Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Apple Pie No. 1

It wasn't a disaster, but I wouldn't make it again. Unfortunately, I think I have to blame Chuck for this one, partly. First, I used the Betty Crocker recipe. This calls for you to squirt some lemon juice on the apples. I was trying to get the pie into the oven before we sat down to dinner so I asked Chuck to put some lemon juice on the apples while I mixed up the sugar mixture. I have to admit that he asked, "How much?" and I simply responded with, "I dont' know, just squirt some on there." (Obviously cutting corners with bottled lemon juice whereas Martha Stewart would have squeezed a real lemon). Then I went on to prepare and bake the beautiful pie. All was well until I took my first bite of the golden pie, and then it was more than a bit tart from the lemon juice. I'm not even sure I'm going to eat any more of it. Sadly, that is probably $10 down the drain, but while it sits on my counter on a cake stand, it looks like I am the ultimate homemaker. Hell, I even made dinner last night, and tonight we're going to actually eat something called "leftovers." Weird, right?

Perhaps Chuck and I should just ditch our collaborative cooking. The last time we were both cooking in the kitchen, he asked for Cumin for the charro beans and I handed him Cinnamon.

As for the Halloween costumes, I'm almost sold on dressing like Bristol Palin, but I've got to convince Chuck to dress up as my Baby Daddy (full on with the Bristol tattoo on his left ring finger).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall is in the air . . .

So, I put up my fall decorations this weekend and it totally cheered me up until the Cowboys lost the game. Oh well. I'd rather lose now than in the playoffs. But, the sounds of football on TV and the slightly less oppressive heat is a wonderful indication that my favorite season is just around the corner. The leaves are getting just the slightest bit crunchy and one tree in my front yard is starting to drop its leaves. Poor tree. I'm surrounded by decoration-induced shades of orange, yellow, and red - trying to imagine what it would really be like to live somewhere that actually experiences the elusive season known as Autumn. I've stocked up on Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin scented oils, bath gel, lotion, and body spray from Bath & Body Works, so the house smells perfectly fallish. My next thing to do is to go pick out some pumpkins and put them outside my front door.

Luke keeps asking when Halloween is. He can't believe it isn't until October 31st, although I'm pretty sure he still has not grasped the concept of time, but he is getting there. He wants to be Batman, by the way. (He was Superman last year). Evie wants to be a butterfly/fairy/princess. I want to be Bristol Palin - think I can pull it off? Yeah, probably not.

In keeping with this wonderful sense of the season, my sweet, dear husband sent me an autumn flower arrangement today. I'll have to take a picture. It is beautiful and I keep getting compliments on it. The best part is he actually supports my obsession about the season. It's definitely starting to invade my spirit since this is my favorite time of year! In fact, I've decided that I must make an apple pie tonight. Yes, I, too, think it might be the hormones talking, but why ignore such a great craving? In fact, I think I might go on a quest to find the perfect apple pie recipe. Anyone want to come over and try pies? I'll be sure to post the results on the blog.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Sitting on the bleachers at the soccer game this weekend with Luke riding the aluminum next to me, I hear Luke say with amazement and pride as he rubs his forehead, "Mommy, I have a nipple on my forehead!" I whip my head around and look at him as he rubs a spot just over his right eye. I say, "What?! Let me see." He moves is finger briefly and I take a quick glimpse and say, "No, Luke, that's just a dried booger stuck to your head."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hormone Explosion 2008

It's been a crazy week and to top it off, yesterday I experience what I am now calling, "Hormone Explosion 2008" or HE08 . . . at work. Hormones and work are clearly not a good combo.

Last night at 5:30 was the kids' first Open House at their school. I've been swamped at work, but I thought there might be a chance of breaking away to go visit the school and see my little angels/devils at school. So at 6:15 (already late) I ask Bossman 1 if all is well and he says "sure, go on home." I go to drop something off in another conference room and see Bossman 2 who says, "We need to work on this. It is a little more complicated than originally thought." So, I sit down (even though I'm late) and wait for him to explain what is going on and then I ask, "So what kind of deadline do we have on this because we keep having things come up?" He looks soberly at me and says, "The client wants us to figure it out tonight." My eyes widened and I feel myself beginning to lose control of my hormones, as my eyes turn glassy and I say hesitantly, "Okay." I take a deep breath, Bossman 2 catches sight of the watery eyes and asks, "Do you have somewhere you need to be?" (A simple, innocuous question, particularly since I have no trouble staying late to work usually.) I nod slightly trying to quickly gather my emotions which have separated from the rational thoughts circulating in my head. (I hate that being pregnant can cause you to completely and utterly lose control of emotional reactions - it is so freakin' frustrating.) Bossman 2 asks, "Where do you need to be?" I squeak out, "My kids' open house," as I continue to spiral downward out of control and feel the tear ducts increase water production. Inside, I'm groaning and totally pissed off that I can't get my emotions under control. I feel so stupid! Normally, I'd just adjust my testicles and say, "Yeah, I didn't want to go to that anyway." But instead, here I am looking like a man's worst nightmare of what it is like to work with a woman. Bossman 2 responds, "Well you need to go to that." Me, "No, no, it's no big deal" - a real tear falls (Ugh! I'm mortified at this point). "Really it's not a big deal." Bossman 2, "You need to go to that. I'll stay and get this ready and you can analyze it in the morning." Me (fully out of control at this point although not sobbing), "I'm so sorry about this, it's got to be the hormones, because this really isn't a big deal. It's not like my Mom's in the hospital or something." Bossman 2, "This only happens once a year. You need to go. I'll take care of this." Me, "I'm sorry, I hate being a chick! I'm so sorry." Bossman 2 (now looking thoroughly scared and feeling awkward), "Stop. You don't need to apologize. Go to the open house." More apologies and stupidity.

