Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010

  • January - Lots of friend's birthday parties, Claire and Finn turned 15 months old, Claire got sick, chose name for our MOPS cookbook, we had an ant problem, saw my OB, got a haircut on the 28th.
  • February - Weighed six pounds less than I do now (sob), had a huge snowstorm in Dallas, my Aunt Peg's third husband died (she is already passed away) and my sweet friend Diana's father died. Spoke with Realtor for first time.
  • March - Have inside of house painted, attend Mommy Swap, have windows washed. Not a thrilling month for the Michies.
  • April - Easter Egg Hunt, many open houses at which no one makes us an offer, Claire and Finn to 18 month checkup, put our house on the market, take pictures in bluebonnets.
  • May - Pass the Notebook party for MOPS Steering Team, New York City for cousin Ross's wedding (most fun I'd had all year), niece Brittany graduates from Texas A&M, end of preschool for Duncan (and lots of crying for me).
  • June - Duncan's 5th birthday, niece Kathleen graduates from high school, attend Mommy Swap, 12th wedding anniversary, vacation Bible school, visit Martha T. Reilly Elementary, lower price on house, lots of swimming, look at lots of houses. Dream about living in some of them.
  • July - 4th of July parade, more swimming, big family vacation to Priest Lake in Idaho, did not attend many Zumba classes I had written down in my calendar, Duncan has his first country club experience with sweet friend.
  • August - So.Hot. Lots of swimming and running from air conditioned car to air conditioned house. Lots of white space on my calendar so I don't think we did much else. Did get my iphone, which deserves recongnition because it has changed my life. MOPS cookbook kickoff party. My former boss died suddenly. 5 year checkup for Duncan. Kindergarten. Sadness. Lots of crying. Buy "new" minivan.
  • September - MOPS starts back up for Fall. My brother and his girlfriend come to visit from Spokane. Westminster Youth Choir Reunion. Begin to sell MOPS cookbooks. Start to exercise regularly and begin Couch to 5K program. Also start to have regular Tuesday playdates. Turn 45. Buy good night cream. Iain goes to first PTA meeting and is sorely disappointed. Texas State Fair!
  • October - Ziggy's birthday. Becky's birthday. Claire and Finn's birthday. Iain and Duncan have first Father-Son weekend trip to Georgia with Mobley and Wilson. Claire and Finn turn 2! Halloween. First teacher conference and report card for Duncan. Duncan to dentist. No cavities! Take house off the market. Sadness.
  • November - Tour Dealey Elementary. MOPS Cookbooks shipped! Thanksgiving. Still doing Couch to 5K. My brother Doug gets married. Sister Becky to Hawaii.
  • December - Iain still traveling alot. Still running. Last MOPS meeting of semester. Attend another Mommy Swap. Bake lots of cookies. Get hair cut. Family Christmas party. Turn in application to Dealey. Friend has brain surgery. Do not participate in Jingle Bell run because Duncan is sick but we cheer Daddy on! Christmas. Prepare for 2011. Will celebrate 2010 with great friends.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Late December Picnic!

We love you, Texas weather. Late December picnics on our new playset picnic table are tons of fun. Many more winter days like this one would really rock mommy's world.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Recap

My lack of being able to move my pictures around still hinders me. It is a challenge I am not afraid to rise to, however. But I digress. Friday was Duncan's class Christmas party...oh, excuse me...I mean holiday party. I went through the process to be able to walk in the front door of the school and down the hall to his classroom to pass out chips and sit in a tiny chair and listen to five and six year olds tell me about their worlds. And by process I mean I had to agree to a criminal background check. To go to my kid's party. But whatever. I did. And I went. Duncan was super happy to have me there and I was super happy to do it. He was proud for me to see where he sits (Table 2) and who he sits with (all girls) and all the art displayed around the room. And I really do like his teacher. So I passed out chips and then sat and talked to Duncan and his table mates about math, the politics of stealing crayons from other's crayon boxes, pop rocks, and all other matters kindergarten. It was really pretty fun and made both of us happy.

On Saturday, I got started baking. I had plans to go to a cookie exchange on Sunday and needed to make 8 dozen cookies. I decided on a salted caramel thumbprint, which actually turned out to be pretty easy. It took me all day, but I did get all 8 dozen of them made, with the help of my super husband going to the store for me only one time. A good friend came by for a short visit, and before we knew it it was bed time. After we got all the kids fed and in jammies, we took them to go look at Christmas lights in a neighborhood not too far away. Each street picks a different theme and everyone decorates (well, mostly everyone...I suppose if you don't decorate you are asked to move but I'm not sure.) There was a Peanuts street, a 12 Days of Christmas street, a Biblical/Religious street, etc...Oh, and a 12 Days of a Redneck Christmas street. See Monster Truck below. Anyway, it's a good spot because unlike some parts of Dallas I don't come home feeling completely overwhelmed at our lack of space and lack of Christmas lights. Got all the kids in bed pretty quickly. Instead of having time to finish my Christmas cards last night, though, I had to finish my cookies and was in bed by about 11:00. Saturday Night Live could not hold my interest. Oh, and the remote control to our TV broke, sending us into a tailspin and causing us to stumble around trying to figure out how anyone ever changed channels before remote controls....well, remote controls and DVR's.

This morning was church and I took the kids and Iain stayed home. Afterwards, came home and got everyone fed and the babies down for naps. Duncan had expressed interest in going with me to the cookie swap and since kids were welcome, I let him come with me. After about twenty minutes he was bored silly (as I had warned him he would be) so since it was only down the street I ran him home and went back to enjoy myself. I came home with 8 dozen cookies. Just what we need! I have already packed up a tin for our sweet neighbors across the street and am going to give away quite a few more, except the gingerbread men. Duncan has asked that I keep those. And I shall.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I have a new, but great, friend who is having brain surgery today. We initially grew to be friends over me asking for people to do the 30 Day Shred with me. She did it. I did not. But we became friends anyway! I see her at church on Sundays, and we email and FB message back and forth during the week. So, while we do not live in the same part of town, have not been friends for very long, and only see each other once a week I think we have become dear friends. Sometimes that happens and you just can't explain it.

So, today, she is having brain surgery. She's brave and strong but's brain surgery. She should come through just fine and walk away 100% and I'd like any of you who happen to read this today, if you are a praying person, to say a little prayer for my new, wonderful friend.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend Recap

I am determined to get this up before Wednesday.

Friday was very awesome and very exciting. My MOPS group had arranged a Mother's Day Out for all of us, where we could drop off our kids for three hours, for $10 a kid. So, for $20 I got 2x3 hours of childcare. Cannot be beat. I got oldest dropped of at kindergarten then got a coffee, some cash and got the littles dropped off. I had planned my time pretty carefully, so as not to waste any precious, child-free minutes. I hit the shopping center right next to our church and scored some serious bargains at Stein Mart. I knew I needed a new 2011 planner, and knew the one I wanted so I drove up to Borders but they did not have it. Cursed the fact that I'd wasted precious time. Went back to the shopping center where I started and hit a gift shop (score!) and Tuesday Morning (disappointed) then called a great friend to meet me at Fuzzy Taco for lunch. Can I just go on and on about the beauty of the Big Salad? Man. That was good.
Time to go pick up my (hopefully) exhausted kids. And go home. For naps. Except we didn't...and when I say "we" I mean them. Oh, we had banter and hijinx from the bedroom but not a wink of sleep. I needed to pick up Duncan and drive him downtown to drop him off with my sister, who was taking him to the Polar Express at the IMAX theater in Fort Worth. Can I just say that one should not always depend on one's navigation system in one's car to get one to one's destination in the most expedient way? I will not go on and on about it but. Suckage.
I got Duncan dropped off and as soon as I did meltdown 1 and 2 started. Got them home, in the bath and in jammies as quickly as I could, at the cost of missing my Sunday School Christmas party. I was really looking forward to going, but since Iain was on his way back from LA and the babies would have been a big puddle of toddler shortly after dropping them off, I elected to stay home. I got on my own pajamas soon after I put them in theirs and waited for Hubs to get home.
Dang. I'm just on Friday?
My sister calls at this point with a teary Duncan, at the IMAX theater saying he wants to come home. I talk him off the ledge, tell my sister to feed him and for them to call me back. Did not hear back so I assumed he snapped out of it and continued to try to relax. Iain got home at about 8:30 and I am sure I was a vision in my flannel, lying on the heating pad.
My sister emailed me later to tell me that Duncan was fine, in case you are wondering. Large steam trains on movie screens and Whataburger can cure a host of ills and fears.
On Saturday, Iain got up and went to go play raquetball with his Dad and I stayed home with the babies and kind of piddled and got ready. We had a family get together that afternoon, and headed up north of Dallas as soon as Claire and Finn woke up from naps. Duncan met us there with my mom and sister. When we arrived, he was having fun with distant cousins his own age so I was grateful for that. We did sufficient family visiting, then drove home in time to get Claire and Finn to bed and Duncan shortly afterwards. Blur.
On Sunday, the kids all had a Birthday Party for Jesus at church (which Iain was helping with) so after a rocky start we all made it to church by 9:30. I was so grateful that we had nothing to do after church! We put up some Christmas lights outside and just stayed home. Iain went to meet a friend from B-school later for drinks, but by then I was already in my flannels looking hopefully towards bedtime.
And **poof**'s gone.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Weekend Recap

Wow, that one went amazing fast. As a side note, why am I doing this at 6:30 A.M. in the dark (except for the lights from the Christmas tree) without having had my coffee? Your guess is as good as mine.

