Wednesday, December 26, 2007


It's Boxing Day, and for our family, that means "The day you box up all your old toys to make room for your new ones." It may not be as fun as Christmas Day, but it's a lot more productive.

We had a great Christmas; we spent some time in Galveston with Batman's family, and celebrated Christmas morning in our home, just the four of us. Santa was nice to the girls, although he forgot to leave chocolates this year (doh!). We gave each of the girls a Penguin shirt, and I wish I'd had a video camera trained on Special when she opened hers, but this pretty much sums up her reaction:

She was without speech. The girls also got soft, fluffy robes on Christmas Eve, which they needed Christmas morning since our heat went out during the night! Luckily our heat and air guy works on Boxing Day, and we are now toasty warm. Santa delivered some Webkinz, and apparently he gave them to ALL the boys and girls because the website was down most of the morning!

The weather was nice in Galveston, and we enjoyed spending time with family. I wish we could see the out-of-towners more often! Cousin B was thrilled with the beach house and called it "GrandBob's new house!" I'm afraid he'll be bitterly disappointed the next time he visits and has to stay at the 'old' house--no sand or sea there.

We were thrilled to see Uncle D from Colorado--he moved from Florida shortly before we did, and we'd not seen him since. The little cousins had never met him, but they took right to him:

If you haven't already, check out my post at And now I gotta go; the Christmas tree is on fire.

I'm out there, and I'm loving every minute of it

We had a great Christmas, and I'll put pictures up tonight, but I wanted to post this quickly: I've got an articled published at! One of the bloggers there requested "baby stories" to fill in her blog while she's out having a baby of her own, and they were kind enough to choose mine as one of their posts. You can find it here, and be sure to check back in with Bree in a few weeks to find out how she and her new baby daughter are doing.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like . . . well, you know

So . . . how've you been? I can't believe I've not posted in a month, but there was this little holiday with all the eating, and there's another smallish holiday coming up soon with lots of presents and wrapping and eating and card-sending, and I had a research paper to do, and blah blah excuse excuse busy busy blah.

Pardon me for a moment while I brag that I'm 95% finished with my Christmas shopping. And it's all wrapped, too. So why is it that I still have more to do than I can say grace over?!
Anyhoo, here are two signs that Christmas is near. First, a Webkinz family Christmas portrait:

and Number One's school Christmas concert:

And finally, one sign that winter is nigh:

New boots, perfect for those frigid 50-degree days here in Texas!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Getting to know me, getting to know all about me . . .

My 'big' brother sent me an email with the following questionaire, and rather than forward it on to ten of my closest friends, I thought I'd post it here. By doing this, of course, I'm risking having a piano fall on my head or something equally dire, the fate of all those who break chain letters, but it's a chance I'm willing to take.

Of course, I'd love it if you would copy the list, paste in your own answers, and email it to me, or post it in your own blog! Tag, you're it.

So! Here it is, 36 things you may or may not know about me:

1. What is your occupation? project accountant for a marine contractor

2. What color are your kitchen walls? beige-y tan

3. What did you last watch on TV? a PBS special on Carol Burnett (what? I love her!)

4. What is the last thing that you ate? Jason's Deli baked potato

5. Can you drive a stick shift? I’ve never even tried

6. What Crayon color would you be? if you go by the color palette in my closet, either brown or black

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? my mother-in-law

8. Favorite Halloween costume ever? Cinderella (played by me) with her ugly step-sisters (played by Batman and a boy in the youth group)

9. How old are you today? 36

10. Favorite Halloween candy? Tootsie Rolls

11. What is your favorite board game? Monopoly, except I stink so bad that even Special can beat me

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? once; I really need to start doing it regularly (too many gray hairs to pluck) but am too cheap

13. Pets? a fat, lazy, mean cat named Jumpy

14. Favorite food? You mean besides all of it? anything chocolate

15. Last movie you watched? Little Miss Sunshine

16. Favorite Day of the year? Christmas

17. What do you recycle? glass, plastic, paper, metal

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? the Barbie head where you could style her hair

19. What is your favorite hobby? reading

20. First kiss and when? Richie Bostick when I was 16 and working at Arby’s (DORK!)

21. Cherry or Blueberry? If we’re talking pie, I’d rather have lemon, lime or chocolate; if we’re talking muffins, blueberry.

22. Did you go to the prom? Our school had a banquet and I went both years, once with a friend and once with a date; I went to the public school prom when I was a senior.

23. Last book you read? A Lifetime of Secrets, by Frank Warren (one of the PostSecret series); am currently in the middle of The Cigarette Century which I’m reading as research for a school paper

24. Next home remodeling project? new faucets for the master bath

25. When was the last time you cried? in church on Sunday

26. Favorite smell? bread baking

27. What inspires you? music

28. What are you afraid of? Being strangled--I can't stand for anyone's hands to come anywhere close to my neck. Interestingly, however, I love to wear turtlenecks.

