Post-birthday Wrap Up

Not to brag or anything (okay, I am totally bragging), but I ROCKED the kids' birthdays this year. My mom wasn't much for birthday parties. I was the third kid and she was tired. After the year she ordered the 3-D Cookie Monster cake and I got the flu so she had to cancel the party she was pretty much done. I was three. Anyhoo, I guess that is why I feel compelled to at least put forth some effort in the party area.

Z's princess party was the event of the year with the pre-school set. We had it at the Princess Room of a local store. Z calls it the Princess Parlor. All the little girls got to wear princess dresses, have their nails sparkle painted, make-up done with face jewels and have their hair done with sparkly clips and ribbon scrunchies. All I had to provide was the cake: a massive, fondant covered, iridescent princess castle. I really outdid myself. No one could believe that I had done it myself. The girls got to take home a pink feather boa and a little fuzzy pink purse with lip gloss, body glitter, powder and some jewelry inside. They were in heaven. All the girls clustered around Z when she opened her presents and looked like we had cornered the market on pink, sparkly, pre-school glamour.

Q's construction party was much more low-key, but I think it was just as fun. I made a hard hat cake with construction cone candles. Too cute! We had planned a picnic in a park with cake and punch and all of our friends and family. Earlier in the week, the weather was perfect. I had even dressed the kids in shorts. But, this being Texas and all, the weather changed. It went from the mid-80's on Thursday to the low 40's today. I guess it was a good thing I totally dropped the ball and hadn't invited anyone. Heh.

We ended up doing the cake and punch part, but we did it at home with just us, the grandparents, Sister L and her husband R. Who needs a park when you have a doting aunt and uncle? Sister L is better than any park! Q is particularly fond of R because he is so willing to play pirates with him. In fact, it was R who introduced him to the game back at Christmas by putting his eye patch on him for the first time. Q turned all gifts into part of his piratical ensemble: the knight costume, the pirate accessories, the lion in the Fisher Price jungle, the vacuum cleaner. It was all good. Aaaaaarrrg!


Interview with Paper Napkin

Sheryl posted an interview meme about a month ago, and I decided to jump in and join. She was a little under the weather, so it took her a while to get the questions to me. Then I was all tied up with that pesky house-buying thing. So in Sheryl's words, better late than never. Unless you're waiting for a liver transplant.

Here's how it works:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Here are the 5 questions Sheryl asked me:

1. If you won $2 million tomorrow, what are 3 things you would do with the money? Put $1.5 in the bank so I can live off the interest; rent Oprah's chef/personal trainer to get me off my dimpled rear; take a fabulous long-term vacation involving a beach and beverages with umbrellas.

2. Are you superstitious about anything? I have an elaborate New Year's Day meal that I eat every year: black-eyed peas for luck; cabbage for folding money; carrots for coins; poppy seeds for health. I figure you can never have enough luck, money or health, so what can it hurt?

3. What is one event in the future whose outcome you would like to know now? Will they find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease? Since my mom has it, as did her mother, I am very interested in the answer to this question. My genes are loaded against me. On a less serious issue, I would like to know how Z and I fare through her teen years. At the moment, she is four going on 17. The attitude is killing me - when it isn't cracking me up. Somehow, I think I will find it more difficult to see the humor in her 'tude when she really is 17.

4. If you could be the spokesperson for any product on the market, which product could you endorse wholeheartedly? Windex Multi-Surface Antibacterial Spray. I love this stuff. It was the only cleaner I could use while pregnant without gagging. It has a pleasant citrus scent and works on everything! I have a glass kitchen table, stainless appliances, stone floors and Formica counter tops. It cleans them all. LOVE. Also, DaVinci Gourmet Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup. It makes a cup of coffee taste like a treat without adding any calories. It is also great for making diet vanilla cokes. Yum!

5. When you're having a bad day what's the best thing you can do to cheer yourself up? The best thing would be to talk to a friend or a sister. They can usually get my mind off of whatever it is that is getting me down. What I actually do is eat something. In the dictionary under "emotional eater?" Is a picture of me. Sigh. That is why I need Oprah's trainer (see number 1.).


On This Day...

Today is my little man's second birthday. Two years. I just can't believe it.
One year ago, on this very day, my sweet baby boy was battling a cold and smearing cake all over himself, surrounded by his doting extended family.

Two years ago, on this very day and at this very time, I was holding my brand spanking new baby boy while he got the hang of nursing.

Wow! Time goes so quickly! To commemorate Q's second birthday, I thought I would tell the story of his birth. It was quite an adventure. I published this on our family website, so some of you may have read it before. I think it is worth reading again!

. .. ... .. .
Q's Arrival: a Wild Ride

It was a wild ride, but Q arrived safe and sound at 3:55pm on February 26, 2007.

We were planning to attend a family funeral in the afternoon, but when I woke up that morning I was having either indigestion or very early labor pangs. My doula (labor assistant) advised me to take a 15 minute stroll and see if that affected the pains at all. If it did, I was in labor. If not, it was probably a bad taco.

