Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kid Fun

I would like to introduce The Underpants Gnomes.
(Anyone who gets that reference gets my undying love)
Updated: Kim wins! It is indeed a SouthPark reference. My favoritest episode ever referencing the running of corporate America. I will tell the story tomorrow.
I did make sure these were all CLEAN underpants...you know, cuz that would be gross.

Isn't this sweet? Levi was helping Ahren play the Wii. These two really amaze me. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My friend Candy is my opposite. I love her to pieces, so maybe opposites really do attract. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

Candy has style. Real style. Me? I have style, it's called 'Frumpy Dowdy'. You might have seen Susan Boyle, the singing sensation wearing a few of my things.

Candy is on the go 24/7/365. The girl is NEVER home, and if she is she is entertaining. I am ALWAYS at home and the only people I entertain are the 5 and under crowd. If you are thrilled with cheese puffs and chicken nuggets, my house is the bomb. 

Candy visits Disney World every few months. I visit Disney World about once a decade, if I'm lucky.

Candy drives a cool brand new Cadillac SUV. I drive a pitted out mini-van complete with melted crayons and sour milk smell. 

Candy's kids are always decked out in brand new adorable matching outfits. They look like an ad for Parenting Magazine. I am lucky if my kids have clothes ON. 

Candy is itty-bitty. She must be about 5 feet tall and about 90 pounds soaking wet. Me? I feel like an amazon, towering above her and out-weighing her by a whole entire person. 

Candy goes to cool concerts, like No Doubt, and has a blast. I go to recitals and cheer competitions and do the Mom thing. 

Candy is all heart. I have never met a person who gives of herself so selflessly all the time. Her heart is always on her sleeve. I am much more jaded. I try but m y heart is just not as pure as it used to be. 

Candy has been having a rough time lately. Her sweet and trusting nature leads her with her heart. She is one of the most open and honest people I have ever met and it makes me disheartened to see her hurt. There are so very few people who are so trusting and open that I fear she is one-of-a-kind. A unicorn in our world.

So even though we are so very opposite and different, I see how much she is hurting and I care. My sweet, itty-bitty adorable friend, I love you!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Laundry and Collisions

Mama got herself some new toys! We have been talking about getting a new set of front-loading super-efficient washer/dryer for a while. Last weekend, after Levi threw up in our bed it took me more than 6 hours to wash and dry the king-sized mattress pad, sheets and comforter in our old set. They have now been moved to the barn and these new beauties arrived yesterday. 

I am in love! I was having such a good time I actually ran around the house looking for things I could wash! The excitement seriously got to me. I was giddy!!!!

Little Vanna showing off the new washer

How funny is it that they watched the tumbling more than TV yesterday????

The other excitement around here has to do with Ahren's head and Levi's nose. Yesterday, they were both coming around a corner at the same time, opposite directions and WHAMMO. Ahren's forehead took out Levi's nose. We applied ice to both, but Levi's nose definitely got the short end of the deal. 

See the knot on Ahren's head? 
It matches up with the bridge of Levi's nose. It looks a lot better here than it did before 90 minutes of ice. We took him to the doctor and they said he probably has a hairline fracture but there isn't anything you can really do for it. Today his eyes are starting to turn a little black, but it could have been a lot worse. Honestly, the pictures don't really show it very well. There is a blue bulge on either side of the bridge of his nose. Poor baby!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The heat here has been horrific. It was 104 F yesterday and that wasn't including the heat index. Just trying to run errands or get from one place to another is exhausting. Yes, each store is air conditioned, but the car heats up so fast it is torture to get in. You can feel the heat radiating off of the cement and it feels like a convection oven. 

Chris's birthday was Tuesday. We bought him a recliner chair and reading lamp for the sunroom, plus some lounge wear and his favorite snacks. I let the kids pick out a cake for him and this is what they picked. A giant hamburger cake. I was doubtful, but it was really tasty.

This is the only activity we can do outdoors right now. The water is almost too warm though. More like bath water than a swim. 
We are sure getting our money out of this pool. Ninety bucks and we have spent many, many hours enjoying it. It has a filter and pump that help keep it crystal clear. 