I proceed to leave the conference room and the tears fully begin to flow at a ridiculous pace. To my horror, I run into yet another attorney (this time a female associate) and she asks, "What is wrong?" Me, "nothing, nothing" sniffle, gasp, tear drips. More embarrassment, more ridiculousness as my mind processes that this is simply the stupidest thing to cry about, because the Open House is pretty much over already anyway, and the kids don't care whether I'm there or not, and finally, Chuck is there so it's not like they're orphans. Stupid.

I get to my office, gather my stuff, wipe my face with a tissue and try to gather my control, but my hormones are totally in control of all my bodily functions even though my mind is processing the entire event in a calm, rational manner. Hormones suck!

I get to the open house. Most everyone is gone. There are some parents and teachers. The tears haven't completely dried up, my face is splotchy red, I have a damp tissue in my hand, and my nose keeps sniffling. Teachers repeatedly come up to me, "Are you okay?" Me, "I'm fine, I'm fine, really" as I wave my nasty tissue in their direction and they back up in response. More teachers approach as I enter each room desparately looking for my children. The teachers also inquire as to whether everything is okay. I repeat over and over, "no, no I'm fine. I swear. Just ignore me. Have you seen my kids?" I finally find my children and my husband upstairs mingling with other parents from the school. The parents we are close to again ask me what is wrong, and I say, "Just don't ask or I'll start crying again." Of course, I don't get all the words out when tears burst forth from my overworked tear ducts yet again and I bury my runny nose into my soaking tissue. Still embarrassed and still totally pissed that my body has run amuck from my completely rational mind.

About 45 minutes after the first teary-eyed response to Bossman 2, the tears finally dried up after Chuck and the kids made me laugh for about five minutes. God bless them. Chuck lined up Luke, Evie and friend Savannah to see which one was the tallest and proceeded to ask them silly questions to determine who was the tallest. Who smells the tallest? - He sniffs each head and determines that Evie smells the tallest. Who sounds the tallest? He put his ear to each kid's head and determines that Savannah sounds the tallest. (all kids giggling the whole time). Who has the tallest shoulders? - they all raise their shoulders as high as they can almost touching their ears. I crack up. You get the picture.

This morning, I'm still embarrassed and hope desparately, that I won't lose control of my emotions again. I'm the first one to actually get pregnant and have a baby at the firm, and I know they're all thinking, "Oh, my God, what did we get ourselves into by hiring a person with a uterus?!" I continue to work and just hope that my hormones will turn back into bitchy hormones instead of emotional hormones. Bitchy hormones are much more conducive to my job as an attorney.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Clearly a busy week

No posts = busy week. I'm swamped. So swamped, all I have time to say is that my babies are still precious, and I think I finally settled on a middle name for George. I like it so much, I might just use his middle name instead of his first name - just like Luke. I'm withholding the name for now until I'm one hundred percent certain about it. So many people dislike the name George, that I don't think my prego hormones can take rejection of the middle name too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday Sucks

So, Monday sucked so bad that I wanted to call it a week at 9:00 p.m. last night and not come back until next Monday. Sadly, the bills won't get paid that way, so I'm back at work to face the craziness. It really isn't that bad, but if feels that bad sometimes. Anybody else have those moments? Some days I just want to hang it all up and say "I don't need this." The problem is that I do need this, at least for now. Still, the work is pretty great, the firm is excellent, and I have a top-notch supervisor who is very supportive, kind, and ridiculously intelligent. He doesn't read this so no need to think I'm kissing his ass.

Work aside, things have been going alright. We had a big weekend. Evie turned 3 on Sunday! Like every parent I know, I can't believe how fast they grow up. Among other things, Evie got 4 Barbies for her birthday and she LOVES them. My mom particularly despises Barbies and the short reason is that she thinks Barbies lead to premarital sex. I think there's a disconnect in her evaluation, but I'm sure she'd be happy to explain it to you. Personally, I know many, many girls who had Barbies and I don't think that played any role in whether they engaged in premarital sex or not. You guys tell me? I think most people engage in premarital sex these days (barbies or not), but that's just my opinion. I digress.

Back to the boring post regarding my weekend:

Chuck went to the Aggie football game. Not pleasant, but I'm glad he still enjoys doing it even though the team isn't having a stellar season this year. Chuck is totally red-ass so I don't think the score matters so long as he and the players show up. Chuck tries to carry the dead weight of all the two percenters out there. I swear I think he thinks it is like Christmas magic. You know that movie Elf with Will Ferrell and there is the part where Santa's sleigh won't fly because not enough people believe in Santa or have Christmas cheer? Well, I think Chuck sees football season like that. If not enough people cheer or believe in the Aggies then they won't win. Accordingly, Chuck does his best to take up all the slack in the cheering and belief in the mythical Aggie National Championship so that the Aggies will win.

Otherwise, a pleasant weekend although I did spend my Friday night at McDonalds (yikes) and then shopping at Wal-mart. I never imagined my life like this, where a Friday night could be so easily (and painfully consumed) by 30 four year olds running around and screaming at the McDonald's playland. And Saturday was similarly occupied with entertaining the children on my own. Lucky for me, I have another similar weekend ahead of me as Army plays at A&M on Saturday.

