Saturday, February 28, 2015

Florida! Day 1!

We woke up this morning at 3:40, picked Beth and Keren up at 4:10, and Juanito drove us to the airport for our 6:00 flight. To Florida! Where it is warm and humid and supposedly sunny (though it totally rained all day today)! Goodbye to sub-zero temperatures and chapped lips!

We arrived here at about 9:00, got settled in, and then waited for my parents, who arrived at about noon. YAY!!! We hung out at Beth's parents' condo, ate lunch, talked and talked, and then eventually headed out to "Gaylord Hotel," which is the biggest, most insane hotel i've ever been in. It has alligators and turtles and millions of plants and flowers - so it ended up being kind of the perfect place to go with my parents, who love plants and flowers.

It's so great to see my parents again. And so great to just relax. And SO great to be warm enough.

Friday, February 27, 2015

On the eve of leaving my family for 6 days

The kids had no school today, and Juanito took off from work, so we had the whole day to play (and pack and clean) before i leave tomorrow. I really, really love my family.

Except that ... when Keren and Beth came over for pizza-movie night tonight, Keren asked them all what they were going to do while i was gone, and Zane's answer was, "Blow up the house."

"WHAT?!" i said. "But...i have lots of pictures and stuff that i'd be sad to lose!"

And Zane was all, "Oh. Well, first we'd take everything OUT of the house and then we'd blow it up."

"But!" i said, "It's cold outside! Where would you sleep?"

"Well, first we'd move and take all of our stuff to our new house and then blow up this house. That way you could never find us."

Me: "WHAT?!?!"

Zane: "It was Daddy's idea."

So maybe they're not going to miss me TOO much.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Interview Thursday

Tell me the 5 best things about you.
Houston: I'm friendly. I'm creative. I'm good at making friends. I'm not picky about anything. And i do well in school.
Katrina: I'm good at art. I'm cute. I'm nice. I like animals. I don't yell at my brothers a lot.
Zane: I'm funny, I like to snuggle a lot. I like to play a lot. I like to explore around in the forest. And i love science.

What 3 famous people would you like to invite for a dinner party?
Houston: J.K. Rowling, Rick Riorden, and Shakespeare.
Katrina: J.K. Rowling, Emma Watson, and Annabel (from Percy Jackson).
Zane: Barack Obama, Harry Potter, and U2. (Does U2 count as one?)

What was your favorite toy when you were younger? What is your favorite toy now?
Houston: When i was younger, my favorite toy was probably Katrina. Now my favorite toy is either Legos or my camera.
Katrina: Baby was. Pencils and paper are now.
Zane: Simon was and still is.

What do you think heaven is like?
Houston: You can't die, and basically it looks exactly like Earth, and it's all good, so you can do anything you want and jumping off a building. Because if that would happen, i would love to jump off buildings and stuff. And you don't have to sleep either. And there's no night.
Katrina: Sparkly, shiny, and bright. And awesome. You'll be able to jump off cliffs and not die. You'll be able to wish for anything. People say that the streets are made of gold, but i don't know if i believe them or not.
Zane: If you ask God to come to you, He will and he will give you something like a teddy bear if you want. Or maybe God will tell you your future. That would be cool.

What do you think makes a kid popular? Are you popular?
Houston: If you want to be popular at our school, you basically do all of the things that are fashionable - y'know..."Hip" - and know all the popular things, and talk about all the popular things, and that's all you talk about to the other popular kids and that's all you talk about. I don't think i'm really popular in that way, but i do have a lot of friends, and that's what i think should be considered popular - being friendly and having friends.
Katrina: People like them. They start doing awesome stuff. Boom, they're popular. I'm not popular. Well, i guess i am kind of. I'm not like, popular popular, but lots of people know me and like me a lot.
Zane: Being fun, nice, and hilarious. And having a ton of Pokemon. That's how you become cool in my class. I'm kind of popular. Everyone likes my jokes.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
Houston: Not go to school. (At this point, Houston tried to convince me that he should also be able to teleport or be invincible.) I'd probably just stand in someone's room and make noise and say, "I can see you!" to confuse them. And then i would pick some random person up who has no idea what was going on. Maybe i would pick up a child that was walking down the street with their parents so that they would just randomly "fly." That would be funny. Maybe i would go to a place where they make Doctor Who and just watch them and think, "Oh! This is going to be the next episode." It would be really weird seeing it without the aliens.
Katrina: I would sneak over to my friends' houses and yell "boo" and scare them. And i'd also go to the theater and watch movies and not have to pay for the ticket. I would pick things up and walk around with them, and it would look like things are just floating.
Zane: Go in the girl's bathroom in my school to see what it's like. I would maybe pick up Emma and bring her outside so it would look like she was floating or flying around. I would maybe pick up a lot of stuff and carry it around. And maybe carry Houston or Katrina around.... Pretty much carry things around. I would not do my homework. Or maybe put all my homework in the trash and then say that i didn't have it.

