Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Year in Review:

I did this last year (as you will see in the first entry of January below). I found it the perfect way to tie up the year in a nice pretty bloggy bow. You are supposed to take the first sentence of the first blog of each month:

JANUARY - So, of course I have had grand plans to write deep thoughts about last year and hopeful thoughts of this year, but that ain't happening..... so I thought I would try the blog meme that has been going around were you post the first sentence of the first post of each month.... and I think it sums up the year quite nicely....

FEBRUARY - There is nothing like a practical joke from God to kick start your morning.....

MARCH - I have decided that I am going to participate in Oprah's latest adventure

APRIL - Yes, ladies and and gents.... with the arrival of the April showers, we enter the month of my birth.

MAY - So apparently we will be dragging this process out slightly longer than expected.

JUNE - I feel all weird trying to think of something to post because it has been so long since I have posted.

JULY - Well.... what an adventure we had in California!

AUGUST - So today is the last day Max and Ben will be at the only school they have every known.

SEPTEMBER - I know they do.


NOVEMBER - The sweetest, most gentle man I have ever known - the one man whose sole purpose in MY world was to be the best grandpa he could be, passed away tonight at the age of 92.

DECEMBER - I cannot find my jingle bells this season.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

So Christmas this year was a huge success! I was up until 3 AM and it only took 2 cycles of "A Christmas Story" to get done what we needed to do! At 6:45, I was up and bursting with excitement. The kids refused to wake up until 8:00 after Mike unsuccessfully threw things at their closed door to wake them up, and then was forced to go upstairs, turn some music on then run like crazy back downstairs and pretend to be asleep in bed. Max finally wiped the sleepy out of his eyes and whispered "Santa came" from upstairs then tore down to our bedroom to find us "sleeping" ... me with my glasses on and clutching the camera under the covers. For all of our Christmas merriment and the big puppy reveal see below......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

10:27 pm

Merry Christmas to all....

... and to Max & Ben.... GO TO BED!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Monday - December 22 -

* * * * 7:40 PM * * * *

Drop the kids at mom's because other than a dog, we have done NO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.

* * * * 9:48 PM * * * *


Power to the Procrastinators!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let's play a game, shall we?!?!

Let's play a game.... shall we?!?!

You have all met Woody ... right?.... sweet adorable puppy Woody. He was from the humane society as a stray... they told us he was a German Shepherd /Chow Chow mix. That's what they said. They have a great disclaimer - no previous info. That basically means, spin the wheel and good luck. Well, I will tell you almost immediately, I saw no chow in him; no smushy face, no black tongue, no fur ball. I thought he was quite light for a german sherpherd but, hey, if he was a mix, maybe he took the color of chow and the body of German Shepherd.

I was not the only one who questioned his background and possible breed. Lauren - his Godmother - took him to petsmart and was wandering around when a lighting bolt struck her. She came home and thanks to the power of google, she was able to back her theory with photos which she forwarded to me and shortly thereafter I passed out....

So... let's play our game shall we

First... a pic of Woody again....

Now... you decide... does he look more like "A" or "B"



Let's try again.... "A" or "B"



Looks a helluva a lot more like "B" in both, right... yeah.. right.... cause guess what....

B turns into this:

Bull, English, or American Mastiff
130-200 lbs

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Conversations with Ben

The boys have been especially Christmassy lately. Yesterday when we got home from work/school they tore through the house to turn on all the Christmas lights and then they wanted to drink hot chocolate and watch "Elf" (they LOVE Will Ferrell in this movie) - then Polar Express was on TV so we watched the end of that. Max has a pajama day tomorrow at school and both have holiday parties and concerts on Friday. Bottom line - their sleigh bells are ringing.
So this morning the topic of Santa and gifts came up as we were getting ready for school. Max informed us that he has already written a letter to Santa at school and that upset Ben very much, because he had not written one yet. He said he didn't know how to write the letters and I told him that I would help him tonight. I said he had all day to think about what he was going to ask for from Santa.

