Friday, December 30, 2011

Holidays 2011

It has been crazy busy, in mostly a good way, around here. We had a nice Christmas and I hope all of you did as well!

We started off on the Friday before Christmas with a Mommy and Collin day. He is so fun to hang out with as he's getting older! We went bowling! It was his first time and I haven't been since who-knows-when, at least since before the kids were born. The lightest ball they have is 7 lbs, which is still pretty heavy for someone who only weighs about 43 lbs. Take your weight and divide by 6 and see if that would be a comfortable size ball to hold with 3 fingers.... probably not! But of course he made it work. He carried it with two hands up to the foul line and plopped it on the floor (THUD!) then shoved it with both hands. There were a few I wasn't sure would make it all the way to the pins, but luckily they did. It was so slow rolling down the lane that he had time to lay down on his tummy with his chin in his hands and watch how many pins were knocked down. So cute! We had the bumpers down, but I almost needed them more than he did. He turned out to be a pretty good bowler. If it hadn't been for that one time when he smashed his finger with the ball and then insisted that I take a turn for him (in which I failed to knock over any of his 5 remaining pins) I think he would have won. Our first game was 95 to 93 with me barely pulling ahead. Needless to say he didn't ask me to take any of his turns after that!

After bowling we went to the movies to see Alvin and the Chipmunks and since it was a special day I let him have movie popcorn for lunch. I tried to get him to have something else, but that's what he wanted. Oh well, corn is almost a vegetable, right? Right? Yeah, I know.... But the movie was better than I expected. If you can tolerate clips of top 40 songs every couple of minutes then you will be fine. They weren't entire songs, and when sung by chipmunks/chipettes everything is cuter.

That was the beginning of our 11 or so days of vacation. And I mean the whole family. It's a wonder no one has killed each other yet!

The next day was Christmas Eve, a notoriously busy afternoon/evening for the Nowell family. But first I got to meet up with my friend that was visiting from Austin (Hi Karin!) and had lunch at McDonald's and let the kids run wild so we could visit for a bit. It was nice. Until the ride home that is, Owen was really mad about something I can't remember anymore and he screamed for about 15 minutes. Ugh! Mostly I think older kids are easier until you anger them and then remember they throw bigger fits than they did as babies.

So home again and time to cook! We always have snacks after Christmas Eve church services. I made stuff wrapped in bacon because everything is better with bacon! I did little smokies wrapped in bacon and sprinkled with brown sugar. (Learned that one from Cousin Sheila and it's always a hit.) Then I also tried something new that I'd had at a restaurant: jalapenos cut in half and take the seeds out and filled with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. SO GOOD! But it turns out my family is a bunch of wusses and most people were too scared to eat them. More for me! The only thing was that after cutting and seeding about 25 jalapenos (without wearing gloves, doh!) my hands were burning so badly that I actually googled ways to make it stop. Aloe vera turned out to work best for me, but I had to reapply several times.

We went to my in-laws' house and had dinner and then off to church for the candle light service. The sermon was titled "A Tim Tebow Christmas" I kid you not! Hmmm.... Well, that's part of why I don't go to that church anymore. Not being a football fan I didn't even know who the guy was. Now that I do (thanks for the football lesson, Church) I still think it's never a good idea to put anyone on a pedestal and tell people to aspire to be like them. That's just asking for trouble. Rant over.

Back to the in-laws for presents and the famous snacks. Collin got roller skates (he's going to kill ME learning to use those things) and a RC helicopter. Owen got an Alphie robot and a memory game. They also got a portable dvd player to share. After getting my first set of bruises on my feet/ankles trying to help Collin skate, we went home to prepare for the next day.

We told the boys to wake each other up in the morning and then come get us as they have a habit of just yelling at us from their beds to ask if they can get up yet. They pounced on us at 5:30 am. Note to self: letting them stay up late does NOT mean they will sleep later. The boys were so excited to finally open the presents under our tree. They each got a pillow pet and a new set of sheets for their beds. Collin also got and Agent P stuffed toy and a marble race game like I had when I was little. Owen got a basketball hoop and the new Winnie the Pooh movie. Owen also picked out a puzzle to give to Collin. Collin got to go shopping at a special store set up at school to buy presents, so his were truly a surprise. He picked a wooden tic-tac-toe game for Owen, a color your own stuffed dolphin for dad, and a pretty necklace for me. Kid has good taste! Mimi and Mr Bob came over and the boys each got their own set of Lincoln Logs. Then they played with all their stuff for awhile before Owen had a nap.

Time to cook again! I made my first cherry pie and some brownies because I knew the kids wouldn't eat the pie. Timothy made some yummy dressing with apples and pecans mixed in it. Then I made the obligatory green bean casserole and corn casserole. All this just for side dishes while I already had a bunch of left over little smokies and jalapenos left over in the fridge! We trooped back to the in-laws for the major feast. And we were all ready to drop when it was over. Owen and I stopped over to visit my dad for a bit and take him some food.

On Monday we did a whole lot of nothing and it was great! I think we watched the Pooh movie which is a whole 63 minutes including credits, but they mostly played with all their new stuff. Tuesday we had a morning play date and Wednesday we went to the Zoo. Both fun days. Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning Owen slept for 13 hours, which told me he was sick. Sure enough he was extra fussy all morning so Timothy and I cancelled our baby-sitters we had planned for the afternoon and I took O to the doctor instead. Sinus infection, so onto antibiotics we go. And it's that 3 times a day stuff that I KNOW I will forget at lunch time, plus it won't be finished before he goes back to daycare so I will have to remember to take it over in the morning and pick it up at night. Good luck on all that happening! Today, we all went to see the Muppet movie and besides taking Owen out to pee 3 times, I think it went alright. He is a handful and the kid does not like to sit still. Hopefully he will get better at the movie thing because I think it will be fun to do more family movie days.

That catches you up on the last week or so with the Nowells. I'm excited to see what the New Year will bring. There are a few things I'm already looking forward to and some challenges I'm not sure I'm ready for, but I am sure it will be another adventure.

Here are a few highlights from 2011:

We had just started at a new daycare, we are still there and mostly loving it. It has been a huge blessing and saved us a lot of money!

We paid off all our credit cards for the first time since we had been married with our tax return! They stayed paid off until just this last month and a half, but it's not too bad and we will recover quickly.

Owen was potty-trained!!! This was God's birthday present to me as he was about the easiest child ever to learn this trick. :-)

Collin started Tang Soo Do (Karate) and has been promoted twice already!

Collin started Kindergarten!

Timothy survived a round of layoffs at his job because he is super awesome at what he does!

I got a raise for the first time since 2008! Being in the mortgage industry has been a bit frightening several times.

Owen moved from his toddler bed to a twin big-boy bed!

I lost about 35 lbs. :-) (Put some of that back this last week I'm sure)

We had a great family vacation this summer to San Antonio!

All in all I'd say it's been a great year. I wish all of you the best for 2012. Let's hope those Mayans just got bored and stopped counting.... ha ha ha ha!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Update on Dad

I know a few of you check in here to find out about my dad, and at least one of you probably gets more than an earful and know everything already, but here it is.

We were planning on moving Dad into the nursing home at the start of December. That didn't happen. I called the nursing home several times throughout November to make sure everything was ready and it seemed like it was. I was told that he shouldn't have any trouble qualifying for Medicaid since he doesn't have any assets. The only thing was a life insurance policy. Oh that damn life insurance policy! The admittance lady told me it wouldn't be a problem and she would help us through the process of transferring the policy to me so it wouldn't be under his name but that we could take care of that after he moved in. Me, being stupid and not knowing anything about any of this, just went with it. Then I was told on November 29th that apparently I made that whole story up and it never really happened. That was not a good day. Turns out that we need to cash out the policy and spend the money on something (that won't be an asset (Brewster's Millions anyone?)) by the end of the month for him to be able to move in the following month. So obviously that wasn't going to happen in 24 hours, so here we are.

