Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I think the term you're searching for...

I think the term you’re searching for is ‘point blank range’. Yep, that about sums up this cake.

I think the little deer hunter and deer figure are designed for a larger sheet cake… in fact, when I saw them on the website, they were featured on a sheet cake… with yellow frosting, no less, and the cheesy little ‘Field and Stream’ plastic placard that came with the set.

But, I really don’t like making sheet cakes. When I do, I usually end up frosting them in the pan because I can’t seem to get the stupid things out without them ending up looking like an earthquake landscape. You know, what with that giant crack right down the middle and all?

Plus, I’m a lazy froster. There, I said it. Laaaaazy. And there’s just more to mess up on a larger cake.

So, for Davis’s 7th birthday cake, I stuck with my round, layered cake (chocolate, per his request). And what else could I have put on the cake to honor my own little ‘gun nut’? I mean, I *looked* for a gun cake pan, but all those Google searches turned up nothing of the baking variety. (However, if I’m ever convicted of a crime, my internet search history may certainly yield interesting results. ;)

When I got the cake frosted, (with the requisite rocky stream down the middle of the cake… no earthquake here, people!), I realized that I had to position the deer and the hunter in such a way that that poor deer doesn’t even have a sporting chance. And that tiny little plastic tree just doesn’t offer much in the way of camouflage. Come to think of it… why didn’t that deer hear the hunter sneaking up on him?!! Turn around, Bambi!!

Plus I didn’t even have room to put the plastic “Field & Stream” logo anywhere on the cake. Pity.

And yes, I guess that I *may* have over-used the chocolate rocks just a tad… but what can I say? They look like REAL ROCKS!! And they taste like M&M’s… I’m tempted to buy some just to have my own candy that the kids won’t eat. “Mommy, why are you eating the rocks out of that dish with the candle in it?!” The flip side, of course, is that I also run the risk of my children eating rocks off the playground, in the hopes that they’ll taste like M&M’s.

Anyway… all that matters is that my boy has made about fifty-seven trips out to the garage refrigerator this afternoon to ‘check on’ his cake (and possibly to sneak a rock or two), and every single time, he has come back inside, given me a hug, and said, “Mommy, I love my cake!”

That kid can just get me right in the heart when he gives me that sweet smile. Every damn time… at point blank range. ;)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thoughts on the mundane...

Hmmm... not really sure why I'm feeling so terribly uninspired these days.

Could it be the heat wave?

My brain is toast.

I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Independence Day...

I have declared independence. Well, independence of a sort. I have given up one of the parts of my laundry schedule that drives me crazy.

And yes, I DO have a laundry schedule. I do laundry religiously… and by 'religious' I mean that I utter, “Dear God… look at that pile of laundry” every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

I just can’t do laundry on any old day. I have to have it in the schedule because I’ve discovered if I don’t, I’ll say, “It can probably wait just one more day” until it all piles up to the point where we’re turning our underwear to the ‘clean’ side for the next day’s wearing. I just know this about myself, so as a result... if it is a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday, my washer and dryer are running at full tilt.

I typically do 3 loads on each of these days… a towel load, a ‘whites’ load, and a dark load. And on Sundays, I do the sheets as well. It basically averages out to about a load and a half per day of the week. The up-side of the schedule is that on my ‘off’ days, I never think twice about whether I need to do laundry. The only reason I need to even walk into the laundry room on my off days is to hide from the kids. I mean, really, it’s the only place where I can talk on the phone in peace. Even the bathroom is not a quiet, safe haven when you have children. “Mommy, whatcha’ doin’?”

I actually don’t mind doing the laundry. I don’t mind folding the laundry (that much… it’s not exactly my favorite way to spend an afternoon, though). I just HATE putting it away. I simply despise that particular chore.

So one day, as I sat folding yet another load of clothes, and the kids were running past me, chasing one another through my precariously balanced towers of towels, I had a ‘moment’. No, not a ‘lightbulb’ moment. It was more of a ‘Mom on the edge’ moment.

I thundered at the kids to sit their butts down right where they were and I parceled out the clean laundry until they each had their own little pile of clothes in front of them. They stared at me. They claimed they didn’t know how to do it. They resorted to tantrums. They eventually just sat quietly amid their pile of socks and under-roos, and figured out that the pile wasn’t going to fold itself, and SURPRISE… neither was Mommy.

And that is where we are today. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, I dump the piles of warm, clean clothes in the middle of the playroom, and the kids get to work sorting out their own clothes. They each fold their own clothes (yes, even the 4 year old), hang things on hangers, fold the towels for their bathroom, and then? They put it all away. Sure they grumble, sure they still grouch a little… but it all gets done. Something about piles of clothes dumped on top of their blocks, Barbies, and Matchbox cars makes the folding go a little faster.