And then he lit up like a Christmas tree....

A DOG!!!

Mike and I froze - trying very hard to wipe any expression off of our faces.

"You mean a stuffy?" Mike asks - our word for stuffed animal.
"No - a REAL DOG!!"
Me - "Pumpkin - I don't think Santa can bring you a real dog - how would he fit in the sleigh?"
"NO!! We have to go to the STORE and GET HIM!!"
"What? You think Santa is going to give you a coupon for a puppy?"

I then gave Mike eyes to shut the conversation down before we gave too much away....

And so begins the magic of this Christmas memory....

Monday, December 15, 2008



So before I go into the story of our latest adoption, I must start this post with 1,000 thank you's and forever praise to Lauren and TJ for fostering our newest little angel!! We had not planned on taking possession of a puppy this soon, but this one was fixed, had his shots, and even micro chipped, so it was now or never. I just cannot say thank you enough for loving and caring for this adorable little guy for us so that we can have our Christmas morning moment!

Now - on to the story. So we head over to Walmart to pick up a kennel and a leash thinking there may be a possibility we have to take a dog that day. As we are getting a kennel, another lady is getting one because she just adopted a sweet little terrier across the street at the Petsmart from the Human society. I asked if there were any other puppies and she said yes, so I told Mike we should stop their first. The moment I pick up Woody, I put him in front of my face and he patiently sits there nose to nose, not moving.... not scared, just very comfortable. I then cradle him a little and he adjusts himself to nuzzle right in the crook of my neck. Danger... danger..... Mike had Woody's brother and was holding him, and he was a little more rambunctious. Well, every time Mike would readjust holding the brother, Woody would put his head up off of my shoulder in this very protective big brother way like, "What are you doing to my brother? You got him? Are you gonna drop him?!?!" So, I put him back down in the play area and told the nice lady, I just couldn't adopt the very first puppy I held, so maybe we would see her later. She casually smiled and said, if you haven't been to the big facility yet, I will not be surprised if I don't see you again.
We head off to the humane society. Gorgeous facility - gorgeous dogs - adorable puppies. I would have taken 10 of the dogs, but even walking through the large kennels, my inner gut feeling that the boys, who a shy around dogs, wouldn't bond with a large older dog. We would need to start small and let the puppy grow with them. The puppies were all adopted or had pending adoptions, so we headed off to the next place.
BARC - basically the pound. Sad. Sad. Sad. I am fully aware of the fact that this is an animal CONTROL center, but it felt remarkably like a prison insane asylum. The even more sad part was that 50% of the animals were pit bulls. Gorgeous pit bulls, easily 10-20 pit bull puppies, but no history, no idea how aggressive their bloodlines are, no idea what their history is. There was one sweet little German shepherd female puppy that we played with but playing with her we could tell something was wrong. She had tried several times to use the restroom and nothing was coming out and she was so skinny I could see every bone in her sweet little body. Too much for our first pet.
Off to the ASPCA - this was like the zoo of all the places we went to .... lines out the door of people waiting for adoptions... great dogs - but no puppies. My dream chocolate lab was there but he was taller than Max and I knew there was no way that was going to happen.
So we went outside to the car and talked. I knew Mike really like Woody. All the other puppies we held or looked at he never really attached to or he would comment "Well, with the other one...." So I called the Petsmart - did they still have Woody? Yes - but they would probably be there soon to get him to take him back to the shelter. WE ARE ON THE WAY - should we go back to the shelter and meet him there? No - come here.
So - we got him - and he is adorable - He is a German Shepherd Chow mix according to his paperwork, but the only chow I see is the texture of the hair - soft soft soft. I can't wait to introduce him to the boys. Last night at Lauren and Travis' he would just wander up and snuggle right on your leg or shoe and fall asleep. He took his toys quickly. Reports this morning is that he is very playful and perhaps we should re-consider a name like Simba! By the way - I have a pets named after Disney characters kind of thing - so the fact that his name was Woody was perfect - of course Simba is adorable too... the boys may get a choice. I cannot leave it up to them to name him because it will turn out like the fish whose name was Koala Albert and the chipmunks Fishy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Not MY child!

