Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Carpet

We had new carpet installed in our family room last week. I was disgusted with how the old owners treated their carpet (and the rest of the house for that matter), and finally gave in. We only carpeted that room, since we lay on it and play on it all the time. Plus, Brooke will be crawling on it very soon.

The rest of the house can wait a few years, but the family room had stains and DOG hairs (still!) after professional cleaning. I picked a color that matched the current carpet, and I bet most people won't even know that it is different. The only difference is that our friends and family will not think we are the disgusting pigs that sit in their own filth.

When I told Maddie about the "new carpet" she was very excited. She went running into the house only to see the same looking carpet and gave me the "you're crazy, mama" look. She then went over to the rug that we have on the carpet, the rug that didn't change, and told me how beautiful it was and how happy she was that we got new carpet. When I pointed out that it was the OTHER carpet that was new. She said, "oh" and shrugged her shoulders all annoyed. Like, I'm so not impressed with your choice of color, material, or padding.

The next day, she ran into the house, still excited about the carpet and said, "I'm gonna lick the new carpet" and did exactly that while I yelled "DON'T LICK THE CARPET."

I never thought I'd type that in my blog.

The following day, she announced she peed on the carpet, and did exactly that. Fully clothed, PISSED on the carpet. ON PURPOSE!

Yesterday, she sweetly said, "Mama, I will not pee on your new carpet today."

Thanks, but now I wonder about tomorrow.

Friday, July 27, 2007

31 months old

Dear Maddie,

You are 31 months old. I've decided, after looking at pictures from last year, that you officially are a girl now. No more baby. This transformation occurred right around your second birthday. Gone are the chubby cheeks, silly hair, baby words, and diapers. Now you're full of silly antics, funny sarcasm, concern for others, more complicated thinking, and my favorite....sassy back talk.

Last week, your Aunt Terra came to visit us. She lives in Austin and is studying massage therapy. Mama loves it when Aunt Terra practices her massage techniques on me! You decided that you wanted a massage too and got under a blanket and demanded that your feet were rubbed. In turn, you offered hand and foot massages to everyone else.

You are 99% potty trained. There are still accidents. Sometimes you can't pull down your pants fast enough, or you'll go in your sleep. You wear a diaper only at night, but wake up dry almost every day. I've also decided you're either dehydrated or a camel because you rarely pee (compared to how often I pee). Sometimes you only go three times per day! Your dad is also a camel (and probably dehydrated) and I'm pretty sure I will chalk this one up to an inherited gene.

You moved into your big girl bed about two months ago! You call it your Dora Bed, and ask to go sleep in it all the time. My girl still loves her sleep.

You're very concerned about your pedi and mani lately. You ask me to paint your "tony-nails" every week or as the current polish chips. We think you may confuse the word "ponytails" with toe nails, either way, we think you're a riot.

When you were a baby, I joined a book of the month club and got two new books every month for nearly two years. At the time, you were only interested in carrying them around and chewing on them, but now you are very interested in reading them (and carrying them everywhere you go). Dr. Seuss is one of your favorites. You love how they rhyme, use nonsense words, and are just plain silly. You laugh hysterically at me when I read them and urge me to go faster and faster. You find it really funny when I mess up.

Now that it summer time, you ask to go swimming every weekend. We've had a "cool" summer for Texas standards, and lots of rain. This has interrupted your swimming plans for 3 out of the last 5 weeks. When we do go, you shiver nearly the entire time we are there WHEN ITS 90 DEGREES outside! You are in and out of the water as you jump from the side into the water and "kick, kick, kick" your way to the surface. You're constantly on the go, and we cannot figure out why you're so darn chilly! It's JULY in TEXAS for goodness sake! It doesn't get much warmer than this...okay, maybe August, and September, and oh, yeah May and June too.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cookie Tricks

I bake. I like to bake. I'm good at baking. These three facts confuse my husband.

He also cannot understand the term "from scratch." I also very often make bread, cookies, cakes, and muffins from a store bought mix too. However, when I do make things from scratch, this is how the conversation goes:

"Right, so these delicious cookies you made, where did you get the dough?"

