Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thank you, Chris and Heather! You know how Lance and I roll. Something tells me there are a few more calories in one slice of cheesecake than a skinny cow, but you know what? It is so freaking worth it!
Today, Goose told me that we could have school at home since he didn't have to go to his other school. He ran to my closet and found my school bag. (Empty since September). He waited patiently at the table for our lessons!
As usual, he was a model student for me! God, I love that kid.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Advent...Although Advent is a season of its own, I haven't blogged about it. We try and light the Advent wreath every night during Advent and sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". It is truly beautiful to listen to my boys sing this song. At 14, Squirt is hardly excited about this sort of thing, but he did sing loud and clear for me while I was recording them.
Goose is so like me and not always in the good ways. Once when we were singing, he pointed out that he didn't hear everyone. I was just praying he wouldn't call out Squirt whose voice couldn't be heard at all.
On another night, one of Squirt's friends was having dinner with us. I think he almost crapped his pants when we told his friend we were going to sing. I know he was thinking, "why me? You guys suck." Thankfully, his friend sang along with us, and Squirt was saved from total embarrassment. (BTW, we told the parents that we would be lighting the wreath and singing before asking their child to join in with us. And some people may wonder why we talked to the parents first on something like this. Easy, I don't ever want people teaching my children any type of religion without my permission....this is why I DON'T support prayer in school. I promise you, if you teach your kids to pray, they will pray without the school giving them permission. But, I digress, as usual.)
Crafts and Baking...Kobra joined in the fun this year. We made our usual Christmas plate. Squirt is now a fingerprint on the plate like me and Lance. The boys did tons of crafts that adorn our house. I can't believe I have a wall dedicated to crafts in my home. (So not like me, but I love it.) Goose made the following poinsettia with my mom. I left them instructions, and my mom looked at me like I was crazy, but it turned out great. It also tied in nicely with one of our Tomie de Paola books.
The boys really enjoy helping me bake. Lance and I just like the end result. We made eight different kinds of sweets this year. Thankfully, everything but Squirt's cookies are gone.
Celebrating Hanukkah with our sweet neighbor...I've talked about our neighbor before now. She is like a member of the family, the daughter I don't have and a big sister to the boys. We love her to pieces. And she is Jewish. What better way to teach the children about Hanukkah than with one of their favorite people. Baby Hulk even found a Tomie book about Hanukkah. So on the third night of Hanukkah, we took a gift, our book and watched the candles. I also got my X-mas gift! A beautiful charm.
Snow Day at school...For all my complaining about school, it does have some cool stuff. The best part, no fundraisers! Snow Day would qualify as a close second. The PTO brings in snow, a petting zoo, a train and Santa. The kids had a blast throwing snowballs at each other. Hulk and Kobra got to join the fun too since I forgot to get a babysitter. Afterwards, the kids had movie day at school. Goose was so excited because he was able to bring Big Snoopy to school for the first time ever!
The Christmas Tree...The boys 3 and up are allowed to go with Lance to pick out the Christmas tree. I am not allowed to interfere with process. This year Baby Hulk joined in the "fun". Although the tree was pretty tiny compared to others in the past and most of our ornaments didn't fit on the tree this year, I loved it anyway. I really like that the boys get this special time that is just for them with their father.
Lance always puts the first ornament on the tree, our wedding ornament. I put on the ornament from the night we got engaged. The boys each put on their own special ornaments and then each year someone new puts on the star. This year was Goose's turn.
Family Time in Houston...My dad is the oldest of ten kids. All but three live in Austin, so we miss a lot of the festivities. When I got married, my aunt and I decided to start having our own get together for our families in Houston. The kids get to see their cousins and there is tons of food and fun to be had. Since we missed our annual Santa party in Austin due to illness this year, this evening was a welcome one for all of us.