So, I shall start with Thursday night because this was kind of a three day weekend for me. Although, I suppose there is an argument to be made it was a five day weekend because Iain left on Wednesday and when that happens time just seems to go all wonky and I never know what day it is anyway. But Thursday night seems a good kicking off spot. We had our MOPS Steering Christmas party that night, so I got myself a baby sitter and kicked up my heels (except I wore cute embellished flats...and I know they are called that because I read about it on someone else's blog). Hostess did the most perfect job! Lots of cocktails, candles, china, crystal, food, and good friends.
On Friday morning, I had our MOPS Christmas was the last meeting of the semester and our genius speaker coordinator had the whole idea. It was really fun and festive and a good time was had by all the moms, I think. I could try to talk about how important MOPS is to me but I would get all blubbery and sad right now and it's just too early. But it was gorgeous!

Okay, back to weekend. Friday night, Iain got parties!

On Saturday, he got started finishing putting together the playset that my fabulous cousin so generously gave us. His dad, a/k/a Pawpaw came over to help, and also took Duncan to McDonald's and played with all the kids in the leaves, and was a great, huge help overall. His dad has been spending more time with us and the kids and I must say it's been great. They are all quite attached to him and I can see why. He's very tall, with a Scottish accent, a shock of white hair...quite a fabulous grandpa. We thought he'd be Granda but he's ended up being Pawpaw because that's all Claire can say and it's stuck, I think.

On Saturday night I went to a Mommy Swap with some friends and came away with some treasures. They are always so fun, goodies aside. The social aspect is the big draw for me, that and getting rid of so many things that just take up space in my house! We were in a friend's parents' beautiful home, laughed alot and donated alot of great stuff to Good Will. Oh, and I got Iain a practically brand new raquet for raquet ball and a Dora backpack for Claire. And a brand new karate outfit for Duncan. And there was pizza. And wine. It was so fun!

On Sunday...well, it was really the highlight of the whole weekend. I packed up the twins and dropped them off at church then Duncan and I drove over to our church's water stop at the White Rock Marathon. My great friend was running and we went to cheer her on. It was amazing! While we waited for her to zoom past us, we saw some amazing runners, cheered, rang cow bells, handed out cups of water and Gatorade and hopefully shone the light of Christ in the process. My friend has reached a level of celebrity with Duncan, so it was hard to wait but he did a great job and when she did run past us, was so kind and generous and thoughtful enough to slow down enough to give him a fast hug and a smile. It made his day!

By Sunday night we were all spent, but it was a good weekend! Why do I always take until Wednesday to get these weekend recaps done?


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advent, Day 2

We rocked the playground at the Y today with some shiny pink Disney Princess cowboy boots.
Droopy diapers didn't slow us down either.
And sometimes, it's best just to march along...
and enjoy the day!
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Dear Santa

I have tried really hard to be a good wife/mom/friend/sister/daughter this year. I know, I know, tryin' is lyin' or for the birds or whatever but it has to count for something, right? So, anyhoo, back to me.

Material things are nice, and there are a few I've got my eye on so let's just get those out of the way quickly.

I would love some black cowboy boots. And one of those holster thingies for my ipod or iphone so when I'm at the gym I don't have to hold it while I work out and look pretty geeky. Because I run now, you know. Did you hear? But that is really all I can think of.

My real list would be:
  • the ability for all of our children to sleep until 8:00 on Saturdays
  • snow on Christmas Eve again this year because last year? Spectacular.
  • the knowledge and security that Duncan would be in a good school next year for first grade, that we felt good about, where he would be challenged and could make real friends that he could actually play with after school
  • that we lived in a neighborhood with kids
  • for me to find something I can do, that is kind of creative, that would also generate some income
  • for me to continue to run, and perhaps participate in a half marathon by this time next year
  • for my MOPS group to have a solid steering team again next year (I will be lead coordinator)
  • that my chin hairs will magically stop growing

Thank you, Santa.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Recap

Iain left town on Friday, which is rare, and difficult because it causes me to do weird things like sit in front of the television on a Friday night thinking "Saturday Night Live comes on in about 15 minutes" then thinking even weirder things like "No! I am crazy! It's Monday!" Except, it's Friday. Sadness at the crazy.

On Saturday, my father in law came over to pick up Duncan to take him to a koi pond and to lunch. This was great not only in a grandson-grandfather bonding way, but in a Mommy-is-sick-and-needs-a-nap way, too. As soon as they were out the door, I put Claire and Finn in bed and curled up on the couch myself. I think we all slept a few hours, but I really can't remember. It was fleeting, but it was glorious. Duncan and Grandpa came home about three hours later, with soup and cornbread for me. Grandpa stayed for a cup of coffee, then headed out. I can hardly blame him because it was about 4:00 at this point and we all know what that means in a house with three small children. The rest of the evening is a blur, but I think everyone went to bed early enough that I was not a complete crazy person by bedtime. I am sure I spent the remainer of the evening doing constructive, worthwhile things like catching up on blogs and seeing how many Maroon Albeo Amfractus I can breed in Pocket Frogs. Why, when Iain travels am I completely brain dead by the time I get all the children asleep? Oh, I think I just answered my own question.

Sunday came and I was still feeling really bad so I called my sister and asked if I could just bring the kids, dump them on her and sleep. Well, not really in that way. I did, however, go over there mid-morning and as soon as Claire and Finn went down for a nap, my sister took Duncan with her to a street fair and I went to sleep...for three hours, ya'll! Duncan had a great day and I felt alot better when I woke up. Got all of them home and in bed at a reasonable hour. Whew! Weekend? Survived. And it's only Wednesday when I'm getting this all typed up.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eating from the pantry

Iain left town yesterday morning, so naturally I came down with a cold last night. And am low on milk. And help. My mom and sister have lives, and are busy so plans to go out there to leave babies and get my shopping done were thwarted. Today, I had hoped to go out there after Grandpa and Duncan go on their outing (more later) but my mom has things to do and my sister is going to a concert in Fort Worth. Again, thwarted.

Today, however, I might have a decent plan B. Grandpa is coming to get Duncan to take him to feed the koi at his health club, then to McDonald's. I'm hoping I can convince him how fun and special it will be to go to the grocery store, too, with his grandson and get me some milk. If I have milk, I can make it. We will eat from the pantry and be just fine.

For breakfast? Frozen peaches for Claire and Finn and cinnamon toast for Duncan. Only about half a loaf of bread left, but we do have tortillas. Finn does not eat bread OR tortillas, so we should be fine. I have 3/4 of a jar of peanut butter, apples, Cheerios to beat the band, one organic frozen bean burrito (that baby is mine), some soup, Tater Tots, and some organic frozen green beans. What am I worried about? Heck, I could have company!

So, lunch and dinner went fairly well. Dinner was baked potato and green beans...Claire and Finn eat them like candy and Duncan is no slob either. In fact, I began to wonder why I was so worried about not being able to make it to the grocery store today in the first place. In for a penny, in for a pound, though so I shall forge ahead. Part of my worry, I think, is that there is nothing sweet in the house. This is not entirely a bad thing, since I am trying to lose some weight but sometimes it's nice. There is leftover Halloween candy, but it's all the non-chocolate kind so it may as well not exist as far as I'm concerned. As a side note, I did bake all of the potatoes in the oven and plan to make a big pot of baked potato soup with them at some point. The weather is finally chilly enough for soup. I ate a plain one for dinner and it was yummy. Duncan ate two of them.

