Saturday, May 31, 2008

The End?

Ruth came home from school yesterday with just the slightest pout in her bottom lip. She was sad that she had come to the end of Kindergarten, the end of seeing her friends, the end of living in our house, the end of living in Austin. Endings are hard. I know. I have felt that sadness, too. But there never was an ending that there wasn't also a beginning. And that's where we are today. The beginning of something new, something different, something exciting. And eventually we'll get to the end of this phase of life and be at another beginning. And, really, that's a beautiful way to live, if you ask me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

To My Beautiful Ruth:

Six years ago today, I was graced with the title "Mom." I knew little of what that meant, but I knew the little girl I held in my arms was an amazing gift from God. I thought you were easily the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And when I look at you today, I feel the same way! But not only are you beautiful; you are also smart and funny and sweet. You love everyone and are one of the most thoughtful people I have ever known. You make me smile every single day. And I'm so thankful for the privilege to know you . I want you to know how very proud I am of you. I have enjoyed these last six years more than any other years in my life. I look forward so much to watching the future unfold before you. You can go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be who you want to be. And I'll be right here--loving you and cheering for you and trying not to get in your way. Happy birthday, Sweet Girl. I love you!
Love,
Mom

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Three Ring Circus

Someone said, "I know, let's go out for dinner."

And then the music started: Doot-do-doodoo-doodoo-doot-do-doodoo.

I was strapping Max in (on Jeff's side of the car), Jeff was strapping Weston in (on my side of the car), and Ruth was in a tizzy because her seat belt receiver was stuck under the seat.

Someone said, "Let's go to Mangia."

And then the music again. Followed by, "No, I want Mexican." "I want a cheeseburger." And crying from the little one.

And dinner went something like this: two trips to the potty, spaghetti all over EVERYTHING, all children crying--sometimes independently, sometimes in stereo...

And the music continued: Doot-do-doodoo-doodoo-do-doot-doodoo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Good Life

The kids LOVE living in a house with no furniture. And really, what's not to love?! They get to sleep on the floor, camp-out style. They can run around all over the place, even the nooks and crannies that were formally off-limits. They get to use coolers for tables. And, there is an echo. Ruth said this morning, "I just like our house so much better without all the furniture. It's just so fun!" And we were concerned that it would be a hardship living in our house for a week without any of our stuff. I can't say that Jeff and I are quite as ecstatic, especially since Jeff turned up sick today and had nowhere comfortable to land. But, I'm glad the kids are having fun. And watching them embrace uncharted waters with gusto is a good lesson for me. It's good to look at life as an adventure 'cause that takes the burden right out of it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Party Day

This morning, Ruth had a birthday party with her friends at Brushy Creek Lake Park, and it was a blast! The kids played on the playground and in the water, and we had hot dogs and cake and just an all-around good time.



Today also happened to be Weston's half-birthday*, so he got to pick a destination for dinner. He came up with Chuck E. Cheese, a place he had never been before but instantly fell in love with. I don't think they have Chuck E. Cheese in Brazil or we would probably be facing another trip there in November!



It was such a fun day! We are so proud of these kiddos and can't believe how quickly they are growing up!

*Check out the rules (according to Jeff) for the Half-Birthday celebration on Jeff's blog.

**There are many more pictures of these events up on Flickr.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

So Surreal

Here we are in our house with no children (well, Max is upstairs sleeping, but you know what I mean), no furniture and no boxes to pack. And, frankly, it's a little creepy. We spent ALL of yesterday moving our stuff out and now it's not here...and we won't see it again for at least 8 months. Weird. And so what have we done all day? Absolutely nothing!! And it felt good! Just the calm before the storm, I'm sure, but it was good to take a break.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Public Service Announcement

If you ever find yourself in a house with a super-jumbo box of plastic utensils (and no other utensils whatsoever) and desperately need to serve up some ice cream, select a knife from the box. It cuts through the hard ice cream like a charm. And as a bonus it helps you get rid of the knives, because you always end up with thousands of those left after all the spoons and forks are gone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Could've Been a Nasty Spill