Sure enough, the contractions intensified, so I settled in to labor at home. My first labor had gone very quickly with the aid of Pitocin, so I figured that I was in for a full day of labor before Q hatched. My doula was attending another birth, but assured me that she would get on the road ASAP (she was over an hour away). My doctor was stuck in Vegas due to weather. She was expected back the next day. The doc on call was the worst nightmare of a natural childbirth gal like me: an old-school, crotchety, shut-up-and-do-what-I-say kind of doc. Yay.

Around 11:30 my pangs, though mild, became insistent enough that I thought I should start timing them. They were a comfortable distance apart. At one o'clock I sent Tommy out to get lunch. I figured it would be the last decent meal I would get for a while.

After lunch I decided to labor in the tub for a while. Z got in with me and that was a hoot. Picture a naked two-year-old and a bikini clad full-term pregnant woman in a jacuzzi tub. Ha! Z was splashing around and Mom-in-law was dutifully recording times on the contractions. The pains were still tolerable, so I stayed in until the water cooled, then decided to get out. By this time, I was regretting the decision to have a hamburger, but was desperately thankful for my cherry limeade.

After a bathroom pit stop (boy, that burger was really not agreeing with me!), I got dressed (with some difficulty) and went to lie down on the bed. Suddenly, the contractions weren't so easy. What a wimp! I convinced myself that I was being a total weenie, since I just knew Q wasn't coming for hours and hours.

T, totally in denial, was flitting about (in as much as a Mr. Manly Man can flit) finishing up last minute minutia and saying, "But I'm not ready, yet!" I grabbed him on a pass through the bedroom and asked him to put some pressure on my back. He did, but I kept asking him to press harder. At one point, I think he thought that he might actually push my spine through my abdominal wall, so he decided he had pushed long enough just walked away - in the middle of a contraction! I am afraid my head spun around and I might have daintily bellowed, "DON'T LEAVE ME IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONTRACTION!!!" He got this deer in the headlights look and said, "But I didn't know you were having a contraction!" What could he have possibly thought I was doing? Making a late pregnancy play for a sympathy back rub? Sheesh!

About that time, 3:30 or so, Diane the Doula, arrived. I asked her to apply pressure to my lower back (where T had abandoned me) to help with a particularly bad pain. Her eyes got wide, but she pressed until the contraction passed. She said it was that low because Q's head was descending. In her low-key way, she said we needed to go to the hospital. Like, now.

On the way to the door of my bedroom, I am knocked flat by a contraction that made me want to push. Yikes! We hustle (okay, waddle very quickly) down the stairs to the garage where I am stopped again at the front fender of my car, trying with all my might not to push. Splash!

My water broke in true dramatic Hollywood fashion all over the garage floor. Z gave me a puzzled look and asked, "Mommy tinkle?" There was a brief debate about whether I would go the hospital or deliver at home (Diane was one class away from becoming a midwife), but I knew all of my pro-medicine/procedures-are-great! family would lose their collective minds if I stayed. I wasn't feeling quite so urgent after my water broke, so off we went to the hospital.

Did you know that a Ford Freestyle will go 110 mph if you are truly in a hurry? T called ahead to his dispatch buddies to warn them we were coming hell-for-leather. I think I was so alarmed by the speed that there was no chance of a contraction en route!

I didn't have another contraction until we arrived at the hospital. As I was struggling not to have Q in the car in front of the hospital, a helpful bystander ran up to the Labor and Delivery ward and told them I was coming.

I made it to the elevator, but then I had to push. I bore down and bellowed like a bull. A hapless visitor had made the mistake of stepping onto the elevator with us. Diane had to pull my pants down to see if his head had come out. Since it had not, I jumped (okay, collapsed carefully) into the wheel chair and was literally RUN down the hall to the first available room. The bystander? Took one step out of the elevator and passed smooth out. It was the talk of the maternity ward.

As soon as I was even remotely horizontal (and, T tells me, before my pants were even completely off), Q's head was out. One more push and the rest of him was out, too. Wow! No doctor. No IV. No hospital registration. The nurse just caught him and put him on my chest. They were in a bit of a hurry to cut the cord, but I guess they aren't used to crunchy gals like me.

Once the excitement was over, Dr. Crankypants came in to patch me up, grumbling the whole time about natural childbirth-ers waiting too long to come to the hospital and the malfunctioning light above the table. (Small town usually has one new baby per week. For whatever reason, Q was baby number seven that day. And the only one without complications. There was literally no room at the in and they had to put me in a room with no surgical lighting.)

No one was as surprised as I was at how things turned out, though in retrospect, there were some pretty clear signposts along the way that it was time to go to the hospital. But all's well that ends well. We went home early the next morning.

Post-partum Post Script-

When we got home the next day, I found the sheet of paper on which Mom-in-law had been recording my contractions. They had been one to two minutes apart since before I got out of the tub(!). Incredulous, I asked her about it. Her response? "You told me to write them down, not tell you how far apart they were!" Yeah, she's an RN.

