Daddy Must Be Gone

Y'all might want to check on me tomorrow and make sure that I'm still surviving. I've mentioned before how something always seems to go wrong when hubby travels. Rick left today for a short business trip, and here is what has gone wrong thus far:

  • Jack has regressed in potty training, so much so that I'd rather put him back in diapers and call it a day. But I won't, because I'm more stubborn than he is.
  • While cleaning the carpet from one of Jack's accidents, Winston, the Boston Terrier, decided to pull an SOS scrub pad out of the kitchen cabinet that I failed to close while using the carpet cleaner. I guess Winston thought it looked like a great morning snack, only his stomach didn't quite agree.
  • I have a headache.
  • I found urine in the bathroom trash can a few minutes ago. I can assure you that I did not put it there! I can also assure you that Jack did not put it there, because he can't seem to make it to the bathroom today. Plus, he's still in the early phase of potty training which requires my following him in there with a watchful eye. And Garrett doesn't have a clue how to pee anywhere but in his diaper. That leaves one little boy that will receive a good talkin'-to when he gets up from his nap.
  • Garrett is refusing to nap today, which will make for a lovely evening, I'm sure.
  • Did I mention that I have a headache? And I'm out of Diet Coke and Advil.

I hope to be alive and well tomorrow, but if you don't hear from me, then you'll know that this momma bird has flown the coup in search of Advil, Diet Coke, and a vacation!

My Personality DNA

A Concerned Leader...yep, that's me in a nutshell. How about you? Go here to take your own test.

The Winner...

is Leslie from Bloggin' with a Basket o' Clothes at My Side. Congratulations!

Thanks to everyone for playing along!

Life Lesson # 1

Garrett has gotten himself quite a bit of blogging attention over the past week with his Last Breakfast, and his experiencing big boy cereal, and then his Cool Aggie photo. But I must take time to share this recent story, before I forget it. You know how the mind goes after becoming a parent!

My mother-in-law came over to visit one morning last week. We were all outside, she and I visiting, and the boys playing in the water sprinkler. Garrett really doesn't enjoy himself in any type of water, unless it's his warm bathtub or a genuine swimming pool. He's not particular or anything, but who am I to talk, because you won't see me playing in the water sprinkler which can do things like shoot water up my nose and make me feel like my brain has been power washed.

Anyway, G (I'm not being lazy by typing "G". That's his main nickname.) decided that he wanted to go inside. I ignored his whine for hours, I mean 5 minutes, before I relented and said, "G, we are all having a good time out here and are not ready to go inside. If you want to go in, then go." Now, when I said that, I thought for sure that he would stay outside with us, because he loves me so much. Or really because his grandmother wasn't going to follow him inside and sneak him another snack.

He went in, and the rest of us carried on without him. After a while, Jack and Liam were tired of being cold, so I got up from my reclining position to get some towels out of the house.

(Note: Do not be jealous that it is cold here. No, it is in the 90s, as it should be in July. However, my boys have zero body fat and get cold with the slightest of breezes.)

Only the back door would not open. Garrett had locked the door. No big deal. If he locked it, then he can unlock it. I've seen him do it many times when letting the dog in/out. "Garrett, come unlock the door." He came right to the door and tried to unlock it, only he couldn't. For some odd reason, the lock gives us trouble from time to time. And this was one of those times.

And this is what runs through my brain in the next two years, I mean minutes: Okay, don't panic. Think this through. We're not burning up out here. We have shade and water. At least Garrett is not locked in an automobile. Okay, think. The front door? Locked, always is. Garage door? I just closed it not 5 minutes ago. Hmm. I can call my mom to bring my spare garage door opener over. "Mother-in-law, do you have your cell phone in your pocket?" No, okay. I'll go ask to borrow a neighbor's phone.

Not a single neighbor was home! Now, my mom's house is only 1.3 miles away, but it's July and in the 90s, and I'm barefoot. I was not about to walk that distance barefoot.

I returned to the backyard to try to convince Garrett to try the lock again. No such luck. I began to panic at this point, envisioning the rest of my day on my back porch. Two boys, mother-in-law and I in the heat all day long...sweating and hungry...not a fun idea.

