Friday, July 31, 2009

It's a.....KINDLE!

I'm so, so, so, SO excited about my (early) birthday present!



I've been thinking about buying this for quite sometime, and now that I have it, I'm amazed at what it can do. For all my readers who are, well, um...READERS OF ACTUAL BOOKS...you must buy this. I started to research other e-readers when MandaJuice (who I don't personally know, but read her blog), purchased a Kindle. Her subsequent rave reviews convinced me to buy it ask Zak to give it to me as a birthday present.


I've already downloaded countless books, many of which are free from amazon.com, and simply cannot keep my hands off it. (So sleek and light and crisp and clean...yum). Books, magazines, and blogs arrive in seconds. It holds them forever (well, so far just 20 hours) and reads just like the book was in your hand, but better. The font can change for those of you who like bigger or smaller fonts, the Kindle will even READ you the book if you're eyes are tired or you're driving. It feels as light my BlackBerry, and it's lightening fast.


What this means for those of you who read my blog is you're likely going to see less action from me because I'm gonna be reading on my Kindle all the time. Sorry. So, go an get yourself a Kindle too and keep busy!


My name is Amanda, and I'm a gadget-aholic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eye lash curler

A very important skill that a mother must teach her daughter is how to curl ones eyelashes. And, dear Internets, let me tell you that it's never too early to learn.


The proper curling of eyelashes is a skill that requires practice because if you do it wrong you will either:


a. rip out all your lashes

b. barley curl them resulting in bended tips





As a little girl, I used to watch my mom do this, and always found it a little bit scary and a lotta bit just very silly looking. Mainly because when my mom curls her lashes, she opens her mouth wider than she opens her eyes, looking like she's about to have a dentist check her teeth and/or in a permanent state of surprise.



Girls, curling eyelashes can easily substitute for lack of sleep. If you throw on some lip gloss (and chug some water) it can get also cover up a hangover. And, as I've always taught you, being thin and beautiful is more important than being smart, and having curly eyelashes is more important than a college education! After all, men don't like women if their eyelashes are strait (and men will always look you directly in the eye).



So, get to practicing, but please don't rip out your lashes because Latisse is expensive!

Friday, July 24, 2009

42 FEET

Zak and I have have agreed to not speak about this anymore because it makes us so terribly sad.

42 feet. Lake Medina is down FORTY TWO FEET.

This was our view just 14 months ago looking from our backyard deck to the north:


And after a record breaking drought, this picture was taken last week:Every time we visit the lake house, we park the car, and run to the back yard to see the lake desperately hoping that the water will miraculously reverse its trend.

This is what we used to look at while having morning coffee (looking East/South East):

And today from the exact same vantage point:

Honestly, I'm so sad about it I can hardly write about it. We can't swim, boat, or practically even see what has now turned into a little pond in front of the house. I would have never imagined that it was even possible that the lake could get so low.

I've chatted with a few old timers from Bandera, and they tell me that this has happened one time in 25 years to their recollection. They both say that the lake has always fluctuated in water levels because or rain and also the fact that farmers and ranchers use the water for irrigation, but it's only been this bad one time.

Jack and Michelle are going to visit us from Chicago in two weeks, and I am so sad that they will see this dried shriveled up crappy view.

But look-y here for some perspective...two happy healthy monkeys that don't give a damn about "their view," or how much water is in that silly lake this year. They're just happy to spend some quality time with their mom and dad on the weekends.

Friday, July 17, 2009

South Padre Island

Grandma Mary sent me some awesome pictures from our Fourth of July visit to the beach. I've never ever been a fan of the beach, in fact, I don't like it at all. Zak (and my in-laws) think I have a screw loose because of this, but honestly, the sand just grosses me out. You cannot get the sand off unless you shower, and I hate the way it feels on my skin (above my knees--sandy feet are okay). This is my worst sandy nightmare:



Now that I've said that, I LOVE THE BEACH....I love to look at the water, to be near the ocean, to listen to the waves crash, to smell the salt in the air, and to feel the wind in my hair. My favorite spot to enjoy the beach is on a grassy area, pier, rocky shores, or sitting by a pool near the ocean. Read: nowhere near sand. For the first few hours, Brooke totally agreed with me, and sat on this chair next under the unbrella (telling me she was "ready to go, now").

