Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry, I'm Just Not Ready To Come Back Yet

There is simply too much to do.

There are Snuggies to be worn.

There are people to play with.

There are Tots to smile at.

Jumpers to jump in.

Children to hug.

Flowers to recieve.

Nope, I'm just not ready yet.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Song For My Three Children :)

The updates and blogging can wait for tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down Facebook. Tweets go to sleep.
I'm rocking my babies, and babies don't keep.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Halloween Preview

Now, that is one cute Gator.
Excuse me, Chicken.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Nice Little Quote

"She was not just resisting the status quo - she was living without it entirely"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unsinkable Unplugged

I'm unplugging the computer for the week. No internets, no emails, no facebooks. No apps, no tweets, no nada.

I'll be back next Monday, most likely with an extra dose of crazy :)

UK Out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tot Speak

After having a very rough morning, in which my kids went insane, I dropped everything I touched, my house was a mess, Tot wouldn't stop talking and poking at the Gator and running around like a lunatic - I finally lost it.

UK: Tot!!! Knock it off!! What in the world has gotten into you this morning??


T: Hmmm. I think I'm acting like this because of mind control.

UK: Doubtful.

T: Yep, that's it. Mind Control. Something has slid over my brain and is making me do this.

UK: (Sigh.) Get in your room.

T: I'm telling you. Mind Control.

Is it any wonder I'm going nuts today with such a little snot? :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Favorites: My Favorite Fall Things

Tuesday Favorites? What is this, 2008?

I know!

I'm bringing it back, at least for this week, because I do love me some fall weather and all it's accompanying loveliness. I'm sure everyone has things that just make the season for them, and I am no different. So for Tuesday Favorites, here is what I recommend for your Fall enjoyment.

1. Yankee Candles - I will state right out of the box that I am a Yankee Candle Snob. I love these candles so much, that I pretty much ignore every other candle - no matter how well priced it is. There are just SO many scents, so much to choose from, and they make your house smell just plain delightful. My friend, April, shares this joy with me, and often shares the scoop on good deals and coupons she finds - a true friend. I burn them all year round, but I find that my Yankee Candle Love burns brightest in the Fall and Winter. I am currently burning "Autumn Leaves" and next up is "Home Sweet Home". I am also a fan of "Good Morning" (yum.) and anything with a pumpkin or cinnamon stick on it. I highly recommend them for your candle burning enjoyment, and I garauntee people will walk in your house and say "Mmmmm" (or, like Cheryl did the other day, walk in, sniff, and be reminded of some place that you can't put a name to and it will drive you nuts the duration of the playdate).

2. Handmade Coffee Mug - I've never been a huge coffee drinker (I prefer the DDP, as we all know) but there is just something truly wonderful about drinking hot coffee out of a well made mug. It sits so nice and heavy in your hand, it's well insulated, and you know it was crafted, not just stamped out. Now, I'm not one who buys handmade everything, I do see a place for just going to Wal-Mart and buying whatever is cheapest - there is a place for that. But my coffee mug is not that place. Nope. I am currently between coffee mugs, but not for long. Mine broke a few weeks ago, and I will be going right back to the place I bought it this weekend to get it's replacement. I got it at this lovely Mennonite farm near Waco, and it is a thing to behold. When you fill it up with hot coffee and special peppermint creamer, your morning no longer is just something to get through. It's a moment of peace to be savored. After all, if we have to deal with early mornings (and, sweet fancy I do), then we might as well make them pretty, right?

3. Rain Boots - Is there anything more Fall-ish than rain boots? And are these boots not socuteyoucouldjustdie? I know! The argyle! The buckle! The total awesomeness of dry feet! I have yet to buy a pair of these because while I know I would adore them, I have to face the facts, and the facts are these: 1) I live in Texas. 2) It doesn't rain much here. It's rather silly to purchase a pair of boots dedicated solely to rainy weather when it is such a rare occurrence. So why am I so obsessed by rain boots? It may have something to do with our being in the 8th day of consecutive rain fall. If I can't have sunny weather, then I may as well be super stylin' when it rains, no matter how often.

4. Aprons - This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or has read
this blog but at all, because friends, I love love love aprons. I love to bake in them, cook in them, do housework in them, play on the computer in them. I own quite a few and wear them all. Each one has it's own specific use and right now I'm rockin' a cute fall - themed apron my friend, Joanna, got me for my birthday last year. I do believe that you should get yourself to Target, World Market, Etsy, any antique store, or your grandmother's, and strap on an apron. Just imagine yourself all swaddled in some cute little thing, looking all home-makery, pulling some Pumpkin bread out of the oven. See? Aren't you cute! And dude, that bread smells good.

