Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For the Record

While cleaning out a closet today I came across my baby book and was reminded of one of my favorite things as a little one. I have shared this with some of you, but it is worth mentioning again.

On my "first birthday" page, the book asks my mom for my favorite foods. At the ripe old age of one, my mom replied....

"Jennifer's favorite foods are pork and beans, potatoes and cola."

To further clarify she had scribbled out "coca" before the word cola, as in coca-cola. She must have realized that I wasn't necessarily picky about colas, I would take just about any carbonated beverage. If this isn't the epitome of a West Texas baby, I don't know what is. Let this be a lesson to you other parents. I have grown from that pork and bean baby to a healthy adult. So, go ahead and give your kid that extra cookie with dinner.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting It

Little A made it through her first overnight sleepover/campout. I mentioned it briefly in my last post but we "won" this campout at the preschool's fundraising dinner. Several parents got together and paid for a campout at the teacher's house.

In getting her ready for the night I started getting very nervous. I started worrying about all sorts of crazy things.

"What if she can't find the bathroom in the middle of the night?"
"What if she gets sick?"
"What if someone breaks into the house and I can't be there to protect her?"
"What if some of the kids found something dangerous like a gun or medicine?"

My list could go on and on, but suffice to say I was being a typical mom. To make myself feel better, I went over everything that could go wrong and what she should do. I made sure she knew to speak up to the teachers if she needed something (she is very shy). After drilling everything into her head she finally told me "Stop, I really get it." These words broke my heart. She is only 4 and she thinks she already has everything under control, She is me reincarnated, which only breaks my heart even more. I have always been very independent and though I want that for her, I also want her to need me forever too.

All night I had a little knot of worry in my stomach but managed to act calm. Around ten o'clock I couldn't take it anymore and called. She was doing fine and having a blast. I was very relieved to hear this but also sad to know she was still doing fine without me. Then, she needed me. At seven this morning the phone rang and Ashley wanted to come home. Apparently she discovered a new loose tooth and wanted me to pick her up. I arrived and she clung to me. My little girl may be independent and "gets it" but she still needs her mommy in a time of crisis. I plan on keeping it that way. Of course the loose tooth also reaffirms her rapid aging. Her teeth seem to be dropping like flies. At this rate the tooth fairy is going to be needing a loan. Can anyone spare a dime? Or perhaps lots of dimes?

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Know You Are Getting Old When....

Here are just a few things that happened within a course of about 15 minutes, that indicated I might be aging a little. You will know you are also getting old when......
  • You are driving your little girl to her first overnight campout.
  • On the way to the campout the little girl asks: "Does it hurt when a baby comes out of your tummy?" and she expects an answer.
  • When scanning the radio for a good tune you hit upon "Footloose" and realize you are on the golden oldies station.

Nothing like a strong dose of reality hitting me in the face all at once. Let's not even mention the gray hair I found a few months ago. They say you are only as old you feel, but if that is the case I feel about 150 right now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What I am doing Wednesday

Is it Wednesday? Sometimes I feel as though I am in a constant state of confusion around here. Today was one of "those" days. It started with yet another injury from little man. He fell on some concrete steps at the park and landed on his face. Blood was pouring out of his mouth as he bit both sides of his tongue and scraped up his chin really bad. Luckily, my friend Amanda kept me calm and collected. I swear I don't know what I would do without her. She always seems to be there when Landen has blood issues and she always helps me feel better.

I probably should have called it a day at this point but Amanda mentioned going to the consignment store and there is no way I can pass that up. Sure enough, it was chaotic, but not terrible. The low point came when we all decided to go to McDonald's. After getting the kids all excited about eating there and managing to make it inside with all four of our kids, the order person informed us that their fry machine was broken. If you are not aware, the fry machine controls that place. If the fry machine isn't working, you can pretty much kiss your unhealthy, fat-laden meal goodbye. Yes, this even includes the chicken nuggets. Lucky for me Landen will only eat nuggets and fries. Thank goodness Amanda pointed out a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut close by. She watched the kids while I got food. What's the moral of this pointless story? Always have a good, calm friend with you at all times. Don't leave home without her. Thanks Amanda!