One of Weston's very favorite activities is to watch our picture slide show that I run as the screen saver on my computer. It's really the only thing that can hold his attention for more than a few minutes. My rule is he can watch them, but he can't touch the computer or anything on the desk, and he's very good about keeping his hands off. Today the desk was particularly messy because Jeff and I both had things we needed to print, and Jeff even left a cup of tea sitting there. When Weston asked if he could watch the pictures, I deliberately moved the tea. A few minutes later, Weston found me upstairs a began to explain:

Weston: Mommy, I spill. I sorry.

Mom: You spilled something?

Weston: Yes. I spill on you compooter.

Mom (thinking the worst): What did you spill?!

Weston: I spill you e-mail on flo by compooter. I sorry.

(A quick inspection showed a pile of bills apparently swept off the desk onto the floor. Definitely could have been worse)!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Disasterous Debut

In honor of getting to show our house to a prospective tenant, Jeff made his debut into the world of vacuuming. It wasn't long before I heard a screeching sound, followed shortly by an awful burning smell and the sound of Jeff's voice saying, "Do you get this smell when you vacuum?" Uh, no. No, I don't. Undaunted, Jeff continued with his new-found activity. In just a couple of minutes I heard another odd sound and went rushing into the room where the vacuum was running, saying, "Stop! That is not a good sound...STOP! There is SMOKE coming out!" Jeff then walked his new friend out to the garbage can and a massive deodorizing campaign got underway. If it wouldn't have been for the timing of this little incident, I might have wondered if this wasn't one of those things that men deliberately do wrong so they never have to do it again. Oh well. One less thing we have to pack up and move.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You Can't Pack A Bag With A Kid On Your Back

But you can be happy, if you've a mind to.

Sometimes, Weston is literally on the packer's back while they are trying to put things in a bag. Sometimes, he is taking things out of a bag in one room while the packer is putting things in a bag in another room. It's an interesting packing challenge. Other packing challenges include trying to squeeze the following items into our Brazil luggage:

  • a queen-sized blow-up mattress and air pump
  • two table-top fans
  • something like 15 bottles of sunscreen (ours is just way better--and this fair-skinned girl isn't taking any chances)
  • a first grade curriculum, complete with plenty of (English) reading material
  • a portable high chair
  • a large first-aid kit
  • bed linens, pillows and towels
  • a power transformer and extension cords
  • a travel clothes steamer
  • and a myriad of other things

(We are just hoping there will still be a little room left over for frivolous things like clothes)!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Little Visitors

We have lived in this house exactly six years. And we have seen the occasional creepy-crawly in our time here. But we have never seen the likes of the the spider population that has come out to bid us farewell. There are spiders of every shape and size in every nook and cranny. It's crazy! I don't have spider issues, so this doesn't really creep me out. I just find it sort of fascinating. Have they been hiding here all along and are just coming out because we're moving things around? Or is there some other phenomenon at work here? What do you think?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Kitchen Sink

I think I put it in that box over there. Oh. Wait. I think that's something we're leaving here. But (almost) everything else is in a box or a bag or a trunk or a suitcase. We are now eating off paper plates and using plastic utensils. Only things that are absolutely necessary for daily life remain unpacked. And the furniture will be moved out next weekend. Oh, and today we did a trial run of packing for Brazil. We are in a race against the scale and the baggage limits on that one, but I think it's all going to come together. Things are happening so fast around here, I feel like that "hurry-up" music from the movies is playing all the time. You may be right, we may be crazy. But we wouldn't trade it for anything. And in just a couple of weeks, we will all be able to breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One Little Boy's Wild Week

Monday--> Took a tumble down the stairs.

Tuesday--> Two shots in the leg to prepare for trip to Brazil.

Wednesday--> Mashed finger against table with chair.

Thursday--> Close encounter with couch pillow zipper, leaving a sizeable scrape on the leg.

