was made the next day to get the wet cast situation checked out. My mind was starting to see mold growing on her skin, so if nothing else I wanted the doctor's reassurance that it was actually dry and not in growing mode.

Yesss!

Indeed the cast was dry enough to stay on. But, the doctor said since it had been on for 3 weeks already and it was such a minor fracture, the cast could probably just come off for good. Yesss!

So, the cast came off! Yipeee!


This is Lily remembering what her arm looked like.
It was actually pretty dirty. I cleaned it up good and then they took the final x-rays.

Nooo!

The doc seemed concerned after looking at the films and decided to examine her arm again. She was still having some acute pain at the wound site. Then he mentioned that if it had broken just 2mm further it would have been a surgery case. A few minutes earlier he was talking about the minor fracture. His teeth were looking whiter by the minute.

He recommended the cast going back on, not for just another week, but TWO. Nooo!

So, we got a brand new, shiny, clean cast. Did she chose another color? Purple maybe? No...we are still seeing fluorescent pink around here. The best part though was that it didn't smell...yet.
Ewww!

Within minutes of getting home, Lily wasn't feeling real well. She was laying on the couch and then I heard her coughing. Yep, you guessed it. Not only did she barf all over the couch, pillow and floor, but all over her new cast. Oh, the smell. Ewww!
Poor thing. I felt like vomiting too after all of the excitement and then huge let down. But that would have made for a double ewww, so I refrained.
What words are describing your week?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Great Potato Invasion of 2008

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may have heard me use the nickname "Jader-Tater" for our precious Jade who turns ONE next month.

We really can't remember how the name came about, and I'm sure it wouldn't have stuck, but Lily picked up on it...so it shall forever be used and remembered. Lily's little sister is now lovingly called "Jader-Tater" by many.

When thinking of a theme for her 1st birthday party, it only seemed fitting to have a Potato Head Party. Mrs. Potato Head. Cute right? So, I immediately googled Mr. Potato Head to see where I could buy all the goods. Invites. Decorations. Balloons. Paper goods. I think this is the first time ever that Google failed me. None of the results were related to what I needed. I may just be the first person ever...in America, heck...the WORLD...to throw a Potato Head party.

I tossed the idea around to a few people just to make sure I wasn't completely loony in thinking that it was cute. I got the thumbs up...that it was cute...not that I'm loony. So, the party idea stood.

I am really not crafty, so please don't laugh...but these are the invitations I came up with.


I pasted them on to a white card with the invitation information on back.


That was of course after I traced and cut 26 potatoes, 26 feet, 26 white eyes, 26 inner blue eyes, 26 noses, and 26 lips. And in case you're mathematically challenged, I cut out 52 arms too. Those arms...ugh...they were buggers. I eventually got smart and began putting two sheets of paper together to 1/2 my cutting time...because apparently I am challenged in that way and it didn't dawn on me right away to do that. That was after I had cut out some sets of eyelashes too...until I also got smart and decided just to use a black marker for that. I realize they need hats and ears, but even I have my limits.

My new bloggy friend, Jackie, joked about if I was going for the "mother of the year" award when she heard what I was doing. Hardly. And after nursing scissor blisters for the past few days, I should have reconsidered my idea.

Thank God that my neat freak hubby got tired of seeing the paper mess strewn all over our dining room table...he finally grabbed a pair of scissors and joined me. I knew I married him for something good.

So, at the party we'll be eating baked potatoes and BBQ and playing games like "hot potato" and "pin the parts on the potato". We may even have a "potato sack race".

You might just see me at Lowe's tomorrow hunting down an appliance box. I've got a Mrs. Potato Head stand up to make. Who wouldn't want their picture made next to Mrs. Potato Head?

Are you kidding? I'll be first in line. I figure if there is anyone I can look good next to in a picture, it's her.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

100th Post

1. So, this is my 100th post. Well, it was when I started it anyway.

2. When I started this little blog last October, I didn't realize how much fun it would be.

3. I started it with a top ten list. Dorky, I know. Not that it has improved much since.

4. I really am not that interesting, so I fear I do not have 100 things to disclose about myself.

5. I guess as long as I keep fluffing, I will have less than that to come up with.

6. Okay, I guess I'll get started.

7. I was born in Mesa, Arizona.

8. Moved to Texas just before I turned 3.

9. If I believed in putting bumper stickers on my car, I would totally have the one that says, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could".

