Monday, June 30, 2008

We need a sick day policy.

I am sitting with a stuffy nosed Spanky trying to swallow water. I have lost my voice, my throat feels like it is filled with razor blades. I. am. sick.  And wouldn't you know it's a crazy Monday with swim lessons, fashion design class and tutor lessons. 

Who do I notify to do my job of chauffering, making lunch, doing laundrary, cleaning home and watching four children?

I wonder if there is a temp agency I could call?

Here's hoping for a better post tomorrow ;)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Story--Stinky Feet and the Alcoholic

One my guiltiest pleasures before kids (and esp. before they were old enough to understand anything) was to snuggle under a big blanket and get lost in a Lifetime movie--the crazier the better. Since I can't do that anymore (even the commercials seem to require explaining 'mommy what's genital herpes'), I have decided to recall past events in my life and bring the story back to Sunday :)

The day after our wedding, my wonderful new husband and I were enjoying breakfast in out stunning honeymoon suite overlooking Dallas via a floor to ceiling window. The sun shone in the sitting room as we basked in the warm glow of new marriage. I wanted to stay in this place forever but I knew if we did we would miss out flight. Our honeymoon . We had booked a European castle tour with a brief stop in the fairy tale land of London.

We loitered as long as we could before we had to leave for the airport. We gathered our bags, checked out of the lap of luxury and climbed in the SUV. Because it was an international flight, we thought getting there two hours before would be plenty of time. Yes, it was our first international flight.

After we passed customs, a quick baggage check (the pre-9/11 baggage check), we checked in at the front desk. Because we wanted to spend three weeks overseas, most of our honeymoon allowance was spent on the tour and hotels, leaving us in coach. But how bad could that be? We flew coach to Cleveland, Florida, everywhere else. Coach is just fine. 

We asked the clerk, for two seats by the window. She laughed.

"Those seats filled up hours ago," she smiled. "We only have the center seats left."

"Center can't be too bad," I smiled. Nothing was going to break my spirits. I just got married.

We got on the plane and realized the center section was five seats across and we were seats 3 and 4. I said a silent prayer that maybe seat #5 or even seat #2 would miss the flight. They did not.

Seat #5 was a young, single girl traveling for business. She seemed sweet. Seat #2 was a British man traveling with his wife in seat #1. He was a bit bigger than the average Joe but looked nice. The couple was coming back from vacation. They looked happy and relaxed. 

Shortly after take off, seat #5 pulled called for stewardess and got a cup. She proceeded to pull a mini bottle of scotch out of her carry-on. I thought she might have a good idea--it was a ten hour flight after all. I noticed my new husband glancing through a magazine and decided to do the same. When the captain announced we were about to pass over New York City, I peered up from my magazine to try to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. I looked over seat #5's tray and saw two empty bottles of scotch and a third half full. I said another prayer hoping she could her liquor. 

Once we started our journey over the Atlantic, both my husband and I noticed a rather foul smell. I began to worry it was our dinner. Then my husband tapped my shoulder and tilted his head toward seat #2. He had made himself more comfortable by taking off both his shoes and socks. And he really should have kept them on. The odor was worse than a boys' high school locker room (according to my husband--I've never been in one, really). I picked up the bag of chips they had just passed out and put it against my face to kill the smell. I wondered if it bothered seat #5--she was reaching for her fourth mini. And exposed a rather hairy arm pit that was suddenly giving seat #2's feet a run for their money. Lovely.

Eventually the cabin began to darken and we were entertained with a second rate movie (no I do not remember). Once it was over, I began to dooze off between my movie watching husband and sleeping seat #5. 

And then Mr. Bean came on. If you are not familiar with Mr.Bean, he does zany physical comedy. Britain puffy hearts Mr. Bean or so I've been told. He was widely successful at the time. But as an American,  Mr.Bean is not funny--I'm sorry my overseas friends. He's not, he's really not (at least in this Texas gal's simple mind). Well seat #2 was a HUGE Mr. Bean fan. Both my husband and I found Mr.Bean to be the perfect sleeping pill, not seat #2. Every time, I felt myself drifting away from the smell, the tight quarters, the hum of the plane...I was awakened with the sound of the most loudest gut-filled laughter I had ever heard in my life. It was a joyous laugh I would have enjoyed during daylight hours but not when I had not slept in at least 20. I was wondering if seat #5 would notice if I snagged a mini--not to drink but to break over seat #2's head. Hey, I was tired.

Finally Mr.Bean was over and 'Friends' came on. I heard seat #2 mutter about how silly the show was and put on an eye mask. And ya know what my new husband and I did. We laughed at every single joke .

