Monday, August 31, 2009

Friend Makin' Monday

I have been kind of off on Friend Makin' Monday lately and I'm trying to pick back up on it. Amber will be hosting FMM for awhile. I love reading her blog, which you can find here.

Today's topic is 20 Questions. Should be pretty easy, right? These are not your normal questions, which makes it more fun!

1. Do you cook every night?
I wish my answer was yes. With Jason traveling more and more, I have been finding myself throwing together dinner for a 3 yr old that is super picky, a 6 yr old, and me. Which usually ends up with all of us eating something very different. It is on my mind a lot and I am trying to be better at it.

2. What kind of laundry detergent do you use & why?
Purex High Efficiency. We have to use the HE for our washer and Purex is the cheapest. But it smells good and that is all I really care about.

3. Do you do laundry every day or loads at a time?
Loads at a time. Usually on Saturday morning. If we are away for the weekend, then it stacks up and I end up doing it Sunday evening and then catching up after work throughout the week. Yuck.

4. How often do you eat out per week?
For lunch, 1-2 times. I am using that as my treat since I am eating in more. For dinner, probably 2-3 times. For crazy weeks, add 1 or 2 to the number. :)

5. Where do you usually eat out?
Chick Fil A, Sonic, or McDonalds (do they put kiddie crack in their Happy Meals?) for the kids. Me, anywhere.

6. What is your favorite retail store?

7. What's your favorite thing to drink?
Coke...from Sonic, please!

8. Do you take vitamins? What kind?
No and I really need to. I get so overwhelmed in the vitamin aisle and have no clue on what to get. Can someone PLEASE leave me a comment on what to get?

9. What percentage of the household chores to you do?
100...ha! Some days it feels like that. I honestly would say 95%. I am an enabler and one of those "oh, I'll just do it myself" instead of just asking for help. I know, I know, I need to work on that.

10. Do your children do chores? {Or will they, did they, etc}
Another thing I need to get better at. Sammi (age 6) helps set the table and put her clothes away that have been folded. I make both pick up toys and put away as well as put their clothes in the laundry hamper. They clean their own rooms, although I end up having to help Josh (age 3).

11. Do you go to church?
Yes. This summer has been crazy with weekend trips here and there so we have missed several Sundays.

12. Do you have a housework schedule?
Sort of. During the week it is just trying to keep my head above water by picking up here and there, doing dishes from dinner, etc. I do the big cleaning on Saturday so I can rest on Sunday. It doesn't always work that well, but that is what I aim for.

13. Do you keep a working budget?
No, and I wish we did. Again, any suggestions on how to help when I am the saver and he is the spender? We have been married 10 yrs so this could be a tough one to deal with and change.

14. What do you do at night as a family?
During the week it is dinner, homework, playing, baths, read, bed time. When it is bath time, whoever bathes the kids, the other dries and puts on pj's. Each picks out one book and I read one, Jason reads the other. When it is time for bed, we trade off taking one kid to bed while the other takes the other one to bed.

15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?
I like to get all of my laundry and cleaning done on Saturday so I can rest on Sunday and get ready. But I prepare by doing the same thing each night: get the kids bags ready, make Sammi's lunch, etc.

16. What do your mornings look like?
Mine is pretty easy...all I worry about is ME! That is just about the only thing in my life that is all me. I am out the door by 5:30 am. Jason gets the kids up, gets them dressed, gives them breakfast, helps brush their teeth, then takes them to school. Since I started working in Dallas, our mornings have been reversed and I am pretty sure he has a new found appreciation for crazy mornings!

17. What time do you get up in the mornings?
5 am. I know, yuck.

18. What time do you go to bed at night?
I need to be asleep by 10 or 10:30. The nights that go to 11:00 make for slow mornings.

19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your household? {bills, school work, magazines, ads, etc}
Oh Lordy, I seem to have stacks of "stuff" all over the house. The kitchen bar, the kitchen table...Jason doesn't like it, but at least it is nice and orderly in stacks, right? Then I go through them every week. But I go through Sammi's backpack as soon as I get home from work to see what needs to be done, signed, returned, etc.

20. How do you keep your household organized? {calendars, charts, etc}
I have a family calendar on our fridge that is just for the week. You can add each family member to have their own row for the week. It is helpful!

Ok, I was honest. Now it's your turn!