On a food side note, I'm watching Julie and Julia and am finding myself wanting to bake something. And have a dinner party. We need a better dining room table, honey.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

School Lunch

So fun.
This will be one of those cop-out, random thought, list blog posts. But secretly, I love reading them because my attention span is pretty short most days.

  • I love the show Parenthood.
  • The house next door has an offer, which makes me very super excited because maybe, FINALLY, things are turning around in our neighborhood. Hey, people with no kids! Come live over here! It's beautiful, close to the lake, lots of mature trees, creeks, and unique 1950's homes that all look different. Just crappy schools.
  • Claire and Finn are both napping. The past two days? Not so much. So today, I am super grateful.
  • The sides of my calves are sore, but I am on week 6 of my Couch to 5K program.
  • Duncan is doing so much better in kindergarten. He can't wait to leave the house in the morning and is proud of himself when he does well on homework and tests. We are bursting.
  • We are starting to look at different schools for 1st grade. We toured one yesterday that we both like...alot. Makes me nervous how much I like it.
  • I have watched seasons 1-5 of Weeds on Netflix on demand and now need Season 6 badly. It is not on Netflix. Help me.


Monday, November 01, 2010

Happy Day of the Dead!

Okay, so technically it's tomorrow but I can't really say Happy Halloween anymore, like I wanted to, so Happy Dios De Los Muertos.

We are home from school, and already have homework done which puts a little pep in my step considering it's Monday and Iain is out of town again. One less battle to fight tonight. One less egg to fry.


  • I bought my husband a navy blue, waffle weave, long sleeve shirt at Big Lots for $7 and I just put it on myself...and I love it. Might have to go back.
  • Our next door neighbor is mowing his lawn in the dark. They have their house on the market and showed it today. My fantasy is that they are going to have a second showing and sell it, which would be good news for us since we also want to try to sell ours again. I will subscribe to the old "if they can, we can" theory.
  • Roasted red peppers and feta cheese are really good together.
  • I am on week 5 of the Couch to 5K program. I have not skipped a single run, nor have I stopped running during my sessions before I am supposed to. I am shocked at, and proud of myself. My first goal is to complete a 5K, perhaps in December. My favorite song to run to is Hey Ya by Outkast.
  • I am once again emotionally invested in a team I paid no attention to until the playoffs. What does this say about me?

We had our second annual Halloween party last weekend. I cut the guest list back this year just because Iain was traveling so much and I felt a little overwhelmed, but still wanted to have it, mostly for Duncan. It was great! We had 9 kids, 7 adults, 1 cat, at cupcakes, cake balls, chili, veggies, fruit kabobs, and Fritos, drank Pimm's, beer, water, fruit punch, and coffee, went ghost hunting, decorated pumpkins, played football and watched the Rangers beat the giants. I can't wait to have it again next year and hope we are finally in a new and bigger house, and can expand our guest list.

Duncan has done a real 180 when it comes to school. This morning he could not wait to get out the door and when he came home he told me he wished he could "stay at school all day and learn." Prayers? Meet answer.

Now I am going to get my eager to learn boy off to bed,


Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Cakes

The cake on the left a "Pumpkin Pie Cake" was baked today, by yours truly. It contains pumpkin, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

The cake on the left would not win a beauty contest with the cake on the right. It needs frosting, but is most likely slated for a glaze, or maybe something with cream cheese. Or maybe just whipped cream?

The cake on the right was baked, well, I don't know when it was baked but it has to be sold by October 27, 2010. It contains sugar, bleached wheat flour, whole eggs, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, cocoa, soybean oil, nonfat milk, corn syrun, high fructose corn syrup, leavening, cornstarch, modified food starch, salt, propylene glycol mono & diesters, natural and artifical flavor, mono Y diglycerides, guar gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, coconut oil, soybean lecithin, phosphoric acid, polysorbate 60, potassium sorbate & sodium bensozate , dextrin, confectioner's glaze, carnauba wax, may contain FD&C colors: Red 3&40, Yellow 5&6, Blue 1&2, Lakes Red 3& 40, Yellow 5&6, Blue 1&2 Blue. Contains wheat, soy, egg & milk products.

I am not allowed to bring the cake on the left to Duncan's school for the cake walk at his Fall Carnival. Instead, I must bring the cake on the right. So, instead of taking home a cake baked with ingredients you can pronounce, and probably have in your own pantry, you could walk away with $4.99 worth of crap you can't pronounce and you get to pump your kids full of it! And isn't propolyne glycol the same as anti-freeze?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Alone

Iain and Duncan got on a plane and flew to Georgia today with two of Iain's b-school pals and their boys. Oh, how I wish I could be a fly on the wall! I know they will have a great time, even though the littles will miss their mommies just a bit, and bug the daddies just a bit. But the daddies are all top-notch and great fun will be had. I just hope they take pictures and change underwear.

My mom and sister are keeping Claire and Finn tonight. After I dropped off Man and Boy #1 at the airport, I went to my sister's and mom's and hung around just long enough to not feel like I was leaving my children and running out the door, and went to get a manicure and pedicure.

I was there over TWO hours. I waited almost an hour, but once they got started it was pretty relaxing. I think my toes and fingernails look pretty good! I made a brief stop in the Tuesday Morning next door, filled a basket with things I thought I needed them put them all back and left empty handed. Why do I do that? It must fill a need.

My next stop was Sally Beauty Supply because the hair needs help. I had the most helpful, awesome girl help me pick a hair color and goop to mix it with, got some good top coat for my new nails and was back in the van.

Next stop? TCBY for a small cone. I hadn't eaten since before we left for the airport but wasn't really that hungry for something dinner-ish. The fro-yo hit the spot. Then, straight home to get caught up on my guilty pleasure television...Project Runway.

The strange, twisty part? I'm a bit lonely. I am surrounded by people all day every day. Mostly little people, but sometimes big people too. And I love being alone. I love being alone in my home. I crave it, and was really looking forward to this little 24-hour time period. And I AM enjoying it. But, I am a little lonely and missing my family...just enough. Not overwhelmingly so. There is a wonderful, warm security in being surrounded by your family at night. I am so lucky to have that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview with Myself

I ran into myself the other day, and thought I'd take the opportunity to ask myself some questions.

Me: So, I've noticed that you have an unusual system regarding your clean laundry. What is it that inspired you to just move it from the chair to the bed, then the bed back to the chair, and so on, for days? Rather than just putting it away?

Myself: Most days, it works for me. Until, that is, I have something much more pressing and time-sensitive that needs to get done. Then, putting away the laundry seems like a good idea. It's the little known 8th habit of highly effective people.

Me: So, what is up with your hair?

Myself: I know there is someone to blame for my hair, I'm just not sure who at this point. I was talked into an all-over color, a very blonde all over color. And when I try to go really, really blonde I tend to get kind of red as well (which I don't like.) So now, I have some pretty heinous roots AND my hair is starting to look yellowy and brassy and that vague strawberry blonde, which again I hate. (Note: I hate it on me...I have no ill-will towards anyone else who wants to go that color.) I think I will remedy with another all-over, darker color.

Me: What are you making for dinner tonight?

Myself: Well, tonight we are going to church for dinner. The bad side of this plan is that Iain is out of town so I will have to get all three of them there, out of the car, into the church, down to the Fellowship Hall, get Claire and Finn into high chairs, get food for them, watch while they don't eat it and throw it on the floor, clean them and get them back upstairs. The good side is that I can feed them all, and myself, for about five bucks, I don't have to cook it, and I can then drop them all three off for music and missions for an hour while I join some friends for fellowship and devotionals (which usually turns into a totally fun gab session, with some devotion thrown in for good measure.) And the sweet ladies in Claire and Finn's class will put them in their jammies for me.

Me: How are your kids doing?

Myself: Oh, fine! Duncan just got his first report card and it was good. Tomorrow night is our first ever parent/teacher conference. What do I wear? We only have ten minutes so it's kind of like speed dating. Finn is just as loud as he is sweet. He wakes up wanting to give eveyone a kiss. Takes his blankie everywhere. Tells a mean knock-knock joke and still wont eat anything besides dry cereal, chips, apple slices, tater tots, fish sticks and crackers. He wants to be just like Duncan. Claire. Oh, where do I start. Sugar and spice. Sweet and sour. She has embraced the age of 2 more than the boys. Fiercely independent but wants to be included in everything. Nuts about her Daddy. A bit on the dramatic side. Sometimes (often) hear her saying, "Help! Mommy! I stuck!" from her crib. Love her.

Me: So, what else would you like to tell our readers? What else is going on?