Aaaah...Independence Day. ;)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My lips are sealed...

Yesterday was a little more 'Angelina Jolie'...


I look like Bubba from Forrest Gump.

"Shrimp creole... boiled shrimp... shrimp gumbo..."

And, no, I will NOT be posting a picture ;)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sun Scream

I am notorious for not putting on very much sunscreen. Or skipping it altogether. Or putting it on haphazardly, in a random pattern that looks like I have some dread disease. Phil gets so irritated with me over this issue.

As a kid, I can’t really remember ever wearing sunscreen. I always got very dark in the summer, and my girls have definitely inherited my coloring. A few trips to the pool, and they’re already sporting dark tan lines from their bathing suits. Davis, on the other hand, got his Daddy’s fair skin and will burn to a crisp under the hot Texas sun, unless we faithfully reapply every 2 hours.

I am, of course, vigilant about putting sunscreen on my kids. Sometimes I think I just get sidetracked when it comes to being vigilant about my own sunscreen. After making sure I get the 3 noses, 6 cheeks, 6 ears, 3 foreheads, 3 necks, 6 shoulders, 3 backs, 6 arms, etc. of my kids, I’m just plumb tuckered out. I halfheartedly swipe SPF 50 on my own shoulders, and am just getting ready to apply more when I am called to duty at the pool… “Mom, where are my goggles? Mommy, I think I forgot my towel! Mommy, I have to go potty!”

So, as a result, over the course of my 37 years, I have sunburned almost every conceivable part of my body. And I can tell you that a sunburn on the backs of the legs is horrible, but one of the worst is a sunburn on the tops of your feet. You can’t even wear flip-flops (my own personal brand of nightmare!). And laying out slathered in baby oil is NOT a good idea, teenage girls! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made the journey from ‘lobster’ to a skin-peeling ‘lizard’.

But even this is a new one to me… my bottom lip is sunburned. I didn’t even really know that lips could sunburn. But we were out at the lake yesterday, floating in the water for hours, and while I have a little bit of a burn on my nose, the brim of my hat must have shaded most of my face. Except, that is, my bottom lip.

Those of you that know me know that I have a… um… ‘generous’ bottom lip. Don’t get me wrong… I have always liked my lips. I’ve never had to worry about lipliners or ‘lip plumpers’, or buying expensive lipsticks whose sole selling tagline was that it would make my lips look fuller. But did you know that when your lips sunburn, they get swollen? And the only lip balm I can find right now is glossy.

Wow. Nothing like a big, fat... slightly painful (albeit glossy as hell) lip to start my day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The joke's on you!

What parent hasn’t listened to their fair share of ‘kid jokes’?

If you have kids, you've done the fake laugh, the 'trying very hard to sound legit' chuckle, and have said, 'Oh that was a good one!' to jokes that make absolutely no sense. I personally have said “Who’s there?” so many times to invented Knock-knock jokes, that sometimes I think I must sound like a parrot.

Them: “Knock knock?”

Me: “Who’s there?”

Them: “Cow.”

Me: “Cow who?”

Them: “Cow poo!!!” (Insert maniacal giggling here… this is of course followed by 'monkey poo', 'camel poo', and 'snail poo' jokes.)

Or even better…

Them: “Mom, say ‘Knock knock’.”

Me: “Knock knock.”

Them: “Who’s there?”

Me: “Um…”

They get me every damn time with that. ;)

I do have to say that Davis has actually turned into a pretty good joke teller… I mean, he does have a great sense of humor, not to mention the best comedic timing. Here’s one of his jokes that I loved:

Davis: “What do pirates say if you try to take their stuff?”

Me: “I don’t know. What do pirates say if you try to take their stuff?”

Davis: “That’s ours!” (That’s AAARR’s!)

So, that just totally cracked me up. But of course, that was all the encouragement my gang needed to bombard me with pirate ‘jokes’ until I was ready to walk the plank just to save my own sanity. Libby has the pirate 'joke' down to her own personal art form. They are loosely modeled after the pirate joke her brother told…

So far today, these have been some of Libby’s 'jokes':

“What does one pirate say to another one when he wants to talk on the phone? Call!”

“What does the pirate say when he wants to jump? Jump!”

“What does a pirate drive in? A car!” After this particular joke, I told her, “Oh, I get it! A 'cAAARRr'?”

This was followed by a look of utter disdain on her part… “No, Mommy. A car. Just a plain car.”

