Saturday, June 30, 2007


Today, we took Annie to her gymnastics class. Matt and I were making casual conversation outside of the glass partition, while watching Annie fake her forward rolls and refuse to go on the parallel bars. (Her athletic ability must come from me). We were talking about our plans for the day- nothing too earth shattering, when a nearby Mom interrupts us.

"You guys are the nicest couple." She says.

Matt and I stop talking, and look at her quizzically.

"You both speak with such consideration of one another. I hope you don't mind, but I've been eavesdropping on your conversation. You're both so fresh, and into each other-- you don't look like a couple that's been married for a while."

Matt and I start laughing and he asks her, "Have you been drinking?" While at the same time I say "Can we record you saying this so I can have my Mother hear this?" We laugh the whole way home- and now Matt keeps calling me his pal.

The irony is- we never get compliments like this. Do we love each other? With every fiber of our beings. Am I happily married? You bet your cargo pants I am. But, we're the kind of couple folks keep around for comic relief--- we've known each other for so long, that sometimes, the niceties fall to the wayside. We are also EXTREMELY competitive, and our good friends refuse to play board games with us. (I remember some mumblings of discomfort after Matt and I screamed "Cheater! Cheater!" at each other during a friendly game of Hearts). Anywhoo- it was pretty hilarious to have this woman think we were Disney family personified... if only for a moment.

You're My Obsession

I've been sick lately folks. Matt's a bit worried because it doesn't seem to be getting better, in fact- it's actually much worse. I've got baby fever. BAD. If I'm out shopping, and I hear that little newborn cry, the insides of my heart start to ache and I instantly want to buy some size 1 Pampers. At our little playgroup, I constantly ask to hold the babies, and get a bit weepy when I remember how much I loved to nurse. Conveniently, I seem to forget the explosive poops, the nonstop up and down at night and how they always seem to look like plucked chickens and wizened old grandpas in the beginning.

It's so ironic- because life is finally starting to get easier. Lucy is now consistently sleeping through the night (although she still likes to pop up at 5am to hang out with her Da a bit before he heads off to work), and Annie is finally potty trained. Lucy's going to join Annie at preschool in fall, and yours truly actually started working out last week. I'm cooking dinner again, I found us a new babysitter and flew across the country solo with the kids and didn't want to insert a fork in my eye mid-flight. So what gives? Why do I want to shake up the equilibrium?

There's just something about that downy fuzz on the top of their heads, and the way they snuggle into your chest and sleep, and those darling footie pajamas and the way they clasp your finger and hold on for dear life. and the way they love to hear me sing (Annie & Lucy yell "No! No! Mommy! No more singing- we can't hear the music!) and bouncy seats, and slings and carrying them with you wherever you are..... argh. Matt's happy with the way things are---- and honestly, I am too. I'm also almost 35, and didn't exactly have the easiest of pregnancies. We have another big move ahead of us, and big adjustments ahead. So, I need to make peace with this- and hope my friends don't think I'm strange when I hold their babies just a little too long.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer Picks

In homage of Mindy's blog (writer and star of the Office, bestest show of all time) I'm going to include a few things that are making my summer fun. I've got nasty feet. Seriously. To make a few extra bucks, I could spend the day picking crops- that's how bad my feet are (and my hubby continually reminds me). I always feel bad when I get professional manicures, because they always upsell me on callous removers (a type of girly acid that burns them away and smells like a bad perm) but after they unwrap my tootsies from plastic bags, the poor woman has to slough away so hard, she breaks out in a mean sweat. No more! Due to a frivolous Walgreens purchase, the Tweezerman callous shaver makes my feet softer than a newborn's bum. Plus- it's as addicting as peeling away sunburn.

I got my first whiff of this as a birthday present from my uber cool sister-in-law. I never in my life thought I would pay this much money for shower gel, but this stuff is pure nirvana. Matt loves it so much, I went out and bought the matching perfume and body lotion. It's kind of like the grown up girl's version of Clinique's Happy- but a touch softer. You can find it at sephora.

Have you checked out Jack's Big Music Show? Aside from Wonderpets, Jack is the man of the hour at our house. If it weren't for Jack, Mary and Mel- dinner would never get on our table. Because I'm nerdy, I looked up Jack on Wikipedia. It's based on the Jack Benny show- and has that wonderful Shrek touch of magic that makes it entertaining for kids and adults to watch together. Annie wants to be just like Mary, and is the only kid in America that asked Santa for an accordian this year. Matt wishes they made t-shirts, so he could be the coolest Daddio on the block.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Signs of a Shoe Addiction?

