Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bang, bang, bang!

I have two boys.  I understand that they are supposed to like cars, trains, bugs, snakes, guns, cowboys, dinosaurs and all kinds of other things.  I get it.  I don't always like it.  But I get it.  Well, there is one thing that is seriously grating on my nerves right now, so I feel it appropriate to vent to all of you kind souls out there. 

My boys are obsessed with Star Wars.  I'm okay with that part of it.  I can even acknowledge and approve of a multitude of Star Wars Lego creations that are presented with pride and joy each day.  What I cannot take is the constant noise of firing guns that comes out of their mouths.  Pshew, pshew!  Deeew, deew, deew!  Boam, boam!  Shoo, shoo, shoo!  Piiing!  Piiing!  They have a thousand different noises in their repertoire and they use every single one.  And they do it constantly.  It's so bad that even in church I have to quiet their gun-firing noises, and tell them to hold their hymnal correctly with the admonishing words, "We don't shoot guns at church." and "We don't shoot guns outside of church." and "We don't shoot guns at Sunday School."  Even George's teacher had to tell him, "Shooting guns is not an appropriate activity at St. So-and-So Catholic School."  The only comfort I draw from the endless rounds of shooting is that they aren't too sissy.  Right?  Hmm.  Not exactly sure about that, but I'm going to latch onto it anyway. 

Now, not only can they make the noises - quietly and loudly - but they can turn any single thing into a gun or weapon. I mean it.  Last week we were on our way to school in my super-cool mini van, when I groaned loudly because Luke was once again using his half-eaten waffle as a gun to shoot the cars coming by.  I should probably be worried about him becoming some kind of mass murderer or something tragic and horrifying like that, (and if anything does happen this blog post will be the State's Exhibit 1 in the prosecution), but instead all I can think is that the uneaten-waffle/gun is going to end up on the floor of my minivan (along with loads of other disgusting trash bits and random pieces of crap) and Luke is not going to eat his breakfast.  But to top it all off is the overwhelming urge I had to snatch the waffle away from his hands, narrow my angry laser eyes at him, and utter in a deep voice through gritted teeth the threat, "Don't. Make. One. More. Noise."

Instead, I heaved another groan and asked him if there was anything in the world that he couldn't turn into a gun or a weapon.  He smiled a sly smile, clearly impressed with himself, and said, "I don't think so."  I let out a shuddering deep breath and decided to challenge him instead of yelling at him.  So, I started snatching up random items that were in my car.  I handed him each one.  And with each item, he positioned it in his hands or on his body and fired away with his well-practiced firing noises, "Pew, pew, pew!" and "Cheew, cheew!"

Here are some of the items I handed him in rapid succession.  I wish I could have gotten pictures of him utilizing each item, but I was driving - in a school zone, no less - so no dice.

Item 1: Fancy Water Bottle With Sprayer.
Usage: Held up as a gun, with sprayer as convenient trigger.

Item 2: Crappy home magazine I receive in the mail and have no idea how to get off the mailing list.
Usage: Rolled up, held up lengthwise in front of his eye while he looked through an imaginary sight and fired with an imaginary trigger.
Item 3:  iPhone charger cord.
Usage:  This was a challenge.  He held one end in one hand like it was plugged into a huge machine, and used the other end like a flexible cannon.  Actually, I suggest the military look into this one. It would help shoot around corners.  He gets extra credit for this one.

Item 4:  Simple water bottle.
Usage:  Cap aimed out and used as pistol, pulling an imaginary trigger.

Item 5:  Weed eater plastic string. (Remember I said "random pieces of crap" and I meant it).
Usage:  Placed flat in the middle of chest.  Announced he is Ironman.  I issued extra credit on this one too.  You can see the Ironman image below to imagine this one.


Item 6:  Evie's bow, discarded because I didn't have time to do her hair in the carpool line, because that's usually how we roll.
Usage:  Clip opened up on hinges.  Bow part became the pistol's barrel.  Opened up clippy part became the handle to the pistol, and he fired away with his emasculated weapon.

Item 7:  My clutch which I use as an over sized wallet and stuff inside a bigger handbag.
Usage:  Balanced in his palm like a very large gun/pistol.  Fired away.  Not particularly creative.

