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Friday, January 31, 2014

Turd Monkey

January 14th, 2014, mine and Brian's anniversary, the day the terrible twos hit:

I walked into Jack's room and he was standing in his crib, NAKED.  Pee covered his sheets because his diaper had been thrown on the floor across the room.  Apparently he'd stripped himself down to nothing sometime during the night.  He was now pointing to his diaper and mumbling.  It was as if he were complaining to me that his diaper was off and was mad because he was a mess.  Like somehow it was my fault that he'd done this to himself.  So I had a load full of blankets and Bear to wash (on top of my never-ending laundry).  I was thankful, however, there wasn't poop involved.

I put a fresh diaper on him and took him out of the crib.  I couldn't deal with the pee party at the moment because I had to bring in all of the groceries from my car.  He started playing with his toys while the girls and I tried to haul in the groceries.  Good, at least he was out of the way.  About five minutes later I noticed he was walking around with a bottle of liquid starch. No, not the spray starch that you use on your clothes, but a gallon sized bottle of liquid.  Then I noticed that it was EMPTY.  It wasn't supposed to be empty!!!  It had been half-full.  I made my way cautiously through the living room and found the contents of the bottle.  He'd dumped the bottle onto my fireplace, end table, and coffee table.  I have tables that are made of slate tiles.  The starch had seeped through the cracks and were dripping sticky, starchy puddles onto the floor.  *sigh*  He looked at me and made some incomprehensible sentence in Jackanese.  He was probably telling me, "Look what I did, Mom.  That's what you get for turning your back on me for 2.5 seconds."  I then gave him a spanking and he threw a terrible tantrum, complete with his alien pig scream (that's what his tantrum scream sounds like to me.... an alien pig.)

Two minutes later he was over it and had moved on to play again again.  I continued to put away the groceries.  Another few minutes passed and I noticed Jack wasn't where he'd just been.  I immediately found him hiding under the dining table.  I guess he thought that this time, if he were out of sight, he could do his bad boy deeds unharmed.  He knew he was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing because when I found him he cowered down and tried to hide his stolen treasure.  He had snuck a bottle of liquid dish soap out of one of the grocery bags.  He'd turned the bottle upside down and was squirting it all out on himself and rubbing it into his skin like lotion.  Another spanking.  The alien pig returned.

Later that afternoon while Arden and Jack were playing, Arden runs to me and says, ":Mommy, you need to to spank Jack again.  He's being really bad."  He was just being a terror.  Hitting his sister, throwing fits when she took a toy, and yelling "Don't!" when she got close to him.


That evening Arden had a brand new can of cashews that she was snacking on.  "Arden, please remember to put those back in the pantry.  You know your brother will get a hold of them and dump them out."
"Yes, ma'am."

Arden did not remember to put them back in the pantry.

Jack did dump them out.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Memories of My Granny

My granny passed away today.  Lots of emotions are going through me.  I didn't shed any tears when my dad told me the news because I knew this day would be coming soon.  It was no surprise.  She has been on a mental and physical decline for the past few years, and I'm thankful that she is no longer feeling pain.  I do shed tears now, though, as I remember my life with my Granny.

So many funny memories, not so funny memories, and sweet memories come to mind when I think of Granny.  She was a fiery pistol at times, and she was the sweetest grandma on earth at others.  I remember being so mad at her, and then remember times when I felt compassion and love for her.

She was a tiny woman, great beautician, wonderful cook, seamstress, and crocheter.  She was the epitome of granny-hood!  I just want to take time now to list out thoughts that come to mind as I remember her.

1.  She was five foot nothing at her peak height.  As a kid I would see her every two weeks on the weekend and measure myself against her as soon as she greeted me.  I remember being soooo excited the day I passed her up in height (not that it took much, and I was about 11 years old).