After a few hours, the Magical Grandma Mary got Brooke to go into the water:

Maddie surprisingly didn't need any encouragement:Brooke got a little too brave in the water, and Zak had to make sure she didn't try to swim to Cancun:
Maddie loves her Uncle Marcus!Zak and his dad (who Brooke oddly re-named "Pops"--we call him Grandpa) were able to catch a few waves, even among all the tourists who were in the way:Hooray for the sandy beach!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tooobing 2009 River Float

There us only ONE advantage of living through a hot Texas summer, and it's that "toobing" looks like this:

and this:

NOT this:

Zak and I went "toobing" for hours along the Guadalupe River in Gruene, Texas with Amy and Brian:

Wendy and Chris: and twenty three other people that we didn't know for a first annual toob and concert event. (By the way, leave it to Texans to call TUBING, TOOBING. Someone please explain that to me.)

(Jill, me, Amy, Wendy)

It was one of those kind of events where you had to figure out who knew whom and from where. Jill, on the far left, organized it all, and she knows Amy and Wendy. Zak and I got an invite via Amy.

Also, there was absolutely no drinking or funny business going on:


We had a 24 hour child free BLAST with all these awesome people, saw a concert, and plan to do it again all over again next year. Hopefully there will be twenty five more people!

Special THANK YOU to Grandma for babysitting for us! We appreciate it SO much...just look at these smiles:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fourth of July 2009

Maddie came home with this piece of "art" a few days before the fourth of July break. I asked her to tell me about it, and she said she wanted to go to the beach. After I asked about the colors, she replied that those were fireworks. So, I said, okay, let's go to The BEACH for the Fourth of July!

Trying to find a condo on South Padre Island three days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend isn't very wise. (FYI) There were just a few large beach houses that I could, and they started at $500 per night. Once Aunt Terra got wind of the fact that I was looking, she called Grandma Mary who said we should stay at their house in Laguna Vista.

I knew it would be a very full house, and that they didn't really have enough rooms for all the guests that would be there, but we decided to go anyway. It's about a four hour drive from San Antonio to South Padre Island, and Grandpa and Grandma Mary live in a little town near the island. Needless to say, they were very happy to have us come down. It was TONS of work for them, and we sure did throw their schedule off kilter (to put it mildly). Grandpa even re-installed Terra and Marcus' old tree swing for Maddie.



In addition to the four of us, Aunt Terra and Pio (live in Austin), Marcus and his girlfriend, Zak's cousin Jesse and his wife Natalie, and Zak's uncle Scott all were there at some point. This was one of ten hilarious attempts at a family photo using a self timer propped on a working RECORD PLAYER circa 1965 (They have an AMAZING album collection that Zak covets!):

Terra's boyfriend, Pio, was trying to teach Maddie some Spanish. I suggested he only speak Spanish when he talks to her, and at first, she did the puppy dog head tilt to the right, but then started to understand what he was saying. She loooooves Pio.

Uncle Marcus is also a huge hit. He hadn't seen the girls for a year, but they warmed right up.
Maddie and I did lots of relaxing:
Brooke had her SECOND haircut EVER while we were there. Grandma Mary cut it for the first time last Fourth of July. It's been a year, and Brooke needed those scraggly ends cut off! Pio did his best to distract her into stillness for Mary. Maddie got a trim too. Thanks Mary!


Watching fireworks on the Island is a really big deal, and people come from hundreds of miles to watch the display.

The problem is that SPI is TINY, and only has one two mile long bridge to get on and off-- the causeway. And once you get there to watch fireworks, there is no where to go, and you end up stuck in traffic. We got to the Island at about 9:00 A.M. to play at the beach, but there was NO way that we could stay for 12 hours and wait for the display. At least, not when we had a four and two year old with us!

We decided to stay OFF the Island and just watch the fireworks from the shores of Laguna Vista. I knew it would be far away, but had no idea it would be REALLY far away. Really, really far away. I had kept both girls awake two hours past their bed time (and too close to my own limits), and while their behavior was just fine our location was not so great. We were on a street, and I was SO worried about their safety (literally six feet from some passing cars...in the DARK...I couldn't believe the police kept the street open). We had EIGHT adults for my two kids, but I was still nervous and too anxious to enjoy myself.

We had an absolute blast at the beach. Maddie went right to the water and played in the waves for several HOURS non-stop. Brooke was a little bit scared and sat with me in the chair for about two hours. After the first ten minute at the beach, Brooke said, "I ready to go home now." Grandma Mary did her magic grandma thing and got Brooke to play in the water.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera to the beach. FORTUNATELY, Mary remembered her fancy camera, and I took one gazillion photos. Mary played with them in the water the entire time we were there, and is probably still sore from all the antics. I'll post pictures as soon as Mary sends me a disk (hint! Hint!).

The girls yelled, "Happy Birthday, America!" all weekend. Thanks to those of you who have served our country and to those who continue to fight for our freedom.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Father's Day 2009

(Oh, this post is two weeks old....sorry!)

