Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random January Pics

Today has been all a-buzz about the icy weather and people staying home from work/school. I remember when I was working how much I hoped for ice so that I could stay home with the kids. It was like a day of hooky and full of fun things to do. Not today! Samantha's school did not close for the day, so today is just like any other day for all of us. The only thing different for me is I have found myself piddling around doing random things instead of my normal day things: laundry, cleaning, job hunting. So I guess I have that to say today has been different.

I leave you with random pictures from this month.

Rub a dub dub, two kids in a tub. I was trying to make their hair look funny, but it just wasn't working. Don't you love Sammi smiling REALLY hard? Look at those neck muscles!

Last Monday I watched my friend Jennifer's son, Aidan. He and Josh love to play together. They usually play really loud, so when I noticed just a few minutes of silence, that made me curious and worried at the same time. I snuck up on them in Sammi's room playing with her tea set. Isn't that so cute?

Here the kids are at Pump It Up...gotta love that place!

Sammi doing her favorite thing at the moment...playing on the computer. Please ignore my messy desk.

Joshua doing his favorite thing....watching daddy work on whatever it is at the time. This time it was his brakes. Joshua does not like loud noises, hence the hands over his ears. He was probably saying "it's too woud daddy, it's too woud!"

Playing in the leaves...

No, I did not strategically place the leaves in her hair. She came out of the pile looking like that.

I love this picture. We were at my mom and stepdad's and Joshua went out with his Lito to take the recycling bin back to the house. He loves to help!

If you have ice in your area, stay home and stay warm!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bye Bye Babies

These past two weeks I have been working on taking apart Joshua's room to redecorate into a race car theme, which he is obsessed with. He is now that proud owner of a race car bed. When I was a kid, I was a tom boy and wanted the big, red race car bed. Just like Ricky Schroeder had on the show "Silver Spoons". I was not a happy kid when my parents didn't agree with me on what I "had to have" in my bedroom.

Anyways, as I was taking down the crib (yes, he is almost 3 and was still in his crib. No judging!), I was untying the knots on the bumper pads (yes, they were still there. I didn't want him to bump his precious head in the middle of the night!) and right then I started having flashbacks. I realized that I had delicately tied those knots onto the crib over 6 years ago. When I was pregnant with Samantha, the doctor was not 100% sure it was a girl, so we got unisex baby bedding. Then when I had Joshua, I kept the same bedding. I loved it, my mom spent WAY too much on it as a gift, and just couldn't part with it. Those memories of 6 years flooded my brain. As I was putting the bedding up, Sammi came in the room and saw the crib taken apart and commented on how excited she was that Joshua is getting a big-boy room. Right then, the tears started flowing. My very concerned daughter immediately asked me why I was crying. Goodness, she wouldn't understand why her mom was a bumbling idiot full of tears when I told her the reason?! I told her anyways and she just stared back at me with a blank face.

Jason and I have had many discussions about if we will have any more kids, and we decided long ago that we are far blessed with the two we have and will not have anymore. So putting up the baby furniture to sell has been sad for me, even though I am 150% sure I do not want anymore kids. It is just the baby things that I will miss....rocking a baby to sleep, carrying a baby in my beloved Baby Bjorn (why couldn't I be the one to invent that goldmine?), baby lotion, and all of the loot that goes with babies. What I won't miss: sleepless nights!

The day after my crying debacle, I received this email from my mom. The timing was eerie. I cannot relate since my kids are not fully grown, but I can to a lot. If you have kids, please read this...you will be glad you did!

Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete . Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories.What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with astern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself.Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When- Mom-Did” Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?". (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't,what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Now, aren't you glad you read that?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bad Coke Addiction

I should have put a better title because I am sure you all thought, "Is she talking about drugs?" No, my addiction to Coca Cola. I just never call it that.

I am trying REALLY, REALLY hard to kick my nasty habit. It isn't a huge habit, but a 1 coke a day habit. One coke too many. I am trying to work on losing the weight I gained (8 pounds!) over the holidays and I still have more than just those 8. I am constantly thinking about my food intake, what I'm eating, how much, etc. I don't always eat horrible food, but I realized it is what I am drinking.

Since I have been home everday after being laid off in June, I have found that I drink a coke everyday! And what gets me is that when I was at Pfizer, we had free vending machines. Even then I did not have a coke everyday. Weird. I never bought it to have at home because I knew I would drink it more than I should and I only drank it when I would eat out. But I can actually blame something on Jason: he made the switch from Dr. Pepper to Coke. Thanks Jason! Ever since then it has been a downward spiral into a nasty addiction. I didn't have any at home for over a week, but then I found myself sneaking sips of Jason's carbinated beverage of choice. If he was out, I would send him a text to bring home a coke for me. Pathetic. Just pathetic!

I told him last night when I was on my way to the store that I was no longer buying cokes, so if he wanted one, he would have to buy one here and there himself and try not to bring it inside the house. Isn't that awful that I have sunk to the level that I have to ban my own husband from bringing one in the house? I do not have an addictive personality at all, but I sure do when it comes to my beloved coke!