Grandmother, You Will Always Be In My Heart

For 34 wonderful years, I had my amazing Grandmother in my life. How lucky was I? On Sunday, August 23rd, she passed away peacefully. Jeannette Johnson was 96. Yep, 96. And she lived a great, healthy (not a single surgery!) long life until Alzheimer's stripped that away. Thankfully we have modern medicine that helped prolong the inevitable. But it was still hard. For the past 4 years we have been slowly saying goodbye.
I was blessed to spend time in the hospital with her before she died. She didn't know who I was or understand what I was saying, but I did. I just held her hand, touched her soft face, told her how much I loved her and what an amazing grandmother she was to me. She didn't talk or make facial expressions, but when I said my last goodbye I kissed her cheek and gave the longest hug possible, she tilted her head toward me and lifted up the shoulder I was resting my head on. I will never forget that.
Things I will forever remember about her: making an entire batch of banana pudding (my favorite) for me. No one else. And she told me I didn't have to share either. Having tea parties with me and Meredith with Kool-Aid to drink. Having candy in her purse for me during the many musicals, plays, operas, and symphonies she and my Granddad took us to...I think she strategically gave them to me in the middle to wake me up. Teaching me how to cross-stitch. Her amazing cooking (she didn't know how to boil water when she got married). Her smile that lit up a room. Seeing the way she looked at my Granddad so lovingly, even after 65 years of marriage. Hearing her sing in church. Lying in bed with me until I finally fell asleep for my nap.
I could go on and on. I know that no one lives forever. I know that everyone dies. But it is still not easy to let go. What gives me a smile is knowing she is in heaven dancing with my Granddad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paying It Forward

Other than getting many hugs and kisses from my kids after work, I cannot think of anything better than seeing a box on my front porch addressed to ME. Not some golf item for Jason from eBay that seems to come weekly. No, a box for ME!

I barely put down my purse before ripping into this bad boy. When I opened it up, I saw this:

I love, love, love cute tissue paper. I do. I'm the one that saves it from a birthday party or just from any gift bag because I love them so much. I loved the bright colors.

Then after I smoothed out the tissue paper to save and re gift (don't be surprised if you see this in your gift bag!), I took out these goodies:

Some of my most favorite things! Clorox wipes (a must to have under every sink in my house), a Sonic gift card (I can get many 'o happy hour drinks with this!), Burt's Bees lip balm, and big hair clips for my massive, thick hair.

All of these goodies came from my friend from college (go TJC Apaches!), Angie at Just Shy Of A Y. She really pays attention to what I love! But you too can have gifts, for no apparent reason just for me passing this contest to all of you!

Here are the rules...

1) Be one of the first THREE bloggers to comment on this post.
2) You then agree to share your snail mail address with ME so I can send you a small gift handmade/purchased by ME!
3) When you receive your gift, you then blog about this game & link back to my blog in that post.
4) And most importantly, you ALSO AGREE to pay it forward and send a small gift to the 3 people who comment on your blog post.

Yep, it's that simple! So what are you doing?? Leave me a comment! Besides, you know how much I love comments!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Can Only Take So Much...

What an eventful weekend and day for my precious 6 year old! First she informs me a few weeks ago that she wants her ears pierced. Jason and I had talked about it when she was a baby after having friends and family ask if we were going to pierce them then. We agreed to wait and do it when she is ready. Just a year ago she was telling me emphatically that no way would she EVER put holes in her ears and how that would hurt too much. I told her that if she never wanted that done that that would be fine.
Flash forward to just 2 weeks ago. My how her mind-set changed. She was probing me with lots of questions about how it is done, if it hurts, how long it hurts, etc. She made sure that I knew how much she wanted it done and how she would take care of them when I explained that you have to clean them 2 times a day for 4-6 weeks. Personally, I think she had some friends at school with earrings and she wanted to be like them. Wow, that is just how I was at her age!
We waited to talk with daddy about it after he came home from a 2 week business trip. Off we went to the mall yesterday to get it done. She was so excited! Jason decided at the last minute that he wasn't going because he wouldn't be able to deal with seeing her in pain if she cried or freaked out. So he stayed home with Joshua and I went with my sister-in-law that was in town and her 4 kids.
Here she is getting ready and oh-so-excited. I could tell she was getting nervous because she was so quiet. For her, that's a big deal. :)
She even had a cheering section. Here is my wonderful sister-in-law, Julie, and 3 of her kids. They were so sweet with Sammi, telling her how brave she was.

Marking the points on her ears.!
Oh. Wait. This was not what I expected! Silent tears. I felt horrible! I felt removed from the situation, being behind my camera. Then I snapped out of it to console her. My poor baby.

Isn't this the saddest picture you have seen? But wait! Look at her cute earrings.

A few hours later and the shock has worn off. I couldn't tell if it really hurt or if it was the sound of the guns going off at the same time. I know I didn't like the sound when I got mine done when I was 10.

