Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We've had an awesome Christmas. Tonight concluded our fourth family get together of the month. We have a huge family and have been very busy. We'll do Santa in a few short hours and then lounge around all day tomorrow in our pj's, exhausted and just relaxing.

I'm including a new photo of "The Panari Tribe", taken after the candle light service at church tonight. (The two youngest are still nameless).

My parents are probably moving within the next year and we were all well aware that tonight was likely the last Christmas we would celebrate in the house that we grew up in. Before we opened presents, my mom asked everyone to take turns sharing their fondest memory in that house, including the grandkids. Everyone reminisced with lots and lots of laughter. Of course, no one had just "one" special memory to share, but several and it made it an extra special night.

I hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas.
Jesus is the reason for the season! God Bless you all!



Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's About Time!

Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I will go to work for the school district on January 7, 2008.

I currently have a great boss. He’s put up with a lot, especially during some of my personal problems, and I am somewhat sad to leave. However, the numerous holidays and awesome work hours I will now have make it hard to be too sad. I am so looking forward to the extra time off with the kids during spring break, summer vacation, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Not to get all sappy, but I truly feel this was an answer to prayer. Les and I had been discussing how hectic and chaotic life had become, especially getting anything done around the house with us both working full-time, and were actually considering the prospect of me quitting my job altogether and going back to domestic engineering. However, it would’ve been a huge financial sacrifice and one we weren’t sure we could handle. This new opportunity will basically allow me the best of both worlds. I will now be getting off work everyday at 3pm as apposed to 5pm, but still bringing in an income. I will be working four days a week and not five. Having a three-day weekend every week is truly going to be a blessing. I can get so much more done around the house and just in general with that one extra day off.

Did I mention that I’ve been trying to get on with the school district for about four years now? I can’t help but wonder if they didn’t hire me because they felt sorry for me. After all, I’d only interviewed with them about six times in the past four years. I think they decided they may as well hire me or I might never stop showing up on their doorstep. I really don’t care why they hired me. I’m just ecstatic about my new gig. I will miss some things about my old job, but it’s time for something new and especially with such great perks. I can’t wait to be off with the kids this summer.

I am definitely taking a pay cut to do this, but money isn’t everything.

Oh, did I mention I will be off for three weeks before starting the new job? Yes, I said three weeks! Wuhoo! I am so excited! As of 5pm tomorrow, I will be on a three-week hiatus, enjoying myself, deep cleaning and sleeping in, which by the way is one of my natural talents.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Three Elves!

Click here and laugh with me!

Update on the Kiddos

After much thought and careful consideration, Lauren has decided to stay home for one more semester. She weighed the pros and cons and decided it would be more beneficial on us all if she stayed home for the spring semester before transferring to College Station. I must admit I am very happy with her decision and proud of her for really thinking it through.

Cassidy made the basketball team. Not only did she make it, but she’ll be the starting point guard for the A team! Go, Cass!

Caden is not only addicted to buying stuff on ebay, he’s now also a seller. It’s actually very impressive. I think he's going to be rich one day.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Watch Your Eyes!




Lauren’s going to kill me for this, but I just can’t resist. She tans, but not to the point of being too dark, mostly just to keep some color on her naturally fair skin. The other night she decided to try a different method of tanning where you stand up in this room and your body is sprayed with some chemical to make you really dark and it lasts longer. It was her first time to try it, and possibly her last.

The following morning she walked into our room with her eyes as big as saucers and asked, “Do I look orange?” At the time I had no idea about the tanning so I was really shocked when I saw her face and answered, “Yes, you do. Why? What happened?” She proceeded to explain what she’d done and was panicking about her face and hands looking so orange. Her body looked fine, it was just her face and hands that looked really, really orange.

Well, I couldn’t help it but I called her Magda (from There’s Something About Mary). She didn’t remember who Magda was so she didn’t appreciate my joke but I thought it was quite fitting and humorous.

She tutors junior high and some of the kids gave her a hard time yesterday. She wasn't a happy camper. She used lemon juice and salt and scrubbed her hands and face yesterday hoping this home remedy would help lighten it up. By the end of the day it did look better but she’s still got an orange tint. She could always go to one of the football games since our school color is ORANGE! Bahahaha!

She’s actually mad that the lady at the tanning salon didn’t inform her that she needed to wash it off when she got home so she slept with it on for eight hours!

I love you, Nawen! You’re still beautiful and way better looking than Magda!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Birthday, TeeDee!

One of my BFF's (since 6th grade)is celebrating her 38th birthday today. Growing up, it was always me, Teresa and Carla with our birthdays during a two-week time frame. We always celebrated together. Luckily, I'm last, so I always like to pull the "I'm the youngest" trump card on them whenever possible.

TeeDee,
Have a great day. I love and miss you, girl!

PS. There's an awesome picture of TeeDee with a mullet from a previous entry in case anyone missed it before. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Clever Engineering Caden Style

This morning Caden was making himself two slices of peanut buttter toast for breakfast as I was making a cup of coffee. I saw that he was struggling and trying not to make a mess so I offered to finish it for him. He'd already done one piece and as I took the knife from him, said, "Mom, don't do that one, I already did it and I left a clean spot for my thumb to hold onto it".

He'd spread the peanut butter all over, leaving a small spot on the corner of the bread uncovered, so that he could hold onto it without dirtying his fingers with peanut butter. Smart Boy!

We got a good laugh out of it and thought it was quite clever on his part.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Happy 13th Birthday, Monkey!







Happy Birthday, Monkey!

It's official, I now have two teenage daughters. How many times have I said that time flies? Well, it does.

Thirteen years ago I was awakened by a sudden gush and actually thought I'd wet the bed. I immediately jumped up and ran to the bathroom. It was early morning, but still dark outside. As I reached the bathroom I felt another big gush and looked down to see a wet liquid on the bathroom floor. I jumped into the shower to keep from making a bigger mess and hollered at my mother-in-law, who was staying with us in Hawaii for Cassidy's birth, to come assess the situation.

We decided to let Les sleep a little longer while I showered and got ready to go. It turned out to be a leak, my water hadn't officially broken, but it trickled all the way to the hospital. Her labor and birth was the easiet of the three. She was born at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii and they took better care of me there than at any civilian hopsital I've encountered.

She was born wide eyed, looking around and holding her head up. From day one she was not going to sit still for anyone and no one was going to hold her back. It was all we could do to keep up with her. She was so different from our other two, and by no means an ordinary baby. She no-doubt earned her nickname.

She started playing ball as soon as she could hold one and it never really mattered what kind, whether it was a baseball, softball, basketball, football, volleyball, etc., although she prefers a basketball these days.

She's always been our strong willed, stubborn child. I've always heard the saying, "if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy", and wanted to appropriately change the words to "If Monkey ain't happy, ain't nobody happy". We so need that hanging on a wall somewhere in this house!

Cass, we hope you have a wonderful birthday. We love you and hope 13 is a great year for you. (I'm posting this a little early)

Monday, October 15, 2007

All Grown Up!