It took a few days to get the paper around for all required parties to sign, but I faxed it in today. Now we wait and hope and pray. It takes up to 20 business days to process the request and then another 5 days to send the check. Doing the numbers in your head? Yup, you're right, unless they speed it up it's not going to happen this month either. I'm hoping that the whole 20 day thing is just to give them a wide time frame and that they normally get things done much MUCH sooner than that. Once it's processed they will mail the check to Dad and hopefully he will not cash it and make some <insert foul name here> scam person in Nigeria very happy with his new found wealth. I still need to have that conversation with him to explain that the check is coming. *sigh*

Once we get the money we get to have the oh so much fun experience of going to a freaking funeral home and buying a pre-paid funeral/cremation/burial plan. Yeah, he doesn't know about any of that yet either. OMFSM that stuff really freaks me right the heck out! I tried to call and find out prices on such things but I lost it and made Brother do it. Bless him. Maybe I'll ask him to fly out here and go buy it so I won't have to. So again, all this is supposed to happen by the end of the month otherwise we get to put off this whole party again until February. Oh and don't forget to throw in Christmas somewhere too. And I haven't even mentioned trying to sort through the mess that he lives in. *sigh again*

As for me, I've been feeling completely overwhelmed and honestly angry about this whole situation. I've been reading a book that my super awesome cousin Niki sent me to try to learn more about the process. I haven't found the chapter about going through the motions when you really don't want to, probably because such a chapter doesn't exist. I think the authors assume that all caregivers are selfless and wonderful people who are willing to do anything they can to help their parents. I can't find anything in all my research about people that are really angry about being forced into the position of caregiver. I get angry about the time I miss with my own children. I get angry because of the extra stress it puts on Timothy when I need to be gone for so long. I have passed up promotion opportunities at work and as a rule I don't work overtime unless it's mandatory because I feel my time with my family is already so limited that I'm not willing to lose another hour with them that I don't have to even if it does mean more money. People will tell me how amazing it is that I'm helping my dad and I just sort of nod, but I'm thinking I'm not a good person at all. I hate this! There are no words for how much I hate this right now.

How horrible am I for feeling like that? On the one hand, obviously, it's not Dad's fault that he needs help because he's sick. On the other hand, I don't have all the warm and fuzzy memories like the authors of the book because, unlike them, I feel like I have been taking care of Dad for most of my life and certainly longer than he took care of me. I was about to backtrack and say that maybe this isn't true, but it is completely true. I've had better judgement than him since I was about 11. It really just comes down to that I'm a whiney complainer and I don't feel like any of this should be my responsibility. Or at least someone should share this responsibility with me more than they are at the moment. I don't want to talk to nursing homes and insurance companies and funeral homes and lawyers and doctors and bill collectors, but I have to. Practically every day there is some issue to deal with. I don't want to do any of this horrible business, but we must play the hand we are dealt - even if it sucks more than being a boy named Sue. Hopefully soon he will be moved into the nursing home where he will have lots of help and I won't have to worry so much. My goal is to work out a schedule to visit him regularly so that I can just enjoy his company instead of  always trying to be the super hero that I know I'm not.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One of these days....

I'll write another blog post. Today is not really that day. I hope things will slow down a bit next month.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Imaginary Internet Friends

Sometime last year I started talking to a few people I met online in various ways. It turned out there were some people on Facebook from Timothy's side of the family that I either didn't know well or didn't know at all. <Insert shout-out to Cousin Niki here> I have also communicated with a few of the podcasters I listen to and now consider some of those people friends. Even though I may not be able to pick all of these people out of a line up, I am happy to call them friends and my life is better because of them.

I was invited to be on a panel of a podcast called Geek Fights yesterday and because of all the stress I've been going through lately I almost just said no right away. Instead I stalled and thought about it for a day and remembered the last one I did was really fun and I could use a bit more of that right now so I said yes. It was actually even cooler than last time because I wasn't as nervous for this one. I got to hang out on Skype with a couple of guys I've talked to just twice before and two other guys I didn't know at all. We are all nerds in our own different ways and that was enough for me. I really had a blast! I stayed up way too late and had to hit up the 5 Hour Energy at work, but it was worth it. You can check out the podcast here and listen to my episode the week of Thanksgiving; it's called Best Family. Warning: this is not safe for work or little ears.

Remember when the Internet was new and scary and there were news stories about never talking to people you didn't know and we all had to learn not to give out real information like Social Security numbers and address? Well, I would reassert the part about social security numbers and address, but I would encourage anyone to reach out and have a conversation with someone new. Be it online or that girl at work whose name you always forget. You never know what you will find. I love when I find new people that share my interests and we can talk about Star Trek for example, but at the same time I am intrigued when I can learn something new.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Good Greif Charlie Brown

Today the 'Celebrity' news story was about the Duggars announcing they are pregnant with their 20th child. There were several people bashing them on my Facebook feed. If you think you were one of them then you probably are. I'm not in line with all their beliefs but I do think they should be respected. If we can't tolerate other people's differences then we will never succeed. How many of us can say with conviction that we are following the plan God has set for us? One person's insanity is another person's courage.

Don't we have better things to talk about anyway?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oh, Owen

Yesterday, the boys were helping me make banana bread. Owen was being a spaz, as he tends to do, and he kept grabbing things and spilling things. I told him, "You're killing me, smalls." To which he replied, "No, you're killing ME, bigs!" I guess we're both right.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quick Funny Stories

No major thoughts today that I'm ready to write down but I do have a few funny stories I want to record before I forget.

Owen a.k.a. Spazmatron 2008 has been up to his normal shenanigans lately. On Sunday the boys and I went to the movies to see Puss In Boots. (It was okay, but don't waste your time unless your kids really want to see it or you need to get out of the house.)  He was all over the place and not at all captivated by the cute cat on the screen. At one point he quite calmly tells me he is stuck. Stuck on what? To me it looks like he's just standing there. He says his arm is stuck and only then do I realize in the dark theater that my child has shoved his arm into the round cup holder on the arm rest of the chair. He is clear up to his shoulder. I had a very panicky moment when I didn't think I would be able to get him out. I mean, who do you call for that? Would an usher or a manager really be able to do any more than I could? Would they have to stop the movie and bring in the fire department? What if he starts panicking and cries and screams? Luckily after about 30 horrifying seconds he was free and all was well. Sheesh!

A couple days ago after I got Owen out of the bath and wrapped in a towel. We were in his room and I was getting out jammies. He puts on this insane deep voice out of nowhere and says, "Behold! The amazing Haffo!" and then throws his towel to the floor. You have to laugh, but it's also a bit disturbing to have a 3 year old exhibitionist. I seriously don't know where he heard that. He also told me tonight that he couldn't find one of his toys and it was probably in another dimension. That one I get because that's just how we talk in our house. I would really like to know who Haffo is! Or maybe I wouldn't....

Collin and I have been reading the Harry Potter books and we're now on the third one, Prisoner of Azkaban. It's odd how reading them out loud in the company of a 5 year old makes some things stand out more than when I read the over and over again myself. As Harry grows up the books mature with him. This one had two swear words in one of the early chapters. We talked about 'damn'. He has heard that before on TV and knows it's a bad word and he's not allowed to say it. I told him that if he ever said it at school he would be sent to the principal's office because that's about as scary as it gets when you're in Kindergarten. Then we got to 'bitch'. They were talking about a dog, so really it wasn't a bad word but I don't want any misunderstandings so I explained the double meaning. I also explained that this would land him in principal's office if uttered at school. He says, "Okay, I know! Stop saying that, you're freaking me right out! I'm not going to say that word!" Har har! But it gets better... He thinks for a minute and asks what if he needs to talk about that place with all the sand next to the ocean? Totally different word. That tricky English language! You can still talk about the beach all you want. :-)

He also told me the other day that he learned in computer class that "You should never EVER try to force a flash drive into a USB port because that will break the whole computer." Wow! Flash drives in Kindergarten? He will be doing Calculus by next Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Miss My Daddy

It's weird how parents can make their adult children feel like kids. Suddenly I feel like Doogie Houser typing on his computer at the end of an episode in 1992. <Insert thoughtful look here> But really it is a strange transition to make to be on equal ground with your parents. And stranger still when that parents needs your help just like you once needed theirs. My daddy has dementia, and I really miss him. :-( The doctor says it's most likely Alzheimer's (one day I will learn how to spell that without looking it up) but I guess it's hard to know for sure? Alzheimer's is just a form of dementia which covers pretty much any type of memory loss. Doesn't matter what they want to call it, he's not really my dad anymore. And it sucks!

I've been learning a lot when I hang out with my dad. Learning not to expect as much, learning there are some question not worth asking, learning I can listen to the radio when I drive him around because he can't hear it anyway. And learning it's remarkable how alike two people can be that are 74 years apart in age. Owen is 3 and daddy is 77. (This is what happens when you wait until later in life to have children. My dad was almost 46 when I was born.) At times it's almost uncanny.

Both of them are infinitely stubborn. Dad likes to buy ham when I take him grocery shopping, but it has to be Oscar Mayer ham or else it's not ham. Owen like to listen to the blue Imagination Movers cd when he goes to bed. Don't try to give him the red one unless you want trouble.