About a month after Q was born, we got a sizable check in the mail. It was from my OB/GYN. We got a refund because there was no doctor in attendance! Sweet!



The lovely Shan at Last Shreds of Sanity is hosting Wordles Wednesday, so I thought I would play along. If you would like to play too, go to wordles.net.

To make this wordle, I used the text from my descriptions of my realtors and the house hunt. Pretty cool, huh?

New House! (Nearly Wordless Wednesday)

We have just returned from the western frontier and I am happy to report that our mission was successful. We found a house and made an offer. We are still in negotiations over the price, but are feeling optimistic.
It is what I call a friendly house: friends come to the back door, acquaintances come to the front; in this house they look the same so everyone is a friend! LOVE the porches. The back porch is completely screened and (relatively) bug free!

The kitchen was updated with a minimum of hideous wallpaper, though I will be attacking the border the minute I sign the papers. Long term plans include new counters and eliminating the island. (Kitchen islands sound like a good idea, but in my opinion, they just get in the way - especially with two little kids and three dogs running around your ankles!)

The fireplace is gorgeous. The walls aren't nearly as minty as they appear in this photo, but will be painted a warm tan color none the less. The built-ins are similar to our current house and are the perfect place to hide neatly store kid clutter.


Repetitive Stress Injury

"Bite me" is a Rae Ann-ism that has been around since T and I started dating. He usually responds with some silly eyebrow waggling, a muppet-like 'rawr' and "Maybe later." Over time these little interactions change. Lately, I tell him that he can bite the fattest part of my ass (when there are no kids around, of course).

Today, while packing up stuff from his hunting closet (yes, a whole closet of hunting gear. Our house is the place to be for Armageddon.), he made some smart ass comment. When I turned around to give him the hairy eyeball, he beat me to the punch with, "Yeah, yeah. The fattest part of your ass."

Perhaps it is time for a new phrase.


My Baby is Four!

I saw this at A Nut in a Nutshell some time ago and I thought it would be a perfect post for Z's birthday.

First Baby Questions:

1. Were you married at the time? Yes

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? Really excited! I was a little long in the tooth when we married, so we wanted to get pregnant right away.

3. How old were you? 33

4.How did you find out? We bought a home pregnancy test.

5. Who did you tell first? I called my parents who said, "Already?" Z was a honeymoon baby.

6. Did you want to find out the sex? Not at first. But then when the opportunity to find out arose, I couldn't resist. I had a nursery to decorate!

7. Due date? February 12, 2005

8. Did you deliver late or on time? Late. I have funny giant-ly pregnant pictures taken on my due date.

9. Did you have morning sickness? Very little. I never actually got sick, but I did feel a little seasick ALL the time.

10. What did you crave? Grapefruit and bananas. I had more aversions than cravings. I couldn't even stomach the thought of eggs. Peanut butter also made me nauseaus. I couldn't handle the spices in Mexican without killer heartburn. I'm still not entirely over the eggs and peanuts. And I eat WAY more bananas now than I did before I was pregnant.

11. Who/what irritated you the most? My husband. Apparently pregnancy hormones bring on The Crazy, and everything he did bugged the hell out of me.

12. What was your first child's sex? Girl

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout pregnancy? About 32

14. Did you have any complications during pregnancy? A week after my due date, my blood pressure went way up, so they had to induce. I'm a crunchy-granola-natural-childbirth kind of gal, so when they said 'induce,' I heard 'emergency c-section.' I was determined to be drug free and wanted to move around during labor, but the only position that didn't push on Z's cord was flat on my back - the world's worst position for natural labor! I almost gave up on the drug-free thing during transition (my MiL, who was my coach, was so freaked out by my BP that she was of no use coach-wise), but a wonderful nurse got me through it.

15. Where did you give birth? Small Town, Texas

16. How many hours were you in labor? 7 hours, 15 minutes

17. Who drove you to the hospital? Hubby

18. Who watched? T, his mom and dad, a whole host of nurses and my doc.

19. Was it natural or c-section? Natural

20. Did you take medication to ease the pain? Not even a Tylenol.

21. How much did your child weigh? 6 lb 11 oz.

22. Did your child have any complications? No, she was perfect!

23. What did you name her? Z. Her middle name is E after her grandmother.

24. How old is your first born today? She is 4!

The Rest of the Story

My last post probably left you thinking we had a totally terrible and unproductive trip. That would be false, but it made for better comedic timing. However, everything I wrote about agent A was true. Man, did that woman suck at her job.

The good news is that after she dropped us off in the Chili's parking lot, we cold called an agent from Keller Williams (LOVE!) who found us a dozen suitable houses in half an hour. We are now planning to name our next child after her. Let's hope it is a girl, as a boy named Janet could have some gender identification issues.

The good news? There are houses in our price range that aren't scary and have a big lot. The bad news? Most of them are located in the next town over. You know, the one we were hoping to move to in the first place. Because it is nicer. Yes, that one.

We looked all day on Tuesday without much luck. Our new realtor remained upbeat and promised us that with every house we saw, she learned a little more about what we liked and how to meet our needs. She dropped us off at our hotel that night with the promise to keep looking.