5. Quilts - Ah, quilts. Doesn't a good quilt just croon "Fall" to your over-summered
soul? I have a favorite quilt that I've had for probably over ten years. My mom's friend, Judy, made it for me when I graduated highschool and it has been worn to a delightful softness. It's yellow and gold and white and has beautiful stitching. It even has "Jesus Loves Kristen Grile" on one of the edges, in tiny stitches. Yes, Grile is my maiden name. It's "Grile, rhymes with Smile" a phrase my Dad always said that I thought was embarrassing at the time, but is highly effective at getting people to stop pronouncing it "Grill", which was more embarrassing. So, Dad was spot on. Anyways, I love this quilt. I love throwing the windows open and wrapping myself up and feeling the cold breeze blow through the house. I've lately discovered that you can throw a quilt into the dryer (when it's not wet! amazing!) and then wrap yourself up in hot quiltiness. Now that is awesome. I assume that it would work with any quilt (or any fabric, really, since getting fabrics hot and dry is what a dryer is for) and I plan on slowly acquiring a house full of quilts so that I can dive through them on cold days like Scrooge McDuck dives through gold. I suggest you do the same.

And there you have it. The Official Unsinkable Recommendations For A Cozy Time To Be Had By All.

Now you tell me, what are your Favorite Fall Things?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Replace "fractions" with the numbers 15 - 19 and you will have an accurate picture of Math Time.

Tot can recognize, name, and write all the other numbers from 1 - 100, but she can. not. reliably recognize the numbers 15 - 19.

Mindy, I feel your pain.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Unsinkable Updates

(I don't know why blogger is doing this spacing thing. Sorry!)

With the Children: Last month we were working on a few very specific things, and this month we are keeping up with that. Little David has been doing marginally better at obeying the first time, and while he hasn't quit whining he is now aware of when he's doing it - so those are good steps. Tot is also getting marginally better at looking at us when we're talking to her, and in turn, we are getting better at realizing when she is acting out vs. tired. When Tot was littler, her response to being tired was to amp up and go crazy. She would just run/spin/play faster and faster until there was a total and complete crash. She seems to have moved past that now, and we are noticing that now when she gets tired her response is to be a little grumpy and a little more sensitive. I like this much better. Little David, however, is still in the twirl-till-crash stage. Allie is definitely becoming more and more person-like - she's smiling, coo-ing, snuggling, and she even rolled over! The kids still love her to pieces, although Little David told me the other day that he didn't want any more brothers or sisters because that would be "too too many people". He said he likes having just two sisters. Tot would be fine if we decided to have a dozen more, on the condition that I let her play with them and dress them up.

With our Marriage: We have made great progress in getting more Pal Time! Laura Beth has been Super Aunt, and Dave's parents actually watched all three kids while we went to a company dinner, and my Mom & Tim are going to take the eldest children next weekend leaving Dave and I with only the Gator and lots of time to get things done around the house. We are so very blessed to have family that helps, even when they have busy lives of their own. We've also made a point to have a little catch up time as soon as Dave gets home. I have Tot & Little David say a quick Hi to Dave, and then they go and pick up their rooms while Dave and I get a little time to see how eachother's day went and to discuss the evenings agenda. Between those things, and our always enjoyable At Home Date Night with The Biggest Loser, we've been a much more relaxed Dave & Kristen.

In the Kitchen: Green Smoothies. Nom nom nom. I do love me a green smoothie, and they have helped me knock down another couple of pounds. As of Wednesday, I only have 5 pounds of baby weight left! Slow and steady. I made some freakishly delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday which has probably changed Wednesdays number, but oh well. They were SOOO good. I made them with pumpkin puree I made myself and it really makes them better - thanks for the recipe, April!

Around the House: You know, I've been at home full time for over five years now. You would think that after awhile laundry, dishes, cleaning and the running of things would get boring. Like it would be doing the exact same thing over and over again. For some reason, this hasn't been the case with me. It's not always the most challenging of things to do, and sometimes my brain gets a little mushy feeling, but there is always something to try to improve. Since it's never done, and your family and life stage is always changing, there is always something to tweak. This week, I tweaked the laundry - to see if doing it all at once (except the diapers) would be better than one load a day. So far, I love it. But the beauty of this job, is that if I do it once and don't like it - I will always have a "do over". I'm in a season of "do over's" right now. I'm looking at all my routines (some I've had a long time, some that can barely be called routines at all), and seeing what I can do better to make my home a happier place to be.

