Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Cleaning Game

Ruth loves playing with her toys, but she certainly doesn't get too excited about clean-up time. So, in an effort to make it a bit more fun, I decided to make it a race. She thought that was a pretty neat idea, and she got right to work on cleaning up her room, without complaining or making a fuss. We both worked really hard, and in the end it came out a tie. Of course, Ruth just did her room (most of it, anyway) and I did pretty much every other room in the house. Ruth employed the work-a-little-play-a-little method, which I remember making use of as a kid myself. I'm just glad she got the clutter under control in there, without the whining, and that she was occupied while I took care of the rest of the house.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

One Of Life's Little Pleasures

I made a birthday cake for my mom this past weekend and I had a little of the cream cheese frosting left over. And since no sweet thing goes unnoticed or untouched in my presence, I've been experimenting. Turns out this stuff is great with just about everything--spread on ("healthy") blueberry breakfast bars, mixed into (no fat-no sugar) pudding, sandwiched between (low-fat) chocolate rice cakes, straight off the (calorie-free) knife. I'm almost like a junkie that needs a fix every so often...and the cream cheese frosting is calling to me from the refrigerator. And worse yet, is that I keep telling myself the sooner I eat all of it, the sooner the temptation will be gone. Obviously, this new little addiction isn't doing anything for my weight-loss program. Unfortunately, I have found that I can't work off the extra calories by pushing Weston in the stroller while Ruth rides her tricycle to the park. At least I don't think arerobic exercise is taking place unless you are taking more than ten steps every thirty minutes and unless there is more moving time than standing still, calling-over-your-shoulder-to-hurry-up time. I may have better luck with my baby-wants-to-sleep-on-tummy-but-can't-keep-the-pacifier-in-his-mouth-so-mommy-has-to-go-back-upstairs exercise plan.

As a side note about our walk to the park, I was glad to know that at least some of the parental scare-tactics I spout at Ruth actually stick. I was not happy to learn that the fear is so deep as to cause my child to practically fall off her tricycle in the middle of the street while crying and screaming that the car was going to hit her, even though I was trying with all my might to hold her up and explain to her that the car had to stop at the stop sign. Yeah, that's good parenting, right there. My kid definitely won't be running out into the street or inadvertantly stepping off the curb without holding my hand.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream

Ben and Jerry's was giving away a free scoop of ice cream today to anyone who came in their store--no purchase necessary! I'm not really sure what their reason for doing this was, all I know is that Ruth and I had a very enjoyable, if unhealthy, afternoon snack!

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Place For Mandi

Tonight I finally got around to creating a scrapbook desk just for me! Everything is nicely labeled and organized and easily accessible. It is to be my haven, my refuge. Here, great bursts of creativity will take place and beautiful scrapbooks will be created. Ideally, of course. I now feel inspired to start on Weston's scrapbook, and I will certainly do that very soon. I do not delude myself into thinking it will be as grand as Ruth's, but I do hope it will be something he and I can both be proud of.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

For The Woman Who Has Everything

Several years ago, I gave my mom a special pair of shoes, because I know how much she loves fun footwear. Nevermind that the shoes came off the clearance table at the Dollar Store, and they are not very attractive, and they are probably the most uncomfortable things you've ever put on your feet. A few years later, when I had completely forgotten about them, she gave them back to me, with some nice additions (tacky hippy flower thingies hot-glued all over). So, Saturday was Mom's birthday, and really, what do you give the woman who has everything? You give her the latest in accessory fashion, of course. The fashion trend I'm reffering to is the cockroach jewelry fad. I despise roaches, so live ones were out of the question, but keychain-flashlight ones from the party store were absolutely perfect. I hot-glued a couple of those babies to the shoes along with some of the hippy flowers and presto! I knew Mom would be thrilled and, boy, was I ever right! Nothing really lets your mom know you care like two huge bugs glued to the top of a pair of already-ugly high heels. But what makes me feel better about it is that I know I will get them back in a few years and they will have undergone yet another facelift and will certainly be awful.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Giggle Pants

Jeff and I went to a very funny, FREE improv show at UT last night. (Yes, that's 2 dates for us in two weeks--woohoo)! Unfortunately, this was their last show of the semester, but we will definitely be going again when they start up next semester. If you like improv, you can check them out at

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It All Adds Up To A Flip-Flop Hiatus

Poor Arch Support + Lots of Walking + Uneven and Rocky Ground = Bruised Arch on Left Foot