Hmmm… maybe I should just stick with “Who’s there?”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Dollar Store

My kids have a love/hate relationship with The Dollar Store. To be more precise… they love to go to The Dollar Store, and they hate when we drive by The Dollar Store without stopping. *sob! (The Dollar Store is of such importance in our household, that you will notice we always bold-type The Dollar Store, both in print, and if possible, in speech ;)

I admit that I have fostered this love of all things cheap and trinkety in my children. I make frequent trips to The Dollar Store to stock up on gift wrap, gift bags, and tissue paper (we go to a lot of birthday parties). It’s also a great place to buy hair elastics, stocking and Easter basket ‘stuffers’, and plastic containers for the playroom. True to its sign… EVERYTHING is a dollar!

(Sidenote: you DO have to double check what you buy… I once bought a slew of gift bags for the book fair at preschool. When parents would buy books for their child’s teacher, the books would go into the teacher’s individual gift bags, and at the end of the week, we presented each teacher with their bag of books. The bags were actually quite pretty. They looked like a watercolor print done over some old text. However, if you looked too closely at the text, it was all about Freud and sexual frustration. OOPSIE! )

Soooo, in addition to being a ‘go-to’ source for inappropriately worded gift bags, I have also discovered that The Dollar Store is a great incentive for all three of my kids.

Imagine that you have spent your whole life going with your mom to Target or Walmart, only to hear the following on EVERY single trip to the store: “No, you can’t have that. No, we’re not buying a toy today. Seriously, put that back. We’re not buying it. Just because you licked it does NOT make it yours.”

Then… imagine cruising into The Dollar Store, and having your mom say, “If you behave while we’re in here, you can pick out anything you want!” (albeit just one thing… I mean, let’s not go crazy here;) And then the race is on, as my kids go from one aisle to the next, trying to figure out exactly what they want to take home in their hot little hands… “Um, no thank you, I actually don’t need a bag. I plan to rip into the packaging as soon as I get into the van, and leave behind little bits of cardboard for my mom to vacuum up for the next six months.”

The Dollar Store has become our drug of choice… our ‘reward’ for a completed chore chart, an incentive to keep the toothpaste tubes clean (don’t tell me you’ve forgotten that blog already?!), and in general, an inexpensive way for my kids to get their fill of completely useless junk.

My mom still laughs about the day we took the kids to The Dollar Store, and Davis was so excited to go down the ‘gun aisle’. Oh, but didn’t you know there is a gun aisle in The Dollar Store? Water guns, pirate pistols, police revolvers… a virtual mother lode of toy weaponry.

Basically, if it’s plastic, made in China, breaks within the first hour of play, and sends my kids over the moon with excitement, it’s at The Dollar Store.

Oh, and if you get a birthday gift from me that’s housed in a bag that just HAPPENS to be covered in Psych 101 jargon, what can I say? I like to stock up. ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All signs point to 'Yes'!

I saw the best sign the other day. It was the sign in front of a church near my house.

Now I’ve seen all kinds of cutesy, wordsy little signs…often at churches. You know the ones… the glass front marquee signs with the plastic black letters that are formed in an endless variety of charming, witty & uplifting commentary. Okay, well maybe they’re not all witty and charming. Some can be a little heavy-handed (in a ‘brick over the head’ sort of way… )

The best ones, in my opinon, are short, to the point, and I certainly don’t mind the occasional pop culture reference… “God has requested you to be his friend… and not just on Facebook”. That’s just the G-man, keepin’ it real.

And who comes up with these, anyway? Especially the good ones? No church I’ve ever been a member of has requested a crackteam of marquee sign writers in the weekly bulletin. Hand bell choir… yes. Inspirational, yet wry poets…no.

Anyway, the one I saw said simply, “Happiness is a decision”.

It resonated with me. Why? Because so many people these days are not happy with their lives… or their homes… or their situations.

And, trust me… I, too, have my own moments of discontent. Yes, even me… little Mrs. Home-maker, cake-baker, carpool-taker, leaf-raker (okay, I don’t really rake the leaves… it rhymed nicely, though! LOL) Moments when I think back to how much simpler life was ‘before’… before kids, before a mortgage, before anyone really expected too much from me. Back when my biggest concern was bangs or no bangs? (I still haven't fully discovered the answer to that question, BTW...)

Would I trade it all in, though? Heck, no. Because as challenging as being an adult can sometimes be, I truly believe that we can make the conscious decision in our lives to focus on the positive, count our blessings... to look around, take stock, and feel grateful for everything we've been given.