I knew it was coming, but deep down, I was hoping she might change her mind. I have to stop thinking of myself and realize what an opportunity this is for her to go out into the world and experience a new chapter in her life. It’s official. Our baby girl signed a lease on an apartment this weekend. She’s moving to College Station on January 1st. How’s that for starting the new year?

I’m both excited and happy for her. I’m just sad for us. She’s gone much of the time now, but she still lives here. Having her move out will be so strange! At least now I can just open her door or peak onto the driveway to see her car and know she made it home safely.

She’ll have her own bedroom and bathroom with three roommates. The apartment is furnished so her room here will be kept “as is” for when she comes home to visit.

She’s not too happy that Cassidy will be moving into her room. It’s bigger and there’s no point in letting it sit empty, except on the weekends when she visits, so we’re just switching their rooms. Cassidy is already planning the d├ęcor and arrangement of her furniture and will probably volunteer to help her pack next week!

We’re all going to miss you, Nawen. Maybe we’ll all just go with you! Ha!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ebay Addiction

Question: What do you call an eleven-year-old eBay addict?

Answer: Caden

Do they have support groups for this? It all started about two months ago when Lauren made the mistake of introducing Caden to eBay. He hasn’t been the same since. It was like love at first sight. Baseball cards, baseball stuff, DVD’s, (like a full season of Everybody Loves Raymond), old coins, etc. He’s used up all of his own money and now has a running tab with us. (That’s okay, it’s better than us owing him for a change).

He sits with the laptop for what seems like hours tracking bids and surfing the latest items. His first order was 1,000 unopened baseball cards for $25. He checked the mail everyday until they finally arrived. Then he ordered a glow in the dark Arizona Diamondbacks baseball and an 1892 coin.

He actually told me one day that he was going to stay off of eBay because he just couldn't take the stress of seeing all of the cool items and not having any money to bid on them. That didn't last long. He still can't control the urge to browse. He has new items to show us everyday, hoping we'll get soft and offer him additional credit on his outstanding payment history.

I'm sure he'll eventually get over this obsession so I'm not too worried, yet. If not, we may look into that support group, after all.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Diagnosis: Dishwasher Anxiety Disorder

I have obsessive-compulsive disorder about many things. Too bad it isn’t a spotless house. I do try, but some people (ahem....no names mentioned) make that an impossible task.

One thing I just can’t seem to do without my OCD rearing its ugly head is loading the dishwasher. It absolutely drives me insane if I can’t fit everything into the dishwasher before starting it. I also hate to run it if it’s not at least to full capacity, which probably contributes to the other problem. I will literally spend fifteen minutes rearranging the whole thing if it means I can squeeze one more bowl or pan in. I think I could be considered a dishwasher loading professional. In spite of that useless quality, there are still times, like tonight, when I just have to accept the fact that I am going to be forced to start it with a few extra things staring back at me from the kitchen sink.

Lauren ate with us tonight, which is rare these days, and on top of her joining us for dinner, she also helped me clean up a little without any prompting on my part. It was during my futile attempts to cram every last thing in that I shared my disorder with her and she laughed that I actually spend time on this.

I also tried to talk her into not making any cookies because then I would have more dirty dishes waiting on me in the morning. She won that battle and I’m off to enjoy a warm cookie. I hope I can walk quietly away from the kitchen without trying one last time to make everything fit.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Taste Buds

This is a list of the many foods that I missed out on for years because I was so picky and afraid to try new things. Most of these things were introduced to me by my husband, though he would now like to kick himself every time our restaurant bill is placed on the table. I used to be so simple minded and easy to please, not to mention a cheap date.

As a teen I lived on salads with lots of cheese and ranch dressing. On our first date I ate the salad bar and nibbled on some chicken. Oh, how he wishes that was still the case.

When we spent three years living in California and he used to go down to Fisherman’s Wharf to get fresh clam chowder. I never even wanted a bite. I now love clam chowder and can’t believe I ever passed it up. This was also the case with seafood gumbo.

I didn’t eat shrimp in any way shape or form until we moved to Hawaii. I was 23 or 24 at that time. What was I thinking? Now I eat it every chance I get. I had my first lobster five years ago and have been hooked every since. I started eating crawfish about seven years ago at the age of 30!

I didn’t eat strawberries until I was in my late twenties. I recently discovered that mango and papaya taste pretty good, too.

I used to never dream of eating a mushroom and now I can’t get enough. I tried my first sweet potato just a few years ago.

I have always loved corned beef sandwiches but sauerkraut? No way. About two months ago he talked me into trying a bite of his Rueben sandwich and I almost ripped it out of his hand to finish eating it. We went back to eat there three times that week just so I could have a Reuben before finally buying the ingredients to make them at home.

The list could go on and on.

As expensive as it’s been for me to try and like new things, he actually loves it when he turns me onto something new, especially if he gets to do the “I told you so dance”!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm It!

Ronni tagged me back several months ago, but I procrastinated and never got around to posting. Now Darla has tagged me so I better go ahead this time and share eight random things you may or may not know about me.

1. I really like old people. They really touch my heart, even more than most kids do.

2. I’m terrified of parking garages, even in the daylight. They totally creep me out, especially if I have to do the elevator or stairs all alone.

3. I still love Urban Cowboy, Breakfast Club, Footloose and Steel Magnolias. I can’t change the channel if I come across any of them playing.

4. My first bike was a pink Huffy. My brother’s friend broke my seat and my dad replaced it with a blue banana seat. It was very mismatched and I was so mad but still rode that thing all over town.

5. I loved Barbie’s. The last time I actually played was my ninth grade year of high school in Susie Hiskey’s attic. I never wanted to outgrow Barbie’s!

6. My first real kiss was Tater Cox during spin the bottle at a party in seventh grade. He was later accidentally shot and killed by a friend the summer before his senior year. The entire town was shocked and devastated. He was an all American boy. I always think of him when I hear two Kenny Chesney songs.

7. I was afraid to spend the night away from home until Jr. High. I would go, but call home when it was time for lights out and mom would always have to come and get me. I was a big chicken butt!

8. I was President of Student Council my seventh and eight grade years. My mom made me the coolest campaign signs with catchy slogans, like sticks of gum with wrappers that read “Stick with Carri for President”. I had to speak in front of many schools from all over Houston at this one event and had terrible stage fright but I somehow got through it.

Now I have to tag eight people. I don’t know eight-bloggers who haven’t already been tagged so I’m tagging my blog-less friends and they can just post in my comments section. (unless like Jenn, they have a blog to post to)

Teresa (teedee)
Kelli
Jennifer (Preston’s Girl)
Carla
Iptnetworkers (Come on! Don’t be shy. I’m curious to know who you are, Cottleville, Missouri!)
Mom
Stephanie W.
Shelli

Sunday, September 16, 2007

You Might Be a Redneck if.......