"I made them from scratch."

"Okay, but what's the brand of the dough."

"There is no brand."

"So, how did you make them."

"With flour, sugar, butter, eggs and other stuff in the pantry."

"And that made these cookies? Hmmm, not bad."

God, I'm such a housewife. I would be a super duper housewife if I owned one of these puppies.

I also have this great trick to keep cookies soft. We're a soft cookie kinda family...no crunchy cookies here. Once you bake them (must not crisp the cookies in the oven!) you should store them in an airtight container with a slice of fresh bread. I use the heel of the bread since we don't usually eat it. There is something about the bread that keeps the cookies soft. I don't know how or why, but it just works.

"Dude! What's the deal with the piece of bread in here with my cookies?"

"It keeps the cookies soft."

"That's genius (with a mouth full of soft cookies)! How? Where did you learn that?"

"I don't remember. I think I learned it sometime when I was in college."

"That may be the single most important thing you ever learned during your entire college career."

I know, it was money well spent.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

5 months

Dear Brooke,
You turned 5 months old THREE weeks ago, and I've been so busy with your poopy diapers that I forgot to write. Actually, I've been writing this post for the last two weeks, but just never finished it.

Speaking of poopy diapers, you have the most bizarre habits. You're an every other day pooper. One day, you won't poop, then next, you'll poop like FIVE or SIX times in one day. You had a baby sitter yesterday and not only did you refuse the bottle (and not eat for way too long), but you pooped FOUR times in FOUR hours for her. I guess we can kiss that babysitter goodbye.

There is so much to write about! During the last six weeks, you've changed so much, and I've included tons and tons of pictures to document those changes. Just yesterday you managed to sit up on your own. I don't dare leave you sitting up because after a minute or tow you end up falling forward face planting into the floor. You do very well when propped up on the couch. This position allows you a bird's eye view of Maddie's crazy antics which CRACK YOU UP! I think you love her more than me and your dad. Just to remind you, we are the ones who pay the mortgage and feed you!

You've had lots of visitors in the past seven weeks. Your Papa came to see you for a few days. Crazy Grandpa, Grandma Mary, Marcus and Terra also stayed with us recently. You love having visitors, it's just more people to hold you!

You've been eating some rice cereal once or twice a day. You like it, and we're gonna switch to baby oatmeal before we start jars of baby food. Maddie tries to "help" feed you, but just ends up shoving the spoon too far in your mouth, which causes you to gag and give her a dirty look.

You moved into your big girl room seven weeks ago, and have done quite well by yourself. One the few occasions that you had to sleep back in our room (because of visitors sleeping in you room) you kept us awake with your middle of the night parties. You just laughed, kicked, spit raspberries, and just acted silly. When, and if this happens in your room, we don't hear it. When it happens two feet from my face, I CAN'T SLEEP. You partied (never cried) from 1am to 2:30 am last Saturday night. OHMIGOD I thought I was gonna die from crankiness.

Here is a picture of your super cute room. The wall on the other side is pink, the other is half green. See that autographed Endless Summer picture on the right? Sorry about that...that's your dad's poster, and it is only in your room because it matches. He begged to get it out of the garage, so we decided to put it there.

You're teething like crazy, but I haven't felt any teeth yet. If you're like your sister, I think they will be here in just a few weeks. Here is a picture of you chewing the head off of a zebra.

Your favorite past time is spitting raspberries, and my favorite past time is watching you grow!



Monday, July 16, 2007

Boating and fishing?!?

Zak just got a new job (same company and line of work, he just switched divisions).

Anyway, they put out a job announcement to notify everyone of the change. There is a section of the announcement that says..."Zak and his wife Amanda have two daughters, Madison 2 1/2 and Brooke, 5 months. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, especially boating and fishing."

{enter noise of screeching tires here}


BOATING AND FISHING? He has gone fishing ONE time in the FOURTEEN years that I've known him and caught 0.0 fish, and only goes "boating" when we mooch off of a friend who owns a boat (not very many due to the excessive mooching) or a friend who has a relative who owns a boat (Hi Shannon, Jack and Michelle! We miss your lake house you all so much).