Monday, June 22, 2009


Levi is feeling better. After a long mid-morning nap yesterday he began acting much more like himself. In fact, he recovered a lot faster than I did.....I had several loads of pukey bedding to wash and a carpet to clean. Chris pointed out that this was exactly 3 years and 2 days from when he fell ill with such a nasty intestinal bug that he spent a week in the hospital. I think the kid has something against Father's Day.

Ahren is so funny. Thanks for all the support! i decided to keep up with the encouragement but not make a big deal out of helping him too. Example: 'I can't go potty. Help me.' My response, 'Sweetie, I know you can do it. How about if mommy just helps get you started. ' I help him get his pants un-done and then he does the rest and he is HAPPY! I help get the pants back on and off he runs. He pulled a good one on Nanny today, though. He couldn't do ANYTHING. She had to feed him and everything. He has that woman dancing to his tune. I think she was exhausted from lugging his big ol' booty around all day, but she loves it. She has the need to be needed and oh boy does he NEED her!!!

So tonight I made one of my favorite kid friendly healthy recipes. (OK, Not MckMama healthy. No woodland creatures will be knocking at my door requesting the recipe, but still pretty good for a woman who feeds her kids chips and queso for breakfast on occasion) This is based on a recipe from last years The Next Food Network Star. 

Teryaki Noodles

About 4 oz. whole wheat linguine noodles, boil to desired density (my kids like them soft)
Assorted veggies 1 cup: onion, green pepper, mushrooms, shredded carrots, broccoli, whatever I have fresh and in the fridge. Dice or shred to small size
Small pineapple pieces
Cooked chicken breast or tofu, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup Pineapple juice
Teryaki sauce (thick style in the jar) about 1/4 cup
Opptional: peanut butter

Boil and drain noodles
Saute veggies in small amount olive oil until tender
Add pineapple juice and cook to reduce by half
Stir in pineapple chunks, chicken or tofu, Teryaki sauce and peanut butter, heat through
Add sauce to drained noodles and toss to coat. 

The good thing about this recipe is all of the ingredients are changeable. Your kids love broccoli but hate carrots? Done. They will eat things like tofu or eggplant if they taste like something else, done! Have zuchinni and cucumbers from the garden? Use them! No chicken on hand? Use leftover turkey or scrambled eggs or even beans! Your imagination is the limit. I like to dice the veggies really small so the boys don't realize they are getting them along with the noodles. Shoot, so their Daddy doesn't realize he is eating green things! 

Let me know if you try this and how it works for your family.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - Derailed

We came up with an idea for a lovely Father's Day for Chris. We bought an 18 pound turkey and all the fixins that he loves the most. Mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, homemade rolls, everything. And for dessert? Home made peach cobbler and home made ice cream. levi was going to be my sous chef in the kitchen. We were really excited. 

Then at 6am today, we were all awakened by the sound of........vomiting.

Poor Levi has a stomach bug. I am not feeling so great, either. Chris went to church by himself and will be bringing home ginger ale.

After getting sick 3 times, Levi fell asleep in our bed with his head in the 'bucket'. 
I hate it when my kids are sick!

Friday, June 19, 2009

What is this phase????

I thought that by kid #4 I would have things figured out for the most part, but Ahren has me stumped. He is going through a phase where his favorite words are, "I can't". 
He can't pull his pants down or up
He can't go to the bathroom by himself
He can't feed himself
He can't climb into bed
He can't brush his teeth
He just 'can't'. 
It was the opposite with the first three. All of them went through the 'I do it' phase where they demanded to do things that they had no way to accomplish. But not Ahren. He is apparently incapable of anything at all that has to do with independence. If I refuse to help him he melts down and is pathetic. Most of the time I stand my ground and give him lots of encouragement and praise and then he can do it. When he is done he is so happy and proud! But two minutes later he can't again. I am about to lose my mind. I am not asking him to do anything he is truly unable to do, and it's all things he was doing all by himself just a few weeks ago.