This is what you do at your Grandma's house for fun.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Those Bangs

I was always a strong willed child and a “had to have it my way” kind of kid, not necessarily with my friends, but definitely whenever it involved my parents and discipline. I was stubborn and head strong to a fault, but I like to think I’ve outgrown that now. (Although at times that’s still questionable)

It was seventh grade and two of my best friends and me were going to have our pictures taken together the following day. Winn’s was having a portrait package special and “friend’s pictures” were the “in” thing to do at the time. We carefully planned what we’d all wear making sure we'd all be dressed to match. How cute! (NOT!) Too bad we’d outgrown our personalized best friends T-shirts from our sixth grade year. We were all set.

All I needed now was a good bang trim, since they were growing down over my eyes, and I'd be all set. Unfortunately, my mom was too tired to take me after work, regardless of how much I begged and pleaded with her. She flat out refused to take me for a haircut on such short notice. (Now that I’m a working mom I can so relate to that whole last minute/short notice thing). She said she was sorry but I’d have to wait, pictures or no pictures. I was furious. I couldn’t have my picture taken with my bangs that length. They were giving me problems staying styled and out of my eyes. Plus I had to look good for our pictures. I continued to beg and plead with her to take me but she was adamant that she was too tired and this was one time she was not going to give in to my whining and begging.

I never took no for an answer very well so I brewed on that for a while before getting myself so worked up that I decided I’d show her and just cut them myself. I went into the bathroom and shut the door and stood in front of the mirror with the scissors in my hand, knowing nothing about trimming or cutting hair. I combed my bangs down over my eyes and stood there. Don’t ask me why, but I thought I’d get a better cut if I pulled them all together in a clump and twisted them a few times, like a pony tail. I know, I know, this makes no sense now but at the time it seemed somewhat logical. Plus I was operating on pure anger and not thinking clearly. I snipped at the base of the hair and this is the end result of my temper tantrum and self-inflicted haircut.

Take a good look at hard headed, stubborn as a mule Carri. Yes, I had to go to school like that the next day and every day after. My mother definitely got the last laugh on this one. I think it took six months to grow them back out. Ha! Don't we look stunning in our matching outfits? Let it also be noted that I worked very hard on those wings, even without the bangs to go with them. Bahahahahahahaha!

Teedee posted these on our reunion website, but I guess she still owed me for the mullet picture post. I'll never live down those bangs. They were literally not even a quarter of an inch long when I got through with them. Maybe no one noticed because they were too busy looking at my bright, loud shirt. Ha!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hospitals, Dogs and Remote Control Cars







We had an interesting weekend. We had planned on being in San Antonio for the long weekend, but thanks to me and Cassidy being sick, we had to postpone our trip. We spent most of Saturday at the E.R. with Cassidy. She's had some unfortunate female related issues over the past several weeks and was dehydrated and her hemoglobin was low. She almost fainted on us a few times and after seeing the doctor twice last week we still ended up in the emergency room. She had to have her blood drawn and got two bags of fluid through an IV. I still have the scratch marks on my hand showing who she squeezed during the procedure. She and I also make a great team when it comes to using bed pans. They wouldn't let her stand so she had to go the old fashioned way. Ha! All she cares about is volleyball tryouts and making the team. According to her coach, she did very well last week during tryouts, even with the dizzy spells and weakness. Tryouts last through the end of this week. She made the first cut but I don't see how she will physically be capable to finish tryouts. As it is, she can hardly walk through the house without blacking out and feeling faint. Those who know her know she lives for playing sports, so I'm sure we'll have a battle of the wills over what she wants to attempt to do tomorrow. She's home from school today and will see a specialist tomorrow. We haven't exactly gotten off to a good start of the school year, but it could be worse. She wants to be up and running but she's just too anemic and weak to do that right now. It'll be a tough decision to make, especially with her strong will and determination, but she's just not in good shape right now. Wish me luck with breaking that news to her and pray she will soon be better!

Abby has a new brother. Meet Jaxon. We saved his life from the animal shelter. (All credit goes to the husband for saving Jax. Dog # 2 was all his idea.) I sort of feel like Angelina for changing his name on him from Sancho to Jaxon, but at least he's only eight-months-old and not four-years-old! He's quite quite a character and provided much entertainment this weekend when we were stuck home being "sick". Caden got out his remote control cars and drove Jax absolutely nuts chasing the dog with them. He has a ferocious bark but he's just a big baby at heart. He went nuts barking and running away from them. He also tried to attack the broom while I was sweeping the kitchen. He’s also afraid of the washing machine. We went through lots of batteries this weekend. It was quite a show. As soon as Caden powered up one of the cars, Jax went ballistic. I'm not too proud to admit that I'm all about cheap entertainment.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Been MIA But Still Among the Living

If you aren't a regular reader of my blog, then most of this may be lost on you, as much of it pertains to previous stories I've shared here in the past, and a few inside jokes. However, you're welcome to stay.

So, where should I start? I guess with some updates and as always, a little rambling.

I absolutely love summer time. I love getting to sleep in an extra 30-45 minutes, not making lunches, no backpacks to sort through, mounds of school papers to read, no homework, no school meetings or big science projects. I can't believe it's almost over. As always, the kids are keeping vampire hours. It's rare to find anyone awake when I go home for lunch. Every year I tell myself that I'll start making them go to bed early the week before school starts to get them back on track, but it never happens. The first few days of school are brutal on their systems but they always survive and adjust by the weekend. (Granted they’re in a zombie like state, but they manage). I felt so much better after telling their former teacher about their insane night time hours and her saying that she's just tired of her kids coming downstairs at 2:30pm everyday asking her what's for breakfast. Maybe I still have a shot at that Mother-of-the-Year award after all. HA! This will be my first year without any kids still in elementary school. That's so hard to imagine. They really do grow up fast.

Congratulations to Teedee!
Baby #2 is on the way!!!
At least you're due before our 20-year reunion. It would really suck to be in like your 8th month for that, right?

Dad/Paul/Grandpa Paul has had a busy summer and doing very well post bypass surgery. We've had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with him over the past few months. He's come down to visit on several occasions, once for two weeks and then a few days here and there. He spoils us with his cooking skills and never has to twist my arm to be the chef in the house. I’m very impressed with how well he handled being "Grandpa" in charge of seven of his grandchildren for almost two full months this summer. He had help from "Grandma", but to his credit he took them on several long road trips without any other adult assistance and managed them well, even with a handful of puking car sick kids to tend to. These are our nieces and nephews who lost their mother, Jamie, to cancer last year. They range in age from three to thirteen-years-old so he obviously had his hands full and did an awesome job making sure they had fun and got to see all of the family while they were here.

Well, we have a new guy at work and I could probably do a month's worth of writing on him alone, but I won't. He's truly a nice man, but has some very annoying habits. I'm so tempted to unleash on him but would hate for him to accidentally stumble upon my blog one day, so I better refrain (for now).

Lauren has rescued two more birds since the bird rescue entry. I think we're almost up to double digits now and have definitely contributed to the bird population in our area. Ha!