What question should i ask you?
Houston: "What is one piece of technology that you would most want to actually exist (and be accessible to everyone)?" - Teleporters.
Katrina: "If you could be one character from a book, who would you be?" - Ginny Weasley (from Harry Potter). Because Hermione gets turned into a cat and also has to do stuff and probably gets really, really hurt and also gets petrified. And Ginny is awesome.
Zane: "If you could have the strength to lift anything in the world, what would you lift up?" - I would lift up the house and bring it around and move it to somewhere that's super-warm in the summer and has snow in the winter but isn't that cold. If that place even exists.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Special Snowflakes

A while back, i let each of the kids make a CD with whatever songs they chose. Zane's kind of cracks me up, because it's such a random assortment. For example, it goes from The Dixie Chicks to Lady Gaga to the theme song from "The Love Boat." I guess he's got a well-rounded mix.

We were hardly home at all today. The kids got home from school and we almost immediately headed back out to go to parent-teacher conferences. All of our kids are wonderful, precious, special snowflakes who are doing wonderfully, of course.

Joking aside, all three kids' teachers mentioned how very nice our kids are. They all behave beautifully and well within the range of normal for their ages, and after years of struggling with trying to figure out how to make a certain oldest child behave properly in school, it's wonderful to get such glowing reports.

Our tradition is that after conferences, we go to Wendy's for dinner, and from there we went straight on to Zumba, which lasts until bedtime. 

It's a wrap!

As i was doing Katrina's hair wrap, i said, "Aw! I want a hair wrap too!" and Juanito was all, "I could do that for you!" So yesterday he sat and wrapped my hair all cute and i was happy, and Beth was all, "I want one too! Can you do mine?!" I was going to, except Juanito is clearly much better at it than i am - he does all cute things and takes the time to make it really, really tight and whatnot - so tonight we watched 2 episodes of Downton Abbey while Juanito wrapped up Beth's hair. (She used a much thinner floss than i did, so hers took longer. It'll probably stay in much better, though.)

And they're cute! Yay! (Of course, we look like we're in a clique, but ... whatever.)

Watching Downton Abbey was perfect for tonight, because i was SO GROUCHY by the time Beth got here. I was partly grouchy because there wasn't anything particularly important that made me grouchy, so i shouldn't have been nearly as cranky as i was. It was just a series of little annoyances:

I was going to make spaghetti for dinner, except when i grabbed the boxes out of the cupboard, i realized that they were both half empty, which meant that there wasn't really enough for everyone. I dumped those into the pot anyhow, and then rooted around in case there was a box hiding...and there was! Success! I opened it and dumped it into the pot...and then realized that it was all gross with little dead moths and stuff, so i had to throw away ALL of the spaghetti. Grrr.

So then i started making waffles. I added the first few ingredients, and then grabbed the baking powder...which had about 1/2 teaspoon's worth left in it. Not nearly enough. So no waffles for us tonight. (Luckily i was still on dry ingredients, so we can use it tomorrow.) At that point i gave up in frustration and declared that everyone was going to have to fend for themselves. Cereal and sandwiches and ramen noodles it was!

Emma somehow escaped from our backyard - twice - and ran over to the next-door neighbor's yard, where they have a giant bowl of dog food frozen in a solid block, left over from before their dog died in November. As far as Emma was concerned, it was like a delicious dog-food popsicle.

The kids and i were all sitting in the family room while i was reading the final book of the Willow Falls series to them, and Emma walked to the center of the room and threw up a prodigious amount. Zane immediately ran out of the room. Houston started gagging and gagging until i ordered him out of the room. Katrina sat there and stared in fascination.

That was the end. It was close enough to bedtime that i gave up for the night and sent them all off to bed. Goodnight. Let me sit and fume quietly. I am finished.

On the bright side, i know what we're having for dinner tomorrow!  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy birthday, Juanito

Dear Juanito,

It's crazy to think that i've known you for nearly 25 years now - since you were 18 (which, ohmygosh, i just realized is only 5 and a half years older than Houston is now). So...well over half your life. I knew you when you were a slightly unsure-of-yourself teenager. I think that "unsure-of-yourself" is not a term that could be even remotely applied to you today.

I think that you are the most insanely self-confident person i know. You think that you are incredibly cool and good-looking and great at nearly everything...and you're generally totally right. You ARE cool and good-looking and great at nearly everything. I cannot understand your self-confidence, and it sometimes makes me laugh when you tell me stories about how awesome you are, but i love that about you. And i love that your self-confidence is totally rubbing off on our kids so that they're pretty sure that they're really awesome too.

