Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The sandwich sagas

I've been fighting a stomach ache all day. So I'm not at my best. So this morning when both children were fighting over a car I sent them both to their rooms to cool down. Only they didn't go. Neither one of them. They just sat there looking at me. So I counted to three. Everyone knows what happens when you reach three. Spanking time.

I reached three. Then I told them to get ready for their spanking. Emma took hers like a man and then said "yes ma'am!" when I sent her to her room. Jake ran to his room and made me follow after him. I gave him one swat and he chose to yell at me and call me stupid. Stupid. It hurt. We do not call people stupid over here. So then we had to have a lengthy discussion about how it is not okay to call me stupid when he is feeling angry. And all the while I hear Emma Mae in the background going "mama! I not crying! I being a good girl."

Then lunchtime came. This is our actual conversation about lunch. This is riveting storytelling I know.

Me: Emma, do you want peanut butter or tunafish for lunch?
Emma: Uh, macaroni and cheese!
Me: I don't have macaroni. Do you want a peanut butter sandwich or a tuna sandwich?
Emma: Pizza!
Me: I don't have pizza. Peanut butter and jelly or tuna?
Emma: Peanut butter and chocolate! (nutella)
Me: We don't have chocolate. Peanut butter and jelly or tuna?
Emma: Pizza!

Then I had to stop and count to ten. Then I proceeded to make them each a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then I called them over to eat it. Emma got there first.

Emma: Is this peanut butter and chocolate?
Me: No, we don't have chocolate, it's peanut butter and jelly.
Emma: I don't like this jelly.

Deep breath. Count to ten again. Call Jake over to eat. He had been sitting ten feet away for the entire lunch dialogue that Em and I had just had.

Jake: Is this peanut butter and chocolate?
Me: Long sigh...No, it's peanut butter and jelly. We don't have any chocolate.
Jake: I don't like this jelly.

Seriously? I don't like walking around all morning feeling like I'm going to pass out or throw up. And I also don't like being called stupid. But if somebody would just make me a sandwich right now you can bet I would sit right down and eat it gratefully.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer adventure number 1

Last Friday while my parents were here we decided to visit a local zoo that we had never been to before. Rumor had it they were harboring a brand new baby zebra. This is one of the first little guys we saw and he was not in an enclosure of any kind. I think he was an escapee.

What's a zoo without a pot bellied pig or two?

Have you ever heard a peacock? They say "HELP!" in the weirdest bird voice ever. This guy kept throwing up all of his feathers and then he would move them really fast to make this strange humming/vibrating noise. He was doing it to scare the guinea pigs that were in the enclosure with him. (We watched "we bought a zoo" the other night and I learned that enclosure is the proper zoo terminology. not cage. or pen. or prison.) Anyway, it's like I always say...if you can't stand the guinea pigs then get out of the guinea pig enclosure.

We finally found them! Mama and baby seem to be doing just fine.

Is there anything cuter than a baby zebra?

Well, these three come pretty close.

Shh. Don't disturb her. It's the elusive Emma Mae adorned with the elusive purple hair clip. Very, very rare.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Barbecue. It's whats for dinner.

While my parents were here we went to eat at the Texas famous Salt Lick for barbecue. I forgot to take a picture of the food because I was too busy stuffing my face with it. Delicious!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our little graduate

Somehow, someway the five year old graduated from pre-K on Wednesday. When did he get so big?? One of my friends asked me if I thought I would cry at graduation and I was all "I don't think so." I mean, it's not like he graduated from Kinder or high school or college or anything. But when I saw those little guys filing into the school gym I felt my eyes get all wet and I looked at Mike and said "I think I'm going to cry!" Caught me totally off guard. As I'm sure many more moments in the rearing of these children will do.

They sang a cute song with hand motions and everything. Jake kept grabbing his crotch also which I don't think was one of the learned hand motions for this particular song. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he was just channeling Michael Jackson.

Jake and Jaden cutting up as usual. Jake ran onto the stage with his knees up high like a football player running through tires at training camp. And you guessed it, all of the boys followed his example after him. I was so proud. I'm sure his teachers were too.

Four of his favorite partners in crime, otherwise known as his "team".

And Mae, the girl of our dreams...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our first, last and only playscape. Ever.