Item 8:  Cap to a water bottle.
Usage:  Placed in the middle of his head and said, "Avatar" as he started shooting.  I could clearly see the firing coming out of his forehead.  How does he do that?!  The imagination is fascinating. 

Unfortunately, I had no idea what he was talking about and I had to look it up when I got home.  You can see the image below.

I guess this is some guy from Avatar - The Last Airbender (not the blue lady Avatar movie).  I don't watch these shows, but clearly Luke does.  Again, this is deserving of extra credit, in my opinion.

Through the entire exercise, I ended up laughing a lot and so did he.  In the end, I was so glad that I resorted to fun instead of a raised voice.  Now, that doesn't mean I didn't raise my voice at all that day.  It just means I delayed the inevitable.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend Happenings and Evie's 8th Birthday

I know you all are chomping at the bit to get updates from me on a regular basis.  Or at least 2 people who mentioned it last week are feeling that way.  It's really quite flattering.  Of course, if it makes you actually come see me to find out what's up in my life, then all the better for me, right?

So, anyway, last week was a whirlwind.  I have recently organized a Book Club that is actually a wine happy hour club.  Reading the book is not a prerequisite to attending.  It's just a pretense for me to see all my girlfriends every other month.  Of course, I had to make the first meeting awesome so that I could guarantee that people would come again.  It would be sad if everyone came to the first one, left disappointed, and I never saw them again.  Luckily, I think it worked out pretty well and everyone had a good time.  We went through 5 or 6 bottles of wine, so that's a good sign right?

Anyway, most of my week was spent preparing for the meeting (at my house), so I had to clean, clean, clean, bake, bake, bake, clean some more after the kids messed it up, clean the carpets, wash the party dishes, and attempt to make homemade cupcakes (which were a flop), then buy some good cupcakes and try to pass it all off as if I did it in a matter of hours.  Well, I'm just not that humble.  I tell everyone how hard I worked to get my house clean and presentable and how hard I worked on the cooking.  Maybe one day I won't do that, but I'm just so proud of it on the rare ocassion that I put forth the effort, that I have to shout it from the rooftops. I mean, look at this!  And this is after they came, they saw, and they ate.

The ultimate compliment was when someone asked me if I saw this on Pintrest!

To top that off, we had three soccer practices, girl scouts, boy scouts, Chuck out of town on business for a couple days, Shot in the Dark final preparations (it's this Friday), and Evie's birthday and birthday party, and Sunday School (which I'm shockingly teaching this year until the Heavens strike me down).  Plus there was a wedding that I decided to skip because it was Evie's birthday, and a Saturday night visitor who I babysat for while my friends went to said wedding.

The only relief was that the soccer game scheduled for Saturday got cancelled because of rain.  I was in charge of snacks too, so now I have a cooler full of Gatorade and a bag full of snacks that will have wait to be distributed at the makeup game.  Boo.

Despite the craziness of the week, I think Evie had a lovely birthday.  I treated her to whatever she wanted Saturday: lunch at Joe T's, double ice cream cone, the movie Super Buddies (a huge sacrifice on my part because I hate the "buddies" movies), a big pot of macaroni and cheese for dinner, and a visit to the park.

She got to open presents from Luke & George on her actual birthday.  Each brother got hugs!

Then the birthday party was at a trampoline park called Flight Deck.  We only had 12 kids attend (praise the Lord), and the place was awesome!  All I had to do was bring the cake and the party favors and they did the rest.  Amazing!  Well worth the money.  The kids had fun jumping for an hour and then they had pizza, cake, and party favors.  It was perfect!

Chuck and I are proud of her t-shirt choice from her summer camp.  It makes us look so religious. Bahaha!

