Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quiet Time

At our old school, the hours were 9-2, so the kids took a lunch and had "quiet time" before I picked them up. They were always in good moods after the mandatory rest time (which almost always resulted in a nap from both kiddos). Our new school hours are 9-12. So they come home hungry and tired! I do like the shorter hours especially since Jessa goes 5 days a week. I am not ready for a full day everyday yet - she is still my baby after all. BUT we rarely have the great moods at pick up that I had at our old school.

So the first day of school, Momma and I decide that after we pick them up, we will surprise them with lunch at the Dwarf House. They LOVE "Chickayay" a lot. Well, it was the most miserable, embarrassing trip to a restaurant to date. AND in the middle, my precious husband called to ask them about their first day of school. So in the middle of Jessa having a meltdown because she took off her socks and shoes and lost a sock, Spencer trying to climb over Momma in the booth to escape from our control, and me trying to talk to David in Iraq, the food comes. At that moment, we decided that we would have to institute a new routine that involved going STRAIGHT HOME after school to eat a quick lunch and then rest time.

So each day, we come home, have lunch, and then off to their beds for "quiet time." We have to call it that because that is what they called it at their old school, and it is less insulting than "nap time." Only babies take naps, I am told. (I wish someone forced me to take a nap. . .)

Most days, Spencer falls asleep quickly. And Jessa stays in her bed for the required 45 minutes to an hour, with a lot of loud whispering when I walk by their room of "Can I get up now??" She has not consistently taken a nap for me in quite a while. She'll fall asleep on a long car trip, but that is about it. Even though she rarely sleeps during the day, Spencer almost always does. So on crazy days that he does not get a nap, boy can you tell. And I tend to almost excuse some fits or crankiness. Well, my observant little opportunist has noticed this. So days when she is ill or acting ugly, she'll say to me "Well, I didn't even get a nap!" It cracks me up because she is just trying to get a free pass for bad behavior. Can't blame a girl for trying, right?

Well, today was a good day. They came home, played Play-Doh for a while, ate lunch, and headed off to their beds. Stewart was already in thier room waiting on some nap buddies.

Within minutes, my no-nap girl was fast asleep. . .

. . . followed quickly by my boy. . .

. . .then my kitty. . .

. . .then Cooper (Momma's puppy). . .

. . .then Dunken. . .

What a quiet afternoon we had at our house!
***P.S. 11 years ago today, David asked me to marry him. . .
I am so glad he asked and even gladder I said YES!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I miss football. . .

What? Isn't it football season? Are there not games going on several days out of every week? Am I living under a rock? Well, it is in fact football season, but that does not change my original statement: I miss football.

Allow me to elaborate - David LOVES football. Not just LOVES it, he's obsessed with it. I mean, he would marry it, if he could! He amazes me at how many stats and players and big games and game-changing plays that he can discuss intelligently. I always laugh at how "boys" can always bond over sports. Even guys that have never met can usually "chew the fat" about football. But David takes it to the next level. He REALLY LOVES football. And although Florida is his team, he can and does chat about anyone else's team, too.

Some jerks were looking at our house (which contains a crazy amount of Florida paraphernalia in almost every room). They were LSU fans. And they were outspoken about their hatred of Florida. Of course, I had to smile and ignore them because as you know, I was trying to sell a house. The husband finally said to me (as though I was an idiot) "We are LSU fans." And I said, "It is a shame that my husband is not here. He may be a fan of Florida, but he is more importantly a fan of the game. He would have loved to meet fellow football fans, regardless of your team." And as much as I said it to make the a-hole shut up, I meant it and it was absolutely the truth.

So David is my major connection to football. And because of him, we are all Gators fans (and football fans) by default.

Yes, the dog has a Gators Jersey. Baby Jessa and David in matching shirts.

And Spencer sporting a gator hat hours after birth!

