Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dungeon doors and water features

Excuse me while I backtrack here a bit. Just in case I do ever decide to print parts of this little ol' blog out as some sort of scrapbook I wanted to get down a couple of memories of our zoo trip a couple of weeks back.

Sunglasses and snacks...they were ready to go.

We live equidistant from two really good zoos, but have generally gone to the one to our west simply because it has a better reputation...namely it hasn't had any gorilla escapes in recent years. Ahem.

However this time we went to the one on our way to East Texas since we needed to drop off the girls with my in-laws for a visit while we helped my mom move. We were pleasantly surprised.

Jerry and I were thrilled that although it was a beautiful day during most of the area school districts' spring break, the zoo was NOT busy.

I wish I had large crowds to blame for my inability to get a decent picture of our girls together at the zoo...remember these? I knew Jade was chubby a year ago, but my, oh my. A mother's love just sees past some things. Rolls and rolls of things.

I need to learn how to merge these photos together to get one good one.

Anyway, the girls had a blast. Although it wasn't the animals that were so exciting to them...unless you counted the ones on the carousel...

or anything else she could "ride" on...

No, rather it was these "dungeon doors" found at both the entrance and at the monorail station that just fascinated Lily to pieces. Like she seriously couldn't get over them. It was funny. And I promise we don't have any weird sort of discipline taking place at home. Promise. Remember that Lily has trouble breathing in time out, so a dungeon...that would surely give her a heart attack.

And Jade? Although she knows her animal names/sounds well when looking at a book, everything bigger than a dog was a "moo cow" that day. It was a little embarrassing. Her fascination though? All of the water features. She and Pooh enjoyed many a stare at various pools of water. And of course her yellow "Bay" was always along too.

I'm thinking her prom date will need to make room for her two yellow friends in the limo. And I better start thinking of discreet ways of incorporating them into her wedding.

Or, maybe I should quit washing them in hopes that their stench keeps all boys away.

Monday, March 30, 2009

At least no appendages were lost

The below pictures are evidence that 4 adults were downstairs enjoying quiet conversation while their preschoolers "played quietly" upstairs.

I'm thankful that they came down to show off their decorating abilities. At first my eyes were drawn to all the hairbows...

But then I noticed the arms...and legs (no picture)...oh my.

I think the weird look on Lily's face might be from the loss of circulation.

What happened to the days of kids playing with toys...in the playroom...which happens to have shelves upon shelves loaded with them?

At least I remembered to hide the scissors.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I love you, me.

Jade was nestled into my chest as I rocked her this evening. I whispered "I love you" into her ear for what I'm sure was the hundredth time today. She leaned back, looked me square in the eye and said, "I love you, me"...and then pointed between us. She smiled a big smile, proud of what she had accomplished, and nestled back in.

It was as if she was saying, "No. I love you." Or possibly, "I love you, too."

Whatever she meant, it was the first time she had tried to verbally communicate her love to me.

My heart is a complete puddle.

I'm just thankful she doesn't know how to say, "Mommy, I want a new Hummer". Because the way I feel right now, all I could say is, "Okay, what color? Pink? No? Alright then, purple it is!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I just never know what I might find under the couch...

...but I truly wasn't expecting what I found this morning.

I was doing a routine sweep underneath the couch in hopes of returning some mate-less shoes to their partners...and just look what I found...

I only have three things to say:

1. Thank God we don't have a bug problem.
2. Dieting sure causes people to do some strange things.
3. If my husband does actually read my blog, this would be a good time to step up and explain/defend himself.

"Secure Shopping"...um...yeah

So, if you just got an e-mail or two, or five, from me entitled "secure shopping"...please know that it is a hotmail virus...not some great new business that I've set up.

I am so over hotmail. Yet I have an emotional attachment to it...the account created just a few days before we had Lily...so I'll probably never change.

Unless of course these viruses keep happening. This one was particularly nasty. Not only did it e-mail everyone in my address book with some website to visit (don't do that, please), it also set up an automatic vacation reply for me...with, you guessed it, another website. Nice.

So, I went in to send a message out about this virus and that is when hotmail notified me that I had reached my outgoing message limit for the next 24 hours. Double nice.

If you are trying to reach me, or have sent an e-mail and are awaiting a response...try the email associated with this blog or better yet, Facebook.

Looks like hotmail just gave me a little e-mail vacation.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break Break

We just endured four straight days of rain. Cold rain at that. But finally yesterday the sun shone through and it began to warm up again. I just love it when it has been yucky all week and then on the Lord's day it is beautiful. Just love it.