10. Being a Texan is awesome.

11. I really wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

12. Well, maybe Colorado, but rumor has it that they don't like us there, so I will just remain an occasional visitor.

13. I was about to brag about how only the Texas flag can fly as high as the US flag, but I just googled it to be sure and Snopes proved me wrong. I've believed that all of my life! Devastating news.

14. I just think it's cool that my friend Rachelle has the Texas flag on her blog. She's lived here before and now doesn't...and she gets the Texas hype.

15. So, I'm done talking about how great my state is.

16. I was raised Lutheran--Wisconsin Synod.

17. Then in college I went to a tiny Evangelical Methodist Church.

18. That is the place I really realized I was a sinner and needed God. I am saved by His grace.

19. I also met my husband there.

20. He is amazing. I am so lucky to be called wife by him.

21. We became PCA shortly after getting married.

22. We attended and he later worked at PCPC for over 5 years.

23. Then we moved and didn't have such a great PCA option where currently live.

24. We attend The Village now.

25. We are fed the Word of God in amazing ways there and are so thankful.

26. They even take care of our girls while we worship.

27. Yep, I'm the mom of two little ones.

28. Lily is 3 and a half and Jade is 11 months.

29. I am a stay at home mommy to them.

30. I also work part-time from home.

31. Working from home + no childcare = lots of late nights and early mornings at the computer.

32. I also read way too many blogs.

33. Its okay though as long as the dust bunnies don't come out of their corners and start fighting.

34. I don't really like to clean house.

35. My idea of cleaning house is getting it picked up and ready for the maid to come.

36. Problem is...we don't have a maid.

37. We do have a good Kirby though...aka Jade.

38. And my 3 year old never makes messes.

39. Except when she is finger painting.

40. I have been an absolute failure at potty training.

41. I could spend the remainder of this post just telling you why I think my 3.5 year old won't poop on the potty.

42. That would be boring though.

43. So, I'll just say that we've tried EVERY thing we can think of, heard about, and read about.

44. We even did a potty training boot camp. But it didn't work.

45. We've seen a pediatric gastroenterologist...and been discharged from him.

46. Basically he said good luck and good riddance.

47. I've been thinking...why are they called GIs when it is spelled GastroEnterologist?

48. Anyway, supposedly we have a behavioral/control issue on our hands.

49. So play therapy has been recommended.

50. Great, I thought. Lily will go play with a therapist, I will shell out $100 each visit, and she will come home potty trained.

51. I called to make the appointment.

52. A totally different scenario was pitched to me.

53. Looks like I will be doing Filial Therapy.

54. Potty training has already brought me to my knees, and now it has sent me to therapy.

55. Pull-ups at $.35 each just aren't really looking that expensive suddenly.

56. I see the therapist tomorrow.

57. I hope she talks fast because at $2.25 a minute, my ears will be listening fast.

58. On to brighter topics. I really love to garden.

59. Pulling weeds...now that is good therapy.

60. I also like to bowl.

61. My family even has matching bowling shirts and a team name.

62. It is comforting to know the dorkiness runs in the family.

63. You would think we were really good at it when we all show up in our shirts.

64. Many an spectator has been disappointed I'm sure.

65. My goal is just to beat my husband...which has happened...a few times.

66. Beating my dad...that would be great, but he is the only good bowler in the group, so very unlikely.

67. On to food...Mexican is my favorite. Especially flautas.

68. I used to like sushi. Not after this happened though.

69. We don't have any pets.

70. I've tried to convince my hubby that we have a dog.

71. And then I tried my hand at raising tadpoles.

72. All 22 of them ended up dying. Even Kermit.

73. And it wasn't because Jade ate him.

74. That would have been bad.

75. Kind of like in the days when she was spitting up and leaving me with quite a a fragrance.

76. Let's see...what else? I am really scared during Texas Storms.

77. I guess that is one negative about our state.

78. We can have some crazy weather in these parts.

79. Like 80's in November.

80. And snow in late March.

81. It's one of the things that makes living in the Lone-Star State so fun.

82. Typing "Lone-Star State" reminds me of our honeymoon.

83. We honeymooned in NYC.

84. We chose a big city instead of a beach because we are both so fair and sunburn easily.

85. We ended up getting burnt to a crisp at central park anyway.

86. Not before we got our faces on the today show though.

87. We got up early TWICE just to get in those crazy lines on our honeymoon.

88. I'm still not sure what we were thinking.

89. We did get to meet Al Roker though.

90. He even signed the poster we were holding.

91. Have you ever tried to find a poster board in NYC? It was very difficult.

92. We ended up buying a cheap poster from an art store and using the back of it.

93. This is what we wrote: "The Big Apple has stolen our Lone Star hearts."

94. I am not sure why I remember that poster so well.

95. Further more why I am sharing it on my blog?

96. I guess to further demonstrate my dorkiness.

97. I think I even alternated the colors red and blue on the "lone star" part.

98. Apparently I wasn't done talking about Texas.

99. But, you'll be thankful however, that I AM done talking about myself.

100. Good night.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reclaiming Our Bedroom

Before our second was born, I thought I was so organized.

