Saturday, July 31, 2010


Due to the complaints of "My feet are tiiiireddd." from the children as we hoofed it around the mall in Washington D.C., The Boss Man and I made an executive decision to hitch a ride so we could see a bit more. The obvious solution was right in front of us as we walked out of the Museum of Natural History: a pedi-cab!! It would provide delight and entertainment to the children- and provide us a way to get all the way up to the capitol building and back to our parking lot. And to boot, Cash could sing "I'm just a bill, just an ordinary bill, and I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill..." over and over while we watched the impressive building get closer and closer. Much better than whining.

The dude (and I call him that because what else can you call a skinny biker guy with stringy long blonde hair who hangs out waiting to catch fares on his bike) refilled his gatorade bottle and chugged a bit as we arranged ourselves on the rickshaw. Then he hopped on his cycle and started out- very slowly. You could see his skinny little sinewy legs straining.

I tried very very hard to sit back and enjoy the ride with my kids. But all I could do was look at how skinny this guy was- and notice his b.o. It seemed easy enough to pull us along on the flats and once we got going, but starting out each time we had to stop for traffic took effort. And I could not help it- I felt guilty.

I'm hoping this guy enjoys what he is doing. I even asked him several times if this was a job he loved. He said he did, but sounded kind of nonchalant. I don't know.... it could have been that he really didn't dig lugging fat well-off tourists with whiney kids around the sights or it could have been that he was too high to answer my questions with much enthusiasm. It just seemed like we were "those people." You know, paying others to do hard labor so we could sit back and act like royalty. It made my nerves bad.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I'm really freaked out that I am continuing to smell as I head around the nation. Met up with an old/ new friend today. We've been online friends for a looooonnnnng time, but never had gotten to see each other in real life. So fun!!

But I was concerned that I stink.

Laundry from the suitcase is in the wash again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I've got good things to report. My little boy has re-bonded with his first best buddy. There is nothing like it. Our good friends who moved to Baltimore last Fall have welcomed our chaotic motorcade into their house for a few days. This has been an anticipated highlight of the trip for the kiddos as they have missed their friends, Kirk and Avery, terribly.

But one always worries a little bit about that saying, "You can't go home again." Six months is an eternity for little guys. And though I brought Cash up here for a surprise trip in March a lot can happen in a few months.....

Well, my friends, I am happy to report that the magic is still there. Kirk and Cash have some amazing chemistry. They are just so soothed by each other's presence. It's magic, indeed. Happy boys.

Here are all four of the kiddos at the Maryland zoo having a good ole' time.

There's other chemistry going on during this journey- this time really really unpleasant. I had been wondering about an odor in my closet recently and just thought my shoes were stinking so I was throwing out old shoes. Everything just kind of smelled skunky.

So as I packed, I lovingly tucked in a never worn pair of red patent little ballet flats. I was so looking forward to wearing them with a little kicky denim skirt and some kind of cute top. I would be so fabulous in my new red shoes!!!

When we arrived in Charleston I opened my suitcase to get out swim clothes for the kids. Oh. My. Lord. The stench. There was clearly a moldy skunk living inside my suitcase. As my sister and I sorted, it became evident that the beloved new red shoes were the source of the nauseating odor. Crap. They ended up in a wastebasket in a Holiday Inn Express lobby in Mt. Pleasant, SC. If you ever stay there please forgive me for ruining your ambiance at the complimentary breakfast buffet. Barf.

But I've laundered all of the clothes in the suitcase and the stench remains. It's just with me until I can get home. Chemistry- what the hell did they make those shoes out of????

Friday, July 23, 2010

Scenes from the Trail

Cash found a new way to tell jokes and disguise himself. The Wendy's kids meal reward is potentially a new kazoo this week..... and also potentially a microphone. But the real road food prize is the Wendy's disguise and joke book.
Lots of leapster time.
Hanging with dad...
Road sleep is good sleep.Road sleep is soooo good for Scrappy Sarah.
So that she's not a mess when this kind of thing comes up....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On the Road

Checking in from Blacksburg, Virginia.

