Monday, November 30, 2009

My Daybook~ Giving Up Bath time

For Today- Monday, November 30, 2009

Outside my window...It's chilly. Yay! It was supposed to rain most of the day, but thankfully, it stopped and we were able to enjoy some time outside this afternoon. It should be cold most of this week, so the kids can wear sweaters!

I am listening to...Dexter. I love this show, but this season is giving me the creeps. I can barely stand to watch it without getting too freaked out by John Lithgow. I am like a little kid running in and out of the room.

I am wearing...black yoga pants and a longhorn fleece.

I am thankful for...the opportunity to spend time with a dear friend who doesn't live in Houston any longer. I met this friend at church five years ago, and we just clicked. She understands me, isn't judgemental, isn't a GSer, but loves the church and totally understands why Lance had the final say on Goose's school. She had a big surprise for me too...she is pregnant with number 5! We had a short visit, but it was so nice to catch up with my friend.

To be fit and happy...After eating nonstop in Pittsburgh, I came home ready to get back on track. I'm not trying to lose weight, just maintain, which can make me pretty obsessive. I took two classes on Saturday, then came home and ate so much food I thought I would get sick. We went to the tailgate on Sunday morning and then tonight I had cake. For the rest of the week, I'm working my ass off and not pigging out!

I am reading...two books right now, plus tons of cooking magazines. I'm looking for new recipes to try. I'm still reading Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime and really enjoying it. I read Sarah Palin's new book, and all I can say is I hope she didn't pay her ghost writer a lot of money because that person did her no favors.

From the kitchen...I planned the menu for the week. I can't say it's totally healthy, but at least we have a plan and there won't be any excuses to eat out.

I am thinking...that I hate bath time. EVERYONE I know loves giving their kids baths. My kids hate it, which makes me hate it. They don't like water running over their faces, so they spend the entire time screaming. At first, I'm patient, but screaming and crying really gets on my nerves and then I don't feel sorry for them anymore, then I get mad, then kids go to bed without books. It's a bad cycle, and I've decided the only way to stop it is for me to stop giving the baths.

To live the liturgy...Advent has started! And while I'm not as ready as I want to be, I have some definite plans and have already started doing things with the children. I have been talking about Advent with my children for a couple of weeks now and today we focused on this during Super Saints. I am glad I decided to hold off decorating for at least the week so that the kids can focus on anticipating Christ.

I am creating...a cool craft for Super Saints next week. I really hope it turns out for the kids.

I am praying...for all of the wonderful priests I know. I really love our parish priest. Our family followed him to our current parish. I am also lucky to have three really good priests at the church closest to our home. We see these priests at daily Mass, and they are so nice to me and my not so quiet children.

On keeping home...I finished the deep clean before putting up all my nativity scenes. I am hoping to create a wonderful place for us to live our faith during Advent and Christmas.

One of my favorite things...taking trips. I love to travel, always have, always will, no matter how much I hate to fly. I am hoping for a trip to LA in early January (just one more game to go), then Chicago in March, then...who knows what. But I am already researching where we might go for Spring Break and/or Summer Vacation. Thankfully, my husband loves to travel too. Just not always with the kiddos!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • WORKOUT
  • Santa pics with the two youngest
  • swim lessons
  • three more gifts
  • buy my Christmas and party outfits
  • make my Christmas card, already bought the paper and printed the cards
  • celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas
  • RELAX
  • start planning LZ's birthday
  • check out my new washing machine

A picture thought I am sharing...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tiny Blessings

Yesterday, we went to the pottery place to make our annual Christmas plate. We were running late so we had to find another church since we weren't going to make it to our parish before Mass started. We went to a parish that I can only say seems to have given up hope. At least, that is how I felt. Honestly, I felt like I needed to go to Mass again today. The pews were empty, people were having loud conversations in Mass, the kids sensed that nobody was taking Mass seriously and acted up. The lady behind us was playing with the boys and laughing out loud, (in a sweet way). It just didn't feel holy. After we left and I was getting ready to complain, my dear husband stopped me and said, "before you start, I want to point out that we could have had a jerk behind us who didn't like kids like we had on the airplane." He then suggested that we come home and read the Mass readings together and talk about them (he was in the bathroom with the boys for the five minute sermon). He pointed out that we are too quick to be cynical about things and that we needed to see the positive more often and that someone loving our kids, especially during Mass was a positive. He is right, although I wouldn't say we are cynical, just extremely sarcastic, which at times is very dangerous.