Actually I got organized quickly after a doctor's appointment at 35 weeks revealed that I was "ready to go" at any time. So we went through 3 years worth of clothes from our older daughter, rewashed them all, and put them in neatly marked rubbermaids.

0-3 mo
3-6 mo
6-9 mo
9-12 mo
12-18 mo Spring/Summer
12-18 mo Fall/Winter
etc.

You get the idea.

We have a decent sized master closet, so the neatly marked rubbermaids, were neatly stacked, in our neat closet.

Until one day I was downstairs and heard the largest thud above me. It scared enough that I actually gathered the girls and my cell phone and ran outside to call my hubby. I had to ask him who in the world he thought might have been in our attic and fallen through to our bedroom.

He immediately knew that our neat rubbermaids were no longer quite so neat. I made him stay on the phone with me while I crept upstairs to check out the situation. Sure enough, the stack had fallen and I had a good bit of resorting to do.

Pair that with the fact that just when I would get out whatever new size of clothes for Jade to wear, she'd only be in it for a few weeks and then already be ready for the next bigger size.

When I put Lily's clothes from last summer away (mainly 2T), I really didn't think that I'd already be digging into them this summer for Jade who is only 11 months.

Then we are also on a couple of people's hand-me-down lists, which I love...until I have yet another bag of various sized clothes to work into the mix.

There are also those fun moments when I find a random outfit in the back of the car, in an old diaper bag, left at the grandparent's house, or even Lily's MDO backpack when the season changes and she needs a new set of extra clothes. It never fails, never ever fails, that whatever little outfit I come across not only needs a good washing, but also needs to be put away in the rubbermaid on the very bottom of the stack.

So, the rubbermaids that once occupied our closet have somehow taken over our bedroom. I think I decided that as often as I was getting in and out of them, it was just easier to have them out in the open. The problem is that my two little helpers don't really read tags. The sizes/seasons are all mixed up.

Basically you have just read through my long list of excuses for why our master bedroom has been taken over clothes ranging from NB to 3T in various shades of pink.

Looks like there are 11 rubbermaids to sort through item by item by item.

I tell you...we really want a boy if we end up trying for a third, but with all of the effort that has gone into organizing girl clothes around here...I guess he'll just be wearing a lot of pink.

I have been putting off tackling this task for months. Then I read on BooMama today about her Before and After Bloggy Extravaganza. It was just the push I needed.
BooMamaBeforeAfter
I'm embarrassed to post these pictures, but it is just the kick in the butt I need. Plus I needed another reason for my hubby to consider turning off my blog. The look on his face as he saw me taking these pics. Priceless.

So, here are my goals for reclaiming our bedroom:



1. Sort and reorganize 11 rubbermaids full of girl's clothing.

2. Find a place to stack them that won't endanger any of our lives.

Even if that just means a heart attack because of a loud inexplicable noise in the house.
3. Get this bassinet, and baby changing area out of our room. Seeing that we haven't used it in 9 months...I think it might be time.
There is even a basket of strange breast pump pieces that really need to go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Just not in my room for one moment longer.

4. Rearrange furniture to reclaim this space that our treadmill occupied until a few days ago. The only exercise it gave me was when I crawled onto it to give it a dusting every month or so.

While I'm busy making goals, let me wander downstairs too. Again, my husband is really suspicious about the fact that I'm taking pictures of weird things at 11PM.

5. I'd like to get my pantry drawers in better order.
I think the gestation period of plastic sacks is even less than that of rabbits.

6. Jerry recently reorganized these laundry room shelves. They sort of serve as an overflow pantry when I get too excited at Costco. He made a few comments that led me to believe he wants me to keep them organized. Labels. Labels are the only way that will happen. I bet I can find a good deal on labels at Costco.

I have until July 25th to accomplish all of this according to BooMama. However my goal is to have it all done by July 6th when we have Jade's 1st birthday party.