Tune in next week as we visit the Queen's house and learn our dollar is not so great in the world of pounds.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Feel Good Friday June 27th

Elizabeth at Mommy Etc. is sharing a positive vibe in the blog world--it's Feel Good Friday :)
Basically, you share some positive things in your life going on right now. She has a linky thing on her site--please drop by and join in if you get a chance. It's always nice to focus on the positives :)
Here are things that make me feel good today:

1. My IPhone is working (so if your cell phone gets thrown in a pool, bathtub or dropped in a puddle, let it sit alone, no  power for two to three days (in a hot car if possible), say a few prayers and hopefully you won't need to buy a new one.)

2. I am finally getting my birthday gift. It's not a the patent leather hot pink like the one that broke my heart, but she's still beautiful:

3. We are having friends over tomorrow for a 'splash-day' ; it's basically a lot of fun water activities like the slip'n'slid, a kiddie pool with ducks, a shaving cream table, sidewalk chalk and water balloons. Don't worry--the iPhone will be out of reach ;)

4. I just made one of my favorite meals.

5. I was able to join Feel Good Friday.

Have a super weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Very First Award Saves the Day :)

Kendra, a very funny blogger with three adorable children (and one of my very favorite bloggers) has nominated me for the beautiful Arte Y Pico Blog award:

Isn't it lovely? It was a brilliant point of a rather dismal day. But Lisa, you say, how can you ever have a bad day with four lovely children?  Well, it started out nice. I took all four kids to the pool (by myself--I was feeling brave) and it was going well until Spanky decided to test different items to see what would float and what would not. Towels, float at first; the green Kindermusik bag, floats; the iPhone, sinks to the bottom like a rock; the celery...whhhooaaaa.....yes, you read that one right. Spanky threw my iPhone into the pool. I quuckly grabbed it and started CPR--Cover, Protect and Rant. I gathered up the protesting kiddos and raced home to google 'wet iPhone' and 'iPhone in pool'. Luckily, I was not alone. One guy had a soda dumped on his phone, another lady dropped hers in a puddle while unloading groceries and left it in the rain. And their iPhones all survived the horror. How? They packed the phone in rice and let it sit for two days. I placed my phone in some Arbonio rice and waited. Later in the night , I got curious and took it out--yep, a small grain of rice was stuck in the ear jack. I struggled to get it out with a needle, it broke in half and I am hoping I was able to shake all of it out. I decided rice was a bad idea and I stuck the phone on the seat of my car that was sitting in the 100 degree garage. It is there now and I am waiting with bated breath to see what happens when I charge it tomorrow.

So last night during prayers and times of thanks, I thought,  well at least no one thought I was a beached whale--that sounded terrible to utter aloud,  so I racked my brain trying to think of the one bright spot and the lovely award glistened in my mind. "Thank you God for letting Kendra bestow my very first award to me. Amen."

And now to share the love, I'd like to nominate this award  to the following:

Holly at June Cleaver Nirvana- Holly has one of the funniest blogs out there. She is the girl that introduced me to blogging and has helped me with a few technical things along the way. I am in awe of her writing and how she can make just about anything funny.

Holly at Anglophile Football Fanatic- Another Texas blogger, Holly is whole new world of humor. She has this gorgeous site and some of the wittiest remarks on the net!

Elaine at Miss Elaine-ous Life- (More Texas) I love Elaine's family antics and her bright outlook on just about everything :)

Elizabeth at Mommy Etc. - Elizabeth has a very sweet heart that just glows in every post. She shows raw emotion with almost every post and is also a bright dose of sunshine.

Mamachristine at Photo Mama Creations- Mamachristine is one of my blog heros. She has been on a very public path to weightloss and kicking butt and taking names. She also has some amazing pictures to go with her fantastic posts.

And now, for my incredible winners, the rules for my five nominees:

1. Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award (
Also, because I am not sure how to 'grab' awards, I did some weird stuff with Photobucket to get this award on my site. For the html, please visit this blog. Guess I need to work with Holly on this ;)

I hope the award brightens your day!

I read the ENTIRE bible :)

Last year, I wanted to start a bible study to improve my faith. To be honest, my faith is not as strong and unshakeable as many I meet.  I have doubts.

I was looking at lots of different programs on the net and stumbled across this, Bible in a Year. It caught my eye--reading a few chapters from the bible every day for a whole year. I had to admit there were lots of parts of the bible I never read and there were more times than I could count when an unknown to me bible story was discussed at church. Even more awkward--my girls had bible lessons I had to go over with them that I just did not know. 