An hour later, she sent an email that said, "I think this is the one!" And we thought she was right. So the next morning we schlepped WAAAAY over to the other side of Next Town Over to look at this promising house.

At first glance, this house appeared to be everything you could ask for: four bedrooms, three and a half baths, two living, two dining, office, utility room all situated on a two acre lot and wrapped up in gorgeous dark red brick. Then as you walk around you start noticing things. Wow, this hall is really skinny. Were those bricks around the window ever mortared? Why are there wires sticking out of all of the windowsills? What happened to the trim work around the kitchen cabinets? What the heck is up with the half sanded/half varnished cabinets? Hmph. Giant random piles of dirt? Check. Fancy fence that looks like pipe fence but is actually PVC? Check again. What was the deal?

It turns out that two owners ago, the original owners, built the house. They used their brother-in-who was a general contractor, but not a builder. Apparently, they ran out of money in the middle of their project and kind of left things half done. Wow. And I thought my house was the land of half ass!

For all its quirks, this house is still the best fit we have found and it is priced very reasonably for the area (though still at the very tippy top of our budget). If we were to fix up all of the half-done items and get the yard in shape, we could sell it for quite a profit a couple years down the line. Normally this sort of stuff would fall to me and T would have nothing to do with it. But the monetary aspect of this house has him all excited and willing to participate.

We are headed back next week to look at more houses and to give this one a closer look. We need to make sure it is structurally sound before we are willing to proceed. And our minds aren't made up, so we will look at whatever else Janet finds.

Oh, we leave tomorrow, so no more posts until Thursday. Wah!


Bad Realtor Glossary

You're coming in a week? Great! I'll have everything ready! - I will run into the office ten minutes before you get here and make a half-assed effort to find what you need.

Limited inventory - I am only willing to show you the houses I have listed so that I will make the maximum amount of money off of you. Screw your needs and/or time table. What do you mean you found more houses on the internet?

This house is SO cute! - This is my friend's house and even though it meets none of your requirements, I am going to show it to you anyway!

I am in the process of getting an SUV - I know my car smells overwhelmingly of the pine-tree-shaped air freshener under the seat. Sorry about the car sickness!

This house has a GREAT lot! - The house meets none of your needs, but the lot is huge.

You don't want to live on the west side of town - Here let me show you some houses on the west side of town. Boy, that squad car sure will come in handy!

The area is a little industrial - Turn right at the porn shop, drive through the trailer park past the oil field equipment supplier and stop at the house surrounded by the butt-ugly chain-link fence.

This house has such potential! Wait until you see the updates! - They have painted over the worst of the graffiti and blood stains.

The former owner loved to entertain. - Yes, there is a stage in the backyard. Also? These two random outdoor bathtubs? Are for beer! Try not to step on the broken crack pipes.

I'll call you back this afternoon - I am too cheap to take you to lunch, even though it is totally tax-deductible and I did a terrible job this morning. I'll pick you up this afternoon in the parking lot of the restaurant I didn't take you to for lunch.

This owner totally over decorates! - Pay no attention to the burglar bars! And don't look too closely at the gaping fractures in the brick hidden by that over-the-door swat!

This is a great neighborhood! - There aren't any houses for sale here now, but let's go look at some I sold last year.

There's no hurry, right? - I would like for you to start your new job while living in your car.

I'll call you first thing after our staff meeting in the morning! - You will never hear from me again.


Big Changes

We are off to the ranch today, and from there we will go to New Town to meet T's new co-workers and to find a NEW HOUSE. Since the connectivity on the ranch has not improved since the last time I was there, I won't be posting until my return to Small Town some time next week. When I do get back, there will be lots of exciting news to share and well of pictures of Z's birthday cake!


My Brain is Tired

My bud Jamie asked me to make a PR button for her blog. She jokingly said it should be sparkly like Z's invitations. Well, I am so literal minded, I had to figure out how to make it sparkle! She is totally getting her $7.50 worth. I learned a whole new skill just for her! I figured out how to do glitter animations. It took me all afternoon and evening and lots of tedious trial and error. When I finally got it to work correctly, I was all excited to upload it and see how it worked at The Button Box.

Nothing. Boo.

Man, blogger doesn't make it easy on you. They convert all files to .jpg and those won't animate! But after digging around in the collective brain of the internet, I discovered Tiny Pic, a free graphic host that supports animation (Flickr doesn't). Awesome!

I would post it, but it hasn't been approved yet, so the file hasn't been reduced and is MASSIVE.
So now I must sleep. My brain is tired.

What All the Fuss Was About

All the hoo-ha surrounding Princess Z's Party invites produced these:


Trying Tuesday

If yesterday was 'Not Me! Monday,' then today was 'Trying Tuesday.' Actually, it started last night. Z had made an unholy mess in the living room, dumping every toy out of every bin. At bed time, I told her to get it cleaned up while I headed up to put Q to bed. She shimmied upstairs just in time to brush her teeth and get her books.