2.  Granny had a beauty shop on her property.  She called it Tildy's Beauty Shop (Tildy was her nickname.) Older ladies and some gentlemen from as far as Houston would come to have their hair done.  I spent endless hours in my granny's beauty shop listening to the beauty shop gossip.  It was fascinating to me to listen to these women talk!  When my granny was going to say something not for children ears to hear, she would get close to her client and whisper in their ear.  That made me all the more curious!  These ladies would get their hair washed, rolled, and set.  Sometimes they got perms, haircuts, or actual blue tint in their hair!  I loved my granny's beauty shop.  It was lively and my granny was a miracle worker.  When she was done for the day, I would spend hours in the shop spinning around in the barber chair, staring in the mirror and primping myself.

3.  My favorite Christmas present to this day for was a little note I found in my stocking in 4th grade.  After being denied by my dad for quite some time, the note was a voucher for a "permanent wave" to be done by my granny.  I was thrilled!  That was the best salon experience I've ever had.  I was so proud of my bouncy kinky curls.

4.  My granny used old fashioned words.  A lot.  She called black people "colored folk."  (As a child, I took this literally so I thought she was talking about some rainbow colored people I hadn't yet the privilege of seeing.)  She also said words with a country dialect.  Once was "one-st" Twice was "twi-st," wash was "worsh" and every store had an s added to the end.  Walmart was "Walmarts."  She also used lots of metaphors.  When referring to a large person, "She was as big around as this table here."  Again, as a child, I thought she was serious.

5.  My granny made damn sure you were NOT hungry at her house.  It would be thirty minutes after a big pancake/bacon/egg breakfast, and she'd be asking if she could get you something to eat.

6.  I will absolutely miss my favorite dessert.  Blackberry cobbler.  No one could make it like Granny.  It was more like blackberry dumpling, and ohhhh soooo good.  Especially with vanilla ice cream on top.

7.  Granny always had a pitcher of Sweet Tea.  Always.  You could count on it like you can count on the sun rising in the morning.

8.  Granny made so many signature dishes that I can't begin to name them all:  chicken and dumplings, fried cabbage, chicken strips, zucchini bread, gravy, chocolate pie, chocolate cake, coconut pie, etc etc etc.  She was an awesome cook.  She would always tell me that she was still practicing and she would be a professional one day.  We always sat around the dinner table to eat, and we always said a blessing.  If you didn't have seconds, she would say, "What's the matter.  You on a diet?"

9.  Granny loved to reminisce about the past.  I loved to listen to her tell me stories.  Many times, though, she would get caught up in a story that made her mad.  She would get all riled up again just thinking about it.  Didn't matter if it happened fifty years ago!  She was furious all over again.

10.  Granny loved to crochet.  She sat in her rocking chair with her crocheted quilt on her lap, her crocheted pillow behind her lower back, and her glass of tea on her crocheted coaster.  And she would sit there for hours with her yarn and needles and whatever project she was working on.  I knew not to mess with her stuff.  She was very particular about her crochet basket.

She won many Walker County fair prizes for her craft entries,sold a lot, and gave away even more.  She was very talented.  She could crochet anything.  It's a lost art, and I respect her talent.  She could look at something and make her own pattern from it.

She taught me at age 6 the basics and I made my first pot holder.  Now being a crocheter as an adult, I appreciate the time and effort she put into her work.    She told me it was therapy because it was tedious and if she was mad about something then she would just put all of her energy into it.  Because if your mind wanders while crocheting then you will mess up.  But then she would get so mad and frustrated sometimes when she would have to rip out her work and start over because of a mistake.  She was a character for sure.

11.  Granny could also sew like no one's business.  She made clothes, quilts, curtains, etc.  My absolute favorite blanket is a quilt she made for my high school graduation.  I was speechless when she gave it to me.  It's a butterfly quilt that she hand sewn.  Each butterfly has fabric scraps from stuff she's made.  There's even a piece of fabric on it that was from the same material she used to make my dad's first pair of "britches."  I sleep with it.  It's been washed many times and is so soft and comfy.

