Sunday, November 03, 2013

A werewolf, a dragon and a fox walk into a bar…



Halloween 2013 was a huge success.  For the first time, I made costumes.  Well, I semi-homemade costumes I suppose…in the way that Sandra Lee “makes” lasagna.  But I was super proud of myself, especially for Finn’s totally obscure request to be the dragon from the corner of the Kizi website.  IMG_0202

So I really got my craft on and pulled out the sewing machine I’ve had for about seven years without using and threaded that bobbin and got to work.  Now I want to sew everything, which should scare everyone. 

We went to some friends house before trick or treat, fed the kids, then I took the little ones, Iain headed home to sit in the front yard, round the fire pit hand out candy and Duncan took off with four of his best pals and one of their moms, who wins the super brave mom award for taking off with five 3rd grade boys for trick or treat.  Our neighborhood is amazing all the time, but Halloween is something to behold.  The streets are lined with friends in their yards with fire pits blazing and (most) everyone is truly happy to see the kids, hand out candy and enjoy being part of our community.  There are several large yard parties, hay rides and a friend around every corner.  It’s a total blast.


We got everyone home and in bed by 9 and when I went to check on Claire I found this.


She is sound asleep, y’all.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Where Does The Time Go?



Sometimes I hardly know where to start.  It’s been so long since I’ve blogged and it feels like too much has happened so I become paralyzed and don’t blog.  I seem to think of great things to write about when I am lying in bed with one of the kids, late at night, and everything is quiet.  Or, when I am driving and once again, things are relatively quiet.  Then I get caught up in the business of every day life….or the busy-ness of it…and all thoughts go out the window.  Well, all bloggy thoughts.  Others take over like dinner, lunch, breakfast, homework, etc…

Since my last post, we have survived summer, I turned 48, endured my 30th high school reunion, Duncan started 3rd grade and all that it entails, and Claire and Finn have started Pre-K and are fast approaching their 5th birthday. Out of all of those things, probably my 48th birthday has had the most impact.  Time is fleeting.  It does go more quickly with each passing year.  I see these children now, still small and young and unfinished and sometimes my heart starts to ache at the thought of them becoming large, independent people.  We are in a bit of a sweet spot with all of them.  Some days, I don’t want it to end.  I know, when I lie in bed with Finn at the end of the day, grateful for bedtime, that it will not always be this way.  Eventually, he will just go to bed, whenever, and alone, with no need for me.  Even Duncan, at 8, still wants me in there so that is some comfort. 

But, growing older does seem to smack you in the face sometimes.  I have not yet embraced the chin hairs, the lines, the grays, the pooch.  But I have accepted them.  Maybe even earned them?  Other things matter more…much more.  Preserving our family, building relationships with the kids.  Cherishing friends.  Spirituality.  Home.

Hey, speaking of home…we are into some major DIY stuff and after 2 years might even make this house we live in home.  I think I’ve blogged about my lack of house love.  We had a terrible set of sellers who kind of tainted this house for me.  Pair that with some really wacko next door neighbors and some days I felt like it was all a huge mistake.  If it were not for the school and the people in our neighborhood I cannot imagine we would have stayed in this house as long as we have.  But now, that might be changing.  I still long for a “For Sale” sign next door, but am more focused on this house and making it ours, which we are doing.  I even have some fondness for it and see ways in which we can make it the house we love.

Clearly, I have problems staying on track with thoughts.

Will try to blog more often.


I also learned how to take out all of the neck wrinkles with Picasa.  You are welcome.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Vacation 2013



Every year my family, my mom, my brothers, their wives, their kids, their kids’ kids, my sister and anyone else who can tolerate our family tries to vacation together.  The tradition started a long time ago, with Mom picking a river rafting trip in Idaho.  Iain did not get to go because he had not given me a ring.  Seriously.  On that trip, we drew names to see who would get to pick the following year, and so on so that each of my siblings and I each got a turn to pick a trip. 

My sister was first, in 1999, and she picked a dude ranch in Montana.  Iain got to go on that one, because we were married.  It was really fun, but I still have trauma from my trail ride and a horse named Dallas. 

In 2000, for some reason, we did not go anywhere.

In 2001, my brother Doug got to pick and we went to Mexico.  I was very pregnant with Ziggy, but it was a nice trip.  We got the big bedroom since I could play the PG card.  I can’t remember where we went, which is sad, but it was on the western coast.

Then, Ziggy died and we didn’t go anywhere for a very long time.

But, last year my brother Randy planned his trip and we all went up to Montana again.  That is the Great Road Trip of 2012, which you may recall.  Who could forget it?

This year?  My turn.  I wanted them to come here.  Texas…land of plenty.  Land of opportunity.  Land of heat.  But also, plenty of fun to be had.  It needed to be near an airport, and have things for kids and for adults.  Also, we needed houses…not hotels.  So, I decided (with the unanimous agreement of my siblings) on Neal's Lodges in Concan.  It was only a 6 hour drive for us, and after last year?  Easy peasy lemon squeezie. 