I deleted a previous entry from several months ago regarding some difficult times for me and my family this past year, so I feel obligated to at least acknowledge it. Let me just say that life hasn't exactly been a cakewalk this past year, but it's definitely getting better every day. We're just taking it one day at a time.

My husband surprised me with a new I-phone. Lauren bought herself one a few weeks ago and made the mistake of showing it to her dad. He was instantly hooked like a kid in a candy store and bought us both one. I'm not even a big electronic nut but I love what this phone can do. I'm surprised it can't balance my checkbook and clean out the frig. Now if only I can keep from dropping it. I've never had or really wanted an expensive cell phone before and am famous for dropping mine all over the place. Now, I feel like I'm walking around with a baby. The only downside is that it's not a flip phone, so I'll have to watch myself carefully.

Summer Fun II





Summer Fun





Friday, June 15, 2007

In Loving Memory of Kimberly Ann King

It's been one-year today since Kim passed away. She's been on my mind all week long. A few days ago I re-read the last email she ever sent me, right before heading off to bed for the night and never again waking up. I still have her phone number programmed in my cell phone and her email address remains in my contact list. I still can't bring myself to delete them. I still miss her very much and can't help but smile when I think of her cheerful demeanor and what a great friend and person she was.

RIP, Kim.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Summer Hiatus

I feel the need to take a summer break from the blog. As I periodically check my sitemeter, guilt sets in because there are many faithful reader's (you know who you are) who check the blog regularly for updates and I've been totally slacking in that department lately. I have lots of things cross my mind daily and think "Oh, I'll blog about that" but actually finding the time to sit down and blog seems impossible lately.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe summer and that you'll be back around when things are stirring here again in a few months.

P.S. I reserve the right to change my hiatus status if I suddenly have more time on my hands or anything earth shattering arises. Otherwise, I'll be obscure for a while!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh, For the Love of Baseball

The following is a conversation that took place between me and my son on the way to school this morning:

Caden: Mom, did you know that John Smoltz got hurt last night and that could be really bad for the Braves? He's like one of the best pitchers.

Me: No, I hadn't heard. What happened?

Caden: Well, you know what a suicide squeeze is, right?

Me: Yeah.

Caden: Well, they had a suicide squeeze and the runner got into a pickle and when Smoltz tagged him, his hand got caught on his arm and he jammed his pinkie finger and it might be broken. That would be so bad for the Braves. He's turning 40 tomorrow, too, and he's still really good.

Me: Yeah, losing him would be bad for the Braves.

Caden: Did you know that Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids and cheating on his wife?

Me: No, I hadn't heard that either. I figured he'd used steroids but I'm surprised he actually admitted to it.

Caden: Well, I think Curt Schilling might've told on him so I think he had to admit it. Do you know who Curt Schilling is? I think Bonds also did something bad with taxes or something.

Me: Yes, I know who Curt Schilling is. Wow. I'm still surprised that he admitted it.

Caden: Yeah, and we face the Giants next so I wonder if he'll play in the game against us. I'm dying to see if he plays tonight.

Me: Me, too.

This from my 11-year-old who follows baseball and the stats just like a professional sports broadcaster. Obviously, he also keeps up with the gossip, too. Although I can't verify whether he has the Curt Schiiling and wife cheating part correct, I assure you he at least thinks that's what he heard them say on the TV. If he doesn't end up with a career directly related to professional baseball, I'll be shocked! He loves the sport and knows it well. I think he would make an awesome manager for the Astros one day or he'd look awfully handsome and knowledgeable sitting behind the ESPN sports desk every night!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happy 11th Birthday, Caden!!


To know him is to love him. It's really that simple. You probably think that's just the mother in me speaking, but trust me, it's true. This boy is full of 100% joy, innocence and kindness. He has a heart of gold. I am so blessed to be his mother. I know I sound like an over the top mom but it's true. My friends always say they'll take Caden anywhere, anytime, any day. He's just that sweet and true blue. I'm still asking what I ever did to deserve him. I wouldn't change one thing about him. Not one! He's my Raymond. I tell him all the time that I'll build him a nice little house in the backyard for his wife and kids but that he's never leaving his mamma. The girl who lands this boy will be one lucky lady and she better walk the line!

He was the only child I gave birth to without an epidural. I thought I was dying, but he was worth every bit of pain and then some. I can't believe he's 11. I'm so sad. He's my baby and he's growing up way too fast. I'm off to play with a razor blade now!

Happy Birthday, Cade man. You are the world's greatest son (and catcher!).

We all love you so much!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Attack Bird Should Reconsider

I stopped by the library today on my way home from work. I was in my own world as I started walking from my car to the front door before something caught my eye and interrupted my deep thought. It was a sign posted to a pole standing on a cement anchor about halfway down the sidewalk that said, “Beware of Aggressive Bird”. I read it, then clutched my purse a little tighter as I found myself digesting the warning. I looked up into the trees above me and prepared myself for a possible attack as I made my way down the sidewalk. Before I reached the front door, I was laughing at how I went from basically being in la-la land to being at full alert, preparing for this bird to lunge down at me without any warning.

As I checked out, I asked about the sign and was told that this bird had been swooping down at people as they walked to and from the library. There were additional warning signs posted on the windows as I exited and I couldn’t help but feel slightly paranoid on the walk back to my car since I don’t like surprises. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of my recent entry about saving the birds! All I can say is it’s a good thing that bird didn’t come after me or the bird population around here would've dropped drastically, as my days of saving the birds would’ve been over on principle alone. Ok, maybe not, but I would’ve thought long and hard the next time I saw a helpless bird flopping around my front yard before I rushed them off to the bird rescue volunteer. It's just a good thing all around that he/she didn't mess with me today.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Chihuahuas

For as long as I can remember, my grandparents always had dogs, usually two at a time. They were inside dogs and treated like royalty. They were Chihuahuas; a breed that I must admit isn’t my favorite. Please, no hate mail needed from any Chihuahua lovers out there, they’re just not my personal preference. I’m more of a big dog lover and have always thought of Chihuahuas as more like cats.

The first pair of dogs that I remember them having were named Fuji and Boots. Boots was a sweet black dog with a white patch of white hair at her neck. She would immediately roll onto her back anytime someone pet her, always hoping for a good belly rub. Fuji was a tan colored dog that was so spoiled she was very overweight. She was also temperamental around us kids, who were all under the age of ten during her lifetime. When we would go visit my grandparents, it was usually very boring for us over there, unless our second cousins were in town visiting. My grandmother did soften with age and after her retirement, but when we were younger she ran a stern ship. She owned and operated an antique shop and with her own home also full of antiques, there just wasn’t much room for kid games. The dogs became our main focus and form of entertainment until they would become so hyper and worked up that we were eventually forced to sit on the couch and not move a finger.

I remember the dogs being mild mannered for the most part, but once we would get them going with their “toys” they would chase each other around in circles, up onto the back of the couch, jumping from the couch to the loveseat to the recliner and running up and down the hall and through all the bedrooms. Now that I’m an adult, I totally understand why the adults shut us down. My nerves can only handle so much activity such as that. This would go one for a while and it was like watching Speedy Gonzales.