Both of them have little things that make them happy. Owen likes to drive home from daycare on the residential streets (the quiet road) instead of the main street (busy road) and he gets excited every day when I tell him we will go that way. Dad likes to drive home from the grocery store a certain way and he gets excited every time too. Literally they both say "Yay!" when I agree to go on the road they want.

I have to speak with them both the same way. Short simple phrases like, "That's not safe for you." or when they ask for something that I know is not going to happen, "Maybe we can do that later." because I know they will both forget about it. But Owen is getting better about remembering things now while daddy is getting worse.

I have to constantly worry about them wandering off when we are in a public place.

They both trust me completely. When we are driving, half the time neither of them knows where I'm taking them, and they are both fine with that because they are with me.

They are both equally hard to understand when they try to tell stories.

Here's a recent conversation with Owen while watching a baseball game...
Owen: Are we going to see that little boy again?
Me: What little boy?
Owen: The one that is friends with Noah.
Me: Noah and the Ark?
Owen: No! Not Noah. I said Noah!
Me: I'm sorry honey, I don't understand what you're asking.
Owen: (frustrated growl) The little boy!
Me: What little boy?
Owen: The one whose daddy fell down and hit his head and had to go to Heaven!
Me: OH! (Shannon Stone fell to his death at the ballpark in July and his 6 year old son threw out the first pitch at a playoff game recently then he went to sit with Nolan Ryan which Owen can't pronounce and calls him Noah) No, we will not be seeing that little boy today.

And a recent conversation with Daddy.....
Dad: (out of nowhere) And she just went and got pregnant.
Me: Who did?
Dad: That girl.
Me: Which girl?
Dad: The girl that use to own it.
Me: Um, she used to own what?
Dad: The one that doesn't work anymore.
Me: What doesn't work anymore?
Dad: (frustrated noise as he tries to remember a word) The thing that drives on wheels.
Me: A car?
Dad: Yes!
Me: So who is this girl?
Dad: She used to own the car across the street but then she got pregnant and couldn't drive it anymore so she wants to sell it.
Me: OH! (Still feel like I'm missing something. Why wouldn't you be able to drive just because you're pregnant? Nah, it's not worth asking.)

As I continue this adventure of watching the opposite ends of life unfolding before my eyes, on one hand I think it's a blessing that the timing worked out as it did. Living with Owen and knowing how to have a conversation with a 3 year old has really helped me to communicate better with my dad.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Date With Owen

You probably read about my date with Collin awhile ago but if you missed it you can see it here, Hey! That was my first link! Look at me, I'm all tech-y. :-0

I sort of got the idea to take my boys out one at a time because I remember my Daddy taking me out on a date once when I was eight. I don't remember where we had dinner, but I remember that I wore a fancy dress and he kept calling me his 'date' and opening doors for me. It made me feel really special. I do remember after dinner that we had to stop to get gas on the way home. I knew I was being spoiled when he agreed to buy me a Pepsi out of the vending machine because that was a very rare splurge when I was little. 

On Saturday I had my first try at a date with Owen. He's not quite the smooth gentleman that Collin is yet, but he has his own style... Like Spazmatron 2008 style! (He's a Spaz and he was born in '08. Get it?) We had been planning this for a few days otherwise I wouldn't have taken him out because after a quick trip to the doctor on Saturday morning we learned that he has strep and a double era infection. Poor kid! The Doctor said he has been sick for awhile, but I swear you wouldn't know it except that he hasn't been eating and sleeping so well. He still runs and plays and screams and all those normal kid things. He had slept late that morning because he was up a good part of the night before so he didn't have a nap. So what do I do? I take the hyper, sick, sleep-deprived child to Applebees of course!

Owen was so excited about going to "Apple-peas" and had been talking about it for days. He had never been there before but we drive by it all the time and he likes to point out the big red apple. We looked at the menu online ahead of time and he couldn't stop talking about having macaroni and chocolate milk.

When we got there he immediately needed to go potty. This is his way of telling me that he is bored. He had JUST gone 15 minutes ago when we left the house. But he was insistent, so off we went before we even ordered the chocolate milk. We got back to the table and ordered our food and he was having a good time looking at the dessert menu and coloring his kid's menu. As soon as the food got to the table he had to go AGAIN! Seriously? That bored? I tried to distract him but then he started in with the really loud fussing that everyone around us could hear. "I really need to go potty, Mommy! I need to! Really bad!" Ok, ok. I'm way more familiar with that Applebees restroom than I ever wanted to be. Back to the table. One bite of macaroni, one look at the fries and he was done. Yup. done. Then he got busy crawling under the table and trying to sit on the window ledge and trying to open and close the blinds and emptying the sugar packets from the little box. He hit his head on the table twice while trying to look for a dropped crayon. Twice! Both times resulting in wailing cries and people staring. It was basically a disaster. But hey, my chicken fried steak was yummy. :-)

Before dinner we had stopped at a store to buy Owen a new toy. He picked an innocent looking stuffed bear that sings "Jesus Loves Me" in a creepy child's voice on a bad recording. Whatever. He loves it and that's all that matters. He was worried when I told him to leave the singing bear in the car for dinner because he thought the bear would be sad all alone. That bear would have probably been sadder sitting at our table for dinner.

But really what can you expect? He's three. He did have a fun time hanging with mom and I liked being with him too. Maybe next time we should plan something just a bit less public. Maybe Chuck E. Cheese's or something where he wouldn't stick out so much with the Spazing. :-)

I did manage to get him to sit still for one picture. It's not the greatest, but it's not like he was going to pose for a retake.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October Baseball

I written before about my nerdy obsessions, here is my current one. For the second year in a row my Texas Rangers have made it to the playoffs. As I write this, we are 2 games to 0 against the Tigers in the American League Championship Series and 2 wins away from our second trip to the World Series!

Some people have told me that, as a nerd, I'm not allowed to like sports at all. But I disagree! For the record Baseball is the only sport I follow which makes me one of about 8 people that live in Texas who don't love the Dallas Cowboys more than life itself. (Luckily for me I'm married to one of the other ones in that extreme minority.) Anyway, if you are REALLY into a sport then you are memorizing stats and comparing players and teams and forming fantasy teams... Hello? Can you say Nerdy? In my opinion it takes more work to keep up with that kind of stuff than it does to memorize lines from Star Wars. That movie is 35 years old and the lines aren't changing. Well, okay, some of them changed and we all know that was just wrong. I should have picked a different example but you know what I mean. Baseball stats are changing all the time and it's much harder to keep up.

My love of the game is more emotionally based. I don't memorize things on purpose. I get attached to the players. For example, my current celebrity crush is C.J. Wilson. Alright, I just heard 3 of the 4 people that read this blog say, "Who?" He's the current lead starting pitcher and he's got sideburns that could complete with the 10th Doctor. ;) I get sad when a player I like is traded (I still miss Salty) and I feel bad for them when they mess up and I miss them in the lineup when they have an injury. There are also some players I don't care for and I get angry at the manager for allowing them in the game. I get happy when they win and sad when they lose. And I often refer to myself as part of the team. (See first paragraph.)

As we are now into the playoffs and every game is so important, my life has made some adjustments. When there is a day game I listen to the radio instead of podcasts at work. I send out mass text messages to my fellow fans as we all ride this wave together. I base the days that I will take Collin to Karate class on if there is a game that night or not. (He doesn't want to go most of the time so he's not upset about this.) Tonight the game ran long. Four and a half hours and 12 innings kind of long! I think I was holding my breath for the last 3 innings at least and I KNOW this my blood pressure has to be higher this month than it was in September. As a result my sweet boys got to stay up late which they loved. Owen was in the living room with me and we were waving our rally towels and yelling for our team. When Nelly hit that beautiful walk-off Grand Slam I'm sure the neighbors could hear us screaming! I felt bad about the kids getting to bed late. It was only 20 minutes but I like to keep us on a schedule since they have to wake up so early. I hope they will be okay for tomorrow. But this will all be over, win or lose, by the end of the month and we can get back on track.

The magic of your team playing October baseball is a wonderful thing. Like experiencing a new season of Doctor Who, or anxiously waiting for a Harry Potter book or movie. I am loving every minute of it and all too soon it will be gone and I'll be left with an empty feeling and  wondering what's on tv.