Because I know that all of our guests will march right past my precious baby to first check out my closet, pantry and laundry room shelves.

I just know it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Fun


Father's Day events (in order of occurrence):

Honoring My Dad--

I sent out this little e-mail to my dad to get the fun started:

hey dad,

this is your invitation to a father's day event in honor of none other than YOU:

meet us at the goal
so the truth can be told

whose hoopin' is the best
when you're put to the test

mine is going through the rim
but your chances are looking dim

maybe you'll fair better at skee ball
unless we hold you to the wall

jerry wants to play a shooting game
is that where you'll find your fame?

we can even have a race
though we're pretty tough to face

Let the competition begin!

When? Sat. June 14th @ 11:30 AM

Where? Chuck E. Cheese

Why? It's going to be fun to smoke you at some games for Father's Day, while your granddaughters watch of course!

All of the embarrassment will be funded by us!

Are you game?

Love, Kerry and the gang


I'll let the pictures do the talking...all I'll say is that Kelly (my sis) wasn't too fond of this idea, but once she got her game on and beat each of us at the hoops, she was lovin' it. I blew her away at skee ball though and even though it only happened once, and I didn't get a picture of the score board, I did beat my dad at the hoops during our first match up...40-25! I'm pretty sure that at that moment several of the parents around were staring at us thinking...don't they know this place is for kids?!

Oh, the kids! They had fun too. Jade even rode her first roller coaster. Simulated roller coaster, of course.







Honoring my hubby--

Jerry and I are kind of weird about gift giving. I think we're a lot like Christina and Jeff after reading this recent post on her blog. Like for Mother's Day, Jerry just told me to go ahead and get my hair highlighted since I have been thinking about it. (I haven't had it done in 4 years! I'm going Wednesday! I'm also quietly wondering if he realizes that this is a gift that keeps on giving...) So, back to Father's Day. I did give him some framed pictures to put in his new office, but my main gift to him was letting him sleep in. Jade made that gift extra special by waking up at 6:30 AM. Have I mentioned that I think anything before 7 AM is the middle of the freaking night?!? Thought so. So, at 6:30 I jumped up, turned off both of the girls monitors and he didn't even hear me leave the room. By 7:15 Lily was up too, so I decided it was time for a morning jog. I snuck into our bedroom to grab something before leaving and he rolled over and said...Jade's not up yet, is she? Uh, yeah, since 6:30. And Lily is awake too...we're going for a jog. Happy Father's day...enjoy it! He was in such a good mood when he resurfaced around 8:30.

He's looking into new cell phones and other gadgets, so whatever he picks out will probably get the "Father's Day gift" label. Sure makes shopping easy for me.

Honoring my father-in-law:

My father-in-law is by far the biggest baseball fan I know. Rangers. Texas Rangers. Meet Jerry Hollis Gibson...he is your biggest fan. Good times. Bad times. All times. He is faithfully following your every move. So we thought we'd get tickets to a game. Thankfully the Rangers weren't in town this weekend...we'd need to take out a second mortgage to finance tickets for all of us if they were actually in the park...and then a third mortgage just for the parking and snacks. That place, which we used to frequent like crazy when my in-laws had season tickets, has gotten outrageous.

So, it sounded like a good idea when we were planning this to go to a local minor league game instead. We've heard they are a ton of fun for families. That was before we realized it would be one hundred and one degrees. Yes, like the dalmatian movie. 101. 101.

I was so thankful to have an out. I can't believe I had a reason to be thankful for Jade's recent double ear infection. She is still on an antibiotic that makes her sensitive to the sun. She simply can't be in it. At all. No one in the family was liking the fact that I was trying to get out of sitting in the blistering heat for 3 hours with a sweaty baby on my lap. Jerry assured me our seats would be in the shade. Really? Call them. One call later and he was depressed to learn not only that the sun would be on us, it wouldn't be at our backs, but in our faces. Glory! I had my out!

So only part of our crew made the hike to the sun pit. They did it to honor my precious father-in-law. He's just the kind of guy that makes you want to do those kind of things for him. I did feel bad driving away in my car with 2 A/C vents blowing full force pointed straight at me, and the other two at Jade. That feeling faded quickly as we watched them hike 3 blocks just to get to the stadium. Valet? Valet anyone?


I did snap a picture before leaving. Just in case they shriveled to raisins during their stay. The report on Lily was that she did fabulous. However, she did at some point announce to everyone that they had been there long enough and it was time to go home.