In the School Room: Ah, school. You know, doing Kindergarten at home is really a fluid thing. Dave calls this "The Beautiful Year" - it's the year where Tot isn't technically old enough to be in Public School (she misses the cut off date by two weeks) but mentally she's old enough to learn all the material. So, there isn't a lot of real pressure put on us by anyone but ourselves. Obviously, our plan is to teach Tot at a PS Kindergarten level, and at the end of the year have her be at the level she would need to be to start PS 1st Grade and continue homeschooling from there on out. However, I can kindof relax, because there aren't any eyes on us. According to the State of Texas, and everyone else, everything I'm doing right now is over achieving pre-school. We don't need to "prove" anything. It will be next year that more people will be watching. When we will be ignoring the letters sent by the school district for public enrollment. When our "official" status will be Home School. It will be then, that there will be general standards we must meet, and certain standards I must plan for. But this year, I can sit back, relax and not worry about all that. I can teach just the way I want to, knowing that I'm doing the best for all three of my children. I can do that anyways, no matter what year Tot is "supposed" to be in, but this year - no one is watching. And that is rather pleasant.

What I'm Reading: Still working on my George Washington biography, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading by Jessie Wise, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know by John Holdren, Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks.

How We're Rolling: Pretty good, I'd say. We're finding our sea legs, and it's not too shabby for The Chapman's!

What Everyone Really Wants To See:

My Fall Extravaganza decorations :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

For Tot's birthday, my Dad and Tamara got Tot the BEST present. They got her Butterflies! Well, technically, they got her larvae :).

Let me explain.

About two weeks before Tot's birthday we got a box in the mail. It had a pop-up butterfly net house and a coupon for 5 butterfly larvae - caterpillars! We redeemed the coupon online and a few short days later, our caterpillars arrived in the mail. Dad called and said he thought it was a weird gift, but that Tamara had assured him a five year old girl would love larvae. She was SO right.

Oh. My. Gosh.

You can not imagine the insanity that followed their arrival. Tot LOVED the caterpillars and went to look at them every five minutes for two solid weeks. We read about butterflies, drew pictures, and watched their every move waiting to see when they would inch their way to the top of the container and make their chrysalides. We made "hypotheses" (Tot's new favorite word and activity) and waited.

Tot taking her picture with the caterpillars.

And sure enough, the morning of her birthday party they all made their way to the top and by the time we got back all five were firmly encased. It was nuts how fast it happened! We made the transfer from caterpillar container to butterfly house and tossed in a few leaves to make it feel more welcoming.

Then we drew up a diagram of the chrysalides and named them, so we would know who had hatched first. Tot named them Pappaw, Tamara, Cheryl, Paul & Angelina. I know where she got Pappaw & Tamara. I know where she got Cheryl. I know where she got Angeline (Ballerina). I have no clue how she came up with Paul. Her normal made up names are repeated syllables like "CaCa" (seriously) or "TooKaToo". So for her to make up a real name was kindof weird.

The habitat.
(And the decaying apple we are observing. Yuck.)

The diagram :)

The chrysalides.

Anyways. Having transfered them, we waited. And watched. And drew more pictures and read more books and looked at more butterfly videos online. It was the best science project I could have asked for.

And then it happened.

We went to see a movie two Saturdays later and when we came back, we had butterflies. Contrary to all of our hypotheses, they all hatched on the same day, within the same three hour block. It was SO COOL. The whole family stopped what we were doing and gathered around the house and watched them slowly move around and slowly test out moving their wings. Oh, and for the record, when butterflies hatch it looks BLOODY. It's just their meconium (the first poop, just like babies, but red instead of tar colored), but I was not prepared for how it would look like they had literally battled out. Way cool.

So, we kept them for a week, watching them learn to fly and eating and sleeping. Tot LOVED them and even made a special "Do Not Touch" sign for them - LOL. She was very concerned that she would forget and try to move them.

After a week of watching, we decided it was time to let them go in the wild. They only have a two to four week adult life span, and I really didn't want to wake up to five dead butterflies one morning. So, last Saturday we all went out into the backyard for a release party.