Aha! Mother-in-law realizes that she had her car keys in her pocket! She does not have a key to my house, but I drove her car to my mom's house to retrieve my garage door opener. Hooray!

When I got home, I immediately ran into the house, worried that Garrett would be panicked at this point. Nope. He was lounging on the couch. He sat up and with an innocent, angelic voice asked, "What happened, Mommy?" To which I replied, "You gave me a gray hair is what happened. Don't lock this door ever again!"

Life lesson #1: Have a spare house key in your backyard.

Giveaway: Photo Album

Shannon is hosting a giveaway this week. I'd like to give away this photo album. It is a black leather window album. Each page will hold two vertical 4x6 photos, separated by a good sized journal strip.

To be placed in my drawing, please leave a comment below. I will draw and announce a winner on Friday at 3 pm CST. Good luck!

There's A First Time for Everything

Garrett walked into Sunday school without a tear nor a whimper today. It's been 2 1/2 years in the making, and we made a BIG deal out of it!

Jack began using the potty on Friday night and has continued with only two accidents all weekend. I guess we're potty training! With only three weeks before our big family vacation to Colorado, I can't say the timing is great, but we're going with it for now.

Look, Mom, I Won Something!

I am interrupting what should be a Friday Funny for a very important announcement...I'm a winner!!!

"I never win anything, ever!" We all hear people say it all the time, don't we? For me, it's 100% true! I cannot, for the life of me, remember winning anything in all of my life. Until today!

Boomama has been raving about Monk & Neagle's new CD titled "The Twenty-First Time" due out in September. Their record label had sent her a prereleased copy to review, and because she gave such a fantastic review, they wanted her to help them give away 100 prereleased copies.

Boomama let us all know that we could sign in at noon on Thursday in order to become one of the first 100. Well, I just couldn't pass me up this opportunity, oh no! At 12 noon, I clicked here and won myself one of those highly-acclaimed CDs. And I did a little dance right there in front of my laptop.

I feel like a celebrity having won an Emmy. I am stoked! And then I ask myself, "Self, why do I feel like a celebrity over this win?!" Oh, that's right, because most of my life centers around three preschoolers.

Hey, Hey, Hey, Good Bye

Did you feel the earth rumbling yesterday morning? No? Good, because if you did, it was not Garrett throwing a fit over his first bowl of big boy cereal. He only whimpered when I reminded him that baby cereal was all gone. Only a whimper.

When I brought the bowl to him, I also brought his marble jar. He received a marble for each bite that he ate with a happy heart. He finished the entire bowl without a tear or a grumble.

I'm so pleased! And he is very proud of himself.

When I went to get him up from his nap this afternoon, he was singing this: "Na na na na, Na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye."

And totally off topic, but does anyone know where to find contact paper these days? I've looked at Target, Wal Mart, and Staples. I need some for covering some small squares that the teacher store won't laminate due to their size. Suggestions, anyone?

Wordless Wednesday: Cool Aggie

For more WW, please see 5 Minutes for Mom.

The Last Breakfast

If you feel the earth shake at 7:15 tomorrow morning, do not be alarmed. It will not be an earthquake or any other natural disaster in your area. It will be Garrett receiving his first bowl of "big boy cereal".

He is nearly 2 1/2, and he still eats Gerber oatmeal made with prune juice. Go ahead and take a moment to gag and clear your throat. I know it sounds disgusting. And I'm sure it tastes disgusting, but I wouldn't know first-hand. I just know that my little guy loves it. It's the first thing he asks for every morning.

I'm sure I don't win any mother of the year awards for allowing my two year-old to still eat baby food for breakast. But please give me some points, as he does eat "big people food" for all other meals.

The reason I've let breakfast drag on for so long is two fold. One, we both have strong wills, and two strong wills butting heads first thing in the morning is just not my idea of a pleasant way to begin the day. Two, he's been slow to gain weight for most of his life, and giving him baby cereal has always been the one meal that I knew he would eat and eat well.