I think that was at the top of the second.

Headshots


Jade, sometimes in all our busyness, we forget to just sit down and enjoy you. You are such a beauty! Here is mommy trying to make up for having only 1 picture of you for every 10 we have of Lily.


I won't even compare the babybook situation.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Update...

I've gotten several e-mails asking for an update on my step-dad Charlie. So I think I'll give a quick update here.

It has been 3 weeks since his stroke. He is still in a nursing home setting receiving rehabilitation. They are doing only as much therapy as he can handle and not pushing him too hard. The therapists have had to ease up because over the past two weeks he has ended up in the ER twice with cerebral bleeds...I am not a medical person, but I think this means his brain is bleeding where the stroke was, which causes him to pass out. There really isn't much they can do about these bleeds.

Charlie can say things like Hi, Bye, Yes, No and count to 3. The doctors tell us over and over again what a massive stroke it was. Yet he is strong and has some really good days in between the bad ones, so sometimes what they are saying and what we are seeing don't mesh.

It is just really sad. Today must have been a sobering Father's day for his children. I think it has taken a heavy toll on my mom as she realizes the long and painful journey ahead of them. I visited with her at length in person today and she seems more emotionally and physically worn out than ever before. Yet she sees God's hand in all things and cited many accounts of prayers that had been answered. Most tangibly a crew of workers from their church came yesterday and began finishing parts of their house that hadn't been completed yet. That was a huge blessing to her.

We appreciate your continued prayers for Charlie's recovery and my mom's stamina as she endures through this situation.

Purple Tongued Princess

This was Lily Friday morning.

This was Lily a few hours later.


It was Friday the 13th. But it wasn't anything freaky...grape sno-cones are the culprit. Looks more like black licorice flavor to me!

I, being much more dignified, ate a pina colada one that was clear. And Lily thinks I'm not fun. I mean why would anyone order a clear sno-cone?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lessons From My Landscape

I've been one hot gardening mama. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word, not the cute meaning. Like I have been a hot, sweaty, bug spray covered, glove wearing, hoe hauling, gardening mama.

Weeds. I love to pull weeds. Maybe it stems from my childhood, when my mom would pay me a buck to fill a paper grocery sack with pulled weeds. Maybe that is also why I really only like to pull big weeds. Nevertheless, pulling weeds feels so good. Conquering them. Instant improvement. Working muscles I didn't know I had. I just love it.

Anyway, when I heard that The Preacher's Wife was doing a Spring Garden Tour, I had grand visions of what I could accomplish. I pulled, and pulled, and pulled those weeds. They were really out of control. I'm blaming it on the fact that last summer I was either severely pregnant and couldn't see my own shoes, much less the weeds, OR attached to a nursing newborn and couldn't even pull myself out of bed to pull the weeds.

This is where I should be inserting "before" pictures. Sorry, you'll just have to imagine every type of weed possible. Thankfully, for me, lots of big ones...and then some small, some prickly, some with flowers, etc...got it pictured?

So, my beds are in good shape now. Not just because of the garden tour, but because my baby naps twice a day and now my 3 1/2 year old actually knows how to pull weeds, not just anything that is green.

I even got a few flowers planted.




I love how this walkway is filling in. I hadn't been a fan of Sedum until I saw how it covered this area. The Begonias are new and I hope they like this spot as well as the Sedum.


And I can't go without fresh herbs. Currently rosemary, sweet basil and I'm trying cilantro for the first time.


The big surprise of Spring was when these Calla Lillies bloomed. There must have been an old bulb in the bottom of the pot that I've been planting over for years. Or else the neighbor knew I loved them enough to name my firstborn after them and snuck one in.



I usually do tomatoes, but had decided against it after an awful crop last summer...again, with the newbie running the house, I could barely remember to water myself, so, uh, the tomatoes sort of dried up. Not a pretty sight.

But then all the news came out about bacteria infected tomatoes, so I rushed to Lowe's to grab an early girl and a cherry tomato plant.


And couldn't resist trying my hand at a bell pepper too.


Here are some lessons I've learned from my landscaping:

1. Take 2 Advil before, 3 during, and then have 4 on your nightstand for the morning after your project.

2. When it gets dark, and you still aren't done, it's amazing how well your SUV's headlights can brighten the area...for as long as the battery allows.

3. Oh, that is my Lantana coming back. Too bad I stepped all over some of it's siblings.

4. You know the glitter confetti that I lined the sidewalk with for Lily's princess party? Well, it isn't biodegradable. I think I'll be digging it up for years...but will also be reminded of a precious day in her life too. Sniff.