Myself: Life is good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Losin' it

So, as soon as Duncan started kindergarten I started going back to the gym. He has never done too great in the child care (not sure exactly why) but Claire and Finn do fabulous. They toddle right down the sidewalk, in the door, greet all the Silver Sneakers crew, and go straight to the child care room where they walk in practically without looking back.

So, I started out walking on the treadmill. And that was good, for a while. Then I realized how many people I knew had taken up running, several with the couch to 5K program. So, being that I am the person who has said things like "I don't understand you people who run" and "I have never run and I know I never will"...I started running. And I like it. See, that's all you have to do. Say you don't like something and you'll never do it then BAM! You will be doing it.

So, I have been doing the couch to 5K program for about three weeks. Some things I have learned:
  • It is far better and easier to run, and run faster and longer, with good music. I initially made the mistake of trying to watch CNN while I ran.
  • Good shoes seem critical.
  • Even if I cannot hear myself singing Ice Ice Baby, everyone else at the Y can.
  • I can see how and why people love the sport, but I have a long way to go.
  • I do not see how I can run outside in Texas, in the summer.

So, while I have not stepped on the scale in many weeks I think I've lost some weight but one of the things I do while I am running/walking is to envision a certain pair of jeans being so big that I have to give them away.

I will let you know when that happens.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On This Day

Nine years ago today I gave birth to a baby boy, who probably would have weighed about nine pounds if he had not lost so much blood. He looked alot like Iain and he looked alot like me. He lived about 36 hours. The purpose of this post is not to re-hash his death and how horrific that was. It is too painful of a process and I rarely do it anymore.

The purpose of this post, however, is to talk about what this day does to me now. Nine years later.

On this day, I have him on my mind all day long. It is a heavy weight but I relish it in a is a time that I feel like I can devote to that, and I don't have much time for that anymore.

On this day, no matter how ill-behaved our living breathing children are, I seem to be able to renew my patience, my gratitude and my ability to put things in perspective. That is a real gift. I know horrific and terrible, and nothing that I experience in my day to day life at this point is either! Temper tantrums pass (and I had some doozies today), crayon can be washed off, messes can be cleaned up. My dad had a philosophy that if it wont matter in two weeks, don't waste too much time worrying about it today. I take that one step further. If nobody is dying, you can fight through it, work it out, clean it up, make it better or sleep it off.

So, on this day, hug and kiss your kids and give yourself a break. Keep it in perspective. And pray for those who have lost a child to miscarriage, still birth or infant death.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

It Is Good To Be Duncan

This weekend (and it's not yet over, people) started on Thursday and has gone full force for Boy #1.

After school on Thursday we picked him up from school and went straight to the Texas State Fair. While we are still working on holiday traditions, one thing our family does every year, without fail, no matter what the weather, or how pregnant I am, is go to the State Fair of Texas. So this year, we planned to go on a week day, after school. And it was totally fun. The weather was a bit hot at first, but soon cooled down. We spent time at the Hands On Farm, saw Big Tex, the newly refurbished Children's Aquarium (where Duncan finally worked up the nerve to pet a sting ray...after almost an hour of trying), rode the Texas Star ferris wheel, ate corny dogs and cotton candy (well, except for Finn who only eats raisins and chips), and watched the parade. There was minimal grumpiness and foot stomping. Duncan and Iain also went to look at the cars in the auto show, and sat in a Corvette and one of those hot new Camaros. And he got to ride the race car ride on the Kidway. Really, does it get much better if you are five?

All three came home exhausted and probably over stimulated but it was totally worth it.

Friday after school, I could tell he was tired, but we must press on! There is more fun to be had! He had a birthday party to go to for one of his best little friends that involved happy meals and miniature golf. I noticed he was starting to break down, but we pushed through...even when he planted himself firmly in his booster seat when I was dropping him off at the party. I texted the boy's mom later to see if all was well, and it was. I picked him up at about 8:15 and found a happy, running, out of breath from excitement boy. Again, a late night but it was Friday so it was good. Home and to bed.

Today we woke up early..big surprise...and left almost immediately for my mom's and sister's. My mom and her "friend who is a man", Leroy, took Duncan to a parade and festival in the small town where Leroy lives. I sent him with a small plastic bucket for candy, that was to be thrown from the parade floats. Like, about the size of a Cool Whip tub small. My sister, Claire and Finn and I hung out at my sister's house while he was gone. About an hour and a half later, he came home with a grocery sack full of candy. And a big smile on his face. I heard about the "Jesus times" village with the camels and the donkeys...and the bounce house. I guess Jesus would have probably enjoyed a bounce house, huh?

We all had some down time then got ready to go for dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday. We had Italian food (except Finn...because...well, you know why) and the kids played in a little enclosed play area that was right outside the restaraunt. Then back to my mom's and sister's for cheesecake. Well, Claire, Becky and I had cheesecake. Duncan had...wait...a coffee cup full of whipped cream with sprinkles on it and Finn had nothing. Because he only eats raisins and chips. Then it was baths for the babies and home. And to bed! Oh my heavens to bed!

Tomorrow we shall worship our lord and come home and not leave the house until Monday morning.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Will Not Talk Him Off The Ledge

Why is it I think of reasonably good things to blog about while I am driving? Then I get home and it's all vanished from my brain. Ah...middle age.

Iain is traveling so I had to take Duncan to school this morning. I was kind of looking forward to it, because I have not done it since the first week of school. I got the babies changed and dressed, got Duncan dressed, got a decent lunch for him made, his backpack ready, and a cup of coffee in my system and we were out the door a few minutes before 8:00. I looked back at him while we were driving and saw tears welling up in his eyes and a very crest-fallen look on his face. Heavy sigh. I pulled up in front of the school where Thee Shall Not Park and told him he'd have to walk inside by himself. As he walked away, with his Spiderman back pack and his red Converse tennis shoes he looked So.Very.Small to me. I held it together but barely, and suddenly longed for the days of him driving me nuts, play dates, blanket forts and seeing him in his underwear all day long, refusing to put shorts on. Perhaps this is normal and what all moms feel, while watching their very small five year old boys put on a brave face for mom and trudge into kindergarten...but perhaps not.

So, I took Claire and Finn to the Y, put them in child care and worked out. I am doing the Couch to 5K training program and no one is more surprised than me that I am enjoying it. I do need some good music though because right now all I have on my ipod is Eye of the Tiger. I am not a music person.

After the Y, we came home and had some lunch (and when I say "we" I mean Claire and I...Finn had a few Cheerios this morning and I'm sure was absolutely stuffed) and I put them down for a nap. I cleaned house while they slept and think I have finally caught up from the few days a few weeks ago when Claire and I both got the pukes. Suddenly, it was time to go pick up Duncan and I was really ready and anxious to see him. Pick up has gotten alot better from a logistical stand point. I pull up on a side street, right outside the door where his class gets out. It is now only his class that comes out of this door, and if I get there early enough can just pop out of the car and meet him at the door, never having to step more than twenty or thirty feet. When I got him today, he was very disappointed. Because now, all the kids from his class come out the door and sit on a little ledge just outside the door and wait for their moms and dads. I suppose this is the equivalent of...well....I'm not sure but I guess it's the thing to do and he wanted to do it but I got there too soon so he didn't get to sit on the ledge and wait for me. I promised him that tomorrow I will let him sit on the ledge. Even if I am sitting twenty feet away staring at him from the van.

We drove straight out to my sister's and mom's to say good bye to my brother and his wife who were here visiting from Montana. Duncan is really fond of both of them so it was important to me and to him that we go say goodbye. They left for the airport shortly after we got there but it was worth the trip out and back home again. We came home, got the babies to bed, and Duncan and I sat down at the table to get his homework done. He had to trace his name four times and write it ten times. And that took at least. Forty five. Minutes. Finally got them all in bed and asleep and am now watching The Event and burning my new Nefertiti candle (b-day gift from my sis) and am about to have a Tom Collins.

And tomorrow, my son shall sit on the ledge with what I can only assume are the cool kids.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feels Like Monday

It is Tuesday, but since Duncan was out of school yesterday and my oldest brother was in town and it was my birthday, today feels like Monday. And my house looks like well, I don't know what. All I know is I feel like I have not been home since last Wednesday when Claire started puking.