But it ends tomorrow. I poured the last bit of Gerber this morning, and I refuse to buy anymore. I am planning to praise and reward (read bribe) him with each and every bite of "apple cereal" (Quaker's apple cinnamon oatmeal, which his brothers love) tomorrow. But I still dread this. I will be ready to bang my head on the table by 7:21. I imagine there will be tears and then whaling and then gnashing of teeth. And some kicking mixed in there, so do not be alarmed by the earth shaking.

Say a bedtime prayer for us tonight. We'll need it.

Here's a photo of the Last Breakfast. The last breakfast where Garrett will smile and giggle.

Happy Sesquicentennial

Today is my 150th post, which in the blogging world isn't a big deal, I realize.

When I signed into Blogger a few minutes ago, I had planned on posting a different topic for today, until I saw that Friday's post was #149, which would make today #150. I realize that is by far the most brilliant statement I have typed thus far on this blog. 149 +1 = 150. Who knew that my Math minor would pay off so greatly?! Ahem.

But when I realized that this would be 150, I just had to write about sesquicentennial. 150 is one of those numbers that stands out in my mind, and every time I see or hear a remark with the number 150, my mind immediately takes me to the year 1986. 1986 was Texas' sesquicentennial.

For those of you who are like me and abhor history, don't worry. I will not turn this into a history lesson. I would rather solve 100 algebraic equations than sit through one history lesson. Thus, you will never read an historical post here. But I also won't bore you with an algebra lesson.

The year 1986 was a big to-do in Texas. There were celebrations that included fireworks, not necessarily related to July 4th or New Year's Eve. Every public school room taught an extra special unit on state history. I also remember that there were newly printed T-shirts, bumper stickers, ball caps, pins, and license plates made to celebrate the big 1-5-0. Oh, yes, every new car had a special license plate to commemorate our history. Don't believe me?

We do everything big in Texas, y'all.

Including our hair, and 1986 was a pivotal year of big hair. My bangs, oh my word, yes, I had big bangs. I don't have any childhood photos of myself at my house (gasp!), but even if I did, I'm not sure that I would share with the world of bloggers. Just picture an eleven year-old with teeth in need of braces, hair in need of taming, and freckles in need of make-up.

What about your home state? Do you remember any such big event? Or, do you dare share a photo of you in 1986?

Friday Funny

Recently, I asked Liam if he knows where heaven is. His response: "In Colorado." Amen!

My Four Favorites Meme

Jodie has tagged me for this meme. Thanks, Jodie! I needed a topic for today's post, so here goes.

Four jobs I've held:
1. Front desk assistant at a health club...I got to answer the phones, smile at members and handle their sweaty towels. Such sweet memories....
2. Day care teacher...I had the toddlers, and I LOVED every one of them. They are now 14 years old. Gulp!
3. Office manager for a chiropractor...FREE spinal adjustments were the only perk!
4. Public school teacher for 5 years...Loved teaching, loved my students (or most of them), but hated every minute of the bureaucracy and the parent conferences.

Four movies I could watch again and again:
Well, you see, I have this terrible habit of falling asleep during movies, even good ones. So, I can't think of any that I would watch again and again.

Four places I've lived:
1. Dallas, TX
2. Lubbock, TX
3. Colorado Springs, CO
4. Fort Worth, TX

Four tv shows I watch:
2. Survivor
3. The Amazing Race
4. Local News...(Can you tell that I have nothing to watch during the summer?)

Four vacations spots I've enjoyed:
1. Germany
2. Cancun
3. Destin, FL
4. Colorado...listed last but certainly not my least favorite!

Four favorite foods:
1. TexMex
2. Lasagna
3. Pizza
4. Dessert

Four websites I visit:
4. I can't think of anything else but BLOGS!

People I tag for this meme:
Anyone interested! If you take a shot at this meme, please leave me a comment so I can take a visit.

Wordless Wednesday: The Little Chapel

Near our campsite. For more WW participants, please see 5 Minutes for Mom.

The High-Maintenance Campers

(I must apologize in advance for the extra spaces between paragraphs throughout this post. I have tried numerous times to correct the problem within html, but my knowledge of html is limited. Please ignore the extra spaces and read on. I promise it's good material, but I am a bit biased.)