He is happy and sleeping well. He eats well and is active. Nothing else has changed. Is this a ploy for attention or is he feeling insecure? I have no idea. I am just praying that he passes through this quickly. Doing everything for a 40 pound 3 1/2 year old is getting old. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009


She is beautiful, inside and out. Responsible, bright, funny, caring, full of life. Our sweet seventeen year old girl/woman.

Today we went to renew her drivers license. We both had a 'feeling' it might not go as planned. here is why:

Eighteen months ago when she reached the age of 15 1/2 and was eligible to get her permit we made our first foray to the DMV office. I had a file folder full of paperwork, forms I had gotten in our Driver's Ed in a Box, forms I downloaded off the DMV website, social security card, birth certificate, heck, I even brought her shot records. Still, we were turned away because we didn't have one special form called The VOE (Verification of Education) Apparently a current report card is not enough to prove you are in school and in our state you have to be in school to get a permit/license. 

We went to the school with the filled out form in hand, only to have the woman tell us we couldn't pick it up until the next day. Ok, so here we are, I had to take a day off of work and she is missing school, and the woman is sitting there with the completed form on her desk next to the official stamp needed to verify the info. All she had to do was pick it up, apply it with gentle force and Ta Da off we could go. But Noooooo, the nasty office wench turned us away empty handed. 

So a couple of weeks later we again head to the DMV, all the paperwork in hand including the now verified VOE.  We get it all right, but then Katie takes the test and FAILS by one question. She has 90 days to retake the test with the current paperwork. We go home, she studies and a couple of weeks later we again take time off of school and work and this time she passes the test. YES!

Here is where things take a nosedive. We get 'Mary', who appears to have been one of the original employees when Texas became a state in the union. She mumbles, gets confused and takes her own sweet time. Somehow, although permits are only paper in our state, she hits a wrong button and the system won't let her go any further without taking Katie's picture. Well, OK, whatever. We finally leave with the official permit in hand and begin the remainder of the driver's ed course which now includes 'behind the wheel' instruction. 

Two weeks later Katie receives a license in the mail. Huh? We take it back to the DMV and they can't figure it out. They say to ignore it, which we do and she continues driving only with an adult, receiving her training and documenting it all. When she turned 16 we returned to the DMV to apply for her license. 

They tell us her permit is invalid, that she already has a license and it is just a renewal. I explain it all, they contact the main office in the state capital, we make 3 more visits to the DMV and are told it is all fixed. She gets her license in the mail. We have a friend who is a local cop check it and he says it is all OK. 

So fast forward to today. We get there, it's packed. We wait our turn, inching towards the front desk. Finally, we get up there and it's all going well until the woman says 'Uh Oh'. I begin to sweat, Katie goes white. The woman explains that the 'license' Katie has is really only a permit/ID and that she has been driving for the past year illegally. Crappola! I tell her the whole story and she demands to see the forms we got when they gave her her license. I have NO IDEA what she is talking about. She keeps insisting we got these forms and shows us what they look like. I have never seen them before in my life. She is getting annoyed, Katie is getting panicked and I am about to cry! The lady then goes to the back and pulls Katie's file, and amazing there are the forms, still in the file. Then she sees all the documented proof that we have been trying to correct this for 18 months. That saved us. She again contacted the main office, go clearance, we filled out a bunch of new forms and legally, Katie got her license today. 

I have decided that DMV stands for Dangerous Morons of Vengeance.

Happy Birthday baby! 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Conservation in unique ways

  I care about our earth. My family comes from native Americans on my mothers side. My Uncle, known as Eagle feather, was a Shaman in the tribe (a medicine man). The threads of their beliefs have wound their way into our lives even though I personally have never been on the reservation or participated in any ceremonies. 

  So with that in mind, I use cloth bags to shop with, make our laundry detergent (most of the time), have a garden, bake from scratch when I can, and love to plant native plants in my yard. We have a pond full of fish, frog and turtles. We feed the deer. I joke that we are rednecks but honestly we are suburbanites trying to 'live the life' on a small acreage outside of Houston. My husband grew up on a farm. I have always lived in the city, but at heart I think I am somewhat of a country girl. 