I think that nearly every hobby you had when we were dating has fallen by the wayside to be overtaken by new hobbies/obsessions. Computers, your scooter, and Zumba have taken the place of sewing, making up songs, and art, and i fully expect that in another 20 years, there will be an entirely new set of things that you love. Whatever it is, it'll become a full-on obsession, i have no doubt. You don't do hobbies half-heartedly. You are filled with a passion and joy, and even if i don't care about scooters or Zumba or whatever, i have to admit that yours is the best and coolest.

You love "Hello Kitty." What kind of 43-year-old man is that obsessed with a kitty that's totally marketed for little girls? And yet, you somehow manage to make people think that that's fun rather than totally odd. You wear a million bracelets on your cover your "weak, skinny wrists." Nobody ever seems to notice that that's such a teenaged-girl thing to do. You're a 43-year-old white man with dreadlocks, which is completely not normal. You're kind of weird, is what i'm trying to say. And nobody cares at all, because you're also the kindest, most loving, most giving man i know. You're open and funny and accepting of people the way they are.

I love you! Happy birthday! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday with friends

Beth, Keren, and Stephanie came over after church today for dinner, small group, and birthday cake. We had chicken tikka, naan, and lentil stew for dinner - a massive undertaking that used most of us to make all the food. And in the end, it was delicious and we had lots of left-overs. Yay!

Juanito made his own cake, a giant cake made from 2 boxes of cake mix (chocolate and caramel), the filling from eclair dessert, and homemade chocolate frosting. He cut the cakes up to make a checkered pattern inside the cake. It was pretty impressive. And delicious.

The kids just love having our friends over. They like to show off their stuff - Katrina showed her new hermit crab to everyone, Houston showed his movies, and Zane showed off his favorite toys. I think that my kids are way, way more comfortable with adults than i ever was. (I'm STILL not entirely comfortable with "adults" sometimes. Anyone older or in a position of authority makes me nervous!)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Introducing the newest member of our family....

I got to go on a date with Katrina this morning. She's been looking forward to it for weeks. Last week, she had a friend sleep over for her birthday, and she was all disappointed to have to wait. She's been planning for about 3 weeks to go today...and then a couple of days ago she realized that she was going to a sleepover at her friend's house Friday night. Which means she wouldn't be here for breakfast. She welled up with tears and and was just SO disappointed. I gave her several options (we could go this day or this day or do lunch on these days....), and she decided that her favorite option was to get picked up early from her sleepover and still go out with me this morning.

We went to Steak and Shake for breakfast, and then walked around Michaels and Five Below for a few minutes. (We bought approximately $15 worth of stuff, including birthday presents for Houston, needles, and some hair chalk that was in the 70% off Valentines stuff. As we walked back to the car, Katrina exclaimed, "We're having a shopping spree!")

And then we went to the pet store, planning to get Katrina a beta fish. In the course of walking around, though, we found the hermit crabs, and Katrina was all, "I wish i could get a hermit crab!" I was like, "Um. Rather than a beta? Because they're actually the same price."
Her: "Probably. Yes."
Me: "Uh...let me text Daddy...."
("Katrina wants to know if she can get a hermit crab instead of a fish."
Juanito: "YES! What fun!")

And so it was decided. We talked to the pet store guy to find out if we'd actually be able to keep one alive and how hard it would be and what would be needed. We walked around the store, looking at everything while Katrina ruminated. And then, in possibly the easiest decision-making process of her life, Katrina decided that she definitely wanted a crab. And then, as the guy was showing us some of the choices, this little guy came out as soon as he was picked up and looked around and started crawling over his hand. Katrina was smitten.

One box of "Salt water conditioner" (apparently they need salt water or they can't molt and then they die) and bottle of hermit crab food later, and the crab was packed into a paper bag. As we were driving home, Katrina kept giggling because she could feel the crab walking around in the bag. In yet another amazingly quick decision, Katrina named her "Luna."

They boys are also quite smitten, and since hermit crabs are totally social animals, they've both decided that they would also like to get one. So. We might be getting more of these little guys in the future.

Tonight we had movie night with our friends. We've been having movie night for maybe a year now? The kids go in a different room and watch a movie one of the kids has chosen, and the adults do the same in the comfy room. Tonight was Linda's turn to choose, so we watched "Boyhood." It's such a good movie, but it seriously makes you have lots and lots of feelings. Mostly sad ones. Nevertheless! Good food, great friends, and a good movie makes for a great night. Yay!

Cold. So, so cold.

Zane just cracks me up sometimes. He wore this mustache around the house for an hour or so, and only took it off so that he could eat lunch. And if you're going to wear a mustache, then naturally you need to also make a silly face to go with it for the picture.

When i first looked at the temperature this morning, it was -9, although i know that it was supposed to be around -20 last night, so i'm assuming that it was already "warming up" by then. The windchill was -22, though, even at 9:00 this morning. Our school called an "inclement weather" day, presumably to avoid multiple cases of frostbite.