So I broke down on the first of May and bought the kids a playscape. I looked on Craigslist for two months and never could get to any of the free or cheap ones in time. So I did the next best thing and bought one from WalMart.

I'm too cheap to pay for shipping so I had it shipped to the store for free. It came in last Saturday and Mike and I loaded up the kids to pick it up. Ya'll. The box was huge. It was too heavy to put on top of our Jeep which was our plan. So, instead we had to take out Jake's car seat and put it in the back of the Jeep. About a third of it still hung out the back of the car.

And since Jake's car seat was no longer installed in the proper place we had to hide him on the floor board. Yes, we did. I was going to just let him ride on my lap in the front seat with me for the short trip home. But then we noticed this couple in the WalMart parking lot giving us the stink eye when they saw what we were up to. So we made Jake hide on the floor board. So the cops that this couple was calling to come get us wouldn't see him. Parents of the year. Remember when you could ride in the floor board as a child and it wasn't a big deal??

Anyway, my sweet hubby and I started trying to put this thing together Friday morning. It is a beast. I thought I was doing a good job being Mike's helper. But then the next day he brought a friend home from work with him to help him build. It seems I had been replaced.

Four days later it was built. Luckily, my mom and dad are here visiting right now because Jake just graduated from PreK. My daddy was able to step up and be the playscape builder helper that I could only aspire to be. It is finished.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Camping 101

We took the kids on our first family camping trip Wednesday afternoon. We went to Guadalupe State Park and the plan was to stay for two nights. Jake and Emma Mae were so excited to "go out of town" and sleep in a tent. We just had the best time.

We got there in time to put up the tent and set up our chairs before dinner. We had hot dogs and brats and some grilled veggies. Of course, all of this was just a precursor to making smores which is really why we went camping. Unfortunately, the wood we bought for an outlandish price at the campground was damp from all of the rain we've been getting around here lately. So we had a whole lot of smoke but not much fire. We did get enough flames to toast a few marshmellows and stick them on a graham cracker before the fire went out though. Then before bedtime I made up a scary story about a marshmallow monster and spooked the kiddos. Note to self. Don't tell little kids scary stories before they go to bed.

I wish I could say sleeping in a tent with my family was the best sleep I've ever had in my life. But I can't. Because it sucked. Mike and Emma Mae were out as soon as we turned out all of the flashlights. Jake and I were up for a long time after. He kept turning his flashlight on and off. Repeatedly. It was like being at an outdoor discotech. Normally, I love the sounds of nature. But I swear there were these big old bugs making such a ruckus. All night long. And then the frogs joined them. And then the birds joined them. I thought birds slept at night. Well, not these birds. They sang all the night long. Also, our air mattress (yes, I made Mike take an air mattress! so what?) had a hole in it so by the time blessed morning arrived we were pretty much on the flat ground.

Oh, and then there was the raccoon. We are brilliant and left a cooler with peanut butter and bread sitting out on our table. So around midnight just after I had finally dozed off we heard a crash. Mike went out to find a furry little masked friend trying to open up that cooler. Guess he wanted to make a sandwich.

Anyhow, when I did sleep I had dreams about baby bears crawling through our tent. Not my finest hours.

But the next day made up for it. We basically ran into town to buy some tubes and get me a Starbucks because I don't feel I need to rough it too much on camping trips. Then we took the kids down to the river . They had so much fun throwing rocks in the water and splashing around. They even enjoyed floating down the river on our tubes once their mama stopped worrying about it.

My favorite quote of the trip? Jake was sitting in a tube with me floating down the river and we started talking about water snakes. I asked him what we would do if a water snake decided to bite us on the booty. My son said "I don't know, panic?" The way he said it was so deadpan. He just cracked me up. We ended up coming home after dinner on Thursday night because Mike and I are not crazy. We just didn't have it in us to spend one more night in the tent. Maybe next trip.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Strength of a Mother

The relationship I have with my mama is the most complicated relationship I have with anyone. She is warmth, love, hugs and chocolate chip cookies. She is stubborn, critical, loud and unyielding. She is all of those things and so much more. She is my safe place.

I remember many occasions from my childhood when she just embarrassed the pants off of me. She was never one to sit back and let someone offend or neglect her. If a sales clerk kept her waiting for a long time, my mama would let that person know about it. Sometimes she did so very loudly. Where everyone in the store could hear.