Thursday after school we went out to my mom's and sister's to visit my brother and his girlfriend. Claire seemed to feel fine, but as time passed I began to question how good I felt. By 5:00 I knew I was sunk, and quickly puked in my mom's potty before we left for home. So very, very, very grateful that Iain did not have to go to Hawaii so he was home to get all Littles in bed and tend to them. I got in bed and threw up four more times before finally falling sound asleep around 11:00. Strangely I woke up around 6:00 the next morning feeling completely fine, which was good because it was MOPS. And it takes alot of puking to keep me from a MOPS meeting so off we went.

On Saturday I had a rehearsal for my the youth choir reunion that was going on this weekend. 100 or so of us came back to Oak Cliff Presbyterian to take part in remembering something that was a hugely significant part of our lives at some point. It was quite amazing how Mr. E was able to rehearse adults who had been in the choir from the 50's through the 80's and we actually sounded pretty good. After rehearsal it was back to my mom's and sister's to visit, then home late with our three wild, wide awake kids (at about 8:30 p.m.)

On Sunday, Iain and Duncan took off to get my phone fixed while I took the babies to my mom's and sister's (again!) so that my aunt could babysit them during their nap and I could go back to Oak Cliff Pres for warm up before our 3:00 concert. The concert was amazing. Really, really moving and great fun. We laughed at how they should get a bus and take us all on tour. Sunday night we went back to my mom's and sister's to eat and visit and once again, got our kids home and to bed late.

Monday. The zoo! Fun! Beautiful weather! Took all three kids and met a sweet friend from preschool that he has not seen since his 5th birthday party in early June. They literally ran together from across the parking lot and embraced and I heard, "I've missed you so much!" Though.I.Might.Die. from the cuteness. Let Claire and Finn run free in the children's area, climb, slide, pet goats, look at ducks, koi, small animal poo, chickens, pigs, giant rabbits and a pony. So much fun! I have pictures, but cannot figure out how to insert them so that they aren't all at the top of this post. But I will figure that out.

After the zoo, we all went...wait for it...back to my mom's and sister's for my birthday. I put the babies down and went upstairs and took a two hour nap. Might have been the best nap of my life. My mom made a great dinner, an excellent chocolate cake, presents were opened and we got the kids home late, but happy. The weather was cool and they got to run in my sister's front yard and play hide and seek in the dark with their dad and uncle Doug. It really doesn't get much better.

45 year-old me birthday! We went to the zoo because a cool front finally blew through Dallas and the weather was perfect with a capital P. Met a sweet friend from preschool and had a fabulous morning!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

  • So many random thoughts.
  • I have an overwhelming urge to raise chickens in my back yard.
  • I do not want to eat them, but I do want to provide eggs for my friends and family.
  • I have a song about a monkey riding on a pig stuck in my head. Thank you, sister Becky and cousin Linda.
  • My oldest brother is coming to visit this weekend and my other brother next...from the Pacific Northwest...and I cannot seem to remember.
  • I am really glad that Glee is back on.
  • Monday is my 45th birthday. That is half way to 90.
  • I need to plan Claire and Finn's 2nd birthday party and am thinking a "trains and tutus" cake.
  • I want to write a book. Ha!
  • I am training for a 5K. Which surprises you more? That I want to write a book or that I've started running?
  • Or that I'm almost 45 and have two almost 2 year-olds?
  • I'm glad that the house is off the market but am thinking alot about putting it back on. I am a planner.
  • I like alot of the songs on Glee but I rarely know who really sings them. Billionaire?
  • I am really excited about my first pumpkin spice latte but wont have one until it's below 70 degrees. It's principle, people.

Thanks for the brain purge!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big O

I watched Food, Inc. recently and have had my eyes opened (even further) to how I want to feed my family. It might be a long time...and possibly forever, before I buy regular grocery store meat and poultry.

So, today I set off to the grocery store. I had three choices. Whole Foods, Central Market, or
Tom Thumb (Safeway.) Whole Foods is probably the most expensive and does well with organic but not so great with local produce. Central Market does an excellent job with high quality meat, fish and local produce, and kind of gives me the warmies to shop there, but it is impossible to buy paper towels that dont cost six dollars. So, Tom Thumb it was. Parking and shopping carts are also big factors for me. Whole Foods has great carts for two babies. It looks like a race car and they are at the top and back of the cart...right near me. And they are clean and new. Central Market has the second best option. The two seater, but it's the kind where the seat part takes up the entire back third of the cart and looks like a Six Flags ride. They sit up straight in a seat and are harnessed in. Again, though, they are closer to me and I know exactly what they are doing. Tom Thumb has some of the worst carts (but not THE worst). They are those awful car cart things, where I can put them in the pink-eye ridden car part, that sometimes has straps to secure them in but I can't see them and things are at eye level and within reach. So, I put them up in the traditional seat (where there is room for two) and if I am lucky enough to find a cart with buckles, I secure them in. Today I got the one with buckles...and the sticky, broken wheels. Pushing it around a corner usually took two or three tries and I got sympathetic looks from strangers. Better than hairy eye balls, I suppose.

We hit the aisles. I managed to only buy organic where I felt it mattered. Non-organic items included lemons (used only for grown up Tom Collins children are harmed in the squeezing of the lemons and hopefully the gin negates any pesticides), that Baby Bel soft swiss cheese that I love on sandwiches right now and I could find no options for, club soda (see Tom Collins), and sandwich bread (I did buy Orowheat which has no high fructose corn syrup). I did not buy any meat because they only carry organic chicken and it's kind of expensive on an otherwise pretty big shopping trip. Also, big advantage Central Market. I love their butchers and their meat. It just seems like it comes from a more trusted source and they make all their sausage in house. Have I mentioned how much I love that store?

So, my total was $100. With no diapers and no meat. Next time I'll try Central Market, spend the same amount and see how it stacks up.

Here's to not filling our families with pesticides,

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Real Cost of a Spork

So, Duncan came home early last week and said, "Mom, the lady in the cafeteria told me to tell you to put a spoon in my lunch or a nickel, because sporks cost five cents." The look on my face must have been telling, because he was like, "no, really."

Some background. Duncan attends a public elementary where approximately 88% of the kids qualify for free lunch (and breakfast!). As someone put it, he is the "rich kid". Note: I drive a used minivan, we live in a 1600 square foot home and most of our furniture is hand me downs. We do not even have a headboard. But, I am blessed and fortunate...just not rich. So, the whole incident just did not sit well with us. Almost everyone gets a free lunch, but our kid can't get a stupid plastic spork without shelling out a nickel. We grumbled and laughed about how Iain would storm into the lunchroom, throwing sporks about and making a fuss.

So, the following Monday, Iain sent an email to the "school liaison" asking her if this was indeed true (because you never know with a five year old) and she said yes. He also brought up the fact that he had offered to build the school a website and was basically told "talk to the hand." This is a poor school. It has poor parents. Free lunches. Not alot of resources. It seemed counter intuitive that they would turn down an opportunity to have someone build them a website, where they could put the school calendar, announcements, accomplishments, and contact information. Because right now? If you don't see it on the sign in front of the school, for which most of the alphabet is missing and they use a backwards 3 for an "E", then you have a hard time figuring it out.

At this point, the principal got involved and again expressed reticence over a website. Because as we all know, it's just a fad. Her emails got more and more terse and when Iain asked repeatedly for an email list for contacts at the school, and getting a few hand-picked names and addresses, she told him she does not give that to the "general public." Okay. So, this is what we are up against. And it's frustrating. I think we all tried to have a really good attitude about this school, and we certainly never say anything negative in front of Duncan. Perhaps this is part of being in the very large public school system. And Duncan's teary, weepy, sad -faced good byes are more about him being separated from us than from the school itself. But it's still hard and frustrating and I know that people are having happy experiences with kindergarten and kids that walk through the door without tears and not letting go of mom at this point.

So, we forge ahead, trying to build a good relationship with his teacher and planning to attend the first PTA meeting next Tuesday. Duncan seems to have made some real friendships already and is happy with his teacher. He likes going to the library (they go for two weeks, then rotate with gym, art, music and computers, I think) and eating lunch in the cafeteria. He likes Lila, Maurice, Melvin and Maya. He says good bye to everyone in the hallway in the afternoon. He even likes the janitor (who is very sweet and funny...I can see why.) So, there are bright spots but there are also some real frustrations for us as parents. I suppose it would be worse if it were the other way around.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another week gone by

One of the things Duncan has struggled with in the past year is writing and coloring. He is a big motor skills kid. One of the things you must do in kindergarten is write and color! Whee! Last night his homework involved tracing his name four times, then writing it ten times. It was not as bad as I had feared, but we got it back today in his folder and she pointed out two things, mainly. One is the upper case A's in his name...they need to be lower case. The other is that I put his name on it, and he needs to do that. We are to have him practice writing his name. Oh, dread...thy name is penmanship practice.