So there is a wonderful gut wrenching feeling that tends to come over a mother's body when she sees the bus driver escorting her six year old son off the bus with a bloody lip. It is a cross between knee weakening panic and mind blowing rage. It is in this state that most information coming out of the bus driver's mouth sounds like, "wah wah wah, see his lip, well, wah wah wah wah wah - fight with (name of other kid)- wah wah wah wah wah - may not be able to ride bus - wah wah wah wah wah wah - just wanted to let you know!"

Uhm, okay - thank you, thank you for the "wah wah wah" information - (I now have to either kill my child or go google the house of (child's name) and kill them....)

Wait - take a breath - get story - find out what happened -

Max, baby - what happened?
It all (child's name)'s fault!!! He pushed me and I TRIED to tell a teacher but she wouldn't listen to me and he kept pushing me and so I pushed him back and then he hit me and then the teacher yelled at us and NOW I can't have recess tomorrow and it as all (child's name)'s fault and now he is my enemy and it's not FAIR!!!!!!
Wait - this is (child's name) from you class? I thought he was one of your best friends?
He isn't ANYMORE - now he is my enemy.....
Okay - that is a very serious word and I do not like you using it. You may not like what he did today, but that doesn't mean you won't be friends again.

Okay - so now I have 2 parts of this story - the "wah wah wah" information from the bus driver and the run on sentence from the "life is not fair" kindergartener. Okay - next - immediately call teacher at school.

This is Max's mom
I heard what happened...
What did happen?
Well, you tell me what you know
(Okay, now I am starting to feel like I am in a Abbott and Costello routine)
Well bus driver was vague - (always best to not let teacher know mind blowing rage prevented you from hearing anything but Charlie Brown teacher voice when bus driver was speaking) and Max was too upset to discuss calmly. But honestly - I know boys can be boys - I am really not worried about the fight - I am worried that this happens more often than not and we need to address this at home. Are you having trouble with Max?
Well, I am going to talk with both of the boys tomorrow.
(I don't want YOU to talk with them - I want to talk with MY son) Thank you - I appreciate that - but I just want to make sure that we do everything we can to make your job easier - so please - the moment you have any issues, please let us know and we will take care of it immediately.
You know (child's name) is such a sweet boy, I just cannot imagine this happening with these boys.
(I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE OTHER BOY) I have no doubt this was a boys will be boys situation - I just don't want to go from Max is doing great to Max is being kicked off the bus because of a fight - there is a lot of grey in between and I want to correct the situation BEFORE we get there.

I do not play the nicey nice game well at all - I am a meat and bones kind of person. I am a get to the point, the real point, and only the point person. So the dance around the topic and think of the nicest sugar coated way to say everything approach pretty much drives me bonkers. The fact that most education systems now days have a "don't say that" policy layered with a "no tolerance" policy is, quite frankly, absurd. Don't speak frankly with a parent about anything, but the moment something hits the fan - the kid is out, no questions asked, no discussion. WAIT - WHOA - aren't we missing a few steps here?

Now do not get me wrong - I know the system is not perfect - nothing is - including my child - my child was 50% responsible for that fight and trust me - I don't care who started it, we ended it. Both my husband and I had long talks with Max yesterday and today and this morning we both met the bus driver to witness the apology and discuss the fact that it was never going to happen again.

This time I was much calmer and "wah wah wah" turned into - it didn't happen on the bus, he didn't see it happen - he has no idea why they threatened to take them off the bus because he has never had problems with either child.

So the rest of the story is - I have a bus driver who tells me the kids never give him a problem - I have a school teacher who says she never has a problem with the kids - and I have a child who tells me that a (bus duty) teacher would not listen to him when he tried to do the right thing so it escalated when the kids got frustrated.