12.  My Granny was feisty.  I loved my Granny, but sometimes she would let things fester and then blow up at you.  Then you could expect for her to not talk to you for a few weeks.  I will always remember when she got mad at my dad and me around the holidays.  I think it was something simple that set her off but it was enough.  If I remember correctly it was the fact that I didn't take my boots off when I walked in the house.  I was about 14 or so.  She yanked the whole Christmas tree (ornaments, lights, and all) from the wall socket and threw it in the garage!!!!  She said, "It don't feel like Christmas" and walked off.  She didn't talk to us until after the new year.  After she was done being mad, she would go back to her usual sweet granny self. I remember at least two other times when something like this happened.  :)  Her feistiness often reminded me of Sophia from The Golden Girls.

13.  Granny loved cats.  And dogs.  She had a chihuahua named Missy when I was a little girl.  Missy didn't like anybody but Granny.  If you got within five feet of Missy she would snap at you.  She was mean!  Then there was Minnie and Queenie, and finally Maggie, who is still living.  Her dogs were her babies.  Her cats were her babies, too.  Baby- the beautiful cat, Popeye- the HUGE fat lazy cat, and Cricket- the sweet black cat.  

I have so many more treasured memories of my Granny.  Too many to list.  She babysat me in the summertime, so I spent a lot of time with her.  I just had to write down some to help me cope with losing her.  I'm scared I'll forget these as time passes, so I wanted to make sure I recorded them.  She died 33 years and 1 week after my grandfather, and her husband, Bobby.  I never met the person whom my first name is after, but I have a lifetime of memories of the person my middle name is after.  I'm so thankful to have had a loving grandmother.  I love you, Granny, and will deeply miss you.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Year's Eve "Party"

Our plans for New Year's Eve were to just hang out with each other, the 5 of us.  Somehow, though, our plans to lay low turned into a party at the last minute.  Our friends that weren't available suddenly became available for various reasons (yay!) so a party was planned in less than 24 hours.

If you know me, then you know I love to plan parties, so I was up to the challenge of getting together something quick.  My girlfriends and I put our heads together and got a menu and activities planned.

Food: It was 2013 inspired.  For the savory dishes we had an assortment of Paleo foods.  (Paleo was the most googled diet of 2013)

We did chicken and veggie kabobs, stuffed bell peppers, meatballs, and a veggie tray.  Jess took it a step farther and named the meatballs "wrecking balls" after Miley Cyrus' song.  She also brought "Twerk"y Jerky.
"Ombre" Veggie Tray

Wrecking Balls, Twerky Jerky, and Say Cheese for your selfie!
Our desserts were NOT Paleo.  We had a countdown-to-midnight-clock of cupcakes, and a Candy Crush Bar.  It was fun to find all of the candies that are used in the game: yellow lemon drops, orange butterscotch, pink suckers, blue blow pops with out the stick, red jelly beans, chocolates, green Jolly Ranchers, and Swedish Fish.  For the large rainbow balls found in Candy Crush I covered Whoppers in Sprinkles (good thinking on that one, Brian.)  We even had some wrapped candies.  If you don't play the game then it just looks like a bunch of candy on the table.  It you play then you understand.

To make the party festive I used Hawaiian Decorations (hey, I said it was festive, not theme appropriate.  It's what I had on hand for this last minute party.  Thanks Christy!)  We had a box of leis, glow sticks, silly string, and whistle blowers for the kids to play with.  I also changed the lights in the Green Room (that's what we call the other living room, because it's green , duh.) to black lights.  The black lights didn't really do much, oh well.  

I printed out some pictures of events and memes of 2013
and personalized the cups with Roman numerals
The word "selfie" is a 2013 word, so we all took selfies.  With duck faces of course!
Our selfies!

Sarah supplied us with the traditional New Year's Drink, martinis!  We had a martini bar.  Brian was the bartender and the drink of choice for the night was the chocolate martini.  They were delicious.  Just ask Crystal and Jessica!

Sarah with champagne glasses (haha, get it?)