I happen to agree that staying inside is the only reasonable choice right now. Usually i try to send my kids outside to play for at least a short time when they have a day off, but i just can't even think about doing that with these kinds of temperatures. So we stayed inside. The boys played Pokemon and Lego. Katrina and i read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter. We read and listened to music and generally tried to stay warm.

And then tonight, Katrina went to a friend's house for a sleepover. Beth came over for pizza/movie night, for which we watched "The Hudsucker Proxy." It's been a long time since i've watched that, and it totally made me laugh numerous times. I'm not sure the boys enjoyed it as much as we adults did, though. Ah well. We watch plenty of kids movies for them.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lunch and book club and laundry!

I met Beth for lunch during her lunch hour today. It's always so great to get to sit and talk when there's just the two of us and we don't have kids and a dog and life in general competing for attention. It's good to have an hour of time to just let the conversation flow without interruptions, to talk about whatever we feel like talking about. Today, we mostly wanted to talk about our upcoming trip to Florida. And the cold.

And then tonight we had book club. Our book this month was Jane Eyre, which most of us disliked, so a lot of the time was spent complaining about how unlikable Mr. Rochester was and how many words Bronte used to describe everything and.... The weird thing is, this is my third time reading it, except that i don't even remember reading it the first time, and i apparently quite liked it the second time i read it, because i gave it three stars. I remember it in hindsight as being a better book than it is as i'm reading it, so maybe that played into it? Either way, i need to remember now that i HAVE read it - three times - and i do not want to read it again!

Poor Emma is getting SO restless with this cold weather. Today started out at -3, and it barely got warmer, so it's just plain too cold to go outside for long. So when i folded the laundry today, she drove me crazy by running back and forth through the room, knocking piles over left and right. I think i might need to start folding laundry on my table, even though it's not as ideal. Anything's better than having to re-fold everything i just folded!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

I stopped at the dog park with Emma after dropping the kids at school, and there was no one else there. There hadn't been anyone there either, if the complete lack of footprints in the snow were to be believed. I know i've mentioned this one or two or a million times, but it is so very cold here. It's been hovering between 0-10 degrees, and then with the wind chill, it's even colder. I tried to convince Emma that she wanted to run around while i sat in the car, but she just whined at the gate and looked pathetic unless i was in the fenced-in area with her. So i stood there for 20-30 minutes while she ran around and sniffed everything. And then even she was bored, so we gave up on anyone else ever coming and just went home.

It's Ash Wednesday today, so i went to the service at church and got the ash cross put on my forehead. And then i totally forgot that it was there until i got a couple of weird looks at the grocery store. As i was checking out, one of the checkers asked, me, "So...what IS Ash Wednesday? I've always heard about it, but i don't know what it's for." And then she told me that i'm a good "explanator." Yay!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


A couple of months ago, the librarian at my kids' school gave me a big box of new books that needed to be covered with contact paper. She was all, "No hurry! Just whenever you have time!" I did an embarrassingly good job of procrastinating on doing the re-covering. Today she sent me an email asking me to bring in whatever was finished so that she could put them out for reading awareness month.

So i spent most of today covering books. I finished everything i had enough contact paper for. Most of the books, that is. So now i can stop having that box staring accusingly at me. Yay!

Yesterday, for no reason whatsoever, Katrina handed me a little stack of coupons that she'd written up. It has things like, "I will go downtown with you and you can take pictures," and "You can choose any hairstyle and do it for school or fun." Also, "You can have half an hour to do whatever. We will take care of Emma for you." Awww. She's such a little sweetie. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


I took Emma to the dog park today, even though the temperature was in the negatives. AND i stayed for over an hour.

I would like my medal now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Today was the kind of cold that makes your lungs freeze as soon as you walk outside. It's the kind of cold that i never wish for, because i hate cold, but it's only when it gets this cold that the snow squeaks as you walk on it. That squeaking snow sound is one of the few things i kind of love about winter. I don't enjoy it enough to spend one second longer outside than i need to when the temperature is hovering around zero, though.

Every year, right around Katrina's birthday, i put a wrap in her hair. Today we turned on "Soul Surfer" and sat, me on the couch, her in front of me, and i wound three strands of floss around a bit of her hair. She chose blue, purple, and a pinkish-orange color this year. Wrapping her hair always takes longer than i expect it to, mostly because her hair is just so long. It looks adorable when it's finished, though, and it should last about a month. Totally worth it.

Most of the day, we rested. Houston worked on the song that he's making. We read. Juanito slept. I dug through my trunk to find some warm-weather clothes to take to Florida in a couple of weeks. The boys played Pokemon. Just what a Sunday should be.