We weren't exactly prepared for how slow they would fly, and so while it did offer opportunities for the butterflies to land on the kid's hands, it also allowed our dog Annie to catch two, and actually eat one. Sigh. Great visual lesson in the circle of life. You should have seen us all run after the dog frantically trying to distract her. Dave and I were laughing in total shock and the kids were screaming "Bad Annie! No Annie! Let the butterflies GO ANNIE" while trying to remove them from her mouth. Alas, one of the butterflies was no more.

The kids running after Annie the Bad.
They forgave her when we explained that everybody has to eat something.

After that, we put up Annie and enjoyed the remaining butterflies.

Thanks Pappaw & Tamara! You guys are the greatest!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

UK Gets Ranty

You know, I was reading an essay the other day that I felt like I had read a billion times before. It was about a mom who stays at home with her kids and was questioning her choice. She used to have a job she loved, now she freelances, and she wonders what was lost in the translation.

I am tired of hearing about this.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm tired of it because I'm a third time mom who isn't in that phase of life anymore. My choice has been made, I'm not changing it, and I don't doubt it. And since we homeschool, it won't be something I really have to think about for a long time. So reading article after article about the "Stay At Home Mom vs. Work At Home Mom vs. Working Mom" has almost no relevance or appeal to me.

But I feel this way about most "hot button" issues. I've made my choices, I don't doubt them, and I'm not changing them. And if you have made different choices, fine. I see no need to persuade you differently. If you ask, I'll tell you why I cloth diaper, but if you choose disposables, that has zero effect on my day to day life. I don't spend my spare time bemoaning your decision to buy jarred food instead of hand making it or deciding to go back to work.

So why, WHY, do I have to read about this in every. single. magazine? Is there nothing left to talk about besides the things that for some unearthly reason polarize moms?

Which brings me to my ultimate point: I am tired of hearing about Mommy Wars. What Mommy Wars? Who are these people "warring"? Why on earth does anyone feel the need to argue about this over and over? And why do magazine editors insist on publishing articles about it in every. single. issue? Sweet Fancy Moses. If you are reading anything related to parenting you just can not escape these topics. Surely there is more to parenting than picking a side on a few hot button topics and defending your choice to the death.

I'm sure that if people only knew my choices, I would look like a rabid hippy. Stay at Home mom, Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing, Co-Sleeping, Cloth Diapering, Delayed Vaccinating, Homeschooling, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. However, not one of these choices define me. They are simply choices, not the center of my being. It is impossible to know my character or motivations simply by assigning me to a "side" of a debate. So why do we feel the need to endlessly moan and groan about making these choices? It's not like once you put a cloth diaper on your baby you are an irrevocably "Natural" mother and will never be able put a disposable on them or that once you choose to stay at home you can never work again. It's not all or nothing.


I do know that just because I choose not to participate in any sort of "war" doesn't mean that there aren't people who do. Maybe that is even the majority of people, I don't know. There will always be those handful of loud people that equate bottle feeding to child abuse or insist that stay at home moms have lost their identity, but so what? Ignore them and move on. Don't keep giving them a chance to see who can yell their point louder. And for goodness sakes, quit arguing back. Telling a mom who loves her public school and is actively involved in it how much better homeschooling is for her kids won't change her mind. It'll just irritate her. If it's that important to you, then mention the positive attributes and then quit talking and let her see how happy your choice has made you.

The only thing worth pushing about is Salvation, and last time I checked, no battle in the Mommy Wars was centered around that.

Anyways, I'll step down off of my very randomly put up Soap Box and get back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. But for real friends, I'm going to have a pretty gnarly facial tic if I see one more article about this. My eyes are already starting to cross whenever I flip the page and see the acronym "SAHM".

Or maybe I should just take my own advice and flip the page to the next article. I do love reading a recipe for a good mock-tail. :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

JBF Round Up

I went to my bi-annual consignment sale last night and it was Ca-Razy! It felt twice as large as years before and there was so very much stuff to dig through. I had the Gator in a sling and my trusty stroller with me to help, though. Here are the highlights of the night:

11 pairs of superhero underpants for Little David - $2

1 Halo Sleep Sack for The Gator - $2
(We used this last night and now I am wondering why I never had it with the other kids)

1 Hot Pink Exhiliration Robe for The Tot - $4

1 pair of Brand New With Tags Old Navy Khakis for Little David - $3

2 Books (Ramona The Brave, Ramona Quimby Age 8) - $1

2 Disney Talking Stuffed "Cars" (Lightening & Tomater) - $2

It was a pretty great night! I'll be going back on Saturday for my volunteer hours, and I'll probably pick up a few more things at the half price sale. I'm hoping to find a robe and slippers for Little David as well because I'm tired of him stealing mine. Yes, he steals my robe.