On the bright side, my Cowboys trounced the Packers in Greenbay! Congratulations Boys! Like Chuck, I believe in the magic of team spirit, and I had the kids and myself totally decked out in Tony Romo jerseys for the game.

Hope Tuesday is better than Monday! Peace out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Strangers in My House

We've had five showings in the first week! Only one person has to love it and make us a reasonable offer, and bam, I have no idea what we'll do after that.

I have to admit that it is a very strange feeling to have strangers going through our house. What are they looking at? They know what size I wear. They know that our dog wears a cone on her head (still). They see our taste in art, the college degrees we hang on the wall in our study, our kids' penchant for Dora and Diego, and everything else about us. It is very strange.

Private Parts: Part 3

Shit - I lost an entire post. That pisses me off.

So, we've been talking to our friends, family, and co workers about this issue we're having regarding Luke and Evie's recent questions and facination with private parts and we're coming up with some interesting answers.

To my great relieve, Luke's teacher (Ms. D) assured me that Luke does not talk about or touch his penis at school. Thank Heaven! She did admit that her kids went through the same phase and it is totally normal. She said her daughter was acutally worse than her son (when they were both around Evie and Luke's ages). Ms. D said her daughter would touch her hoohah (aka vagina) for comfort - almost like having a favorite blanket or binkie. (yeah, I think this is weird too, but I can't throw stones because one of my kids might start doing it too). So, Ms. D said that whenever her daughter would put her hand down her pants, Ms. D would send her little girl to her room and whenever she was done doing whatever she could come out. This was, of course, never meant as a punishment. Ms. D just said that if her daughter was going to do that then she had to do it in private. Ms. D encouraged me to tell Luke that his penis is private. Interesting - but we're always in private when Luke talks about it, and I'm not ready for him to announce something about his penis in the middle of church just so I can emphasize that his penis is a private matter.

A couple we know and love (who shall remain unidentified) has a daughter Evie's age who sucks her thumb and rubs her nipple (all at the same time) for comfort. They asked the doctor about it and the doctor didn't seem concerned at all. Frankly, if the doctor isn't concerned then I wouldn't be either, although I totally understand their distress. At least Luke doesn't constantly have his hand down his pants.

Chuck was talking to one of his coworkers about Luke and Evie's facination and told her the story about Luke asking what happened to Evie's penis. Chuck's coworker told him that when her son and daughter were Luke and Evie's age, her daughter asked what happened to her penis since she saw that her brother had one. The mother explained that little girls don't have penises. Her daughter then announced that instead of a penis she had a "front butt" and a "back butt." God bless their little souls, I can't believe some of the stuff little kids come up with, but I guess it makes sense. I could see how a little girl's hoohah could look like a front butt, can't you?

I guess, it isn't just boys (little and big) who are obsessed with their private parts, although I think it is more prevalent among boys.

A coworker of mine said his mom was constantly getting after him and his brother to stop touching themselves. He said boys are just like that. I guess it's true, and now I have little George to contend with.

And of course, there are still those adult men out there who touch themselves in public without even realizing they are doing it. How in the world do they get this far without someone saying something to them? I have no idea what the deal is, but some men just never stop touching themselves everywhere and anywhere. Maybe they need new underwear. Maybe they have jock itch. Whatever it is, they've got to stop touching themselves! I see men adjusting themselves obviously while they're running, in the elevator, in the office, at a happy hour, in a deposition, standing over my shoulder, at church, in line at the movie theater, or really just about anywhere. You name it - they do it! Lord knows that we women aren't constantly reaching down to adjust our boobs or our hoohahs.

Back to the kids. The most recent incident regarding private parts at our house took place a week ago when my mother (Ike Refugee) was in town and planning to watch the kids. I came downstairs fully dressed for work and was sitting on the couch chatting with my mom about her plans for the day. Evie crawled up on my lap, patted my chest and interrupted with, "Mommy, your nipples are bi-hiiig!" I said, "Thank you, Evie. That's enough." and I removed her hand. I looked up at my chuckling mother and said, "See what I mean? That came out of nowhere!" Dear mother had no wise words to address the matter. I'm starting to realize that Evie has not distinguished between a nipple and the entire breast. Still, most of you know that I'm not well endowed at all, so if she is telling me my nipples are big (meaning my breasts) then what in the world is she telling her new teacher who has enormous breasts?!? And, do I ask the teacher, "Hey, Ms. C, has Evie mentioned anything about your nipples lately?" I'd like to nip this thing in the bud (no pun intended), but I'm not sure how to address her teacher's private parts. Some of you reading this are teachers. Any of you experience this? What would you want the parent to say?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Measured in 10ths of an Hour

As you know, I'm a lawyer. What you may not know is that my life is measured in 10ths of an hour. This is otherwise known as the "Billable Hour." I have come to resent the billable hour except to the extent that it is what allows me and my firm to pay the bills. The problem with the billable hour is that now my whole life is wrapped up by what I've done each 10th of an hour. How will I bill the 10th of an hour that I spend writing this blog entry? Was it worth it? Do I catagorize it under the area of my life called: Church, Family, Professional, Professional Development, Mental Wellness, Friends, Social? Do I bill this time to me, my family, my friends? When I'm spending my time at the spa, I know that that is time allocated to me. I can't tell Chuck - babe, that was your time. When I spend time at an A&M football game, I allocate it to Chuck & Family. It certainly doesn't fall under the same category that a day at the spa would fall under. When I spend time at a board meeting, I catagorize it as Professional Development or Community Service. You get the picture.