Valentine's Day

I got to start my Valentine's Day with a date with Zane this morning. We went to the bakery for donuts, where we sat and chatted. Zane is a fantastic conversationalist. He loves to explain things ("Did you know that tigers are the biggest cats? And the most dangerous? If they attack you, you only have a 30% chance of surviving. And they're as long as our van from the front to the back!" - He also likes to kind of make up statistics, so i'm always pretty wary of accepting them from him.) and answer questions with long answers that give extra information, so i never feel like i'm trying to drag interesting conversation out of him. It's lovely. And then we went to the pet store and walked around for about an hour, just looking at the cute animals (chipmunks! finches! chameleons!) and the weird and icky and ugly animals (snakes! tarantulas! ugly fish!).

Zane was telling me that i'm really lucky, because i get to go on three dates every two months, because i get to take each kid out. And i AM really lucky. I love getting to totally focus all of my attention and time on just one kid sometimes. They're amazing kids. I love them like crazy. I want to make sure i enjoy them while they still want to spend time with me!

This afternoon, Houston and i discovered that his fish Swimmy had died, which was the total low point of the day. Houston's had his this fish since he was about 6, so he's really sad. To be fair, he lived approximately 6 years longer than every fish i ever had. Most of mine committed suicide by leaping out of their bowls within the first few days, so Swimmy had a pretty long life by comparison. Which, actually, makes it much sadder for Houston.

Beth offered to babysit for us tonight, and so Juanito and i got to go on a date. We went to Noodles & Company for dinner, where we sat for an hour and a half and just talked about whatever we wanted to and were not interrupted even once with requests for help or attention or anything. I like Juanito. It's lovely to get to sit and talk with him without distractions.

And then, because we are romantic, we went to Meijer and walked around slowly, buying random things like shovels (because ours was stolen and we live in Michigan where...snow. And also because they were on clearance for $5), and a new toilet seat because ours is getting old and gross, and toilet paper, and a book for Houston's birthday. And also cheesecake, to eat with Beth while we watched a movie. It was a very odd assortment of stuff. And even just walking around a store together was really fun; we had no list or agenda, so we could just wander and look and talk.

And then we came back, put the kids in bed, and watched a movie with Beth, afterwards we all just kind of went, ".... Huh...." and then shook our heads and sat and talked about other random stuff for the next couple of hours.

And ate cheesecake. Mmmm.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy birthday, Katie Kat

Dear Katrina,

There's a popular song with the lyrics, "You don't know you're beautiful and that's what makes you beautiful," and i quite hate those lyrics.

You are absolutely beautiful, and i tell you that you're beautiful often, and you're very aware of the fact that you are a gorgeous little girl. But you don't really care much. You're incredibly comfortable with who you are, and don't much think about it one way or the other. (In fact, more so than your brothers, you think that bodies are hilarious and natural things. Farts? Hilarious. Boobs? Hilarious. Naked babies? Cute. Boys without shirts? Whatever. Your brothers find all of those things sort of horrifying.)

But you're beautiful in so many ways that have nothing to do with the way that you look. You're incredibly kind. If i ask you if any of the kids in your class aren't very nice, you're hard-put to think of any. You see the best in everyone. You make people feel good about themselves. The kids in your grade are...a rowdy bunch. Kind of obnoxious as a whole sometimes, to tell the truth. And you'll roll your eyes, but you never - not ever - come home and tell me any stories about anyone who was mean or naughty or got in trouble. If i only knew about your class from you, i'd assume everyone was on their best behavior at all times.

You are a sensitive soul, and when you're tired or overwhelmed or sometimes just for no reason at all, you have a way of becoming melancholy and heartbreakingly sad. There are days when you'll cry, "I'm so sad!" and i'll ask why, and you'll cry, "I don't know!" Some of this, i'm sure, are hormones changing and tween-ness setting in, but you've always been a little bit melancholy, and i kind of love that about you. Not that i want you to be sad, mind you. But i tend to be a bit melancholy myself, and i feel like that's something we share, a trait that connects us, somehow.

You're so girly - you like pink and dresses and long, cute hair and manicures and girl's nights. You still love your American Girl dolls and love to dress them and do their hair and play school with them. You like to design clothes and draw and color. You temper it well, though, with strength and a refusal to accept that girls have to play a certain role. You got a doll bed for your birthday today, and you grabbed a screwdriver and helped with putting it together.

This year you joined Girls on the Run and ran your first 5K and loved it. You joined band, playing the flute, and you're loving it. You started going to Fifty6 at church, and you're loving that. You just love to be part of things. You love to be involved. You love people.

And now you are eleven. Too old to show your age on your fingers. Two years from teenager-hood. Half as old as i was when got married. (That's an insane thought right there.) You're still little, but so close to being grown up. When you were a baby, i really didn't want you to grow up, because i loved every single thing about you and didn't want you to change. But you did grow up, and i absolutely adore the person you've become.

You make me laugh. You are a delight to have for a daughter. You are incredibly generous and kind and sweet and loving.

And THAT'S what makes you beautiful.

Last day of 10

I got to go out for lunch with this cutie today. She was going to use her coupon on her actual birthday, but i'm covering her lunch already, so she moved it forward a day. She's SO sweet. I love her.