This weeks highlights include:

  • Celebrating my mom's 84th birthday, with a home made lemon pie with coconut meringue. Oh yes, it is good. Lots of eggs, butter, lemon juice, sugar...delish. Strangely, it was almost too chilly to swim.
  • Tuesday is kind of a blur.
  • Church on Wednesday was thrilling in the "go to the basement there are tornadoes coming" kind of way.
  • Claire and Finn both had terrible colds all week and did not sleep well. Thus, neither did we.
  • A quick trip to Aunt Becky's and Granny's on Thursday and a "new" couch for Iain's office.
  • MOPS finally started again for me. Oh, glory day! I always walk away feeling refreshed and renewed even though I am co-coordinator this year and actually have to pray out loud in front of 90 women. It has been a while since I've done that! Probably best that my co-chair sprung it on my last minute today.
  • I am getting a new laptop! Big, big deal. Very excited. Thank you, honey!
So now it is Friday. All the children are asleep in their beds. The weekend is upon us, a birthday party, church, etc...hopefully a family visit or two. Swimming, perhaps? Cowboy football, certainly.

Signing off,

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Week in the Books

Week one of kindergarten is so over. In contrast to Day 1, I would say things are better but there is plenty of room for improvement. Drop off is the worst part. I am able to park and walk to the front door of the school with him, but once inside I can go no further and have to put him in line of all the other kindergarteners marching to class, along the Blue Line of Tape That is not to be Strayed From. This is when the tears begin...sobbing tears. Clinging to me tears. Yesterday the sweet librarian grabbed him and gently took his hand...he later told me that she eats books for lunch. I am not sure if she was trying to be scary or funny, but he fortunately thought it was funny and I think they bonded.

As a side note, Claire has a new habit of throwing everything into the kitchen sink. And, I have decided that I prefer almonds to pecans.

So, back to kindergarten. Aside from the rather stark contrast to preschool, and the trauma of drop off, I think we are doing okay. He has made three friends, Lila, Zachary and Maurice. We met Lila at Meet The Teacher night and he took an instant liking to her. I get full reports of sitting next to her at lunch, etc...Zachary is a very sweet kid who he met the first day, and Maurice is new as of today (to the friend list.) Maurice rates because he rides the bus. And that is exotic and fascinating.

A strange, but wonderful, byproduct of kindergarten appears to be a newfound fascination with making his bed and cleaning his room. I cannot explain this, and just call 'em as I see 'em.

So, drop off in the morning seems to be our most difficult hurdle at this point. I believe we can come up with some strategy to make this easier on him, and I will post our progress on that front. I still, to be honest, do not love this little school. We are one week in and in the one exchange I have had with his teacher that has lasted more than three seconds she told me that he cries every morning and that she has to shut the window shades so he wont look out the windows for me, and that he has difficulty writing his name (quelle surprise!). I think it's time for our first parent/teacher conference...because none of that really tells me anything. What do you do when he cries? Do you really have to shut the blinds? And are you concerned that one week in, that he can't write his name too well? Ah...the frustration begins.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tears in my pot pie

Late yesterday afternoon on First Day of Kindergarten Eve, a dear friend sent me a prayer for Duncan. Reading it caused those great big squirty tears to shoot out of my eyes and into the pot pie I was making for dinner.

I had been doing okay up until that point. Then I started thinking about all of the people that he could come into contact with, over which Iain and I have no control. In preschool, he was so easily accessible to us. I could stop by, enter the code, walk in the hallway and to his classroom. I could email his teachers, pick up the phone and call anyone up there and they knew me, and more importantly, they knew my child. I could pick him up early, I could keep him home. Alot of control. Kindergarten? Not so much.

When we dropped him off today, we were able to walk him all the way to his class but tomorrow it's bye-bye at the are on your own, baby chick. And it's killing me. I know it's time. I know he's old enough. Don't I? He seems so small in that big school with all those older kids...and I feel so out of touch with the powers that be at that school. And I'll save my thoughts about the other moms and dads...and grandparents....for another post. Do I sound like a big Debbie Downer? Well, yes, perhaps I do. Give me my moment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Kinder Kinder

We have three days left until Duncan starts kindergarten. Fortunately, I have enough going on these three days that I can hardly think about it. Until I get in bed at night.

Last night, he woke up calling for me. I finally got up and out of bed and saw that he had his light on and was crying in the bed. He told me he had a bad dream, so I crawled in next to him until he fell asleep again. The clock in our bedrooom is unplugged, because I had to plug in my phone charger, because Finn figured out how to get to it when it was charging in the kitchen, but I digress. So long story short I have no idea what time it was.

At some point today he told me that it was a bad dream about kindergarten...that "Leo" was unkind to him on the playground and would not share. So we had a little heart to heart about kindergarten and addressed some of his fears. I think he believed, for a time, that all of his old Pre-K peeps were all staying together at his preschool and that Iain and I were yanking his sweet self out of there and sending him to the school down the strees. Once this sunk it, that everyone was going to a new school, he felt a bit better. But still nervous.

We bought his new school uniforms yesterday. I knew it had to be done and my week and weekend are crazybusy to I just loaded up all three of them and went to Target to buy them. We have (sadly) made the leap from the little boys/toddler clothing section to the boys'. And I am not happy with what I find. Skulls? Chains? I kid you not when I tell you I could not find a belt for him that did not have a skull or a chain or something dangling from it. But, we did find the red collared polo shirts, white collared polo shirts and navy shorts and pants. I just hope he doesn't look like he's going to work at Tom Thumb, because that is almost exactly what I had to wear when I worked there in 1982.

We also got Buzz Lightyear shoes.

We do not have a new lunch box or backpack. I got him a really nice lunchbox from Lands End last year and it's monogrammed so I can't even pass it on to Finn. But maybe a new backpack.

All that to say that we have meet the teacher tomorrow night, and hopefully he will meet some kids in his class and start to feel connected and have a better idea of what it will be like. I do think he's excited, because he talks about it so much. But, I also think he's very, very nervous. It could get ugly Monday morning.

Oh, and we are buying a new van tomorrow, I have to take him for his 5 year checkup tomorrow afternoon, meet the teacher tomorrow night, a family swim party Saturday, a huge MOPS cookbook event at church on Sunday (organized by yours truly with the help of some really awesome women) and it's promotion Sunday for Sunday School. And it's Iain's and my turn to bring donuts.

See you Monday night!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The strings they are a tuggin'

First of all, can I just say how ever lovin' hot it is in Dallas? There. I've said it. I swear they said it was 108 today. With a heat index of 752.

After the initial chaos of the morning died down, and I had consumed two cups of coffee, I got everyone in the van and we drove up to the local elementary school to get the paperwork to get Duncan enrolled for kindergarten. Everyone is so nice and my fears are subsiding but thinking about that first day...leaving him there...can't go there really. It is a sweet little school but almost all parents in our neighborhood choose to move when it is time for their kids to start kinder. I will bring the papers back tomorrow and get him enrolled and ask for a specific teacher that we met on our tour of the school. I think he will do fine, but we have agreed to keep our house on the market and that ultimately it is really not where we want him.

I just can't think about it for too long, really. 8-3, five days a week. That's a long time. Crazy to think about. Didn't we just bring him home from the hospital? Okay, I have to stop.

So, after that we came home and had more chaos. Finn is trying to figure out how to open the refrigerator...which scares me on many levels. We made lunch, ate and then it was naptime. For Claire, Finn and maybe Mommy. Okay, I just strongly suggested that Duncan and I lie down and have "quiet time". I may have nodded off.

Later in the afternoon I had our sitter (who goes back to college next week...sob) come so I could take Duncan and go pick up a friend and have some fun. So, Duncan and Grant piled in the back of the van and talked like only 5 year old boys can and then ate and played like only 5 year old boys can.

After we were home, and I had Duncan in the bed he said, "Mom, thanks for making Claire." Then rolled over and said, "Dear God, thank you for my baby sister...keep my whole family safe and take us around the world." Not sure where that trip around the world came from but the rest of it kind of killed me.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Big U Turn

When my oldest brother, who is now 61, was in college at Texas Tech, he and some friends did what they call "The Big U Turn". They just drove to Canada, from Lubbock, turned around and drove back. Kind of stupid, kind of genius. I don't know for sure, but I imagine that the drive up there was fun...for a few hours...then got long and tedious and at some point kept going simply because they'd gone too far to turn back. Then, an immediate U-Turn in the opposite direction.