What am I watching?
Season finales are in full swing. The Office was funny, but I am claiming "The Dinner Party" as my favorite episode of the year. Desperate Housewives had a nice twist at the end but was a tad too long for my taste. Gossip Girl was a little disappointing, mainly because my favorite characters didn't get together but I guess if they did no one would keep watching.

What am I reading?
I just finished The Pact by Jodie Picoult. It was my first novel of hers and I enjoyed it. Every night I would force myself to read until I couldn't take it anymore just so I could find out what happened. That must mean it is good. You could probably also count The Trouble with Tink as a book. it is a chapter book I am reading to little A.

What am I clicking and listening to?
This is the same this week. What makes Gossip Girl so good is the incredible music they play. I found a Gossip Girl channel on You tube. It plays all the songs from every show. Even if you don't watch the show, the music is worth listening to.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring Fever

Spring fever has literally taken hold around here. I have suffered two bouts of strep throat and now spring allergies and hay fever are cursing me. With all the fevers and the nice weather, my blogging has taken a back seat. I am tired of being bombarded with emails begging me for another post, so I will try to appease my audience (my audience being my mom and husband).

Week in Review

  • The week started off with another bout of strep. Luckily, J had some antibiotics he had not finished. Sleeping from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. the next morning probably helped a little too. I really don't think I have EVER gone to bed that early and slept all night.
  • This week also brought more teaching as I filled in for the 2 year old class. Teaching these tots worried me but it turned out to be easy. They have a two hour nap scheduled, which meant I sat there and read.
  • A four hour nap from little man. He has done lots of 3 hours stretches here in recent months but four hours is our record, and I had to wake him up. He is not sick and still went to bed at 8 that night. I guess he was just worn out from a big playtime at Chick-fil-a.
  • A nice weekend with just me and the kids. J had a guy's golf weekend, so I was flying solo. On Friday, I was feeling brave after the four hour nap, so I took the little ones to dinner at Corner Bakery. They were in good spirits and the weather was phenomenal, so I decided to push it even more. We ventured on down to a store and I shopped for awhile. Then we headed over to Whole Foods for some food sampling and band listening. Every Friday night they have a little band play some good old-fashioned cover songs. There is nothing that gets me grooving like some good cover songs. I think we might start making this a little tradition. Afterwards, we even made it over to Barnes and Noble where we read for awhile. It was a great night.
  • The next day of our weekend started a little bumpy. Little man discovered a coin box we have and decided to dump all of it on the carpet. We spent a good part of the morning searching for coins and hunting for them in the thick carpet. I had all these coins sorted and was planning to roll them at some point, but any organization I had going was completely ruined. Coinstar was my next logical choice. We took the money and exchanged it for about $80 of cold hard cash. Save your coins people. To celebrate we went to the park and ate out at La Madeline. Again the weather was incredible, so we sat out on the patio and the kids were free to roam. I highly recommend patio seating when at all possible.
  • A haircut today. When J got back today I decided that after 6 months it was probably time for a trim. My hair was impossibly long and unmanageable. I love my hair long, but Repunzel length is a little ridiculous. Of course, I now have cut regret. It isn't that short but when I am used to my really long locks, any change feels drastic. I also know way too many details about a random 21 year old's life. Why can't hairdressers be more introverted?
  • A MAJOR score. I have been looking for a new guest bedroom comforter for months but am extremely picky and wanted something very inexpensive. While browsing through Kohl's I happened to pass a rack with clearance stuff marked at 60-80 percent off. I half-heartedly glanced at the stuff but thought I wouldn't find anything. Suddenly, it appeared. A lone bag. The picture showed a complete set I instantly loved. The brand was Laura Ashley, so I knew it was quality. The description labeled it as Queen. "Surely this is in the wrong spot," I thought. The price tag said it was $269. I knew it. As I started to put it down, a tiny red tag jumped at me. "$53.90." My first thought was to run as fast as I could. I certainly didn't need any senior citizens trying to grab this on their special 15 percent off day. (No disrespect to the elderly, but they are a rough crowd on Tuesdays at Kohl's.) I scanned the aisles frantically for a price checker, thinking if I didn't act fast enough the price was going to expire. As I reached the scanner, I tried to calm my nerves and not get my hopes up. BEEP! $53.99!!! It was on sale!!!! Even the sales lady commented she had never seen this set for such a good price. Though one doesn't usually get recognition for good bargain I have already made myself a certificate and hung it on the wall.