As a tribute to those of you that visit hoping to hear cute kid stories, I have one. I hope this is not TMI for anyone, but I think it's incredibly funny. You need to know ahead of time that Owen saw my birth control pills once and commented that he wanted some of my "candy" so I had to make up a story to keep him from wanting them.... Now Owen has only been potty-trained for 5 months or so and he's done exceptionally well, but he still gets scared to go by himself and wants me in there. I'm willing to do this most of the time since he did all the work and trained himself, I figure I owe him. It seems as least once every few days as he is conducting his business he comments that I am a girl and therefore I don't have a pee-pee like he does. I confirm his statement. Then he continues with "And if I eat some of your medicine then I will turn into a girl and my pee-pee will go away." Again, I confirm this is also true and then I start to wonder what his pre-school teacher must think goes on in our house.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Star Trek (2009) in 24 Quotes

"You're Captain now, Mr. Kirk."

"Auto-Pilot function has been destroyed."

"Okay, Jim it is."

"My name is James Tiberius Kirk."

"Live long and prosper."

"You can whistle really loud."

"All I've got left are my bones."

"Who was that pointy-eared bastard?"

"Lighting storm in space."

"Hi Christopher, I'm Nero."


"I am now a member of an endangered species."

"An alternate reality."

"I have been and always shall be, your friend."

"Are you out of you Vulcan mind?"

"Can I have a towel?"

"I sure hope you know what you're doing, Captain."

"Kirk and Spock are on their own now."

"I got your gun."

"That was pretty good!"

"I'm giving it all she's got, Captain!"

"... a friendship that will define you both..."

"I am relieved."

"Take us out."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Random Thoughts From This Week

Zippers must be extremely dirty. As in the zipper on your jeans that you are wearing right now. Think about it. You pretty much have to touch it between going to the bathroom and washing your hands. And I bet when you undress at night you don't go wash right after you take off your pants and touching said contaminated zipper. That's just nasty when you think about it.

I heard this on The Nerdist podcast, but it's powerful..... Everyone says they want to build a time machine so that they can go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby before he could rise to power. But if you really did then you wouldn't be remembered as the guy/girl that killed Hitler. No, you would just be the jerk that killed a baby.

Since I have been spending 2 days a week helping a co-worker with college math and it's actually FUN for me, I probably really should go back to school. But for what? I like my current job and can't imagine what I would rather be doing. Plus who likes change anyway?

I've come to the conclusion that I have an addiction to caffeine, but I'm completely fine with that as long as it doesn't include stupid calories like Dr Pepper which makes me feel guilty. Although on the other hand I should really just get more sleep.

I act like a child at bed time and refuse to go to bed until I'm past the point of being exhausted.

I've lost some weight this year and that's awesome and all, but how can a person think it's a compliment to tell me that I need to go shopping because my clothes are all too big and it's not flattering? Rude much? Not all of us have the ability to buy a new outfit every time we feel like it.

Kindergarten is stressful. More than I know.

Facebook is not a place where you can be yourself. It's a scary place filled with family members you can't offend and games that try to suck you in. I've heard Google + is fun.....

Nerds are generally very very nice people.

God has a way of putting the right people in my path just when I need to run into them.

I really like quiet time.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

We've Got the Blues

You know how you can remember Kindergarten, but you don't really remember it? I remember my first day because I was switched to a new class at the last minute and it took awhile to find the right place for me to go. I remember not wanting my mom to leave me there. I remember there were only 12 kids in my class (private school) and only 2 of us were girls. I remember one day we had pink cupcakes for the other girl's birthday and then she threw up in the class and it was pink and that was when I made the connection that what goes in must come out. I remember the first sentence I had to read out loud by myself: "Dad, can Al ride the bus?" I remember being bored a lot of the time. I remember being so terribly shy to the point that I would intentionally not finish my work so that I would be made to stay inside by myself while the other kids went to recess; that was when I could breathe. I remember wanting to take a backpack to school except there was no reason to, but I took one anyway filled up with toys.

What I don't remember about Kindergarten was how much coloring goes on! No wonder I had to buy 5 boxes of crayons for Collin's school supply list. That's all they do! He has brought home a stack of papers that he has colored. At this rate I will need to replace all those crayons by Christmas. The problem is that Collin has never been that big on coloring. He will draw pictures using that wonderful imagination of his, but he will hardly ever sit down with a coloring book and fill in the pictures. His pictures always include words too. They don't do much writing in Kindergarten. Not yet anyway.

There is a color chart on the wall and each child has a clothes pin, or something similar, with their name on it clipped on the chart. Everyone starts each day on green, but if you have bad behavior then your pin is moved to different colors and there is some type of consequence for each one. The first step down is a warning, then a time out, then the child is not allowed to play at recess, and eventually they are sent to the office is the offense is bad enough. For the first time on Tuesday, Collin had his pin moved down a color... to blue.

When I picked him up he was playing outside and when he saw me he turned around and ran in the other direction. He finally came back around to me and told me that he had to go on blue but he did not want to talk about it. He had a little snack that another child had shared with him and wanted to eat it on the way home. I told him he could but only if he told me what happened. He reluctantly agreed. He said at first he was talking when he wasn't supposed to and then later he was supposed to be (you guessed it!) coloring, but he was singing instead. I had to try hard not to laugh at that one! I asked if he was finished coloring when he started singing, he said no. He said he just didn't want to color anymore and that was why he was singing. Who can blame him for being sick of coloring? Although that does not excuse the singing. He was really upset about the blue mark. He told me he thought he would stay on green forever. I tried to explain that green is not a guarantee and he would have to work for it every day. I also explained that I will always love him no matter what color he comes home with. He wanted to know specifically if I would still love him if he had to go to the office. I assured him I would, but I wouldn't be very happy if that happened.

This morning when I woke him up I asked him, like I always do, if he had nice dreams. He is so creative and I love hearing his stories. I don't know if he really dreams up the stuff he tells me about or if he's just making it up, but I'm leaning towards the latter. So he tells me he had a bad dream. In his dream Owen wrote the letter A and the letter X and I was very proud of him. But then Collin also wrote an A and an X but I was not proud of him. That just almost broke my heart. I took this opportunity (as a nerd) to use my favorite line from the newest Star Trek movie spoken by Spock's mom: "No matter what you choose to be, you will always have a proud mother."

He was resolved today to do better and stay on green and he achieved his goal! I think this lesson really sunk in, for now anyway. No telling what the future will hold!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Today was Collin's first day of Kindergarten! It feels like we have been building up to this day since before he was born. We moved to Watauga when I was about 6 months pregnant with Collin and part of the reason we chose this location was to be inside of Birdville ISD which has always had a pretty good reputation. We have driven by the elementary school so many times and talked about when he would finally get to walk through those doors. Today was a big day.

When Collin woke up he wasn't quite as excited about school as he was last night when he went to sleep. He wouldn't admit to being nervous and never said he was scared or that he didn't want to go, but honestly, how can you not be nervous? Timothy and I both had the day off work so that we would be able to drop off and pick him up. We had planned to go out to breakfast before school, but Collin said that he would rather just have cereal at home if that was alright. Owen was really sad about this because that child is in love with Whataburger breakfast for some reason. Collin said he didn't mind if we took Owen there to eat after we dropped him off, but he would still rather eat at home today.

Since we had planned to go out we were actually really early getting ready so we had plenty of time for pictures.  At first he didn't want to show his face, but it's a nice shot of his backpack. (Which I got on SALE from the Disney store and even had his name embroidered on it.)

Then he agreed to turn around.

And of course Owen had to be included too. This is a big day for him too. He is used to his Bubba being right down the hall at daycare all day so this will be a bit of a change for him as well.

Waiting in from of the school. All out of smiles at the moment.

Sitting at his desk with his name tag on.

He did a great job and wasn't upset at all. He was a little shy sitting at a table with other kids he didn't know, but he does have a friend in his class from daycare. They are so sweet together and run up and hug every day, just so happy to see each other. And they call each other 'Bud', it doesn't get much more manly than that even if you do hug all the time. :-)

As for me, I was a bit worried that I would lose it and cry all the way home with Timothy dragging me to the car, but it was really okay. We walked him into class at 8:00 and put his things away and did pictures and hugs and we were still outside before the tardy bell rang at 8:10. I think that's pretty good for the first day. I'm still terrified that he will get lost in that big school, or something will go wrong with the daycare bus dropping him off or picking him up, but now we are past the first day and it should be all down hill from here. Right?

After Timothy and Owen and I finally got our Whataburger, I took Owen to play with sweet Sadie for a little bit. It was a rather impromptu play date (Is it still a play date if my main motivation is to spend time with my friend?) but I was so happy to be able to go today. Sally and I met on the first day of school twenty years ago. (You know, when we were like one, because I'm not that old!) I don't get to see her as often as I would like, but I'm very grateful to have her in my life.