We all do this - catagorize our time and how we spend it. Do I get enough time with God? Do I get enough time with my kids? Am I spending enough time at work to impress the boss or earn my salary? The problem is that within the practice of law (and among other professions), I spend my time so diligently tracking how I spend every minute of my day. Can I spend an extra fifteen minutes at lunch? Instead of 1 hour, I've spent 1.3 and now I have to make up the .3 somewhere. If I bill less than 7.5 hours in a day, I realize that sometime during the year I will have to sacrifice to make up the billable hours that I missed, and I have to weigh the importance of missing any time at work.

Some things are easy to determine, but others are not. For example, there is no decision to be made when it comes to going to my kid's school presentation, staying at home with a sick kid, or like today, attending a funeral. Yes, I will sacrifice the 3 hours of billable time so that I can pay my respects to my friend who passed away and his family. Yes, I will stay at home with my sick child. Yes, I will do my best not to miss my kid's mother's day presentation. These are things, however, that force me to recognize that my law firm is not receiving it's day's work that I owe for my salary. In another job, I would just have personal time (elusive in a law firm career) and I would take that personal time without guilt or any thought that I have to make it up sometime in the future. However, at a law firm, I know that I have to make up the time when I'm gone. So, I do it.

In the grand scheme of life, however, I am contemplating whether it is healthy for a person to live in increments such as these - measuring my life by ticks in the clock rather than by my accomplishments at work. Did I bill 40 hours this week, preparing for a single deposition that never took place? Yes. Success. Did I settle a case, win a motion, and provide helpful counsel to a client entering into a contract? Yes, but I did it all in only 32 billable hours - no success. I still have 8 hours to make up.

The same is applied to life. Did I spend every day with my kids while I cleaned the house and let them watch tv? Yes, success because I a majority of time with my kids. But what if I spend two hours every night with my kids, talking about school, reading books, and playing soccer? Then, no success because I only spent 14 hours with my kids.

The problem comes into quality. I would rather spend 14 hours of quality time with my kids than stay at home with them and spend that time cleaning house or constantly riding them to do their homework or their chores. Does this seem backward? Am I missing a key ingredient in life with kids? I feel the same way about work. I'd rather accomplish something rather than bill out hours for document review or letters and phone calls. With that said, the billable hours and tasks that I just listed (such as document review) are necessary evils in the practice of law.

Still, when attending a funeral it brings to mind whether measuring my life in increments of 10ths of an hour is wise, healthy, and worth it.

Try measuring your life by this clock and tell me how much you love/hate it. In a glass-is-half-full kinda way, at least I know where I spend my time, and I can evalute whether I'm making the right decisions. Tell me what you think.

It's always a good idea

It's always a good idea to take time to tell the people you care about how much you love them. So, this is for my sweet, patient husband who has tolerated 11 years of my emotional roller coaster, my bitchiness, and all my other foibles. You are my best friend and my love. Here's a little video and song for you (packed full of big hair band fun).

Ooh you make me live

Whatever this world can give to me

It's you you're all i see

Ooo you make me live now honey

Ooo you make me live

Ooh you're the best friend that i ever had

I've been with you such a long time

You're my sunshine and i want you to know

That my feelings are true

I really love you

Oh you're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

Ooh i've been wandering round

But i still come back to you

In rain or shine

You've stood by me girl

I'm happy at home

You're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

Whenever this world is cruel to me

I got you to help me forgive

Ooo you make me live now honey

Ooo you make me live

You're the first one

When things turn out bad

You know i'll never be lonely

You're my only one

And i love the things

I really love the things that you do

You're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

I'm happy at home

You're my best friend

Oh you're my best friend

Ooo you make me live

You you're my best friend

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Still Coping . . .

Sadly, nothing new to report, except to confirm there has not been a third death.
Baby George is growing and developing right on schedule. I've been so sore from walking in the morning, working on the house, playing with kids, and generally walking around in heels and carrying light boxes at work. I've decided to give it a rest because I looked like a decripit old woman walking around all the time. I still wear the heels, but I've given up walking for a week and the house is finished since it is on the market already. We had a third showing today. My doctor suggested that a wear this crazy sling type contraption to support my belly and take the weight off my back. Here's a picture.

I refuse absolutely to partake of the contraption, but she also suggested prenatal yoga and I'm definitely up for that. I'll let y'all know how that goes. Until then, I'm feeling physically a lot better than I did last week. Why don't they have pre-maternity leave for when moms are so very sore and uncomfortable? - not that I would take it, but I would definitely consider reduced hours.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2 down, 1 to go

Death comes in threes, right? Well, I received news of two deaths this weekend, so I'm bracing myself for the third. Both deaths from this weekend were young tragedies, so I'm due for a geriatric death. (No offense). Joking aside, this has been a rough day.