And what was Little David's favorite thing? The "Cars" toys? No. The pop up dinosaur book ($1)? No. The puzzles ($1)? No.

It was the underwear. He immediately put on his favorite of the bunch and then carried the rest of them around all morning.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

An Extravaganza To Rule Them All: 101 Things in 1001 Days

Oh you know I'm doing it. My friend, Diana, called me the other day detailing an Extravaganza that she just knew I would be all over. As she told me about it, my heart went pitter patter. We all know how I like lists, like challenges, and LOVE extravaganzas, right? Well, this is like all of them rolled together in to one freakishly awesome, long term, totally rad EXTRAVAGANZA. It really needs to be in all caps for the weight of it to translate to type.

Starting today, October 1st 2009, I will be working to accomplish 101 things in 1001 days.

I know! Isn't that perfect?? I've looked through tons of people's lists and I've stolen things, tweeked things, created things, and stitched it together to make my very own list. My end date is June 28, 2012. Doesn't that seem forever away? By then, Dave and I will have been married for 10 years, Tot will be almost 8, Little David will be 6, and Allie will be almost 3. Wow.

So here is the list, grouped together as well as I could. For the record, it's relatively hard to come up with this many things and even harder to group them together without losing your place. So that's why I have a catch all at the bottom :)

And away we go!


The Stats, Yo:

Start Date - October 1, 2009
End Date - June 28, 2012
Completed tasks will be in BOLD
In Progress tasks will be in italics

Family Fun:

001. Go camping with the kids 3x a year
002. Visit 3 National Parks (0/3)
003. Get an annual membership to the Fort Worth Nature Reserve for Christmas
004. Turn the TV off for a whole week
005. Buy 5 more board games (4/5)
006. Go apple/peach picking
007. Cut our own Christmas Tree
008. Enroll the kids in Soccer
009. Do a Family Night once a month
010. Get 4 more insects to watch grow
011. Go to the Fort Worth Farmer's Market
012. Ride a train
013. Get a Goldfish
014. Go to Animal World & Snake Farm
015. Visit The Alamo
016. Attend three local festivals (0/3)
017. Go to the Feast of the Hunter's Moon
018. Teach Tot to ride her bike with no training wheels
019. Teach Little David to ride with no training wheels
020. Go tubing on the Brazos
021. Go on a canoe trip
022. Be Vegetarians for a whole week

Dave & I:
023. Find a Dodgeball Tournament for The Ocho
024. Eat Huevos Rancheros on Neuves
025. Go on a really cool Diezes, Baby! Trip
026. Go to a Robert Earl Keen concert
027. Decide on Baby #4
028. Go to a Marriage Conference, laugh, then skip the last day. Just like old times. :)
029. Get 2 more pairs of matching shoes (0/2)
030. Go to 6 Flags
031. See 9 movies alone (3/9)
032. Go to a Cowboys game
033. Go to a Rangers game
034. Go to a Stars game

035. Paint my kitchen/living area/office yellow
036. Paint David's bedroom
037. Decide if I want to paint my room or not
038. Make a raised vegetable bed
039. Hang a clothesline
040. Buy a houseplant
041. Keep houseplant alive for a year
042. Paint outside of house
042. Make flower bed in front yard.

Only Unsinkable Things:
043. Read the biographies of the first 20 presidents (0/20)
044. Attend monthly book club meetings
045. Take a class with Mom at Homestead Farms
046. Attend a Bible Class faithfully for an entire session
047. Learn to crochet
048. Do two 30 Day Green Challenges
049. Make Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
050. Get a pedicure
051. Run (actually run, not walk) a 5k
052. Teach a kids Bible class
053. Give blood
054. Get a new tattoo
056. Make Scones from scratch
057. Make homemade bread once a month
058. Try a new recipe twice a month
059. Join a food Co-Op
060. Make all of Allie's babyfood from scratch
061. Switch to all natural cleaners permanently
062. Go on a Girls Trip (going to Arizona in March!)
063. Do NaBloPoMo again
064. Visit 5 new restaurants
065. Write our sponsor child once a month
066. Write an encouraging email/note one a week
067. Make Mammaw's Peanut Butter Fudge
068. Make homemade Chicken & Noodles
069. Make Ham Salad
070. Make Forfar Bridies
071. Go play Bingo 3 times (1/3)
072. Organize the kid's outgrown clothes into boxes by gender/size
073. Organize Attic
074. Help David organize the Garage
075. Submit 5 articles for publication (0/5)
076. Get published
077. Use my passport
078. Subscribe to two magazines - Real Simple and Woman's Day
079. Compost
080. Get CPR Certified
081. Get a manicure
082. Continue Homeschooling
083. Change my own oil
084. Go to a wine tasting
085. Go offline for a week
086. Change my own tire
087. Visit 5 State Parks (0/5)
088. Travel to 4 States I've never been to (0/4)
089. Try a Supreme Pizza
090. Paint a piece of furniture