When I got downstairs, I saw that she hadn't really cleaned up. She had just scooped most of the toys off the floor into the bins and hid them behind the ottoman. Arg!

Lather, rinse, repeat today at nap time. Except I think that she may have actually imported every toy from every sweatshops in the third world to create the mess in the living room. Maybe she imported them from another dimension. Anyway, I have never seen such a mess! I told her to get it cleaned up while I got Q down. 15 minutes later, I don't think a single toy had migrated to its spot. So I set a timer and told her that if the timer went off, she would lose a book (she gets three) and have time added to quiet time. The timer went off three times without the population of homeless toys decreasing one. bit.

So off she went to her room where she got no books and was banished until dark. I told her there would be no television, movies or treats until the toys were picked up. I guess all the alone time made an impression on her, because she cleaned up as soon as she come downstairs.

You would think that such a smart little girl would have learned her lesson by now. Nope. We get upstairs for bath time and, you guessed it, every toy is off of every shelf and deposited on her floor and bed. She had to clean it up before she could come to the tub. She piddled and played and almost missed out on bath time entirely, streaking in as I am getting Q into his jammies.

I get her bathed in record time (hubby was watching Q, but needed to get to bed himself) and went to her room to select books. She had done the same thing in her room that she had done downstairs. All of her stuff was swept off the floor and onto her window seat. Stuffed animals, dirty clothes, books, action figures all in a giant heap. So AGAIN I told her to get it cleaned up the right way while I got her brother down.

She howled and yelled her favorite phrase of the day, "But I don't WANT to clean up!" She stomped and cried and basically did everything possible to keep Q from going to sleep. When it was finally her turn for books, her room was cleaned the right way (this story makes me sound like Mommy Dearest, but my standards are actually quite reasonable: books on the shelf, animals on the seat and nothing on the floor) and we were able to have story time.

When we sat down, we had the discussion about making better choices, and consequences and responsibility. About how I didn't love doing laundry or cleaning up dog poop, but it was my responsibility so I did it. I thought I had really gotten through to her when she gave me a big hug and said, "But I didn't want to clean up." Like talking to a wall.


Today I am thankful for:

1. My daughter having made it through the day alive.
2. The gardener dude who is going to work both quickly and reasonably priced.
3. Having found a contractor to do the outside house repairs.
4. Z's extended 'quiet time' (I use the term loosely) resulted in my being able to find a lot of useless junk good stuff for the garage sale.
5. Super Suppers.



Today I am thankful for:

1. Getting to check calls to the yard guy and the pool guy off of the never ending list of things to be done to get ready for the move.
2. Having found two really cool women from my distant past on Facebook.
3. Frozen pizza.
4. My happy husband. Much of the the time he is a grouch, so all this bubbly happiness is intoxicating.
5. That I was the only one who got hurt when Q sent the vase tumbling onto the stone floor. My little heathens refuse to wear shoes, so it could have been ugly.


I packed a box today. (Actually, it was a box of things to sell at a garage sale to raise money for the lovely S's adoption.) It was pretty surreal. It somehow made this move seem more real - and that much more overwhelming!

Our stuff has expanded to fit this giant house. I'm going to have to beat it back with a sword (tape gun?) if there is to be any hope of cramming it into a new house. West Texas is booming right now, what with oil prices and all, so they are quite proud of their real estate. We are definitely going to have to downsize. Which is actually a good thing - less acreage to clean!

I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to clear out the clutter, but pack rat that I am, I am having difficulties. There are five vases in my storage closet. Do I really need all five? No. But they are all different sizes, so who knows when I will need a particular size? Oops! Only four vases. Q was 'helping' me and pushed the closet door onto the vase which met its end on the slate floor. In yet another example of stellar parenting, I bellowed at the kids to GET OUT OF THIS ROOM! while I cleaned up the glass. (My karmic payback was that I totally stabbed myself on a shard and bled like a stuck pig.)

Another illustration of my pack-rat-i-ness: I have several tubs of mangled dog toys waiting for me to repair them. Today I decided that unless it had sentimental value, I would just chuck it. Once I got them all in the trash bag, I was overcome with the wastefulness of it all. I think I'm going to call the pound and see if they could use some beat up dog toys. See? Hopeless.

I hope I have better luck in other areas of the house!

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not stay in my pajamas for two solid days, nor did I allow my daughter to do so. That would be lazy and slovenly and I am always perfectly put together.

I did not run out of gas at the gas station and find myself without my wallet. Everyone knows you fill up your car when you hit half full. And driving without a wallet is illegal. Impossible. So I totally did not have to call my husband at work to come bring me money in his squad car. And the cashier definitely did not think I was in trouble with the law. I am much too upstanding for that.

I did not get sucked into Facebook by my friend Mrs. B. I have much too much on my plate to waste time on something silly like that. I am all about responsible time management

I did not stay up until the wee hours working on an invitation only to re-design it this morning. My ideas are always inspired and never require revision

I did not ask my daughter to "please just stop talking" while I was working on her invitations this afternoon. That would be insensitive and
I am all about being a shining example for my children. So I certainly did not tell this same daughter that she couldn't help me with the invitations because it was a "mommy-job" (aka: I wanted them to be done "right") I am much too laid back for that and not at all OCD. And given all of this concern for quality control, you can bet I did not fool around on the internet and completely forget about the invites until it was too late to work on them. My time management and organization skills are much too finely honed to do anything like that.