A family in Wichita Falls lost their young son (2 years old) who suffered multiple complications and neared death last fall. Some of you may have been included in my prayer list. God finally took him home this weekend, just a few months after he met his little sister.
This morning I learned of the tragic death of a friend of mine here in town who was killed in a car accident over the weekend. He was a lawyer, and well-known and active in the community. He was good people and he will be sorely missed. I'm not coping well with the fact that I just saw him last week, talked to him about his family, laughed with him, and now he just isn't here anymore. I'm also having trouble putting "was" in front of my descriptions of him. In my mind, he still "is." My mind can't seem to grasp the fact of the matter, but I'm certain it will sink in sometime this week.
God bless them both, and God bless their families. And God bless you too. I hope each one of you reading this, knows that I love you and cherish you. Oh, and I love my husband and my little babies more than I could have ever imagined.
Today is September 15th and it is very beautiful here in Texas. Please go outside, feel the breeze on your face, watch the sunset, and say a prayer for Alex and Jeff, and a prayer of thanks for today.

My sister Cathy told me a few weeks after my Dad died that my Dad's mother believed that people who die are raised to Heaven through beams of sunshine like the one in the picture above. I always look for those beams after someone I know passes away. I also always think of those who have left this world for another one. It does seem like a beautiful way to enter Heaven. There are no beams today as I watch the sun set in a clear sky. Perhaps I will see them soon. Much love to you all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Luke v. Soccer: Round 2

Hurricane Ike wins. All games cancelled.

Now what do I do with my Saturday morning? The Houston refugees were looking forward to watching Luke cry and cower in the goal box, but now I guess we have to find an alternative form of entertainment.

Maybe we can point fingers and make fun of my poor dog Fergi who is currently suffering through life with a cone on her head. It's a hard knock life. Her paw became infected after her stint at the kennel over Labor Day weekend. We're finally on the mend after two vet visits, two types of antibiotics, one antibiotic topical ointment, and two rounds of pain killers. Lucky bitch.

What is most amazing is that she can squeeze throught her doggie door with this enormous cone around her head. I still won't let her out in the backyard by herself because I'm afraid she'll jump in the pool and drown herself (and I would never know if it was a suicide or an accident).

FOR SALE: 3 bedroom, 4.5 bath

We finally did it! A sign went up in our lawn yesterday and our house is officially on the market. And, I just got a call that someone wants to view it this afternoon! The sign hasn't even been up for 24 hours! That's good news that I hope leads to more good news!

I have to admit that I'm totally having seller's blues, because, really our house is so pretty and, well, it is our home. I will certainly miss it if someone buys it. I even feel like I'm betraying the house that has been so good to me for the last four years. It is beautiful (to me) and I hate to see someone come in and make it ugly. Of course, if someone can come in and do even more good for it like putting more money into the backyard, then I won't feel so bad. Gosh, it sounds like I'm putting my kid up for adoption or something.

So there you have it - we're actually going to move if someone buys our house.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is that smell?

I just got off the elevator with a man who, from the smell of him, just finished smoking the same kind of cigarettes my grandfather smoked before he died of emphysema. Ahh, sweet memories.

Are any of you still smoking? If so, it's time to quit. Except if you're already in your 70's, then I say keep up the destruction and enjoy yourself.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Luke v. Soccer: Round 1

First, let me begin by telling you that it could have been worse, and second, we have the best coach.

At practice last week, Chuck noticed that Luke was the only kid on the team without cleats. I personally thought, "Does it really matter, since all Luke does when he's on the soccer field is squat down in the grass and cry?" Apparently, it does - to Luke anyway. Saturday morning at 8 a.m., before our 9 a.m. soccer game, Luke informed me in a whining voice that he wanted to wear shoes that stick to the ground (i.e. shoes with cleats). I calmly tried to explain to him that we didn't have time to pick up cleats, nor were any of the stores open before his game. Well, this complaining continued until I was resigned to say, "I'll drop you and Daddy off at the soccer field so you can get ready for the game and then Evie and I will try to buy you some cleats."

Low and behold, an Academy (just one exit down the highway from our soccer field) opened at 8 a.m. on Saturday and they had one pair of size 11 soccer shoes just for my spoiled Luke. Everyone else seemed to know that sports stores open early on Saturdays. I blame my ignorance on my lack of experience in organized sports. Evie and I sped back to the soccer field where I located all but one member of our soccer team playing happily on the soccer field (although one had already left in tears). Dare you guess who the one member was who wasn't happy? You got it, Luke. He was on the sideline, yet again, crying that he didn't want to play soccer. Snot freely flowed down his face as he sobbed tears and tried to grab me or Chuck to take him home.

Chuck put on his new shoes which we thought would set off his much-needed motivation to play with the rest of his team - nothing doing. Evie and I sat on the sidelines (after I gave Luke a big supportive pep talk - no more threats from mom). Chuck went out and stood next to Luke and made him sit in the goal at least. So, that is what Luke did - sit in the goal for the first half and part of the second half. He watched ball after ball roll by him into the goal as he pouted about having to play soccer.

During the game we had not one, but two bathroom breaks, one of which he insisted the poo was going to come out of his bottom as we ran to the restrooms in the clubhouse, but he did nothing. As good parents, Chuck and I threatened him that we weren't coming back to the bathroom and if he decided he had to go potty again, he would just have to poop in his pants. During the second half, just like our last practice, something dawned on him that soccer could be fun and he finally took off. I think this really was his Coach's doing (God bless her soul). She let Luke kick in a soccer ball that had gone out of bounds right by the goal he was "protecting." Of course, he picked it up from the spot on the line where it went out of bounds and tried to carry it close to the goal and then kick it in. The coach had to replace it where it went out of bounds and tell him to kick it from there. Then "Super Luke" backed up 50 paces so he could get a running start on the kick and then kicked it in about three feet! Success!!!!!! I cheered my head off and held up my sign (that I was dying to finally use) reading "Way To Go Luke!" The other parents looked at me and said incredulously, "Was that Luke?" I was so proud. (At least they know his name and don't just refer to him as "The Crier".

