Thursday, May 31, 2007

Callie Sighting

Tonight we had dinner out, and when our waiter came up, he just stared at Ruth for a moment and then commented that she looked exactly like his friend's daughter. He couldn't believe how similar they looked. And then he said that the little girl he knew was named Callie. Some of you will recall that before Weston came along, Ruth had an imaginary sister named Callie. Weird, huh?! We haven't heard much from Callie since Weston arrived, but all this talk of Callie reminded me of a really cute story. A few months before Weston was born, with talk of Callie an absolute non-stop around our house, Ruth and I were shopping in a clothing store that had mirrors placed strategically all around it. Ruth got a little off from me a one point and suddenly screamed out: "Mom! Come here!" So, I came right away and found her standing in front of one of the mirrors. "Mom! Did you know my sister was going to be here? Have you met my sister before? Look! She does everything I do!" It was really hilarious! I haven't thought of that in a while and it was good to laugh at the memory again tonight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


That's "stressed" backwards, and you should have seen me shoving M&Ms into my mouth like a mad woman earlier. Today's culprits: medical bills and accompaning medical insurance statements (does anyone out there actually understand how to read one of those things?!), mysterious van problems--after just having major work done on it two weeks ago--and the ever present stresser that everyone has to deal with: people. Ugh! That reminds me, I might just want to have some ice cream before I hit the hay...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's Official

My baby is 5 years old...officially! And today was all about her. This morning we played with friends at Inflatable Wonderland. We had milkshakes and rode silly rides in the mall. Then, when Jeff got home, we opened presents and had a swimming party at Rock 'N River Water Park. Such a fun day! We're so proud of our little lady and can't believe how quickly she's growing up.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Past, Present, Future

We had a wonderful weekend with our family. We remembered the past, as we talked about Memorial Day and the many family members and friends who have served in the armed forces and given their lives for our freedom. We celebrated the present with a birthday party for Ruth. And we looked forward to the future as we attended my cousin's graduation. There was much laughing...and a little crying. We are so very thankful for our wonderful family and all the special moments that we have been able to share with them.

Here are a few pictures from the birthday party portion of our weekend:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blog Bonus

I don't normally have two posts in one day, but you can just consider it an advance on the weekend, since we'll be away. Plus, I just had to post these funny Ruthisms.

--The conversation was tuned to half-birthdays yesterday, for obvious reasons, and Ruth had a lightbulb moment. She wanted to know exactly when her half-birthday was, and we told her Novemeber 29. "Wow!" she said, "Both my birthday and my half-birthday have a 29!"

--This morning, while I was bathing the children and Ruth was scrubbing her pits, she asked, "Mom, how come I don't have little seeds in my pits like you?"

You just never know what's going to be said around here! Happy weekend. Happy Memorial Day. See you Monday.

Becoming A Statistic

Ever wonder where all those university-published statistics about teenage health and how it changes over time come from? Well, they come from people just like me--I mean just exactly like me. Sometime when I was in high school I somehow got signed up as a participant in just such a study. I haven't thought about that in years. But a couple of weeks ago, they called me to say that they had received another round of funding, and they wanted to know if they could come over an interview me. Sure. Why not. Part of the interview was questions, as you probably guessed, but the other part of the interview consisted of me giving some biological samples--blood, urine, saliva. I did fine on all of these except the saliva. And, wouldn't you know, there were four of those kinds of samples--one the day of the interview and three the following day. This reptile girl could not produce enough moisture--at any time of the day, mind you--to fill the tiniest test tube half-way. It was embarassing...and dehydrating! But, it wasn't all for nothing. I'm now $110 richer. It's no jackpot on the penny slots, but I'll take it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Swing, Batter Batter, Swing

We took a break from celebrating Ruth's birthday tonight to celebrate Weston's half-birthday, since we will be at my cousin's graduation on Saturday, his real half-birthday. We had dinner at Luby's, which is a huge hit for kiddos, as they get a goodie bag, a balloon and free Jell-O. And they get to see all that food at eye level and the choices are endless. Weston doesn't really care so much about that yet (although Ruth certainly does), but he definitely likes to get his food quickly and to eat, eat, eat. (Bid Kid Meal for him, thank you very much). When we got home, we had chocolate chip cookies for dessert and then let Weston open his little gift from us. I think he liked it. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Perfect Babysitter

Tonight, while I was working out, Jeff got the kids ready for bed. In the process, he excused himself to go to the restroom and asked Ruth to please keep Weston in her room. She did just the right thing. She built him a little pallet (out of cowgirl bandanas), covered him up and began reading him a story. You will notice that she is even holding the book open so Weston can see the pictures--never mind that she was sitting behind him and he was completely distracted with the balloon. What a perfect little babysitter! And what a sweet big sister! And, of course, Weston didn't go anywhere. He was happy as a little clam!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Gymnastic Finale

Today was Ruth's last day of gymnastics (and her second birthday party). She had a good time, but I think she's ready to move on to other things. Here are some pics of her finale.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Luckiest Gene Pool I Know

Well, Jeff talked to his mom this evening and found out that she hit the jackpot on the penny slots today and won almost $550. This is the most unbelievably lucky gene pool I've ever seen! It's amazing. I'm really glad I'm associated with these people, and I keep thinking that it's just a matter of time before the good luck starts to rub off. Congrats, Sharon! Treat yourself to something really special!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We Like To Party!