Make the decision to be happy. If we could all just ‘sign on’ for that… :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holy Cow!

I can't even remember the last time I went a week without blogging... except for that whole Disneyworld vacation a while back (yep, seems like FOREVER ago!), and even then, I caught you all up once I got back. Ah, those were the days...

But I have a good excuse! Really... well, at least up until Monday I had a good excuse ;)

My best pal, Jen, got here last Thursday for our 'girls weekend' which consisted of plenty of scrappin', a little shopping, eating out (namely at Chuy's...one can never have enough creamy jalapeno), staying up until the wee hours of the morning, some trash T.V., and lots of time spent in comfy pajama pants.

Oh, and we started our new tradition of going and getting a massage at the end of our 'stressful' weekend ;) I mean, we DID watch a few episodes of 'Bridezilla'... that alone is stressful. Have you seen these crazy women?!! My personal favorite was the lovely bride that wanted to order her groom's cake in the shape of a 'bagina'. That makes the armadillo cake from 'Steel Magnolias' look like the pinnacle of good taste.

Phil was a total rockstar (I love you, man!) and took all three kids to Houston to hang out with his mom for the weekend. They even went to the Houston Museum of Nature and Science, and they got the chance to see the 'Terra Cotta Warriors' exhibit. Libby is still carrying around her miniature Terra Cotta Warrior that Mimi bought for her in the gift shop. Some kids love Webkinz... my kid has bonded with her Terra Cotta Warrior. Strange...

Soooo, I'm back. Catching up on my sleep, catching up on my blog, and officially 'ready' for summer. Well, as ready as I'll ever be. ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Anatomy of the last day of school:

-Get the kids up and off to school.
-Notice that other than the first day of school, this is the only time you haven’t had to argue with them to get out the door on time.

-Head to the elementary school at 7:50 a.m. for the first grade party.
-Circle the school looking for a parking space. Twice.
-Arrive and set up the ‘ocean’ habitat stations.
-Blow up the plastic palm tree, and artfully arrange the pirate treasure chest, sand, and seashells on the tables.
-Listen as the mother that brought the palm tree promises Libby that she can keep the plastic palm tree ‘for her very own’.
-Resist the urge to glare at the nice lady.
-Make ‘pop-up’ shark cards with approximately 2,000 first graders. Wonder if they are cloning more children to send out to your station.
-Tell your child not to pick the tomato from the tomato plant in the class garden.
-Step on blue Jell-o from the ‘ocean snack station’. Notice how nicely Jell-o squishes between your toes when you’re wearing flip-flops.
-Hide the tomato that your child picked in your purse. *Sigh.
-Promise Libby that she can keep the plastic palm tree in her room.

-Deliver teacher gifts that were painstakingly handmade. Think that next year it’s gift cards all around.

-Drop Libby off at preschool for her last day.
-Feel relieved that her party was last week, and that today it is basically a babysitting service so that you can run around like a chicken with your head cut off at the elementary school.
-Assure Libby that her palm tree will be waiting in her room when she gets home.

-Run home to put finishing touches on the 'last day of school' cake. Wonder why you have started all these crazy, time-consuming traditions.
-Marvel at how cute the cake actually turned out.
-Take pictures for blog. ;)
-Gulp down a quick lunch and three ibuprofen. Realize that all you really want is a nap.
-Remember to put the plastic palm tree in Libby’s room.

-Head back to school for the 2nd grade party.
-Find a parking spot more easily this time. Wonder if all the smart parents decided to take the afternoon off.
-Pass out chips, candy & soda for snack during their afternoon movie. Hope that the wellness teacher doesn’t pass by and make any commentary.
-Repeat the following phrase ad nauseum: “Guys, the line starts back there.”
-Mop up spilled water from the coolers to prevent any last day of school ER visits.
-When Libby arrives at school with a friend, tell her again that her palm tree is in her room.

-Take Libby home and put her down for a quick nap. After twenty minutes, check on her in her bed.
-Blow up the plastic palm tree. Again.
-Regret not ‘losing’ the palm tree on the way home.

-Pick up two cranky, sugar-buzzed children from school.
-Be prepared to respond appropriately for the rest of the day to the question: “Mommy, do you know what grade I’m in?!”
-Put backpacks in the laundry room and close the door. Decide that ‘backpack detail’ can wait until tomorrow.

-Realize that it is officially ‘summer’.
-Look around at your reasonably tidy home. Know that it may be the last time it will look this good.
-Listen to the whining start approximately 3 and a half minutes later from the two older kids...
“Why does Libby get to have a palm tree in her room?!! Not fair!”