Open Toed Shoes + One Rogue Twig = Cut Between the First Two Toes on Right Foot

Bruised Arch + Cut = Flip-Flop Hiatus

For a person whose shoe selection is mostly flip-flops this is an equation for diaster!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Parking Ticket Revisited

So, you all remember that I got a parking ticket in Ohio--having never been to Ohio and having sold the car in question. Well, when I called them to tell them how silly this all was, they told me the thing to do was write a letter stating that I sold the car and to whom, get it notorized (for a$5 fee), mail it back to them and everything would be taken care of. WRONG! They sent me another nasty-gram today stating that what they really needed was a copy of the title transfer or a notorized copy of the bill of sale. Their letter went on to claim that this little incident was actually my fault for not removing the tags from my vehicle when I sold it--which is, in fact, the rule in Ohio, but NOT in Texas (where I live and where I sold the car, lest we forget). Immediately, I thought, "I'll just call CarMax and they'll take care of this, since I sold them the car and they were so helpful in that process." WRONG! First of all, they told me I needed the VIN for the car I sold (over a year ago). That meant emptying my filing cabinet to find some shred of information pertaining to said car, which was hard to come by because I NO LONGER OWN THIS VEHICLE! Finally, I found an old insurance slip with the information and called Kayla at CarMax back. After giving her this information, she tells me really the only thing I can do is go by the DMV and fill out a form and pay a fee to tell the state of Texas that I no longer own the car. That's when I began to demand that CarMax step up to the plate here, and that's also when I got transferred to Kayla's manager. Kayla's manager also suggested that I go by the DMV, but I finally also got her to say she would call the City of Cincinnati and get the ticket taken care of if I would mail her a copy of the ticket. There is apparently nothing they can do for me about possible future tickets which Thunder's new irresponsible driver may acrue...unless I go by the DMV...
I really don't know whether I'm more upset with CarMax for not taking care of business in the first place or with the City of Cincinnati for flat-out lying to me about the way to resolve this mess. I just hope the problem goes away soon. I also hope it's very hot in Ohio because Thunder has never been one to keep her cool.

Fun Day At The Zoo

We visited the Austin Zoo today and had a really wonderful time, not counting the heat! (See yesterday's post for a rant on that topic)! The Austin Zoo is small, but it's about the right size for an almost 4-year-old. They do have lots of really neat animals, and even a petting zoo and a train. The tigers put on a spectacular show for us--frolicking in the water, sparring with each other and just generally having a good time. They were my favorite. Ruth liked the lions, which we heard roaring at one point. It was a fun day, and if summer ever ends, maybe we'll go back.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Heat Is On

My friend, Katie, mentioned in her blog the arrival of Spring in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sounds lovely. In Austin, Texas, however, we have skipped Spring entirely and landed smack-dab in the middle of summer! It's hot--around 100 the last three days--and it's only April! I cringe to think what August will bring. I guess the one good thing about the heat is that the water park at Ruth's school has re-opened and Ruth got to play in the water today, which she loved.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Jeff is in the process of inventing a new card game, and this weekend we tested it out with a group for the first time. We were pleasantly surprised at how well it worked and how much fun it was. There are still some things that need to be tweaked, but overall it's great. We had several other groups testing it this weekend as well, so we hope to get some good feedback this coming week. If all goes well, maybe we'll all be playing flip4™ in the not-so-distant future on family game night!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Passover Seder

We attended our first Seder dinner tonight, and it was fun. We got to try some new things and experience another culture, and I think I drank more wine than I've ever had in my life (not that it was so much; it's just that I don't care for wine so I don't normally drink any). Thanks to the Sebas for including us!

Join the Revolution

I just finished a fascinating book by George Barna called "Revolution," which I highly reccomend. It is a quick but profound read. It addresses a research-shown shift in the way America "does church," and it challenges the reader to embrace a new religious mentality. It's all about living a redeemed life in the fullest sense and not just playing church. It's about lives that bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, regardless of what speech or activities the individual is involved in. It addresses forsaking dead religious practices but not forsaking the assembling together of true bleievers--in a universal sense and not just in a local sense. Based on what I read, I consider myself a so-called "revolutionary." And I am desperately interested in meeting and mingling with others who feel the same way. In these last days before the Lord returns to rapture His faithful church, it is imperative that believers step up to the plate and come out of our comfort zone. We need to be living lives that are completely committed to the project of God. And God's project is salvation--salvation for our own lives and salvation for others. Just because things have generally been done a certain way in the past, doesn't mean that they don't need to change. My invitation to you is to join the revolution, whether you've gone to church your whole life or you've never even heard of this project of which I speak. Refuse to bow to the status quo. Realize that you are not alone in your quest to know the Lord in a more intimate way. And start living the life God intends for you.

