Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bootiful birthday princess

I have no idea how it happened, but I have a very girlie girl, a very girlie girl who just turned three. Both are shocking facts for me right now. She got tons of clothes and dress up items for her birthday, including two poufy dresses, patent leather shoes and wings from my mom, a whole trunk of dress up clothes from Jennifer and fancy plastic jewelry from Tia. Just adorable. I need to count my blessings that I can get away with giving her a bunch of clothes for her birthday this year. She got a few toys, including some Play-Doh from Fafa, Candy Land from me and a wand from Mary, but by and large it was clothes and new bedding for her bed (not that the new bedding kept her in her bed overnight; she still ended up in my bed sometime between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning....)

I am loving that she's turning to be so interested in girl things. Certainly I gave her plenty of opportunity to play with Andy's Thomas the Tank Engine trains and Hot Wheels cars, but she's very interested in clothes and princesses right now. I did get her Beauty and the Beast which we watched last night. Musically, it's not my favorite Disney show, but the message is clearly a good one. Belle is strong and smart and the Beast (eventually) seems to truly care about her and her happiness and not just be into her for being beautiful or having a pretty voice. That Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid is such a wuss and it's all about Ariel giving up everything for him and he's barely even interested in her as a person so long as she can sing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two weeks later

With Meg's birthday in TWO days, it's time to finally upload the rest of the pictures that are suitable for public consumption. Mom has also told me I need to update the header on here so I need to catch the kids in a picture together looking as adorable and un-evil as they can be. 
See? Wouldn't it have been great if they actually sat on the floor and watched the movie for more than 10 minutes? I would have been a genius.

This is how the party really was.
This is his buddy Barrett at school.
There are his other buddies and his part-time fiance. Note the kid in a three piece suit complete with a tie. Apparently there wasn't any particular reason for it, just because. Man, I love little kids for that kind of stuff.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Civics lesson

So I've gone and gotten involved in something political. Funny that Bjorn who loves politics doesn't get into this while I who mostly hate it am all in the throws of it. What's happening is Southlake is doing some school rezoning right now. They have built a new elementary school on the other side of town and they're moving the elementary school kids out of a joint elementary/intermediate school into the new elementary school and making the other just an intermediate school. That makes perfect sense, but while they're at it, they're also looking to "rebalance" the enrollment at some of the others and apparently my block is low-hanging fruit so they're looking to move our 27 kids who are currently within walking distance to one school to another, bigger school down the road. Both are excellent schools, but it would stink to have just started here and have to move. A bunch of neighbors have met and we've started a petition. Take a look and see what you think. Don't sign it unless you live in Southlake (I know you were dying to, right?) Also, yes, I know there is a typo in it. It kills me that it's there and I can't fix it. Something about how it's unfair to change a petition after folks have started signing it, but still.

Next up is attending school PTO and school board meetings. It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. Let me know if you have good advice for this stuff. I've contacted the local newspapers and we're starting a letting writing campaign, but I am sure there are lots of good ideas out there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Party pictures

Andy at school wearing the crown they gave him. I gave out cupcakes to his class and everyone sang Happy Birthday with the phrase "Eat more chicken" from Chic-Fil-A at the end of every refrain. Why? Because they're five and six year olds. His teacher said it was totally organic so the marketers should be thrilled.

Mom got him a fireman outfit. Awesome! Excedpt the bullhorn actually makes awful noises. It may need to "break" her shortly.
Here is his party before I totally lost control of the group.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Well, that went...okay

We had Andy's birthday party yesterday and it wasn't quite a Bataan death march with eight screaming six year olds, but perhaps not that far off. I had this great idea that we'd have a half-sleepover, which we'd be to at another kids' house before where the kids come over for a few hours in their pajamas for pizza, cake, games and a movie. I scheduled three hours thinking all but the movie would take 1 1/2 hours, then they'd graciously and happily watch the movie for the remaining time. Their parents would show up and the children would graciously leave having had a wonderful time.

It mostly went according to plan, however, they had no interest in the movie. That meant I had another 1 1/2 hours to entertain kids while were getting increasingly tired and rowdy. Uh-oh.

So here's what worked:
1) Having a party at home was nice. I had all my stuff and didn't have to schlep it somewhere else.
2) There was a little more room for error. When a kid claimed he was allergic to tomatoes, I could substitute yogurt. Course, I had to do that for eight kids, but that was fine. I was home; I had it.
3) I invited the parents to stay for a glass of wine. That was nice to get to know them a little better.
4) Lots of outside help. With Bjorn, Mark, Margareta, Dad and Elizabeth, we almost had enough adults to go man to man on the children.