Things That Fit Under Other Categories But I Already Started Numbering:

091. Potty Train Allie
092. Get Allie in Big Girl Bed
092. Teach Little David to read
093. Go on a family vacation to see my Dad and Tamara
094. Go on a family vacation with Dave's family
095. Go on a family vacation with Mom & Tim
096. Get new patio furniture
097. Hang our Hammock chairs
098. Go to a Flea Market
099. Go back to Gruene with Dave
100. Cut fresh lavendar
101. Read through the Bible in a year.

So that's my list! What do you think? I may go back and organize this a little better later, but for now this is how it stays.

Frankly, the next almost-three years sound pretty rock star, don't they??

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Plight Of The Gator

T: Look Mom, Isn't Allie fancy??

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Oh what a beautiful morning! It's SOOO chilly out right now (59!) and I am loving. it. It's going to warm back up over the next few days, but right now is so perfect I can barely stand it. Here is what I'm thankful for on this glorious, cloudy, chilly morning:

1. I am totally cheating on my No White Sugar thing for the first time. Yep, I put creamer in my coffee this morning. Totally worth it. I'm going to go to Sprouts later and get some Coconut Milk creamer, but for now, I'm sucking in the white sugar with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

2. Allie slept through the night!!!! I KNOW! This is the second time she's done it and I can't believe my good fortune. The amusing thing, is that she sleeps in her swing the whole time. It's the only place she'll sleep besides our bed, and I find it so very funny. At some point, I'm going to have to get her to sleep in her own crib, but I'm just not caring about that right now.

3. I'm wearing my Cold Weather Robe. fleece and worn to the nub.

4. We had the most lovely family night last night. Dave and I took the kids to a "Fresh Mex" restaurant near us and sat on the patio with them. The food was good (but was more along the greasy side than fresh, but whatev) and the weather was gorgeous. We got to watch the sunset, and for being in the middle of town the place had a great view. Then we took the kids to our park around the lake, and walked a mile. They kept running ahead of us and then running back, so I think they probably ran two miles. And then everyone slept late. Perfection.

5. As of this morning, I am only 7 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight! Hurray! This Green Smoothie Extravaganza really did jump start my weight loss again. I had stalled, stalled, stalled, and it's nice to see those numbers moving again.

6. Next week is my favorite consignment sale for the kids, and I am pretty excited to see what goodies I will find them. I have been very spoiled each year to find the kids BabyGap jeans for under $7, and I am praying to find them again. My kids have no butts, straight hips, and a little tummy (quite like their mom, actually) and the only jeans that don't fall down on them and show their little buns are BabyGap jeans. Buying them at the store, they run over $25 a pair. Um, no. Not ever going to pay that much for children's clothes, no matter how great they are. So, I'll dig through those racks until I hit the jackpot :).

7. Not this weekend, but next, my Mom and Tim are watching the older kids for the WHOLE weekend. Have I mentioned how they are the best?? The kids are dying to see them both and Dave and I so happy to have a weekend to ourselves. I find it highly funny that we consider having only Allie with us "by ourselves".

8. That school is going quite well, if quite irregularly. We're trying to find a good rhythm right now, and it seems that not pushing Tot to do school at the same time each day, or in the same way each day, she's staying more excited.

So, that's what I'm thankful for. It's a good day, people. Good Day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tot Speak

Tot comes in while I'm playing with Allie

UK: Hey Tot
T: She. Is. So. ADORABLE.
UK: I know, she is, isn't she?
T: I could just eat her up like a baby burrito.

While watching the kids chase each other around with bits of string

T: How do you catch a Longhorn?
UK: What do you want to catch it for?
T: To kill it.
UK: Why would you want to kill a Longhorn??
T: For sleeping bags.
UK: Huh?
T: (Sighs Loudly) There aren't any beds on the ranch.
UK: Oh.
T: How would you distract a Longhorn?
UK: You need to play something else.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Tot Turns 5: A Party In Pictures

Yes, you read that right. My Tot turned FIVE last week.