"I am a Revolutionary in the service of God Almighty. My life is not my own; I exist as a free person but have voluntarily become a slave to God. My role on earth is to live as a Revolutionary, committed to love, holiness, and advancing God's Kingdom. My life is not about me and my natural desires; it is all about knowing, loving, and serving God with all my heart, mind, strength and soul."--George Barna

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday, April 10, 2006

A World Beyond Ruth

Three-year-olds are selfish like fish are wet. Like grass is green. Like...well, you get the picture. Selfishness is just a part of what makes a kid a kid. They just think everything is about them--all the time. Jeff and I have had many a talk with Ruth on this subject, but still she doesn't seem to get it. Today, though, I think I finally made some progress--at least I like to tell myself that I made some progress. I was cleaning out some old magazines when I had one of my best parenting ideas to date. I decided to have Ruth to do a project, which involved sissors and glue, so Ruth was instantly hooked. I gave her the old magazines and I wrote family members names on separate pieces of construction paper. Then I told her she could cut out any pictures she wanted from the magazines and glue them to the paper as long as they were things that the particular person would like. She really had to put herself in the place of the other person to come up with "approved" items. At first, she was only finding things she liked, but after a while I didn't even have to supervise and she was able to fill the paper, front and back, with items she thought the person would like. And she really did a great job. (Plus, it kept her busy pretty much all afternoon)! And tonight when we were discussing where we'd like to go for dinner, she actually asked Jeff where he'd like to go, instead of just blurting out her favorite place and assuming that's where we'd go. I'm certain we still have a long way to go to get the selfishness completely under control, but I feel like we at least took a significant baby step forward! And any forward motion in this arena is a very good thing!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fun Times

Jeff and I went on a date last night with two other couples to a Mystery Dinner Theater at the Jewish Community Association of Austin. It was lots of fun! The food was terrific and our table figured out whodunit, but unfortunately we didn't figure out all the details until after it was time to turn in our "crime report." After the performance, Jeff and I went by ourselves to my favortie Chai Latte spot. Thanks to Mimi and Grandpa for watching the kids so we could go out!

After church this morning we had breakfast with Mimi and Grandpa here at the house. Jeff cooked, which was super exciting for me! This afternoon we had our first official picnic of Spring. We met our friends, the Hoffmans, at the Arboretum, ate some lunch, played on the cows, had Amy's ice cream and fed the geese down at the pond. The weather was so beautiful--it was an absolutely perfect day!

This weekend I also got Weston set up with all kinds of new seating arrangements. I brought in the high chair from the garage and got it all cleaned up; I put the convertable car seat back together and now have it ready to go; and I bought a portable little seat for helping Weston to sit up in a shopping cart as well as other places he might desire to take a load off.

It was a very fun weekend...and now I'm tired and I'm going to bed!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, both my kids slept all through the night, and all is right with the world! Ruth went to bed at 7:30 last night and woke up this morning at 7:00, feeling much, much better than yesterday. I could tell she was feeling better because the first thing she said was, "Mom, I'm really hungry!" That's definitely the Ruth I'm used to having around. Weston went to bed around 9:00 and didn't wake up until 6:30, giving me a perfect six hours of rejuvination! Plus, it's Saturday, and there is always something special about Saturday morning! Only good things can come of such a day!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Yesterday's Nap Explained

We all know Ruth isn't one to just lay down and take a nap, so when she woke up twice in the middle of the night crying and complaining of a headache, I began to clue in. Today she added complete loss of appetite, sore throat, fever and whininess to the list of symptoms. She also asked me twice today if she could just go to bed--and she did go to bed both times without putting up any fight whatsoever! Not only that, but her nap this afternoon was 3 1/2 hours long and she was ready to go to bed at 7:30 this evening! It is completely heart-breaking to see your child like this, especially when it is so completely out of the ordinary. I'm hoping that with a good night's sleep and with the dose of Tylenol I gave her, she'll feel much better tomorrow.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rare Moment

This doesn't happen very often. It's hard enough to get Ruth to go to sleep at bedtime. It almost never happens at other times, especially not in the middle of the living room with Weston crying in the background. I was so glad I captured it with my camera. What a cutie!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Austin Burned Beans