Our oldest daughter was six and a half before she was blessed with a sibling. She was actually blessed with two siblings within 18-months of each other. Needless to say, life changed drastically for all of us after having an only child for so long. When the two little ones reached about three-years-old and eighteen-months, they became like two partners in crime, with Cassidy being the ringleader and poor Caden just following all of her commands, without a clue. Those two have always reminded me of my Grandma’s dogs. There were a few times every day that they would get each other all wound up, running, giggling, screaming, fighting, kicking, etc. and it would last for a while before they’d settle down. There was no calming them down when in that mode. Believe me, we tried and it fell upon deaf ears. There were times when I loved it but also times when I’d have to go to my room until it passed to keep my sanity, or part of it. For a while, this was a normal, everyday occurrence usually two to three times per day. They would get so loud and out of control for that period of time, I would just wait for it to pass unless someone got hurt. There was no watching TV, cooking or cleaning in the front of the house until they got it out of their system. They would use the circle through the kitchen and living rooms as their racetrack. It wasn’t always annoying but could be after a while with the shrill screams and high pierced giggling. When they were in that mode I would always say the Chihuahua’s were at it again because that’s exactly what it reminded me of when watching them.

I could go on and on with stories about some of the mischief that those two got into together. She always gave the commands and he always followed them with no questions asked, until he got older and realized he did have a mind of his own. One of my favorite memories of those two playing and using their imaginations is not one of them being wild or rambunctious. I can remember it like it was yesterday and it still warms my heart and makes me smile to think of it. Cassidy was always a tomboy so Santa had brought them both toy rifles, pistols and gun belts one year. Cassidy was probably about four and Caden was about two or three. They’d been quiet for a while, playing in the back of the house and I was enjoying the peace and solitude. Later, they came quietly tiptoeing into the living room, both shirtless, only wearing underwear or a pull-up, carrying their rifles, and very quietly dragging a laundry basket full of stuffed animals with them. Cassidy was wearing an Indian feather hat and they were acting very serious and quiet. I sat there quietly watching them, trying to figure out exactly what their game was. They were speaking in some strange, made-up language to each other and she would point for him to go hide or to move on to another place. As it turned out, they were Indians hunting for their food. The basket was full of dinner that hadn’t yet been skinned. To this day, that is one of my fondest moments when I think back on the things they used to play together. As they got older and weren’t quite as hyper, they began to calm down. There are still times when they have a “Chihuahua” moment, but not very often, and when I hear that familiar out of control laughter and those gasps for air I just smile. Admittedly, when it was happening three times a day every day for a while, it wasn’t so pleasurable, but it is nice when they regress on occasion and I get to hear those giggles again. It takes me back to such good times when they were just a hoot to watch as they interacted. Cassidy really did have her own personal puppet with Caden until he decided he was no longer willing to allow her to put bows in his hair, make-up on him, give up his GI Joe’s or eat jalapeno’s from our plant in the backyard for her entertainment.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Deeds

If one could get into heaven simply by rescuing birds and returning lost cell phones alone, I'd be a shoe-in. I can't count the number of times I've called the state wildlife people for the name of a local bird rescue volunteer in my area and then delivered an injured bird to that person. With all of the moving we've done, trying to track down the name of a local volunteer in each new area was never a simple task. I'd usually have to call three or four different wildlife number listings before reaching an actual live person to provide me with a volunteer's number. Then I'd have to call the volunteer, describe the type of bird, the apparent injury, get directions to their home, etc. We've lived here for nine years and I can recall at least six bird rescues just since we've lived here. There was the one my sister's cat attacked, one hopping around in our bushes unable to fly, one in the front yard under the tree, one that tried to fly but kept crashing into things, the list goes on. I always get a little jumpy and nervous when trying to capture them to put into a box, so Lauren usually ends up with that job. The most recent rescue was about two weeks ago and I can’t take credit for that one. It flew right into our back patio sliding glass door. It must’ve had bad eyes because I can’t remember the last time I “Windexed” that thing! Lauren and Caden were home alone and saw it happen. Lauren called me at work to find out where the “bird rescue lady” lived and I attempted to give her directions. I'd lost the phone number after my first visit. You’d think I would’ve gotten it during my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or even 6th visit, but that would've been too easy. The second time I went there, I just remembered what street she lived on and about how far down on the block the house was located, even though it had been dark during my first visit. I felt confident I was at the right house when I saw empty cages along the side of the driveway. I have repeated those same steps searching for the correct street and house each time since then and always vow not to leave without a phone number and address, but always forget. You should’ve heard me trying to explain to Lauren how to get there without a street name (I only remembered that it started with an A) and estimating about how far down the house was located. Lauren eventually found the house and delivered the injured bird. I'm sure it’s recovering well. I promise the next time we go, I’m going to get her phone number, address and possibly even her name so we can at least give her a heads up that we’re coming.

I found a blackberry on the ground at the ballpark a few nights ago. It turned out to belong to a mom on the opposing team that Cassidy was playing. Since I’m blackberry illiterate, a dad from our team helped me work the device and called the home number listed. We were told the owner should be at the ballpark watching a game and what team to look for. When I find a phone I always go through the address book or the last call dialed and start calling, hoping that person can track down the phone’s owner to let them know that someone has found their phone. One particular phone recovery was on an airport shuttle bus and I had to mail that one back to its rightful owner. I can’t count the number of phones I’ve returned. I did get my good deed payback last year when I dropped my cell at a rodeo cook-off we were attending.

Upon arriving home, I knew it was possibly lost but was hoping it had just fallen out somewhere in the car but at that point was too tired to go back out and search for it. That next morning Lauren woke me up bright and early, standing over my bed saying some man had just called her saying that he’d found my phone. He was leaving the rodeo grounds within the next ten minutes. Fortunately for me, he asked what booth I’d been to and it turned out he knew my cousin and agreed to drop it off at their booth. Otherwise, I never would’ve made the twenty-minute drive in ten minutes to catch this guy before he headed back home, which wasn’t close by. I guess it’s like a “pay it forward” kind of thing since I’ve been on the other end of the lost phone thing now. Birds, on the other hand, still like to poop on my car but I guess I’ll keep on saving them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My Son and the Telephone

My son is so funny, even when he’s not trying to be. He's not the most phone savvy kid around. He's totally polite to the caller but he's not quite mastered the caller ID. We just haven't been able to keep him from answering unwanted calls and that's a major no-no in our house. He's starting to get it, but it has taken a while for it to sink in.

The other day when I called the house from work, he answered the phone sounding a bit apprehensive. He was confused and it took him a minute to realize that he was talking to me and then he said, "Oh, Mom? I was wondering who was calling here with a bad word name." I had to think about that comment for a moment.

I won't use my real company name, but let's just say that I work for a company called "Stevenson & Associates". We recently changed our phones over to a new provider and since that time we show up on the called ID display as Stevenson & Ass, not Stevenson & Assoc like we used to appear.