That's kind of what it's like around here lately.

A few days ago, I wrote about some big decisions we were making and where we had ended up on most of them. Well, it looks like things are changing. Or might change.

First and foremost are our plans for kindergarten for Duncan. I was approached by a mom I know from Duncan's preschool one day last week. She stopped me in the hallway at our church to tell me that her next door neighbor is one of the kindergarten teachers at our neighborhood elementary school...where we would have to send Duncan if we chose public school. She also used words like "dynamic" and "fantastic" in describing her. I walked away thinking to myself, "hmmm...perhaps we should revisit the idea of our neighborhood school." And that's what we have done. My sister commented that Duncan sounded disappointed at the prospect of not "going" to kindergarten. Piece of information #2. Is THIS God talking to me? Is THIS Him giving me the clear direction I have prayed for oh so many, many nights in a row? So.Confusing.

On a completely different note, I really need a haircut.

So, now that I am doing a complete 180, my big U Turn, on Duncan's schooling there seem to be a million things to consider. School supplies, lunches, uniforms. The list goes on and on. Most people probably start planning this months in advance. We have two weeks!

I think I'll have alot to blog about.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

So, August is a big month for our family. We have alot going on and alot of decisions to make. They kind of all tie together, so it's hard to prioritize but I think we are making progress.

Big, Stressful Decision #1 - Three years ago we leased a pretty, shiny, new Camry. That was 2007. I drove it for a year and loved it deeply. The last time I drove that car and thought of it as mine was October 23, 2008. To the hospital. Because I was in labor (yes I drove myself...that's another story). I've been driving my mom's 2000 Toyota Sienna ever since. It is NOT pretty or shiny or new. But it holds all three of our kids and it runs. So my mom has been driving the Camry for two years and now the lease is ending and we have to turn it in. We hoped to just buy my mom's old van since (see below) we aren't sure what kind of budget we'll have going forward. It's been well taken care of and probably (unfortunately?) has lots of life left in it. Although Duncan's "special trash compartment" might have devalued it a bit. My mom was up and down, back and forth, all over the place as to whether or not she wanted to sell it so we were unsure as to whether or not we'd buy a new van, or her old one.

Big Stressful Decision #2 - Our house has been on the market since April 6th. We were hopeful that by now, we would have sold and moved so that Duncan could start school at a kindergarten we felt good about. This is not the case. We have shown it perhaps 15 - 20 times and have not had a single offer. We have lowered our price two times and wonder if at this point, it's not too low. At this point, we are not going to sell in time for us to move before school starts so do we keep it on the market, as is; take it off the market and give it a "rest period" and try again next spring or do we spend some money, make some changes and still try to sell this fall, at a higher price...which leads us to...

Big, Stressful Decision #3 - The one piece of feedback we get over and over on our house is that our kitchen is too small/not updated. So, we got a few bids on a remodel that would be pretty incredible and probably help sell our house quicker. No guarantees, of course. The downsides are the money, the time, the mess. The benefits would be that for the duration of the time we have left in this house we would have a fabulous kitchen, and that we would very likely sell the house faster. However, being faced with possibly having to buy a new car instead of an old, crappy uh, I mean previously owned one impacted our decision. We had bids, had talked money, and I think were really close to pulling the trigger, but then doubt started creeping in.

Big, Stressful Decision #4 - Duncan turned five in June and we completely anticipated that he would start kindergarten this August. We also anticipated that we would live in an area with a good neighborhood school. Do we send him to the neighborhood school? We tried to get a transfer but were unsuccessful. Our local school is not terrible. As Iain said, he will not get stabbed. We visited and were not completely horrified. We did not love it. I did not think, "this will be such a good place for him". I had people tell me "it's only kindergarten", which is true only I don't really agree with the "only" part. He's there at least six hours a day, five days a week. With people I don't know. Without us. Without the people he's been with most days, all of his life. That's a harsh change. So, to send him somewhere that we don't feel really confident about, where we aren't sure he'll get what he needs just doesn't feel right to us. I went back and forth almost daily on what to do but after MUCH prayer the answers started to come to me.

Not so big not so stressful decision - My cell phone was up for renewal and Iain got me a new one. Oh, iPhone...where have you been all my life?

So, as of right now, we are buying my mom's old van, selling her the Camry, not remodeling the kitchen, homeschooling Duncan (yes, I said homeschooling...I am sure I will have lots of good material on that one, don't you think?), and still hoping our house sells and that we can still move to a good school.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Just a snippet from our vay-cay. Possibly my favorite pic evah of Iain with one of the kids. She made that face every time she heard the elephant trumpet on the iPad (totally cool new toy, btw.) So glad my sister got it on film. Well, not on film, but on digital thingy.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

God Knows If You're Lying

The day started out innocently enough...everyone slept until 7:30, and we were all in our pajamas...dining room table fort still in place, with every pillow and most blankets. First cup of coffee consumed but no diapers changed and certainly no breakfast made. Then, at about 8:30 the phone was the showing service asking to show the house between 10 and 10:30. I was kind of excited! There was alot to do but if Duncan was cooperative, and I moved fast I could get the house picked up, get the babies changed and fly out the door in time.

I was in the kitchen, about to refill my Keurig coffee maker when I heard our bedroom...from behind the door. He had locked himself in. I didn't immediately panic because I had seen Iain pick the lock not too long ago. But, luck was not on my side and I simply could not get him out. His pudgy little fingers poking out from underneath the door, I tried to call Iain but it was just after 6:00 a.m. in SoCal. So, I called my all else fails call your 84 year-old mother who is twenty miles away. She told me to call 911, which I did and was transferred to the fire department who said they would immediately come to our rescue.

When the fire engine came down the street, sirens and lights blazing, Duncan was on the verge of bursting. Claire was clinging to me. And Finn..well, still crying in our bedroom. Five fire toddler. They freed him and left, with a few neighbors looking on wondering what in the world was going on.

We (read: me) grabbed any remaining Hot Wheels, dirty laundry, mail and miscellaneous, threw it in the laundry basket a-go-go and got in the van and fled. We drove around, looked at horses at a nearby horse barn, trains, tractors, houses for sale and finally came home and went across the street to a sweet neighbors house until I was sure they had come and gone.

Later on in the day, as the afternoon creeped up on us, they all got pretty ramped up. At one point, Duncan was flying through the living room pushing a little car of Finn's and the next thing I knew he was right next to Claire and she was crying on the tile. When I asked him what happened, he replied, "she just fell". I asked him if he was telling me the truth then actually hear "God knows if you're lying" come out of my mouth. Who AM I? Oh dear.

There was then a naked in front yard episode and I knew bedtime was drawing very near. By 7:00 he was in bed and by 7:30 was asleep.

It was a rough day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Priest Lake

Whew. Won't do that again. And by "that" I mean flying half way across country with two toddlers. It is mostly a blur at this point. I do recall Claire throwing raisins about the cabin and screaming "I stuck!" while I was trying to confine her to my lap. And on the way home our plane out of Spokane being delayed and Iain having to run up and down the airport (and I mean at a clip...not just jogging) with the twins in their stroller to keep them from completely coming unglued. And waking up at 4:00 a.m. to get there, and getting home at 1:00 a.m. coming back.

But oh, the best part? The very best part? Is when we all started puking. At our peak, there were 15 adults at the lake with us. And most of us fell like little soldiers. Duncan was the first...with his blue bubble gum ice cream...on the beach. I was sure he had just had too much junk food and too little sleep. Kids puke alot, right? So I got him inside, and put him in one of the beds to sleep it off. Meanwhile, my sister in law fell victim upstairs. I still did not put two and two together. All of the rest of us felt fine! It was so weird how Duncan and Frankie both go sick! the middle of the night...I heard my sister. And I knew. I will not get sick, I will not get sick, I will not get sick. I kept praying it over and over and over again. Oh and Iain? Was downstairs in the bed with Duncan. The next morning came, and I slowly felt it coming on until it hit me, then quickly my mom. Then Iain. As we all lay flat on our backs in misery, I passed off all our children to my 19 year-old niece, and my thirty-something niece and her husband. My oldest brother also got sick at some point.

By the end of the day, I was feeling like I could function. My sister in law was as well, but not my mom, my sister or Iain. Is this TMI? Long story short(er) we all recovered but sucked. There is no other way to put it.

Other thoughts about our vacation?