Here's what didn't work:
1) It was at least an hour too long. If it had been over at two hours, everyone would have been happy (mostly me). But that last hour was where the problems started.
2) I bought Costco pizza because it's good, but the kids had no interest in good pizza. They wanted plain cheese Domino's/Red Baron pizza that looks and tastes like cardboard.
3) Eight kids was probably too many (10 really if you factor in Meg and my niece Emma who are three). I had 100 percent acceptance which I wasn't counting on. Six (four?) probably would have been better and more manageable.
4) Make it a single sex party. I invited my nieces and our good friend whose daughter is also in kindergarten. They played nicely with each other mostly, but there were two little girls from Andy's class and one in particular seems to play Andy and his BFF Bart off each other. Andy was in tears at one point because they said he wasn't their best friend anymore. Course, Andy did refuse to play the game they wanted to on the Wii.
5) No Wii should have been allowed. Only two kids can play at once and there was competition for it (see no. 4).  
6) It actually rained yesterday so we couldn't send the kids out with a flashlight to look at the creek or anything and blow off some energy.

Meg's birthday is in 10 days. I am totally doing something more low key than this for her. And next year? I think I'm going to Chuck E Cheese.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The sleep monster

Hey, look! Another post about my kids' sleep habits!

Little Meggie is my challenge in the sleep department right now. We have a nightly ritual of fighting with her to go to bed -- she's liking to stay up late and we're trying to make her go to bed earlier. After frequent requests (demands) to "rub my back!" and other things that she shouts from her gate, she eventually goes to bed. But this whole thing can sometimes take hours. I read somewhere that it helps if you let them think they're pulling something over on you, like sleeping with a toy they're not supposed to or sleeping in a chair (see picture above).

Of course, she starts out sleeping in her own bed and then sometime between say 3 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., the little sleep monster comes down the stairs, goes to Bjorn's side of the bed (thankfully) and climbs in with us. The worst part about breaking that habit is that we love it. On the one had, wouldn't it be nice to get an uninterrupted night of sleep? But then, she's just so adorable and cuddly! And on weekends, her climbing into bed with us means she'll stay in bed dozing until sometimes 9 a.m. Over New Year's weekend, both kids slept until almost 10 a.m. Seriously, Intranets, I haven't been able to sleep that late since sometime in 2004. It's heavenly.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


My cousin had a fancy Christmas party and sweetly invited the children (nice as she was to invite them, I won't do that again. Far too fun of a party to waste it keeping kids from smearing mustard on the white bookcases). She even invited a Santa who was adorable and so totally gay. Of course, he also totally relished the part he was playing and seemed to really enjoy himself. Here's a picture of all four kids together in one frame with Santa.

So Blogger is still giving me trouble uploading through Internet Explorer. I had to go to Mozilla to get the picture upload function to work. On IE, it keeps trying to make me go through a Google "Cloud Picker" and then tells me my photos failed to upload. Weird.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Well, hello there, Internets. Meet my new friend, Damn You Auto correct.

(Thanks, Frances!)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Photo fail

I have some cute pictures to upload, but Blogger has changed it's format to some sort of "cloud" and it's rejecting all my file upload. Is this happening to anyone else?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My boy can read, ya'll

I know! How awesome is that? It's exciting! And, dammit, is shortly the end of spelling what we don't want him to hear.

Andy was sent home with a few very short books to read to us over Christmas vacation. That ends tomorrow so naturally I pulled those out tonight (along with his lunchbox from 2 1/2 weeks ago including some moldy apples. Yum!) He had a very short book on building a snowman, but he read it. He'd never seen it before and, sure, he struggled with a few of the words and had to sound them out. But he actually sounded them out (normally he gets frustrated with me and quits) and finished. I am so proud.

In less than two weeks, my boy turns 6. Dang, time hasn't flown necessarily, but six years? Come on, universe. That does seem awfully fast. I've made the executive decision to host a "half sleepover" for seven kids. The idea is they come over in their pajamas, play some games, eat pizza and cake, tear apart the house and watch a movie. My sister pointed out that the other parents should be psyched about the party since they might be able to go to dinner and a movie in that time.

So now that I've got to come up with some games. Ideas?

And now, I present some unrelated holiday pictures.

Cousin Frances et al with Mom, Dad and Elizabeth.
Dad and Margaret.
Dad presiding over a family meeting. Note the thing on his head along with the wine on the table. We know how to do a business meeting right, people.