About 6 weeks ago, my parents bought a 28-foot camping trailer. They had finally figured out that if they ever wanted to camp with us, they had better buy something more than a tent. Because my husband is slightly high maintenance when it comes to camping. He needs a shower and A/C, which you don't typically find in a tent. I, too, enjoy myself a warm shower and cool air conditioning, but I could put up with "real" camping in a tent for a weekend at a time. But not Rick. No. The last time we attempted "real" camping, Liam was an infant, and we came home after only 1 night. Really, camping is too much work for one night. So we have not attempted another camp out since. (In case you need a reminder, Liam is now 4. That's 3+ years without camping.)

Back to 2007, we have three young boys, who all think they want to go camping. The boys, my parents, and I all tried to talk Rick into a weekend of tent camping back in May. We actually had him falling for it for a total of 5 minutes, and then he said, "No, you guys (meaning my parents) just take Liam, and the rest of us will come hang out with you on Saturday. We can picnic and play in the lake for the day." I was actually cool with this idea, because, hey, it meant that most of the work fell on my parents.

That May weekend came, and Liam and my parents left as planned. Then the rains came tumbling down. The rains that have ruined plans every single weekend since then. It rained so hard that particular weekend that my parents and son slept in the truck the first night. And on the second night, I called them to kindly warn them of a tornado warning in their area and to please get my son to safety. Needless to say, we were not able to join them for a day of picnicking and frolicking in the lake. But between rain storms, Liam was hooked on this whole idea of camping. The tent, the dirt, the bugs, the late nights, the junk food...what every boy desires for every day of his childhood.

Since that weekend, we made two more attempts to pass Liam off to my parents for camping, but the rain, oh my word, the rain and its lousy timing.

So my parents decided that it wasn't much fun sleeping the rainy nights in their pickup truck, and they were a little fearful of camping in a tornado warning again. I mean, can we blame them? So they decided that a camper would be a good idea to allow them dry beds and the weather channel. Now, who is high maintenance?!

They bought this great trailer and had tried it out on their own a couple of times, and finally, they invited us to camp with them. Well, actually, I kind of invited ourselves, but I'm their daughter and feel a bit entitled.

The trip that we planned was to Rusk, TX. Never heard of it? Me neither. It's in east Texas, and the campsites are right next to a train track. What more could preschool boys need in life than to park their camper next to a train track?! We planned this entire weekend voyage around a train ride on the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine. (I've included links, in the event that you have nothing else to do this summer, and you wish to travel in my footsteps. After you read this entire post, you will probably never want to step foot in either Rusk or Palestine, TX, but just in case....)

That train ride that we planned our entire voyage around...derailed less than 24 hours before our departure. I kid you not. Here's proof:

(Photo courtesy of our neighbor camper who was on board during the derailment.)

We decided to make the best of the weekend anyway. After gaining some information from other campers, we decided to spend Saturday at a local safari. The map we were given was terrible, so what should've been a twenty-minute drive, turned into an hour's worth of frustration. We finally arrived to the gates of this safari to find a sign announcing their closure due to flooding. (I wish I had thought to take a picture of the sign, but I was in utter shock that our plans had once again succumbed to failure.) All this rain that we've had for weeks on end had washed the road into the safari and knocked down a lot of their fencing. We talked to the lady running the joint, and we made sure that the animals were okay. In her words, "Most of them are okay."

Glad to hear it. But my boys? Facing another disappointment.

By this time, we were all hungry and grumpy. We drove up the road to a Mexican restaurant, because nothing will sooth our souls like TexMex. And because the doors were open!

The rest of the day went smoothly, because we decided to head back to camp and do what most campers in the dirt, eat junk food, read books, nap, etc. We had a great time.

I think Jackson had the best time, as he was covered from head to toe in mud by bedtime. He was so dirty that he literally had to be hosed down before entering the camper that night.
(What this photo doesn't show is HOW dirty he was. Mud in his ears, down his pants, into his soggy diaper, on his glasses, etc. Jack would love to be this dirty every day of his life.)

