Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hella Hogwarts cont...

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! Or as one of the little party-goers said, "Bubble, bubble, toilet trouble???" Kids and toilet talk! Anyway, this was our "magic powder" with the "enchanted water" and the subsequent reaction. Needless to say, the kids LOVED this!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Hella Hogwarts Party

The Monkey Man is turning 6 this week, so we had a big 'ol birthday bash last Saturday! My mom was able to come out that weekend so we decided to do the party early so she could participate. I think I might have gone a little ballistic! I am such a nerd about this shit! I researched Hogwarts parties and science experiments and all sorts of stuff. I will be honest, alot of what I did, I found online. I am very creative in certain aspects of life, but party-planning ain't one of those areas! I am learning though and I am inspired by all the crazy parents out there who come up with some SERIOUSLY mind-blowing crap!

It all started with the invitations. I bought this great translucent paper and went through about a million different fonts to find the perfect one. I used all the best Hogwarts language that I could. I then rolled up the paper like a scroll and tied it off and we delivered them all by hand. The next week I made up directions to our home that resembled The Marauder's Map (that took a chunk of time out of my day!) but they were cool to look at! All the moms were VERY impressed!

The day of the party we hung up this huge black, plastic tablecloth that we had shredded and painted to say "Platform 9 3/4" in front of our door. Once the children arrived and gave the proper password they were given student robes (which I made out of LARGE black t-shirts that I decorated with a glue and glitter Hogwarts emblem). I looked for the stupid gold, sparkly "puffy paint" at Hobby Lobby as that stuff is washable, but I didn't find any, that sucked. They were each allowed to pick a wand (dowels that we cut into 12" pieces, sanded down and painted with metallic colors and dusted with glitter). Each child was also allowed to pick out their own "Sorcerer's Stone" (smooth rocks that I painted with all sorts of wild stuff and dusted with glitter of course). Are you getting the picture that my house was FILLED with glitter?

Once the children were robed and given wands, we went outside for potions class. Each child was given a little plastic goblet. I provided them with loads of "magic powder" aka baking soda and they also were given "enchanted water" aka vinegar. They put a couple of spoonfuls of powder into their goblets then were asked to pour in the vinegar. The reaction was a great, bubbling, foaming mess and they all had to do it again and again! Now I actually had planned on doing invisible ink, but in all honesty, it was such an unexpectedly beautiful day that I sent them all off to the trampoline for "flying lessons". This of course was a huge hit! While they were "flying" my hubby and brother-in-law decided that foaming vinegar and baking soda was not at all good enough, so they bowed out and ran to Walgreens to get Mentos and Diet Coke. Now THAT is a volatile reaction! And of course anything that involves liquids spewing at high speeds out of coke bottles is BIG FUN! After all the potions and flying, we opted to come in for cupcakes, which I decorated with sugar cones that I dipped in chocolate and decorated with white icing. Once massive amounts of cupcakes were consumed it was back outside for more games. We played "Dementors and Werewolves" a game where I allowed the older children (and the adults on occasion) to chase the littles around the yard. They had to "defend" themselves by casting charms such as "Immobulus" or "Expecto patronum" which rendered the werewolf or dementor motionless for a count of five or so. It was fun, although a couple of us got accidentally whacked by the wands and they smart! Sadly, the Sorcerer's Stones ended up just being party favors. The intent was to hide the stones and allow the children to seek them out, but it got just too late and the kids were fading fast after 2 hours of potions and charms and flying! It was a brilliant success! I took a "class photo" of the kids in their robes and included the photo with the thank you notes I had the MM hand make. One more party down and one stressed out Mama who has no clue how I'll top this next year!
Invitation and Marauder's Map
Marauder's Map First Opening
Marauder's Map Second Opening
The "Great Hall"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good 'ol doggies!

As I mentioned in a previous post, my mom traveled with her dog, Booney. I was a little worried about introducing my 75-pound male to her 65-pound male (granted they are both neutered, but still). They got along pretty well which was great. Anyway, just thought I would post a couple of photos of the two coolest dogs in the world. Otis and Booney... good 'ol doggies!

Something you don't see everyday...

A possum waddling at high speed across the driveway at the J.J. Pickle Research facility in the middle of the day! What, did it escape from the facility (possibly from the vertebrate paleontology lab)?? ;-) Anyway, just weird to see a possum cruising around in broad daylight.