Luke took off out of the goal box and started following the swarm of little boys trying to kick the ball. My kid actually did it! I was/am so proud. Here is a picture of the other kids playing. I gave up on pictures pretty quick.
We have another practice this afternoon if it doesn't rain. Now, Luke is unhappy if he doesn't get to wear his full-out game uniform instead of the second-class practice clothes. Are all kids this complicated, or is mine more demanding than most? Seriously, I thought boys weren't supposed to care about this stuff. Luke has very specific ideas on how the uniform should be worn. For example, when we put on his shin guards, he insisted that the shin guards go over his black soccer socks instead of under. I tried to convince him that all his friends would be wearing their shin guards under their socks, to which Luke responded matter-of-factly "Sorry Mom, I want to wear them this way." I rolled my eyes and gave up. Chuck lifted his eyebrows at me and in recognition of Luke's I-know-better-than-you, so-leave-me-alone tone of voice. And Luke, looking oh, so stylish, showed up and "played" the entire soccer game with his shin guards over his socks. He's so cool.
He also believes that he should aways wear his number in front even though everyone else has their number in the back. I'm afraid I have a fight on my hands with this one.

As for me, I was the proud snack mom for the first game: Capri Sun and goldfish. They loved me as they stomped on my flip-flop-clad feet with their little cleats in an effort to get to the snacks like little barracudas. Gotta love it! We have high hopes for this next practice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The weekend was great, but busy so I haven't had a chance to update you all on the soccer game, but I have pictures and promise to post sometime this week. Until then, this little story regarding my sweet babies will have to do.

Both Luke and Evie have added to their daily vocabulary the word "beautiful" however, they say it differently. Luke quite clearly says "beautiful" and Evie quite clearly says "bootful." Luke will see a bird or a picture or his sister in a dress and say, "Look, it's beautiful!" It is such a sweet sound and I love that he can appreciate nature, art, and his sister in such a heartfelt, sincere way. Evie, usually uses this word only in the context of personal beauty and in her own way, it is almost more precious than Luke. For example, every morning we get Evie dressed and she will ask sweetly after she's put her dress (or shorts and shirt) on, "Mommy, am I bootful?" My heart wrenches with sweetness every time and I gush, "Oh, yes, Evie, you are definitely beautiful!"

Some of the sweetest moments, however, are when I come out in a dress or a fancy outfit and either one of them looks at me with saucer eyes full of awe (as if I look like the porcelain faced Audrey Hepburn) and says with soft amazement, "Mommy, you're beautiful." I love it! I wish I looked that good.
And when they do it to anyone else, it's almost just as sweet. We had a babysitter named Erin (I swear, all babysitters are named Erin) who has red hair and goes to A&M. She was home over the summer and came to babysit a lot because the kids just plain adore her. Luke was thoroughly impressed by the fact that she is an Aggie, and Evie was mostly impressed because Erin kicks ass at babysitting and engaging the kids by playing with them. Well, one day she came over, looking totally casual as all college students do, in her workout shorts, flip flops, a plain t-shirt, no makeup, and her red hair up in a ponytail. Luke looked at her and said with that same awe-struck voice, "You're Enchanted!" Now, to understand his meaning you would have to know that he had just watched the Disney movie Enchanted the night before and the princess on that movie has red hair, and to an extent, looks like Erin - but not a lot like Erin. This is a picture of Erin and below that is the princess from Enchanted.She grinned and bubbled and was flattered, because truly, kids that age tell the truth - no matter what.

Each year Chuck and I go to the UT Arlington Distinguished Alumni Gala which is a black tie affair. Chuck wears a tux and I wear a formal dress. A couple years ago when Luke was 2 and a half, I came downstairs wearing my formal black dress and was giving the babysitter final instructions when Luke saw me. He came up with his sticky hands and reached out for my billowing skirt and asked, "Mommy? Are you a princess?" He was absolutely amazed that I could be so transformed. I swear, he earned a little something more in my will that day (not that I've got a lot to give." Here I am in my "princess" costume standing next to honorees in my official capacity as President of the Alumni Association. Not quite Audrey Hepburn.

They're just so darn honest, so a compliment from a child is truly more valuable than one from an adult. Children are so sincere and have no idea that they should or shouldn't say something, aside from not saying dirty words or calling their friend stupid, etc. Although Luke has been super sweet as evidenced above, he has also been brutally honest. As you all know, I suffer from mild acne (sometimes not so mild) and when I "bloom" (as my father-in-law calls it), it can get quite ugly and noticeable. For years, my loving husband has listened to me whine and complain about this plight in my life. Obviously, it isn't cancer so I should shut up about it already, but I can't help but complain. Anyway, in the last year, Luke had gotten old enough to notice that my face is "blooming" and he will point and ask me with just a smidgen of disgust, "What is that on your face?!" Until now, I've basically told him that it is a boo-boo. This, of course, elicits great sympathy on his part whereas with adults and teenagers, it would elicit pure, unleashed disgust. At least, I know that's how I feel about it. But, teenagers and adults would never even mention a sore on someone's face, so I guess it is a trade off. Plus, I'm so used to my "blooming" face being politely ignored, that I am thoroughly embarassed by it and hate even subjecting anyone to lunching with me and having to stare at me while they eat. I know I make it out to be worse than it actually is (sometimes), but I can't help how I feel. So, it was a sweet change to have Luke feel sorry for me and my plight as I reassured him that it would be okay and go away eventually.