Here's the cake she picked out.  The purple thing is a flower that is supposed to open up and revewal Tinkerbell inside.  Um, we couldnt' figure out how to open it until after the party, so it looks like a big purple ball on her cake.
Now, I think I've mentioned before that I hate kids' birthday parties.  I hate them.  I'll go to them grudgingly because my kids love them, but I pretty much hate every minute and I'm vocal about it.  I've even been known to bring work to the birthday parties so that I don't have to participate.  Yuck.  I also hate party favors.  I'm talking about the little bags of plastic crap that end up littered in my car right after the party.  Now, I don't blame parents for getting those types of party favors, because, gosh, they sure are easy.  But it's such a waste of money even though the kids love them.  So, in recent years, I've decided to forego the bag of crap party favor in exchange for a single-item favor that the kids might actually use or keep longer than 5 minutes.  Two years ago, I got Luke's friends all a Boxcar Children book.  Priced at $5 each, they were a perfect gift, although Chuck complained that I was going to make the kids think Luke was "a big dork."  Oh well.  The kids scrambled for them, so I see no problem with the purchase.  So, for Evie's party I got these water bottles that allow you to spritz yourself in the heat.  The kids flipping LOVED these!  And, also priced at $5 each, they were right in my price range.  The parents were pleased too, and expressed how nice it was to get a gift that wasn't a bag of candy.  Now, to be fair, I did load the bottles with a few pieces of candy, just to ensure hyperactivity and happiness.  But, all in all, I think it was a great gift.  And even my kids, who all already have one of these bottles, were thrilled to get a second bottle.  It's amazing!

After the party and after baths, Evie got to open her presents.  Here's just one shot of her with a present (and with her dad and brother).

So there you go. That's my update.  Seems rather boring, right?  I promise you guys aren't missing much.  My days consist generally of homework, laundry, cooking dinner and lunches, and driving from one place to another.  I had no idea how easily all this would fill my days.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 11, 2001 - Patriot Day

So, tomorrow is Patriot Day, and always and forever a day of remembrance for those we lost on September 11, 2001.  This morning I talked to Luke and Evie about it.  As I told them what happened, they chimed in with their knowledge gleaned from history taught in schools.  I mentioned the buildings and Luke said, "The Twin Towers.  We learned about that in school."  I went on to tell them about all the firemen and first responders who lost their lives that day and that there were simultaneous attacks on two other planes.  I told them how brave citizens just like us were on a plane and decided to fight back against the terrorists that took over the plane so they couldn't hurt any more people.  And I told them about the devastating attack on the Pentagon.  Luke told me he saw all about it on the Military Channel. (I didn't even know that there was such a thing, but apparently he enjoys watching it.)  He identified the show as "The Pentagon Under Attack".  Apparently he learned about it and remembered.  So, I told them what we did that day - Chuck and me, since the kids weren't around obviously.  How I was in law school and Chuck was working downtown.  And I told them how we all had to go home - everyone.  And we watched the television as we prayed that there would be more survivors.  I started to tear up.  And then Evie asked me, "What happened to the people on the plane?"  And , with an involuntary catch in my voice, I had to tell her the horrible truth.  I told them that it was one of the worst days in American history, and certainly one of the worst things I've ever experienced.  To which they replied with shock and awe, "You were alive when that happened?!"

Leave it to the kids to bring a little levity to the situation when I was on the verge of leaking crocodile tears.  So, I confirmed that yes, I was alive. I said, "It happened 12 years ago; how old do you think I am?"  Logic apparently took hold.  Thank God they didn't actually answer the question.  I really open myself up there.  Still, we will remember tomorrow, and every September 11th for the rest of our lives.  It had such a profound effect on all Americans in the world.  I pray that we will never have to face such terror again.

I hope you all will remember with me tomorrow.  May God bless us all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fully back to school now.

This is the first book Evie checked out at the school library this year. I have to admit, it was a bit of a knock to my ego.  The title is "My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life".  The ending is good, but before we get there the Mom and Dad both get thrown in jail for the crime of trying to ruin their daughter's life because they make the daughter clean up after herself, do her homework, go to bed early, etc., etc.  So, how would you feel about your daughter bringing home this book?  Cringe-worthy?
In other news, the kids started soccer this weekend.  Originally, Luke had considered playing Lacrosse, but his team didn't make so I tried to late register him for soccer.  Unfortunately, he didn't get on a team there either.  So, Chuck had the bright idea that Luke could be a helper for George's team.  I loved the idea.  Luke's still a little luke-warm on it, but he gets to wear a matching jersey that says "Jr. Coach", and that's pretty cool!
Now, George has been looking forward to starting soccer all summer.  So, he was giddy when it was time to go play.  He even invited his Aunt Mary (who was visiting) to come see him play.  It's hard to deny such a sweet invitation.  He actually scored a goal.  He had a great time!
And Evie is back with her team that has stayed together for the last 3 years.  They are awesome!  We've moved to two practices a week, but the girls love to play and it has been so fun watchign them grow.  I can't tell you how amazing the coaches are.  They make the team work!