Taking advantage of a beautiful day!

It was gorgeous yesterday! So how could I keep my little family all cooped up in the house?!? I packed up Mom, kids and Booney (mom's dog) and headed to St. Edwards Park which runs next to Bull Creek. It was a lovely walk, the boy, Mom and Booney, of course, left me and the girly in the dust. But little girly held her own and walked almost the entire hike. She was TIRED when we got home! Although the leaves were off the trees and the majority of the greenery was far from green, it was still a beautiful walk. Plenty of stuff to please the senses! My son enjoyed chunking rocks into the creek, I think all little boys dig that, and my daughter was just hellbent on trying to actually get IN to the creek. At one point she amused herself by using a little stick to dig in some damp earth when she decided it would be a good idea to try a taste. From the look on her face, it didn't taste at all good! After all was said and done, we packed up and headed to the Arboretum for some Amy's Ice Cream (Mexican Vanilla with strawberry crush'ns... mmmmm!) What a fun day!

Guess I'm Kermit!

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hooray for me!

The hubby informed me last night that his recording session was canceled, so what does that mean for me??? It means I get to go on my Mom's Night Out, Woo-hoo! I'm going to Red Robin to meet up with loads of other fun, yet over-worked, over-tired mamas and I'm gonna get a California Chicken Burger and a tall iced tea, to be followed with some sort of decadent, completely ridiculous dessert! Why? BECAUSE I CAN!!!! I get to have a night out! I get to have a night out! Come one people, let's get a little rhumba here... I get to have a night out!

Seriously folks, can you tell this doesn't happen that often?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Eternal "sunshine" of a spotless mind

OK, so as you all know, I am officially 1 year into my massive home improvement saga. It was supposed to just be floors, but then came utility room and bathroom, then paint and changing out practically every light fixture in the house, blah, blah blah. I am sure this is never going to end, at least until we sell the damn thing! Not that we are planning on that anytime soon, but still. Anyway, when we moved into this house, the ENTIRE house was painted this light sunshine yellow. I LOVED my son's yellow room in Oregon, but it was ONE room and it was in Oregon! You have to have bright cheery walls in a place that rains 360 days a year! Anyway, this yellow has been the bane of my existence for 2 1/2 years! I painted over it with Granny Smith Apple green in my daughter's room, blue in my son's room and gray in the den and kitchen. I have never tackled the horrid yellow in the great room because of the 20-ft. vaulted ceilings. I just gave in to the fact that I was going to have to deal with it. Well I couldn't! Once we started with the floors and the new tile and the fireplace, I opted out of the gray in the den and kitchen and wanted to go with a nice subtle taupe. Somewhat neutral, yet dark enough to have interest, looks AMAZING with my tile. We have noticed on alot of the homeshows that the trend in painting is to paint the ceilings now (which is great for the lazy painter, no more edging around white ceilings)! Anyway, I had gray in one part of the house, yellow in the front and an off white in the stairwell that for some reason always had a pinkish hue to it. So I decided to paint it all, create seamless, flowing lines and continuity. Things went great in the den and kitchen, we were able to get one coat coverage and it is STUNNING! I love it! We started in the great room this past weekend and HOLY SHIT what a pain in the ass! The high walls are a nightmare and if that weren't bad enough, it has become blatantly apparent that we are going to have to double coat over this damn yellow! I painted and painted yesterday and this morning I came into yellow bleeding through taupe! It's like the Amityville house except instead of the walls bleeding red, it's bleeding sunshine yellow!!! AAAAAARRRRRGH! And how ironic that the rooms with 12 ft. ceilings took the paint beautifully with one coat and minimal problems, but the room with 20-ft. vaulted ceilings I'm going to have to double coat... what a bitch! It's like this yellow paint refuses to give up! Some strange cosmic joke of sorts meant to drive me out of my mind! (Maybe it's the Stephenville UFOs?) Anyway, if I can ever get that damn yellow covered up, the new paint will be amazing, it's just getting there that sucks. I'm beginning to think I should have paid the painter guy the $750 to do it! But then again, I'm an idiot and that's what idiots do!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Worst combination ever...