Today, I was reading the bulletin from this church, and they have an Advent calendar with beautiful suggestions for each day, plus a morning and evening offering. I was getting ready to make my own daily ideas for the family, but now I don't have to do that thanks to this parish! Lance is right about looking for the positives rather than the negatives.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goose Dancing in the Clouds

This is Goose at the Warhol Museum dancing in the clouds. We weren't supposed to take pictures in the museum so we had to sneak a few shots with the Blackberry in this exhibit. I figured that was okay since he was allowed to touch the clouds.

The following is an excerpt from the museum's website about the piece:

Silver Clouds
Created for a 1966 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery, Warhol created an environment that included one room filled with Silver Clouds, helium-filled balloons which moved with the air currents. In addition to creating an ethereal, joyful atmosphere, they challenged traditional expectations by mingling with and touching the viewer.
Made of helium and oxygen-filled metalized plastic film, the Silver Clouds were created with the assistance of Billy Kl├╝ver, an engineer and one of a group who sought to bring together artists and new technology.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Family Pictures From Pittsburgh

Thanksgiving Day, My Boys look so handsome!

Grandma and Grandpa Zierlein

At the Carnegie


Vancouver???

Pittsburgh Pictures

Pittsburgh Highlights

Primanti Brother's...French Fries on a Sandwich, What's not to like?





Digging for Fossils

Miniatures for Aunt Mary
Hungry?

Walk This Way

Wearing Grandpa's Superbowl Ring

Pittsburgh has so many amazing bridges

View from the top of the incline

Unpacked Already!

I've been home less than an hour and have unpacked for five people and dried the wet clothes I had to bring home. I had to wash everything before coming home because my new washing machine doesn't arrive until Tuesday. Thank you, Baby, for my new machine! BUT THIS IS NOT MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!! Let's be very clear on that.

We had a GREAT trip. Before going into any real details of the trip, I have to brag about my kids. They travel so well. They don't do television or take tons of toys and don't fuss in the car or on planes. (They do enough fussing everywhere else!) I am not a fan of kids watching DVDs nonstop in cars no matter how long the drive. So, despite having a few young kids, I refused to get a DVD player when we bought our current vehicle. Maybe I'm just jealous that I didn't have that option when I was growing up. We do let them listen to our Ipods while flying, but even then, it's not nonstop and there are rules to follow. I am just so proud of our boys and how behaved they are during times that can be pretty stressful.

The biggest news of the trip was that Lance and I were TWO HOURS early for each of our flights. Who can believe this? ANYONE? Before 9/11, I used to show up at the airport thirty minutes before a plane would leave. I missed a flight once doing that, but it was a last minute trip (as in I decided an hour before leaving) so I didn't really care about that and didn't learn a lesson about flight timeliness. Even now, I am always cutting it close, but I blame that on my fear of flying and dislike of airports.

Pittsburgh...What a great week we had with our family. Even though the kids don't see The Zierlein Grandparents but twice a year at most, they were so excited about seeing their grandparents. Baby Hulk can be a pistol with people, but even he was so happy about seeing Grandma and Grandpa.

Since we're in the middle of the season, Grandpa wasn't around much at all. You can't imagine the hours this man works as an NFL coach. He is out of the house by 5:30 in the morning and doesn't return until 10:00 pm. I don't know how he does it. Monday night he was able to stay up for about thirty minutes, but by Wednesday night he was so tired that he lasted eight minutes before heading off to bed. The boys were able to see him on Thanksgiving because he had an early day. He got home from the facility at 3:00 in the afternoon.