Oh, ALSO? She made her Valentine's cards this year. Their class isn't actually "doing" cards, but they can bring them if they want to. She wants to. Here are her cards:

So. That's what Katrina did on this, the very last day that she will ever be able to show you how old she is with her hands. (Sob.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Houston's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day.

Houston called me at 1:00 this afternoon, asking if he could please just come home. He was having a terrible day. I told him to stick it out, and he did, but by the time he got home, he needed a lot of sympathy. 

Can you see how his eye is all red? He's not even sure when he got that, because he got hit in the face three times during school. All three times were accidents - he was elbowed in the face as he was going outside, he bonked heads with someone, and he fell off his stool, hit his face on his desk, landed on the floor, and had his stool fall on his head. He dropped his applesauce all over himself, his notebook, and the lunch table. And then he just felt picked on by students and teachers alike. 

I'm pretty sure that nobody (well, except that one girl...) was trying to be mean to him or pick on him, but i totally know what it's like to have that kind of day. He's already got a cold, so then when you start piling things on, every little thing seems like it's huge and horrible and all working together to make you miserable. 

And then he fell out of bed just now and smashed his face again. It's a good thing the day is over.

In other news.... 

Juanito was doing the song "Miss United States" from the movie Miss Congeniality during Zumba, and he completely fell right off the stage. He was too busy concentrating on raising his crown up high. I could tell immediately that he wasn't hurt - he looked more surprised than anything, bounced back onto the stage, and started smiling as though he were faintly embarrassed. Everyone else started asking, "Are you alright?! Are you hurt?!" I am clearly a horrible person, because i straight up laughed like crazy. I seriously giggled and smiled through every song for the next half hour. It was my favorite Zumba ever. 

And he's totally fine. Not hurt at all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Also, the part where Barty Crouch is seen long before he's supposed to be....

I got my new phone case today, which is happy partly because now i can tell my phone apart from Juanito's, partly because now it's a lot safer, and partly because it's easier to hold now, but mostly because it's just a lot cuter. Also, it came already, even though it wasn't supposed to come until the end of February or the beginning of March, so i was pretty sure i wouldn't have it when i went to Florida...but i will! Yay!

Katrina, Houston, and i watched the first half of the fourth Harry Potter movie today while Juanito and Zane were at Zumba. It was Katrina's first time watching it, but she's read (or listened to) the book dozens and dozens of times, so within the first two minutes, she'd already exclaimed, "WHAT? That's not right!" a dozen times. I kept telling her, "No, seriously. This movie has all KINDS of stuff wrong with it. Just let it go. Let it go...." Meanwhile, i was texting to Beth things like, "This is where Dumbledore throws three chairs, flips a table, throws Harry across the room, and yells, 'DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET?!?'" I mean. Come on. Also, "Why is everyone in this movie so YELLY?" The characters aren't supposed to be that yelly, Mr. Harry Potter director. 

Anyways. It was a nice, boring day. Except for the part where Emma got a giant burst of energy for an hour and made everyone a little bit crazy with her leaping and attempts to play. Sigh. Emma. Such a puppy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I hate being sick.

I woke up with the worst sore throat ever, looked at the clock, and realized that it was 7:45. School starts at 8:00. 

I leaped out of bed, shook Katrina and Houston awake, and prodded Zane (who was listening to Harry Potter on his mp3 player) and told them all to HURRY HURRY HURRY!!! They totally did, and we got to school by 8:10. None of them even got tardies. We are that awesome. I checked my phone alarm when i got home and found that for some unknown reason, at some point since Friday, i had turned the alarm off. Why would i do that? I wouldn't. Not on purpose. Stupid phone.

Anyhow. I spent the rest of the day curled up on the floor or the couch or my bed, sleeping. Basically, i was wherever Emma would let me sleep in peace. (She wanted to PLAY! Play, play, play!!!!) Stupid horrible cold. Hopefully i'll be all better by tomorrow. (A girl can dream.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015


After i posted about how horrible Emma is on walks, Linda suggested the "Gentle Leader." I looked it up and showed it to Juanito, and we agreed that we might need to try that. And then the very next day, we were at the dog park and another girl recommended it, and not that we didn't totally trust Linda's opinion, but having TWO people recommend it within two days? Juanito looked at the website and the pictures and the reviews, and said, "Y'know. I bet i could make that." And so he went to the dollar store and bought a harness, cut it apart a bit, made it the right shape and size, sewed it all up, and voila! Instant $1 Gentle-Leader-like thingy. Juanito put Emma into it and took her for a walk, and he said that it was like magic. She could be led around with one finger, no problem. Yay!!!

Katrina and Houston and i were all feeling like we wanted to lie around and snuggle and read today, so when we got home from church (where Houston kept trying his best to put his head down and fall asleep), Houston headed straight up to bed to take a nap. Katrina and i ate some lunch and then headed up to my bed to snuggle in and read a couple of chapters of Harry Potter. 