So we had the family at Chick-Fil-A the other night for a quick dinner. Yep, Mama was just too tired to cook, mostly since the kitchen was trashed from painting. It's hard to cook when your counters are covered with outlet covers and books from bookshelves and all that kind of stuff. Anyway... we were eating and trying to get our son to finish up. My hubby, the guy who dips his fries into BBQ sauce, was trying to get my son to dip his fries into his honey mustard, then he was trying to get him to dip his fruit into the honey mustard. My son, being a pretty smart kid was having none of this, so hubby thought he'd prove his point and grabbed an apple from the fruitcup. He then took that apple and dipped it into his BBQ sauce and popped it in his mouth! Although he maintained a very calm look on his face and he chewed and swallowed the entire thing, he informed us after he cleared his palate that apples in BBQ sauce is quite possibly the most disgusting taste combination on the planet! He looked a little green for awhile afterwards! So note to reader, no matter how tempting it might be, DO NOT DIP APPLES IN BBQ SAUCE!!

The Christmas cactus

I received a XMAS cactus last year (XMAS 2006), it was in full bloom and beautiful. Then of course the blooms died off and it has just been a little cactus for the rest of the year. Much to my surprise, it actually bloomed again right at XMAS time. I never imagined that they truly bloom at XMAS time! Anyway, we got a new camera for XMAS and I was playing with the macro function and got a couple of pics. I have to say the blooms are quite spectacular!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Writer's block!

It's been awhile since I've posted anything. I seem to have a bit of a writer's block or something. Or maybe there has just been nothing truly exciting happening around here. Since Christmas all I have done is clean house, school my son, take care of my baby and I've managed to get some painting done downstairs. It doesn't help that I've had a sick kid and sick hubby which equals very little downtime at the moment! I have also been making a concerted effort not to spend as much time on this stinkin' machine. Blogging has proven to be slightly addictive, as is checking email and surfing the web. I decided if I continued to spend much time on here, I'd end up with Carpal Tunnel and a big butt! So, I've been spending more time playing with my kids and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Just too cute not to post.

As most of you have probably noticed, I don't usually post pics of my kids, but this one of my daughter was just too funny and I had to share. This was after opening presents on Christmas morning. Her future was so bright, she had to wear shades!

Lights on the Riverwalk!

Here are some pics the hubby took while we were taking a boat ride on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. They do a really nice job! I just LOVE Christmas lights!

A hard transition for mother and daughter...

Over the holidays, our family took a little trip to San Antonio (I'll post some pics soon). Anyway, while in San Antonio, we had a rough time with my daughter, especially at night. She is used to sleeping in her own bed, in her own room, so noise of any sort disturbs her, sheet rustling, coughing, snoring, clanking of the trash trucks and street sweepers, etc... Well due to all the noise pollution, she slept like hell, getting up every couple of hours and the only way I could get her to sleep was to nurse her. I was a human pacifier! And ever since her fall off the couch a few weeks ago, she has just been obsessed with the "booby". She follows me around the house, "Mmmmmmm, Booby, booby, booby!" I was only nursing at nap times and bed times, but she was bugging me for it constantly! I had originally thought that weaning would happen as she lost the naps and so on. But she just hit this point where all she wanted was the boob, and I was sick of it! So, as of Dec. 31st, I cut her off, cold-turkey. I really felt like I needed my body back and she is 18 mos. old now and by no means really NEEDS the breast milk. It seemed like a good idea.

Hmmph! Good idea my ass! I have a seriously pissed off baby that isn't napping well, who is spending 90% of her time screaming and my boobs are not too happy either! Granted, the engorgement has been pretty low in comparison to Sept, when I was an idiot and forgot my breast pump when we left the kids with the folks for 3 days, THAT was MISERABLE!! I am still uncomfortable, but that isn't really the worst part... I just miss that time with her! It was a quiet time, a time for me to really take her in, look at her eyes, her lashes, her hair, her little fingers, her soft cheeks, and she was so peaceful! I still sit with her, give her a bottle and read or sing to her, but it isn't the same. She gets frustrated with the bottle and I can see why, the bottle, at least to a breastfed child, is cold and impersonal, and she just doesn't get it. That warmth and comfort has been taken away from her. She is hating this! I am hating this!