Christmas Eve with 1560...This party rocks. Every year at Klein's Jewelry, rain or shine, you will find Lance and John. It is unbelievable how many listeners show up here. How can they not? It's pure fun and a chance to hang with the guys they listen to each morning. There are eating contests, football drills and tailgate food. I got here super late this year because I had to bring the kids. Thankfully, they saved a plate of food for me. And yes, that entire tray was just for me. I also had a few guys tell me how much they enjoyed the blog, which I LOVE! Most of my friends don't read my blog, so it's nice to know that someone out there is reading it! :)
Dinner at Trulucks...We eat dinner at Trulucks every Christmas Eve. And the kids are so good while we are there! I'm glad to know we can dress them up and make them behave through the meal. I admit that we eat pretty fast. There is no savoring the meal with four kids around. I'm more concerned that nobody spills their drink or my wine! Squirt really looks forward to this meal and even orders his meal off the menu, some trout dish they removed from the menu. This year, the little ones got fancy and ordered Shirley Temples. Goose decided it was a little spicy, code for "I don't like it", and drank water instead.
Christmas Eve pictures at home...I can't say this is a fun tradition for anyone in this house. But I need my pictures.
New Pjs, tracking Santa and cookies for Santa...
Baby Jesus...The first thing we do on Christmas morning is place Baby Jesus in the many nativity scenes throughout the house.
Church before presents...This probably makes me the meanest mom on the planet, although I am not alone in this decision. We go to Mass before the children open any gifts. The kids are just too young for Midnight Mass, and personally, I can't stand the crowds of people at church at any of the masses on Christmas Eve. Going Christmas morning allows us to reflect on the meaning of Christmas while not having to be at church an hour early just to find a seat. Seriously, we got there ten minutes early and had our pick at the9:30 mass.
Drake has served every year at Christmas Mass since he was 9 except last year. When we were downtown, he always served for the Bishop. He doesn't have that honor now that we have moved, but we are so proud of him. So proud that we wanted a picture of him.
The man who makes everything happen with me. You are the best, my love. You put up with me and love me and get me beautiful gifts! I love you! Thanks for taking so many freaking pictures with me!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
I just can't believe that they sent this fine to a collection agency. By the time they pay off the agency, the county will receive maybe half the fine. And that is if I pay it.
I tried to look up the ticket on the Municipal Court site, but couldn't find a thing because I needed my old license plate number. So I called the law firm, and they are closed for the holidays. The chances of this ticket ever getting paid are about zero. I guess this means I can't drive in KC should I ever return.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Nicole..I recalled the word I thought of to describe Goose: happy. He is usually smiling and is enjoying what he is doing. Today when we got back from the cafeteria, he told me he left his note. I had to ask 'what note' and he said..you know the one my mom writes me every day. I said oh yes and let him go back to get it only to be turned away when he got there..not sure why..maybe tables were cleaned already. But anyway..happy and caring are only 2 words to describe him. I know you miss him but he is growing up and you've done a great job with him. He thinks about you too and it's those little things that make his day special while he's away from home. Thank you for sharing him with me. He is fun and I look forward to seeing him every day.
BTW, my little boy has kept every note (except for today's note) I have written to him. I love that he wants to keep them!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Our big threat this year to be good: Oklahoma shirt and pants. Baby Hulk freaks at the thought of getting anything with ou on it. He is so smart.
I'm not sure Elephant is making a big impression on the Hulk this year. Though he acting like he "believes" in Christmas Magic now, he just threatens us that "we aren't going to tell Elephant a thing!!!"
Thankfully, I've been able to workout all week. I've been baking for the caretakers at the gym, Mr. Tony at swim club and a few friends. And myself. I don't share with the kids, but I have had to make double just to keep up with myself.
We had a great time at Super Saints this week. The kids loved learning about Our Lady of Guadalupe and were excited about the book and cookie exchange. We'll be on break until the Kings arrive.
I had a great dinner last night. I haven't seen my friends in so long. There were so many stories to catch up on and as usual we closed the place.