When entering the security area of the airport- my 3.5 year old says "Look Mommy! This is where we take off our shoes and pay for them, and then put them back on."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Last Chance

I'm back. Thunderstorms, airport delays, landing in another city to refuel and waiting for airports to open couldn't keep me from returning home---- 3.5 hours late, but I'm home. I took the kiddos- sans husband- to Phoenix for the weekend to hook up with my family and see my little brother before he leaves for Iraq in a couple of weeks. I'll blog about the trip later--- but wanted to share an important piece of critical information for all of the Bargain Bettys that are out there.

Some may wonder- why visit Phoenix in the dead of summer? Since I'm currently hanging my hat in Southeast Texas, I am surprised at how little the 110 degree Arizona heat affects me. That whole "it's a dry heat thing" that you think is complete bullshit and something folks chant like a mantra to convince themselves to live where water must be imported? It's actually true. I currently live in what can only be described as "wet heat" (and no, this blog is not going porno). But Texas summers mean Texas sized thunderstorms- with humidity levels that make hairstyling a complete joke, and the strongest deodorant completely useless.

But what draws me to Phoenix in June? Family yes..... little brother leaving for a bullshit war... yes.... but also, Dear Readers, was the chance to go to Last Chance. This is the mecca of bargain shopping. In the food chain of shopping: first there is Nordstroms, then, there is the Rack. at the end of the retail journey is Last Chance- the last possible chance for Nordstroms to get a dollar for anything and everything before they burn it- literally. My heart starts pounding if I even think of it! Think garage sale, with a touch of Goodwill combined with haute couture.

The shoes! The shoes! I dream of the shoes. I came home with 3 pairs- handmade Italian flats ($39.99), a pony haired ballet shoe in the most darling leopard print ($18.99) and a pair of Dansko clogs (for my lesbian, jjill cord wearing in the winter) $18.99. But the real steal? My husband has a love affair for French, Faconnable shirts. He treasures them (and they are extremely soft) but at their normal price tag- usually unattainable.

I got him 3 Faconnable shirts- at $14.97 a piece!!! You could hear my screams of delight all the way to handbags. The hunter had found her prey, and those shirts soon found their way crammed into my diaper bag aboard a Southwest flight to home. I celebrated with honey roasted peanuts, a 3.5 hour delay and a much needed in-flight bloody mary.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Even Steven

Part of me feels very mean spirited with this post... but then I remind myself, that blogging is therapeutic, and the whole reason I'm doing this thing is to vent so I don't go all Pompeii on my family and turn into volcanic ash. Today, we had a playdate. But I wouldn't really call it a playdate, more like a "try to prevent house from being destroyed" date. The folks that come over (unannounced, mind you- ) frequent our house pretty regularly. In the short time we have lived here, this family has: ripped a towl bar off the wall, broken the leg off our dining room table (ouch!), smashed our Halloween pumpkins while ringing our doorbell (2 days prior to Halloween, mind you), emptied the playroom of every toy and scattered them throughout the house, and the piece de la resistance- on their last "visit" they made their way into my bedroom and found Matt's secret stash of trojans and dumped them on the living room floor. They only have 2 kids- one sweet 5 year old girl, and a little boy that's almost 2. It's a lot of work for 2 kids to create such destruction, but with the sustenance of peanut butter and jelly and all of the milk in my fridge, these kids soldier on.

Now, mess is mess. If you have kids, you expect some level of violation in your house. It goes with the territory. However- there is an unspoken Mom rule that you spread the destruction amongst each other. You may come smash my pumpkins, and then I send my little ones over to plug your toilet up with race cars. An eye for eye, a pumpkin for a plumber, I say. But, in this particular case--- it's become a one way street. We have only been to their house twice, and on one of these occasions- the mom shepherded us to the local Chick-fil-A for some chicken nuggets and rotovirus. This family is moving next week. so I'm quickly losing my opportunity for payback. I may load the kids up in my minivan and teach Annie the finer art of t-ping.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cowboy Junkies

My Dad is obsessed with cowboy stuff. He's been known to go garage sailing, and bring home velvet cowboy paintings, and not understand when my Mom would go all "Christmas Story" on his ass and accidentally shred them with pinking shears. Anyway, in his cowboy collection, he has a CD recording of cowboys doing spoken word- --instead of berets, they wear ten gallons, but you get the point. During highschool, my Dad and I used to love to listen to one of the cowboys rattle off this poem about how ill he was- it started off with the line "I'm bone tired, and gut sick."

That's how I feel today.