Happy Father's Day to the best two dads I know!



We celebrated Father's Day at the lake house with Papa and Susan. They never disappoint and always bring tons of fun to the party. Susan found Maddie a really great petticoat on ebay, which was promptly turned into a tu-tu. Not to miss a beat, we found one for Brooke too:

They danced around in their new skirts and PJ's for over an hour!

Susan baked some cookies on sticks for decorating, brought sprinkles, and even mixed her own icing. Maddie did a great job with her cookies, and Susan is as patient as a saint:



Papa brought two kites to fly off the deck, and the girls had so much fun. My dad probably was very sore the next day as they wanted him to fly it again and again and again. He had is arms in the air for at least two hours strait:



(see all that land behind them in the pictures....that USED to be filled with lake water. We're over 30 feet below normal!)

On father's day morning, the girls woke up their daddy to give him their homemade gifts.


Then we lounged around on the new deck chairs (with footrest!) that I gave to Zak.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thumb Sucker

Maddie started sucking her thumb in August 2006 when she was 20 months old, late for a child to begin this habit. She was a "paci girl" as a baby, and we took it away when she was a year old. Too soon, we think. The thumb sucking almost always occurs with a hair twirl with the right hand.

The glorious left thumb was found to be a perfect substitute the summer before we moved to San Antonio. The "germy" factor is the main reason I hate it so much, and also, she's 4.5 years old! The thumb goes right into her mouth when she's tired, bored, scared, or sad.

Take a look at the timeline:

20 months old, this is when thumb sucking was cute: August 2006

At 22 months, the pig tail made a perfect twirling accompaniment:

At 23 months, who doesn't love a little princess on Halloween?

At 27 months, ("Oh, man! Who is this baby, and why won't she leave!?") Thumbsuck, hair twirl and stare:

At three-ish (same pose, one zillion photos). Aimless staring at the TV, practicing her teenage routine of ignoring her parents: At four, pouting in the car, mid-hair twirl:

There have been plenty of empty promises to "stop on my fourth birthday," or "quit sucking when I start Kindergarten." Lies! Now, she wants to stop sucking her thumb when she's "seven or eight."

I can't let that happen. I know she will soon give up this habit, but her teeth are already screwed up and she has expressed the desire to stop. It's so subconscious for her she doesn't even realize she's doing it. One minute she'll say she's a big girl and isn't ever going to suck it again, and LITERALLY after she puts a period at the end of her sentence, I blink, and it's back in her mouth.

I've been doing some research on how to get her to stop and discovered Malava Stop. It is a nail polish and it, in conjunction with this book, might just be our solution.

We've been preparing her for this for about a week. The "fairy princess ballerina" was going to visit in the middle of the night, leave her a book, and a present. (Just like the Tooth Fairy.) Also, the princess will make your thumbs taste so bad, and you'll never want to suck them again. Really bad. Bitter, and probably toxic, so don't suck it!

So as any intelligent woman would do, I let the husband try it out. I painted Zak's pinkie Tuesday night and made him taste it. "It's gross," he said. "Here, you taste it," as he offered me his pinkie to suck on.

Convinced this was the right time, I ran upstairs to find Maddie sound asleep with her thumb in her mouth. I painted her right thumb instead (worried that she'd discover a gross left thumb in the morning and make the logical decision to switch hands).

(Do you remember playing hide and seek as a child, and the anticipation of the game makes you not be able to hold in your laughter--or your pee? That is how I felt attempting to be as stealthy as possible while applying the poison polish to my sleeping child's thumb.)

I reported my activities to Zak, and then went back after a few minutes to find her sleeping wide open mouth and her left thumb out as if she was waiting for me. I quickly polished, dropped off her new loot, and ran out.

Then...I worried all night. I was afraid to traumatize her so much that in the middle of the night, she'd run out gagging, crying, and begging for mercy (and the return of her tasty thumb).

Instead, she woke up at her normal butt crack of dawn time, found her loot and came running into our room. She said her thumb tasted "kinda bad," and wondered if the "princess ballerina" came to visit last night. So, I read her the book (at 6:15 a.m.) and showed her that her new toy was also a thumb puppet and something she could play with when she felt the urge to suck her thumb. I also told her she could take it to school to show her friends!

When we got to school, I told the teacher what was going on, and Ms. Carolyn said she'd be happy to read the book to the entire class (apparently Maddie isn't the only thumb sucker). I was worried that because she uses her thumb to self soothe, that she'd have a hard day.