So last June, I cracked open Genesis I and 'In the beginning' and yesterday I finished with Revelations "Amen." Did I read everyday? No, there were times I got behind and had to do lots of catch-up (you get daily emails telling you where you need to be). Did I focus on every single word? Uh no, beside those catch-up days, there is a lot of begatting in the Old Testament.

I will say I did learn a lot. I was able to improve my faith and I did find some wonderful verses. Can I quote them to you off the top of my head? No but I did get the comfort for the verses. I also discovered I enjoyed a lot of the books I didn't think I would--James in particular. And I don't think I can read Revelations again--very graphic and terrifying.

And the funny part of all of this--it became a daily part of my life. Every morning before blogging or anything (unless I overslept), I read my chapters. Today I woke up with nothing to read. I guess it is time to find a new study.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Cure for Boredom and an Excuse for New Carpet

We got back from church. I was tired, the house was a mess, the kids were b-o-r-e-d. The husband quickly set up a slip-n-slide in the backyard before he he slipped off to the office for seven hours (did I mention this was his off day--not that I am complaining, work=money in the real estate world).

The kids slipped and slid for about 3 minutes until they learned bugs lived outside. And so they returned, muddy feet and all to the house of boredom. I teased the prospect of some summer school work which was met with groans.

I glanced over at Spanky's 'masterpieces' of brown marker that adorned the back hall. I had a plan.

"Kids," I smiled as started the 25 minute search for shoes. "We are going to paint."

"Finger paint?" Dino jumps up to the table.

"No, real paint. We are going to paint the back hall."

The girls screamed "I want to paint! I want to paint!"

"We will all paint," I felt like a super mom. "Well, maybe not Spanky."

After a pricey trip to Sherwin Williams, we came home and began the prep work.

I taped off the upper doorways while the girls did the base boards. Dino helped get tape and Spanky got to enjoy his artwork for a few last minutes.

Before we started to paint, I went to the bag to get the tarp--only to remember, I never bought tarp. No fear, I had some old blankets I was ready to give to animal rescue. Miley also brought out her Bratz sleeping bag because she didn't care for Bratz anymore.

And then we began to paint the hall in August Moon. First I stepped in the paint tray and uttered a bad word and I never utter bad words. Both girls stopped mid stroke and stared, wondering who this woman who took the place of their mom was. I dried my feet on the sleeping bag and we continued. And I of course apologized for my choice of words--Miley said not to worry, dad said that word every other day.

Dino went off to another room with Spanky; and the girls and I were getting some good momentum. And then I asked Miley to pour more paint in the tray. I heard a scream and looked down to see the newly opened galloon container sideways on the one section between blankets, paint flowing out everywhere. Miley had paint all over her paint dress and I grabbed the jug trying to scoop in as much paint back into the plastic canister as I could. 

I surveyed the damage. Some paint had fallen into the air conditioner grill (easy fix, paint the grill), Miley was covered in August Moon (again, easy--pop Miley in the tub with a scrub brush) but the carpet was not easy to fix. It was now soaked with the paint--the kind of soaked where if you stepped on it, paint would ooze out and soak your foot. This was not something Resolve, Shamwow or even Oxi-Clean could fix. My very old, almost thread bare carpet would need to be replaced. The carpet that had so many other stains, I would apologize to carpet cleaners as they would struggle to get it looking presentable. The carpet I begged the husband to replace. It was officially history.

I decided we would use the carpet spill as a secondary paint tray--no use wasting paint. And no use trying to save the carpet ;)

And now tonight I am looking at my lovely back hall filled with the glow of August Moon without Spanky's artwork. I am glad but honestly not nearly as glad as looking at the giant paint stain. Carpet city, here I come, finally :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

How to Get What you Want (a guide for tweens)

Want to plan a cool party for the premier of the  hot summer TV movie? Ask your mom while she is driving on the expressway, preferably during rush hour or right after she gets cut off or when she merging out of the HOV lane.

Want to invite more people than can fit in your house? Ask your mom while she is trying to help your very frustrated younger brother cut straight lines on a paper.

Want to make sure you can eat pizza (from a national chain), carmel corn and homemade pancakes for breakfast with all your friends? Ask your mom when she is scurrying to find clothes for your baby brother and running at least 20 minutes late for vacation bible school. Filling her thermos with coffee and handing it to her right before you ask is the perfect touch for this request.

Want to spoil your party guests with goodie bags and fun decorations? First make sure mom is busy (blogging is your best bet) and call your dad and ask when he is coming home to take you to Party City (don't worry--dad won't ask).