We had the first of Ruth's birthday parties today, and it was really great! She had a blast playing with all of her friends and fully embracing her cowgirl theme. Thanks to all who came and made the day special for her.

Friday, May 18, 2007

If You're Goin' To San Francisco...

...Be sure to get there and back in 15 hours. Jeff had a business trip to San Francisco today, leaving at 7 this morning and (hopefully) getting back at 10:00 tonight. (He sort of has a track record for delays on return flights). All this for a one-hour meeting. Ick. When Ruth and I were talking about where he was at dinnertime, she said, "You mean Daddy went all the way to California for a one-day vacation?!" Not exactly.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Playroom Found

Our playroom has been lost for quite a while. It kind of just became a dumping ground for all toys that we were too lazy to take upstairs or put away in their proper places. And, honestly, I was actually sort of afraid to go in there. But, you'll remember that the other day I had some major success in finding things in the play kitchen box that did not belong there. That box resides in the playroom, and so I was inspired to see what else I might find. And what do you know: I found the playroom! It's actually a very lovely room. I know it probably won't be long before it's back in complete disarray, but for now, everything is in it's place and some things have moved on to a new home outside of our house. And speaking of found rooms: Ruth spent the last two days (with strong prompting from the parents) finding her room, and it looks so good now. And she was so proud of her accomplishment. I just wish she would remember tomorrow how much she enjoyed it today. But, I digress. The point is we found two rooms in our house today, and that's really good news.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Favorite Chore

Most of the things that get done around our house get done because they have to be done. And, frankly, some things don't get done at all, because I conveniently never have enough time to do them. (wink, wink). But there is one chore that I really do kind of love. And that's mowing the grass. I always look forward to getting to do that particular chore, and I always have--even when I was a teenager. There is just something about being outside and sweating (not profusly, but just enough to know that you are working) and the fresh smell and the clean look when your done. And it's so nice to do a job that gives you instant gratification and doesn't have to be repeated in ten minutes, like most of the chores around here! Oh, and I'm a push-mower girl all the way. I love to be down there in it, getting that beautiful green dye job on the rim of my old tennis shoes and cutting nice, tight circles around the trees. Oooh, I can hardly wait until it needs to be done again!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lost And Found

Today, while trying to get things somewhat organized for Ruth's birthday party this weekend, I discovered that an essential bit of wardrobe for the stick-horse race was missing. So, I looked in all the dress-up bins in Ruth's room--although in retrospect, I'm not sure why on earth I thought it would be where it actually belonged. Then, I looked in all the nooks and cranies of her room. Then, I searched the nooks and cranies of Weston's room, as he has been known to take things from her room on occasion and deposit them in his room (or some other unidentified place). No luck. I looked in the playroom, the living room, and even my room, while periodically re-checking the party supply closet to see if I overlooked it. Nothing. So, when Ruth got home from gymnastics, I asked her if she knew where it was. Yep...Uh, maybe not. She looked in all the places I had looked-- and was also shocked not to find it where it belonged--and a few extra ones. After the kids went to bed, I decided to give it one more try, before I just chalked it up to that mystery place where the socks from the dryer go. You can't imagine what I turned up on my search. I found the living room coasters, which have been missing for over a month, in the bottom of the play kitchen box, along with one of my African napkin rings. I found Weston's Bible under the loveseat. I found a single flip-flop of Ruth's under the couch, the partner of which I threw away maybe six months ago because I thought it was a lost cause. I found two balls and a Portuguese picture dictionary under the cushions of the sofa. I even found a sippy cup in the yard. And finally, wedged between Jeff's guitar and the wall, over on the far side of Jeff's chair, where the sun doesn't shine, I found the cowgirl vest I was looking for. What a relief. I will certainly sleep better tonight.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

My Favorite Thing About Mother's Day

The best thing about Mother's Day is getting to be Ruth and Weston's mommy! We had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend in Corpus, but the very best thing was just spending time with my sweet kiddos and my wonderful hubby! We had dinner on Friday night at Landry's on the Bay, and I had the Crab Feast, followed by an amazing chocolate brownie dessert. We also visited one of Columbus' lesser vessels, the Nina. On Saturday, we woke up very early, had breakfast and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. When we finally really got up, we went into Corpus, where we had a picnic on the beach, visitied the aquarium and then played in the ocean. Then, we bought fresh shrimp right off the boat and took them back to the campground to cook on the grill. We chased bunnies and frogs and our new hermit crab friend we found in the ocean. This morning, we went swimming in the pool and talked to the peacocks. Then we loaded up and made our way to San Antonio for lunch, where we dined outside at one of our favortie places on the River. When we got home, we were all exhausted and laid down for a two-hour nap. It was really a perfect weekend, made so special for me by my incredible family.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother's Day Weekend