Overall, it was a pretty good week minus the sickness and the horrible allergies I am suffering with. You may also have noticed long stretches of sleep were a big part of the week. Sleep is always my friend. To top off the week, Gossip Girl was AMAZING this week. I watched last week's episode and this week's due to a technical glitch and they were both incredible. Finally, there are only four more days until the best part of my year starts - So You Think You Can Dance!!!! If you don't watch this show, I am sorry you have missed out in the past but now is your opportunity to make your life more complete like me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Darb!

Another friend has joined the over 30 set. Darby over at A Slower Town At a Busier Pace, is now 31. Darby is another long time BFF that I have known since junior high. We got to know each other better in high school, then became good friends in college. While some friends grow apart through the years, I feel that we have grown closer as we have faced many important milestones together. I would like to share a few special things about Darby and our friendship. They are just a few because I am afraid I am sick yet again and my mind is not working very well tonight. Also, several memories are not appropriate for some parents who may read my blog:-)

  • Gossiping during high school sophomore English class. I don't remember anything I learned in English, but I probably could tell you all the gossip I acquired that year. This put Darby at the pinnacle of all things gossip. If I ever need info I know who to call and she knows to call me ASAP on all things I need to know.
  • Freshman year of college. I remember her calling and wanting to talk to Kristen, but Kristen was never there, so we started becoming close friends.
  • JD Wells. Weekends were spent with Suzanne and me going dancing. Wells was always our favorite spot and it was pretty much guaranteed that we would see Darb there or Harry's.
  • Summer after freshman year. We were in Midland and spent many nights hanging out. As I recall, our many adventures included bailing someone out of jail. To clarify, it wasn't either one of us.
  • Summer before junior year. As I am thinking about it, there are a lot of summer memories of our friendship. It must be because Darby always brought out the fun, carefree side of me, and what better time to be fun and carefree than summer? Anyway, the summer before junior year, Suzanne and I were without an apartment for about a month. Darby let us move into her abode where Suzanne and I slept on mattresses on the floor and Darby slept on the couch because of some back problems. It was an interesting scenario but a fun month. At one point we decided to make an impromptu trip down to Astroworld for no reason. Like I said, I always feel so carefree when I am with her, and spontaneity is usually not my strong point. Any friend that can bring out that side of you is a definite keeper.
  • Her wedding. It was my first real experience at being a bridesmaid and I loved every minute of it. The festivities lasted all weekend and were a blast. The best part was getting to see Darby so happy. I also certainly don't want to forget her bachelorette party a few months before in College Station. Karaoke, dancing and a few shots made the agenda that night.
  • My dad's funeral. She was right there for me every step of the way. As soon as she heard the news she flew out to Midland and stayed by my side.
  • My wedding. Again, she was there for me when I needed it most. It was her and Kristen that took me out that day before the wedding when I was literally sick with worry. She helped me regain my strength and helped me get things together.
  • Many girls' only weekends. She has become my go to "girls' weekend" person. We try to have an annual weekend but it has gotten a little harder in the past couple of years with new babies and her business. I can't imagine traveling with anyone else for these special weekends.
  • Her ability to obtain free items. No one can get freebies like she can. I envy this trait and try to study how she does it, but it is impossible to learn. It is simply a gift.
  • Her social gift. I have been all over Texas and even Louisiana with Darby and she always manages to find people she knows. It is simply amazing. There has also been a few times I have traveled somewhere and another random person has asked me where I am from. When they found out it was Midland, they asked me if I knew Darby. This has happened at least a few times in some very random locations. Again, I envy this about her and wished I had this gift of making everyone, even total strangers, seem like instant friends.