And when he is not here, I miss it. I miss him knowing who is what rank and who is playing who. I miss knowing the scores. Yes, I could watch the games myself, but truthfully, I am not that into the actual watching. It is way more fun to get the info from him, as he excitedly tells me with a gleam in his eye. I do like planning the food to have his buddies over and watching him enjoying every minute of the games. I miss planning our weekends around what time the Florida game is, and other top 10 games, and other SEC games, ok, basically staying home on Saturdays for the season.
Jessa, Spencer, and I were invited to the home of some old friends this weekend. My friend from NGC, Michelle and her husband (and UF grad) Jason had a mini-reunion for some NGC buddies. It was so wonderful to see everyone and just hang out. We all had so much fun, and the kids were decked out in their Gator Gear (even if the game did not go so well. . .)

This pic was taken earlier, they would not cooperate yesterday. . .

Watching the husbands made me miss David. All the husbands were watching football, having a few beers, talking about the game, and in their own little football world. That is the world where David lives during the fall when he is not deployed. That is where I wish he was right now. . . Even if he were sitting in the corner with his headphones on watching like 3 games at the time on his fancy computer and totally ignoring me, I would like to just be able to look at him. And my heart would smile because he would be so happy. So when I say I miss football, that may just be code for I miss David. . .

At the Peach Bowl in 2004, doesn't he look like a kid at Christmas!?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


One of the most beautiful words in the English language!!!

Well, after 7 long months, many rush clean jobs, stress, packing, moving, patching holes in the wall, about a case of Windex, cleaning the carpets, worry, driving around town while people looked, 2 Realtors, panic, intense negotiations, at least a case of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, ads placed, signs made, sleepless nights, and enduring people telling me "The Market is Slow" at least 1,000,000 times, I SOLD THE HOUSE (I hope!).

We have a contract. It is signed. We will not close immediately because the buyers are also trying to sell their house in Missouri. So they will "Occupy Early," which is the real estate phrase for living in it, paying me rent, and waiting to close until their house sells. We are in the process of taking care of things that the housing inspector found, all small. Although it is quite a challenge coordinating it all from Atlanta, I think I have it mostly all lined up. My dear friend Laura has agreed to take down the curtains that I left. I was trying to make it look more "homey" since my Realtor was worried since it was going to be empty. If only I had known, I would have packed those suckers!!

As we thought, they do plan to move in on October 1. YAY! Selling a house is not easy! The price is only $1500 lower than we were asking, but that is heavily dependent on the appraisal anyway. Maybe with the delay in closing, the market will get better. . . I can hope, right?

I was counting on the military to come through for me. I was thinking that the constant movement of army folks in and out would be the answer. Several deployments of large units at Polk did not allow this to come to fruition. But in the end, the answer to our prayers was someone with a transient lifestyle, a family always on the move, someone who has to relocate for their job: it is a preacher and his family! This makes me feel even better about taking the risk of allowing them to delay closing and occupy early. That is why we did the home inspection now. Once they move in, they agree to buy it as is.

I cannot tell you what a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Now when I sign the lease for our quarters on post at Ft. Stewart, I will not be paying for 2 houses. I will sign the lease October 30, but we will not move in right away. I cannot yank the kids out of another school just as they got settled. Bless their hearts, they are such troopers about all the constant changes. I want them to be able to feel secure for a while. And I am so thrilled with their preschool, I don't want to leave, either.

So now I am hoping that someone wants to buy a house in Kansas City, know anyone who is interested??

Monday, September 22, 2008

what makes them tick?

Over the weekend, Jessa decided to pretend that she was Mrs. Puff and Spencer was Spongbob. For any of you out there who are Spongebob fans, you know that this means that she is the driving instructor and Spencer is the student. After we got the "4-wheeler" as they call it, Jessa has been the primary driver. Spencer tried once to drive, crashed into the wall, and was finished. Jessa refused to ride if he was driving anyway, so it worked out well. We got it just before David deployed, so we have had it since the end of April.