Owen fell asleep on the way home, still trying to talk the whole way bless his heart. After taking him home and resting a little bit I ran to Wal-Mart because suddenly I had decided that any decent mother would have freshly baked cookies for her little boy on his first day of school. Also, I had an idea for a gift for him. I bought this material called organdy (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried) which is thin and sheer like organza but made from cotton instead of silk. (Totally just ripped that off Wikipedia because I am NOT that crafty.) Anyway, I got a gray color with glitter sparkles in the material so Collin could have an Invisibility Cloak like Harry Potter. He told me the other day that he wanted one. It's amazing how 2 yards of unaltered material can make a boy so happy! He loved it!

**Side note - The little old lady at the cloth counter asked what I was making with the material and I told her fully expecting to get a glassy eyed stare and that look that you get when you admit to being a nerd. She completely surprised me by being a fellow Harry Potter fan and thought the cloak was an awesome idea. She had to be 80 years old. She excitedly told me that she owned all the movies released so far and can't wait to go back and see the new one in the theater again because she wants to see it in 3D this time! I told her I'm not that fond of 3D movies and I'm too old for them. She told me that it's important to act like a kid for as long as you possibly can and she still tries to do that every day. I sincerely hope I can be that cool when I grow up.**

Collin gave me little tidbits from his day which is as much as you can expect from someone his age. He had fun in Gym, didn't have enough time to eat all his lunch, and he was good in class and his clothespin got to stay in the green section. He was a little mad at us for picking him up because he wanted to ride on the daycare bus with his friend, but there will be plenty of time for that. In the car on the way home he asked me if he could eat the rest of his apple sauce when we got home. Um, you mean the applesauce in the little plastic cup with the foil lid you peel off? The one that is not resealable? Yup, all over the brand new lunch bag! Ew!

So we learned today that if you open the apple sauce and don't finish it, it's still okay to throw it away. I can't wait to see what other new things he will learn this week.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Owen!

Owen's 3rd birthday was yesterday (the 12th) and we had his party today. He had a great time with both. He knew his birthday was on Friday and every day this week when he woke up the first words out of his mouth were "Is it Friday today?" Collin and I woke him up singing Happy Birthday and he popped right up and bounced all over his bed saying "Yay! Yipee! Yay!"

I was kinda bummed that I wasn't able to take the day off work to spend with him, but we will have a parents/Owen day on Collin's first day of school in a week. We started the day with donuts at his request. He had a hard time deciding between the donut shop and Whataburger for breakfast, but let's face it, we all knew what would win in that contest. We took cupcakes to daycare to share with his class and after school we all went to Cici's Pizza, which my boys consider to be just as cool as Chuck E Cheeses. (I'm so grateful for that since it's way easier.)

We came home with pockets full of candy from the game room and Owen got to open some presents. He got a Perry the platypus and a Daisy Duck stuffed animals. (The Daisy was to complete his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse collection.) He also got a Mickey Mouse DVD and a lightsaber that Collin picked out for him.

We had his party this morning with lots of Nowells and Wiethoffs to bring in the fun. Collin and Owen had a blast playing with Cooper and Sadie and Annie. One of my favorite parts was when Collin and Cooper had what looked like a lightsaber fight, but was actually a wizard duel using the lightsabers for wands and casting Harry Potter spells. It was awesome! I love our geek kids!

Everyone seemed to enjoy Owen's pink cupcakes even though by the end of the party he said he favorite color was no longer pink but purple now. It was super nice to visit with everyone today.

My blondy bear is growing up and is so full of energy. Hobbies include bouncing off the walls, throwing things, falling down, wrestling with his brother, and running around in circles. He has almost no attention span, but makes up for it with a lot of attitude! He is the best and I am so grateful for him and the chance to watch him grow.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Date Night

For a few weeks now, Collin has brought up several times that he wanted to take me out on a date. There were several rules that he explained to me about how this was supposed to happen. First, I would be required to wear a dress. Second, we had to go out at night when it's dark. (That one didn't happen because it doesn't get dark until after 9:00 or something.) Third we had to go to a nice restaurant, specifically, Red Lobster. He was terribly sweet and cute about the whole thing. I asked what he was going to wear since I had to dress up. He said he thought he should have a white shirt with a tie. Since he doesn't own either of these two things I told him he didn't have to if he didn't want to. His response, "Well okay, but if you want me to then I would." I told him he needed Daddy's permission to go on a date with me, so he asked. Daddy was cool with it and just asked Collin to have me home by 9.

So tonight was the big night. Timothy took Collin out on the front porch to ring the doorbell so he could 'pick me up' for our date. We went to see a movie before dinner, because that's what you do. I gave Collin some money and told him what to say and he walked up to the counter and bought our tickets. We saw Smurfs, which by the way I would not recommend. Collin got a little box of candy but reminded me that we should not eat too much because then we wouldn't be hungry for dinner later. The movie kinda sucked and he even asked if we could leave at one point, but we stuck it out. It ended alright I guess, but poor Neil Patrick Harris (whose character was distractingly named Patrick) couldn't even save this movie for me and I really like him so that tells you something. Of course, I may not be the best audience as my brother and I are the only people in this country to grow up in the 80's without watching the Smurfs. (See future post about my unique childhood.)

After the movie we had to go spend a dollar in the arcade so we played air hockey!

Collin kept saying that if he could hit the puck hard enough and get it up to 88 miles per hour then we could open a portal and travel through time. I love that my kids are nerds.

After declining Collin's suggestion that we should buy more $4 movie theater candy so that we could have a snack on the way to dinner, we were off. There was a bit of a line already when we got to Red Lobster and we got one of those buzzer things that Collin was so proud to be in charge of and we hung out with the lobsters for awhile.

I told him it would light up and start buzzing when it was our turn and that made him a bit nervous. He thought it may be loud and scare him, but we watched a few other groups when their buzzers went off so he would know what it looked and sounded like. My little Gryffindor handled it well and calmly turned it into the hostess when it was our turn.

We took several self-portraits and this was the best we could get. I think he was making that face on purpose because they all looked like that.

So we sat down and ordered drinks. He had been looking forward to that Dr. Pepper all day. Then I showed him how to put a napkin on his lap. About a minute later that napkin came in handy when he forgot you're not supposed to tilt a cup that has a straw in it. I thought it was nice that he got to see it in practice, and also it was lucky that it all landed on the napkin and nothing on his clothes.

We had fun looking through the dessert menu while we waited for our food. Funny enough after he finished eating I asked him if he wanted some of that chocolate cake he had been looking at and he said if it was okay with me he would rather just have a piece of gum from my purse. I love it!

Of course we had to spend some time looking at the fish tank too. It's always so pretty. Then we stopped at the Office Depot across the street to buy the last thing on his school supply list and we headed home.

I'm not sure if his first date was everything he thought it would be, but I think he had fun and I know I did. :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Potty, shoes, and naps.

I wonder how many times you can start a blog entry with something like "sorry it's been so long but I'm still alive" before it starts to get old. You may just want to insert that on your own each time before you start reading.

We had a super cool and fun vacation to San Antonio last week, but I can't be bothered to upload pictures from the camera and the story wouldn't be nearly as good without pictures, so I'm saving that for later.

We all had a whole week off from work and daycare and it was so nice to spend time together. We never got to sleep in but that's okay because we would have just had to readjust our schedules back to normal anyway. One of these days I"m going to start acting my age and go to bed at a decent hour. I'll probably learn how to do that about the time Collin and Owen hit middle school and start sleeping till noon so we will still be off!

One of the coolest things to come out of our vacation week was that Owen is now officially, all the way, 100%, no turning back, POTTY TRAINED! I swear God must've known I needed a break and gave Owen the wisdom to do it himself. He started going pee around the first of May and was almost instantly ready to go all night without a pull-up or diaper. He has been scared to go poo in the potty up until last week. I think he just needed a little motivation. The boys and I were swimming at the hotel pool (Timothy doesn't do water stuff) and Owen had to go potty so we all trooped into the little bathroom next to the pool. Owen was fussing and asking for a diaper and I told him I didn't have any and if he didn't go poo in the potty I would have to take him back to Daddy in the hotel room and Collin and I would keep swimming. A few minutes later he had done his business and we were all 3 back in the pool! Right now it's been almost 2 weeks with no pull-ups or diapers at all and zero accidents! He is so awesome.