The boys were happy with their time with Grandma though. She made breakfast for them each morning and spent time playing Chess with Goose and just playing with the boys. She also took care of Sebastian so we could enjoy a few sights without him. We tried out the original Primanti Brothers, which I loved! We went to the Carnegie museums of Fine Art and Natural History. The boys loved the dinosaur exhibits; their dino exhibit puts Houston's exhibit to shame. That Andrew Carnegie sure had a lot of money...

We also went to the Andy Warhol museum, which totally rocked. Thankfully, only Goose went with us. I was so sure he would think the artwork was cool, but not so much. He told me he didn't like the museum because it only had art. We also took the incline up Mt. Washington for a great view of the city. I must admit sight seeing with one child was SOOOOOOOO freaking easy. We've talked about taking my mom on vacations with us to help with the kids, but I know her too well, she wants to go to the museums too. (I got it from somewhere!)

I can't explain how much we ate while in Pittsburgh. There's just something about mom's cooking...and thankfully, Lance's mom can cook really well! She baked banana bread, chocolate-hazelnut biscotti and coffee cake. She cooked some really good meals for us too. She doesn't get to cook very often, so I know she really liked doing that.

We spent Thanksgiving with some of their good friends. These people were so generous. Larry and Marcia vacationed with them last year, and now we know why. They sent us home with tons of food and a kick ass, expensive bottle of tequila!

Our trip ended with me freaking out about the Longhorns. We are so counting on a trip to California soon and those damn Aggies were giving the defense major problems. I was so frustrated and then Lance fell asleep during the game, which totally pissed me off. Can I admit that? Then, my brother didn't even call me during the game or text me. Yet, he did text Lance...WTF???? I am THANKFUL that my team won, but it made for a stressful evening.

We're home now and I am off to the gym tomorrow for two Les Mills classes! Yes, two. You have no idea how much food I ate this week.

We are relaxing the rest of the weekend, getting ready for Advent to start. A big surprise to most people, but I am not putting up decorations until next week. First, I need to do a major clean up before doing so and second and most important, I really want to focus on the anticipation that is Advent this year. For now, I am so grateful for my husband and his parents.

I am posting pictures in another post.

Monday, November 23, 2009

All I Want for Christmas Is...

A new washing machine. For the second time in three months, the tub is rocking around in a way that is so not right. I've already spent $300 on this machine, so I guess when we return from vacation, I'll be buying a new machine. Here's hoping for some really good sales with super, fast delivery times. I don't think this house of six can live without a washing machine.

Dad, I also want tickets to the Nat'l Championship Game just like last time!!! I am so easy to shop for this year!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pittsburgh Here We Come

I can't wait until we are on the plane! Whoever thought that would come out of my mouth? I hate to fly and have finally resorted to Xanax to make it through the flight. I take enough for a two hundred pound person and still get extremely nervous. At least, I have stopped ripping my skin (for the most part) when I fly. I don't fly without Lance which stinks because that means I'll never have a girls' weekend.

I have been trying to pack for myself and the kids all day with a break for a pedicure and a party out in Kingwood. It's been one of those days where nothing seems to go right. My breakfast stunk, my coffee stunk, Goose's coat didn't fit, the baby wouldn't nap, and Baby Hulk has been testing the limits all day. He has refused to do one thing I have asked of him ALL. DAY. LONG. I've lost my patience and reconsidered my stance on spanking. Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I didn't falter. We're still a no spanking zone. (Not that he deserves it!)

Thankfully, the little ones are sleeping so I can finish packing for myself. In all the shopping I've done recently, I forgot to buy something to wear for Thanksgiving Day. I know we can go shopping in Pittsburgh, but it wasn't high on my list of things to do. The boys are excited about seeing their grandparents tomorrow. Goose gets a new state book! Hopefully, everyone will be good on the plane ride and it will go smoothly. For now, I'm waiting on Jessica to bring me some dessert! She was over here earlier to say goodbye and saw how flustered I was getting. She is such a good child!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Killing Myself To Have a Better December

I just asked Baby Hulk if he wanted to watch Word World. Is that bad? We have been running around since 7:15 this morning, and I just want a few minutes to myself. I am so flipping tired and still need to shower from my morning workout. I was trying to sit down and check email, but he wouldn't stop chattering so I made him an offer of television.