So until this weekend, Spencer has been content to ride along. But now, he has the taste of the power being the driver provides. Now, he is not much better at the whole driving thing. I try to keep it in low gear since I pretty much have to run along side of him to keep him from running into trees.

**Note he has on no pants. He was serious about wearing big boy underwear this weekend, so he was pantless to make potty runs easier.

Mrs. Puff quickly disappeared, and we were blessed with Abby.
Jessa said, "Hello, I am Abby. I am Spencer's cousin from Mexico."


J: I am here visiting from Mexico.
Me: Oh, really.
J: Yes, I live on my Uncle Sherm's farm there.
Me: OK, what kind of farm is it?
J: It is a bull farm. My Uncle Sherm has lots of bulls.
Me: How many?
J: Oh, lots, too many for me to count.
Me: What are their names?
J: Too many for me to name. Uncle Sherm has lots of bulls.
Me: Well, I am glad you are visiting, Abby. What do you miss the most about Mexico?
J: I miss my friends and my Uncle Sherm.
Me: I am sorry.
J: (Holding a stick) I brought this tree from Mexico. I want to plant it to remind me of my home.
Me: OK.

So she buries the end of the stick in the dirt and covers it with a small washcloth.

She then sits on a branch and sings songs (I was not allowed to get close enough to hear the words) about how much she loves and misses Mexico.

J: Do you want me to show you something the bulls taught me?
Me: OK
J: I can run fast like the bulls.
And she proceeds to rub one foot back and forth in the dirt and makes a snorty noise and takes off running!! Just like a bull. . .

In a few minutes, she comes back over.

J: Hi, I'm back. Was Abby here from Mexico?

I cannot believe the things that they come up with. . .
Spencer still wants to drive all the time. . . Mrs. Puff aka Abby aka Jessa created a monster!

Friday, September 19, 2008

We belong in the zoo. . .

I love the zoo, do you? David and I have been visiting zoos all over the place since we got married. We were both so excited as the kids were getting older and interested in zoos, too. We LOVED our zoo in Louisiana. It was small and inexpensive ($6 for all 4 of us to get in). Jessa knew her way around it like she lived there - she even called it "my zoo." That was one of the things I was sad to leave about Louisiana. . .

Now that we are back at Momma's, we have Zoo Atlanta aka "May's Zoo." This zoo is much larger with more animals, and therefore, more expensive. . . David and I took the kids last summer (July 2007), and it was crowded and HOT. So I decided once we were back at Mom's this year, we would wait until it was cooler. Well, this week, it was finally cooler. AND it was fall break from school, so we even got to go during the week.

Since we did not have David, I thought it would be fun to go with another Mom and kid/kids. I asked my neighbor across the street, Shelley and her 15 month old son, Carter. It was his first trip and Jessa was only too happy to show him the ropes.

Carter's favorite animal had to be the elephant. We saw them pretty early, and even doubled back. My favorite was the giraffe. We were SO close to one of them! I think Jessa's favorite part was the petting zoo. She LOVES goats so much. She got to feed some baby ones at Grant's Farm in St, Louis, and she has been in love ever since. She would have stayed there forever, if we would have let her. In fact, when we rode by the goats and sheep on the train, she screamed, "Hey, goats, it's me, Jessa!" Spencer, who has been standoffish before, was all about the goats this time. He found a zoo employee who knew all of the names of the animals. And he followed the guy around the rest of the time we were there asking all of their names! Jessa did not care what their actual names were; she was busy naming them all herself.

Shelley with her beginning talker was tickled at Jessa and Spencer's knowledge of all the animals. They shouted "Flamingos!" "Rhinoceros!" "Panda Bears!" I am telling you, we are zoo people! Although, Spencer does not like to waste time at any one exhibit. He said almost every time, "OK, now let's see more anmals."

Spencer was extra excited about the train ride (as always). You'll never guess what the engine was named? Yep, Thomas! And we rode in the last car facing backwards. Spencer liked being the "caboose!" And he even told the precious volunteer who was our "conductor," "That train was reery, reery fun!"