This week is Spring Break. I don't really know what that means as a mom of preschoolers, except that everything is much busier this week.

I do know that Jerry is off this week and I am so thankful for a forecast of high 70s and low 80s with no rain predicted.

We don't have any travel plans and are hoping just to get a few things crossed off the ever growing "to do" list and enjoy our girls. They have been so stinkin' sweet lately. I am really starting to love these ages/stages.

We plan on tackling some yard work, planting flowers, hosting a little St. Patty's Day shin dig, trying some new classes at the gym, hitting a zoo or two, helping my mom move, and catching up with friends and family.

Notice what isn't on that list? You guessed it...blogging. I'd love to sit here and just post away, but I feel so much more adventurous with an extra set of hands and some warm weather...and don't plan to be indoors much.

Here are some pictures of what we've accomplished so far...

a little stroll at a local botanical garden...

swimming at the club's indoor leisure pool (my girls are going to be so sick of matching clothes by summer's end...but this is the last year of them both being is Ts...Lily 5T and Jade 2-3T...so I'm taking advantage)...

a birthday celebration with old friends...

Happy Birthday, Dori...and Happy St. Patty's Day to the rest of you....don't let yourself get pinched.

P.S. I've still been stopping by many of your blogs, but have gotten very lazy on commenting. It seems I just haven't had much to say lately...neither here nor there...shocking, I know. I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon...it's my nature. I was told that recently a family member described my 4 year old as someone who, "talks non-stop...just like her momma"! I wasn't quite sure how to take that, but rest assured I'll be back soon...apparently it is a genetic trait.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Winnie the Waaahhh...

We're going through a bit of a Winnie the Pooh craze around here. It started when Jade was given a Pooh bear for her 1st birthday...Lily immediately claimed it has hers and still hasn't given it up. There have been Winnie the Pooh books, etc...and of course the meeting of Winnie the Pooh in Disney World this past December. It was on the flight to Orlando that we popped a Netflix of Winnie in the DVD player to keep them calm. They both loved it. Since then we've become owners of two of them and Jade can't even set down her milk in the morning before asking for "Pooh...Pooh TV, Mama".

So, when we heard a local amateur children's theater was putting on a musical production of Winnie the Pooh, we were thrilled. It was late on the evening that we were also losing an hour, but we went for it anyway. My sister and niece met us there...we were early, so we got to sit on the second row...center stage.

The girls did great. Lily couldn't believe that the there was going to be a whole other show after the intermission. She kept saying that she got to see two pooh "movies". There was a little bit of musical laps going on with Jade, but for two 45 minute acts...she did excellent.

About ten minutes from the end, Jade was moving from her aunt's lap back to mine. She got tripped up and fell into the armrest. She was wailing so loud that it was drowning out Piglet and Pooh's final duet. In a panic, I handed her to Jerry who was at least one seat closer to the end of our row. (did you catch my justification for why I didn't handle it?) It took him a while to figure out how to exit the small dark theater without going right in front of the stage. Jade screamed the entire time.

Poor Jade. POOR JERRY.

When we found them afterwards I learned that her tooth had actually cut her lip when she fell. Poor thing. Even though she was calm, Jerry wasn't in the mood to reenter the theater to get her picture with Pooh.

So here is Lily with Pooh and Eeyore...holding the Pooh bear that she stole from her sister nearly a year ago.

Our latest behavior modification tactic with Lily is to remind her to please act more like Pooh than Tigger. She totally gets it. Obviously it isn't going to last long though...when asked at noon today if she wanted PB and Jelly or PB and honey, she told me, "Jelly of course...Tiggers don't like honey, Mama."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Whether springing forward or falling back, they've got your back!

Ah...spring forward time. The time of much groaning, complaining and gnashing of teeth.

Actually since having children, I've found that falling backwards is just as confusing to their little internal clocks as springing forward is. They are either getting to bed too late or rising too early...mainly due to sunlight issues.

Meet one of my sincerest friends...the room darkening shade.

These are seriously the best things known to mankind...at least if you take your sleep or that of your children seriously.

They are cheap and discreet...you can hide them behind a curtain or even use them in front of blinds with a valance and just pull them down when you need them.

My girls don't realize that even when it is technically only 6:30 PM (though the clock says 7:30 PM) that it is completely daylight outside. We just pull the shades down and nighty-night folks. They also work great for keeping them asleep when we "fall back" and it is light so stinkin' early in the morning. And of course they are a hit for nap time on a daily basis.