I haven't made it to Confession, but I am going. I have to get there this week. I haven't been to Communion in forever. I told the priest yesterday that when you want to kill your children during the Consecration, it's probably a sign that you don't need to partake.
So far, I've done most of my list for the week and I'm in a good mood. I'm sure Lance likes the good mood. The problem is that we've both been so busy with places we have to be, and we can't go together because of sick kids. We're so used to spending most of the day together, and we haven't been able to do that for the past month. It makes for a very cranky couple. My brother-in-law will be here soon, and Lance has already suggested we go to the movies!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Squirt has finals this week, and he has been working really hard. Lance and I can get pretty frustrated at times with him because he doesn't always work to his abilities. Sunday he had a ton of work on his review sheets, and he had a concentration issue. I was convinced he would fail his finals.
One of his tests is a replica of his study sheet. Really creative, teacher. It did make it easy to study with him though. First, Lance went over the multiple choice questions with him, then asked me to finish up because he had work to do. I think I've said in the past that I don't do homework with Squirt. We learn completely different, and I get so frustrated and we end up really upset with each other. I promised myself I would go in with a positive attitude.
I must say I was impressed with his memorization skills! So I took it to a new level. I started asking why and for definitions. And he still knew it all. I am very proud of his work. Here's hoping for some kick-ass finals grades!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Outside my window...it's dark and dreary. It's wet and cold outside, which is making my kids get sick.
I am listening to...Wilco and Liz Phair.
I am wearing...jeans and a longhorn t-shirt.
I am thankful for...my wonderful husband who helped me so much today. I was so blue yesterday from my plans changing that he stayed home instead of going to the Texans game. I decorated the entire house, and he even managed to get a tree tonight with the kids. Thank you, Baby!
To be fit and happy...I am so hoping that Kobra's double ear infection doesn't prevent me from working out this week. How selfish is that? At least I can admit this about myself.
I am wrapping...a ton of Christmas gifts! I am so excited about everything I picked out this year. I worked really hard on my list and tried to find meaningful gifts for everyone on our list.
From the kitchen...I have the menu planned for the week. Super Easy because as usual we have a lot going on this week. I am trying to use everything in our freezer before we buy anything new.
I am thinking...about life and how things don't always turn out the way you think they will.
To live the liturgy...Today was Guadette Sunday, and the kids were anxious about lighting a new candle on the Advent Wreath. We'll be studying Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego this week at Super Saints. I have some great books picked out for the rest of Advent. The only problem is the kids like to read the same books over and over and over. I can't get mad because I am the same way.
I am praying...that Goose and Kobra get better. Both have double ear infections and just don't feel well. I am also praying for a better week than last week. It was just a really bad week, and I was uptight the entire week. My weekend plans were totally derailed, and I hate that. I am not the most flexible person, and you would think that with four kids, I would learn to be, but not yet. I guess I'm praying for flexibility.
On keeping home...another deep clean yesterday because today was the day that I decorated the house. When you have the same house, you tend to decorate things the same way. This year it's completely different, and I am so happy about it. I think Lance really likes how I decorated this year too.
One of my favorite things...my nativity scenes! I have a huge collection of nativities from around the world. I knew someone who had a collection years ago, and I decided I had to have one too. As with all things I collect, I went overboard. But it doesn't matter to me, I love each and every one. I remember my very first nativity scene and who bought me each one. I used to remember the year, but not anymore. I'm too busy for that. Every year, when I unpack the crates, I remember who gave me the gift and smile. It makes me very happy that so many people have contributed to something that makes me so happy. Interestingly, Lance has only bought one nativity for me and it was an ornament. I think that must be a hint that he thinks I have enough.