That awesome little baby is about to turn 3. I can't believe it. I flipped my calendar at work before I left today, because when I get back on Monday it will be August. There is was staring me in the face: Owen's birthday on the 12th and Collin starts school on the 22nd! Goodness. I ordered Collin's backpack and lunch bag this week from the online Disney store because they were having a sale and he wanted Phineas and Ferb stuff. We should get them in a few days. I took him shoe shopping too. I have to tell you about the shoes!

My friend Sally has a son, Cooper, who is only 7 months older than Collin, but he's much taller and just generally bigger. Poor Collin didn't get any tall genes from me. Anyway, they have been nice enough over the years to pass along some things that Cooper has grown out of. About 2 years ago Cooper grew out of a new pair of shoes so quickly that they were hardly used. Collin loved them so much because they were Sketchers and we don't ever buy fancy shoes that you see in commercials. They were huge on him! I'm talking clown shoes. They would fall off his feet if he walked too fast, forget running. But he insisted on wearing them ALL THE TIME. There were a few times we wouldn't let him, like when he played T-ball last year, but mostly we figured if he wanted to put up with his shoes flopping around all the time that was his business. Now 2 years later they still fit him but they have been through a lot and don't look so nice anymore so I told him we would buy him a new pair of Sketchers for school. Would you believe that when we were trying on shoes we ended up with a pair the same size as he's been wearing? It's nice to finally know what size his foot is, because I haven't know for a long time now. I don't normally recommend name brand stuff, but if you need some sneakers that will last and you're willing to part with $40ish it's not a bad deal. I'm so grateful for that old pair of shoes. They saved us a lot of money.

Now I'm wondering if that story makes me sound like I have raggy looking children with ill-fitting clothing. Collin always owned at least one other pair of shoes that would not fall off his feet, he just refused to wear them. Owen will sometimes insist, like today, that he wants to wear Collin's clothes. Collin is all too happy to share and dress his little brother. At first I told them that Owen could borrow shirts, but not pants because they would fall off. Collin proved me wrong on that one. Owen's little 2 year old belly can hold up those size 5 shorts without a problem. They are a bit long, but he's happy. Crazy boys!

One more and I'm done.....

I've been having an ongoing discussion with the daycare about keeping Collin awake at nap time. I really don't understand why they insist that the kids about to start school should still take naps. I think surely it would help them to have a transition period. Collin hasn't been taking naps at home for a long time now, and when he does sleep at school he will not go to sleep at night. There have been nights when I've gone to bed at 11:00 and he is still awake in his bed. Not cool. I try to remind Collin to stay up, but his teachers like him to lay down until the other kids go to sleep then they will get him up, but by that time he's already slept for 30 minutes and it's all over. He slept on both Monday and Tuesday this week, so on Wednesday morning in the car I reminded him not to go to sleep. It went like this:

Me: Remember not to go to sleep at nap time today.
Collin: It's not my fault because Ms Savana makes me go to sleep.
Me: How can she make you sleep? All these years I've never been able to figure out how to make you go to sleep if you didn't want to.
Collin: Mom, look at me.
Me: I can't look at you, I'm driving.
Collin: In the mirror, Mom. Look at me in the mirror!
Me: Okay, I'm looking.
Collin: Do you see me? I'm just a kid! I don't know what I'm supposed to do!!!
Me: (trying not to laugh) You may be a kid, but you are NOT just a kid. And you know perfectly well what you are supposed to do.

Oh he kills me sometimes! But no naps since then so we are doing well. I hope you are too. See you again soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Karate Kid Woes

Collin has been doing great in his Tang Soo Do class. He is learning so much and has really been good about practicing. He keeps saying that he wants to move up to the next belt color. He was 'promoted' last week to  be able to stop taking private lessons and begin practicing with the class. He is super excited. But with all this new wisdom comes a few challenges as well.

Yesterday in class, he got frustrated while they were doing a difficult kick. They have to turn around 180 degrees and kick behind them then turn the other 180 degrees to complete the circle and end up facing the same way they started. That's a lot to remember. Collin kept getting confused about which way he was supposed to turn. He looked over at me and had tears all down his face. It was so sad. He came over to where we were sitting and I started to take him to the restroom to wash his face, but the instructor called him back on to the mat. Apparently he is not supposed to leave the mat without asking permission first. The instructor made him continue through the tears and switched to an easier kick that Collin can do well. He felt better after that.

We went back to class today because I was thinking he needs to jump back on that horse since he had a hard time yesterday. Well guess what? He had a hard time again today. They sometimes use Korean instructions and today they were counting in Korean. Collin has no clue how to do that, but neither do a lot of the other kids. I guess he thought he was the only one that didn't know what he was saying. This time he remembered to raise his hand to ask the instructor for help, but he started crying in the middle of his question. Poor kid. He just wants to do everything perfectly and he gets upset when he can't. He is the youngest kid in the class and also the newest so the knowledge gap is so pronounced. He will get there. Soon he won't be the youngest or the newest kid and he will be helping them just like the older ones are helping him now.

We came home tonight and watched a video to learn how to count in Korean. We practiced up to 5 and maybe we can learn up to 10 tomorrow. Why don't you give it a shot? It's not all that easy.

Here is the form that Collin had to learn before he was allowed to join the class. We practiced this so many times I feel like I'm ready for my own belt test!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ice Cream

I took the boys out for ice cream about a week ago. It was Owen's first time to get ice cream on a cone and he loved it! They both picked the craziest flavors, based purely on colors and not taste. One was cotton candy and I forget the other but it sounded equally gross to me. But whatever makes them happy works for me.

Isn't that a sweet picture?

Collin is an old pro with cones, but he had a blast too!

Even at the little kid's table Owen didn't feel tall enough so he had to sit on his knees. It looks painful to me on that wooden seat!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pass the Cooties Please

We are still here! Sorry for the lack of posts recently. It was mostly due to rampant illness spreading through our home. Collin started it. :-P He had an ear infection I guess it was about 3 weeks ago now. I stayed home with him for 2 days. He wasn't too bad, but he did have a low fever the first day which meant he had to stay home a second day. (For those not aware, most day cares have a 24 hour fever-free rule before the child may return. Which I support fully.) It was a breeze staying home with him because he wasn't super sick, just sick enough to not be able to go to school. After the doctor the first day we went to Waffle House, which he loved! The second day was a lot of resting on the couch and watching tv. We watched Harry Potter and he kept repeating the lines back with a British accent. Awesome!

The next week little Owen got sick. The day care called me late in the afternoon on Monday to report his fever. Again, I'm super grateful that our doctor has an after hours clinic. Guess what he had? Yup, the dreaded ear infection. This time Timothy happily volunteered to stay home with Owen to get out of the 100 degree weather for a bit. Unfortunately, Owen had a harder time than his brother did. When he was still running a proper fever on Thursday, Timothy took him back to the doctor and got a different antibiotic. Both of the boys spent Friday with Memaw (because you can't just send one!) so Timothy could finally get back to work.

By this point I was already starting to feel sick. Only Timothy with his super immune system managed to avoid this one. I think there was one day where he 'didn't feel great' but then he was over it. Why can't I be like that? I went to get my antibiotic on Monday and honestly, I don't remember most of this week, but I managed to not miss any time from work. I probably should have stayed home those two days when I wasn't able to speak, but what are you going to do? Let's hope I didn't make any really bad decisions at work that will come back to haunt me later.

On another note, Collin has started Karate lessons. I am thrilled with his school so far. They are pretty tough and make the kids work hard. The instructor is all about "Yes, Sir" and after he comes home from a lesson he has the best manners! He calls us ma'am and sir the rest of the night. I think this is going to be a wonderful experience for him. He has even learned a few words in Korean already. It's a requirement to bow and greet the instructor in Korean before and after each lesson. I call is Karate because that's just easier, but he is really learning Tang Soo Do.

So here is the little man all dressed up. The uniform is a bit big and we have to roll up the sleeves and pants for him. If you can't tell, he wasn't very happy that I made him pose for a picture.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Collin's Pre-K Graduation

This was all the way back on May 20th, but I'm very lazy when it comes to getting pictures off the camera. Better late than never!

We met with family and friends to celebrate at Cici's Pizza before the program started. We saw Memaw and G-da, Mimi and Mr. Bob, Brent and Cooper. Unfortunately Sally had to stay home with a sick Sadie, so I hope this recap if adequate for her. :-) We all had a nice time visiting and eating. Cooper cracked me up by not only putting broccoli and carrots on his plate, but also refusing dessert. A health nut at the tender age of 5!