Apparently, he isn't the only one who has noticed. The office manager from our other office has put in a request to have that changed back from Ass to Assoc.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"This Finger"

My brother-in-law used to have the coolest employee swimming pool facility where my sister and I would take the kids regularly every summer for several years until they closed it. We were so bummed. We had many good times at that place. It was never crowded, our kids could be heathens and the baby pool had cold running water where we could sit in our chairs and watch the kids in the big pool. There are still some songs that played on the jukebox that remind me of the days we spent there. Great pool and good times.

My nephew was probably about seven or eight at the time and one day went to use the bathroom and was gone for an eternity. We thought he’d drowned. When he finally came back out his swimsuit was crooked and messed up, he was frowning and looking extremely agitated. He stormed over to his mom, and said something about having gone number two, and in this very deep, frustrated voice, mumbled something about his bathroom frustrations and then said, “And whatever you do, DON’T smell this finger, ” as he held up a finger that had apparently gotten in his way while attempting to wipe and wipe and wipe. Maybe this is a had to be there moment, but the poor guy had obviously been in there working and working on cleaning himself up after having some serious issues and he finally just gave up. The tone of his voice and his expression is what made this so funny so I hope I my written version does it justice.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend. The kids and I went with Vicki and her family to see the Astros verses the Cardinals play last night, where we had our first win of the season. Unfortunately, the Cards spanked us today 10 to zip. Last night was the coldest game in history ever played at Minute Maid Park. They don’t have heat in the stadium, but at least we were smart enough to build one with a retractable roof and luckily it was closed. I don’t know what the temperature actually was outside, but trust me when I say it was brutally cold. It was raining when we left and by the time we made it to the car we were all soaking wet and shivering. Thank God I had my handy dandy blanket in the trunk of my car. I always keep one in there during the kid’s baseball/softball season. It saved us. We don’t handle the cold weather too well down here in Houston, especially when we’ve already adjusted to 80-degree weather over the past few weeks.

As usual, the kids got some cool stuff in their Easter baskets from their Grandma. I knew something was up when they kept trying to coax me to go into my bedroom. I wasn’t sure what they were up to and assumed they’d set me up with the new whoopie cushion, positioning it under my comforter for me to sit on or something. As soon as I got down the hall, I suddenly smelled something rank and wondered if the dog had had an accident. It was awful. Well, it turned out to be a stink bomb (if I’m remembering correctly what it’s actually called). Basically, it’s a bag of white chunks of junk, and it smells exactly like a rotten egg. Seriously, it almost singed my nose hairs. You shake it up and throw it and the bags pops open and the odor just reeks into the atmosphere. It’s totally disgusting. My son still has two bags left and is dying to use them on someone. He wanted to do one at my sister’s house today, where we were having lunch, but I wouldn’t let him. I was tempted, but didn’t want to suffer the consequences. The odor lingers forever and is totally gross.

We went to church this morning, which was a great service, and then over to my sister’s for fajitas. My brother-in-law makes the world’s best fajitas. My mom also made some killer pico and my sister made some awesome guacamole. I stuffed myself then disappeared upstairs for a much needed, nice long nap in my nephew’s bed. I thought I was being sneaky but everyone had no doubt as to my whereabouts. They all know me too well.

I was so impressed today with my niece and her gesture of kindness. My mom gave all of the kids an egg with $10 inside. My son was telling my niece, Megan, about how he almost had enough money saved up to by a Wii game system. He told her that he only needed 10 more dollars to buy one. I only heard part of their conversation before I saw her slide a ten-dollar bill across the table to Caden and heard her tell him to use that to get his Wii. I thought it was so sweet of her. Caden got up and gave her a big hug.

Happy 16th Birthday, Meggie Lou! (It was so sweet of you to give that money to Cade!)

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Party-Line

For years I've enjoyed and taken advantage of the perks of three-way calling. It can save you time if you have something to share with your friends or family. You can kill two birds with one stone by calling two people at once and only having to tell the same story one time. I don't use it very often anymore, but there was a time when I definitely got my money's worth out of the specially added phone feature.

Back in high school, when it first came out, my friends and I loved to use it for prank calling, long before we had to contend with caller ID. We also used to make a "monster party-line" by calling one friend, then they'd call another friend and so on and so on until we had about ten of us on the line and could hardly keep up with who'd just said what. It was a big waste of time but we found it amusing. Once, when my sister-in-law was dating two different guys she called to ask me if I'd call one of them on three-way so she could tell him she was at my house for the evening. This was after caller ID and she needed a cover story. Okay, so I did it. She was young at the time and they were only dating, not serious and not married. So, I called him for her and then laid the phone down and went back later to see if they were still talking. I was too nervous to listen and didn't really want to. (That was a first!)

With the changes in technology came a newer method of the "party-line" and I've been a willing, eager and active participant in this latest form of multi-communication for many years now. It's the email version of the “party-line” where you simply hit reply all and can communicate with your friends all day long. It can certainly break up the monotony of a long day at work and provide countless laughs.

There are several different people who I correspond with via email on a daily basis and with whom I often end up on a “party-line”. It might be me, my sister, Kelli and Shelli, or me, Teedee (Teresa) and Carla or me, Teedee and Kelli. Ya never know and the list goes on. It usually starts out with an email from one of us to the others updating them about something juicy or the latest drama of the day. The topics range from serious to comical. We reply back to all with our opinions or a funny comment and once we get going it's almost impossible to keep up. When we're really on a roll I can hardly reply back before having 5 news messages appear as soon as I hit send. God forbid you're actually busy at work and can’t “play” because you'll end up with 25-30 unread emails in your inbox within five minutes. Or if you go to lunch when things are in full swing, you'll most likely return to mass unread emails.

Yesterday it was Kelli, Shelli, Molly and me and we were on a roll. We went back and forth all day long with some pretty clever one-liners. Ones that were causing me to laugh out loud, even at some of my own responses. Fortunately, my boss was out of town and there is absolutely NOTHING going on at work. It’s a good thing I had the girls around for the entertainment because I was about to play with a razor blade after I watched the clock stand still for hours. I left for lunch in the midst of some major humor. When I returned I got all caught up but everyone had disappeared and I felt abandoned. They actually had to work for a few hours. Ha! My boss has been out all week and there's nothing going on here to keep me occupied all day. I was so excited when they finally started reappearing one by one. I found out later that it was Molly's first time to do the party-line email and she loved it. She said she laughed all day long. We all did. We were making fun of ourselves, our problems, our bad decisions, our flaws and each other. Laughter is the best medicine in life. It makes everything seem better! I’m still laughing as I think about some of the content of those emails. We really should have our own comedy show. We could no doubt be very entertaining.

My boss is still gone and I'm just waiting around on today's party to finally get started!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Mysterious Seemab and Huma Rashid

About four to six weeks ago I started receiving mail for a Seemab and/or Huma Rashid at my address. At first I just assumed it was an error and didn't think much of it until within days I was receiving five and six pieces of mail a day for these people from various mortgage companies. It appeared that they were applying for home loans but there was no information, other than my address, that indicated they were stealing my identity. I've just been tossing the mail because it was coming in mass quantities and I didn't need any additional stacks of paper lying around the house.