So if any of you are my true friends and you are with me, please tell me to say no to coke if I reach for one or try to order one. I know it isn't your job to keep me from this, but I need help! :)

My Anniversary Getaway

On January 9th, Jason and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. I am still in shock that I have been married 10 years. Where did the time go? I feel blessed, honored, humbled, elated, and so many other emotions that I have spent 10 years with Jason as a married couple. I look back to when we got married and we were just babies! Although I did not think that I was at the time. :) I think about all we have been through together and I just amazes me. Marriage is not easy and I am not the one to make you think that everyday is just bliss. It is my #1 job that has to be maintained daily or it can just crumble. The good days way out weigh the bad. I have learned so much about myself, good and bad. These 10 years have been an incredible journey with such an amazing, thoughtful, incredibly smart, and funny man.
We had planned to go back to Banff, Canada to where we went for our honeymoon. But as the planning started to take place, both of us started getting word about our jobs not being secure anymore so we backed off. It's a good thing we did! So instead, we went to our favorite, quiet place in the woods for 3 nights. Jason found this private lake in East TX that we visited last year for our 9 year anniversary. It has only a few cabins and this place is for couples only, completely geared for romantic weekends. No phone or internet (unless you have a techie husband like me who has hookups that can break into any secure line) but there is TV, DVD, stereo, and surround sound. The cabins are new and all have a fully stocked kitchen, grill, etc. I came with 5 movies in hand. Really, I did. I love to watch movies and rarely get to. I also came with books and puzzles. I was ready to relax and do what I love with the man I love. The lake is stocked with fish, so Jason was in heaven. He came with all of his fishing gear in hand. You would have thought he was about to be in a tournament with all that he brought. But he ended up catching 20-25 fish. Really! He threw them all back and said most were really small, but I am excited with a small one too. It's fun to catch anything!
Here is a picture of the cabin from the dock on the lake.

And here is my fisherman. He froze his tushy the entire weekend, but loved it. Weather doesn't stop that man, especially when he is golfing. Several scolded Jason when he said he fished all weekend. Let me preface by saying he fished when I watched a movie he did not like and at night. I also joined him several times.

I love this picture I took. I am surrounded by amazing photographers in my family, I am not one of them. So I prided myself with this one I took.

Jason with one of his catch. Isn't he so cute? He didn't want me to take a picture of it because he kept telling me "it isn't that big". Whatever, it's a catch!

Jason getting the hook out of this catfish. He was telling me how you have to wear Kevlar gloves because the fins and gills will cut you. It even cut through the glove! This hook was a tough one to get out. I'm a tom-boy at heart, but this even made me squirm. I think an eye was damaged. Sorry little fishy!

....and me hanging out with him on the dock while he fished. Yep, I got bored and was dying to finish my book.
This was my 2nd favorite place to be in the cabin. It was ccccccooooold that weekend!
And this was my #1 favorite place to be. Check it out, a hot tub and rocking chairs, both screened in, facing the lake. Beautiful! Yep, that's my glass of wine sitting on the table. I sat and sat and sat there rocking while reading. The hot tub was amazingly relaxing. See the theme? Relaxing!!

View from the porch. Gorgeous.

Since it was just the two of us, I was not able to get a good picture of just us. I tried and tried, but none were good. It was a great weekend, just us. Thank you Jason for choosing me to spend your life with. The past 10 years has been a fun ride and I look forward to 10 more!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Little Stinker

I just have to write about an experience with Joshua today before I forget the details...

I went to my dad's today to help him out around the house (he had back surgery) and naturally, had my two rug rats with me. I was upstairs in his study when I heard Josh behind me, calling from the bathroom. He was in a real fiesty mood today, so I thought he was wanting to play peek-a-boo or something like that. I got up to go see him and found the door to be locked. No big deal, I thought. It is a Jack and Jill bathroom, so I went to the other door to see him. Nope, that door was locked too. In the most calm voice I could conjure up, I said "Joshua honey, please open the door". And here is what happened:

J: I can't dooooo it!
A: Sure you can sweetie, just unlock the door the way that you locked it.
J: No mommy, it not working.
A: Buddy, try again, just the same way you locked the door.


J: Uh, I can't doooo it!
A: Josh, I'm serious. You need to unlock the door.
J: (jiggling the door knob, over and over)
A: Josh, don't move the entire door knob, just the part in the middle of it that you turn to the right (yea, I know, how many 2 year olds know their left from their right?). You can do it!
J: Uh, I caaaaaan't dooooo itttttt!!!!


A: Joshua Barton Cantrell, you CAN do it, you have to try!


(small muffling cries from Joshua)

A: I'm sorry sweetie, I don't mean to yell. Mommy is just trying REALLY hard to try and get you to unlock the door. Hold on.....SAAAAAMMMMMMIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!
S: What mom?!
A: Can you come here please? I need you to talk to Joshua through the door to keep him calm while I go get Grandad.