5. If it feels like you have a bug running down your back, you probably do.

6. The 81 liter/3 cu. ft. bag of cypress mulch weighs a lot closer to 81 lbs than 3 lbs.

7. Asian Jasmine is the gift that keeps on giving. How do I get rid of that stuff?

8. Oh, what a HUGE worm. Lily would love that. I think I'll pick it up. YIKES! It isn't a HUGE worm, it is a small SNAKE! Thanks Asian Jasmine for harboring that fun surprise for me. I am sure only a few years were shaved from my lifespan.

9. Shoveling with Crocs on doesn't work very well.

10. And finally, when your kid is done "pulling weeds", give them the water hose and send them the other direction. The neighbors won't talk for too long.

Be sure to head on over to The Preacher's Wife blog for more tour stops!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Skinny Mocha, I will miss you.

To me, each unnecessary carb I avoid equals a few less minutes of cardio for me to accomplish in the rare case I should make it to the gym.

So, I really try to avoid unnecessary carbs. One easy way to do that is in drinks. Coffee drinks. Even though I know even the ants won't eat fake sugar, and that it is bad for me, I just don't seem to notice the fake sugar taste when it is in a drink. In a dessert...don't even try to fool me. Unless that dessert is a grande flavored latte from Starbucks.

Until recently my order at the Starbucks drive through sounded something like this (after their way too friendly introduction of themselves):

I'm fine, thank you. No, I really don't want to try that today, I just want a tall, non-fat, sugar-free, hazelnut latte, with extra foam please.

A mouthful that I always had to think through before they offered me some weird drink of the month and threw me off kilter. God forbid if I had wanted it iced or with whip. Too many details to remember. And if I'm in the Starbucks drive through line at any time of day with two kids in tow...I don't need any extra stress.

Then those brainy people at Starbucks came up with a great idea. I guess they grew tired of us having to use so many words just to order a cup of coffee. The new word? Skinny. Yep, skinny. No longer "non-fat, sugar-free"...now all you have to say is "skinny". I just love that.

Then they added all these new sugar-free flavored syrups. Beyond vanilla and hazelnut. Flavors like mocha, cinnamon dulce and others. I quickly favored mocha.

But today when I went through to order my tall, extra foamy, skinny mocha, I heard this: We no longer have that ma'am. To which I said, "You are out of it?" No, sadly, it has been discontinued. Discontinued? Ugh.

Don't be fooled by the fact that it is still on the menu.

Thankfully Skinny Cinnamon Dulce comes in at a close second. I'm thinking that it is going to take many, many visits though to adequately readjust my taste buds.

Farewell, Skinny Mocha.

Monday, June 9, 2008

"Big Girl" Weekend

This past weekend was really special. We had a family reunion to attend in the town of Jerry's parents, and afterwards we just happened to leave Jade with them. I really thought it would be hard to let go of her, but she has been fussy, clingy, teething, earache baby for a couple of weeks now. Those things, plus the fact that she screamed no less than 57 minutes on our way to E. Texas only to fall asleep moments from the edge of their driveway, made prying her little fingers away from my arms a wee bit easier.

Lily has been showing some signs of needing our devoted attention, so we gave in and spoiled her rotten this weekend.

First we became a minivan family. I'm pretty sure Lily thinks it is hers, but is holding steady on wanting a pink convertible VW bug when she turns 16. Grandparents? Are you listening?

Our first stop was a great aquarium downtown that is also home to a 3 level rainforest. We saw every jungle, sea and swamp animal imaginable, but spent the majority of our time finding the characters from Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. We succeeded in finding Flounder, the eels (minions of Ursula), an octopus (sea witch), the stingray (Mr. Ray the teacher), the jelly fish, sea turtles, Dory, Marlin, and of course Nemo himself among others. Watching Disney movies with Lily definitely turns an aquarium visit into a different sort of experience.

Later we met up with my sister and Lily's cousin for a trip to a theatrical restaurant. We were greeted by Jasmine and also got photos with Cinderella and Snow White. We were a little disappointed that our waitress turned out to be Hannah Montana, because Lily didn't even know who she was. But Avery, being just a year older, was very excited. They both got chicken toes and a bubbly magic potion to drink. Avery ordered hers in red and Lily ordered hers in "ugly"...I'm telling you...I have my boy! We spent a good time just chasing them around the restaurant exploring the different themed rooms and booths.

