Friday, November 30, 2007

Stinky Cheese? Yes, please!

Every year since our first Christmas together, the only thing I've ever asked for from my husband is the book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. I fell in love with this children's book in high school, but never got around to buying it. So, when that first Christmas as a married woman rolled around, I thought I'd ask for the book, and that would be it. Simple, cheap, easy, done. A husband's dream, right? Wrong. Christmas passed and no book. "It just slipped his mind," I thought. The next Christmas came, and The Stinky Cheese Man topped the list, and again, no book. It soon became a running joke that at every gift giving occasion my husband would not get me the one gift that I asked of him. Sure, I could have bought the book for myself, but after several years, you start to wonder what would actually warrant the giving of this book. Well, yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday. My in-laws stopped by on their way back to Houston, and my husband came home a couple of hours early from work with two cakes in hand. We all ate cake and visited, and then my in-laws had to get back on the road. At the same time, I noticed my husband slipping his shoes on. I asked him where he was going, and he apologetically told me he had to get back to work. Now I'm usually pretty easy to please and knowing he was very busy, the fact that he came home early meant so much, but I had no idea that he was going to have to go back. My visions of celebrating my birthday with takeout, silly movies and my best friend were soon replaced with feelings of disappointment. I ate supper with the kids, went about the nightly routine of baths and bedtime prayers, and I sat down to watch TV alone.
Well, at 10:30pm Jonathan pulled into the driveway, Barnes and Noble bag in hand. And there it was, that one little book, the one I had been waiting 8 years for, tucked neatly in the green bag. An end to an era. We spent the rest of the evening in bed laughing as I read him the story. It was perfect.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

IF: Zoo

The great escape!

I don't know exactly how they fit into that basket, but they managed it. For some reason this was the image that popped into my head when I read the topic. I was pressed for time, so it is not as neat as I would have liked, but I got it done!

Have a great week!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

I meant to get out a "Happy Thanksgiving Post" on the actual day, but I missed it. Here I am, four days late, and finally getting around to it. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Mine flew by, and most of the projects that I wrote down on my to do list for the "week off" did not get done. Why? I spent the majority of the time laughing, talking, stuffing my face, and playing dominoes with some of my favorite people; and spending time with my family trumps marking something off of my list any day! Here are a few highlights from last week:

11/17-11/18: We met my dear in-laws at a resort outside of Bastrop for a spontaneous adventure since we wouldn't be spending Thanksgiving with them this year, although judging by our outfits, we could have planned this get together in advance.So the red family spent the day strolling the grounds and enjoying the many amenities, including a butterfly garden complete with spiky caterpillars.....which were judged to be slightly creepy. Although it rained the majority of the night, it made for a wonderful backdrop to roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate and delighting in the reading of The Little Red Hen. The rest of the trip was spent talking, playing checkers, warming up by the fire and partaking in the decadent variety of food that somehow found its way into our room via room service.

11/19: I drug out all of our boxes of Christmas decorations, determined to have them put up before the arrival of my cousin that afternoon. Ha! Who was I kidding? The decorations remained scattered throughout the house until Wednesday night when I was forced to pick them up so we could do some long overdue vacuuming.

11/20: While my brother and grandparents made their trek into the Austin area, my mom, cousin, daughter and I headed off to Tyler for a presentation of my mom's books, Grace Falling Like Rain and Mercy's Face. The presentation was held at the church of my former youth minister which I had not seen since 1995. He and his wife graciously opened their home to us for the night, and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reminiscing and catching up. It's funny how so many memories can be filed away until someone helps retrieve them.

11/21: We left our hosts without waking them to beat Thanksgiving traffic and meet up with the family waiting to greet us at our own houses. Once we arrived home, we ate and headed back out for some last minute Thanksgiving prep shopping while awaiting the arrival of the rest of the holiday brood. We topped the night off with some pizza and domino playing until 2:00 AM when the turkey was to be put into the oven.

11/22: Thanksgiving Day! Turkey, dressing, homemade biscuits, a cold front, and my Gangy's famous butterscotch stuff (as we call it). Need I say more? Yes. More domino playing, stuffing, goodbyes to part of the family, and keeping each other awake for a midnight madness sale at our local outlet mall. How do you keep a group of sleep deprived people awake? Stupid pictures, of course!

11/23: You heard me right, MIDNIGHT madness. I do think you have to be mad to participate in something like this, but my brother had to have 30% more off the jacket that was already marked down 66%. I can't complain, though. I happened to find a few good buys of my own and I crawled into bed a 2:00AM. After awaking, I said goodbye to the rest of the crew making their trip home by car, and went to the airport to bid farewell to my brother. And then....more shopping! I usually don't even venture out on Black Friday because I get really anxious and annoyed in large masses of determined shoppers, but for some reason my mom and I made our way into the frenzy. I have to say that I am almost a convert. In one day, I pretty much changed my whole wardrobe from "tired mom" to "New York sophisticated" with a minimal amount of money. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but I did find some great buys and treated myself to some early birthday gifts unbeknownst to my husband. (Thank you, Jonathan!)
So, there it is, my Thanksgiving week. Restful? Not quite. But there is not another group of people I'd rather be sleep deprived with than my relatives. I have so much to be thankful for, and my family tops the list! I am very blessed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tricks, treats, and tractors

For Audrie's very first Halloween, I decided that I would make her costume, a fairy, so she would have something unique and sentimental. Since then it has been my mission every year (for reasons that escape me) to create homemade Halloween costumes for my children. Each year I watch as other parents stroll through the costume aisle picking out a ready made outfit, complete with all of the necessary accessories, purchasing it, and leaving with all of the ease and relief that comes with that process, while I am scrambling to figure out how in the world I am going to fashion a pink and purple dragon out of felt and hot glue! As each October rolls around, the temptation grows stronger to just give in and buy one of the zillions of costumes available to trick-or-treaters, but every time, that little voice in my head guilt trips me into believing making homemade costumes is my obligation. In actuality, I think it’s just my stubbornness that keeps me in this fall frenzy. Since I made my “costume making mission” public knowledge, I have to forever stick to my guns and tough it out even as the costumes become more elaborate. So over the past years I have sewn, hot glued or duct taped together two fairy outfits, a pink bird, a pink dragon, Puss in Boots, and a cowboy and girl. This year, the costume making time was very limited, and the younger child was very resistant to wearing anything that didn’t resemble normal clothes, so the costumes weren’t very elaborate. Audrie went as Little Red “Funky” Riding Hood complete with argyle tights and Converse shoes, and Finn was the Big Bad Wolf. (He wouldn’t wear his ears, so we had to get creative with his hair and lots of hair gel!) Trick-or-treating proved to be a bit of a challenge at first because Finn had not taken his nap and was starting to take on the personality of the Big Bad Wolf. After watching his sister, though, he decided he needed to get in on the action and get some candy, as well as give some away! Audrie took her time in soaking every bit of Halloween night up. She noticed every decoration, played to the hauntingly spooky houses, and relished all of the fanciful costumes. The night ended with the sorting of the bounty, as always, and the hopes that I wouldn’t polish off the chocolate in a couple of days.

The next day we headed off to Crowe’s Nest Farm for our scheduled November field trip. We learned the process of modern day cow milking, went on a bumpy hayride, and saw a variety of animals. After a self-guided tour around the facilities, a few interesting finds, and a short rest, Audrie was ready to do it all again. But alas, the mom was exhausted, so we called it a day and skipped to the car.