In the email that Zak sent me when he forwarded this message, he explains why he told his new boss that he enjoys "boating and fishing." And I quote...

"It sounded more professional and appropriate than “in his spare time, he enjoys playing poker, building dynasties on College Football 2005 for PlayStation II, dominating his friends in his annual fantasy football league, watching Howard TV on demand, and teaching his daughters important English phrases such as 'who farted?'"

Yes, my friends, that is the real Zak that I love and adrore who often reminds me of a 17 year old boy. And, yes, if you fart in the presence of Maddie (even the silent but deadly ones) she will totally call you out with a dramatically loud, "WHO FARTED!?"

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Crazy Hair Day

Friday was "crazy hair day" at Maddie's school. This hair-do (or hair don't) was courtsey of Zak.

Once a week this summer they are having Fun Fridays, and when Zak remembers, he gets Maddie into the appropriate get-up for the day. There was "PJ Day" and "Sun Glasses Day" The fouth of July Friday was "Red, White and Blue Day" as expected, but they also have some weird days that completly stump me.

"Bible Super Hero Day" was one day that I totally had ZERO ideas. I asked the teacher what Bible Super Hero Maddie should dress up like and she said, "What about Esther?" I smiled and nodded my head in agreement as if I had ANY idea of who she was talking about.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


"The need for universal health care has never been more urgent. There are now 47 million Americans with no health insurance at all, including 8 million children. Eighteen thousand Americans die each year as a direct consequence of being uninsured, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Recent studies indicate that medical debt is the leading cause of both bankruptcy and homelessness. These facts are unacceptable in the richest country in the world." --Rep. John Conyers

Michael Moore's Sicko is a must see movie. I experienced so many different emotions during this movie...

I laughed at the absurdity of our current for profit health care system especially when in comparison to other countries. The United States of America is in a sad, sad place (#37 to be exact) when it comes to taking care of the health of its people. Embarrassing.

I cried at the story of the 2 year old baby girl who died after being brought to an "out of network" hospital with a 104 degree fever. They refused to treat her and she died in transit to another "in network" hospital. I couldn't even imagine what I would of done, who's head I would have ripped off, the hell I would raise had that been me with my sick child.

I hung my head in shame because I've worked for an HMO. Just after I earned my master's degree, I worked in the mental health call center where I referred people to counselors, psychiatrists, and hospitals. Many times I did so knowing that they would only be covered for with 5-10 therapy sessions when I really knew that they needed much more care than their plan would cover.

I got angry when I saw how our politicians are bought and sold for just hundreds of thousands of dollars for a vote for the health care industry and pharmaceutical companies. Oh, the karma...

I considered moving to Canada or France for a healthy future for my family. If you're sick, that's where you should go!

I also vowed to "do something" to make a change, and the first thing that I am doing is urging everyone I know to go see this movie.

GO! And decided for yourself what future you want for your children and your country. Then, do something about it....

'What can I do?' - SiCKO

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So complimentary

Maddie is full of compliments these days. More over, she always notices something if it is new or different.

My new tennis shoes: "Ohhhh, Mama, your new shoes are SO cute! I like them so much! Lemme see closer..."

Zak's haircut: "Ohhh, you got a hair cut, daddy. Your hairs are short."

On my daily mom wear: "Mama, I think you look so pretty with your black shirt, khaki pants, and pony tail."

Thanks, babe.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

More pics and videos of the Harris' visit

Amy posted some more pictures of their visit to San Antonio, and I found a video of Maddie and Maya dancing that Amy referenced in her post.

Incidentally, Madison can't stop talking about Mason. She keeps telling me that he's FOUR years old, and she's just two. It's like she's already trying to justify dating an older boy.

Go visit her blog to see the photos of everyone and click here to see the dancing girls.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Circus!