Another favorite thing...getting a Christmas tree for 16 bucks! I can't explain how happy this makes me. There are several words people use to describe me...mom, wife, nosy (very), bitchy, and cheap. I'm not sure which tops the list, cheap or nosy. Anyway...one of our family traditions is for Lance and the boys (three and up) to buy the Christmas tree. I am not allowed to be involved at all. So the past several years, we have spent about $200 on our trees. The trees are incredible, but this year, I suggested a cheaper tree. We are supposed to be living in a recession, right? Finally, Lance agreed and took the boys to Lowes tonight. When he brought me the receipt, I almost fell over. The tree isn't as big as we've had in the past, but it is still seven feet and full. I am putting lights on tomorrow. Good job, Baby! It makes me smile when we make the family money!
A few plans for the rest of the week...
- Super Saints party on Monday
- Confession on Tuesday, I really need this
- Dinner with Cindy, Terese and Carter
- swim lessons
- daily mass...I missed this last week and it made a huge difference
- more baking
- workout, I hope!
- Goose's school party
- Christmas party
A picture thought I am sharing...
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
If I had to sum up 2009, it would be easy: my hair, dessert, and homeschooling Goose. I have thought about these three things more than anything else most of the year. If I'm not begging Lance to let me homeschool Goose, I'm calling him to pick up ICC for me or calling to complain about my hair that only now fits into a pony tail. (It only took 9 months to get here.)
While I would love to immediately go into the haircut that ruined my year, I have to start with the actual beginning of the year. The chocolate cake...the one with Bailey's, buttercream icing and toffee bits. While I already had somewhat of an addiction to desserts before this time, I didn't realize eating dessert at midnight on New Year's Eve would mean I would have to continue eating desserts nonstop all year.
I can safely say that through the first six months of the year, I averaged almost $22 per week in ICC, Italian Cream Cake. And that was only my share. My mom stayed with us for several weeks in the beginning of the year and she joined in the fun too. Even now, I eat desserts nonstop. I am just trying to be a little more moderate about it, as in only one piece of cake or cookie per week. Thank God, Lance is my partner in crime.
The haircut. Getting a haircut shouldn't be a big deal, especially for me. It's not like I change my hair often. I did want to look good though because we were going to the Superbowl. And not just any Superbowl, we would be watching my father-in-law coach. And with Lance's job and connections, I was sure we'd end up at some happening party. I had to look good, which included getting a quick trim. My normal hairdresser came out crying which should have been a sign. By the end of my haircut, I couldn't put my hair in a pony tail, and I was crying. I called three times trying to get her fired and had to pay someone else $80 to correct her mistakes. Not only did she give me short hair, something that doesn't work for me and makes me look fat, which I know I'm not, she cut it completely uneven. She took texturizing to a new level. The new hairdresser couldn't fix it all without going even shorter, which I couldn't allow. She straightened it for me and I didn't wash my hair for the next four days. People would tell me months later, "it's not so bad". When you hear that months after the cut, you know your hair sucks. Also...when your own father says, "don't cut your hair so short again", you know it sucks!!
Lance just read through to see what I wrote about the year and thought the picture I chose to illustrate my hair was a poor choice. Basically, he doesn't think that picture is a true representation of how bad my hair really was. Nice that my hubby is so honest with me.
The Superbowl was amazing except for the fact that I was watching the Steelers instead of the Cowboys. I have yet to admit this to my in-laws because I think that would just be rude, but I HATE the Steelers. As in I cheered for the offensive line to do well and the rest of the team to suck it up. I can justify my actions knowing that the second my father-in-law goes somewhere new, the family won't care about the Steelers anymore. I will admit that towards the end of the game when it looked like the Steelers might lose because the offense wasn't playing well, I looked at my mother-in-law and felt so bad. Here was this woman who had been through everything with Larry and she looked so sad. But, they won and now they have more Superbowl wins than the Cowboys. I will say the ring is pretty cool in a super gaudy way.