All in all, the kids are adorable and saying sweet things (and ugly things) every day. But today, I'm bootful and so is Evie, so we'll ride that wave until they tell me I'm not their friend anymore (which happens just as often as the bootful thing).

Friday, September 5, 2008


So, I thought I was such a genius when I referenced John McCain and Sarah Palin on someone else's blog as "McCalin", but it turns out I'm not any smarter or ingenius than the Average Joe. The term was already coined and there are t-shirts and mugs already for sale that say "Vote McCalin". Congratulations to someone at CafePress.com. By the way, if you want to buy one, here's the link: http://t-shirts.cafepress.com/item/vote-mccalin-maternity-dark-tshirt/301749416

Now I need to figure out what the Bennifer name is for Obama and Biden: Obiden? Obaden? Can you combine two men's names who are not in a relationship? Surely you can if we are combining a man and a woman who are not in a relationship. Wouldn't want to take away the rights of any same-sex couples, romantic or otherwise, right?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Second Soccer Practice

If you think this post is long, you should have been at practice with us.

After putting in a full day of lawyering and working through lunch, I left the office early at 5:45 p.m. yesterday afternoon and rushed over to the school soccer field close to our house to meet Chuck and the kids for Luke's second official soccer practice. The weather was great - beautiful in the high 70s to low 80s. Absolutely gorgeous with blue skys, evoking thoughts of fall and candied apples. Luke, however, was not great.

He still spent the first half of the practice clinging to my leg or Chuck's leg and proclaiming that he doesn't want to play soccer. He held the ball in his hand and demanded that we put his shin guards on. No problem there, but it seemed a little pointless since he clearly was not going to kick the ball or get close to anyone else who was kicking the ball. Nonetheless, I complied with his request - anything to stop the whining and motivate him to go play with his team. I spent a few minutes trying to convince him that he needed to go listen to his coach and play with the team, "See? Doesn't it look fun?!" I put the happiest, most excited tone in my voice to evoke some sort of motivation on his part. I smiled and clapped. I jumped up and down with the exercises the kids were doing (pregnant belly and heels in tow). Nothing was working. Finally, while I pushed him through the drills of kicking a ball. I knocked the ball out of his hands and showed him how to kick it. He cried and whined as I physically guided him through the one drill as I kicked the ball along. (still in heels - high heels). Chuck sat on the sideline in silent frustration. Finally at the end of the drill he was whining so much that I grabbed his hand and led him away from his team.

At that point we had tried a pep talk, so I tried coersion. I said, "you can play on the playground after practice if you go over and practice with your team right now." (Read extremely frustrated inflection into every word out of my mouth). His response was, "I want to play on the playgroud noohoow" (Read annoying whiney inflection into every word out of his mouth). I tried reason, "Didn't you ask to play soccer?" His answer, "Yeehesss." Me, "Well, why don't you go have fun and play soccer?" Him, "I wahant to plaaayyyy." Ugh! I tried threats, "If you don't get up and play with your team, then I'm going to give your soccer ball to Evie because she wants to play with your team. At least she'll use your soccer ball." Him, "Noooooo."

Teeth grited, sunglasses perched high, stern mother face in place - and I get no positive response? WTH? Okay, maybe I shouldn't have threatened, but I was relieved later when the coach actually threatened her own son later when he wandered off to the playground in the middle of practice and she told him that if he didn't get back to practice she wouldn't let him watch public television for the rest of the week. (amazing what motivates kids, right?) . He came back to the field crying just like my baby.

After this, Chuck took over. He led Luke out to the field, got down on Luke's level and had a very serious talk. I have no idea what he said, but it didn't really work either. He was grudgingly back out on the field (after demanding a drink of water) and finally a ray of hope dawned on the disaster known to me as Luke v. Soccer. First, Luke got partnered with a little boy named Milton, and for the first time he wanted to kick the ball and participate. Then, he found out that there is such a thing as a goalie - someone who stands around (like Luke) and waits for the ball to come to him (like Luke). My kid is a genius! I wish I had figured this out and never had to do all that running in soccer. So, even though the Youth Soccer league doesn't play with goalies, Luke is playing goalie. The coach couldn't break his little whiney heart and tell him that he couldn't be a goalie. So, I guess when and if he gets to play, he will just stand at the goal and guard it. He can't use his hands, but let's face it, he was going to use his hands anyway because he just can't get that rule through his thick skull.

Praise the Lord, my son was actually playing with his team without an iron fist holding him there and tears running down his dejected face!

With that said, the second half was very different. There are pictures of him actually kicking the ball through the goal. The only time he didn't follow his team (after the dawning of Luke the Goalie) was when a train chugged by and blew it's horn - loudly. As you know, my child has a strong aversion to loud noises, so while all the other kids ran to the fence to watch the train pass by, my son stood there with his hands over his ears. For a moment, we thought we had a solution to him picking up the soccer ball since now his hands were fully occupied keeping out loud noises.

So, at least we have made progress, but I'm afraid this entire thing is an uphill battle. We have our first game Saturday. We'll see how bad or good it is.
Here's a picture of us after practice, just before Luke melted down in the car because he couldn't go see his friend Savannah who lives just a block away from the practice field. I let the hammer fall and we had silence all the way home.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Imagine the world 18 years ago. . .