Turned out great.  Not without it’s hitches, but we were together and nobody died.


We even made it all the way there with no roadside time outs!


We had our own pool, which was great.


Granny made homemade ice cream one night!



They tout themselves as having the best swimming hole in Texas.  Finn and Duncan would agree.   Fearless.  They loved it.  Wanted to do it all day, every day.


Aunt Frankie brought s’mores fixings.  The weather was really lovely and cool in the mornings and evenings.  It was so unlike Dallas.  Perfect.


That little blue dot?  That’s where we were!

End of Part I

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Part II



There was lots of baseball in early June, and the younger siblings are kind of their own little Astros Posse.  It’s cute. 


15 years, baby!  Sent all the kids away and just stayed home.  Saw movies, ate out, took naps.  Glorious.  Missed the little buggers though.  Two days apart is enough.


There are few things our kids love more than swimming, but swimming with cousins is one of them.  Love it when my cousin Scott comes from Cali every June and brings his kids.  Great chance for that generation of cousins to get together.  Always big fun!


Never to be outdone by his big brother, our Finny got the game ball at his game!  He might be the one to watch.  Always easy to forget that, but seriously.  This kid is a ball player.


One of the things I love most about our neighborhood is that friends are close…very close.  It’s kind of old fashioned in that way, and kids ride their bikes to each other’s houses…hang out and can have a bit more freedom than in many neighborhoods in Dallas.  It’s a bit of a bubble, which is good and bad.  But we love it. 


Did I mention we played a lot of baseball?


And won the championship!!!  So proud of this team of boys.  Was a great ending! 


Had lots of fun at VBS, too, and even got to have lunch with some friends we have not seen in a long time! 

So far, June was really non-stop.  It wears me out all over again just thinking about it.  And we hadn’t even taken our trip yet.  Will have to do Part III for that one.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Summer So Far Part 1



Well, June…hello goodbye.  How have you gone so quickly?  Oh, I know what you are thinking.  It’s only June 18th!  But in the blink of an eye it will be July 1st.

We won’t even talk about that last week of school and the H E double hockey sticks involved.  Let’s just go back as far as June 7th.  The first day of summer.  Duncan’s birthday. 


We had 15 of the nicest boys on the planet to our house for baseball, pizza and a movie in the backyard.  The pain has eased somewhat, but it was a great party.  I remember at some point thinking, “hmmm…maybe too many?”  But now I realize no…it was great.  There is not a bad apple in the bunch and we love them all.  It’s just A LOT of boys.   And boys love to do things like have hot tamale eating contests.  Enough said.


Oh, and this one?  He turned 8.


This one is 4 and a half and loves tee ball as much as the big one loves baseball.  So, the day after the party we moved on…tee ball at 10, baseball at 2!  Poor Claire…just gets dragged along and she is such a good sport about it.  Some day we will all go watch her do whatever it is she ends up doing. 



Then the VERY NEXT DAY because WE DO NOT GET A DAY OFF IN SUMMER we had the family swim party.  Very low key this year.  Just a few cousins and it was easy breezy.  We love swimming with cousins more than anything, so it’s always a great time.


We were pretty tired by Sunday night.


But of course, there is no sleeping in, ever, in our house.  Monday morning the 10th brought first day of baseball camp.  And swim lessons.  And later, a baseball game.  And a tee ball game.


On Tuesday the 11th, we had baseball camp, swim lessons, training for me on doing something for cub scouts and more baseball, this time in the form of a Ranger game!   Late nights!  Claire and I had a girls night which was super fun.  I rarely get time with just her and I love it.  I can tell that the older she gets the more important that is going to be.



So, at this point, 5 days into our summer break, I’m thinking “we can’t keep this pace for long.”  But wait!  We must!  See Part 2.  Oh and my house at this point?  Well, you really don’t need me to point out the obvious do you?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Let the Summer Begin



Summer 2013 is off to a roaring start and I’m already counting down until school.  Okay, not really, but kind of really.  I am really going to make an effort to have a good attitude!  About my kids being home all summer!  I know there are plenty of you moms that see summer as a welcome relief….I hear so many “so glad for a  break!” comments and I sadly think, “oh, my break is over.”  It’s easy to gauge how long preschool has been out by the state of my pedicure. 

But this year I am really going to try to enjoy them and not make it so stressful on myself.  Our kids are loud.  And they wake up early.  And we have one living area.  So, while I am sure if your kids are they type who sleep late (late being past 8:00 a.m. to me), or play quietly in the other room…then your mornings and afternoons are probably more relaxing than mine.  But really, truly I am going to try to have a better mindset.  I am not sure how, but I’m going to.

I will keep you posted. 

We had Duncan’s birthday party on Friday…15 8-year-old boys.  It was really fun, but oh my they are loud.  We played baseball across the street, fed them, and showed a movie in the backyard. 


Remind me next year not to do that.  But it was fun.