For those of you who don't know me well, I HATE planning parties. Especially important ones like birthdays and showers. They make me nervous, stressed, and anxious and I always feel like I mess them up somehow. My worst fear is planning a party for one of my children or Dave and them having a terrible time and feeling like I let them down. Yes, I have validation issues. So, every year when birthdays roll around, I mentally twirl and spin trying to think of something fun for them that is nice and simple, isn't over the top and expensive, and something that I will actually get to enjoy with them, instead of totally stressing the whole time. I really am ridiculous when it comes to this.

I was especially nervous this year because Tot was turning Five. And Five is a Big Deal. But through powers not of my own, I hit the jackpot. I decided to take all the girls in the family to the American Girl Doll store for lunch. Tot loves the dolls, Laura Beth loves the dolls, Neina (Dave's mom) loves the dolls, and my Mom and I now love them because Tot loves them. Allie doesn't really see what the fuss is about. But whatev. This way, I'm not cooking, decorating, cleaning, wrapping presents, nothing. We have lunch there, Tot picks out her presents there, I get to have fun watching her do it all. Rock. Star.

So, this past Saturday all the girls visited the American Girl Doll store in Dallas for the first time. And can I just say that that store is little girl heaven?? And frankly, adults aren't immune to it, either. That place was adorable! Everything is geared right to little girls Tot's age, and it is so much fun. There are dolls everywhere, matching clothes for the girls, a doll hair salon (and hospital for those well-loved dolls), a Bistro to have fancy meals at, and little accessories laid everywhere for you to try before you buy. And it is PINK. Wow, it's pink. Tot was in Little Girl Heaven.

Our first stop was the bathroom (of course), where we found little hooks to hang your dolls while you went. Hilarious. The sinks were all little girl height, and the door handles as well. Everything was perfectly sized. We looked around at all the dolls until we were called to our table, and then the fun began.

We all took our seats, including Tot's dolls Sally and Betsy. They have little doll seats that clip to the table so that your dolls are included in your meal time. Each doll also gets her own menu and place setting. It's all quite fancy, I assure you.

Sitting down for lunch with her dolls, Sally & Betsy.
Sally & Tot ordered Tic Tac Toe Pizza. Betsy ordered Mac & Cheese.
But first, Tot ordered her drink:

Waitress: And what would you like to drink today, Taylor?
(she glances at me, because she has never ordered for herself before)
T: A Milkshake, please.
(she glances again to see if I'm going to let her order dessert before lunch - I smile)
Waitress: What kind of milkshake?
(she glances one last time, like she can't believe she's getting away wi
th this)
T: Hmm...A Strawberry one.
Waitress: Would you like anything else to drink? Water? Pink Lemonade?
T: Nope. Just a milkshake.
(a big grin)
She loved it.

For the meal itself, I was pretty impressed. We all got to pick out an appetizer (and they were tasty!) and an entree. There were plenty of choices for kids of all eating levels, picky and non picky, and everything was good enough for adults to enjoy as well. Tot loved her pizza (and so did the rest of us, who all traded bites with her to try it) and even completely finished her appetizer - she chose veggies and dip over bread and cheese which totally shocked me.

After our meal (and accompanying Pink Lemonade for the grown ups), we all ordered dessert. YUMMO. Let me tell you, even though the store is for girls, that cheesecake won over my grown up heart.

A Banana Split topped off Tot's meal, with singing from the waitresses.

They gave her a "It's My Birthday" sticker, and after that, while we picked out birthday presents, every one of the workers we passed stopped to wish her a happy birthday. We all took turns letting her pick out which doll outfit she wanted, and she even scored an oven from Nana and a highchair from MeMe.

She knows that not every birthday party will be as fancy as this one, but turning Five is a Big Deal. And let me tell you, this child was stoked. She just kept saying "This is the best birthday EVER. You are the best mommy in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD" over and over.

So, it turned out better than I could have hoped, and I think that she has cured my phobia of party planning. It turns out, anything you do for your kids they pretty much love just because you tried. It also helps if there are dolls involved.

So, Happy 5th Birthday, my tiny Tot. I sure do love you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Green Smoothie Extravaganza!

I'm sure that doesn't sound near as appealing as last week's Fall Extravaganza, but there it is.

My little Alli-Gator is now two months old, and physically I'm feeling mostly back to normal. I've got loads of energy (thank you Super Mom Vitamins!!), nursing is going well, and I have most of the baby weight off. Most, but not all.