Today I am thankful for:

1. That T is so excited about his new position and our impending move west.
2. That Z and Q will be able to have a close relationship with their west Texas cousins.
3. That our new town is big enough for an airport, a Target, and a UU church.
4. That the realtors and I were in agreement about what to price the house.
5. That there are people on Facebook that want to be my friend!

Sucked In

Do you hear that whooshing sound? That is the sound of me getting sucked into Facebook. My friend Mrs. B. sent me an invitation to join and be her friend. I figured that I would join just so I could be her friend and that would be the end of it. I'd never look at it again.

But no. I was immediately drawn in with such force that I think my computer gave me a hickey. Within minutes I had found a bunch of friends from Ginormousville, some relatives, and my high school sweetheart. I have gotten friend requests from people I can't even remember. But I know I must have known them because we had classes together.

I sat down for a quick check at the beginning of nap time. The next thing I know, I hear children stirring on the monitors. I had spent the whole two hours filling in profiles and looking for friends - instead of doing something useful like bathing or cleaning my house. I had no idea that Facebook was such a time suck!

I have talked more with BFF KG more in the last 24 hours than in the whole preceding month. Now, not only do I feel compelled to check my blog reader every time I walk by the computer, I have to check Facebook, too. Is there a 12-step program for this? For surely I am addicted. It's like internet heroin. One taste and you are hooked.

My name is Rae Ann and I am a Facebookaholic.



There are two kinds of people in the world: people who fill their cars up as soon as the gauge hits the halfway mark and those who wait until the car is actually approaching empty before filling up. T and I are a mixed marriage. My husband, an always-be-prepared boyscout of a man, is the former. I like to live on the wild side. I fill up with a quarter of a tank left. Cheap thrills.

I noticed on the way home from dance lessons that I was running low on gas, but with two crabby children and Sonic hamburgers in the car, I talked myself into waiting until the next morning. Apparently I never even glanced at the gauge on Thursday's library run because it never crossed my mind to fill up.

This brings us to Friday. So. Very. Tired. The hubs tells me I was a snore beast all night. I know that this must be true because he kicked me in the rear hard enough to leave a footprint! That was around 5:00 a.m. I never made it back to sleep. Having gone to bed around midnight (I know! Show some self control! Get off the internet!), that made for about 5 hours of sleep. I can barely function on less than seven. Yikes!

I think it is possible that I sleep-drove Z to school on Friday morning. I was about 3/4 of the way home when the OMG-you're-about-to-be-stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road light came on. That woke me up. I toggled the display over to 'miles to empty.' Three miles. No problem, I think to myself. I will just gas up on the way to pick up Z. T never has to know!

Thinking I'll run an errand or two before getting Z, Q and I head out around 11:15. When I start the car, the display says two miles to empty. Holy sheep! That will be cutting it close. I watch the gauges like a hawk all the way to the gas station. As I coast up to the pump, it clicks over to zero miles to empty. Whew! I made it!

I open the console to grab my wallet. What, huh? Oh, hell no. Where's my wallet? Sitting in the library bag in the middle of Z's floor. No cash. No cards. No options. I had to call T. At work. Oh noes!

Me - "T? Get the mocking over with quickly, then come rescue me."

T - "Oh, hell. What's wrong?"

Me - "I'm out of gas and I don't have my wallet."

T - "Bah, ha, ha, ha, ha! I'll get there as soon as I can."

So there I am: stranded at the low rent gas station with no way to leave. Then a police car pulls up. T gets out of his squad car and hands me his debit card. I run into the station to give them the card. I tell the gal that it is for the gray car, only to notice that the other car out there is gray, too. So then I tell her, "Um, the one with the police car by it." Dying. Inside.

Fourteen years later (seriously, it took like 20 minutes to fill up!), T leaves and I go in to sign the receipt. The clerk is kind of giving me the hairy eyeball (or it felt like it, any way), so to cover up the awkward, I said, "Wow! That is the slowest pump ever!" She replied that it gave me time to cool off and "deal with things."

She thought the police car was there for me because I was in trouble! She thought I was a criminal!

"He's my HUSBAND!" I blurt out defensively. I will never live this down.


Movin', movin', movin'. Get those doggies movin'!

So. Today was the big day.

T got the new job. Yay!

We are moving. Hmmm. And not to where we thought we were. It is just the next town over from where we thought we would be, a mere 20 miles, but somehow I am having a hard time wrapping my head around it. These two towns are where my extended family live, so I have some long formed opinions. In my opinion, the town we didn't get is much nicer than the one we did. Of course, that opinion was formed over 25 years ago and was based entirely on the location of my grandparents' houses. They were nice houses, but their neighborhoods did not age well.