29. Hamburger, cheeseburger or veggie burger? hamburger

30. Favorite car? my gas-guzzling Ford Explorer (the taupe one; we’ve had three)

31. Favorite dog breed? The kind that doesn’t bark, jump on people, or require being walked (am cat person)

32. Number of keys on your key ring? 3: my house, in-laws' house, and my car

33. How many years at your current job? almost 2

34. Favorite day of the week? Saturday

35. How many states have you lived in? 5 – Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida, & Texas

36. Favorite teacher of all time? Miss Joy, 2nd grade

Monday, November 5, 2007

People cheering . . . cheerleaders?

Special cheered at her first football game Friday night! We almost didn't make it due to a complete meltdown over the "hideousness" of the uniform ("It's too BIG! It's DISGUSTING! It makes me look SO FAT!!"), but she pulled it together in time to put on a great show. Here's my little cheer-tator in all her glory:
Go Cougars!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Little Miss Candy Bar

It's 10:30 and I'm crashing from my sugar high (yes, I did have leftover candy, why do you ask?) so here are scenes from Halloween 2007:

It was a good, old-fashioned night of trick-or-treating. Two pretty fairies, two bags full of candy, time spent with nice neighbors. And leftover Tootsie Rolls. Mmmmm, Tootsie Rolls . . .

Monday, October 22, 2007

They gave her $182 in cash

Six years ago today, Special arrived into this world two weeks early, screaming her fool head off. She hasn't stopped screaming since. But at least now, most of her screams are joyful ones.

They still hurt my ears. But I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Our family celebrates "birth week," a way of spreading out the birthday joy just a little bit, and Special's started yesterday with lunch at her favorite restaurant, Jason's Deli, with GrandBob & GrandMom:

(It wasn't really $182. But I imagine we'll be taking a trip to Build-a-Bear in the very near future.)

Then today she had cookie cake at school:

then soy cheese pizza, a visit from Aunt M and presents tonight at dinner:

(with her new Webkinz, a gift from Pop & Baba)

It's been a great birthday, although she said this morning she doesn't feel six.

I can't believe she's six, either. Happy birthday, Sweet Chicken!

See all the birthday photos here.

(Also, if you're looking for a Christmas gift for that special someone, may I recommend this book? It's guaranteed to be hilarious, and all proceeds go to Compassion.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

At least I didn't call him "Suze"

So there's this new guy at work. I'm not sure of his actual title; he's not in my department but I've had to work with him over the last two days in relation to our new software implementation. He reminds me a great deal of Edgar, a co-worker I once had. Edgar made me want to staple his head to his desk. New Guy should possibly keep an eye out for my Swingline.

Yesterday I was assigned to help New Guy and his counterpart, New Gal, in reconciling some reports in the new software. We'd been talking about their use of the software all morning. Near the end of our meeting, I was listing the types of reports they'd need to run out of the new software and New Guy asked, "So do we need to install New Software on our computer, then?"

Me: (*blink, blink*) "Yes, that would be helpful!"

Later that afternoon, New Guy asked someone else what they meant by saying, "It is what it is." I had a flashback to the Clinton years and said that depended on what his definition of "is" is.

Today I provided New Guy and New Gal with detailed instructions on how to run the reports. The first part of the instructions was to run a list of all open projects and note the project numbers, as that information would be needed for the reports.

New Gal had no trouble.

New Guy emailed me (and this is a direct quote): "Ugh. These directions are confusing. What did you mean by 'make a note?' I tried [long and complicated process of copying and pasting screen shots] but it didn't work."

Me: (*blink blink*, share email with co-worker, wipe away tears of laughter) "I meant literally make a note. You'll need that information later."

But here's the best part: for two days, I've been calling him Bob. I knew his first initial was B, and his name in the email contact list is shown as Robert.

He goes by Bill.

But I think I'll just call him New Edgar.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Those are ladies' frames

Poor thing . . . she never had a chance. All of her grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles except one wear glasses, and now she's joined our little club. She only has to wear them for reading, computer and tv time, but she thinks the world is a much clearer place:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

In memoriam

I've just finished a novel, a brilliant book that should be required reading for history classes. Irene Nemirovsky, a Russian Jew living in France and famous for her writing, began in 1941 to write a novel about the war and the occupation of France. She never finished it, as she was taken to a concentration camp in 1942 and died there soon after.

Her daughters saved the manuscript, and Suite Francaise has been recently published complete with the author's notes and a heartbreaking collection of letters written by Irene herself and then by her husband who was frantically trying to find and save her. The book itself is a picture of the daily cost of war and enemy occupation.

It is not light reading, but I highly recommend it. It brings history to life from the perspective of an eyewitness, and forces the reader to consider the story of just one of the many innocents lost in that war, innocents whose stories are not recorded but who were nevertheless real, and loved, and mourned.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's chocolate, it's bacon--it's delicious!

My affinity for chocolate is well-known; some would say it's more of an addiction or an obsession. Milk, dark, with caramel, coconut, nuts of all kinds, crispies, in cheap candy bars or expensive specialty truffles--I love it all. I've dipped apples in it, spread it on toast, mixed it in banana bread, and poured it over angel food cake.