So I am going to share with y'all (have to throw in a lil Texan) a few of my more unique ways of conserving. And then you can tell me if I am brilliant or actually a Redneck!

A swim in the pool at the end of the day is as good as a bath. 
Savings: water, gas to heat the water, soap, septic tank function & electricity
Down side: boys don't smell like lavender (I can live with that)
Upside: Boys are tired and asleep by 7:30 pm

Let the boys run around in boxer shorts only.
Savings: water, soap, electricity, my time
Down side: Boys are running around in only boxer shorts if someone drops by (You have been warned)
Upside: They love it and I don't have to fight with them to get them dressed

Buy clippers set and cut boys hair myself
Savings: trips to hair place and $15 per cut
Downside: Um, they look like their mother cut their hair
Upside: I used the same clippers to cut the stupid dogs hair since she can't return to the cheapo pet store to get her hair cut (I wash them in between)

Use coupons and better choices to save on groceries
Savings: About $150 per week
Downside: No snack cakes, high-end chips and other treats we loved
Upside: healthier eating! 

Buy clothes that fit both boys
Savings: one entire wardrobe
Downside: some don't fit quite as well and I still have to get separate jeans (and shoes) due to their differences in height, etc
Upside: Lots less clothes to keep track of, choose from and buy!

Use Chris' old jeans to sew dog beds
Savings: I have no idea what a dog bed would cost, but considering Jackson weighs about 130 pounds I am sure it would NOT be cheap.
Downside: I have to take the time to do it
Upside: I sew them so the covers come off and are washable. The thick denim is durable and lasts forever. Plus very little heads for the landfill.

What unique ways do you have to save time, money and our mother earth?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Bored

I am really bored. Me, not the kids. Oh, there are plenty of chores I could do, plus a gazillion small in-expensive projects around the house (some of which I have started and not finished). I just can't seem to force myself to do them. I am only working a few hours a week, it is very slow during the summer. I am used to going 90 miles an hour all the time and although I wished with all my heart for a break, well, I'm bored!

So let's see what I have done today. 
Watered the lawn
Cut Levi's hair
Gave both boys baths
On the third (out of about 100) load of laundry
Showered, dressed, etc
Fed kids, cleaned up
Printed out worksheets to do with boys later 
Getting ready to go out to lunch for Kaytee's birthday (Pix later)
Put together puzzles with the boys
Drank coffee and read the paper

It's 11 am and I am bored

Monday, June 15, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

Levi. He's awfully cute. And he keeps us on our toes. But his greatest gift? The hilarity that comes out of his mouth. This kid has kept us in hysterics ever since he could utter his first word.

Here are a couple of examples he has recently uttered.

An add for weight loss, featuring women running from bikinis, came on the TV. He looks over at me and says, "Mom, I don't think you are ready for a bikini yet. You still have a little too much jiggly jiggly. You might break the bikini." (I have been working out 6 days a week trying to get in shape) This morning after I worked out he told me that I looked thinner and less jiggly. Gee, thanks son!

He is swimming in the pool (one of those 30 inch deep, 12 foot around quick set-up things) He pops up out of the water, wearing his snorkel mask and says, "Lady, I'm your pool inspector and I have to tell you that your kids have been playing a little too rough. I found a bunch of dents but no leaks. Now I am going to take DNA to figure this out." And with that, he plunged back under the surface. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Life on the farm

A while back I mentioned that the owner of the swim school wanted to take photos of Levi and Ahren for advertising purposes. Here is the result!

My little models. This Mommy is soooo proud.
Recently we did one of those butterfly garden things. We ordered caterpillars and they arrived in the mail. We fed them and watched them grow until they made cacoons. Then, after the butterflies hatched we set them free. 
One really liked Levi and I thought for a while we might have to keep it, but it eventually flew away. These are Painted Lady butterflies. Very pretty.
The wildlife (much my like my kids) seems restless.
Some photos from last weeks cooking extravaganza. I just have no idea why I can't lose any weight!
The cookies were a big hit!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh what a day!