So we went to bed Saturday night with happy camping thoughts. Only to wake up to Rick vomitting and thunder rolling Sunday morning. That television that my parents needed for weather forecasting? We didn't turn it on all weekend, so we didn't know that it would rain all day Sunday. Had we known, we would've packed all of our gear and been ready to hit the road before getting wet. Instead, the thunder was our only warning, and we had enough time to get the boys inside.

We spent the next 4 hours inside the camper...4 adults, 3 children, and 2 dogs...28 feet of trailer and 9 living beings. It was a bit tight, especially since we needed to keep the boys relatively quiet and contained in order to allow Rick his space while suffering from a stomach bug. It was a grand time, I tell you.

(No photos for proof. No one was in a photogenic mood.)

Finally, there was a break in the rain, so I packed our car and hit the road. We made it home without mishap. But I think we had enough trouble during the weekend to last me until the next camping trip. Yes, there will be another trip in our future. We had fun in spite of all the closures, the rain, and the sickness.

But I'm sure glad that my next trip will include a flushing potty, running water, cool A/C, and a warm shower. I'm not high maintenance or anything.

And for those who have stuck around long enough, here are more photos.

(Proof that we camp in style.)

(Liam spent his weekend collecting doodle bugs. His clothes are wet from trying to water his collection of bugs.)

(Garrett spent most of his weekend in timeout. He's in this horrible phase of SCREAMING whenever he doesn't get his way. Most fellow campers don't go camping to hear a two year-old scream.)

(Who knew a Boston Terrier could be such a good camper? Except for bedtime, which is when he became spooked with every new sound, so he slept with his mommy.)

So Much to Tell, Too Little Time

I have to tell you about our camping trip this past weekend. It was one mishap after another, I tell you. But it will have to wait until tomorrow. Rick is home this afternoon, so I'm taking advantage of this time to go grocery shopping by myself. I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday Funny

I told the boys to pick up toys and books in the family room. Liam and Garrett got right to work. Jack pulled the pillows off the couch and proceeded to lounge comfortably while barking orders at his brothers. "Miam (Liam), pick up that book over there! Gawwett, there's a car over there!" I interrupted his militaristic attempts and told him to help out, but he decided to continue his siesta on the pillows. I told Liam and Garrett to go upstairs to play, while Jack finished the job. Apparently this wasn't an effective approach with Jack, because he grinned and giggled the entire time that he picked up toys. I asked him what was so funny. His response..."Jack funny."

Happy 4th, Y'all

It looks like I will be spending my 4th of July indoors due to yet another rainy day and a sick boy.

We have had rain every day for at least a month. I have been quite patient with it, because we are normally paying high water bills at this time of year in order to keep the yard from being kindle. But my patience is wearing thin. As I write, the dark clouds are looming and waiting to dump another inch on us.

And Garrett has been running a fever since Thursday. I took him to the doctor today, and she said that it will last another 24-28 hours. Okey, dokey. We'll keep pumping him with Motrin and fluids.

So y'all carry on with your 4th of July plans and don't worry about me. Carry on. Carry on.

But, first, thrill me a comment that tells me of your fabulous Independence Day plans! I'll pretend that I'm joining you and having a wonderful time.

A Monumental Day

Liam and I had our first day of school today. Yes, I know it's July. But because it's typically too hot to be outdoors past 9 am, I've decided to make our school year take place from July through March. In theory, this will allow us to enjoy our nice spring weather without having to rush to the school table. Since Liam is the only official student this year, I figure that I might as well try this calendar now before I have three boys to teach. Anyway, today was our first day of school.

And it went very well. I'm blessed with a boy that loves to learn.

As we sat down to our school table, I told him that today was a really important day, yadda yadda. As I gave him a brief overview of what would take place during the next few minutes, his smile grew with each sentence. When I paused, he leaned over and kissed me on the lips! I can tell you right here, right now, that made my day, my week, my month, my year! That right there is why I am homeschooling.

Because I know that my sweet and loving little boy would do that to any teacher, so it might as well be me!