But near to chocolate in terms of delicious goodness is bacon--lovely, crispy bacon. Oh, we've flirted with turkey bacon, trying to save our poor arteries, but we've always come back to the nice fatty real stuff. The first time I ever cooked applewood bacon I was so smitten I called my mother and told her that diet or no diet, she HAD to try this stuff--the smell alone had me singing. And the flavor--oh, the sweet, smoky flavor--was like manna from heaven.

Tonight, when Batman told me what he'd bought at Whole Foods, I was first shocked, then a little grossed out, and then somewhat intrigued. He'd found a premium chocolate bar, the Vosges brand, with bits of applewood smoked bacon in it. Chocolate and bacon? I've heard of chocolate and wasabi, chocolate and chilies, even chocolate-covered bugs, but this? I was hesitant.

We sat down, divided it up between the four of us, sniffed it, and then dove in. And lo, it was good. I'd expected it to taste like a chocolate-dipped piece of bacon, but it wasn't like that at all. I could just barely pick up the scent of bacon before biting into it. The smooth milk chocolate had a crunch and a salty flavor, not unlike eating a chocolate-covered pretzel. The bacon taste didn't really appear until after swallowing, and then it was just a hint.

It was a lovely treat. Just one more reason to love chocolate. And bacon. Mmmm, bacon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Now we can check porn, and stock quotes*

So tonight I logged onto my online classroom to check out the ongoing discussions. In one thread, a classmate had posted regarding his coworkers and how they were somewhat resistant to change. He said he was one of the few employees around the age of 21, and everyone else was over 30. I know! So ancient!

Anyway, he said he'd recently showed them how they could use their software in a way that would cut the time for one process in half, and how some of them didn't even know all the things that Windows could do. I felt about 80 years old.

I gently reminded him that technology has changed very rapidly in the past few years, and for those fresh out of college web conferencing and instant messaging are old hat, but for many of us in the workforce, those are new and unused technologies. Then I started thinking: when I graduated from college, faxing was still relatively new, email was something only programming majors knew about, DOS was king, and the people who invented Facebook were only toddlers.

Okay, now I feel 90. It's dark out; I think I should go to bed.

*Note: I never check porn, and only rarely check stock quotes. But "porn quotes" is one of my favorite Seinfeld lines.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Aak! I'm famous! And now Google-able!

I submitted something here; go check it out!

In other news, my class starts today. I'm officially a student again. The last time I was a student, I did my papers on a typewriter. Oh, and also, I didn't have kids or a full-time job.

But at least I'm famous now. Book and movie offers can't be far behind.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Remember to memorize pages 39 to 110 for tomorrow's lesson.

Today was the first day of school! The satisfying feel of a new crayon in your hand, the rustle of new uniforms, the scent of the teachers' raw panic: the start of a new school year brings back so many memories. Like the memories of taking Number One to her first day of kindergarten four years ago and having to pull over to the side of the road afterwards to sob uncontrollably.

Luckily, taking Special to her own first day of school was not quite so traumatic. She was thrilled to be starting kindergarten, and her first words to me at the end of the day were, "I loved it!"
Number One had a great day herself on her first day of fourth grade. She allowed me to take one picture in her classroom, and then she was ready for me to go:

We met at Ben & Jerry's at the end of the day for our traditional First Day of School Ben & Jerry's Extravaganza:
I would buy her Lemonade Sorbet every day of her life just to see that smile!
More pictures from today are here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Go Wildcats!

We had a BIG weekend--Number One turned nine yesterday, and we've been celebrating since Friday! We started off by watching the premiere of High School Musical 2 (not as good as the original but still had some very catchy tunes) on Friday night. Saturday morning we had Cinnabon for breakfast, and spent the day getting ready for the big birthday party that night. Number One and her friends had so much fun watching HSM 2 (again--they'd all watched it Friday night also), doing crafts, eating chicken nuggets and carrots and watching Number One open her presents. I was pretty proud of how her cake turned out--notice how I photographed it so you can't tell it's the Leaning Tower of Cake:

On Sunday, we ate out with GrandMom, GrandBob and Aunt M after church at Olive Garden; I took the girls swimming in the afternoon. On Monday morning, Number One woke up to find that her room had had an Extreme Room Makeover:

She absolutely loved it, and it looks wonderful--so girly but more sophisticated than what she had before. We've ordered a Nancy Drew movie poster to go above her bed, and she's really excited about that, too. (If you want to see more birthday pictures, email me and I'll send you a link to my web album--I don't want to post the other kids' pictures here without permission.)

School starts Thursday--sniff, sniff--I can't believe I have a 4th grader and a kindergartener! Special would have started school a month ago if she could have; she's definitely ready. Let's pray that I don't completely embarrass myself on Thursday--I'll save my sobbing for the office, where I can shut my door.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I got a meeting with the Bobs in a couple of minutes

So here’s how my past month has been: work work meeting meeting meeting work meeting meeting work work work meeting home swim cook eat clean storytime work. I've had six meetings so far this week--and it's only Tuesday.