So, that's our weekend.  It sure was fun!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Redeemed by just a few words.

Bedtime hugs are one of my favorite parts of parenthood (vomit - not so much). But beyond the sweet squeezes from the tiny arms are the wise words that Luke sometimes announces with sincerity and sweetness. Tonight Luke asked me, "Do you know what's better than love?" Grinning, I answered, "More love?" He smiled, "No. Nothing. Nothing is better than love." And my heart proceeded to melt. What a blessing he is. 23 hours and 45 minutes of every day he has the propensity to frustrate me, but he makes up for all of it with just a few words. Amazing.

The Game with the Kids!

Sooo, after that lovely post about the Aggie game, here are some pictures from our weekend.  It was without a doubt one of the hottest games I've ever attended.  105 degrees is nothing to shake a stick at.  The kids were miserable so they left at half time.  I stayed the whole game and loved it, even though everything of mine was sweating.

Here's the fire truck. It's all decorated in Aggie maroon and white.  I should get some close up photos, but it's never as good as it is in real life, right? So about an hour before the game or so, the announce over the loud speakers that the Judge is taking the fire truck out for its game day tour.  I honestly have no idea where they go, but they offer for any little kids and adults to go for a ride.  I couldn't believe the number of kids that came out of the woodwork for this ride.  And my kids wait for this all morning. I think it is their favorite part of tailgating.

Here are some pictures of the cooker.  I guess there's nothing new (to the untrained eye) from the last pictures I posted which are 5 years old.

Here's the massive tent the guys put up.  We needed the shade!  There are two flat screen TVs hanging in there.  There are a ton of chairs and three picnic tables where people can eat, talk, and watch the game.
Here are the TVs.

Now, these are our seats.  We are on the first deck, 50-yard line, 5th row.  I absolutely adore these seats. It gives us a more intimate feel - almost like we are at a high school game because we are so close to the players.  Now, we are close to the visiting team, so what you are seeing in this picture are the Rice Owls.  Trust me, this does not detract from our game-going experience.  I love, love, love our seats!

We even get to be up close and personal with the yell leaders.  By the end of the season, we are on a first name basis with them and the kids usually get some fun souvenirs.  For example, one game the kids got a 12th Man towel from the Yell Leaders.  And I mean, the Yell Leader's personal 12th Man towel.  It has their name on it, the game, and a bible verse.  I was really impressed.
I guess the only negative about these seats is that we can't see the cool effects of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band.  Here they are.  They look pretty normal from this vantage point, but compare it to the picture below which is what you see from up high.  Soooooo coooool!!!

This is a super old picture I found on the internet.

And if you click on the following link,  you can actually watch how they march and make these really cool visual effects.  I'm not much of a band person, but I have to admit that it is pretty cool.  It is the exact opposite of the Grambling band, and I think that's pretty cool too, so you know, just judge for yourself.

 Here we are miserable at the game.  Luke, Mary Clare, Stephanie, and sweet baby Bess.

George put on a good face for me and my camera . . .

. . .  until I accidentally snapped this picture of him picking his nose.
But I can't complain too much.  Look how hot it was!!!
Evie was probably the kid with the best spirit about the scorching heat.  She spent most of the day close to Chuck.  It was really pretty sweet.

And then, we can talk abou the crazies at the game.  This is Tim.  Apparently he found these sunglasses on the ground.  He was highly amused with himself.  And, to be honest, I was highly amused with him too!

Here we are.  I forced Chuck to look away from the field for a picture.  What a good sport!
Here we are on the field after the game. 

And then back to the tailgate afterward!  Here's my brother, his father-in-law, and his two sons, Nick and Tony.  Tony is in the red shorts and a senior in high school.   He has his eye on Texas A&M for college.  Of course, my brother went to TAMU too, so there's not a big surprise in Tony's choice!

They were glad to be out of the sun.
They insisted on a silly face. 

And I insisted on a group picture of my babies.  Gotta love them!
Then, back at the cottage, they entertain themselves with movies on an old console TV and playing old Atari games that Tim keeps at the cottage.  What a strange but beautiful life we lead!

Hope you enjoyed your tour of the Aggie Tailgate!
We sure enjoyed being there.