  • The Michies will no longer fly for vacation. Until our children are old enough to go to the bathroom on their own, and be trusted to sit in a seat and entertain themselves.
  • I was smart and insightful enough not to bring any reading materials on this trip.
  • Cool, dark, basement storage rooms make better rooms for babies to sleep in that light, airy beach house bedrooms.
  • 5 year old boys can probably get by for at least 10 days with one pair of underwear.
  • I had no idea my 84 year old mother watched The Bachelorette.
  • Self-important business man in coach, giving me the hairy eyeball because of my kids? You aren't that important.
  • I need good coffee. Every day.
  • Campfires on the beach, in a sweatshirt and shorts, in the summertime, are one of life's greatest pleasures. Even more so with your kids.
  • Coming home is always the best part.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

So, it's Saturday morning. Iain had to go to work and I'm home with Claire and Finn. I can only assume Duncan is having the time of his life at the lake. He is surrounded by fun family and a beach, and my brother's boat, and clear, freezing cold water of Priest Lake. And I do mean freezing. Glacier lake freezing. But, unlike our Texas "lakes" the water is crystal clear and the bottom is pebbles or sand..not the disgusting muck of Texas "lakes" that I can no longer tolerate nor even think about. I have this weird thing about my feet. But I digress.

So, our flight leaves Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. Which means we have to be at the airport at 5:30 a.m. Which means we need to leave home at 4:30 a.m. Which means I have to get everything done today and tomorrow and go to bed tomorrow afternoon.

Oh, and did I mention we are having an open house tomorrow? Yes, that makes it more interesting doesn't it? Actually, I worked this week on keeping the house clean and tidy so I think with minimal effort we will be ready for the house part. It's the packing part that I need to focus on. I am seriously considering sleeping in my clothes. And bringing the babies on the plane in their pajamas. I almost always get some kind of anxiety about airline travel and all that can go wrong...even when it's just me.

Preparedness is key, gentle readers.

10:09 p.m. Got more done today that I thought I would. Am feeling ready. Drinking a gin and tonic so will turn in soon. More tomorrow.

Got my Shred DVD today!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Y'all might get bored with me

Breakfast: Raisin Bran. Nectarine was too "mealy" but Finn and Claire loved it.

I still do not have my Shred DVD but am also planning to hit a Zumba class at the Y on Saturday morning. Am sure spouse will be fully supportive of me doing this, even if it means it's "Special Daddy Time" on Saturday mornings. I could take the babies with me, but they don't change diapers at this particular Y, which really irks me. The "workers", on the few times I've taken my kids, sit in big rockers and just sit back and watch. It is my only complaint about that particular branch, but it's a big one. The Y that is closer to us has a far superior child care set up and the staff are first class. They interact with the kids and babies, change diapers whether or not they really need to be changed, take them to a bounce house or outside, etc...But I digress.

Does lifting two almost 30 pound babies all day count for anything?

For my mid-morning snack (because breakfast around here is at 6:30 ish y' kids are roosters) was a Feel Full Smoothie. 1 serving sugar-free instant breakfast, 1 cup skim milk, 1 small banana and 1 tbsp. peanut butter. I added ice and blended. Yummy and yes, feeling very full.

It seems like Iain and I have so much going on right now, but life also feels good. There is movement but none of it feels gloom and doom. Selling the house, remodeling the kitchen, vacation, kindergarten. See? None of it terrible. Just alot. Okay, for me, the kindergarten issue is the most stressful.

I must go now. And look at baby clothes and try to figure out how my baby boy turned five and is old enough to go to kindergarten.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Shred Dread Day 2 and Kitchen Issues

So, I don't have the DVD yet, but I did order it yesterday. I feel like that is a step in the right direction. I also recruited three amigas to do this along with me. I feel like we need a catchy group name. "ShredHeads" has already been taken. The only thing I have come up with is Cole Slaw, and I do not believe that is funny or appropriate so all suggestions are welcome. And even if someone understood it, they still might not think it was funny.

I just had dinner and it was super yummy. Got the idea out of a magazine article on losing I did not just pull it out of thin air. I took one of those 100 calorie sandwich thins and spread "light" brie on it, sliced green apple and shaved turkey breast. It was delish!

On the kitchen front, we are considering a remodel. While trying to sell our house, the only negative comment we hear (and we hear it over and over again) is that our kitchen is too small. Tell me about it, sister. So, we believe that a remodel is in order. We have two bids and if all goes well, could have it done in a matter of weeks. Kindergarten starts next month and I am not at all prepared to drop him off at the school down the street but am afraid that is what we will end up doing. However, my hope is that if we can get the remodel done quickly, we can sell the house more quickly and then can move. I would love to be all settled by a certain day on which people eat alot of turkey and pie but don't dare breathe that thought out loud.

There is so much to do. Financing, finalize plans, etc...but I think the only thing we can do is just get started. So, I should get thinner and my kitchen should get prettier. We will both undergo huge improvements.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Shred Dread

So, in the interests of keepin' it real, I have decided to combine The Shred with Weight Watchers and see how I do after 30 days. Three full-term pregnancies, three vertical c-sections, one set of twins and a looming 45th birthday make something drastic necessary.

I will take before pics, but will not post them until I also have my after pics. We have vacation next week, but I'm planning on starting as soon as I can find a copy of the DVD, and will do what I can while we are on our trip. Probably wont involve doing The Shred in the living room of the lakehouse with fourteen other members of my family.

I hear that I might feel so crippled I am unable to type, so bear with me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our crops...corn and pumpkins...about one month later.
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Idol Worship

Big brother is cramming grapes in his mouth...guess who else thought that would be fun?
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Zoo Freaks

We took all the kids to the Dallas Zoo today, despite the fact that it's hotter than you-know-where and Claire is getting over pneumonia. It was great! With plenty of water, a bit of shade, standing under a mister or two, and hogging the giant fans they have set up at the new exhibit, you can survive the zoo with three kids in the Texas heat. They will even give you free cups of ice, which makes Finn very happy.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ever had a girl so mad about the fact you'd put her to bed that she pulled everything off her dresser and threw everything out of her crib? Yeah, me too.

Ever had a five year old build a train track that comes out his door, down the hallway and into the family room? Yeah, me too.

Ever had twin twenty month-olds start to pinch each other over who got to stand on the car toy so they could reach the counter and grab the plate of green beans? Yeah, me too.

Ever had twin toddlers so tired from no morning nap AND vacation Bible school that you are convinced they'll sleep for hours when you put them down and they prove you wrong. Completely wrong. Yeah, me too.

Ever, at the end of the day, despite the chaos and the noise, and the crying and the mess completely and utterly grateful for all of your children? Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Two Suckers

After vacation Bible school today, I had a babysitter come so I could take Duncan to a movie. Iain took him once, but it was about a year ago and he got a little scared so they left. My sister took him once, about six months ago and said he did well. I wanted to have a fun summer with him, since we will be throwing him to the wolves this August when we send him to kindergarten (okay, not really, but I have issues.) So, I wanted to take him to a movie. I looked at the list of choices and tried to decide between the lesser of two evils. Shrek III or Marmaduke. I called a friend to see if she and her daughter, one of Duncan's favorite friends, wanted to join us. She weighed in that they had seen Shrek III and while intense in a Disney-all-the-mommies-die sort of way, it was probably the easier for us mommies to sit through. Good point.

We got to the theater and Duncan commented on how hot it was outside and how cool it was inside. Smart boy! It was a "movie studio grille" so we sat at a table, in nice swivel chairs and donned our 3D glasses. We all looked awesome. We ordered popcorn, two strawberry lemonades, a Diet Dr. Pepper and an iced tea and settled in. I was prepared for nerves, and almost prefaced it with a "if you get scared just tell me and we can step out" but decided against it. And my genius paid off. He was mesmerized. I don't think he ever took his eyes off the screen except to look over at his friend Ashley and say, "hey Ashley, how's it goin'?" and to look at me and tell me how hilarious the movie was. Success! We had a super time. Tons of fun with my that. Cannot think about kinder or I will cry.

So, we left the theater and went to the bank to deposit some expense checks (hi honey! See? I'm takin' care of business, in addition to all the fun and games...) and go to the grocery store. Duncan got not one but two suckers from the teller which just about put him over the edge in the "this is a great day" department.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

One Thousand Cats

Duncan and I had a conversation this morning about things we want in our new house. We decided that we will have a thousand cats (his idea) and a five story, family bunk bed which will be in the living room. Every morning we will wake up and watch TV. From the top bunk, there will be a slide that will go through the entire house and end up in our pool in the back yard. We will also have a very long diving board so that you can get a good running start before diving in.