My company is implementing a new software system that will affect everything we do, and I’m the division lead on that project which requires many meetings and a lot of extra work. We’re acquiring a new company, and if all goes as planned by year-end we’ll have moved to their office building and I’ll most likely have a new boss, a new job title, new responsibilities, and a longer commute. Batman starts school Thursday, the girls start school in nine days, and I start school in two weeks. Batman and I are looking for a new church home. Number One has a digestive condition that requires daily monitoring and weekly calls to the doctor. We’ve been planning her birthday party, which is next weekend. And Special is apparently training for a career in men’s clubs, judging by her latest dance moves.

BUT. I like my job a lot, in spite of all the meetings. Our new offices are in a great area with lots of shopping and lunch places nearby and I can still take the freeway all the way there. The girls are very excited about starting school, as am I (Batman is . . . not excited about in-service but will be happy to see his students again). We have narrowed our church choices down to two and think we can be happy either place. Number One’s doctor is excellent and is very proactive in treating her condition. And Special does provide for a lot of laughs, even if many of them are behind her back.

So, I’ll keep churning out my TPS reports and blogging when I can. Always look on the bright side of life . . .

And I’ll use my Crock Pot a lot, like for this recipe I’ve posted here.

And I’ll keep in mind that it could be worse. I mean, at least my name isn’t Michael Bolton.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wuv, true wuv

The other night at dinner, Special was pestering us to let her have a root beer float for dessert. Batman told her tht if she didn’t finish her dinner she’d never be allowed to have a root beer float again—he’d tell her husband that she couldn't have them because of how she acted when she was five.

As we laughed, Special informed him that she’s never getting married. She said she doesn’t like to kiss in public, she doesn’t want to have a baby because it hurts, and she doesn’t want to cook. Number One piped up and said, “The reason you don’t want to get married is so you don’t have to buy things for your husband!”

Hee! Just think of the number of shoes I’ve sacrificed on the altar of marital bliss! But then I compare this:

to this:
And I have to admit that the sacrifice was worth it. Happy 16th anniversary, Batman!!

PS You owe me a pair of Manolos.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Excrutiating Minutiae

So . . . not much going on these days. I had a headache yesterday. Number One threw up in my car last night. We went bowling last night with friends and I came in dead last . . . and one of our players was three years old. (I'm totally using the bumpers next time.) We had lunch today at a fabulous Persian restaurant and ate so much that I skipped dinner. I finally cleaned up my office and got rid of all (well, most) of the paper stacks. The most fun part of the last week was this:

The famous 2 B's came to visit! Batman and the girls got to play with them much more than I did (stupid job!) but I did get to smooch on them a little bit. Brooklyn doesn't mind so much, but I have to sneak up on Barrett. I would have taken a picture of him, too, but my camera's shutter isn't fast enough.

All right, enough rambling. There's a new recipe up here. I'm going to eat some ice cream and go to bed.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 20, 2007

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Salvation

Okay, so I'm feeling a little naked after that last post--time to don my Cloak of Cynicism! And here's the perfect outlet:

Here's a sample of its hilariousness:

In other news, I'm now posting to a cooking blog that my sweet sister-in-law invited me to join. You can find us at

PS: I should note that I actually have three sweet sisters-in-law and zero non-sweet sisters-in-law; Kim is the one who invited me to join her cooking blog. Wow, syntax is important!

PPS: Can anyone show me how to link to a website using regular words and not the URL? I can do it in emails and in Word documents, but I can't get Blogger to do it. Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I like Christian rock. It's very positive.

Have you ever heard of Hillsong United? Even if you've not heard their name, you've definitely heard their music; they wrote "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" and "Shout to the Lord" among many, many other popular contemporary Christian songs.

They gave a free concert at Lakewood Church last Sunday night, and the four of us went with a couple of friends. Not knowing much about them, we assumed there would be plenty of seating--after all, Lakewood meets where the Rockets used to play, in a 16,000-seat arena. Ha! By the time we got there, even all the standing-room spots were taken and we had to sit in the overflow area and watch the whole thing on TV screens! It was still great, though, and I think it was about as close to heaven as we can get here on earth: thousands of people focused on praising God, not debating Bible versions or arguing about the appropriateness of praise teams, just lifting their voices and hands and hearts in pure worship. It was awesome, and awe-inspiring.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, and hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."
--Psalm 40:1-3

If you know me in real life, you know how true this verse is in my life. God indeed has lifted us out of a very dark place and has given us a firm place to stand--right in the palm of his hand, where we always were and where we always will be. We have a new song of praise to him for the wonderful, amazing things he's done in our life over the past 21 months.

Jesus, Lover Of My Soul
by Hillsong United
album: Shout To The Lord (1998)

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You’ve taken me from the miry clay
You've set my feet upon the Rock, and now i know
I love you, I need you,
Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go
My Saviour, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm back, baby, I'm back!

Okay, so we've been back for a week and a half now. But I'm just now catching up to myself!

Our vacation was so great--we got to see family and so many of our old friends; the kids had a wonderful time at "Camp Baba" with my parents and nephews, and Batman and I really enjoyed DC.