Blue Ridge, Georgia. This was our second time to visit, and Lance and I love this place. You know how some people are beach people, others like lakes and boats? Those places are fine to us, but we absolutely love the mountains. We can't get enough of being in the mountains even though mountain driving sucks for anyone in the car with me. Thankfully, Blue Ridge, Ga mountains are pretty wimpy. We rented an awesome cabin except for the tiny fact that we didn't have Satellite, Internet or cell phone usage. Most people would think, "who can't deal without that for a few days". First, my husband can't deal with that. He wants to know what is going on even if he is on vacation. And second, and most important for this trip, the Rockets were in the playoffs. And he missed the games. He tried so hard to Macgyver a setup, but it just didn't work.
We fly into Atlanta for this trip so I was able to see my Goddaughter. That makes it twice in one year. I was there for her First Communion, which was amazing. Plus, she was able to meet Kobra. I have four Godchildren, and she was my first one, which makes her extra special to me.
I started Super Saints after reading a blog about a club similar to this. To illustrate how important I believe this is for my children is to explain one thing: I HATE other kids in my house. (Sometimes I'm not a fan of adults in the house either.) I'm not a huge fan of playgroups because you rotate houses and that means kids end up at my place at some point. It's not that my kids don't make a mess or break toys, it's just they are my kids. They know my rules and are very aware of the consequences of breaking them. They don't take food all over the house, including sippy cups. I've said before, I'm a neat freak and except for my best friend, I don't know many people like me. (Which doesn't mean they are slobs, just not me.) However, I knew that if this club was going to happen, I would have to learn some form of patience and tolerance. And I did, sort of. I mean, I never confronted the mother whose son broke Goose's favorite toy by banging it against the tree house outside. While she was watching!
I talked to several friends, and in June we started Super Saints. This club has been amazing for both the children and moms. While the kids are learning about the Saints so are the mothers. And it is incredible how even the two year olds pick something up about the Saints. We meet weekly and have had to cancel twice due to illness. Both times, the boys were so upset. They look forward to this each week. The kids are striving to become Saints, and so am I.
Before we took our Summer vacation, I decided I had to get another haircut. All it did was piss me off again. Since so much of my hair was still uneven, my hair was cut super short again. Not as much as before, but enough to make me call my former hairdresser's employer again in an attempt to get her fired. That is the perfect example of me, I hold a grudge. FOREVER.
June also marked our wedding anniversary. I can't say anything other than there is nobody I would rather be married to than Lance. He is IT for me. All the things I wanted everyone else to be, he is and more. I thank God every day for him and for his love and patience.
Reef. Lance noticed someone in the kitchen wearing an old school Astros cap. A few Twitters and a couple of months later, he was meeting up with Reef's chef and owner, Bryan Caswell. These two hit it off, and now host a food show called Southbound Food. It's been awesome diving into the foodie world. Lance has met amazing chefs and gets to interview Top Chef rejects every week. The only problem now is deciding where I am going to throw LZ's birthday party. (It has to be perfect.)
We took our vacation to South Carolina this year. We met up with an old friend and her family. We were slightly nervous about vacationing with another couple. We like our privacy, and really, we just like to be able to yell at our kids without looking bad. Thankfully, our boys were mostly perfect. They got along with my friend's kids great. We celebrated three birthdays while there. My friend made the most incredible cake. It was better looking than a professional and tasted far superior to most of the desserts I've ever had. And I know my desserts. I have to say the highlight of this trip was Garmin. That thing rocks. I'm sure I complained when Lance purchased it "on sale". I take back everything I ever said about buying a useless gift. That things does everything except drive the car for you.
To talk about Goose's school is a hard topic. It's no secret that I wanted to homeschool Goose, and Lance decided that he should attend "real" school. I've had so many people wonder why Lance got the final say, and all I can say without going into more is that he is the head of this household. Someone had to make a decision that wasn't based on emotion, and he did it. And to some degree I am proud that he didn't cave in to me. Of course, I hate Goose being gone, but I never want Lance to second guess himself just because I am miserable and in turn making him miserable. I am sure there have been times that he wished he had made a different decision just so I wouldn't bitch so much, but he didn't. He might regret calling me a living nightmare, but who remembers that?