Then there was the time when my softball team was playing a game and a storm blew in. I was up to bat and my mom stopped the game by running out on the field to home plate to take out the metal hair clip I was wearing. She didn't want me to get struck by lightning. If she was mad at one of us she might yell for awhile and then hours later you could still hear her muttering under her breath about it while making dinner. Depending on the day, I was either mortified, amused or just in complete awe of her.

I have two siblings and we were all pretty quiet growing up. I think it was because we always knew that mama would talk for us if we didn't say anything to people. I also knew that she would stand up for me if someone was trying to serve up some injustice my way. My mom is not a coward. She is brave. She endured the horror of losing a child who died at age 15. Over the years, I have born witness to the death of both of her parents and all four of her brothers. She has a strength and a faith in God that cannot be broken.

I also saw her be MeMaw to both of my sister's children. I couldn't wait to have kids of my own someday that she could love on. I wanted them to know her the way I know her. I wanted her to be their safe place.

About three years ago, the doctors diagnosed my mom with dementia. She had undergone some back surgeries and had trouble on the second one with side effects from the anethesia. I'm not sure what happened next but I know a doctor did some tests and determined that she was in the beginning stages of this disease that will eventualy steal her away from us. I'm not ready. Luckily, her disease seems to be spreading slowly. We've all noticed changes in her though. I'm sure my dad sees it the most. However, he is also a strong one and tries not to burden his children with many details. The thing we all notice the most is how quiet she has become. She used to talk so much that it sometimes drove me crazy. Now, I miss her voice. I miss the daily "prying" phone calls into my life. I miss my mama. Yes, we still have her and for that I am grateful, but she is changed.

She doesn't travel well. She prefers to be in her house with her things so my parents visits to see us and our kids have been cut back. My hopes that my kids will know the mama I knew is gone. They love her and don't know any different so I'm not sure why this bothers me so. I'm selfish and I wish things were different.

There are still glimpses of the person she always was and for that I am grateful. Times when I hear that laugh of hers ringing through a room. The other day she accidentally skyped me from her computer. I could hear her before I could see her, calling for my dad yelling that I was trying to skype her. I just died laughing trying to explain to her that she in fact had pushed the button to call me. But see that was something my mom would always have done. Technology is not her friend. And then when I saw her face pop up on my computer I died laughing again. She looked a complete mess. Now, don't think I'm being cruel. My mom is the type of person who goes to the beauty shop every week to get her hair done. She is always put together. But that day her hair was flat and short and in need of a fix. I couldn't help myself. I just looked at her and said "mama, what is going on with your hair?" She said she thought it was time for a perm. And I laughed and said it most certainly was. You see, my mom would never have let me out of the house looking like that. In fact, she used to bug me so much as a teenager. I would primp and preen in front of the mirror for hours and finally come out only to have her say something like "aren't you going to put on any makeup?" or "oh! are you done with your hair?" So to have the tables turned in this instance was sort of liberating and funny to boot.

I have friends with loved ones in similar situations. I know what to expect next. I pray that we still have many good years left together. I wonder if she notices the changes in herself. Does she know she's being quiet? Does her mind go somewhere else during the silences? Is there confusion or blankness? These are the thoughts that drive me crazy but they are things I don't dare ask her about. I know that somewhere in me lies a well of strength. Just like my mama. I hope I can be strong for her if she needs me to or just love her through this stage of life like she loved me through all of mine.