Oh, the fun never ends in our household. We work ourselves silly to make sure Maddie has fun and great childhood memories. You'd think getting two kids to the circus on a holiday would be an easy feat, but it's HARD work and requires too much advanced planning. I've decided that at least three adults are required for trips like Sea World and the Circus. One and a half per kid.

As usual, Brooke was a breeze, except for a minor stroller fiasco. When we got there, I just pulled out her gianormous stroller like I normally do, pop her car seat in it, and moved on down the road. We found our way without using stairs, made it into the Alamodome, navigated ourselves to our seats. It was at this time when I noticed that NO ONE else had a stroller, and there were a gazillion kids there. All the babies were in Baby Bjorns (mine was at home), and I was getting some sideways glances from people as took over the walkways without regard to peoples ankles. The usher in our section told me that I needed to "check in" my stroller at a desk (that was very far away). I begged, pleaded, and bribed my way into getting to fold up my stroller and put it in an unoccupied section. It took a good ten minutes of sweet talkin' to make it happen, but I did just in time for the lights to go out. I think they were just too tired to put up with my whining.

My dad and I used to go to The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Dallas every single year that I lived with him (12-18 years old). Just for the record, no, I was NOT embarrassed to do this because I LOVED the circus and the cotton candy. The circus was always in Dallas the week of my birthday, so it was what Dad and I did. The circus back then, in the Gunther Gebel-Williams put your head in a tigers mouth days, it was a spectacular, awesome, huge event. There were acrobats, motorcycle cages, trapeze artists, aerialists, and exotic animals. Now...not so much.

They still do the tigers, clowns, horses, and elephants. There are far fewer animal acts (probably because of the animal rights protests), AND there are no more THREE RINGS...as in a THREE RING CIRCUS! It's only one ring! AND there were many more dorky clown acts, a dog act, a CAT act, a 'hurkules' strong man, juggling, and even lip syncing. It's a low budget affair these days.

HOWEVER, Maddie loved it.
Her eyes were wide, she danced, clapped her hands, and was super sweet (except for one mommy meltdown). I saw the circus through her eyes. I think I watched her more than I watched the show! She didn't even ask for toys, cotton candy or any of the other plastic crap that they sell for outrageous prices.

We had also planned to see fireworks this year. I haven't gone since 2003! I really wanted Maddie to see them, but it was just too much for one day. Plus, the grown ups are too tired...these girls run circles around us!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Happy Harris House visits

We had a house full of fun over the weekend. The Happy Harris House descended on Thursday afternoon for a trip to Sea World.

Amy, was my college roommate, and she and Brian were the only friends in attendance at our wedding. They have two kiddos, Mason (who made sure we knew he was FOUR!) and Maya who is just a few months younger than Maddie. Needless to say, we were BUSY. We often felt out numbered by all the little monkeys. I wondered why that was because there was one adult per kid, but somehow they manged to run circles around us.

Maddie had fun playing with Mason, and she flirted with him the entire weekend. Mason and Maya were super sweet with Brooke, and kept her occupied and laughing all weekend.

We went to Sea World on Friday!
It was lots of fun, and everyone did fairly well in the heat. It was only supposed to be 82 degrees, but it climbed to 92 with 95% humidity....that means it felt like it was over 100 degrees. Everyone enjoyed the Shamu show, where I got a little weepy again, and had fun feeding the dolphins.By the way, only a real man can carry a Dora The Explorer hot pink back pack all day long and still look as cool as Brian.

On Friday night, we mustered the energy (and the courage to take four kids) to go out to dinner. We sat outside where there was a live band, which was enjoyed by the kids, as was the playground at the restaurant.

Looking a little tired after a day at Sea World and the playground!

They were SO dirty, and we threw them all in the bath together.
This weekend I learned that it is nearly impossible to get three kids to smile, stand still, and look in the same direction all at the same time. I have 20 other pictures that look just like this:

Saturday morning was spent swimming at the pool. Amy and Brian were on a mission to tire out their kids prior to the drive back home to Dallas.

We are so happy to be back in Texas were we get to see our friends and family on a regular basis. SO HAPPY.