Juanito and Zane, meanwhile, played with his remote control car and drove Emma INSANE. Katrina and i were upstairs and could hear her barking like she was trying to destroy someone with her words. She has weird reactions to some things. Sledding, swinging, remote control cars. Vacuums, but that's more normal.

Houston and Katrina had church group tonight, so Zane was left alone with both me and Juanito to himself. He's an awesome, cheerful kid, but he kind of sucks at entertaining himself. We all played Blokus, and then suggested that he find something to do. Him: "Do you want to play another game? Do you want to watch a movie with me? Do you want to play Webkinz with me? Can i just play a computer game by myself?" (No, no, no, no.) 

"Do you want to snuggle with me?" 

I mean. Really. How do you say no to that?

It was a very Houston-y day for me

Houston and i went on a date this morning using the January-February date coupon for breakfast and a trip to the pet store. He chose to get a bagel and then head to the giant pet store across town.

One thing we realized there: everything's expensive at special pet stores! I mean, if you need a specific thing, then that's the place to go, but otherwise, i'm sticking to the grocery store. However, we did get a cute, pink engraved dog tag for Emma with her name and our address and phone number. Houston rolls his eyes at my fondness for getting Emma girly stuff, but...i like girly stuff! And she's a girl!

And then i cleaned his room. It was the third and last of the bedrooms to clean, and i am SO HAPPY that it's finished. Honestly, his was probably the easiest to clean, mostly because his stuff tends to be already in categories. Lego, bottle caps, art stuff.... It was all in a heap on the floor, but it can be quickly sorted into the proper place. I threw all of his random toys into one bin, and when everything else was finished i had him decide what he needed to keep and what he could get rid of, and he got rid of a TON of stuff. Between the toys he's giving away (honestly, all stuff that he just never uses, so YAY!) and two medium/big bags of garbage and all of the stuff that belonged in other places in the house? His room is practically empty. It's awesome.

Katrina was playing with her calculator today, making words using the numbers the same way we did when i was her age. She did "eggshell," and "hello," and "igloo," and then asked me if i knew any. And i told her the only one i could remember: "boobs." She giggled and made me show her how and then giggled some more. Houston walked in, and she quick cleared it, waited for him to leave, and then wrote it and giggled again. I would never have even told that one to Houston - he'd be horrified, but Katrina? She's all about it. Juanito was all, "I never did boobs on the calculator! I'd never have even considered it!" Beth and i were all, "What? It's hilarious when you're that age!" So i guess we know which child takes after each of us.

I have noticed that, with Katrina, big events tend to do her in, emotionally. She was SO excited about the dance last night, and she loved it. And her birthday is coming up, complete with a sleepover with her friend she rarely sees, and she's really excited about that. But today, she was TIRED and achy and weepy. A few times she cuddled up to me and quietly said, "I'm so sad!" Not about anything at all. Just sad. Partly, i think she gets overwhelmed. And partly...she's that age. I remember being terribly sad at exactly her age, for no really good reason at all. And also, she's just got a personality that already tends toward melancholy. Poor little girl. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Daddy-Daughter dance

Tonight was the Daddy-daughter dance at our school - the first our school has ever had. For some reason, they called it the "Sweetheart Dance," kind of weird? Katrina was SO EXCITED about it, and had her dress laid out already days ago. Her report of the dance was this: 
They danced and danced, and even did some zumba to "Shake it Off" and "Gangnam Style," and other people were totally copying them for Gangnam Style. She really, really likes the girls in her grade, and she had SO MUCH fun. And there were lots of dads there who just sat on the bleachers! Like, for a long time! ON THEIR PHONES! (She was completely flabbergasted about this.) And there were cupcakes.
The cupcakes alone made it an awesome dance, i think. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Beth and i took our cameras and went out to take pictures around town today. I never take as many pictures in winter, because it's just so cold and miserable, and i'd rather just curl up under a blanket, but it makes me happy to go out and use my camera, and doing it with a friend is just that much better!

Zane really, really wanted to join Scouts, so (even though he'd rather have a night off) Juanito and he go to Cub Scouts every Thursday night. Zane loves it. Truly, the poor little third child has missed out on joining everything - gymnastics, t-ball, karate - by the time he was old enough, we'd kind of...found other things to do instead. We really wanted to give him this. (But really, EVERY Thursday night? Seems like a bit much.)

I was reading Harry Potter with Katrina tonight (with Houston listening in), and suddenly Emma leapt from the doorway, flew three feet, over the arm of the couch, to land on the book on my lap. I exclaimed, "Emma! You turd! What are you doing?!" Houston immediately dissolved in laughter, giggling, "Mom said 'turd'!" Two minutes later, when Juanito and Zane got home from Scouts (sledding tonight!), he was still laughing, "MOM SAID TURD!" 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


What with illnesses and not-really-illnesses and snow days and babysitting, today is the first day in nearly two weeks that i've actually been home without kids. 