So far we've been to Raleigh/Durham, driven to Charleston, SC, up to Charlotte, NC, and back to Raleigh, then on to Blacksburg, VA.

It's been quite the adventure.... a missed flight (due to my own stupidity), eight people in a seven seat mini-van (I got to sit on the floor facing backwards dealing with the four kids due to my own stupidity again), a migraine/puking in a hotel room with four kids and two adults, and an iphone that totally quit so I had to buy a new one at almost full cost (thanks, Apple), and lots and lots of car time.

But it has also been soooo much chaotic fun. Quirky and Scrappy are excellent travelers. They have hilarious expectations and ideas. While passing an aircraft carrier in Charleston Cash wanted to know if they were Southwest Airlines planes on board. Sarah has developed a new accent that we can't quite figure out. They whine much less than expected and add a new perspective on everything we see.

Dealing with laundry on the road is a lot tougher than the kids. If only Cash wouldn't use his shirt like a napkin....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Is it possible that my diet coke habit is actually an addiction? Could the stuff maybe even be a transitional object?

Does this make the abuse more valid??

Friday, July 9, 2010

Capra Hircus

I just love goats. They have no inhibitions. Incessantly begging for food and attention.

One time I went to the rodeo with a friend who had just moved to Texas, Shannon. We were both pregnant with our second children and had baby boys who were not yet one year old. What the hell we were doing inside of a petting zoo at the rodeo with infants, I have no idea. I think we were trying to be super-moms, so sure that our boys were being exposed to every opportunity. Whatever.

Have any of you ever been to the petting zoo at the rodeo? The little people who run the situation even tell the adults walking in to hold on to the ice cream cone of feed so that the kids don't get knocked over. It's nuts. And it's all about the goats.

Anyway, my newbie Texan friend gamely grabbed her ice cream cone of little pellets and stepped in with me. The goats immediately started coming up to us in droves trying to get at the food, which we held over our heads. Because we had our babies on our hips, we didn't have another hand to deflect the madness. I had to keep ducking to keep the goats from licking and gnawing at Cash's face. (I guess they like the smell of regurgitated formula?) After about 40 seconds we both threw down the ice cream cones of food and decided to just sort of walk around and coo with the babies about the animals. You know how moms do that- they look at calves and say "moo" while pointing so that the baby on their hip learns to read early and can get into Harvard.

Suddenly I hear Shannon scream "Oh My God!" And then I heard a strange wet thwack. She yelled out, "It's eating my skirt!" Apparently this goat had eaten part of her Old Navy stretchy- but it's not maternity- skirt. Somehow she got it out of its mouth and the skirt thwacked against her leg. We got the heck out of there- and couldn't stop laughing.... all of the way to the ice cream kiosk.

But this little episode not only provided great introduction to the agricultural life that is Houston (NOT), but also was a great reminder to me of this wonderful quality about goats. A goat is sort of like a two year old- no inhibitions, does as it pleases, and every action screams "mine! mine!"

I think I could use a little bit more of this in my life and attitude. Selfish, I am, but too often it's tucked away in the effort to appear "nice." I certainly have the desire to be ridiculous, loud, pushy, and somewhat obnoxious- thankfully after I left toddlerhood most of those desires are able to be sublimated.

But where did they go? Did they become some of the resentment that I sometimes feel towards others who do push their own agendas? Or even in smaller ways- If I want to take a nap on Sunday afternoon should I not just because it seems lazy? Why be a martyr? The goats certainly aren't.

Maybe I want to be a goat in my next life. Gotta love them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


A week or so ago I was out running in Memorial Park. This is a big ass city park- and it has a three mile trail around it that I frequent as often as I can. Reminds me of when I really ran a lot prior to children and domesticity.

Bear in mind that this particular run was on a Monday morning at about 10:15 a.m. I stopped in to the tennis center to "powder my nose." (Yeah, right. My head looked like a giant tomato that had just been run under a shower.) There was this dude standing outside of the ladies room holding a giant sized black trash bag. You know.... Hefty or something. He wasn't wearing exercise clothes- more like khaki shorts and a grey tshirt. Nondescript.