Now I have to google (bus duty) teacher... listen lady - don't ignore my child when he is trying to follow the rules then threaten him when things escalate behind your back.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's snowing!!

In Houston!!

I am sitting at my desk writing Christmas cards and watching the snow fall outside my window.

... I think I have found my jingle bells ....

Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy Birthday , Ben!

My dear sweet baby, Ben,

Yes, Angel... TODAY is finally your birthday!!! You have been asking almost daily since your brother's birthday if it was your turn and TODAY is the big day!! Today was your Kung Fu panda cupcakes to share at school, today was your birthday presents, today was your chance to pick where we went to dinner, TODAY WAS YOUR DAY!!! Everything you did was, "Do I get to do this because it is my birthday?" I of course said yes to each and every question even though it is the same daily task we would do on a non-birthday day, but today it seemed soooo much more important followed by, "because it is my birthday!"

Four years old. My baby is four years old. The other day we were snuggling in the wee hours of morning trying to find the gumption to get up and get going with our day. You were in your usual early morning snuggle spot, nestled closely in the crook of my neck, and we were all talking about "stuff" when the topic of mommy having another baby came up. We asked both you and your brother if you thought mommy should have another baby. Max of course enthusiastically said, "YES!!" but you.... you removed yourself from my snuggly embrace, sat up, turned around and looked me straight in the eyes,"YOU don't need another baby, HELLO!! (slapping your hand on your chest) I'M THE BABY!!"

As much as you want to retain your status as the family baby, you cannot wait to throw away your toddler shorts and put your big boy pants on!! You have been in a hurry since you were born. You have no patience to learn a skill which frustrates you to temper tantrums, but those times usually pass quickly because it takes you no time to learn whatever it is your are striving to be the best at.... and best meaning better than your brother.

You are quite the little athlete. You swim like a fish, ride your bike like you are in a race, throw a ball like it is the world series, and kick balls like you are hearing "GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!" screaming in the stands. You want to be a rock and roll star and play your toy guitar with the radio, bobbing your head with the beat, throwing in dance moves that would make any lead guitarist jealous. If you really like a song, you head over to the radio and turn the volume up. When your brother complains, you mumble something similar to daddy's favorite phrase, if it is too loud you are too old!

You have had a rough year this year between surgery to remove your tonsils and all the probing and prodding when we were worried you might have diabetes. Luckily everything has calmed down, but you handled each challenge like a champ. You took your medicine and fought through the pain better than most adults I know. You really were my hero during these times.

Oh my gosh, Benjamin. Thank you so much for allowing me to be your mommy. You bring me great happiness, joy, entertainment, wisdom, and life.

Thank you - thank you - thank you!

I love you,

Re-post from last year:

Monday, December 01, 2008

What is wrong with me?!?

I cannot find my jingle bells this season. I have never seemed to have this problem in the past . So what's the deal this season? I turned the music on and it is not causing the normal chills, the normal excitement. I have talked with friends over the weekend - even the crazy ones who barely got off the "shipp" and already have their decorations up inside and out!

Part of it may be that it was hot this year. It is hard to eat Thanksgiving dinner when it is 80 degrees outside. Part of it may be exhaustion from the past few months events.

Or maybe, dare I say it... I am growing out of it? Oh God, NO!!! NOT ME?!?!?
But yes.... I think that is part of it. I know I should keep a good face for the kids, but my normal passion to throw tinsel and lights on anything that would sit still the moment you clean up Thanksgiving dinner has slowly silently dimmed over the past few years. I used label it all sorts of things like new babies or crammed schedules, but not this year. This year I have no excuse to use as my label.

I know this may be hard for some to hear from this queen of Christmas sweaters and poinsettias in her hair (it was a long time ago, I swear).

Bah humbuggy, Mrs. Grinch... what is wrong with me?!?!?!