Since Goose was born, I had wanted to homeschool him. I don't even know why. I knew I would never send him to preschool because time with him would be so short if he actually went to school, and I have never regretted that decision. Starting last January, I began spending two hours a day/four days a week schooling Goose. We did so much together and were successful, which is why I thought I could actually homeschool him for a few years. Goose's reading was really good, and he still loves it. We did science experiments, learned the globe, did math facts, writing, Spanish, and tons of reading. I picked my curriculum for this year and was set to go. But something told me to test him for a gifted program. At first, I figured he wouldn't get in and we wouldn't have a decision to make. All parents think their kids are smart, right? But he got in the program and we had to decide what to do. By the time school started I was in tears. Every night since April, I begged Lance to let me homeschool Goose. I kept thinking he might change his mind. He didn't.
For all of September, all I did was yell and fuss about how much I hated the school. They took too long to test him, his writing was going downhill, they weren't in reading groups yet and on and on...Now, I am satisfied with the school. Do I want him there? No. I want him home because I know I can teach him better than anyone. I can give him one on one attention, which he will only receive if he is in trouble. But he is doing well, and I really like his teacher. She challenges the kids and is amazed at how smart they are. These kids are practically diagramming sentences. I am trying hard to remain positive for my baby and my spouse. Sometimes it works, and then there are those times that I'm that living nightmare, depressed because her baby his gone.
Squirt started High School this year. He looked completely scared the first day of school and only broke a smile when I almost killed the kids driving to school. So far, he has done pretty well. By the time finals rolled around, I think he realized that this was much different than middle school and he has to really study hard. Most of all, I'm glad that he seems to really like his school. He loves JROTC. He is so proud to wear his uniform. It doesn't bother him if someone makes fun of the uniform either. This is a huge deal because he isn't the same when people make fun of his glasses.
Who doesn't watch Mad Men? We knew Baby Hulk was going to be Don Draper for months. And he was perfect. Someone made fun of me the other day for dressing my son as Don Draper, but I don't feel bad. There aren't many years that we can get away with this, and I'm doing it as long as possible. Thankfully, Kobra is up next. And who knows...there could be another baby on the way. We'll see if the Horns win. Okay, I'm kidding. Really. I think.
Pittsburgh this year for Thanksgiving. We had the best time with Lance's mom and really enjoyed the city. (I just did a huge post about this trip and posted pics here, here and here, so I'm not going into it again.)
So here we are in December and getting ready for Christmas. And what happened? It snowed in Houston for the second year in a row! Goose is five. In his lifetime, he's seen snow three times. Isn't that incredible?
I love this time of year. Getting ready for Christmas and New Years, bowl games and food, thinking about the past year and making a list of goals for the new year. I have looked back over our family goals for the year and for the most part, we have accomplished what we set out to do. I am ready for 2010.
Funniest thing in 2009...Going to a wedding on the wrong date.
Looking back at the year, I can't say it's been as bad as I thought. Sure, I've been miserable and pretty depressed for a lot of it, but there is much happiness to be found. Despite disagreeing with my husband on something major, we have only grown closer. Time and again, he teaches me to forgive and look for the positive in things. I am eternally grateful to him and the family he has given me. My children are my life. The things they do are nothing short of amazing to me. They are smart kids, which sometimes worries me. I know the things I did, I can't imagine what they will do one day. I have some great friends, two of which have helped me more than they can imagine this past fall. I've been so hurt by several people for not being there for me, but my best friends have shown me time and again that they will do anything for me. So, really I am lucky. I would say blessed, but for some reason that always sounds so fake coming from me. (And I'm the churchy one, and it still sounds fake!)
One more thing...F--- You, Sandra. You effed up my hair for a year and in turn helped ruin most of it. I don't think I would have been this unhappy with cool hair.
Here's hoping for better hair, less desserts and a new sense of calm.