There is a cool carousel and playground in the kids area. What a fun, fun day we had!!

And what better place to let my monkeys expend some energy than the zoo, right??

thanks to kate

So one of Lucas's best friends is Kate. I call her my friend-in-law because Lucas brought her into the group. Anyway, she did this "tag" thing on her blog last week. It was pretty funny. If you are "it" you have to come up with 10 strange-ish things that people may not already know about you. She said she was not officially "tagging," but I thought it would be fun to try. So for the past few days, whenever I was driving or going to sleep, I have been trying to come up with some things.

Here is my attempt:

1. I have a weird number thing I do in my head. I do it with phone numbers, addresses, social security numbers, and groups of numbers. I like to figure out ways to make them "add up" of have a pattern. David's social is awesome, but I should not type that as my example. I will tell you that I love my mom's address because it is 2873. 2+8=10 and 7+3= 10, so 10=10 WOW! And my last address was 567, which I like because it is like counting.

2. I cannot get pedicures because I will not let anyone touch my "pinky" toe (or for clarification for those like my Daddy who call their toes "pigs," I am referring the wee-wee-wee one). At times, I have even had to put a band-aid on it to keep it from touching other toes. David is not even allowed to touch it, and this hurts him deeply.

3. I cannot eat chicken on a bone, with a bone, near a bone. Only boneless. The bones make it too real.

4. I don't like stores or signs or anyone who misspell things to be cute. I do not like "drive-thru" or "Peeches." I also cannot stand that "Toys "r" Us" has a backwards "R" in it. I could have called my blog the krazy key family to be cute, but I am firmly against that. I also have to spell out all the words in a text message. You will never see me use the abbreviations "LOL" "OMG" or any others. (I do not even know anymore - maybe that just makes me old)

5. When I was a little girl, I once wet my pants at six flags. My resourceful family just surrounded me while we headed to ride Thunder River so we would all be wet.

6. I call all small things "baby." Even if they are not actually "babies," like a small french fry, a small dog, a small item of clothing, a small car, they are all "baby ones." I also use a small, annoying voice when I call them "babies."

7. I have never tasted guacamole, zucchini bread, or carrot souffle, but I KNOW that I do not like them.

8. I still feel guilty about the time when I was little that I did not want Lucas to sleep in my room and he spent the night on the floor in the hall outside my door. I was too scared to close my door, so I tacked up a scarf. I was so mean, and I am still so sorry.

9. I do not consider myself superstitious, but I cannot let the volume on the TV or radio stop at 13. 12 is fine, 14 is fine, but never 13.

10. I love lists! I usually make a list in the morning while I am drinking my coke (I still can't do coffee). But as the day wears on, if I do something that was not on the list, I actually go back to the list and write the thing I just did in so that I can check it off, too! I have to get credit for all that I do, right?

Locks of Love

I am happy to announce that after 23 LONG months, I finally had enough hair to donate to Locks of Love. Yay!

I became inspired to grow out my hair soon after Lucas was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Shortly after he started chemo, his hair thinned and was gone before we knew it. It was hard on him as a grown-up, so I knew losing hair as a child must be even more devastating. I had trouble donating blood and platelets for various reasons, but one thing I can do is GROW HAIR!
My hairdresser said it would take 2 years, and I told her I knew it would be quicker for me because my hair grows fast. She just smiled. I told her today almost 2 years later that I would never doubt her again!

I am glad to have short hair again. Spencer had taken to using my hair as a handle lately, so my head will feel better now. It is amazing how heavy the pony tails were after she cut them. No wonder I have had a headache for months - hee-hee!!

Just in case you are interested in Locks of Love, check out their website at http://www.locksoflove.org/
One inspiring thing I learned from their website is that an estimated 80% of their donations come for children who want to help other children. I hope that my children will be so generous. My friend Hannah Webb is 11, and she has donated her hair twice already. She is my hair growing hero!
Think David will recognize me when he comes home????