I was wrong! She had a great day, and never sucked her thumb. We went to have ice cream to celebrate. Maddie told me she put her thumb in her mouth a few times, only to be quickly reminded by the terrible taste.

Today is the second day of my thumb sucking intervention, and I'm fairly confident that we've reached the end of an era. Congratulations, Maddie, we're very proud of you!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New suit

I bought a new bathing suit. (No, you can't see a picture.)

I haven't purchased a new bathing suit since just after MADISON was born. The only reason I did it then was because my boobs were too big to fit into my pre-baby suits. And, I bought JUST the top at Target, which doesn't really count since it was $9.99.

The bathing suit I bought before that one was a maternity suit. Also, doesn't count.

Zak and I took the girls swimming last weekend, and two of my more decent swim suits are at the lake house. So, I had to go Old School. Like 1999, Old School. I put on the same royal blue tankini I wore while during our honeymoon (and perhaps way before that too). It was so old and stretched out, I gave everyone a show, and Zak kept tugging on it. "You know, this bathing suit doesn't really fit anymore, it's all stretched out."

Yes, that's what happens when you wear a suit for 10 years, and attempt to wear it during pregnancy (twice).

There is no woman on the face of the planet that likes to try on bathing suits. I don't care how skinny or fat you are, or how much you are okay with your body. It's just not good on the ole self esteem. (Okay, maybe some people are okay with it...Gisele). But, I found one....a really good one. One that I would have never picked out for myself, but an overly helpful sales lady thought would be perfect. And it was.

I got home and asked, "Zak, how much do you think bathing suits cost?"

"Is it a really good one?" he asks.

"One that is not from Target," I reply.

"I think a normal bathing suit is about $40, and a really fancy bathing suit is about $70," he guesses.

"SEVENTY?! For the top or for the bottom?" I ask.

"Total," he says with no clue confidence.

"Mmmmkay, I bought a suit today. It was alotwayverymuchtonsover more than $70. I was just curious what you thought they cost," quickly trying to change the subject.

(Oh, hi Zak, funny to see you here! It's okay, it will be just fine! Babies! I had two babies! You're welcome!)

Tweet! Tweet! June 2009

I'm not sure if Twitter is going to keep all my tweets forever and ever. You know, because my piddly daily activities are SO important. So because they are often little snippets about my daily life with The Girls, I will preserve them on this blog monthly. June 2009:

  1. The "thumb princess fairy" came to visit Maddie tonight. She left a book, toy, and made her thumb taste REALLY bad. Let's hope this works.
  2. I love it how Zak is often surprised I can cook meals from scratch. He's so complimentary like he just can't believe I "whipped it up."
  3. Would it just be too much if I complained about the 100 degree weather everyday until Halloween? I'm melting over here!
  4. I know I'm getting older because after a workout I can feel the pain in my knee JOINTS...not my muscles. Damn lunges.
  5. Brooke, happy as a clam, just got her Hep A shot. She squawked for 3 seconds. Maddie, moody as always, just had a regular day at school.
  6. Oh! Big news: Papa taught Maddie how to fly a kite off the lake house deck...a princess kite. Maddie was giddy and HIGH with excitement.
  7. Happy Father's Day! We were busy with the girls, Papa & Susan, and the lake house. Just now sitting down to rest at 9 p.m. GREAT DAY!
  8. I played in a work related golf tourney today. I was the ONLY woman. I got my daily required dose of male attention.
  9. The brown eyed one has a life mission to NOT FOLLOW DIRECTONS...at all costs.
  10. Zak: "Do you know a zip code in California?" DUH, 90210! I used to live for that show, and it's the most memorable zip code ever!
  11. Just cleaned up a massive, overflowing, disgusting poop. Brooke said, "Mama, it's coffee." No, honey, that is poop, and you need a bath.
  12. My Austin hotel room is on the 14th floor and I STILL heard the rumble of motorcycles in town for the ROT Biker Rally. FANCY motorcycles!
  13. Switched Girls milk from a high(er) sugar vanilla Silk soy to a lower sugar vanilla generic soy: Maddie balked, "What kinda milk is THIS?"
  14. Brooke ran into the kitchen and asked, "Is my dinner ready YET?"
  15. The "staircase to nowhere" at the lake house is almost done. Too bad it goes NOWHERE. We shoulda just threw $$ in the lake instead!
  16. Why are all the barbies in my house naked?
  17. Maddie found a scorpion in her toy box but we didn't see it, and teased her about "seeing things," then it crawled out! Screams all around!
  18. Our upstairs A/C just went out. How much will this cost? Ugh.
  19. Whoops! I kinda just ran over the stroller. (There was not a kid in it). Might me fixable.