As the mother of this family, I got to pick my adventure for this weekend. So, this afternoon, we're off to Corpus Chirsti for a fun-(and hopefully, sun)-filled weekend. We're staying at the KOA at Lake Corpus Chirsti, so we'll have our choice of salt water and sand, fresh water and whatever they have on the shore there or good, old-fashioned chlorinated water and cement. I can't wait! We are also planning to visit the State Aquarium and eat lots of yummy seafood. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I wish all you mothers the very best mother's day ever!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One Step Closer To Kindergarden

Ruth and I had an opportunity to visit her school today. She got to attend a storytime with the Kindergarden teachers, while I went into a parent orientation with the principal. And afterwards, we got to take a good look around. In her giving way, Ruth made a point of drawing pictures for the teachers before we went. She was absolutely thrilled with everything about the school, and she came home and immediately began playing school. She can't wait for school to start, and I can't believe we're just months away from that important milestone. I didn't cry today, by the way...but that doesn't mean I didn't want to. Such mixed emotions, I tell you!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How Many Times Has This Happened To You?

You're sitting in your office, taking care of business, when the FedEx guy shows up with a package for you. You sign for it and then open it up to find a lobster dinner for two--complete with two live lobsters!

Well, this happened to my dad today (really!), when one of his clients sent him a lobster dinner for two (really more like five) as a "thank you." The kids were thrilled with getting these "pets" in the mail, and for us, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time (and some incredible generosity from my parents) since we were there celebrating Mother's Day, and they decided to share. It was shipped to them from Legal Seafoods in Boston, and it was absolutely wonderful. There were the lobsters, crab cakes, clam chowder, and miniture Boston cream pies. Yummy, yum, yum! Plus, my dad and Jeff grilled some pork tenderloin, whipped up some fabulous mushroom wine sauce, and some super-yummy red potatoes. It was an excellent Mother's Day party. It was also really wonderful to get to spend some time with two of my favorite women--and their hubbies.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Taking The Portuguese Thing To The Next Level

When I went to pick Ruth up from her gymnastic/preschool class today she handed me her worksheets, and I noticed they were covered with Spanish words, and I commented on it. Her teacher told me that Ruth had done a really good job with the Spanish and then went on to say that it must help that "her dad is Portuguese." Apparently, Ruth told her teachers and her whole class that her dad is Portuguese...and that she is part Portuguese. I almost fell over. This kid is too funny for words, and the things that come out of her mouth--oh my! She is well on her way to becoming fluent in the language, though, as she faithfully and enthusiastically studies her homemade flash cards. She's way ahead of me, I can tell you that. And she absolutely loves it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cinco De Mayo

It was a a day of parties for us as we celebrated this fun holiday. First of all, we hung up decorations left over from our Thanksgiving Fiesta. These consisted of Edwardo, the oh-so-serious mariachi man and a sombrero. We had a picnic lunch at the Arboretum with our good friends, the Oberprillers, and I see that they have already posted pictures on their blog. That's good doin'! Then, this evening, we met Tony and Meghan and Jackson at Central Market, where we watched a Puerto Rican dance group perform and heard some really fun latin-inspired music. And, of course, no Cinco De Mayo would have been complete without a stop at Amy's for some Mexican Vanilla ice cream. It was a really fun day for us, and I hope it was fun for you as well.

Friday, May 04, 2007

That's Good Doin'

Obviously, Weston is at a stage where he is constantly learning things and perfecting the things he has already learned. And Jeff and I spend a lot of time encouraging him and re-enforcing those things by saying things like: "That's good walking, Weston; That's good climbing, Weston, etc." So tonight, something was said about a lion, and Weston immediately began a round of ferocious roaring. Ruth promptly replied, "That's good doin', Weston." I loved the phrase for the way it pretty much covers all the bases, and I think I will incorporate it into my normal selection of compliments. You just read my blog--that's good doin'.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Cold, Hard Facts

Ruth: How old is Cody? (my cousin, Ruth's idol)

Me: He's 18.

Ruth: But is he a grown-up?

Me: Yes, he is.

Ruth: But he still lives with his mom and dad.

Me: Right. But when he graduates from high school in a few weeks, he won't live with them anymore. You're pretty much a grown-up when you're 18 because that's usually when you leave home.

Ruth: Oh. I hope I never have to leave home.