 The adults had a good time playing a fun new game and the kids ran around wild.  It was a laid back party.  And then there was dancing.  Line dancing, to be exact.  Except someone should know the line dance before you attempt to lead it, which no one did.  Which made it extra fun.
We are doing the wobble here.  Yes, we are suppose to be all facing the same direction.
I've known Jess for 5 years and have never seen her dance.  until now.  hahaha!

we're in sync now.
    I'm laughing as I'm loading these pics remembering the fun we had.
And of course we had a countdown to midnight.  The kids had sparklers and the adults had a champagne toast.  Brian tried to light all the sparklers at once.  Which he successfully did.  Which also led him to burning his fingertips off. ouch!

Good times!  Happy New Year! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Arden and Caillou

Ever seen that annoying four year old bald kid on PBS named Caillou?  Yeah, well that's Arden's mentor. I've mentioned several times before that Arden loves Caillou.  She doesn't just love him, she's obsessed with watching him.  Wanna threaten Arden with something?  Threaten to take Caillou priveleges away from her. ;)

I first learned of Caillou when Halle was about 18 months old.  She liked him, but thankfully she was more concerned with Care Bears at the time.  Caillou would annoy the crap out of me.  He was whiny, his mommy was too nice and patient with him (in my opinion), and he wasn't very cute.

Fast forward 9 years.  Now I have a four year old with the exact same personality as Caillou.  Now I get Caillou.  Now I understand his mom and the way she handles him.  Caillou and Arden are strong-willed, persistent, and untrusting.  They are rule followers, but before they follow the rules, they have to understand why the rule is there.  They won't do something just because everyone else does it.  They aren't going to just take your word for something.  You have to coax them, explain them, answer every question they have, and reassure them.  They are going to do things on their own time (yes, yes, I know, I've heard it a million times, she gets that from me ;)  But those same qualities make her loyal and obedient and she follows through with what she says she will do.

Now Caillou is one of my favorite people, lol.  Caillou helps her and me because Arden routinely uses episodes of Caillou to reassure herself and encounter challenges in her everyday life.

Ex 1:  Caillou was scared of going trick or treating because of all of the scary costumes.  Through out the episode, he learns that they are just pretend and that are meant for fun.  When Arden went trick-or-treating, she started talking to herself.  "I'm scared of the faces just like Caillou, but I know that they are just pretend and I don't have to be scared.  I'm going to be brave."  And she was!
Ex 2:  I told Arden we were going to an ice skating class.  In the past she has been scared to ice skate and freak out because she didn't want to fall.  I could talk to her and coax her, but she was still nervous.  Her response this time "Just like Caillou!  He went with his older friend, Sarah, to her ice skating class.  And he learned that falling was ok!"

I could go on and on.  I guess she just relates to his character so much.  She learns so much from this bald dude.  She absorbs everything from the shows, including education type stuff.

Although it's hard to be Arden's parent at times, I know that these same character traits will make her into a strong adult that will not be easily swayed.  I love my Arden Rose.  

So here's to Caillou, my accomplice!

Christmas 2013

Christmas Eve was spent with Brian's side of the family at Sarah's house.

As usual, it was a great evening of good food and family time.  We had a chance to visit with Mimi and Poppy.  Mike and Christy made some brown sugar bacon-wrapped smokies.  They were DELICIOUS!  They were gone before you knew it.  All of the food was great, and we ate too much!  

While we were eating and visiting, Arden asked me at least twenty times if it was time to open gifts.  She was very excited.  Uncle Ryan wasn't able to be here this Christmas, so we face-timed him.  That way he could join in and see us opening his gifts!  Yay for technology!  The kids got great gifts from everyone: toys, craft stuff, clothes.  Jack got cars, a train, and even a Mater truck he can ride!  He loved them!  Halle got her first real grown-up handbag.  Arden got a beautiful pair of earrings.    

After we left Sarah and Adam's house, the girls sprinkled Reindeer food in the yard, and set out the cookies for Santa.