Lots of baseball and tee ball, which I truly love.  One of the best parts of parenting so far. 

Family swim party yesterday at my sister’s and mom’s.  Cousins rock.


Today Duncan is at baseball camp, then we will go pick up Claire who spent the night at my sister’s and mom’s and go right to swim lessons.  Then home for what I will later laughingly refer to as rest time, before tee ball and baseball this evening.

Tomorrow is no easier!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What I Really Want For Mother's Day

  • Coffee on the back porch, in silence.  Maybe while I read my book.
  • No crying while we get ready for church, and try to get out the door.  Just this once.
  • Before you yell, "Mommy" for you to stop and think...can Daddy do it?  Maybe, just maybe,  you could even do it yourself?
  • Hang the curtain rod over the window by my computer so I can hang up those free curtains I got at the Mommy Swap.  This will make me very happy and bring me daily pleasure.
  • An hour of uninterrupted silence to read my book.  I am almost at the end of book 5 of the Game of Thrones series, so please.  Maybe hubs will take the kids to the park?
  • The dishwasher to be loaded and unloaded as necessary.
That's pretty much it!  No flowers, cards or new Kate Spade wallet (ahem...maybe for my b-day though) necessary.  I already feel loved and appreciated, and my love knows no bounds for all of you in return.  I have received my favorite, home-made with your own tiny hands precious gifts.  I love those more than anything.  


Friday, April 19, 2013

Start to Finish



Here is how my day started.  Really lovely.  Husband agreed to take the little ones to preschool so that I could meet a dear friend for coffee  before she had to go to work.  We met a new place in our town which should and could put Starbucks out of business.  Delish.

Stopped briefly at home to find this…


Can you see the crazy look in her eyes?  Yeah, that’s from all the TINY MARTHA STEWART CRAFT GLITTER that she poured out everywhere.  All over.  The floor, the fireplace, the rug…it’s everywhere.  And impossible to clean up.  It’s even on the rat.  Poor, glittery rat.  Her daddy tried to wash her face before school but she went to school with gold glitter lining her upper and lower lids…very 80’s.  Oh, and it’s all over her scalp too.

Got everyone home from school and had impromptu play date at the park.  Finn hopped on a friend’s four wheeler and I really never heard from him again.


It was a really beautiful day, following a crummy cold, wet week so everyone was really happy to spend the afternoon outside with great friends.  I snapped this pic of Duncan with some of his greatest buddies and love it because they still look like kind of little and enjoying little boy things like just swinging. 


Came home, made a quick stir fry…tried something new. Duncan eating all of it, Claire just eating the steak, and Finn just eating the rice.  Works out well.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Picture Almost Every Day–Day 19



Got their first ribbons at gymnastics today for doing a chin hold on the bars for 13 seconds.  Glad Claire has started on the road to accumulating trophies and ribbons too!  Great fun. 


Monday, February 18, 2013

February Picture Almost Every Day–Day 17



This was a day worth blogging about.  What started out fairly ordinary, ended up being one of our best, most fun family days to date.  We went to church, which was fairly routine.  Got everyone dressed and out the door with as few threats as possible.


After church, and a bite of lunch, we headed out to the rarely-if-ever visited city to our west, Ft. Worth.  Being tired from a party with friends the night before I had my doubts if we would survive with no melt downs.  And this pic was on the way THERE.


But we made it, thanks to Groupon, parked at hit the streets of historic Ft. Worth.  Wow!  What a great place!  Lots of people, and much to our dismay…no rodeo.  We had gone with the promise of the rodeo.  Kids chasing sheep!  Horses!  Steers!  Fun!  On Friday and Saturday nights!  Oh darn.  Well, hey!  Let’s make the best of it.  Let’s let the children have a pony ride to sooth their disappointed little hearts. 




Sweet ponies.  Until they are not.  Duncan’s pony got spooked at something, started kicking wildly and bucked him.  Off.  I watched as if the whole thing played out in slow motion…he flew up in the air, came down hard and the pony continued bucking and kicking.  I was terrified he was going to get kicked in the face, or the arm…ugh.  Thankfully, none of that happened but he was really frightened.  The old cowboy in the picture with Finn felt terrible and rushed to his side, walked us out of the pen, sat him down and talked to him the whole time.  We went to go use the bathroom and talked him into trying again.  And he did.  Got right back on…not on the back of Bad News Pony, but on Clyde…sweet pony.  That ol’ cowboy pony handler had tears in his eyes telling me how happy he was that Duncan came back and got back on.  He reckoned he was real proud of that boy.  Hurray!  Our big turn of events.

The cattle drive is amazing.


We moseyed on back to our car, and found some amazing Mexican food.  Really amazing.  Thank you Yelp!  Even promised the kids ice cream on the way home!  We were good parents!  On a parenting high!  Stopped at Braum’s on the way home and everyone collapsed into bed…including me who fell asleep at 8:00.  In Finn’s bed.