Friday--> Threw up on every surface of bedroom. Twice.

Saturday--> Complained of ear pain.

Sunday--> Predicting a trip to the Urgent Care Clinic or ER if things keep going the way they have been.

(None of these things have been in any way serious. The child is still alive and happy, and probably won't suffer any permanent damage).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ruthonomics

(A conversation between father and daughter).

Dad: Ruth, it won't be long before you're old enough to have a summer job. What kind of job do you think you'd like to have?

Ruth: Well, all the jobs I really want are only for grown-ups.

Dad: Why don't you tell me what kinds of jobs you'd really like to have.

Ruth: Well, I really want to be a Mommy.

Dad: Well, that is pretty much just a grown-up job, and it's going to be a long time before you can do that. What other things are you interested in?

Ruth: I think I'd like to make sugar scrubs.

Dad: Oh. That's definitely something you could do. When Mommy gets back to making her sugar scrubs, do you think you'd like to help her out?

Ruth: No. I think I'd just like to make my own. And I think I'll sell them for $1.99.

Dad: Well, that's a good price.

Ruth: What does that mean, anyway?

Dad: $1.99 means that it costs one dollar and ninety-nine cents, which is just almost $2. If you sold your scrubs for $2, and Mommy sold hers for $12, who would sell more?

Ruth: Well, I would because it would cost less money, so more people would buy them.

Dad: The only problem with selling them for that low price is that your supplies would cost more than you were selling them for so you wouldn't really make any money.

Ruth: Oh. Hmm. Well, I guess I could just buy the sugar with a credit card.

Ruth: No, that won't work, because I don't have a credit card.

Ruth: Oh, I know. I could save money by ordering my jars!

Ruth: And, I could order 12 jars.

Looks like the girl is well on her way to putting me out of business! I'll have to see if I can't convince her to be a partner instead of competition in the next few years!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Survivor

[I snagged this from Melanie's blog and thought some of you might enjoy it].

THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks. Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes. There is no fast food. Each man must take care of his 3 kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all home work, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money. In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time. Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function. Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times. The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting. They will need to read a book each night and in the morning to the children, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice. If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right to be called "Mother"!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

30 Minutes To Fabulous

(Or at least something that passes for fabulous if you don't look too closely).

We found out at 1:30 yesterday afternoon that someone was planning to come see our house at 2:00. We kicked it into high gear to try to put a little polish on everything and did a remarkable job--if you look quickly and not too thoroughly. I shoved things under beds, in drawers, in the tops of closets and even in random moving boxes. And then, the people didn't show up. That was annoying, but we considered it a good practice run. At least now we know that we can pull it all together when we need to. Hopefully, we won't have to do that too many more times, though, before we get someone to sign the papers.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Small Fry

(Or Little Tater, if you prefer).

I really can't believe it, but Max is already four-months-old--which means another trip to the doctor's office for a check-up. Sometimes that can be a really bad thing, but today's visit couldn't have gone smoother. Max just cooed and smiled and almost jumped up and down when Dr. Little was examining him. And he was quite a little toughy when he got his four shots. Dr. Little informed me that he is ready to start cereal just anytime and that she expects him to produce his first tooth in the next month or two. (This was surprising to me since neither of the other two got their first teeth until they were around 11-months-old). I also found out Max's stats, which were also a little surprising since they were on the low end. He weighs 14 lbs. 3 oz. (45th percentile), and he is 24 1/2 in. long (25th percentile). He is hitting all the right milestones and seems to be very healthy. I can't believe how quickly he is growing! And in my humble opinion, getting more handsome by the day!

Monday, May 12, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Here's what's growing in my container garden--without much help from me, I might add! Just in time to be relocated to new homes! But, at least they all decided to show off for me one last time (or for the first time, as the case may be).


Unidentified tropical plant my neighbor gave me a while back, which has never done anything like this. If you know what it is, please speak up.