There sits, on my stomach and hips and boobs, nine pounds of stubborn baby weight. It will. not. budge. I've been trying to eat well, indulging in only the occasional whole batch of cookies, and doing yoga twice a week (except for this week), and trying to sleep enough (well, as much as you can with a new-ish baby). Hmmmm.... so there is a little room for improvement. And let's face it, at this point my body has been through more changes in a five year period than Terrel Owens has been through NFL teams. I've gone from pregnant to recovering to overweight to decent weight to pregnant to recovering, "et cetera et cetera et cetera". It's unreasonable to expect miracles, especially when I'm not going to go to a gym and I'm not going to devote hours to cooking. And that is where this Extravaganza comes in!

I have followed the author of Happy Foody for a few years now, her name is Sara and she has the most rockin' dreads and I love reading her blogs. She is a proponent of raw, vegan eating and I view reading her blog to be not unlike driving in a really interesting neighborhood at dark, and peeking through the undrawn curtains. I'm probably never going to eat all vegan (LOVE me some cheese) and I'll probably never eat a wholly raw diet (LOVE me some cooked anything), but there is a whole different way of eating/living out there and I find it mighty interesting to peek at. She doesn't make it look weird, gross, or inconvenient - just yummy. And she's a Christian, so it's nice to read her writing from that perspective. Also, I envy her dreads like you wouldn't believe. Someday I will be brave enough to dread my hair. They are just. so. cute. I think I'll grow my hair out really long, dread it, leave it for awhile, and then chop it all off in that pixie cut I've also been envying. My word. Nose piercing. Cloth diapering. Homeschooling. Dreads. Green Smoothies. If I start smelling like patchouli someone really needs to pull me aside.

Anyways, whilst I was blogstalking, I came across Sara's Happy Foody 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge and my reader-friends, it spoke to me. This is a challenge about ridding your body of yucky things, not forcing your body to be something it isn't. It's about changing your habits so you want to eat more whole and natural foods, not pushing yourself to see how perfect you can be.

And so, I'm hopping on the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge. Sara's group challenge just ended this last week, but I'm starting it today. You can get more information from her website, Happy Foody, but here is the gist of what I'm doing, and what you are more than welcome to join me in:
  • Drink at least 16 oz. of green smoothie per day (a quart would be even better!)
  • Do some sort of activity every day. This could be an intense workout, or just dancing with your kids around the living room. It could be a 15 minute yoga session or a walk around the block.
  • Add a green leafy salad to your lunch or supper (with light dressing…stay away from the creamier sauces).
  • Stop drinking pop. (UK: Sweet Mother - this means no DDP - eek!)
  • Cut out all white sugar.
I know! It's a little insane, isn't it?? But, I'm already drinking at least 16oz of green smoothie a day, so really it's only the last four things. And those really are a kicker. Yeesh. I figure that I can count my yoga twice a week, and the rest of the days I can do walks around the block with the Dave and/or the kids. It won't be a hardship to add a green leafy salad (but it may be a hardship to cut out my ranch dressing), and I might be able to trudge through the month with no DDP. But NO white sugar?? Is she nuts? Am I nuts?? Why yes, yes I am. But I'm going to do it anyways. I think it will help me out with that last bit of stubborn baby weight (and from all I've read it should increase my milk production, which is a bonus) and I think I'll be a lot more energetic to boot. I'm already doing better than I was with either of the other two kids, largely thanks to those rockin' multivitamins I mentioned - seriously, but there is always room for improvement. And, I'd really just like to have our family eating healthier. The kids LOVE their green smoothies, we eat them every day, and Tot could eat her weight in salad, but I'm going to use this month to getting the rest of us to eat more salad and to cut all of our white sugar down. It's not like I have pliant children to begin with, maybe cutting out white sugar will give me normal-energy kids :)

Anyways, that's it - a fruit and veggie filled, month-long wonderland of Extravaganza, September 21 - Oct 21. Goodness, that sounds long. Oh, and if you need any ideas for your green smoothie, hop on over to Happy Foody - she's got a great recipe, a great How To video, and all sorts of help there. As for me, I stick to the same thing every time - 8 oz OJ, 1 fresh banana, 2 cups baby spinach, and 2 cups frozen mixed fruit. Blend, blend, blend, nom, nom, nom.

So - are you going to join me on this freakish Extravaganza? Come on. You know you want to. See? That's a little niggle telling you that it would be sad to leave the Unsinkable to blend all on her onsie. She needs a Green Smoothie Pal.

That pal is you. :)