It started out pretty normally. I woke up a little later than I intended and didn't get the time to work out. (More on that later) I got cleaned up, got the boys up and dressed, etc. Things were going along according to plan, when we headed out the door. 

Note: Instead of nanny coming to our house this month she is going to Holly's house, so I drop the boys off over there whenever I am working.

I was pushing the boys into the van when Levi pointed out that my right front tire was FLAT. Run back in, grab the Honda's keys, switch carseats over, push them into the Honda and head off. Drop them off, no problem and head to work.

I get to work and find out my hours have been cut, again. I get to work 3 hours today and then go home. I really love what I am doing, but the constantly changing schedule is getting to me. 

Cruise through the morning, head back to pick up the boys and head home. Eat lunch and then hook up the tire-inflator plug-into-the-lighter socket thingy. Watch the tire inflate and see large bolt in the tread. Hatch plan to get van to tire fixit place. Find a can of fix-a-flat in the garage, hook it up, it doesn't work. Doh. While watching tire inflate, Ahren comes sauntering by and I see a streak of gray as the 6 lb Cujo makes a mad dash to freedom. Double DOH! Get tire full, try and catch dog (no luck) load boys in the van and start to drive like a madwoman to tire place. Get down the road and realize I forgot my PURSE. No doh this time, more like a few choice words. Head back to the house, grab purse, see dog running in the woods and try and catch her. Get 10 feet from her and she turns and runs. More bad words. 

Get back in van and drive. Halfway there tire is making very funny noise. Pull over and check it. It looks half full. Get back in and DRIVE. Pull into tire place and park. As I am getting out of the vam I hear a POP and a loud hissing and the front end of the van slowly lowers down to rest on the concrete curb. Whew!

Enter shop and talk to pubescent salesman who informs me the only tires they have in stock for my van are $130 per tire. Manage to swear only in my head and tell them to replace all 4 (needed it) and give me the hazard coverage. They tell me it will take 45 minutes. Retire to the waiting room with boys. Call Katie and she has returned home and captured the wayward Cujo. 

Wait 20 minutes and then the manager comes to tell me that
 1) they couldn't get the hose from the shop to reach far enough to inflate my tire in order to move my van so they used my little inflator thingy.
2) they didn't realize it ran off the battery if the car wasn't running so now my battery was also dead. 
3) they needed my help to figure out how to move my van.

I head to the parking lot, tell them to jump the van, then inflate the tire with the van running, and then drive QUICKLY into the shop. 

They manage to accomplish this. I am amazed. The level of testosterone is high, but my confidence is NOT. 

We wait, we play, we drink sodas. An hour later they come out and tell me I need to have the van aligned. It will cost some more $$$ but I need it, so Ok. 

We wait some more. An hour passes. The boys are playing matchbox cars on the floor and getting filthy. I am watching trash TV, which is what they have on. 

Another 30 minutes and we are playing the whisper game, whispering things back and forth to each other. Ahren goes to the potty for the third time. 

They tell me my brake pads need replacing (which I also knew) I tell them to schedule me for another day, the kids won't last that long. 

Thirty more minutes. Ahren is whining and rolling all over my lap. (He is 40 pounds of hot, sweaty discontent by now) Levi is still doing well, praise the Lord! I am hanging on by a thread.

They tell me it is almost done. I about cry with relief. We keep waiting. And waiting.

Almost 3 hours after limping into the tire place, we finally re-claim our van and hit the road. The man/boy told me the total cost but I blocked it out in a moment of self-preservation. Just take my credit card and do the dirty deed. I don't need to know the specifics. I take my sweet boys home, we put on swimming suits and hit the water in an attempt to wash away the grime and time. 

Now I am going to go to bed early, put my head under the covers, and pretend today never happened. 

Monday, June 08, 2009

Looking forward...

I have a perfect family. We are extremely blessed. We have a beautiful home, the money to secure our future, enough to eat, clothe and fend for our own. The wherewithall to plan for everyones future. I SHOULD be complete.