I am sure our town has lovely areas. I am just not familiar with them yet. Also a bummer, my cousins with kids the same ages as Z and Q live in the other town. Again, it is only 20 miles - nothing! - but probably won't allow for spur of the moment play dates or having the kids on the same soccer teams. Wah.

T is very excited about his new job. He will be in commercial vehicle enforcement (big trucks). His hours will be more regular and his working hours less micro-managed. A husband happier at work is a husband happier at home. Yay! Also, our new town is only two hours from the ranch. T is over the moon about that. I am on the positive side of neutral. The ranch still won't be my favorite place in the world, but at least it won't take a full day to get there!

I have spent pretty much every minute since we found out we were moving obsessively looking at houses online. With the prices of oil what they are, west Texas is booming. Houses cost a lot more than I was expecting. T was hoping to get a place with some small acreage, but I haven't found anything like that in my searches. I want some place with good schools near parks and/or public pools. Chica's sis-in-law is a teacher in our new town, so hopefully she will give me the lowdown on the best schools. Greatschools.net does not think much of the schools there at. all. There are only a couple of schools that are rated better than six out of ten. Great.

We will head out there some time in the next week or two to meet T's new boss and co-workers, as well as to look at houses. In the mean time, I had our realtor come over today to give the current house the once over and tell us what she thinks we need to do before we get the house on the market. She was really positive, but the list is depressingly long: landscaping; paint/repair eaves; paint/replace shutters; minor touch-ups on dinged up interior paint; replace fogged/broken windows; DECLUTTER. Blah. It makes me wring my hands just to think about it.

The idea of making eleventy dozen trips back and forth to the ranch to store our "extra" stuff makes me cry a little. Not at the idea of being separated from my stuff, but that moving that way is slow and painful. Maybe I will get one of those portable storage deals. That would be sweet! Pack it up, they store it until we get a new house, then they deliver it there. This sounds like an excellent idea to me.

Z is excited about the idea of a new house. I don't think she understands that her BFF won't be living next door any more. That makes me a little sad. That and the fact that this house is my personal Bethlehem: the place I brought my babies home. I guess this small town will always have a piece of my heart because of that.



LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?


This post is brought to you from the top of my kitchen counter. Okay, not really. But isn't that what you are supposed to do when you discover a mouse? Jump on top of the nearest high surface? I totally don't get that. What's to be afraid of? It's a tiny mammal the size of your big toe.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT excited about having found evidence of our little rodent-y freeloader. I know that I have made it clear that I am a lackluster housekeeper, but even I have my limits. Imagine me in a three minute full body shudder as I discover a bag of Chex Mix obviously chewed by little mouse-y teeth. Blech! As soon as my little 'helpers' were in bed, I tackled the pantry. I dragged out every single box, bag, bowl and container in there. I threw away everything old/dusty/that showed evidence of having mouse poop anywhere near it. I piled the rest on the counter while I disinfected the every horizontal surface and some of the vertical ones.

Now, sitting here high on Windex Antibacterial Multi-Surface Spray (which I highly recommend, by the way), I am faced with a conundrum. What do I do with all of the chip/snack/crunchy thing bags that were formerly sitting on that shelf? Obviously, a little plastic packaging was no match for little pointy mouse teeth. Do I go for the industrial sized tuppers? Set a trap and hope for the best? Stuff all the cracks (of which I found none!) with dog fur and hope the scent makes the mouse find a better place to party? Call the exterminator? Get a cat? Personally, I like the last option, but I fear my huz would divorce me.

So now I am at a stalemate. I have put everything that I can back into the pantry but am left with a couple bushels of dry goods with no where to go. Well played little mouse. Well played.


Hey! I have made it to a brand new month of thankfulness! And it only took me two and a half months to get here! I rock.

Today I am thankful for:

1. Finding another mom with kids aged differently enough to make library time a challenge. I'm not thankful that she was having a hard time, but rather that we kind of instituted an unspoken zone defence and watched the other's kids while we shuffled from room to room.
2. While he still needs breathing treatments, Q isn't sounding quite as death rattle-y/pneumonia stricken as he did a few days ago.
3. The mouse only chewed one bag and his, um, leavings? were only on one shelf. Ick! But it could have been so much worse!
4. Z cleaned up her toys and got ready for bath time without too much fuss or silliness.
5. Though he grumbled and had to be coerced to do it, T did Z's bedtime routine. I look forward to a time when he has a regular schedule and can be more a part of the kids' lives. (We find out tomorrow. Hopefully.)


Tag Cloud Geek Out

I know I am late to the party, but I think tag clouds are a cool way to visually represent what I am writing about. Much more interesting than a plain list, if not more practical. (Sorry Mimi Smartypants!) So today I set out to find out how to make one, which was not as easy as I thought it would be.

Honestly, I expected there to be a Blogger gadget that would do it for me, but I was wrong. Well, not really. There was a gadget, it just didn't work the way I thought it should. I messed around with several different sites that had 'tag cloud builders,' but they used key-words instead of my actual tags, so again, that wasn't what I was looking for.