Bougainvillea

Lantana

A real-live pineapple! This plant was given to me by my mother-in-law several years ago and is finally reaching it's full potential!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Weekend

What a weekend! After I picked up Ruth from school on Friday, I came home and spent some time in my massage chair while the boys were napping. I was just about to doze off myself, when I suddenly opened my eyes to find all of my beautiful children and my wonderful husband standing before me, flowers and cards in hand. One of the cards contained a DVD of the kids telling me they loved me and why. I won't lie to you, I cried. But, they weren't done there. The next thing Jeff told me was that they wanted to take me to the San Antonio Riverwalk for the night and that everything was packed and ready to go. (Although there was a final Mommy inspection and missing items were added). So, we hopped in the van and hit the road. We had dinner at one of our favorite Mexican food restaurants down on the River. And we stayed at a place I have always wanted to stay, and everything was just wonderful!

On Saturday afternoon, my parents and my sister and brother-in-law came over for another little party. We had dinner at Cool River Cafe and had a wonderful time hanging out together.

Then, this morning, Jeff and the kids took me out for breakfast/brunch at Cracker Barrel as per my request. We had some great grub and picked up some cute things in the Country Store.

It was such a fun weekend, and I have to tell you that I can't think of a single thing I would rather be than Ruth, Weston and Max's mom. They are wonderful and beautiful and amazing. Motherhood is sometimes a hard job, but there is nothing that even comes close in terms of payoff. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get to do this. What an incredible blessing! I'm also thankful for all the other wonderful mothers out there and hope you have all had the special day you deserve!





Thursday, May 08, 2008

Parrot and Turtle Revisited

Well, I thought I was being kind of cute with my parrot and turtle blog post the other day. Turns out I was only being vague. So to clear up any confusion, I will tell you that I was referring to Weston, the parrot, and Max, the turtle. From now on I will try to be a little more clear on points of pets versus children.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Science Works on This

I can't smell anything. My nose is completely stopped up with a never-ending supply of green goo that is not in the least impacted by my many trips to the Kleenex box. Consequently, I can't taste anything either. You would think this would be a deterrent to me eating, but it actually has the opposite effect. Since I haven't tasted anything, I feel like I haven't really eaten anything. So then I end up eating things that have no taste, taking in calories I don't need, and not even getting the pleasure of yumminess as a reward. It's really not very fun at all--on so many levels.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gallery Night

It was "Gallery Night" at Ruth's school. There was a nice little spaghetti dinner followed by an art viewing. There were pieces on display from some of Jollyville's best up-and-coming artists. Here is Ruth with her "Wild Thing On Blue." Fabulous, isn't it?!


Monday, May 05, 2008

Life with a parrot and a turtle

We aren't pet people, but we've got a parrot and a turtle living here in our house. They are both adorable but do carry the less desirable traits of their species. The parrot will say the last thing he heard anyone else say, but he is particularly fond of imitating the little girl that lives in our house. This is sometimes distressing to that little girl, though we have insisted that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It also causes an increased level of insanity with the parents to hear the same thing over and over. And the trouble with turtles is that when they get themselves over on their backs they are just stuck--and this makes them very unhappy. Our little turtle seems to get himself in this position rather frequently these days around 2 am--just when I was getting used to sleeping through the night. But they are two cute little critters, so I think we'll keep them.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Scene from this morning

Darkened hotel room, sometime around the seven o'clock hour. Mom and Dad in one bed. 2-year-old boy alone in adjacent bed. 2-year-old boy half-stands up in his bed, bounces once, soundly smashes his head into the headboard, then promptly lies back down without so much as a peep, while Mom and Dad silently cringe at what they suppose to be his pain.

Later that same morning:


Mom: Weston, did you sleep well?

Weston: Yes.

[pause]

Weston: I went swimming!

Mom: I don't think we'll be able to go swimming this morning.

Weston: No. I went swimming.

[pause]

Weston: In my bed.