** This is the original post I wrote about my mom. I was contacted by a site coordinator at to submit an inspirational story to their website a couple weeks ago. She graciously edited my long winded version and they are featuring it on their website this week! Click on over to see the shorter, cleaner version!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I celebrated Mother's Day yesterday running for my life from flying paint balls. Okay, actually I was mainly hiding behind things from flying paint balls. Mike loves to play paint ball and he somehow talked me and six of our neighbors into going with him yesterday. And it was a lot of fun! I did learn something about myself though. I would never make it in a combat situation. I would die. Unless I could just bunker down somewhere and wait out the war. And I'm pretty sure they don't encourage hiding in the armed forces. So I'm thankful to my hubby and people like him who served their time and even went to war for our freedom. You are awesome.
(That's not a picture of Saturn. That's my thigh. There are two more of those welts where that came from.) We played four games yesterday and I survived with five visible wounds to my legs and the memory of being shot in the head and directly in the face. Let me tell you something. The paint in paint balls does not taste good. I recommend keeping your mouth closed if you go play. Mike said something about teaching me cover and concealment techniques before we go play again. This is starting to feel like it might turn into some work on my part.
I may have mentioned something yesterday to the kids about wanting them to bring me a Starbucks vanilla latte and cheese danish in bed today. It's a good thing Mike was there for that conversation because otherwise I probably would have ended up with two kids waking me up at 6am with a piece of cheese on a napkin. However, my hubby didn't disappoint. Not only did they bring me the latte and danish, they also brought me a beautiful rose and a poem. I took the kids to church this morning and treated us to Schlotzsky's for lunch. I had a coupon. And if you know me you know I love Schlotzsky's. It has been a lovely day.
Now, for my mama. I was blessed with a wonderful mother who showed me what a mother's love should look like. Sometimes warm and cuddly, sometimes fierce and prickly. She has always been a great mother and wife and I love her. I am also very sorry. Deeply, deeply sorry and regretful for all of the stuff I put both of my parents through from about age 15 to let's say 25. Please fogive me. And if it makes you feel any better or gives you a chuckle, just know that Emma Mae is paying me back in more ways than you will ever know. And as soon as she's old enough I can't wait to get her out on the paint ball field with me to show her how much I appreciate everything she does.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Aspirations of greatness

It is the desire of my heart to be considered an "outdoorsy" girl. I'd like to think that I could survive on Survivor. And win. So today I decided to take our brand new tent out of its box and set it up for the kids to play with. Well, the tent won. Turns out I'm not a hardcore do it yourself outdoorsy girl. I'm more of a light to medium outdoorsy girl. I knew when Mike got home and saw the unraised tent in the backyard that he would make fun of me. He would give me that little smirk of his and say "oh honey, what would you do without me?" And then I would have to tell him that I would die in the wilderness without him. Humiliating. Like the time I picked up the frog at school to show it to our class of three year olds because I thought it would be cool and then the frog peed all over me.
There are many things in this world I would like to be. A singer. A really great singer instead of a singer who dares only to sing in the shower for fear of dogs howling and glass shattering. A world class piano player. A rock star. Like Bon Jovi or Rick Springfield only girly. I would love to be the first woman to travel to the deepest part of the ocean. A dolphin. Can I just be a dolphin?? Sadly, I wasn't designed to be any of those things. Instead, I will try to be the best I can be at the things I was designed for. Child of God. Wife. Mama. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend. Cook. Maid. Teacher. Healer. Documenter. And Rick Springfield's number one fan.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I love when I get to catch up with my friends. Yesterday, Amy and I had a yummy lunch at La Madeleine. I always love to see Amy because I know that I'm going to laugh hysterically at some point. She always delivers. This morning Leslie called to see if we wanted to go to a new to us park in San Marcos. We were happy to do it. I looked a mess. My hair was crazy from my morning walk and I had on this new makeup that is about three shades too light for me. I looked like a clown. But my sweet friend Leslie is so thoughtful and nice that she didn't say a word about it. Yet, I do know that if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe she would tell me about that. See the difference? Tell me about stuff I can change and overlook the rest. I love my friends.
Emma Mae is a complete mess. She spilled her water all over her on our way to the park so her clothes were all wet. Then she covered herself in dirt. Usually, she also has assorted colors of markers all over her legs. Gotta love that girl.
Jake woke up this morning and immediately put on his swim suit in hopes of a trip to the pool. He even wore his new water "gobbles" on our morning walk. Sometimes I worry about him.
The kids loved the park. Everything is wooden. After they played on all of the playscapes we headed over to the river so they could throw rocks in the water. And squeal at the water snake we saw. Good times.

Friday, May 4, 2012

New favorite past times

Playing in the sprinkler. Enough said. Wait. Yes, Emma put her swimsuit on backwards. Also, Jake calls water goggles "water gobbles". Precious.
Eating popcorn and watching Monsters Inc. Looks like Emma Mae's bears can't bare to look.