Last week I received a few "Welcome to the Neighborhood" coupons from local stores with their name on them. Again, I tossed just them since they weren't coupons for stores I shop at or anything I could use.

Yesterday I opened something from a National Deed Service Company and it has peaked my curiosity into finding out what exactly is going on here. I googled the names above and came up with nothing. The latest letter definitely appears to be a scam, but I'm questioning where the scam originated from and why all of this mail regarding mortgage loans suddenly started coming to my address for these people. It's odd.

The letter contains a "XXXX county recorder document number" from the county that I reside in.

The letter states:

Our records, obtained from public information, show that Property Deed Document # XXXXX recorded January 18, 2007 indicates your ownership interest in the property located at MY ADDRESS.

At the time you purchased your property, a deed was prepared that shows the title was transferred to you. The deed was recorded by the XXXXX County Recorder.

The US Govt Federal Citizen Information website recommends that property owners should have an official certified copy of their deed.

Okay, the remainder of the letter says they accept payments of $59.95 via check, money order or credit card.

Any ideas? Anyone out there familiar with scams of this nature or have any suggestions as to whether or not I should continue to throw the "Rashid's" mail away or actually be concerned? Obviously, I haven't been too worried about it since everything has been trashed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Perks of Flip Phones

Do you ever close your cell phone and then re-open it to check and make that sure it actually hung up? Possibly because you’ve just said something about the person you just hung up with or were about to? And I don’t necessarily mean you’re about to say something bad, just anything you wouldn’t want that person to hear. I'm sure that flip phones have saved me from putting my foot in my big mouth a time or two. I've been busted a few times in the past on my cell and a home answering machine and it’s not a good feeling.

When we lived in Hawaii, my friend and I were out shopping one morning and I called my husband’s cell. His voice mail picked up and I left a message, however, didn't realize that I hadn't actually hung up. He called later to inform me that he had several minutes’ worth of mine and my friend's conversation freshly recorded on his voice mail. My first instinct was uho, what had we just said? Was it anything bad? It's not like either of us had any big secrets to hide but I was known to tell little white lie from time to time about certain things (i.e. the real amount of the long distance bill or how much my highlights had really cost). We hadn’t said anything bad or earth shattering but it’s still embarrassing when you’re conversation has been unknowingly recorded.

There was the time a few years ago when I called my friend, Vicki, because "Delta Dawn" was playing on the oldies country station. I had intended to sing her part of the chorus when her voice mail picked up and then hang up but messed up when hitting the "end call" button. She had the pleasure (NOT) of listening to me sing the entire song and had it all recorded. I thought it was just me, myself and my pretend mic all alone in my car and believe me was singing my heart out, if you could call it that (wailing or howling would be a more accurate description. I can’t carry a tune to save my life). She called me back later laughing hysterically and informed me of my error and how she’d heard the entire song, not just the chorus. I thought I was going to die of embarrassment.

The biggest near blunder of them all was many years back when I called my sister to vent about a particular problem we were both having with a mutual friend and her answering machine picked up. She thought she'd turned it off but it had recorded our entire conversation, which had lasted quite a while. Days later, my brother called over to my mom's house looking for one of us to inform us that he'd just called her house and heard a fifteen to twenty minute conversation about *&^%$#. Apparently the answering machine was malfunctioning and rather than answering with a greeting it was playing the entire conversation we’d had previously for anyone who called. We immediately called to verify it for ourselves and only needed to hear the first few minutes of the call before going into total panic mode. It was a twenty minute drive to her house but we made it in record time to rip that tape right out of the machine.

I'm grateful for flip phones but am still inclined to re-open and check them "just to make sure" it hung up and I'm not the only one with that habit! I have a few friends who do it, too. It's kind of funny when you think about it.

What Time Is It?

I was so flipping mad on Saturday when Lauren first called to ask me if we had to move our clocks forward. She'd just caught part of the announcement on the radio so we weren’t certain. I must’ve been living in the clouds recently because that was the first I’d heard of it so I naturally assumed it had to be next weekend and pretty much forgot about it until later on in the night.

I really hate losing an hour. Okay, so it’s only an hour, but it really annoys me. I really like gaining an hour in the fall but losing one is a totally different story. I just feel so robbed! Not that I would do anything worthwhile with that hour to begin with if someone actually gave it back to me, but it’s the point that it was taken from me in the first place that upsets me. Plus, it also meant that I had to be back at work on Monday morning one hour sooner.

I wasn’t able to confirm that it was indeed the date of “spring forward” until Saturday night, as I was officially losing that precious hour and beating myself up for being up so late to begin with! Then of course there’s that whole week afterwards of having to ask yourself which clocks have been changed and which have not. What time is it really? Some clocks change automatically and figuring out which ones are correct always throws me for a loop. The phones at work switched automatically, as did my computer. Truth be told, my car clock will likely remain off by one hour until this time next year unless one of the kids decides to take action and fix it for me. My least favorite clock to change is the old cell phone that I use as an alarm clock. It’s set to military time and I will be double checking it for days while using my fingers to verify what time 17:30 really is.

My sister and I were chatting on the phone tonight as I was finally changing the cell phone/alarm clock to the correct time. It was 12:58am and I asked her to confirm that that would be 00:58 in military time. She told me just to make it an even 1:00am. She said it would just be easier to go with that. My argument was that I would then lose two whole minutes of sleep. She laughed. I was serious. Two more minutes of sleep is two more minutes! She said she sets her clocks ten minutes fast, as I know many people do. I had to explain to her that that little trick has never worked for me. I've never been one to fall for that or get anywhere earlier because I KNOW the clock is wrong. Why do people bother doing that? If you already know that you set the clock ahead ten minutes fast, aren't you going to leave ten minutes later than you should've? Hmmm, maybe if I trick myself I won't be late to work or school. Maybe I'll forget that clock is fast and leave ten minutes early and arrive on time for a change. Come on! Does that make any sense? All that means to me is that I have an extra ten minutes now and thinking about it slows me down even more.

I really do have more important things to complain about than the time change but it felt good to get it off my chest. I forgot to mention how upsetting it is to wake up when it’s still dark outside, as if I need another reason to want to sleep in later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm So Proud!

I think it's been mentioned here before that Lauren was going to modeling school. Well, a few months ago she was asked by a local photography company if she'd allow them to take photographs of her to be used on their website. In exchange for her services, she would receive some free photographs, which she used for her interview with the modeling school/agency.

She got a few of them back immediately but we just saw the ones shown on their website for the first time tonight. I'm very proud of you, Lauren!