Christmas: Adam, Sarah, Mike, and Christy joined us Christmas morning.  It's tradition for Sarah to bring over sausage cannon balls as part of our breakfast, and for us to watch Christmas Vacation!  We love that movie and laugh every time!  It never gets old.  :)
Snowman pancakes for the kids Christmas morning
Christmas  morning is when the kids open gifts from Santa, us, and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Adam.  Santa got Arden got a new bike from Santa, Halle a pogo stick, and Jack a toy lawnmower.
Aunt Sarah showered the kids with so many gifts that I won't even begin to try to name it all!  Each got a suitcase, clothes, toys.  Arden got a talking cash register, Halle got lots of makeup, Jack got a car.  So much stuff!  The kids had a wonderful morning.   
That evening we headed to my mom's house for Christmas with my side of the family.  Since there are so many family members, we only buy gifts for the little nieces and nephews: Josh, Halle, Alyssa, Alexis, Austin, Andrew, Arden, and Jack.

We made donut snowmen for the nieces and nephews to go along with their gifts.
The evening is filled with eating nachos and tamales, and playing games.  The adults play White Elephant.  White Elephant usually isn't a wild game.... unless you're my family.  There's lots of yelling and fighting, but all in good fun.  We also played Taboo.  Once again, Taboo isn't too wild of a game.... unless you're my family.  :)  Fun times.  I was practically rolling on the ground laughing during the game.  My family is crazy!
Pauline took a pic of us at my mom's house
a pic with my sister, Pauline.  My brother, Raul, photo-bombed it.  :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas Eve Eve

Christmas Eve Eve was spent with The Greens.  We exchanged gifts and the kids strung popcorn garland.  Crystal bought Arden this huge cardboard castle for Christmas.  It's a castle that she can color and decorate.  She is also able to crawl in and out of it.  The castle came in a box disassembled in a bazillion pieces.  Poor Brian.  We sat there and watched him attempt to put it together for an hour!  It was a pain in the butt.  No one offered to help.....  Instead of us three other adults giving him a hand, we just sat there, entertained by watching Brian struggle with the cumbersome cardboard mess.  And laughed at him.  That's what real friends do.  ;)

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of Brian trying to put the castle together, but I do have a random picture of Arden and (I think) Halle doing planking or something...??..

Delaney and Jack hung out there with Brian for a while.  I was surprised that they sat there and weren't fidgety.  Delaney is wearing Arden's old reindeer pajamas.  Haha!  Brian's got crazy eyes in this picture.  Probably a result from the castle.

Dee Dee!

Jack ADORES Brian.  Brian is his absolute favorite person.  I'm chopped liver when Brian comes home from work.  It's all about "Dee Dee."  That's perfectly ok with me, though.  It makes my heart happy to see the relationship that those two share.  

using Brian's face as a speedway for his car.  "Brrrrrrrrrrrr"
sidenote* Jack calls cars "brrrrrrr"s.  You know, like the motor sound a car would make.   Get Jack in a parking lot and he doesn't know what to do with himself.  It's an overload of "brrrrrr and brrrrr and brrrrrrr and brrrrr and brrrrr."  He tries to say it for every car he sees.  Hilarious!!!!

Thumb, blanket, car, and Dee Dee.  That makes for a happy Jack.  This time Brian's arm is the speedway.

Another morning where Jack and DeeDee are hanging out.  Sweet moments

Visiting PawPaw

The weekend after Christmas we visited my dad.  We had a fish fry and hung around outside for the day.  It was a pretty day, but chillier than we expected it to be.  PawPaw gave Halle one of his hunting jackets to keep her warm.
Halle in her camo.
I was trying to explain to the girls how camouflage works for animals.  Deer only see in black and white so camo gear really blends into the woods.  
our black and white picture experiment.  Where's Halle???

Jack busied himself with raking.  He was content with the rake and a yard full of leaves.  He did this for an hour!  How he didn't end up with blisters on his hands is beyond me.  I'll show him this picture when he's a teenager and remind him of how much he loves yard work. 