(lots of funny babbling between Sammi and Josh)

In the meantime, my dad comes to the rescue with keys to the door. Duh, each door had one over the trim. Sheesh, why didn't I think to put my hand up there to feel for one? :) Well, let's just say that after both my dad and I tried the key, we both had no luck. Lots of curse words flying, me telling S & J to not listen to what Granddad or mommy is saying (yeah right), me talking my dad out of NOT calling 911....really, my dad wanted to call 911 to see what they have to say. My response to my dad: call a locksmith! I love my dad, he is a smart man, but he wasn't his sharpest at this moment.

My dad calls a locksmith, she is telling him how to use the key to unlock the door. Talk about feeling like a complete and utter moron. I wanted to grab the phone out of his hands and shout at the woman "we know how to use a f&^%$ing key! It's not working! Why else would we be calling you to come over?" But I refrained...of course, I had to set an example for my kids. Ha! I kept thinking "why isn't this key working?" So I calmly kept talking to Joshua while I tried to not jab the thing into the tiniest hole and try to feel around as best as I could with it and finally, I was able to turn it to the unlock position.

All of this happened over a span of 30 minutes. I even put my head on the floor so I could see him in the bathroom. Poor thing was just sitting there crying. At one point he even cried for Jason saying "I want daaaaadddddyyyyyy". Yea, me too! I also had to calm Sammi down at one point. She kept saying "Oh, he has to get out, he has to get out! What are we going to do?"

So after all of this, if you have a door knob with a turn-thingy (it's late, I'm tired, I can't think of what it is called) and the key to unlock it is a REALLY small screw-driver-like-key, get rid of it and get one where you just push it in there and it pops it unlocked. Yes, we have that and actually had to do it when Sammi was young and it unlocked in a matter of 2 seconds.

Ok, that's my drama for the day. It wore me out! Boys.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Build A Bear Day

Part of my kids Christmas presents from their Lito and Lita (my mom and step dad) was a trip to Build A Bear Workshop. It was a complete surprise until right before we left, and you should have seen their excitement when they found out where they were going. Getting my kids to pick an animal to stuff and stick with it was the toughest part. That really tested my patience. :)

Here, Sammi is putting the heart in her turtle she picked out.

Next is to "clean" the animal. She did this with such motherly care!

Josh really wanted to help stuff his monkey, but as you can see, he did not like the noise.
After Daddy did most of the cleaning, Josh finally jumped in to help.

Ok, I take it back. Sammi picking out an outfit for her turtle tested my patience more than anything. She went from wanting it to wear a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader outfit, to a doctor, to a princess, and don't get me started on the mix and match section (shown below). There were so many choices! She finally settled on a cute pink and black dress and pink shoes.

Next, we named the animal and typed up their birth certificate. Josh picked Munkie (Jason was the one behind the catchy spelling) and Sammi picked Sparkles.

Josh was not in the mood for his picture to be taken. Instead, Lito had to squeeze him to stay still and we got a belly shot.

I love this picture!
Meredith and her kids with their animals. Kate picked a puppy named Blackie, Nic picked a bear named Tuck, and Will picked a Longhorn named Rex.
Meredith, the great photographer that she is took this picture. I was actually having "talk" with Joshua about minding me and not running from me while we were outside. So I guess you could say he was in trouble. But it was still a good picture. :)
After everyone built their animal, we went to an amazing pizza place that I wish was near me! Sammi and her cousin Kate....they are two peas in a pod.
Me and my brother-in-law Greg.
Jason and Greg. Jason is starting to smile with his lips closed for some reason. Guess he is trying a new look??
Me and my honey.
My mom and amazing step dad.
Meredith and my mom.
Josh is a coke-addict. He really is! We had to bribe him to be good so that he could have one. It worked!

Whew, that was a lot of pictures! It was a fun day with my family!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sad Day At The Mailbox

Last Friday, I happily walked (yes, happily. Don't you walk happily?) to the mailbox. I opened up the mailbox, grabbed the stack of mail, and as I walked back to the house I quickly thumbed through it all. Bills. Check. Credit card offers. Check. Mailers. Check. I went back through it, thinking I must have missed something. Nope, I didn't. Then it hit me....the days of getting Christmas cards are over! AAHHH!!! I didn't realize how much I enjoyed checking the mail during the holidays because of them until they came to a halt. I loved getting a few stragglers even after Christmas (I am sure some of you got mine after Christmas!).

So I went in to go through all of the wonderful Christmas cards we received. I love getting them. Love getting new pictures of friends and family's kids, family newsletters, and just knowing someone thought of us during the holiday season. Each year I have the same dilemma: what do I do with them? The thought of throwing them away makes me sick to my stomach. But where would I keep them? And if I kept them, the pile would just get so huge year after year.

I decided to spread them out and take a picture of them before I tossed them in the trash. I did this last Friday, the same day I pretty much cried over no more Christmas cards. And do you want to know where they are? Stacked on the bar in my kitchen. I just can't let them go just yet. Maybe seeing the stack makes me feel loved and somewhat popular? :)

To you that sent me a Christmas card this year: Thank you! You now know how much I truly treasure them and even agonize what to do with them after the holidays.