I'm so tired because I am on a mission to finish all my Christmas shopping by Sunday. I had a short list today, but it still took until 1:00 p.m. to finish my list. I was so excited and decided to make another list to see how much I have left to do. Big mistake. I haven't done as much as I thought I had. We buy gifts for so many people and certain people are pretty difficult so even though I am crossing people off my list, the list doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. Then there are the gifts I need Lance to pick up for me. He's had a busy week, so his list just keeps getting longer.

I am rewarding my kids with a playdate tomorrow with the twins. They will need it because they are going shopping again once we pick up Goose and Squirt from school. I think it might be a pizza night!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Daybook~ Sick Again

For Today~ November 16, 2009

Outside My Window...It's damp and warm. I haven't checked the weather for the week, but I am hoping that it finally cools down. I would love to put the boys in some winter clothes.

I am listening to...Liz Phair and Tivo beeping in the background. I hate the sound of the fast forward on the Tivo. It drives me crazy.

I am wearing...boxers and a t-shirt.

To be fit and happy...I feel like dirt again! I am so over being sick every other week. I'm off to bed as soon as I finish this entry. Maybe getting more than six hours of sleep will help. I'm working out regardless though! I have great workouts planned all week long so I'm hoping to sweat the sickness out. Does that even work?

I am thankful for...my husband. Today he really pissed me off, and I was so prepared to stay mad at him all day, maybe even tomorrow. Even after he apologized. But something wouldn't let me stay mad at him. I guess it's his example. No matter what I do, he doesn't hold a grudge and I am so blessed to have that lesson. I can't say that I have been so forgiving with other people so I am glad he has taught me how to act.

I am reading...Discipline That Lasts a Lifetime by Ray Guarendi. Lance and I heard him speak this week and bought two of his books in hopes of raising perfect kids. (Yes, in addition to the other books I purchased!) There is no perfect answer to raising children, but this guy offers pretty sound advice and also made me feel like we were doing okay, basically that we're not too strict.

From the kitchen...we haven't planned the menu yet, but it will be healthy and simple. We have one week before Thanksgiving and all the heavy eating that comes with it. Plus, we're leaving town which means eating out a lot. I am hoping to eat really well this week before leaving.

I am thinking...about my friends. I have some friends that I haven't been able to talk to lately, and it makes me so sad. The fourth kid really did me in as far as the phone goes. Besides family, I only talk to Marivi and Paul almost daily. And this week, I only caught both of them twice. One of the reasons for the blog was so I didn't have to keep a list of things to talk about when I was finally able to talk to my friends. I know we all have hectic lives, but I miss talking to them so much.

I am creating...Another blog for Super Saints. I am going to make progress this week, I promise.

To Live the Liturgy...We are focusing on Christ the King this week at Super Saints. The kids continue to love Super Saints and are really learning something. Advent starts soon so I am trying to prepare the children.

I am praying...for peace and patience. I really want to be patient, but then something pisses me off and all my plans go south. This week, I am getting up early and praying before my kids wake up, not while I'm getting them dressed.

On Keeping Home...I was bad this weekend, I never really cleaned the house. Of course, it's neat, but I have to clean really fast tomorrow before Super Saints. As always, I want to create a home for my children. Their home will always be clean and neat, but I want them to have so much more than a clean place to play and sleep. I want them to have memories of a loving home.

One of my favorite things...when people do what I tell them to do! Ha!! Seriously, I do like when Baby Hulk goes to bed without screaming though. Makes me more patient. So really, one of my favorite things....crossing things off a list. I am such a list person it is ridiculous. Tonight, right before The Gap closed, I managed to buy Squirt some pants for Christmas. Usually Lance has this job, and it happens two days before Christmas. I am so psyched about this and so is Lance.