Me: Well, that's part of growing up.

Ruth: But maybe the president will let me stay with you forever.

Me (chuckling): The president?!

Ruth: Well, yes. Isn't he the one who decides that we have to leave home?!

Me (chuckling all the more): No, sweetie. Mommies and daddies (and kids) decide that.

Ruth (with jaw on the floor, looking completely incredulous): You mean you decide that?!

Yep. The cold, hard fact-of-the-matter is Mommy and Daddy will kick you out. I'm sure in the not-too-distant future this conversation will take on a whole new tone when Ruth can't wait to be rid of us. I'm really glad that (for now) Ruth wants to stay with us forever! And I'm glad that the president doesn't have any say in this whatsoever!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bring On The May Flowers

April was a rainy month for us, and so far May has been rainy too. But I thought that the rain was supposed to stop in May so we can all enjoy those flowers that the April showers bring. Apparently not this year. Seven out of the next ten days have at least a 30% chance of rain. Unfortunately, rainy, cloudy weather makes me feel very lazy--and it also keeps the kids from getting to play outside, which is kind of a bummer because that energy has to go somewhere. But we are making the most of it. Today, we were introduced by some friends to the Toys R Us Playscape, which was lots of free, indoor fun. This particular store has an excellent play area, and I know we will definitely be back. (Maybe as soon as tomorrow if current weather conditions persist).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Potty Talk

This was too good not to share! Many of you can just insert your child's name and make this story your own. I know I can. And speaking of the potty, we got out our little potty for Weston to start sitting on. He hasn't used it for it's intended purpose yet, but he does think it's fun to sit there half-naked, and that's the first step.

Potty Talk--A 3-year-old tells all from his mother's restroom stall. By Shannon Popkin

My little guy, Cade, is quite a talker. He loves to communicate and does it quite well. He talks to people constantly, whether we're in the library, the grocery store or at a drive-thru window. People often comment on how clearly he speaks for a just-turned-3-year-old. And you never have to ask him to turn up the volume. It's always fully cranked. There've been several embarrassing times that I've wished the meaning of his words would have been masked by a not-so-audible voice, but never have I wished this more than last week at Costco. Halfway, through our shopping trip, nature called, so I took Cade with me into the restroom. If you'd been one of the ladies in the restroom that evening, this is what you would have heard coming from the second to the last stall: "Mommy, are you gonna go potty? Oh! Why are you putting toiwet paper on the potty, Mommy? Oh! You gonna sit down on da toiwet paper now? Mommy, what are you doing? Mommy, are you gonna go stinkies on the potty?" At this point I started mentally counting how many women had been in the bathroom when I walked in. Several stalls were full. 4? 5? Maybe we could wait until they all left before I had to make my debut out of this stall and reveal my identity. Cade continued, "Mommy, you ARE going stinkies aren't you? Oh, dats a good girl, Mommy! Are you gonna get some candy for going stinkies on the potty? Let me see doze stinkies, Mommy! Oh...Mommy! I'm trying to see in dere. Oh! I see dem. Dat is a very good girl, Mommy. You are gonna get some candy!" I heard a few faint chuckles coming from the stalls on either side of me. Where is a screaming newborn when you need her? Good grief. This was really getting embarrassing. I was definitely waiting a long time before exiting. Trying to divert him, I said, "Why don't you look in Mommy's purse and see if you can find some candy. We'll both have some!" "No, I'm trying to see doze more stinkies. Oh! Mommy!" He started to gag at this point. "Uh oh, Mommy. I fink I'm gonna frow up. Mommy, doze stinkies are making me frow up!! Dat is so gross!!" As the gags became louder, so did the chuckles outside my stall. I quickly flushed the toilet in hopes of changing the subject. I began to reason with myself: OK. There are four other toilets. If I count four flushes, I can be reasonably assured that those who overheard this embarrassing monologue will be long gone. "Mommy! Would you get off the potty, now? I want you to be done going stinkies! Get up! Get up!" He grunted as he tried to pull me off. Now I could hear full-blown laughter. I bent down to count the feet outside my door. "Oh, are you wooking under dere, Mommy? You wooking under da door? What were you wooking at, Mommy? You wooking at the wady's feet?" More laughter. I stood inside the locked door and tried to assess the situation. "Mommy, it's time to wash our hands, now. We have to go out now, Mommy." He started pounding on the door. "Mommy, don't you want to wash your hands? I want to go out!!" I saw that my "wait 'em out" plan was unraveling. As I sheepishly opened the door, and found an open sink, I thought, Where's the fine print on the 'motherhood contract' where I signed away every bit of my privacy? But as my little boy gave me a big, cheeky grin while he rubbed bubbly soap between his chubby little hands, I thought, I'd sign it all away again, just to be known as Mommy to this little fellow.

(Shannon Popkin is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she no longer uses public restrooms .)