She must have looked at herself in the mirror umpteen times. It was cute. Then the focus moved from new holes in her ears to getting ready for her first day in the First Grade! She was so excited to see her friends again, but honestly, I think she was more excited to wear her special outfit she picked out to wear on her first day. Admit it, she looks so cute. Biased? Yes!

Had to get Joshua in the picture. My oh my does this boy need his hair cut! But to his defense, it is unruly when he first gets up in the morning. Trust me, there is a head underneath that massive amount of curly hair.

Her new, very own desk! She loved having her name on it. I like the look on the face of the kid next to her. He doesn't look as happy to be there as Sammi is. If she is anything like me, she is just chomping at the bit to tear into her box of new school supplies!

What a couple of days for me...I need a break! First the ears getting pierced and her looking more grown up, then moving up a grade. I should have thought better and spaced them further apart, a mommy can only take growing up "stuff" in small increments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Camping in the Ozarks

Two weeks ago Sammi spent the week with Jason's sister Julie and her family in Arkansas. They were going to be camping the following weekend, then we would be picking her up. After Jason had been gone for work for 2 weeks I thought we needed some family time together. So we packed up my dad's travel trailer and off we went to meet up with them at Devil's Den State Park.
What appeared to be a good idea at the time turned out to be more of a headache. Jason was originally coming home Thursday night and then turning around the following Tuesday to to back to Vail. That changed to him coming home Friday afternoon and then leaving Monday morning. But we still went! Granted, we didn't leave our house until after 10:00 pm. But we still went! Hauling a trailer what should have been 6 hours turned into 8! Really. Thankfully, Joshua slept well, but I felt guilty for sleeping even after Jason urged me too. By the time we got there, unhooked the trailer, got it set up and to sleep it was 5 am! I quickly went to sleep as did Joshua. Jason? Nope. He ended up checking out the fishing holes. I think I got about 2.5 hours of sleep. Sammi, Jason's dad, and Julie's family were already there and sleeping soundly. Around 8:00 each of the 5 kids trickled over to our campsite. We were in a great area where the kids could walk or bike to each of our trailers.

We found out quickly that Joshua is ready for his own big-boy bike. That kid was barely off of his cousin's bike the entire weekend. Excuse the small pictures, I took them with my phone since my camera is getting fixed as I type this.
After breakfast, we headed out on a trail with another friend of Julie's with their kids. They have 5 kids. It was 6 adults and 11 kids ages 19 months to 7. Yikes! But they did great. We came to a cave that the men went in with several of the kids. Mine were not really wanting to go that far in so they came back out. It was really far in and they were gone for about 30 minutes. It felt like much longer. I tried with Josh, but it was really narrow in the beginning which I would have needed to carry him. The ground was slippery and I just saw it turning into a disaster.

Here is Joshua and his cousin Easton. Not sure why he has his hands over his ears, but this was the best I could get!

All 11 kids outside the cave. I felt pretty puny with my 2 kids against Julie's 4 and Emily's 5. :)

Joshua and Carter. See what his shirt says? "Lock up your daughters". A guy from Belgium saw it on the trail and asked to take a picture of it.

Sammi and her best bud, Carter. They love each other so much, I just love them having cousins their age!

Don't they look like a newer version of The Little Rascals? Joshua, Easton, and my precious niece Noel.

A cool Salamander Julie found. After I took this it went back into the hole in a flash. It scared the poop out of me! Not really, I was poop-free, but I really scared me. I had visions of it jumping out at me, covering my face, and me running around like a mad woman trying to get it off my face. Have I seen too many movies with cats and squirrels doing that? YES!

Jason and his dad took all of the kids fishing later that night. I didn't get any good pictures of it. I can't freaking wait to get my camera back! Argh. A few caught some fish, but not as many as they had hoped. I'm sure them screaming and throwing rocks in the river didn't help.

On Sunday before we left we took the kids to the pool. As usual, they had a ball!

We had an amazing, quick camping trip with our family. But is it really considered camping with the luxury of sleeping in a bed with A/C? I love camping in tents, but not when it is in the 100's outside and 2 other kids to deal with! By the time we got home it was almost 9:00 pm...but it was worth it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

For Those That Find Dora Annoying

Don't get me wrong, Dora has been a favorite of both of my kid's cartoon-watching lives. We have had umpteen (yes, I insist that is a word) Dora toys, Dora movies that were on repeat at times, Dora bath toys, Dora games, you get the idea.