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Imaginations run amok?

I love my children. They fill my heart with love and my life with joy. I treasure all the moments I share with them. They make everyday better. I consider myself so lucky and so blessed to have two beautiful, smart, funny, precious, healthy children. They are the center of my world. I would do anything for them.

That being said, they are driving me NUTS! I am not sure if it is the stress of the situation. Moving can be tough on kids. Or maybe they are not sure why we are staying here at Momma's. Maybe it is the stress of the deployment and David's being gone is really upsetting them deep down. Or maybe it is a phase. Oh dear Lord, if it is a phase, let it be short. . .

They argue all the time. Over anything and everything. I have tried letting them work it out, I have tried separating them, I have tried putting an object that causes a fight in time out. Nothing seems to get through to them. I actually have traffic signals up to warn them when they are on thin ice!

Here is the main problem: They can argue and even fight over objects that do not exist or things that are impossible. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but here is how it goes.

J: Spencer, I've got your nose.
S: No, give it back. (tears, screaming) MOM, she got my nose!

And it works both ways. They take each other's arm, leg, hand, nose, head. I want to scream, YOUR ARM IS RIGHT THERE. YOU JUST HIT HIM WITH IT, HOW CAN HE HAVE IT?? And they do it to annoy each other more than anything. They know the reaction they are going to get when they start. So I, being a logical person say, "Just ignore him/her." Apparently, we are not ready to quite grasp this concept. This is what happens after I make my "ignore" suggestion.

J: Spencer I am going to ignore you!
S: No, I agnore you.
J: No, I am ignoring you!
S: I agnore Jessa.
J: No, I ignored you first!
S: (tears) Mommy, she agnores me!

I try to explain that telling someone you are ignoring them defeats the purpose. Deaf ears.
So their vivid imaginations go ever further.

J: I have pretend make-up.
S: I want some petend make-up.
J: No, I am putting it in my pocket (she does not have a pocket, so it, too is pretend).
J: Boys don't wear make-up!
S: I want it, Jessa. Mommy!!!!

A conversation in the car:

J: I am going to order an Aurora play set from Santa (she thinks that you "order" things from Santa, not make a wish list) And it is going to have all 3 fairy godmothers.
S: I want the green one.
J: No, they are mine.
S: I want the green one.
J: You can have the blue one.
J: No, I want the green one.

They cannot see these fairies, they may never see them or have them, yet they can argue about them. This one did end a little better with Jessa deciding to "order" 2 green ones from Santa so that she can keep her 3 and give the extra green one to Spencer. How nice of her!

They also have knock-down, drag-out fights over objects that have no value. They have literally thousands of dollars worth of toys, books, movies, crayons, markers, games, you name it, yet they both want the same rock or even dog toy!

Truthfully, I rarely see who actually had the rock, dog toy, or other ridiculous item first. I try the taking turns thing, which always makes the one with the first turn more happy than the other one. I have even resorted to asking them what they want to do with the item in question. Jessa, being older, can always quickly come up with an elaborate, detailed plan as to what she wants to do with the item. Spencer, being younger, just says "cause I want it."

One last story:
Yesterday, they were playing nicely in the playroom. She was playing with her big doll house, and he was playing with a smaller one. I check on them more often these days, so as to avoid bloodshed So I had just been down there, and all was well. Within a minute, they were both running up the stairs with her crying hysterically. I put them both on their beds to settle down. And after a few minutes, I went in to get the story.

J: I was playing with Polly Pocket and Spencer invited her over to his house.
Me: Is that true, Spencer?
S: uh-huh
J: And then after Polly rung the door bell, I touched the cat at his house. And he said not to.
Me: Spencer?
S: I not want her to touch cat.
J: So he hit me.
Me: Spencer?
S: I hit her. (Gotta love his honesty!)