Mom (to herself): Sounded like there wasn't much water in the pool.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hold On To Your Hat

'Cause the winds of change, they are a-blowin'! And I'm not talking a nice, gentle Spring breeze here. What we have here is gale-force winds of change that could potentially knock a grown man down. Some of you know about this already, but we are now at liberty to share our news with the world. So, here we go.

Jeff has officially quit his day job--(today was his last day)--to pursue his dream of being his own boss. He has been doing some consulting work on the side for a little over a year and has built his business to a point where we are finally comfortable for him to go out on his own. This is thrilling and exciting and just a little bit scary, but the changes don't stop there. When Ruth finishes up the school year at the end of May we will move out of our house and officially be homeless. We will stay alternately at each of our parents homes during the month of June, and then in July we'll hit the skies for Brazil--just days after we return from our vacation to Belize. We are planning to live there for six months, immersing ourselves in the language and culture, and soaking up a little sun and sea--while watching the water drain in the opposite direction in the tub and experiencing a flip-flop in the seasons. While we are there, we will begin a homeschool program with Ruth that we are all really excited about. And when we come back to the States in January, we will be moving to College Station to an as of yet unspecified house. It's a lot to take in. Believe me, I know. I'll give you a second to catch that hat of yours.

So, my house is now almost completely packed up, and all the boxes are awaiting delivery to an as of yet unspecified storage facility. We will be renting our house here, and I believe the sign will be going out in yard tomorrow. So, if you or anyone you know would like to live in North Austin in a fabulous house with a giant yard, in the highly acclaimed Round Rock ISD, please let me know. And if any of you have ever thought about visiting Brazil, let me suggest to you that sometime in the latter half of this year might be a great time to do that. We don't know where we'll be living yet--(yes, there does seem to be a theme here, doesn't there?!)--but just like now, friends and family will always be welcomed. We will still be connected to all of you via e-mail, phone and, of course, this blog. This means you need to be extra-diligent to leave comments--or start leaving comments if you haven't previously. (I know there are lots of lurkers out there)!

We have thoroughly enjoyed the phase of our lives that has had us in Austin, and we will keep fondly the memories we have made here. But we are also so very excited about this new phase of our lives and look forward to making many more new and wonderful memories as we go forward in the journey. We will not forget the friends we have made in Austin, and we are thankful that the smallness of our world these days will allow us always to stay close, no matter how far away our physical bodies may be.

So, that's it. That's all the changes we can muster at one time and still hold on to a shred of sanity. (And then, only just barely).

Picture This

*Family of five waking very early and skipping breakfast in order to catch flight home.

*Family of five arriving at airport without much time to spare.

*Dad and oldest child bringing in luggage on stroller, when stroller craters and bags go flying.

*Miscommunication between Dad and Mom.

*Family of five getting all the way up to the security check-point (after standing in line for a while) before realizing they don't have all their boarding passes printed out.

*Dad running back to ticketing area to print boarding passes, while Mom and kids wait near security check-point.

*Oldest child's backpack seized and searched by TSA officers, and bottle of water confiscated.

*Family of five boards plane just minutes before take-off, only to find that there are only middle seats available.

*Flight attendants ask other passengers to move around to accommodate late family of five.

*Dad and oldest child in one part of plane. Mom and two youngest kids in another.

*Two older kids forced to switch seats when middle kid needs to go potty while Mom is feeding baby. Neither kid happy about switch.

*Medical emergency aboard plane in the row directly in front of Mom and oldest child, which occupies all flight attendants and two nurse passengers for at least half the flight and blocks all access to rear restroom.

*Sleeping baby filling diaper to overflowing, covering himself and Mom.

*A landing so exciting that people throughout the cabin screamed out loud.

*Harried family of five disembark, pick up luggage and catch shuttle to pick up car.

*Mom and kids (and luggage) wait at curb for Dad to bring van.

*Dad has problems getting car out of garage and must back up garage ramp around a curve.

*Family of five arrive home safely and try to put this travel nightmare behind them.