I don't know what I would do without Darby in my life. She makes my life more fun, more interesting and most importantly she makes me stronger.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What I learned in Preschool

I am superstitious. If a black cat crosses my path I will get nervous and try to go another way, or at least convince myself it was really dark brown instead of black. I also believe that by saying something out loud you jinx yourself. This drives J insane. For example, he will comment that little man is on his best behavior when we are at a restaurant. Then, what do you know? The very next second little man is swinging from the chandelier. I swear it is true. Sure enough, I jinxed myself. A few weeks ago I wrote that I have finally made peace with staying home and felt like this is what I should be doing. Of course, I should have known by putting a statement out there like that I was going to end up with a job. And I have. I will be going back to preschool.

One of little A's four year old teachers told me she isn't returning next year because they are moving. This sparked my curiosity, so I mentioned to the director I have my teaching certification. My certification is for elementary, but it comes with the same skills needed for a preschool teacher: wearing holiday sweaters, gossiping with other teachers, writing notes to parents, and yelling at kids. Also with having two kids of my own I felt I also brought a lot to the table: wiping noses, gossiping with other parents, cleaning messes and yelling at kids. With these skills behind me, the director felt I was more than capable to taking on the job. Before I knew it, I was official and start in August.

With all my big talk about staying home, you may ask why I choose to go back to work now. Let me break it down for you, housecleaner. That's right, a housecleaner is my primary motivation. I am sick of cleaning my house. Going back to work means I am officially entitled to hire one, it is in the working mom's contract. If you work and don't have a housecleaner, you need to consult the contract and hire one right away. Add this to fact that Landen will go to school for free and he will be very lonely with Ashley at kindergarten, and it was a perfect situation. I will also be done in time to pick up the princess from school and have the same school holidays as her. To top it off, the school provides free child care when I have training several times a year. That means adult time with free child care. What more could I ask for? Well, to be honest, I have a lot more on my wish list, but I will conquer a little at each time.

To make a very long story short, yesterday I filled in for the teacher I am replacing and will be doing so again tomorrow. I learned a lot while I was there and will be sharing some little tidbits with you, but you have to wait. I can't give everything away at once, or else you wouldn't come back. So, "What I learned in Preschool" is to be continued. In the meantime, please write all your letters in upper and lower case and recite your numbers to 20. This should prepare you for the next installment.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

What am I doing?

For those observant readers, you are correct, it is not Wednesday. My "What am I doing Wednesday?" post is being moved to today, which is Sunday. I appreciate your understanding.

What am I watching?

I am back into the swing of things as far as my tv watching goes. My schedule is still lighter than pre-strike days, but I feel my plate is full with shows. Desperate Housewives has improved since that dismal premier; however, I haven't watched tonight's episode. The Office was good but not as funny as last week, which was possibly the best one ever. Lost and Gossip Girl were fine too but did not "wow" me. Maybe I am just hard to please. I did see a great family movie. Little A can sit through an entire non-animated film, so we are exposing her to more movies. This led us to Enchanted. It is very cute but I would not recommend it for a guy's only movie night.

What am I reading?

I just finished the Unofficial Guide to Disney World. Yes, I read the entire thing, Yes, I am weird. I have been obsessed with Disney World since I went there as a child, the last time being in the fourth grade. We are hoping to take a family vacay there sometime next year, and it is never too early to prepare for a trip of this magnitude. After all, my daily trip itineraries alone will take me weeks to prepare. Laugh all you want, but those that know me know that I am not joking.

What am I clicking?

I think every family's budget is taking a beating with these crazy gas prices. Now, I have a new buddy. At GasBuddy.com you can type in your zip and it will list all the stations in your area and their prices. Feel free to send me all the extra money you will save.

What am I listening to?

After going without a fave song for quite some time, I finally have one, See You Again. I heart this song big time. Oh, did I forget to mention the singer? Ok, I guess you will find out sooner or later. Now you will know that I am really a 12 year old trapped in a 31 year old's body. Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah Montana) sings this fun song and I honestly didn't know it for the longest time. When I found out, I was a little embarrassed, but not enough to stop listening.

It reminds me of my roller skating days and hours spent at the roller rink. I just know if I was 12 again I would have my dad pull his car out of the garage so I could skate around and around while jamming out to Miley. He used to do that quite a bit for me. Of course at that time I think I was listening to Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam and possibly NKOTB (back then we called them New Kids on the Block). Now that I think about it, my garage is actually cleaned out right now. Maybe I will go look for those sweet white skates with the hot pink laces and wheels.......