And then I actually found myself saying the words "Spencer, if you invite Polly over to your house, you have to be nice to her and to Jessa. And Jessa, if Spencer asks you not to touch the pretend cat at his house, you have to respect his wishes."
Is this a serious conversation?

These says, I have to hold on to the moments of harmony more than ever. . .

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunny Days Sweepin' the Clouds Away

Yes, we went to Sesame Street LIVE today. This was Jessa's 3rd, and Spencer's 2nd trip to the big show. This year the theme was "When Elmo Grows Up," and it was as fun as ever. Yes, I enjoy the Sesame Street shows as much as they do. Momma was the lucky other adult that got to go with me, and she loves Sesame Street, too! We know the words to all the songs and sing along and love every minute of it.

The day started off badly because I made the critical parenting mistake where you tell the children too early that you are going somewhere fun. They were dressed in their old Sesame Street Live shirts before noon. Jesa called it "Elmopalooza." The show was at 4:30. We did not plan to leave until 3. So for 3 LONG hours, we were telling them "not yet" and "soon, I promise" and "when the little hand is on the 3."

We FINALLY (according the the children) left. We got there right on schedule and the excitement was in the air. I love watching all the families with their kids heading in. I love watching my kids heading in - taking in all the sights and sounds.

We made it in and proceeded to spend a lot of money on popcorn, cokes, a pretzel, t-shirts, Elmo light spinny things, and cotton candy. We found our seats, and soon Big Bird's voice was telling us it was almost show time. I love that the kids (ALL the kids) know immediately without seeing anything that the voice that they hear is Big Bird. They all scream, "BIG BIRD!" And once the show starts, all the kids scream and holler and actually talk to the characters. It is like a rock concert to a teenager or an adult.

I was thinking that of the 2, Spencer would have a better time and be more "into" it. I was WRONG! Jessa was singing along and so excited. Spence on the other hand. . . he was focused and did not take his eyes off of the stage, but he would not smile! And if he heard me or mom singing it made him MAD. You can tell from the pictures that he was not too sure, but he never acted ugly or even wanted to get up. I guess he likes to keep me guessing!

I did catch a Spencer smile, but it made him even madder.

I would like to take one minute to tell you how much I admire the performers. I am sure it is not exactly the dancing gig they were planning on, but they are incredible to me. I know it is probably hot and miserable in the costumes. And they had already done a show today, yet they were full of energy and so patient with all the kids who swarmed them whenever they came into the aisles. They impress me so much. And I always have a positive view of any adult who wants to do anything for children. Once an actor performs a voice in a cartoon or visits Sesame Street, I love them forever!

Through Spencer's pouts, his favorites were Oscar and the train.

Jessa was most excited to see Abby Cadabby; she could not wait to see her because she was not in the last 2 shows she saw.

There is an intermission about half-way through. These Sesame Street people are smart. At every show we have ever attended, they come out with HUGE Elmo balloons at the break. These balloons cost $8.00 EACH. This becomes a big deal when you have more than one child. And you cannot say "no" because all the other kids have one. David had a big problem with this at the last "Elmo show" we went to. His main concern was that Jessa never lets us tie it on her arm. And yes, moments after David forked over the $16.00, and moments after the balloon man was gone, Jessa let hers go. There were tears, and David swore NEVER again would he buy one. Well, it was Momma's treat! And we counted at least 15 balloons on the ceiling. I feel the pain of those parents, luckily today, it was not actually my pain.

Even a huge, over-priced balloon did not make Spencer smile.

Jessa was so overly cautious today that it was tied to her belt loop, her arm, and she made me hold the end of the string "just in case."

All in all, we had fun. And if nothing else, we enjoyed the variety of ugly faces that Spencer managed to make. He may need botox in his forehead just from the furrow in his brow this afternoon!

Is that a smile on Spencer's face? Yes, oh, he is smiling as he waves "bye bye Oscar." Nice timing, son!

Jessa is ever so proud to have held on to the balloon this time. Maybe she learned her lesson last time?