Collin got a few gifts: Timothy and I gave him a wallet just like Daddy's with a few dollars in it. Mimi added a few more to it. Memaw and G-da gave both of the boys Super Mario t-shirts and Cooper gave Collin a Harry Potter sticker book. (which I'm proud to say I haven't stolen yet!)

The boys had fun playing games for a few minutes before we went over to the school. We had gotten a card and some flowers to give to Collin's teacher, Ms. Savana. She loved it. We left Collin with his class to get ready and we found seats.

The kids came in and lined up on the 'stage' which was really just a corner of a classroom. They sang several songs together and then they each sang a song on their own. They got to come to the front and hold a microphone and everything! I was really expecting at least one of them to chicken out but they all did a great job. They were allowed to pick which song they wanted to sing. Collin picked a super long song that they learned when they were studying the letter P. It's about Penelope  pig and her pal Polly. The video actually cuts off before the end of the song. Everyone thought it was over and started clapping, but there was actuallyanother verse to go. Apparently my videos are too big to upload. so you can't see it here. :-( It's on facebook so you may have already seen it. If you don't have facebook then send me an email and I'll send it to you.

Then the kids performed their Mexican Hat Dance. Collin was super into it, it was awesome! At one point I even heard the guy next to me whisper "Look at that kid in the blue shirt. He's rockin' it!" Hee hee! That's my boy! Again there is a video for this one, let me know if you want it. Wait, never mind. It's too big for me to email it and I'm not savvy enough to know how to fix that. You will just to get facebook if you want to see that one.

After the dance the kids went to get changed into their graduation robes and we had an intermission. I should mention that it's just about impossible to get a 2-year-old to hold still and Owen was bouncing around like a pinball. That wasn't so fun.

Collin and his class marched back in to Pomp and Circumstance and they looked so big! Brent (who by the way was awesome) had taken the opportunity to keep Owen still for a few minutes by standing up and putting him on his shoulders so he could see better. While the teacher was getting the kids lined up for their diplomas, Owen spotted his brother.

Owen yelled across the room, "Hi Tollnin!"
"Hi Owen" Collin answered.
Collin says, "I love you!"
Owen answers "I yov you too!"

There was a collective Awww that passed through the room and some sweet giggles. Then they called each child's name to walk over to receive their diplomas.

That was pretty much it. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, from the Preschool class of 2011: Collin!

His cap wasn't staying on so well towards the end there. Thanks to my mom for helping with the pictures!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gotta Get My Nerd On!

Collin had his Pre-K Graduation on Friday! It was awesome, but I don't have the pictures ready from that one yet so that will be a future post.

On Saturday Collin and I went to Dallas Comic Con! It was pretty nifty. I've never been to a convention before and I wasn't sure what to expect. Everyone I interacted with was very nice. It sort of reminded me of the 6 hours I waited in line to get Star Wars Episode I tickets. (Hey you know we were ALL excited about seeing that at the time! :P) We met up with my friend Angela and her family and just had a geeky time. We saw lots of people in amazing costumes like this:

There were also some costumes that were not amazing at all, but that's okay too, it's all in good fun. There was a very realistic Klingon walking around, but I was a bit nervous to take his picture since they are known for their bad tempers. Most people were perfectly willing to pose for pictures if you asked them, but I just wasn't willing to ask.

I also met another friend at the Con for the first time. She helps with a podcast called Geek Fights and has been on several episodes, including the one I was on about Harry Potter. I felt like I was meeting one of my imaginary friends. :-) It's a bit different to be so used to someone's voice before you ever see their face. She was very nice and even had a light saber duel with Collin. Oh and by the way, where else call you tell someone, "I'll meet you at the T.A.R.D.I.S." ? How cool! Speaking of:

I need to hang out with nerds more often and in nerdier places. Since I surround myself with nerdy things like podcasts and 'imaginary friends' and movies/tv shows, sometimes I forget that my real life friends have no idea what I'm talking about half the time. I find myself having to make an effort especially at work to hold myself back from saying things that pop into my head because I know I will get the stares. While my work friends know better than to ask me what I thought about last night's American Idol, they get a glossy look when I bring up Star Trek. We just have to stick to general topics. It can be frustrating sometimes. For example, it was probably about 4 years ago on Doctor Who when it was revealed that Captain Jack was the Face of Boe. Timothy and I were so shocked and excited, but I didn't have anyone else that I could share that with. I started asking random people if they watched Doctor Who and not only did no one else watch it, but only one or two people had even heard of it! I'm grateful that I'm married to a nerd that, while he may not understand all of my obsessions, at least he understands what it's like to have nerdy obsessions. 

I'm also very proud of the two little nerds we are raising. Tonight we were watching Tarzan and at the part where he comes out wearing his father's black jacket Owen piped up, "Look it's Harry Potter!" I guess he thought it looked like a wizard robe. Maybe? Whatever his logic, I think it's great that he thinks of these things on his own. I think I may have mentioned before that Owen's favorite song has been (since he was 6 months old) the theme from Enterprise. They both recognize the themes from all the Star Treks, except maybe for Voyager. Collin knows how to say several of the spells from Harry Potter and his favorite show is MythBusters that he watches every week with Timothy. We try to mix it up and expose them to different things and let them discover what they like. Which is kinda what life is all about.

If you've made it this far, then I'm willing to bet you are a nerd too, whether you consider yourself one or not. It's not all about Sci-fi you know. You may be a cooking nerd, or a craft or sewing nerd. Maybe a music nerd or movie nerd. Leave me a comment below and let me know what kind of nerd are you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mommy and Owen Weekend

It's been awhile. Since I've last posted we have celebrated my birthday, Mother's Day, and our wedding anniversary. Nothing too fancy for any of them; we're pretty low-key. Timothy and I did get to go out for an evening by ourselves which is a rare treat. We saw Thor (awesome!) and went to dinner. It's always nice to hang out for a bit on our own.

This last weekend Collin and Timothy went on an overnight adventure to San Marcos to visit Inner Space Caverns. Collin was really excited to stay at a hotel. They had a great time and ate junk food and drank soda. I think the best story from that trip was when Collin drank an entire can of Dr Pepper on the drive down and shortly after started yelling that he really needed to go pee BAD!

Owen and I stayed home and also had lots of junk food! We visited grandparents in the morning. Then we went to Sonic and Owen had a fun time sitting in the front seat to eat.

And sitting on my lap. This is his "super cheese" smile.

We also went to Chuck E Cheese's and played some games, but he didn't want to stay too long. He was getting a bit overwhelmed after about 20 minutes. But I still think he had a blast!

Then we went to McDonald's for dinner because that's one of the 2 places he will eat and we had already hit up Sonic. I was grateful that they have good salads on the menu because I couldn't handle more heavy food in one day.

Of course we got ice-cream too!

That night I thought I'd give Owen a treat and let him stay up late. He always goes right to sleep at bed time which is 8:30, so I didn't think he would stay up too late. WRONG! I got him all ready for bed and we set up on the couch with pillows and blankets. An hour and a half later and he's still jumping up to dance with Mickey Mouse. We went to bed about 10:30 and he finally crashed at 10:45. Wow. Maybe I won't try that again soon.

Sunday morning we slept in until 7:00 and that was only because the cat decided it was time to get up and started screaming at us. So to continue with the junk food we went to our local donut shop for breakfast. Owen loves to go there and look through the case to pick which donut he wants.

Dad and Collin came home around lunch time and we all got back to normal. It was a good weekend.

Collin will be graduating from Pre-K this Friday. I'm so excited! We are going to have a little party at Cici's Pizza then head over to his school. He has informed me that he will be singing a song for the graduation. By himself. With a microphone. I'm going to cry. If Timothy manages to get it on video I will try to post it here for you all to see.

Lastly, Collin has not had a haircut since December and he's getting shaggy! He wants his hair to be as long as mine. (not gonna happen) We are trying to be open-minded parents and let him grow it out. I'll be happy when we can get past the awkward stage and get his hair to behave. Here's a pic from last night and his first real pony tail.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter, potty training, and funny stories

Easter weekend brought big storms to our area and our power went out about 3 A.M. Sunday morning. Would you believe that we didn't have a drop of rain at our house, just lots of wind. The outage only affected our street so the power company wasn't in a big hurry to fix it and it ended up being off until almost 5 P.M. which is about 15 hours!

First of all, it was no fun getting ready for church with flashlights and candles. I really had not planned on going with damp hair, but that's just how it happened. I'm sure God didn't mind. :) We didn't want to open the fridge to let any cold air out so we stopped for breakfast at McDonald's. Of course Owen spilled his apple juice on his new shirt, but that's okay. At least I thought to get him juice instead of his normal chocolate milk.