Eighteen years ago today, my father passed away of a heart attack. My family and I are quite adjusted, so no need for any more sympathy on our behalf; however, I find it quite remarkable that the world has changed so much in 18 years. I'm not talking about me or how my life has changed (although my life has changed tremendously since I was 12), but really how much the world has changed. For example, my father would have had no idea what this whole internet thing was about. If he showed up on Earth today, he would wonder what this www.blogger.com stuff was about, as well as any other website address that is posted on everything from pens to trucks to letterhead, etc. He probably would have never heard of an ipod, a blog, an email address, DVDs, "going green", Osama Bin Laden, Monica Lewinski. He never had a cell phone, a laptop, or the opportunity to see any of the new episodes of Star Wars - not that he probably would have cared - I'm not sure about that one, but still it is interesting that I take all these things for granted as everyday life and part of my jargon - especially my blog, email, and cell phone.

There was no such thing as satellite radio. He did not have a cd player in his car. He did not get to watch Britany Spears go "Oops, I did it again" - in more ways than one. Once again, I'm not sure he would have cared. He couldn't just pick up his cell phone and call home when he got a flat tire - he had to carry a quarter to make a call at the nearest pay phone. There were few SUV's and "SUV" was not a common term back then. There was no Firestone tire episode, no memory of 9/11, no epidemic of crystal methe and having to register to buy sudafed at the store, no reason to leave your pocket knife at home when flying, no such thing as "Homeland Security." It is amazing all the things that have happened since his death. I can't even post a picture of him because I don't have an electronic picture of him. I think the last major thing to happen while he was alive was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Just think back to what you were doing then and it should put into perspective how much can happen in just 18 years, when really, 18 years just doesn't seem like a very long period of time in the grand scheme of things. But clearly, 18 years is a very long time in the grand scheme of our lives.

So, take a moment today to be thankful that we're here to appreciate all the wonders of our world, good and bad. Take a moment to be thankful that you will see someone you love today. And always remember this, and I quote from someone else's deceased father (may he rest in peace), "Yesterday is a canceled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have - spend it wisely."

All my love to everyone reading, and to you, Dad. We still miss you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A little morning reading

So, once again, I had a crappy week, which put me in a crappy mood, and therefore, this is the first post since said crappy mood has lightened (at least a little). With that said, I have had some very fun moments over the somewhat-splendid holiday weekend, and I have the pictures to evidence it.
We spent Saturday and Sunday in College Station watching the Aggies fall victim to . . . hmm, what did they fall victim to? . . themselves, I guess. It was a dismal loss, but the tailgate had a great turnout. We tried to take the kids to the game, but Luke and Evie spent the whole time there with their hands over their ears since it was so loud. Not really a shock, but it was worth a try. I think the fly over is going to get them everytime. Since it was a night game I took them home at half time, but before we left we looked just to our left and saw none other than Dave Lewis sitting five seats down on the row behind us! What a pleasure and a surprise. (Sounds like he's a celebrity or something, right? - Well, he's not).

For those of you who don't know who Dave Lewis is, Dave is a friend of mine from high school who had one and a half tours of duty in Iraq before being injured and sent home (to his mother's great relief). He was in town from D.C. for the weekend and arrived just as the game started. What a coincidence and a pleasure to see him! I love when you can run into old friends and it is like no time has passed at all. That is one of my favorite things in life.
Well, we enjoyed the trailer, but since I forgot my camera I have no pictures to show you my new redwood deck and fancy new digs. Next time maybe.
My favorite moment of the weekend however, was when I went to wake up the kids on Monday morning and I found Evie doing a little morning reading while sitting with her stuffed animals by the window in her room. Ah, the surprises that await us as parents.

I wonder what possesses them to take all their clothes off and leave them off.

We spent the day at home cleaning up and generally getting ready to get the house on the market - seriously, I had no idea it would be so much work to get a house ready to sell, nor did I realize how much CRAP we own and keep. While I was cleaning out our laundry room I came across Evie's Halloween costume from last year. I took it and several of her dresses up to her room to put away. She is very fond of dresses and likes to dress up like a princess. She followed me up to her room and asked me what I was doing with her dresses. I said, "I'm putting them away." She looked very serious and said, "Put them in my top drawer." I chuckled and proceeded to hang them up.

They were all her fancy dresses for Easter, Christmas, etc., and they ranged in sizes of 12 months to 3T. That should tell you how long it takes us to wash and put away clothes in our house. Of course, I also had her Halloween costume: she was a fairy last year and she insisted on wearing it. When Luke caught a glimpse of her wearing her costume, he insisted that he should be able to put his on too. So, I trudged upstairs and found his superman costume and the accessories to Evie's costume. They spent the rest of the day and evening running around as a fairy and superman. Evie screamed bloody murder when it was time to take off the costume for bed. I had to promise her that she could put it back on when she got home from school the next day. We also had a very lengthy conversation as to why she could not wear her costume to school the next day. Still, she insists that she should be able to wear it to her birthday party in a few weeks. Here they are, my pride and joy:
I guess I need to change the date on my camera.

Luke and Evie have also taken to wrestling this weekend - a new phenomenon in our household. I wonder how long that will last. They roll around on the floor like a couple of puppies and Chuck and I (being the civilized parents that we are) look at them in confusion and wonder where they came up with this new game. We certainly have nothing against wrestling - some of my favorite parents engage in this sport with their kids - but we really don't do that and never have. The kids think it is hilarious. They must know something that I don't.