We stopped first in Memphis, where we went to church with two of our oldest (not that old!) friends, Dan & Karla, and their sweet angel of a daughter Ainsley. She and the girls really hit it off, while the adults tried to cram ten years of catching up into one lunch. Hopefully it won't be another ten years before we see them again!

After lunch we spent some time at Starbucks with my friend and former boss Sandy and her husband Rick. It was so great to see Sandy again and to get to know Rick; they're a great couple and Batman and I both wished we could have had more time to spend with them!
We spent a few days in Lebanon visiting with my brother and his family; my grandparents were there as well, and I'm sure they enjoyed seeing all their great-grandchildren in one place. We had our annual family portrait photo done. Have you seen that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond? Ours wasn't that bad.

When Batman and I got to DC, the first thing we did was go shopping. The second thing we did was go eat. We did a lot of both over the week we were gone, in addition to a LOT of walking. Batman walks faster than I do (especially with my six blisters! Stupid cute shoes!) and this was my typical view:

See Batman racing along in the foreground? I also saw a lot of this:

We did some of the touristy stuff, but the best thing was going to the Library of Congress and watching a Coke commercial that Batman's great-uncle Glenn filmed back in 1965. He was a test pilot on the F-104 Starfighter, and after watching his commercial we went to the Air and Space Museum and saw his plane! Well, it wasn't HIS plane, but one just like it.

We spent the last night of our trip in Baltimore (their motto is, "Public Transportation: Only for the Very Brave") (or possibly, "Spend All Your Vacation Dollars on Cabs!") and saw an Orioles/Yankees game at Camden Yards. It was hot--sweat-in-your-underwear hot. I wondered as I melted, why was I so miserable? I live in one of the hottest cities in the US, and I was sweating like a hog. Then I realized that here, we have sense enough not to sit in the heat--we air-condition everything, including our ballparks! Sadly, not only was Camden Yards not air-conditioned, neither was our hotel. Visit Baltimore: We Love to See You Sweat!

When we got back to Nashville, it was SO great to see the girls again! We had brought them presents from the International Spy Museum (which we highly recommend) (unlike Baltimore) and enjoyed hearing about all the fun they'd had with Pop and Baba. The day after we got back, we got to see two of our favorite people, Tim and Marian, and had a great lunch with them at Wolfgang Puck's. Everytime we see them, it's like we only saw them the day before--we pick up right where we left off.
After lunch the girls and I met our three best friends from Florida, Tammy, Bree and Audrey. They live in Kentucky now and came down to Nashville to see us while we were in town. We've missed them terribly since we moved, and it was such a treat to see them! The girls were a little slow to warm up at first, but once we hit the Build-A-Bear workshop they started giggling and playing like best friends again. They also made lists of everything they want there--I think Number One filled up three sheets of paper.

We decided to spend an extra day relaxing with my parents--Batman and I felt that we'd hardly spent any time with them ourselves! We shopped and talked and ate the best chocolate pie I've ever put in my mouth. It is the best pie in the world, and it's found at the Sunset Restaurant in Lebanon, Tennessee. Take your next vacation there, you won't regret it (like you would if you went to Baltimore).

Everything about our vacation was wonderful--the food, the relaxation, the sights, and spending time as a family. Even Baltimore had a Hard Rock Cafe and a Filene's Basement. But the best part by far was seeing our family and friends. We love you all!!!

See all our vacation pics here:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Our LOL Cat

Batman and the girls built a fort this week, and the girls have been sleeping in it every night. Jumpy really liked it too!

We're headed out on vacation, and I'm pretty sure I'll get to see *almost* my entire readership while we're gone! I'm looking forward to seeing all of you!! In place of blog posts for the next two weeks, here's something even better: LOL Cats!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Educating for Eternity

Big news in our house: I've been accepted into Harding University's MBA program! My company is paying for my degree (have I mentioned how much I love my job?) and I'll start online classes in the fall. I should finish in two years.

How am I going to work full time, raise two children, spend time with Batman, keep up my active TV-watching schedule, AND go to school, you ask? I don't have the faintest idea. I'm just going to take it one day at a time, like I do everything else. And probably make lots of to-do lists.

I'm really excited about this chance--I never saw myself as a Career Woman but since that's where I've ended up, I'm going to make the most of it.

I may have to cut back on the TV-watching. But that's why God created DVR, right?

Friday, June 8, 2007

What do they do with the stumps?

Okay, this had me laughing all the way to work: at Panera Bread, they actually sell muffin tops! I don't think the teenage boy at the counter understood why I couldn't stop giggling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

School's Out for Summer

School's out! Obviously Batman and the girls are excited, but now I get to sleep an extra few minutes each morning, so I'm pretty happy, too.

San Antonio was fun--Sunday was rainy, but we still got to enjoy what we wanted to see. We visited the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, which was . . . not worth what we paid for it, but we fed the animals and took lots of pictures. Batman told the girls that one deer-like animal was called a "testicle," so we had lots of giggles from hearing Special yell, "There's more testicles, Daddy!" We're like evil twelve-year-olds.