Well, he was just standing there. About 4 feet from the entrance to the restroom. So I thought I was being all considerate and asked him if he needed to get in there.


The tone was not nice. As a matter of fact, it seemed that I had inadvertently just called him some kind of incredibly insulting thing and spit on him. So much for my "thoughtfulness." Oops. I clearly ruined his morning.

Whatever. It was about a zillion degrees outside and I was hot and not really all that affected. I went in, did my business, and trudged on.

About a mile later I started to wonder what the Hell he was doing around the ladies restroom at the public park carrying a big black trash bag. Shudder.....

And yes, indeed, this is what I look like when I get back from a run outside in Houston. Except usually I'm even redder. Bet you're glad I shared that, right?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Quirky Cash often has trouble letting go of the day.... sometimes I lie down with him at night while he tells me all about mosquito spray trucks, the White House, or the purpose of basements. It's informative, to say the least.

On Monday night I discovered that all of his preschool literacy work is somewhat effective. I had been rubbing his feet and he'd been quiet for about 4-5 minutes so I was hoping he was finally relaxing- maybe even drifting off. Suddenly he pulled himself up on his elbow and reported his thoughts.

C: "You know, there's this kid named Frank."

Me: "Where?"

C: "You know- at camp. I don't like the name Frank."

Me: "To tell you the truth, I don't like it much either."

C: "Why not?"

Me: "I don't know. I just don't like the way it sounds."

C: "Me too. It sounds like FUCK. Frank Fuck. Frank Fuck. F-f-f-f-....r-r-r-r........k-k-k. Do you hear it???"

Me: "Please don't use that word anywhere but here. "

C: "I know, I know..."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Glamorous Attempts

I adore stationery. As a matter of fact, I used to work in grad school at this high end stationer in San Antonio. It was ridiculous fun- the store front was in the mall but had these two big fancy tufted loveseats and antique writing desks, etc. I got to put together wedding invitation orders from families in Mexico. These were the most ornate, beautiful invitations you could imagine- family crests and insert after insert. Also somewhat stressful to proof, but that was just the flip dark side to the fun.

So this month The Boss Man's brother is getting married. It's all very very exciting. We are in loooooooove with his bride- I get a sister-in-law! So the ladies from our family got together and decided to host the bridal luncheon/ tea. I quickly grabbed dibs on getting the invites done. I want the pretty stuff, y'all. I don't want to be discussing shapes of pimiento cheese sandwiches with some dude in Virginia over the phone. Also, anyone who knows me well knows that I don't do details like that.... Just put out some food!!

But oh, I can spend hours at Berings looking at the pretties. And I had some interesting jumbles to throw into this one. The bride and groom are architects with somewhat less traditional senses of style than mine- in other words they are so much cooler than I am. They have used sort of blue and orange as their wedding colors- and all wording/invitations have been typeset in this kind of cool plain font.

Well.... I decided to do something a little bit different but keep the theme in mind. Here's the outcome.

So fun to see the finished product!

I spent the better part of a morning assembling them and addressing them using my very very best handwriting. I felt so pleased.

But here's a dirty little secret: While putting the printed card on top of the ribbon and under card I had to pull off scads of these little adhesive strips.

Maxi pads, anyone??

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring!!!!

The Annual July 4 parade was this weekend in our neighborhood. Obviously, it would be kind of odd if they held it on August 13, huh? My cousin, Jennie, calls it the annual melt down. Literally and figuratively. Houston is oppressive in July. And for whatever reason the parade always falls the day after some drenchingaccumulating rain. It is sticky, y'all. Bad. Add to it the meltdowns of toddlers who can't quite wait for the parade to start, poorly duct taped bows falling from tricycles, hungover fathers who don't want to be out there, and moms trying to keep it all together, it really is a recipe for a gigantic fondue sized meltdown.

But get me a skewer. I love that shit. I think it is hilarious-if you can avoid the meltdowns. I LOVE seeing the kids wearing red, white, and blue. The little old people out waving miniature flags. The Uncle Sam costume and the kazoo band are my personal faves.