I have that kind of tired that makes existing feel difficult. My head feels like a cotton ball someone is slowly shredding apart, and my arms are as heavy as a piece of Bud's pie from the Roundtop Cafe. When Lucy took a nap, I propped Annie up on my bed and tried to read her a story or two. Faster than you could say Knuffle Bunny I fell asleep. Annie didn't do too badly. Like a bad puppy, she got into some of my art supplies and ripped a pad of paper apart. (She insisted it was snowing). I was so relieved for the respite, I let her put her mittens on.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Big state- small world

Hey, I'm figuring out my site tracker--- so if you're from Plano- can you shoot me a message?
Small world!

Happy Trails

We did it! We finally made it out of town for a couple of days. After the doctor confirmed Lucy didn't have pneumonia on Friday, we hightailed it out of town and made it to Austin by five o'clock. We stayed here- and had an absolute blast. Their family pool is hilarious- it has a huge water slide that Matt enjoyed throttling himself down (we were the only dorky family to cheer their Dad on as he went down the slide) and a "lazy river" that you innertube down while having a drink. (Instead of a cocktail, I got to hold a kid, but still fun). They have a campfire every night with s'mores, and Annie got to ride her first horse.

On the way back, we detoured a bit- and took Matt out to lunch for fathers day. I heard about this place on the Food Network- and apparently, it's quite famous. It is a tiny - probably seats no more than 30 people. There is a front porch, with an ice chest of bottled beer that you can drink on the honor system (unless you are a lawyer, and then you must pay cash-upfront). The owner is this guy named Bud- and he's about 350lbs when wet, with a pony tail down to his waist and a penchant for painting (pies are his current still life of choice). The food kicked ass- probably in the top five meals of my life. Since it was Sunday, we had the family fried chicken meal- with creamed corn and country mashed potatoes. Matt had a few Shiner bocks and we listened to Johnny Cash as we watched Lucy eat every piece of crispy chicken skin she could get her greasy hands on. After piling the kids in the car- my family took a snooze while I drove through a thunder storm. A beautiful ending to a short, but much needed break.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Shopping List

My husband is an extremely smart individual. He was asked to be someone's lifeline on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" but they wouldn't allow the phone in the operating room (bad for our friend, good for the guy who was losing his appendix). But Matt has one quirky trait that always leaves me puzzled: he believes anything I tell him to do.

For example, during this week of "non-vacation" (i.e. time Matt has off work that is filled with 2 sick kids with croup) Matt is killing time by knocking off his personal to-do list. We fanagled him an appointment to the dentist and he got his teeth cleaned. Check. Then, Matt said he needed an eye exam- but he wasn't sure where to go.

I casually suggested Costco- knowing they gave eye exams, and also needing a huge pack of pull-ups and some blueberries. Check, check and more check. What a way to maximize time! So, we piled the kids in the car, drove to Costco, and before Annie and I could help ourselves to more samples of alfresco sausage (damn that stuff is good) Matt was back with his new prescription.

Today, he got his glasses. They are a bit blurry and giving him headaches. Oops. In retrospect, probably not a good idea to get a surgeon's new eye wear at a place that also sells 20lb bags of cat litter...but damn, those sausages were good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Matt's off this week. This vacation is very timely, because he started to turn a bit grey around the edges-- like a wilted plant that needs to see the sun. Hopefully he can relax, get some sun and have a bit of fun.

The fun's going to have wait though- both girls have croup. I'm on my 4th night of croup duty--- laying next to my little ones, making sure they can breathe, and holding their little bodies over the humidifier when they can't. It's grueling work--- but something about Lucy's sweet breath at 4am, as she gurgles "thank you mommy" and pats my back as I rock her next to the Vics Cold Mist machine makes me realize these are moments I will never forget.

Friday, June 8, 2007


I've written about the bugs in Texas before- but it must be something about the onset of summer that brings out the bug-a-phobia in me. Tonight, as I'm writing this- the lamp on the desk is on. Outside, behind the drawn blinds and the closed window- I hear this: SMACK! THUD! THUD! In normal places, you would hear the delicate little tap tap of moths fluttering against the glass. I've got pre-Jenny Craig Kirstie Alley moths trying to break down my window. If I'm not careful, they will carry away one of my children.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Conjunction Junction

Today I took the kids to an outdoor theatre to see Schoolhouse Rock. We packed a picnic and met some friends- it was a blast! It was so cathartic to have Annie and Lucy sitting on my lap while I sang "I'm just a bill" right along with the other parents. After the show, the kids rolled down the hill for a bit, and then we took a train ride through the park. The heat started creeping up (as did the humidity), so we waved goodbye to our friends, and went to find our car.