Why doesn't it feel that way. Why is there something, deep in my soul, that is incomplete? Sweet Peri Brynn felt like completion. She was the final peg in our puzzle. Now what? 

I don't know.

I am lost.

I am searching. There is an answer out there somewhere. God has it for me. Please, sir, I would like it now. Please????

How do you go from having a daughter, a child, the spot in your soul, to Not. She isn't dead so I don't have the calmness that comes with knowing where my child is and who she is with (Jesus). She is just.....not mine. I am struggling. Really struggling.

This hurts. Too much. How.....how do I do this??????

Sunday, June 07, 2009


  This weekend I felt the need to be creative. In a food sense. Maybe I am nesting, or feeling the need to nourish my people. Whatever the impetus, I was in the kitchen. A lot. And loving it.

I made a pumpkin spice cake on Friday, with cream cheese frosting. Then on Saturday I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. White and dark chocolate chips, my own recipe. 

Then today, I baked the cookies, made dinner rolls from scratch, and made crunchy baked chicken for dinner. Here is my chicken recipe:

Crunchy Chicken

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips or nuggets or left whole

2 eggs
1/4 cup light Mayo
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup crushed saltines

Beat eggs and mayo together 
Mix bread and cracker crumbs together in another bowl
Dip chicken into egg mixture then roll in crumbs to coat
Place on foil lined pan

Bake at 375F 15-20 min.
Serve with light Ranch dressing for dipping

Saturday, June 06, 2009

You know you have boys when....

you find dirty underwear 7 different places in the house, none of which is a hamper. And they all have skid marks.

every time the swiffer duster is missing you find it being used as a sword. And it's now bent.

you notice that coffee table holds a pirate ship, a remote and a live grasshopper in a plastic box.

there are more rocks in the washing machine than in the garden.

every small sock in the wash is inside-out, and just as dirty on both sides. 

there is a dent in the wall that appears to be boy head-high and mysteriously head shaped.

there is pee on the floor, the waste basket and the wall next to the commode. 

the back yard has mysterious holes dug in random spots. 

you find banana stuck to the mirror, toothpaste squirted in the drawer and a toothbrush in the toilet in the kids bathroom.

no one gets into your make-up, wears your shoes or steals your cherry chapstick (unless they intend on using it on the woodwork). 

the amount of sand left in the bathtub actually  puts your septic tank in danger.

there are more balls, swords and blocks in your house than ten times the number of people.

you smell something awful and know immediately who is to blame, but not what it could be. 

running around naked and smacking each others booties is HYSTERICAL!

every other word is poop, or butt or pee pee. And it results in more hysterics.

a fart is applauded. A long, huge burp is saluted. Any bodily noise is celebrated.

sound effects accompany everything. EVERYTHING. Seriously.

I am totally serious. All of these things have recently been encountered in our house. You have been warned. Boys....good times. I'm just sayin'. 

Friday, June 05, 2009

Post #700 is Special!!!

Today is my 700th post and it was also a very special day for our family. 

We got up early.

Got dressed up.
(complete with much grumbling and whining followed by threats from the mama)

Mama snapped lots of pictures 
(Oh for goodness sakes mom just snap it!)

Ahren got to have mousse in his hair (it didn't help, it still looks crazy)

Then we waited, trying to be patient and quiet.
Then we got to go into the Judge's Chambers, get sworn in, and make Ahren a TEXAN.

We are very lucky. This judge? The honorable Tracy Gilbert, who is our friend and neighbor. How wonderful it was to be able to have this special day occur in his court. 

Poor Levi and Ahren looked so scared. I had stressed to them that they had to be on their best behavior, say Yes Sir and No Sir, be quiet and sit still. Then, just for good measure, I pointed out that the bailiff had a gun and would use it if anyone got rowdy. They were good as gold! 

The whole thing only took a few minutes and now we will receive his new birth certificate in the mail in a few weeks. Yeah Ahren the Texan!!!!  (I taught him how to say y'all on the way home;-)