So, like my title says...whether we are springing forward or falling back, these shades have got your back.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dear Mr. Asplundh Operator,

Dear Mr. Asplundh Operator,
Your tree shredding machine, although parked a good two blocks away from my house, produces noises that can pretty much only be described as deafening. I am sure that is why all of your guys wear industrial strength ear plugs. Had I only known of this loud interruption, maybe I would have borrowed some for my daughters' ears. I'd like to suggest that you move your lunch break to 1:00 PM...and then extend it all the way until 3 or 4 PM. That way, maybe my children could actually take a nap...an uninterrupted, non-interval sort of nap. The kind of nap that lasts all afternoon.

That goes for you too, Mr. Delivery Truck Driver, City Utility Repair Man, Neighbor Lawn Service Guy, Garbage Man (with your squeaky truck), and Recycled Materials Collector(who likes to throw our bins around on the pavement). We like to shut things down around here from 1-4 PM daily. So please abstain from making such frightening loud noises during these hours.

Cranky Mama

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Potty Training: It's NEVER too early. right?

Jade (bottom left) was 15 months in this picture...I just found it while looking through my cell phone pics. It was the first time she ever sat on the potty...and she actually tinkled.

Of course that was October, and she hasn't done a dern thing since. Unless you count her sitting on it for 5 second intervals, getting up and saying "all done", and then using copious amounts of toilet paper to wipe something that don't need wiping.


After all the "issuahs" we had with Lily...I'm just hoping and praying this one is easier. It wouldn't take much, that's for sure.

WFMW E-Mealz Menu Planning

***Works for Me Wednesday has a new host...she suggested we re-run a favorite WFMW post...so if this seems familiar to you, you haven't lost your mind!***

Meal planning used to be a fun little task for me. But then when a couple of kiddos, in addition to the husband got thrown in the mix, plus a tighter budget, it suddenly became more of a chore. Then I realized I just wasn’t doing it right. Sitting down with 2 or 3 cookbooks, picking out recipes that sounded good, choosing side dishes that paired well, making a long list of ingredients, going to my cabinet to see what I could cross off...it took forever.

Then about 6 weeks ago I learned about E-Mealz. It is a great meal planning website. Basically you can pick whatever type of meal plan you want...low fat, low carb, regular type, ww points, vegetarian, whatever...then choose what store you shop at and how many people you are feeding. It then plans 7 dinners for you each week...including side dishes.
The best part is that it prints out an aisle-by-aisle, detailed shopping list for you, complete with prices so you know exactly what you'll be spending. The meals also follow the weekly store ads/coupons so it is definitely budget friendly. The list is broken down by meal #, so if a particular meal doesn't appeal to you, it is easy to cross those items off the list.

It’s also easy on the budget by incorporating the same ingredients throughout the week. No more wasting half a tub of cream cheese…it will be used for a later recipe. It occasionally incorporates leftovers into the meal plan as well.

Are you hosting Easter dinner? Check out their holiday meal-planning guide. I recently noticed they are offering gift certificates too. It might be the perfect gift for those who are hard to shop for.
Anyway, we have found the meals to be great, even for our girls, so click the link above if you want to try it out. Dave Ramsey is an advocate of it, so if you sign up, use the coupon code "Dave" to save $2.50...that will make it $2.50/month. I figure after 3 months I’ll have enough recipes for a lifetime.

E-mealz is currently paying new members $3.75 for each friend they refer…so sign up and spread the word!

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gotcha Day

We had the fun experience of celebrating "Gotcha Day" with some new friends of ours yesterday. It was the celebration of the day when they met their daughter for the first time in China 4 years ago. I learned that this day is often even more important than the child's actual birthday...which after celebrating with them I can now understand.

Lily got to sit right next to the guest of honor at a tasty Pei Wei lunch. Lily loves using the chopsticks there.

Then they joined us for a local production of Peter and the Wolf. Here are the girls with the wolf...and Lily's favorite, the cat.

They had fun afterward at the "instrument petting zoo"...such a fun concept.

Lily waited in line to play a trumpet, but chickened out at the last minute. That did this mama's heart good because I wasn't sure the sanitizer they were using was up to the challenge of flu season 2009.

Then Lily got a hold of the camera for a while.

Ouch, that flash must have hurt!

Later, our small group met at their home and we got to watch their "Gotcha Day" video. It was so moving. I was glad that something funny was said just as I was about to cry or I would have totally lost it. You should have seen all the kiddos lined up on the couch watching so intently. Most of their discussion was over hair length and who looked like a boy or not. So funny.

We also got to thumb through the amazing "Life book" scrapbook that her mommy has been making. I've never seen anything quite like it. Such a special day.

So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Lily ran into our room early this morning exclaiming that she wished she had been born in China.
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