And for the really big requests like buying concert tickets for you and your friends to the hot concert of the summer? Ask both mom and dad when they busy putting together your new bike or fixing a major portion of the house.

Follow these simple steps and you too can have everything you ever wanted :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Poor Ol' Charlie Brown

Dino has always been a fan of Peanuts, the Charlie Brown shows. I think he was originally drawn to the music. To this day, I can play 'Skating' or 'History Lesson' and he smiles. He knows exactly which show the song is from and when it was played.

Last Halloween, he decided to be Charlie Brown for school (he was Michael Buble for trick or treat). The other moms thought it was so cute he loved the show so much and raced home to buy their own DVDs to share with their little tikes. Good wholesome entertainment.

Well.....the other day it was raining. I decided to spend a few quality moments watching Dino's favorite show with him. Dino eagerly picked 'the snow one' (the Christmas special). I turned it on and started to feel sorry for Charlie from the opening credits. He received no cards and when he had the courage to confront a girl about not receiving a card, she totally dissed him. And then poor Charlie goes to see Lucy (you know the girl who yanks the football from him) and tells her he's depressed. Poor guy!

I'm sure you know the rest. He gets to be in charge of the play--the kids dance in a most unusual fashion, he decides to get a tree, the kids dance in a most unusual fashion, brings back a poor excuse of a tree and the kids laugh. The story of Christmas is revealed through Linus and Charlie gets his hopes back up, goes home and almost kills the tree remember, right?

So it got me thinking back to the other Peanuts shows we have. Charlie goes trick-r-treating and gets only rocks (maybe this was why Dino insisted on being M Buble for this?), words like stupid and blockhead are thrown around (mainly to Charlie) like a common article adjective. I remember as a child not really caring for the show. I mean it was OK but who really found it funny?

I know who finds it funny. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Dino and Spanky laughing hysterically. Woodstock is caught in something--Snoopy is under the garage--absolute riot to my boys. I guess I'll let them watch it but the day they call me blockhead...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ballet Recital -- 2008

And now--my official post of the Most Anal Recital of 2008.
We were able to take this:

and turn it into this:

and this:

some of this:

and even this:

The girls did wonderful and kept their cool as they managed to get in line up at the right time (seven dances ahead) for all four of the dances. It looked something like this backstage:

All in all, it was a wonderful day with lots of music, smiling and of course tutus :)
And the end of the day was best summed up by Dino who stood up after the curtain call and shouted 'Now it's the boys turn' 

Monday, June 16, 2008

I admit it--I am a 20th century gal

I never thought I would be one of those moms. You know the one kids can say slang words too and the mom is utterly clueless. But here I am in 2008 thinking The Hills are something that makes biking better for your butt and Twitter as something that 'saw that puddy cat'. I admit it.

I am trying to catch up. I text on my super fancy phone and look up different words to text to keep up with my husband who 'textes' with every client under 30. He had to learn text or he'd tell a client who messaged 'IDC U SOB' with 'gr8'  (lol). I am going to watch Camp Rock with my daughters and try to pay close attention to the jargon that seems to be so popular with the kiddos these days.

The technology however is getting to be a lost cause. Last week, the transmission on my SUV died (don't worry--we bought the extended warranty) and we got a loaner without keys--just a rectangular black thing you push into a slot and then you press a button. Apparently you turn off the car the same way. Oh and you have to tap the break and pray to Jesus each time or it does not start/turn off. I've had the car for a week now and I am still confused.

I really never planned to be the clueless woman....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking a break from ballet

We are in the midst of tech rehearsals, dress rehearsals and well plain ol' sit-around-and-wait-in-the-theater-for-your-dance rehearsals (guess which one takes the longest?). Yep, it is ballet week. The performance the girls have been practicing for since Christmas. The performance my family is flying down from Ohio to see. Yes, it's a big deal.

The one thing I really enjoy about this week is how it seems to overtake all my thoughts. My fears and doubts about Dino and his schooling next year are pushed out of my mind for at least a little while. Dino, it seems, is qualified for special ed. He has some gross motor issues and he is very shy. To be honest, he really only speaks to me and to his oldest sister. Everyone else in his life gets the three to four sentences if they are lucky. I know he needs the help but I also know I want him to start the pre-k program at the school with his sisters next year. 

I want him to go to both--three days at the special pre-school and two days at the private school. I want him to get the the extra attention he needs but I also want to keep him in an authentic classroom for social skills. The special ed teacher does not agree; she thinks Dino should be in her classroom daily. Dino's doctor is indifferent--he can see pluses to both. At this point, I am leaning toward both schools but I just don't know.