Three parking lots later- we still couldn't find it. Annie passed out in the stroller, but little Lucy trudged along- right beside her sweaty, ticked off Mommy. We made our way across the park, and found ourselves in between 2 parking lots, in a wooded glen. Another gaggle of moms and kids approached us, and one mom laughed and said "It feels like we are meeting in the middle of the wilderness!" After trading some fruit snacks for juice boxes I asked if she had seen a green Honda Odyssey littered with moldy sippy cups, dirty socks and stale Cheerios. She had seen six of them, so that really didn't help...but the frantic pushing of my car alarm panic button did. How the hell did people live here before air conditioning was invented?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Heat Is On

I love summer. I love that it is 8:00 at night, and the sun is just starting to go to bed. I love the smells of summer- chlorine from the pool, suntan lotion and freshly mowed grass. I love summer fruit- watermelon, strawberries, plums and nectarines. I love flip flops, shorts, pony tails, barbecues, corn on the cob, drinking from a hose, the Beach Boys, heirloom tomatoes and chick lit.

Tonight, in honor of summer- I served a huge pasta salad for dinner. (pasta, garbanzo beans, english cucumber, red pepper, green onion, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, pimento and artichoke hearts in a zingy vinigrette). Accompanied by corn on the cob and watermelon, my family welcomed summer with a smile.

Monday, June 4, 2007

It's a Hard Knock Life

I knew that having kids could be tough... the sleepless nights, the endless questions, the frustrating whining-- I expected that. What I did not expect was the tough blow to my vanity.

I named my oldest daughter Annie- and she has been flooded with Annie paraphernalia since before she was born. She owns 2 different versions of the Annie movie, and tells me she wants a dog named Sandy (to be best friends with Walter, see earlier post) and she even has her own Annie Christmas ornament that sings (thank you Granny). Which brings us to our current problem.

My Annie, is currently obsessed with the soundtrack from Annie. In particular (and to no great surprise), her favorite is the song, "Tomorrow." The problem? She only likes it when I sing it. What's the big deal, you ask? She only likes it, if I sing it, and we're out in public- like the library, or the grocery store, or the doctor's office. "Sing it Mommy! Sing my song!" Like the good performing monkey I am, I try to quietly belt out a few "The sun will come outs" while holding the last semblance of my ego intact.

My husband suffers from a similar dilemna. He abhors the show "America's Funniest Home Videos". Seriously, he almost seizes if he hears Bob Saget's voice from a rerun. Enter prodigal irony, exit ego: Annie's new favorite show is, (you guessed it, ) "the funny video show." She especially enjoys it while snuggled on her Daddy's lap.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Cats Have Nine Lives?

Last night, my husband ran to the market to pick up a few things for dinner. He also stopped by the hospital to check on a patient. On his way home, he narrowly missed an accident. (Narrowly, as in centimeters). He was driving on a main thoroughfare, and a guy ran a red light. Unfortunately, the guy ran the light when Matt was in the middle of the intersection. Luckily, he saw the car speeding towards him, and at the last moment, hit his accelerator just in time. Whew!

Unfortunately, stuff like this happens to Matt all the time. One early San Diego morning, Matt was heading off to work as a trauma surgeon for the day. It was 3:30am, (he likes to get to work early) and as he drove to work, he unknowingly cut off a fellow car. This car then followed Matt to work, and pulled up next to him in the hospital parking lot. Matt got out of the car, and so did the two gentlemen. (I'm using the term loosely folks--- these guys did not read "Miss Manners"). Apparently there was a minute of awkward silence--- the guys stared at Matt, and Matt wondered what was going to happen. Finally one of them spoke. "You a doctor?" he asked. After Matt nodded his head, the guys got back in their car, drove over the curb, hit a parked car and left.

One December, Matt hit a Christmas tree on the freeway. (He was driving a Z3, so it could be said Old Tannebaum hit him instead). This string of luck all began when Matt turned 16- the same week he totaled his birthday car on the 405 freeway, in front of South Coast Plaza. He should have gotten a bus pass for his birthday instead.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Neverending Story

We have a new project for the summer- it's called "The Letters Book." Basically, we are making a photo album of the alphabet-- the only rule being that one member of our family must be in the picture. We have spent LOTS of time discussing the "Letter Book"- picking out what we'll do for each letter- etc. etc. Annie is obsessed with the book- this all started after we found the caterpillars, and she wants them to be the feature on the C page. Lucy really only cares about the letter E (only one she currently knows) so as long as that somehow makes it in, she's a happy camper.

So... we were supposed to make it to the zoo today, to hopefully snap some pictures of zebras and elephants for the aforementioned photo-log, but we got hit with a huge rain storm. We detoured to the children's museum instead-- no zebras, no elephants, but it was fun watching my hubby try to put a puzzle together before the timer buzzed. Anyone have a clue what we can conjure up for the letter Z?