But as a parent, is it just me that finds Dora to be a tad bit annoying? Her whiny voice certainly doesn't help. I'd like to blame her for Joshua's constant whining. I mean, he watches her more than any other show so it's a learned behavior, right? Her haircut is ugly, her shirt doesn't fit, and her only friends seem to be animals that can be equally annoying.

I LOVE Dora when I am cooking dinner because she keeps Joshua occupied, happy, and out of the kitchen. Oh that makes me think of another thing I don't like about that show: where are her parents? She is just left alone all day to roam the world (planet, sometimes) with talking animals and going into scary forests. What's up with that? Don't her parents know what kind of scary world we live in with evil predators lurking? Sheesh, someone needs to call the CPA and report them. I have gotten evil glares if I have snuck out of the INDOOR playground at McDonald's get myself another refill of my drug of choice: coca cola. And Dora's parents have no clue where she is. Ever. Maybe it's her annoying voice that is making her poor mom want her out of the house and out of her hair all day. Just a hunch.

This ranting of our bilingual friend, Dora the Explorer, brings me to why I started this post. Check out Wendy Aaron's blog. She has a guest poster, Lulu & Moxley, and it is freaking hilarious. I found myself nodding from agreeing to so many other things about Dora that are annoying and odd.

Even if you have not watched an entire show of Dora, please read. You will laugh out loud. I know, I could have just shortened those last 3 words with LOL, but that really annoys me too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mommy/Daughter Day

Wow, it has been awhile since I have written anything. My normal routine has been thrown into a tailspin these past 2 weeks. What started to be a week long business trip for Jason turned into 2. I really think this has been the longest we have been apart. While he is gone, I need to have help from friends and family with dropping off the kids at school in the morning. I am SO grateful to have our parents live within a hour from us. My mom has stayed with us here and there to help out, my dad has come over my house bright and early before 6 am, and the kids have spent a few nights at my mother-in-law's so she can take them in some mornings. I pick them up after work, it is just the mornings I need help with since I leave my house at 5:30 most mornings. Yes, that is early!
Soooooo, most nights I have not had the luxury to just relax after the kids go to bed or fiddle around on the computer. And work has been nutty, so no down time to blog during the day.
BUT, I had a great idea a few weeks ago to surprise Sammi with what I call "Mommy & Sammi Day". We have done this in the past and that is all she has been asking me recently, "mommy, when can we have a just-us day?". Great idea! Her school had a Christmas in July party that she wanted me desperately to attend. My previous job was really close to home, so I was able to attend pretty much every party, even in the middle of the day. Not so much when I work 45 miles away in Dallas. I decided I would take that day off and surprise her at the party, then go out just the two of us for the day. I made up an excuse that I had a doctor's appointment and couldn't make it. I felt bad for lying, but I had to come up with something because I was actually home in the morning when she woke up. I loved the look on her face when she saw me come in her classroom that morning. I wish I could have gotten a picture of it.
She is fascinated with me riding the train to work everyday, so I thought we would ride the train into Dallas. Not 5 minutes into the ride, she was asking me "how much longer?". Really? Sheesh.
Here she is waiting for the train to arrive. She was so excited. Oh, and the hat she decorated at school.
We walked around the downtown area, went into the old red courthouse, then ventured to another building to eat. Here she is playing with the water fountain. About 2 seconds after I took this, I was scolded by security that I cannot take a picture. My arguing self said "why? I don't see any signs saying not to do that" ah-hem, in my nicest voice, that is! She said there wasn't any signs but the owner doesn't like pictures to be taken. Really? Doesn't that seem a bit much or is it just me?
Eating lunch together...she insisted I sit on the same side of the table with her. I loved it, as I know there will come a time that she doesn't even want to be at the same table with me. :)

View of Dallas from the 40th floor of some building. We were going to go to the top of Reunion Tower, but the observation decks are still closed for renovations. I wasn't willing to shell out the dough for us to eat at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant just to see the view from there.

We did a whole bunch of more walking around, going into shops, and just talking. It was great, just the two of us, no interruptions. She got a doll that is like a Webkin where you do things with it online. Here she is on the train back with her. She took the clothes off and giggled when she saw it had boobs. Oh my.

When we got back to our area, Sammi wasn't quite ready to go back to reality and pick up Joshua. So we took a detour to Marble Slab and had ice cream together. was good!
I cherish these moments with her. I know it won't always be this way, so I will enjoy it while I can! My goal is to do this with her every other month, even if it's just a few hours together on the weekends. My little girl is growing and I don't ever want to look back with regret that I didn't spend more time with her, one on one. I remember having those times with my mom and they were priceless.
I love you, Sammi-girl! I am glad God gave me YOU!