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week
  • Super Saints
  • The Zoo
  • Shoe Shopping for Squirt and Goose (Christmas Shoes)
  • Making my Christmas card
  • Making blankets for my newest Godson and Kobra
  • Finishing my Christmas shopping
  • getting better
  • going on a date during the day with my hubby! We are going to see two movies this week
A picture thought I am sharing

The Black Plague's first album cover

My Mother

Today we celebrated my mom's birthday. Her birthday was during the week, but she wanted to wait until the weekend to celebrate so all her grandchildren could be with her. Something must change once you have grandchildren because Lance and I would honestly prefer a nice meal alone. I mean, really, who wants kids fussing, crying or fighting on your special day? Certainly not me.

I have the best mother: she's not afraid to give her opinion about anything, to tell me when I'm being a bitch, (although she doesn't use that word), she helps with my kids unless she is sick, and loves good food and movies, things I like. Lance loves her too and misses those days when we used to double bubble and get food. She was a great mother while I was growing up. I can't really describe why except to say that I was always happy to come home from school to see her. I loved her cooking and wish she cooked more often now.

Last winter after my grandmother died, my mother came and stayed with us for about a month. We had the best time while she was here. Lots of wine and desserts. I think we spent at least 60 bucks a week on desserts. I'm not sure we should be proud of that. We spent a lot of time talking and it was great for the kids to be around her. Once she left, we all missed her more than I thought we would.

Thank you mom for being the best mother in the world and the best grandmother to my children. I love you so much!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Plans

Your job is to focus on my personal happiness, she said, & I've got big plans, so break time is over.

I'm looking for something meaningful for my fifth kid. While searching, I came across the above quote and rather like it. I wonder what Lance will think when I buy this for us/him. Not sure where to place it...I'm thinking at the computer so he sees it daily.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No Talking

My dad's best friend has been inviting him to go on a silent retreat for at least fifteen years. My dad has promised to go a few times, then backed out at the last second. This year he promised to go and try to maintain silence. He was pretty worried about what he would do the entire time. I'll admit it's not easy being on a silent retreat. I'm not as holy as some of the people. As much as I want, I don't have it in me to just sit and pray nonstop in Adoration. I know what a blessing it is, but it doesn't matter. My mind would always wander, and I'd start writing in my journal and not about the retreat. I knew my dad wouldn't be any different, but I'm still glad he went. Some spirituality is better than nothing, right? So far, I have received two text messages from him. I am not responding because it's supposed to be a silent retreat. My brother said he has received several messages as well. My last message was a bit of gossip he received from someone at the retreat. Are they passing notes?

Showing My Support

Even though I STILL want to homeschool Goose, I am showing my support and doing my best not to be such a bitch to everyone, meaning Lance, about Goose being in school. I don't think I've even mentioned any of my frustrations lately on this blog. Good for me, I'm learning self control. I guess it's about time I learned some lessons in life. Still, I would hate for anyone to think for one second that I am happy about the situation yet. BECAUSE I AM NOT!!!

I purchased a Rogers sweatshirt which means I probably need sweatshirts from Lamar and Memorial soon! (presents children!) Goose is so proud when I wear his sweatshirt.

I also went on a field trip with the school. It was fun except for the tie-dyed t-shirt we were all forced to wear. His teacher wasn't too thrilled about the shirt either. And we had to pay for them. Yesterday, Goose asked if I would go on all his field trips with him. I guess I'm glad to know he misses me and wants me around.