There are seven photos of Lauren. Two of them are the same
with one being in black and white. You have to go to protraits,
gradutaing seniors, or induvidual portrait.


http://photographybyrnr.com/defaultsub.asp?c=portfolio&Cat=11&p=3

Monday, March 05, 2007

Third Child Syndrome

There were some drawbacks to being the youngest child in the family. For one, my baby book only had about two pages completed. That used to really bother me until I had a third child of my own. I think his book might have his full name and birth date and that's about it. How sad is that?

I always got stuck in the worst possible spots in the vehicle on our family vacations. It was an eleven hour drive from Houston to Tulsa (with my Dad driving, but my mom could usually make it in ten). We would often make that trip during the five day Thanksgiving holiday and would leave late at night after our parents had everything packed. This was back in the seventies and the car that I most remember us having was a Buick LeSabre. My dad used to take two buckets and turn them upside down in the floorboard. He then used a piece of plywood that was cut to fit perfectly over the buckets in between the front seat and the back seat. He would wrap the plywood with blankets and lie it across the buckets to make the seat a bigger "bed" for Jerri and Curt to sleep on during the trip. I was always stuck up front in between my mom and dad. My parents used to ask me to switch "laps" because it would become uncomfortable for them during the long drive with my feet kicking them in my sleep. I used to hate it when I had to lie with my head in the driver's lap and also contend with the steering wheel being about a 1/2 inch from my face. (Does anyone else think that might’ve qualified as child abuse?)

We once borrowed my grandmother's van and took a two week trip to Niagara Falls. It was awesome, except while my sibling’s each got a whole seat to themselves, I had to lie on a pallet in the very back by our luggage or in the small floor space right behind the two front seats. My sister slept the entire trip but my brother would sit up and complain that I was in the way of his feet. I pouted during much of the time on that trip about my poor sleeping arrangements and that being on the floor made me car sick. I can only imagine how miserable my parents were with all of the complaining going on within that van.

Caden always says we don't have enough pictures of him. I remember feeling so slighted when I was younger for the same exact reason. Of course, we do have lots of pictures of him but not nearly as many as we do of the girls. This was obvious recently when we were doing a school project that required pictures of him at various ages. As we rummaged through the photo boxes we came across tons of Lauren and many of Cassidy, but finding some of him were a little more challenging. That's just wrong, but it seems to be the norm for the third child and beyond. Your time and energy is drained with each new mouth to feed and rear end to change. I really wish I'd put more effort into keeping up with his baby book. I'm not even 100% sure at exactly what age he started walking or when he lost his first tooth. I'm sure I won't be a recipient of this years Mother of the Year award. Again!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Happy 19th Birthday, Lauren!

We have a very cheesy tradition every year for Lauren's birthday. We play her this personalized birthday song that I bought on tape when she was three-years old. It became a tradition from that point on. I always blast it from the living room stereo for her. I turn it up so loud that the whole house rocks. After all these years, I still manage to catch her off guard each and every time. That’s usually because I have it in the stereo all ready to go, and all I have to do is discreetly hit the play button when I’m ready. There’s a delay of several seconds, which gives me time to move away from the stereo before the song starts. It was most often played in the mornings when she was getting ready for school. She always acts like she hates it, but she loves it.

The song starts out with rocket and space ship sounds that are very high pitched, then some music, and then you hear "Zoom" start to talk. He’s the outer space guy who has a special message for Lauren and who came down from Mars just to sing her this tune. See, told you it was cheesy but it’s awesome.

When she turned eighteen last year, I wanted to do something different for her and came up with the best birthday scam. First, I had to call one of her friends to get approval that it would indeed be funny and not mortifying. Rachel totally approved and helped carry out the plan. I gave her a copy of the tape and she got permission ahead of time from their teacher in their third period class. It was also a class she shared with several of her friends, including current boyfriend Travis, who was actually ex-boyfriend Travis at that time. Rachel set the boom box up by the teacher’s podium and all the teacher had to do was bend down to press play when they were ready. Rachel even managed to get someone from the video department to tape the entire thing. Only Rachel and the teacher knew what was happening ahead of time. Lauren and the rest of the class just thought there was some student filming various classes for their school broadcast and had no idea of the evil plan!

I wish I knew how to post the video. It was so funny. She turned three shades of red and kept covering her face and asking what was going on. She later said she knew immediately that it was “her song” but she couldn’t figure out why Mrs. May was playing her song or why the camera was zooming in on her. Then Rachel told her about halfway through the song. We sent the video out via email last year but I’m not computer savvy enough to know how to link it or make it available to view here. It was so funny to watch her reaction. As soon as the space ships and music started she looked up, frozen. Then when Zoom started talking her eyes started darting from side to side and then her mouth dropped open and again she froze. It really was priceless to have it on video. Here’s a still shot of her face as they were playing her song.

By the way, I purposely skipped our tradition of playing her song before school last year. Then the day got away from us and I figured it was good enough that she’d heard it at school. At almost midnight she called in a panic saying that we’d not yet played her song. I told her everyone was asleep but she rushed home so I could still play it for her. Even when she was expecting it, I still caught her off guard. I had all of the lights off and as soon as I heard her shut her car door, I hit play and then went and hid in the kitchen. She came into the dark house and had just reached the hall to go looking for me when it started. It actually scared her. Then she broke down into tears. She didn’t want to “grow up”. She wanted to “stay seventeen forever”. I couldn’t help it but I started laughing then hugged her and said I didn’t blame her a bit. I didn’t want her to grow up either.

Happy Birthday, “Nawwen”.

We love you!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Love My Friends







I grew up with these gals. Molly (far right in the group shot) was my neighbor from birth until age nine. We go way back. I met all of the other friends pictured during my freshman year of high school.(Kim, Shelli, Kelli and Vicki) Like I said, we all go way back. It's hard to believe it's been that long! It feels just like yesterday when we were running the roads together. Jeez, do I have some wild and crazy stories about everyone pictured, but they wouldn't be blog appropriate. (You know, my mom and kids do read here).

I sat in some candy in my white sweat suit and luckily someone had a Tide stick on hand. Man, those things are awesome. Shelli was kind enough to scrub the spot out for me. She's a true friend! No, I was not enjoying it, in spite of that smile on my face. Ha!

Alec's Birthday






Here are some pictures from the weekend at Alec's birthday party.
(Kelli's oldest son). It was fun for both the adults and the kids!

Hockey Night in Houston




My dad and I took the kids to a hockey game Friday night. It was a first for all of us. We had fun. Hockey fans have some different traditions and we got a kick out of some of them. There were lots of cow bells ringing and special hockey songs. I never knew what a zamboni was until Friday night. I'd seen one but never knew it had a special name other than an ice cleaner, and never dreamed there was actually a song about them. The game itself was very fast paced and sometimes hard for me to follow where the puck was at times, but it was enjoyable. We went into overtime and had an extra period and then got to experience "sudden death". We lost by one point. Or is it a goal? It took me a while to learn to say runs in baseball verses points and I'm not claiming to be a big hockey fan. Cassidy and Caden were disappointed that they didn't get to see some "blood". There was a lot of shoving up against the glass that got intense at times but we didn't get to see any blood.