Stay-cation 2013

Brian had a few days off the week before Christmas!  (Poor Brian was sick on his vacation, so he didn't get to enjoy it as much as he would have liked.)  We had three week days to do stuff with our kids before regular schools let our for the Christmas break.  So we had an opportunity to visit places without the crowds as a family.
Day 1:
Ice Skating at the Aerodrome.  We considered going to the outdoor rink at Discovery Green, but the Aerodrome is so close to our house.  AND it has a skate walkers for those who are learning to skate.  So that's where we went.  There was a homeschool group there for a while, but after they left we practically had the whole rink to ourselves!  It was awesome!  I'd never had a chance to ice-skate without tons of people in my way before.  Arden started out with the walker, but halfway through our time there she felt confident enough to skate without it.  She did really well!
I'm not sure how this happend, but Google added snow to our skating fun.  Weird.  Do you see it?
Day Two:
We spent the day experiencing downtown.  We started off at the Downtown Aquarium.  Halle won a couple of Aquarium all-day wristbands in a swim team poster contest back during the summer.  We used those wristbands to do all of the attractions there.

There was a chance of rain so we knocked out the rides first.

Arden was really scared to go on this ride.  By the end of it, though, she wanted to ride again.  Halle and I are going to turn her into a fellow adrenaline junky even if it kills us!

we are on the Shark Voyage train here.  It's really loud which is why Arden is covering her ears.
We then headed inside for the exhibits.  I loved loved loved watching Arden's and Jack's expression when they saw the different fish and sea animals!
Checking out this gigantic fish

This pic cracks me up because this huge eel looks like it's about to attack Halle.
Not sure why the Aquarium has a white tiger exhibit.  Nonetheless, Jack liked it.  

Jack kept calling the tiger a dog.  Not quite, buddy, not quite.  :)
The last attraction was a stingray exhibit.  You're allowed to touch them!

After the Aquarium we walked through the streets of downtown.  We headed to the Chase Tower.  There is a sky lobby on the 60th floor which lets you have beautiful scenic views of downtown.  Plus the express elevator is fun to ride.  I went there on a field trip as a kid and remembered it being neat.  But the sky lobby was closed!!!  It was under renovation until January.  Ugh.  So we did the next best thing and took the elevator up to the highest floor we were allowed to go to.  The girls got to experience the ear-popping from the altitude change.  And Arden got to push elevator buttons.  So they were happy.  :)

Next we took the escalator down to the underground tunnels.  It was a BIG deal and major highlight of the day that Arden got to ride the escalator without holding my hand ;)  We walked through the tunnels for a bit and then headed back up to the streets.  

We hopped on the Metro Rail and rode down to the Museum District.  
This is my favorite picture of the Day.  Arden is so excited to be on the train.  She is mesmerized and trying to take everything in as the train moves along. 

Halle studied the Holocaust this year, so she and I went through the Holocaust museum.  Such an emotional museum.  

We then headed to the Health Museum.  This was the first time for all of us to visit.  The girls loved it.
There was a 4-D movie about germs at the Health museum.  The 4-D freaked our Arden for a bit, but then she relaxed.
After being in the downtown area all day long (and lots and lots of walking) I was craving grilled fish and Halle wanted sushi.  (Go figure, we looked at fish all morning.)  So we finished off with dinner at Red Fish grill by our house.  Sarah and Adam met up with us there.  

Day Three:
Friday we went fishing.  The girls LOVE to fish.  After five hours of fishing (and basically catching nothing) the girls were still reluctant to leave.  We started out at our favorite park, Burrough's Park.  It's a large park that has great bike trails, nice volleyball courts, various playgrounds, and a nice-sized lake.
Big sister helping little sister bait a hook

first fish she caught that day

Jack and I sitting on the pier

girliest fisherman I know

Halle feeding the geese

Jack watching Brian fish

Love this picture!

We went to the lake at Windrose and had better luck.  This is the biggest fish of the day.