Stop Me Now

Maybe this is a sign of depression, but I ordered 34 books last night on Amazon for my kids. Lance thinks I am crazy and started comparing my new kids' books obsession with my Snoopy obsession. I went on and on about how each and every one of these books is important to the well being of my kids. Most of them are Tomie De Paolo books and mostly Christmas books. I figure we can use these books for years to come and then our grand kids will love them. Don't ask how much money I spent. I will say that all of my mad money for the rest of the year is gone. And then, I remembered two gifts I forgot to order and one more for Goose.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Am Pregnant and Her Name is Stella

Dear Lord, Help me with Gluttony. No Joke. Our friend, Bryan Caswell, one of Food and Wine's top chefs in the country, is opening a new restaurant. We've been dying the try Stella Sola and we made it in tonight for the last night of mock service. Bryan wanted us to try a little of everything. We had four different entrees, two appetizers and a taste of all the desserts. I am so embarrassed to admit that Lance and I ate almost all of the entrees, one full appetizer and tasted each of the desserts before calling it a night. Our time at the restaurant took less than an hour. In fact, we spent more time in traffic than in the restaurant. We got home and I could barely say anything to the kids before resting. The babysitter probably thought I was crazy showing her my big belly. The food was great and I'm really excited about this new restaurant. For now, it's bed time. Double workouts for me tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

When Did Michael's Become The New Walmart?

Ever since I started hosting Super Saints, I have made a weekly trip to Michael's. While there are times that I browse the store, I usually have a specific list and pick up the items immediately. Then I wait in line for at least fifteen minutes. What the heck? It drives me crazy that there is always just one lane open despite the fact that there are always five people waiting in line. I'd boycott the store like we have done with Walmart, but my only other option is Hobby Lobby, a store further away and with the same line problems.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Do Scorpions Travel in Pairs????

We went to Austin this weekend and stayed at my dad's place. While wrestling on the floor with all three of his brothers, Squirt found a scorpion. Yes, all four boys were rolling around next to a scorpion. Lance managed to catch it before anybody was stung. I was telling Paul the story and casually said something about not having to worry about another one. He told me he heard that they (scorpions) travel in pairs. So now all I can think about is the rogue scorpion just waiting in the kids' room in Austin. Waiting to get his revenge on us when we go back to Austin. Because, yes, Lance killed his friend. His little friend that was trying to sting us!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin Pictures

I didn't get many pumpkin pictures this year because each time we tried to take pictures, it would rain. And not just a little rain, a freaking downpour. I took these of Goose one day after school. It was actually picture day so he is wearing a collared shirt. Isn't he so handsome?!


We took the shots of the baby on Halloween, which was also the day we bought the pumpkin for Squirt to carve. Where does the time go????

Finally, The Pictures!



Every year we dress one of our children for our friend Chris. Chris has no kids of his own, doesn't want any kids, but loves our boys. Or at least he does a pretty good job of pretending to really like them! Goose has been Dwight from The Office and a Mexican Wrestler. This year the Hulk got to be Don Draper from Mad Men, the best show on television. We focused so much on Baby Hulk's costume that Goose's costume came from the pretend drawer. Don't feel too sorry for him though, he was more than happy to be a doctor. The baby was an army man, sort of. He was supposed to be a monkey, just like all his brothers have been at his age, but I lost the costume. Yes, ME, Nicole, the most organized person around, lost a monkey costume. Oh, and I realized it the day before Halloween. Squirt decided that Kobra should be an army man so he painted his face and gave him a headband, which Kobra promptly threw off his head. Squirt even dressed up to hand out candy.

Is there a doctor in the house?

He looks like he was in battle, right?



Never too old to have fun!

We ended up having a blast. My mom came to check out the kids' costumes and Hulk got extra candy from some houses for his clever portrayal of Don Draper. I even got wine from one of the houses! Like everything in our life, the night felt rushed, but the kids really enjoyed their time and are already looking forward to next year.

One of Draper's many women! Jessica was going to Homecoming. Doesn't she look beautiful?!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All I Want is to Download Pictures From Halloween

It's Wednesday night and I have yet to even start downloading Halloween pictures. Everyone from my dad to Tony at Houston Swim Club is on my ass to send them pictures. I have five minutes until bedtime routines, and then a friend is coming over to visit. So maybe tomorrow I will be able to share our Halloween pictures. And this week was supposed to be a slow week for us!