It was lovely.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


My cousin Cindy asked a few weeks ago if i'd babysit her sweet little baby (Theo) today so that they could take their older 3 boys skiing. A baby! Of course i said yes!

He's adorable, of course. And Emma did not know WHAT to make of him. She spent the entire day pacing near me when i was standing (and barking in frustration juuuust as he was falling asleep a couple of times. Grrr.) and sniffed a lot while i was sitting on the couch, and tried to crawl onto the chair with us when i was sitting in the chair. She was equal parts totally confused about what this baby thing was, completely jealous that i was giving it so much attention, and very concerned every time he made noises - especially when he cried. And as soon as Theo left, she spent a good 3 minutes searching the house for him.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I'm grouchy and this post is complain-y.

We had a snow day today. It was a gorgeous snow day - bright sun, sparkly snow, just barely above freezing temperatures. I was actually really excited to go spend some time outside with the kids.

Except Zane and Katrina didn't want to go outside. They wanted to stay inside. And then, when i forced them to come out with me, there was a whole to-do with finding Houston's boots, and then he decided that, okay, maybe he did want his snowpants after all. And meanwhile, we were all waiting down at the corner, and Emma was becoming impatient.... It was 30-40 minutes AFTER i'd started getting the kids moving that we finally got on our way. It was like having toddlers again!

And then Emma.... Oh, you guys. Emma. She is never, ever going for a walk again. Or, at least not until spring. She just drags me along, and it's hazardous and no fun at all.

We walked to the hill so the kids could go sledding. Emma immediately Lost. Her. Mind. I wrapped her leash around a pole so that she wouldn't drag me down the hill, but she wanted nothing more than to attack and destroy the sleds, and she almost immediately lunged hard enough that she actually broke the clasp on her collar and took off down the hill. She came back up pretty quickly, and i grabbed her collar...which she immediately backed out of. So i got her put back together, left the kids at the hill, walked back home with Emma, and grumpily threw her in her crate.

Walking back toward the hill, i was thinking, "Well! Now i can enjoy myself! No dog to drag me along! We can just have fun!" And that's when Katrina met me, walking back toward home, because she had snow in her boots and she was so! cold! and couldn't we just go home now? Please?! I tried to tell her to suck it up (in a nicer way, though) and just shake the boot out, because it really wasn't that cold, but she started working herself up to a full-on meltdown. And then Houston and Zane came walking back, because Zane's glove had come off and his hand had gotten snow on it, and he was so! cold! and couldn't we just go home?

I handed Houston the keys and said, "Fine!!! Go home! I'll just go for a walk by myself!" (I'm so mature.) Except by then i was incredibly grumpy and sad and disappointed, so i walked half a block and just turned around and went home.

And, to be fair, we played games and did fun stuff, but i was just so disappointed in today. Sigh. And i'm usually the one who just wants to curl up under a blanket all day, too. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Zane got this K'nex track for Christmas from his Uncle JJ, and today we finally put it together. It was totally a family effort. Zane and i built most of the frame together, and the Houston joined in to help finish the frame. And then we started building the track, except that by the time it was halfway put together, everything had been popping off and coming apart and making me completely insane, so i came downstairs and told Juanito that he needed to take over or i was going to break it into tiny bits with a giant hammer. He went upstairs and flung it together by batting his eyes and smiling at it (i'm pretty sure). And then the entire family gathered around to watch the little car go up and down and up and down the track. Yay!

Zane's thrilled. He kind of had the attitude, "I can't do it, because i don't know how, so it'll just sit there for the rest of my life." I don't think he honestly believed that it would ever get built, and i had to drag him into doing it. Yay for success!

Speaking of which, last night, Katrina entirely made my day. We were nearly finished with her room - i was banging nails into the wall to hang a couple of pictures she'd gotten for Christmas - and she said, "You're a really good girl. I want to be a girl like you. You can organize and build things and sew and giggle and be awesome." Awwww! She's so sweet.

Also yesterday (i was apparently too tired yesterday to actually remember things?), i was upstairs all day, and Juanito was in the garage all day building a coffee table, which left Emma alone with the kids. And apparently the kids are kind of terrible at remembering that she is a DOG who likes to EAT ALL THE THINGS. So in the course of the day, she ate most of a pizza that was left on the counter, and also an entire loaf-worth of bread dough. The gastro-intestinal effects of this (that i've noticed) so far have been diarrhea (though thankfully she's keeping that outside) and the smelliest, grossest bread-dough-smelling burps i have ever encountered in my entire life. Seriously. All night last night and all day today, she keeps sitting next to me, putting her face in mine, and burping these foul burps. It is so disgusting. 

And i just this minute got a phone call that school is cancelled for tomorrow. Snow day ahead!