Finally, I stumbled on a site that had the actual code for making the tag cloud and coherent instructions for how to install it. Yay! It even gave easily understandable instructions on how to tweak it so that it looks the way you want it to. Love! I am such a NERD about this stuff!


Today I am thankful for:

1. T made me breakfast. Orange rolls from a tube, but beggars can't be choosers.
2. How excited Z is about her birthday party. We went in and paid the deposit today.
3. Two solid hours of nap time to obsessively work on my new tag cloud.
4. That the application period for the job T wants ended today. Now we wait.
5. That Z and Q have reached an age where they can play together in relative peace if not quiet.

That's Better

I know you have been waiting with baited breath (or not) to find out if I managed to get Z to dance class on time. I did. She was a vision in pink. Leotard, tights, ballet shoes, and giant pink bows. Excuse me, I think I need some insulin for that hypoglycemic coma I have coming on.

She had the best time. She said the other girls were nice and that she "learned a whole billion of dances." She calls each separate exercise a dance. Plies=1, Shuffle Step=2, etc. Her teacher said that she did a great job today, but I don't know her well enough to know if that is what she tells all the parents.

The only disappointment was that the owner's cat wasn't hanging around outside. Z called her and called her to no avail. Personally, I'm guessing the cat heard the calling and said to herself, "I don't think so."

So I am all redeemed from last week's mishap. Though Z did castigate me the whole drive there about being on time and getting the right directions. That's my girl!


Warranty Work

Warranty Department (WD) - Thanks for calling I.M.U. How may I direct your call?

Me - There is something wrong with my sleep setting.

WD - Describe the problem please.

Me - Well, I'm really tired, so I get ready for bed and lie down. Once I'm there I simply can not go to sleep.

WD - How recently have you purchased a new mattress? Are you dressed comfortably for sleeping? Is your bedroom dark? Is the temperature cool?

Me - Umm, five years ago. Yes. Like a tomb. You could hang meat.

WD - Do you drink caffeinated beverages?

Me - Of course. Mothers of small children run on caffeine. It's never kept me from sleeping before.

WD - Well, you are getting to be that age... Perhaps you could cut back? Only drink it in moderation?

Me - What is this 'moderation' of which you speak? I know it not.

WD - Ahem. Do you have any unusual stresses in your life right now?

Me - Not so much. Let's see... I have a strong-willed first born, a sickly second-born, my husband is a cop, my mom has Alzheimer's, my dad has leukemia, I'm overweight and at risk for all kinds of dread diseases, I'm ready for another baby and my husband isn't. Oh, and I might be moving.

WD - (long pause) How do you feel about tequila?


Today I am thankful for:

1. I got to talk to one of my BFFs from college for over an hour - a miracle considering her V and my Q are just a week apart!

2. Q has stopped fighting the breathing treatments. Mostly.

3. My bloggy friend, Jamie, let me experiment with her blog. And I learned some cool PhotoShop stuff in the process.

4. I only burned dinner a little bit.

5. The Princess-Party-having-place is available on the day I am interested in for Z's birthday party.

Ugly Blog

How about that mismatched blog? Nice, huh? I am trying out some code for my friend, but the normal look will be back as soon as we get her little glitch straightened out.



Today I am thankful for:

1. Going the the grocery store by myself. An unexpected treat courtesy of the huz.
2. That Z's teacher didn't give me the hairy eyeball when I was a little late picking her up from school today.
3. For the Lovely S, who is willing to watch Z at the drop of a hat.
4. For our WONDERFUL pediatrician, who always takes a mother's opinions seriously.
5. That Q's rattle-y breathing isn't pneumonia.

So Happy for Her!

My next-door-neighbor, the Lovely S, is amazing. She is the mother of four boys. She home schools. She is a minister's wife, with all that entails. She keeps an immaculate house (and doesn't hold mine against me!). She is a beautiful person, both inside and out.

But after four children, she just didn't feel like her family was complete. Sure, she could have another baby, but there are so many babies out there who need mothers. She told her husband that she felt like her ministry was to the children. So they decided to adopt.

They started the paperwork for a foreign adoption last fall. They were told that the wheels turn slowly, and that recently, Ethiopia had added a lot more red tape to the procedure. If all went exactly according to plan, they could expect to have a new child around next Christmas.

Then last week they got a call from their caseworker. She was calling to tell them that there were a couple of bureaucratic hoops they needed to jump through and, oh, to do it quickly because they had a referral. Little Girl M.

They were expecting a baby, but Little Girl M is two-and-a-half. It took them a minute to wrap their brains around that, but now they think it may be for the best. She will be nearly the same age as two of her cousins, and old enough to play with Z. I can't wait to see Z mothering (and by mothering, I mean bossing) Little Girl M and dressing her up like a living doll in her dress-up clothes.

The Lovely S is SO very happy. She will be an amazing mother to the lucky Little Girl M. Little Girl M will have four of the sweetest big brothers out there, and a doting Daddy besides. They are expecting her to come home by June. I can't wait to meet her.