The next day was Big Girl water park trip day. Her DryPro waterproof cast cover worked perfectly. Lily was pretty intimidated by the water though. It is very different from her nature, so we may give it another try, but the waves and splashing water definitely won us some bonding time. If you count clinging on to either one of us for dear life as bonding time at least.

I'm about to put a slide show up, but you won't see any water park pictures. I didn't even bring the camera. I think I have anxiety about being photographed in my swimsuit. It wasn't helped by my shopping experience with Lily the night before our water adventure.

We were in the swimsuit section at a department store and Lily was assessing the situation:

L-Are you getting some new clothes, mommy?

M-No sweetheart, I'm getting a new swimsuit.

L-These don't look like swimsuits.

M-What do you mean?

L-These are dresses.

As I glanced at my receipt on my way out, sure enough, my purchase was called a "swim dress".

I was joined by many other mamas clothed in swim dresses too. And a few others that may need to be introduced to the concept. I know a personal shopper that I could lend to them.

Friday, June 6, 2008

11 months!

It's hard to believe that in just one short month I'll be posting about my baby's first birthday! I'm not sure where the time has gone. But for the moment I am wanting to remember these things about her while she is still just 11 months. Because, you know, an 11 month old is so much more babylike than a 12 month old!
Dear Jade,

1. I absolutely am in love with every rolly polly inch of you.

2. I especially love looking at you from the rear side view while you are crawling.

3. It is scary how much you can toss your hips and thighs around.

4. Daddy says that he hopes that changes by the time you are a teenager!

5. You are "military" crawling right now and you use your individual toes to pivot yourself around. It is quite amazing and you bring lots of laughs from whoever is watching.

6. You are very verbal and show a lot of inflection in your voice.

7. You love handing people your toys and when you do I promise it sounds like you are saying, "Here you go."

8. Your absolute favorite place to be is on mama's hip...at all times. Mama is still getting used to this idea.

9. At almost 25 pounds, you are quite heavy to carry around all the time.

10. Your favorite food is frozen sweet peas...warmed up a bit of course. And you definitely aren't color blind because if I mix some carrots or corn in them too, you successfully only pick out the green peas.

11. You are so smart, I love how you don't let big sis Lily get away with swiping one of your toys even though she quickly replaces it with another, less fun toy. You are on to her!

Jade will really have reason to be mad at mommy the day she realizes I posted these pictures. I never did bare baby pictures with Lily though and regretted it, so although it is kind of late, I did these with Jade a couple of weeks ago.

Happy 11 months, Jade!
Quick footnote: One of my daily blog reads, Baby Bangs, did these monthly tributes to her son until he was 24 months. I didn't realize she was the one who started this fun trend until another daily read, Virtue Alert, gave credit to her. I've seen other people doing it too, so I think it will be done by many mommies for years to come!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Don't fear mama dear...DryPro is here!



I think my summer just got a little brighter.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rules of the Cast

During our visit at the Pedi Ortho office the other day we spent time with lots of initials. An MA and then either a PA or a CNP for the majority of our visit. Of course an RN too. The MD did show his face and over whitened teeth for 49 seconds, so I'm sure we'll still be getting the full treatment from the billing department.

During the PA's visit with us, we learned that we were very fortunate that the injury hadn't gone even a hair further or Miss Lily would be facing surgery. The growth plate had not been affected. Everything was in alignment, but with an injury near the elbow, we'd be in a good hard cast for several weeks.

As we were talking, she was observing Lily's activity level in the office. Crashing the play trucks on the floor, up and down from the stool to the table to the floor again, twirling, and rolling the doc's chair around the room. Of course this was before I noticed the sign on the back of the door stating, "Please do not let your child play with the rolling chair." It also said something about not playing with the blinds...blinds? Booorrrring.

Anyway, she proceeded to ask me if Lily was always this active. Told me that I needed to slow her way down. Then decided that she would go ahead and take some more x-rays before putting the permanent cast on in case she had reinjured it while being so active since the initial break.

Thankfully everything still looked good.

She then proceeded to introduce Lily to the "Rules of the Cast". It went kind of like this: for the next eight weeks, no running, no jumping, no hopping, no climbing, no swimming, no trampolines, no parks, no playgrounds, no monkey bars, no swings, no slides, no bikes, no trikes, and no scooters.

To which Lily replied, "What about skipping?". Gotta love that girl.

And I was wondering if she was going to cast her legs also to keep her from doing all those things.