Last year Matt was wearing his typical grey tshirt at the parade. He wears one every day. For real. We had an odd parading experience last year worthy of a contortionist. Each child was riding a teeny tiny training wheel bike. But they were scared in the crowd for us to let go. So we walked the half mile to the parade and the half mile during the parade leaning over sideways holding on to the handlebars of the teeny tiny bike. I kept trying to switch sides but learned that I could only steer from the right as otherwise little Sarah veered directly into my leg. Matt had the same situation going on with the boy.

When we finished the parade Matt looked at me and said, "Honey, I'm that guy now." Huh? He explained. "When I was growing up I used to look at my dad when we were working out in the yard and stuff and see that he had sweat around his stomach. You know, his shirt was all wet around his back and waist. Gross. But now I'm that guy." Sorry, honey. You are. We are..... those people. Lucky Americans.

*On the subject of The Boss Man's grey tshirts. We are currently accepting donations.
You can add to the collection at any time. Seriously- gray shirt with the university/college lettering across the front in a dark color. Wears them EVERY DAY)*

Friday, July 2, 2010


My sweet friend, Lori, treated a group of us to a little spa day yesterday to express her appreciation for help and support during the birth and heart surgery of her new baby boy. Ridiculousness! It was the most natural and normal thing in the world to love on that sweet lady and her family- I love her big boys and was thrilled to spend time with them. And that she and her husband would trust us to be in the picture during such a trying time was a true privilege.

But who am I to turn down a massage and lunch with the girls at the spa? That would be even more ridiculousness, right?

So while I was getting the best rub down of my life I couldn't help but notice my odd musings.

Thoughts from the massage table:

I wonder about the Christmas party for the employees here. This place is a hotel, health club and spa. Do they have their Christmas party here at the hotel? And if so, who's serving and cooking the food? That would be so uncool if someone had to work their own party.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beating Outside My Body

Last week I sent Sarah off into a big new world. She has enjoyed soccer in the past and seems to really love the feeling of being on a team. Mind you, she is a scrappy little thing.... but getting in the middle of the little cluster of kids fighting for the ball is a bit overwhelming.

I saw this Spring that there was a sports camp at Rice University for soccer. The "Owlets" were a special group of 4-6 year olds who could further their athletic endeavor. So I asked Miss Sarah if she wanted to do it and signed her up before she could change her mind.

As the week approached I grew apprehensive. She does PLENTY of activities- camps, gymnastics, art classes, music classes, t-ball, soccer, computer, blah, blah, blah.... But those have always been because her big brother wanted to do those activities. I had encouraged her to do an art class this Spring on her own with pretty disastrous results. She only wanted to go if one of her friends or Cash accompanied her. Or if I was in the waiting room, of course.

This was going to be the big time. All on her own. Big tough coaches. Heat. Unfamiliar territory.

But my little sweet Sarah did it. I pulled that minivan up in front of the practice and she somewhat cautiously looked out the window at the other kids. Man, you could tell she was scared. But I opened the door, put a (admittedly forced) smile on my face, and held out my hand to her. You could see her square her shoulders as she grabbed my hand. She was not going to let her fear get the best of her.

After drop off I sat in my car and watched her stand there with her ball in her hand and sort of look around waiting for instructions. It seemed like all of the other kids were either running around playing, chatting with friends, or kidding around with counselors. And Sarah just stood quietly and waited. My heart was right out there with her.

And all that week I would pull up at the end of camp and find the sweatiest, reddest faced, but most proud little girl you can ever imagine. My little mosquito girl was by far the tiniest of the bunch. And she did it. When I asked if she had a good time, she would bravely say "yes."

But at night or during quiet moments, she would quietly say to me, "Mommy, soccer camp is very long. Can you come and watch me? " I knew she was pushed to the limit. And my heart broke and felt lonely with her.

I know my baby girl has tremendous pride in her achievement. Little Scrappy wouldn't take off her shin guards every day after camp. And you should have seen the look on her face as she soooo proudly went up to get her medal and certificate at the end of the week. (It's currently framed on the wall in her room.)

Last week was truly an experience in letting my daughter do the hardest thing on her own.
And I have never had my heart squeezed outside of my body like that- ever.