At church the kids behaved themselves pretty well and after we went to my In-law's house for brunch. It was very yummy because my mom-in-law is a great cook. The kids played and hunted eggs (for the 4th time that weekend) and a fun time was had by all.

We returned to a house that was still without power, so at this point we decided it was time to take action to protect all those groceries we had just bought the day before. Timothy went out for bags of ice and we filled up our ice chest with the freezer stuff. I was very thankful that I had finished the weekly laundry the day before just had a couple of baskets left to put away. While I did that, Timothy took the boys outside for a water gun fight. They had a blast! I should also mention that we were blessed to have lovely weather that day so we just opened all the windows and it wasn't too bad in the house.

The boys came in and got to have a bubble bath by candle light, which they thought was pretty fun. We don't normally have baths in the middle of the day. Some time around 2:00 Owen finally went to take his nap. I was surprised he made it so long without crashing, but I guess he was having fun. All day the boys kept forgetting (or more likely, not fully understanding) that most of the things they like to do take electricity. So they would ask to play a computer game, or to watch something, or why wasn't the light working when the switch was flipped. At one point Owen asked why he couldn't turn on the light and I told him because the power was out. He asked me when the power would come back in! He makes me smile! :D

While Owen and Timothy were napping, I took Collin to The Home Depot to finally see about getting a screen for Owen's window. Turns out, they don't make screens. You have to make it yourself. What?! I wasn't prepared for that, but heck, I'd already been 12 hours without electricity at this point and I was feeling up to the challenge so I bought all the things the man said I would need. We got home and I explored the instructions while Collin rode his bike on the sidewalk. Turns out you need a hacksaw to cut the metal bits and ours needs a new blade, so I wasn't able to make the window screen after all.

The coolest thing was that there were so many people outside, working in their yards, working on cars, or just sitting in lawn chairs because it was more comfortable outside that inside. Most of these folks I have seen passing by, but have never talked to. In this day and age we just don't visit as much as people used to. It was nice to have a chance to talk to some of these people. Around 4:45 an electric company truck came rolling down the street and my neighbor across the street flagged them down. After a brief chat the truck left and my neighbor announced: "They should have us up and running within 10 minutes!" There were cheers and such and it was a nice feeling to be part of a group. Owen was awake by this point, so Timothy decided to stay outside with the boys while I went in to start sorting the MASSIVE pile of candy the boys had received. The lights came on and I went out to tell my guys. The neighbors were all moving back into their houses too. Then it was over and I felt a bit like we had lost something that we had barely had a chance to discover.

I made dinner for the boys and we assessed that the only things that really needed to be replaced were the milk and yogurt so we were only out about $10. I know that seems like a lot for milk and yogurt, but Collin drinks soy milk and that stuff ain't cheap. I started the chicken and dumplins for Timothy and I (the boys haven't learned to like it yet) and then made a quick trip to the store for the milk. It ended like a normal day, but I think this was one of the best days I had had for a long time for many reasons I can't really describe.

On to other news! Have you heard those fantastic stories from crazy parents that claim that their child was potty-trained in a weekend? Yeah, I never believed it either.... until now, because that's what Owen has done!!! I'm so proud of him! I knew the little stinker was holding out on me because he has been going to the potty at school for weeks, but he would burst into real tears if I suggested he try at home. On Wednesday, when I picked them up from school, his teacher told him that if he would go potty for mommy that she would give him a surprise the next day. I was thinking she was insane. Not like I hadn't tried to bribe the kid! Also, he's 2. He's not going to remember something for a whole day, right? Wrong. He sat on the his potty that night, but there was no action going on. I was still impressed because that was more than he normally wanted to do. He didn't get a surprise from his teacher, but he got another reminder on Thursday when we were going home. That night he went potty before bed time! I was shocked! He was so proud of himself and kept reminding me that he would get a surprise the next day at school.

The rest is history. He has been going ever since then. All day Saturday and Sunday he did not have one accident and even woke up dry in the mornings and after naps! As I type this he is sleeping for the first time in underwear instead of a diaper because I think he has proven himself. I know there will be accidents along the way, and I could very well be up in the middle of the night to change wet sheets and clothes, but I'm okay with that. It's all part of the process and I couldn't be prouder of my baby!

Another funny moment this weekend when we went to Wal-Mart and we walked past the ladies section and Owen saw the bras. He pointed and said, "Mommy, those are just for girls, not for boys. But you have one under your shirt and that's funny!" Oh my! Embarrassing! I don't think anyone heard that one because I didn't hear any giggling, but it reminded me of the time when Collin was 2 and we were shopping at the same store. He had seen me nursing Owen since he had been born so he was probably more aware that most kids would have been. He saw a bra and said, "I know what that is." I couldn't help it, I had to ask what he thought it was called. He proudly responded, "A nipple holder!" I walked right into that one and there was no hiding it that time. There were about 2000 people standing right there that heard him. Maybe not really, but it seemed like it to me. Those silly boys! For the record, now when we pass that section, Collin covers his eyes and asks me to tell him when it's safe to look again. :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Good Guys Always Win.... right?

I'm sure I'm not the one breaking the new to you that Osama Bin Laden has been killed in an attack by the U.S. so why does it seem like I'm the only one not cheering for joy? Don't get me wrong! I'm very happy that he will not be able to hurt anyone else, but I just find it a bit uncomfortable to be happy that someone was killed. Has liberalism crushed my sense of patriotism?

I just watched Obama's speech and there were two things that struck me. First, when he said something like, "All peace loving people should be jubilant at Bin Laden's demise." Am I being instructed by my president to be happy? I don't think I like being told what to feel. Then again maybe someone does need to tell me how to feel, because obviously I'm confused. Second, was something like, "When I was elected in 2008 I made it clear to the CIA and other intelligence that the death or capture of Bin Laden will be the top priority of this war." Again, those are not exact words, just how I remember it. So, what? Like Bush didn't care if he got the bad guy or not? Just thought it sounded like Obama was taking a bit too much credit on that one. I guess that's politics for you. It's such a mess! They all lie and twist their words; I hate it.

So did anyone watch William and Kate get married the other day, because that was lovely. In the words of either Fred or George Weasley, "Just trying to diffuse the tension."

Hope you all had a nice Easter. I hope my next post will be about ours.

By the way, in my attempt to leave political views off of Facebook, I'm not posting a link there this time. If you still happen to find this, I hope you're not too disappointed that there are no cute kid stories in this one. Sometimes it's just about me.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Little Catch Up

This is one of those random posts. You have been warned.

We have been making an effort to cut down on the TV time at our house. The boys were on a schedule and had come to expect that they would be able to watch one of their shows about twice a day. I normally would let them watch something in the morning while we were getting ready for the day and then again at night after they had their bath. This is not really excessive, but it was to the point that they were being demanding about it. We now have no TV in the morning and hardly anything that is exclusively for them at night. We will still have the TV on some for things that we are all (or mostly all) interested in watching like the Rangers games or Mythbusters, but I feel like the TV time has been drastically cut down. The coolest part? They don't seem to mind! :-0 I was shocked! I think a major part of this development has been that Owen is getting old enough to play with Collin. They fight imaginary monsters with swords and bombs and fly like super heroes with their blankets tied around their necks like capes. They even play marbles and Candy Land when Owen feels like cooperating. Good times.

Collin is friends with several of the older boys at his day care that go to the elementary school during the day, but they can hang out before and after. Some of these older boys like to fix their hair in the mornings, so naturally Collin wants to do the same. We have hair gel, but someone needs to teach me how to use it properly! He's been asking for mohawks this week. And yes, I actually send my child to school this way:

Now I just need to convince him it would look a bit better if he would let me cut his hair. Check out those mutton chops! Goodness!

Easter is nearly here and I've had loads of fun shopping for little things to put into their baskets. Easter is almost as fun as Christmas for me. :-)  Tonight, the boys put candy in their eggs to take to school tomorrow. They will have an egg hunt and an Easter party. I hope the rain can hold off this weekend. We have a chance of rain every day from now until Tuesday, I think. Our plans include dinner with my mom and Mr. Bob on Saturday evening. Then church on Sunday with my in-laws followed by brunch at their house. I hope to be able to squeeze in time to color eggs and possibly have an egg hunt of our own at some point as well.

Guess that's all I have for now. I hope you are all well. Remember God's gift to us all this Sunday, and I hope you all have a chance to celebrate and enjoy time with your families.