And also thinking...a cast for eight weeks? Right at the beginning of summer, right before our two weeks off with daddy, right during the swim lessons I have scheduled, right during the time when there is no MDO and my goal becomes tiring her out enough that she might, just might, take a little nappie wappie.

No, she only wears the cast for 4 weeks, but the next 4 weeks you still have to protect it and act like it is still there. Yeah right.

She recommended lots of movies and keeping it propped up. Uh, my Lily won't sit still in front of anything for much more than an hour at most each day, even her beloved Ariel. And that hour is usually spread out over three 20 minute intervals. So what about the other 11 hours of wake time each day?

Wow, my attitude of thankfulness that she wasn't severely injured diminished quickly. I think it is just the reality setting in that this summer is going to look very different than the one I had envisioned. My summer plan included camping, biking, hiking, water parks, swimming pools and even just the backyard sprinkler as forms of entertainment. Basically everything I couldn't do with her last summer because I was either 9 months pregnant or attached to a nursing newborn.

Maybe I'm just irritated that it is apparent that the one making the "Rules of the Cast" has never spent 8 minutes, much less 8 weeks, with a casted active 3 year old during the summer heat.

What do do? What to do? How am I going to keep Lily entertained and get her at least a little exercise over the next two months?

Remember, this is Texas. Even the animals are ready to call it a day when the zoo opens at 10 AM.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Brakes! Lily, put on your brakes!

We ventured out on our first bike ride as a family of four yesterday. Jade is just now ready to ride in our bike trailer, so we got her settled in, and Lily in her gear and headed out.

We got to the park and headed over the pond.
Saw a cool bird.
Were intimidated by some aggressive geese.
Finally found some ducks to feed.
Got packed back up and headed home.
Sound perfect? Too perfect?

We love the bike paths here in town. Over a couple of bridges and through some shady woods we went. After typing that I can hear my mom singing, "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go...." However, Jade started fussing on the way back, so Jerry sped up and went ahead of us to free her from restraint as soon as possible. Lily was about 20 feet behind me when the bike path began to come to an end. It ended at a "T" with the sidewalk of our street, a fairly busy street. It also ended with quite a little hill, steeper than I remembered it to be as we ascended it just an hour earlier. I called back to her to slow down and put on her brakes. I quickly realized that her braking experience was not going to be enough. So I got to a stopping point and started to get off my bike so I could slow her down by grabbing her handle bars. As I turned around to do this, she sped past me, down the hill, crossed the sidewalk and went over the curb. RIGHT OUT ONTO THE STREET.

A busy street. Not busy, like traffic light busy, but busy enough. Not that it really matters. One car on a very quiet street would have been enough to change our lives forever.
Not to sound too dramatic, her entire life, all 3 years, 8 months and 7 days of it, flashed before me in 3 seconds. She immediately crashed after going over the curb and came to a stop, the bike on top of her, about 5 feet into the street. I screamed so loud that Jerry heard me and came back and a neighbor lady came running to help with ice bags.

I ran to get her out of harm's way and assess the injuries. Not a scratch to be found. Anywhere. She was crying just from being scared or maybe just because her mommy was screaming like a mad woman, but not a scratch to be found. Go and buy your Disney helmet, knee and elbow pad set now!

Daddy fetched the car and we drove home safely.

Later though we noticed she was favoring her right arm, holding her left arm stiffly at her side. No swelling or bruising though, so we went on with our plan to go see my step-father an hour away.

When we got there, my mom and sister, immediately knew she had broken her arm. So, we cut our visit short, skipped dinner with extended family, and headed for the kid's urgent care center near home.

Sure enough. She had fractured her left humerus where it meets the elbow. 5 x-rays, an empty wallet, and a grape popsicle later, we left with a bright yellow temporary cast.

I always thought knowing a good pediatrician would be enough. Now we've met a pediatric GI (for Lily's potty issues) and will be meeting a pediatric orthopedist as well. Hopefully he'll have a pink or purple cast to give us. Like Tricia or SweetPea's latest ones?

So, without further delay, here are the pics of my newly casted girl. Put on your sunglasses...the yellow is bright!

I don't think this is going to slow her down one bit. I will need to postpone her swim lessons though. Unless I'm able not only to talk the doc into a pink or purple cast, but a waterproof one as well. That would be nice just for bathtime I'm thinking. I've got some things to learn about caring for a casted kid...bathing, car seat comfort, clothes that work...fun stuff!
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