Do I plan to give in and return to breastfeeding? No. I am four days into this and I'm not going to start up again and have her or myself relive this, that would be shitty. Am I happy about my decision to do this? Not so much, but it's too late now. Bottles are a pain in the ass, it is so much easier to just pull up my shirt! Not to mention I will be nagged relentlessly at the doctor's office next week as they don't want babies over 18 mos to take bottles because it's bad for their teeth. But it's like SHIT, what am I supposed to give her? Sippies cups are not mastered yet and certainly are not soothing in any sense. I suppose I will just have to tell the docs to piss off, it wouldn't be the first time! I don't plan on keeping her on a bottle until she's 5, but let's wean one thing at a time!

Anyway, I just miss my baby. I miss that closeness and now that it is gone, I will NEVER get that back. Not that she and I won't be close, we are, but it is just that transition, giving up that bond, while trying to find another to take it's place. And right now it's hard because she's mad at me for taking away her "security blanket". I know it will all work out, I know mothers all over the world deal with this, and I know it will be fine. But for this moment, I'm sad, I'm sore, and I'm frustrated because she's frustrated, it just sucks! It's a helluva a way to kick off the New Year!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Goodbye 2007... Hello 2008!

As with so many other folks, I too have been reflecting on the past year. For some reason I have this nagging in my brain saying I didn't accomplish Jack Shit last year. Maybe it's the stay-at-home mom thing, I think it's hard for me to quantify my accomplishments the way people in the working world can. I didn't get any promotions and I certainly didn't get a raise, there are no documented reports on whether my performance was satisfactory or not. I have to look into my heart, my home, my marriage and my childrens' eyes in order to gauge my progress. So what DID I accomplish this year?

1. I managed to bring two children another year closer to adulthood (with only one visit to the ER!)
2. I successfully completed my son's first "official" semester of homeschooling!
3. I watched my daughter learn to crawl, speak, walk, and start feeding herself (this is the good stuff!)
4. I encouraged creativity and imaginative play with my son and have watched him blossom with his new found talents!
5. With my hubby, I managed to lay over 1000 sq. ft. of flooring, remodel a half-bath and utility room, re-upholstered 6 kitchen chairs, and began landscaping the front of the house.
6. I had several garage sales which helped clear out some of the clutter in order to get a healthy start on organizing my crazy life!
7. I took thousands of photos of my kids and kept blogs to document their amazing little lives!
8. I continued with this blog as a way to express myself, whether good or bad, it was a creative way for me to document things, brag about things and bitch about things. It has given me an outlet and I love that!

So those are some of the main things I'm proud of in 2007, but what about 2008? Well, I'm not one for resolutions, as I see them as a way to set myself up for failure. I'm not saying I don't have goals for the new year, but I don't consider them resolutions, as my life is a work in progress and a year's time may not necessarily be the time frame that I'm able to make things happen. So I set my goals and work as diligently as possible to achieve them, but I try not to beat myself up about the ones that don't get completed (my dining room chairs and baseboards, for instance!) That being said, here are some of my goals for 2008...

1. Spend less time on housework and stupid shit and spend more time enjoying my children! They are only little once and I've been given the amazing opportunity to stay at home with them. I need to take full advantage of this, for their sake and mine!
2. Continue with homeschooling my son!
3. Be a little bit selfish and make a serious effort to take some time for myself, exploring my painting and photography, going out to a few movies, and reading more books!
4. Continue landscaping, finish painting and installing baseboards in the downstairs, begin re-surfacing kitchen countertops and install new backsplashes, buy and install cabinets in garage in order to organize and free up space in the garage for me (and the kids) to do artwork.
5. Try to take ONE trip with just my husband (to anywhere!)
6. Continue to nurture a great relationship with the hubby, after all in Aug. 2008 we'll celebrate 14 years of marriage!
7. Last (and most definitely least) take advantage of the fact that I dropped my baby weight and am thinner now than I was in high school. So now it's time to start exercising some to beef that up. After all, I have my 20 year high school reunion this year (UGH!) and it would just be so much nicer to go back to face all the bitches that treated me like a second class citizen with a hot bod! I know, kind of superficial, but hey, I'm allowed to be shallow on occasion!

Although I am hoping for a great 2008, I certainly can't complain about 2007. I mean it's true that money was tight, gas prices were too damn high, and the hubby had to travel more than I would have liked, but in all honesty, we had healthy children, a roof over our heads, food on the table and functional vehicles, so really, I'm pretty thankful for 2007! I just want to strive to be a good human and to teach my children to be good humans in 2008. After all, it's love that makes the world go round, right? Happy New Year to all my friends and family, may the new year bring health and happiness to each and every one of you!