We stayed in an old, historic hotel right next door to the Alamo, the Menger Hotel, which I'd highly recommend. I'd also recommend parking elsewhere, because it cost a small fortune there. But it was historic parking, at least. Their courtyard and pool area were really gorgeous, and we wished we'd had more time to enjoy them, but there was No Time! For we had to get to SeaWorld! Which was worth every penny! Especially since I saved 20% of our pennies by flashing my Southwest Airlines frequent flyer card.

That's Number One next to the ROLLER COASTER that she rode! So brave!

SeaWorld was great fun: the weather was perfect, partly cloudy with no rain at all, hot but not stiflingly so, some breezes; there was plenty to do but not so much that we feel like we have to go back another time; and best of all, it was not crowded in the least. I was surprised, it being Memorial Day, but there were no lines the whole day. And we got to see Shamu, which was the best part and a nice way to end the day.

Note: this is not the real Shamu.

And now we're home again. Batman will be home with the girls until we leave on vacation in three weeks, and he came up with a great idea: together, he and the girls came up with about forty fun things to do, and he put each idea on a slip of paper and stuck them all in a jar. Each morning they'll pull out three slips and do whatever they say. They may go swimming, have lunch with someone, go to the park, pick up litter (or "glitter," as Number One used to say), or do some other adventure. Today they went to Whole Foods for lunch with GrandBob, played an hour of video games, and watched a movie after dinner.

My surprise adventures are more along the lines of, "Who just emailed me?" or "What did I lay out to thaw for dinner tonight?" But at least I get those few extra minutes of sleep each morning! Hey, I take my fun where I can get it . . .

Note: I was going to sprinkle more "School's Out" references throughout this post, and so I Googled the lyrics to make sure I had the words right. Sadly, the version currently stuck in my head is not the Alice Cooper classic, but the one from an episode of "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody," courtesy of the Disney channel. I think I just lost the only bit of rocker cred I ever had. So to get it back, here's a picture I took that makes Batman look like he's imitating Ozzy Osbourne at the Alamo:

And here are the rest of our weekend photos:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I am such a huge whale fan

**Note: I’m changing my references from initials to nicknames, which I think will make for easier reading. The kids’ nicknames were bestowed on them by their GrandBob. R’s nickname is a reference to his loathing of overhead lighting; I picked “Batman” because he really hates it when I call him” the Prince of Darkness.”

Plus, he is kind of my own personal superhero. Aww.

As you can see, we had some fun company this weekend! Pop and Baba came to visit, and we had a very nice, relaxing time with them. Unfortunately they had to stay at a hotel due to a LEAK in the girls’ bathroom wall . . . and I don’t want to talk about that.

But the girls had a great time staying in the hotel with them. Number One cleared out the free breakfast every morning; I think she was just trying to get their money’s worth! We swam a little, ate out a lot, watched Special in her gymnastics show, played multiple rounds of Uno, and had a lovely visit.

The gymnastics show was a hoot: thirty preschoolers marching around the gym showing off their “routines.” Everyone got a trophy at the end (cue Batman’s rant on participation trophies here) and we all felt very proud of ourselves. Then we went to Ben & Jerry’s, our favorite spot for any type of celebration! Number One got an ice cream sundae, and here’s Special trying a bite:

I had a cone of Chocolate Therapy, which I swear to be the best kind of therapy that exists. (No offense, G.) Special had the plain vanilla, as did Number One under all that other goop in her sundae, and I would really like to know where I went wrong as a mother that my children prefer plain vanilla ice cream. Honestly. Kids these days . . .

Sadly, Baba left yesterday and Pop has headed to the south side of town for a training course. We’ll see them again next month when we go up to Tennessee for a visit, and I’m pretty sure that we’ll have to drug the kids to get them to leave after their two-week stay at Camp Baba.

In the meantime, we’re planning a short trip to San Antonio this weekend! Batman (I’m really loving this nickname) will have a busy week full of graduations and graduation parties and finals and grading, but he’s free after Saturday night and we’re going to SeaWorld to celebrate! It’s no Ben & Jerry’s, but the kids will love it.

Let’s just hope their bathroom doesn’t turn into SeaWorld before then.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm in management training . . . anger management.

I've been in software training all week. Did you know that you can get at least 74 words from the phrase "Project Billing?" Also, Sudoku puzzles just aren't as much fun when you have to furtively design them from scratch on a legal pad.

As further proof of the mind-numbing tediousness of the past five days, I offer you two haikus:

This discussion has
jumped the tracks, headed downhill,
and wiped out the town.

Whoever said that
there are no stupid questions,
never heard that one.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Day at Lake Scranton

The first swim of the summer is always the best! Our community pool opened a couple of weeks ago, but this is the first day we'd made it over there. It wasn't too crowded, and the girls had a wonderful time "diving" and splashing.

This is the first time we've ever lived in a neighborhood with a pool, and I really want to take advantage of it as often as possible. Now that the girls are a little older I don't have to be right beside them the entire time, and can enjoy a book while they play in the shallow end--which really encompasses most of the pool! Even S is tall enough to play in the 4-ft water, and she climbed out of her floaty to play volleyball for a while with H.