Everyone's heard of Boston Baked Beans, right? Well, what we had at our house tonight was nothing like that. We made a big pot of beans in our new pressure cooker last night--an experiment that failed to meet expectations and didn't really go at all according to plan. (The claim in the instruction sheet being that you could make a pot of unsoaked beans in 29 minutes. But after about twice that long, with the beans still relatively hard, we decided to eat something else and let the beans cook a while longer). So, needless to say, we had beans on the menu for tonight. I decided to warm them up on the stove, hoping for more thorough heating than the microwave could provide. Unfortunately, I got them started, and then I think both of my children demanded my attention seperately for several minutes each. (It's all kind of a blurr--oh, wait, that's just the smoke). By the time I finished up with the kids there was a stench coming from the kitchen and the house was quickly filling with smoke. The beans ended up in the trash (we couldn't possibly go for three strikes in this case!) and the smell lingers still. It's a disgusting reminder of my failure as a domestic engineer. Thank goodness Jeff had better luck out on the grill and not one of us went hungry!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Parking Infraction

It's true: I got a parking ticket today. And to make matters worse, it came in the mail. And to make matters worse still, the violation took place a month Cleveland, Ohio! I've never even been to Cleveland, Ohio. I don't think I even know anyone who has been there. How could I possibly have gotten a parking ticket there?! Well, apparently Thunder Button (my old Sentra) found the gumption to get herself up to Ohio after we traded her at CarMax a year ago. (A woman scorned...)? And apparently her new owner has not registered her, so I guess I am still her legal guardian. Unbelievable!! I intend to talk to the (hopefully) nice folks in the Cleveland Parking Violations Bureau ASAP to get this taken care of. I love Thunder, but it's time for her to start taking responsibility for her reckless ways. And it's time for her new owner to wake up and get her registered!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Let Him Eat Cereal

Weston got to try cereal for the first time today. He wasn't too sure about it at first, but then he really seemed to like it. And Ruth was a great helper!

Quotable Ruth

Ruth was full of wonderful sayings today, so here you go.

Ruth and I had the following conversation at the library today, after she refused to even try to read a word I asked her to sound out.

Ruth: I'm not going to read that word. It's too hard for me.

Me: How do you know? You haven't even tried to sound it out.

Ruth: I can't read grown-up words.

Me: Well, I understand that some words are hard and that you don't know how to read every word, but I do expect you to at least try. If you don't try, you will never be able to read.

Ruth: When I'm 5, I'll be able to read lots of words.

Me: Not if you don't try.

Ruth: Well...I guess that's true.

She spent the rest of the day attempting to read everything she could!

We picked up something to eat at the food court at the mall today while we were out and about. I ordered Ruth's pizza for her, but she stepped up and odered her drink.

Ruth: May I please have a Sprite to drink?

Clerk: Wow! What good manners!

Ruth: Thank you.

Clerk: You are just so cute!

Ruth: Yeah, I know.

So much for the good manners!

Ruth was not interested in going down for a nap today and was doing everything she could to keep from it. She would go into her room for a few minutes and then pop out and try to negotiate with me to get out of her nap. I fianlly told her that I would let her know when she could come out. So, she went to her room and screamed over her shoulder, "Even if you come in to get me, I won't ever come out of my room!" That would really show me! Shortly after that she fell asleep, and slept for about an hour.

And finally: During dinner we told Ruth that we would be going out on a date on Saturday night and that Mimi and Grandpa would be coming over to stay with her and Weston. She replied, "Well, I think you can just take Weston with you!"

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sitting Pretty

Weston is getting so good at sitting up on his own. He can sit up now for quite a while, even without the Boppy or a hand there to support him. He was really having a blast sitting up today, and he thought it was hilarious when he would start to fall over. It's like we can literally see him growing up--everyday brings something new and exciting.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


It's been a really fun weekend so far. We had some friends over last night for dinner who have a daughter Ruth's age and a daughter Weston's age, and the kids had a great time together, and we enjoyed our visit with our friends as well. Ruth and I went to a birthday party today while the guys stayed home for some male bonding. Weston rolled around all over the living room and worked on his crawling some. He's getting there. We made chocolate chip cookie dough after dinner, and even turned some of it into cookies! And we played two rounds of Mexican Train with Ruth before she went to bed. She's such a good game player, although at one point she did get a little sad when someone else played on her train, but got over it quickly when she saw that it worked to her advantage. I'm so thankful for my family and the fun we have together!