I want to do what is best for Dino. When I sat in the special ed meeting, I got the feeling they viewed Dino as a file of numerous tests and surveys and not just a little boy. They went at length to discuss his shortcomings but very little mention of what he could do. I mentioned at the meeting how Dino knew all his letters by sight and phonetically. The comment was met with disregard. I found this upsetting. 

The private pre-school on  the other hand has always felt different. From the start, the head mistress has asked how we as parents feel, how we work with Dino, how Dino feels about sitting and coloring. It just was completely different.

So here I sit, debating what direction I need to go. Full time special ed or an education with a great deal of special ed enrichment. I wish more than anything I could just talk to someone and just KNOW what to do. But there's really only one person that knows Dino well enough to truly know what to do and that's me. So I debate back and forth...but not today. Today I must retact that tutu.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Do I lose my girl card for this one?

The other day I had the rare chance of being invited to two different girls' night out on the same day. The first offered was from a great friend who shares common interest in healthy eating. She invited me to come here a man speak about nutrition  and it's effect on hormones. I accepted on the spot. I love to hear different ways I can improve my health (and my family's) by the food we eat--just ask anyone who has ever had a real life conversation with me :)

The other invite was from a group of girls in my book club who I adore. It was to meet up for drinks and dinner and then see (what else) the 'Sex and the City' movie everyone seems to flocking to in droves.

Now first off, I already accepted the invite from my first friend, so it didn't matter what my book club was doing. I have been told since I was young that you never cancel plans just because something better comes along. It's just rude. But the invite from my book club got me thinking. Would I go see the movie if I didn't have plans?

Well let me start by saying I adore the girls in my book club. They rock. I have been going to this book club since I had only two children and we have been through everything from entering the work force, new babies and breast cancer. I love these women. And I had not seen them for months. The past year, book club meetings have fallen apart thanks to life. I would have loved to hang out and close down the restaurant like we did 'in the old days' but the movie. A different story.

Ten years ago when SATC came out on HBO and I was up late at night nursing Miley, I looked forward to the show. It was original, funny and a glimpse into a kind of life that  was polar opposite of mine. I remember missing it when the season was over and eagerly awaiting for the second season. Finally the second season arrived and it was fun but missing a bit of the novelty of the first season. I was not on the edge of my seat for the third season. Once the third season came around, I remember looking at my husband and saying 'didn't Miranda once date the same type of quirky guy Carrie is dating now?'. Rather than looking forward to it, I was much more involved in that other HBO series, the Sopranos, and laughing harder during Chrissy's drug intervention (warning--this clip contains language and if you don't know the show, you might think it's a bit mean) than I had all season three at SATC.

By the time season four rolled I around, I watched a bit if nothing else was on and I was nursing a baby. In my mind, they turned from these spunky 30-something women looking for love and themselves in the big city to really desperate, no morals, self-absorbed, materialistic brats. They were no longer women I would have hung out with. Ever. 

So am I alone here? Is there anyone else in America that feels the way I do? Or do I lose the girl card for this one :0

PS-If it gives me any points, I did invite a girlfriend over to watch MY favorite chick flick movie of all time, Gone With the Wind; and Scarlett is not a bad dresser herself if you are into the whole Old South look ;) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

If I were a robot, I'd be short circuiting

Lots of stuff going on right now. I am still trying to get hair pieces and tutus in order for next week's performance, Spanky has been screaming pretty much non-stop, Miley is in the midst of math tutoring and Dino is having  A LOT of evaluations for next school year (I plan to talk about this more later, right now it's just a very emotional subject for me). So anyway little things are slipping from my attention.

I had been typing comments with a half chewed Luna bar in my hand. Spanky just walked by, put it in my hand and have not really noticed. Miley asked if I was a dish now. I looked at the bar and shrugged. She came over and took it out of my hand and threw it out mumbling how I shouldn't let the baby do that. I can honestly say I did not even notice.

Yesterday in the car, I fought to get Spanky in his car seat, scrunching up his legs to the seat. Sara asked when we would be able to switch his car seat to forward facing, his second birthday? He is 21 months old. I honestly forgot to flip him around.

The only thing Dino will wear is a long sleeved Crew Cuts blue shirt and Crew Cuts distressed blue jeans. The blue jeans now show (all) his underwear they are so distressed. And it's reaching a 100 degrees. He is wearing both items today. 

Sara had a play date for the same time as Dino's evaluation at the school. I had every intention of calling.....right in the middle of the evaluation, the room is filled with the sound of Bare Naked Ladies (my ring tone) and she calls to say she is standing in front of our house.

It might seriously be time for some brain surgery :0