It was nice to have a relaxing weekend, because I think this week is going to kick my fanny just a little bit. I have meetings and software training all week, and have a major project due on top of that. Oh, and I have to get my regular work done as well! Ah, well--it's better than surfing the 'net all day. I think.

Happy Mother's Day to all my favorite moms!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth--I've just been too busy for words. Literally! Ha!

H and I went with her Brownie troop to Johnson Space Center for a sleepover last weekend, which was . . . exhausting. And painful: I stubbed my toe in the dark and it's still black and blue. Had to wear flip-flops to work all week--so professional. But the girls had a blast (get it? Space center? blast? never mind) so it was all worth it.

Work has been ridikolus, meetings and training and more meetings and lots of reports to run and analyze. I used to have free time and be able to surf the internet for large chunks of time. Now they expect me to do actual work. Harumph.

H had her orchestra concert tonight, and I'll post pictures later. She did great! And she was definitely the most beautiful child on the stage. Of course, I'm biased. But she really was.

By the way, if you didn't get my post title or reference to Ridikolus, why aren't you watching "30 Rock?!" It's one of the two funniest shows on TV! Come on, all the cool kids are doing it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Who doesn't love the pink(y) toe?

Here's what I did Saturday night:

Sandal weather means that we need hot-pink "tony nails," as S used to say!
We had a quiet, peaceful weekend--or at least the girls and I did; R chaperoned prom on Friday night and I'd hardly call that quiet or peaceful. We spent some time playing outside, pulled some weeds and killed some ants, and I finished four loads of laundry plus put away two loads from last weekend.
I brought back several good-looking books from today's library run; hopefully I'll have some time this week to read at least one. Three of them are travel guides to Washington DC--we finally booked our vacation! In past weeks I've brought home guides to Spain, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, and Costa Rica, but in the end we decided DC sounded best. Trying to plan the other trips we considered was so stressful it was starting to seem less like a vacation and more like work! R has never been to DC, and while it's not the exotic vacation I thought we'd take this year, we're both very excited. Now maybe I can stop visiting Expedia and Travelocity and get some real work done.
I'm actually going to be really busy this week; I'm part of a team being trained in a software application called Oracle that we're implementing in our company. I have to sit through training four days this week and another four days two weeks from now, and there'll be a good bit of work to do after that to get it up and running. I'm excited about it, as geeky as that sounds! It's always nice to have plenty to do. Now if I can just figure out a way to do laundry from the office, my job will be perfect . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The More You Know

I don’t have a lot of time to read, mostly on my lunch hour or on the weekends, but I manage to get through a book every week or so. I wish I could finish one every day—going to the library is one of my greatest pleasures, and when I get home I can’t help but start reading right away!

One book I picked up last week was "Sweet and Low" by Rich Cohen. His grandfather started the company that makes Sweet ‘N Low, and the book is one part documentary of the sweetener industry, one part company history, and two parts family drama. It wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down, but I did find it interesting and bored R later with some sweetener facts. (The amount of saccharine needed to give a rat cancer is equal to 10,000 packets a day for about 60 years!)

After finishing that I started Steve Martini’s "Double Tap." Martini writes legal thrillers, and I discovered in this book that he’s a Christian. I think I’ve read just about all of his books, and I’d recommend any of them—he’s an author you stay up past midnight to finish!

On my last library trip, I also picked up "The Devil’s Picnic," a journalist’s quest to try foods and substances that have been banned in some parts of the world such as poppy seeds, absinthe, and unpasteurized cheese. Some chapters were more entertaining than others, but the author’s rebellious attitude got a bit tiresome by the end. It did make me hungry for cheese, though. I got extra-adventurous and had some sharp cheddar.

Reading is FUNdamental!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Off to protect the town of Rock Ridge

What is preschool for, but to take adorable pictures of your kids?! S had this taken a couple of weeks ago--doesn't she look like she's about to round up a posse and go out looking for some varmits?

The girls were awfully excited last night to see Sanjaya voted off "American Idol," and I lost a bet. R and the girls had predicted that he'd be the one to leave, but I thought for sure it would be Chris. I can't say I was too disappointed to see Sanjaya go--he was a terrible singer! But he did have a good attitude and a sense of humor--and some great hair.

Note: can you guess where I got the title of this post? Here's a hint: that cowgirl up there is no sidewindin bushwackin, hornswaglin, cracker croaker!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

She Also Believes in the Hanukkah Armadillo

Eeeaarrrly Sunday morning, H woke me up: “Mom, I want to go see what the Easter Bunny brought!”

Oops. The Easter Bunny had completely forgotten to visit, though (s)he had a drawerful of Easter goodies. (But none of that grass stuff. I hate cleaning that up.)

I stalled: “It’s really early—why don’t you go back to bed for a little while, and I’ll make sure he came.”

I grabbed a robe, stuffed the bag of goodies underneath, and snuck past her room into the kitchen where I dumped the stuff onto the bar. We’d even forgotten to set out their baskets, so I tiptoed back into H’s room.

“The Easter Bunny came, but we forgot to set out our baskets so he left everything on the bar. Give me your basket and I’ll get S’s too, and I’ll put the stuff in your baskets for you.”

Quietly, quietly I put the goodies in their baskets. Back to H’s room:

“I’ve got the camera ready, come see what the Easter Bunny brought!”

She never once questioned why I made her wait. The faith of a child: patient, solid, unbending. What does it do to a child’s faith when we let them believe so strongly in the Easter Bunny, Santa, the tooth fairy; and then even after they come to know the “truth” about those imaginary heroes, we still expect them to believe in an invisible God, a Savior they can’t see. Are we making a huge mistake? How do we convince little children, big children, teenagers, and adults that even though Santa is a myth, Jesus is real?

But, oh, that we all could have the faith of a child.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Their Goal: A Barren, Sterile Existence

A few nights ago during dinner, S asked me out of the clear blue, "Mommy, how do babies get out of their mommies' tummies?"

Gulp. I carefully explained the process, trying not to make it sound scary, and noting that "the doctor can give the mommy medicine if it hurts." (amen and hallelujah)

At the end of my explanation, S said, "I am NEVER having a baby!"

Okay, so maybe it sounds scary no matter how you put it.

The next day, H told me that she wasn't ever going to get married. I asked why, and she screwed up her face and said, "The kissy-kissy!" Ha!

So I guess I've screwed myself out of grandchildren, what with all my anatomically-correct explanations and PDA in front of the children. Is it too early to start telling them about adoption and sperm donations?

I Can't Go Left

L (driving through downtown): I wonder if I can go this way to get to . . . no . . . crap, now I'm going the wrong way.

H: Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you wonder, you end up going the wrong way? You should never follow your wonders.

Maybe I should let her drive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

12,000 BTU's: It's Gonna Be Like a Meat Locker in Here!

So life is full of ups and downs, right? You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have the facts of life (the facts of life). But it’s a little frustrating to have those ups and downs packed into one evening.

We got home from work yesterday evening and the air conditioner was blowing out warm air. It was cooler outside than inside. I called the A/C guy, he was there in an hour, and discovered that ants had gotten into the unit outside and had completely mucked it up; two parts needed to be replaced. (Ants, lice, baby snakes—why are God’s smallest creatures all trying to kill me?)

So I’m trying to see the good in this; after all, we don’t (yet) need to replace the entire unit, and since we have an emergency fund, I was able to pay him with a check right then. A year ago, I would have had to borrow money from someone for a repair like that. (Hi, Daddy!) Still. Bleh.

But then, the good: I made spaghetti squash for the first time and it turned out quite lovely! If you’ve never cooked it before, try it—it tastes like regular squash only with a more delicate flavor. They’re about the size of a honeydew, with a bright yellow skin. One of them fed all four of us. You cut it in half, take out the pulp and seeds, bake it cut side down for an hour at 350 or microwave it in a pan of water for 10 minutes, then scrape out the insides and mix them with some butter and/or olive oil, a little sautéed garlic and onions, salt and pepper and some parmesan—ummmm. It was quite a hit.

And after that, sadness: my favorite contestant Chris Sligh was voted off American Idol. Poor Chris—your quick, droll wit could not hide your total lack of rhythm.

And then, disappointment: Lost aired its most answer-free episode in weeks. It was like it had been replaced by an episode of Matlock. But looking on the bright side, at least they didn’t show Locke—I haaaaaate that guy.

So, after all that, I went to bed at 11:30 and then overslept this morning and had trouble getting the girls out the door. But I still made it to work by 8:15 AND no one saw me come in late.

Always look on the bright side of life . . .

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just Eat Your Dang Quesadilla!

Only two days into Spring Break, and I'm exhausted! Good thing I'm going back to work tomorrow so I can rest a little bit.

We've been very productive since last Friday: we saw a children's production of "Charlotte's Web" at a local theater, ate lunch at Taco Cabana,

bought a dining table (we have a dining room! like real grown-ups!),

bought two extra chairs to go with the dining table (note the lamp on the floor--very sophisticated),

ate dinner with GrandMom, GrandBob and Aunt M at Taste of Texas steakhouse, found a bed for S's room (pics to follow when we get it put together!), hung some pictures, cleaned the house, visited Old Town Spring (several streets of antique stores and fun shops), spent a gift card at the Build-A-Bear workshop, and the girls spent a night with GrandBob and GrandMom! On top of that I've done laundry, made a bunch of phone calls I've been putting off, gone to the grocery store, and took about twenty books back to the library. All the shopping has been fun, but I'm looking forward to my quiet office just a little bit.

The girls and R are just hanging out the rest of the week, getting ready for a big weekend: on Saturday, Pop and Baba are coming to visit from Tennessee, and they're bringing the cousins! They're staying until Wednesday, and H has made quite a list of all the things we need to see and do while they're here. We'll see our Texas cousins this weekend as well, and we're so excited to hug and kiss on them all, provided, of course, that they sit still long enough. The boys are very hard to catch!