Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things Heard around Mayhem Mania

Each time we see a lady with short dark hair the twins both pipe up with "There's my Cici!" "That my Cici!" Apparently they think it is time for Cici to come visit them. (hint, hint)


On Sunday I got dresses out for the little girls to wear. I asked Ruby which one she wanted to wear. She picked one and said, "Cici made my dress!" Eliza Claire came over, grabbed the other dress and said "Papa made my dress!" She insisted all day long that Papa had made her dress.


In the car yesterday we were listening to Veggie Tales. The song "Oh, Where is my Hairbrush?" came on. Here is the conversations that ensued:

Charlotte: Mommy, Grandma doesn't like this song.

Me: She doesn't?

Charlotte: NO! I wonder if Cici would like this song.

Me: Cici would probably tell you she can't hear the words it just sounds like noise.

Charlotte: Why?

Me: I don't know Charlotte but that is usually what she says about music.

Charlotte: I wonder if Papa would like it.

Me: I don't know.

Charlotte: I guess old people just don't like Veggie Tales!

I started to explain to her that her grandparent were not old. But then I realized that they are approximately 60 years older than her and in her world that is, well, old! And then I remember the conversation I had with Rehm the other day where he asked me if I was alive whe the Titanic sank! So apparently in their world I'm also old.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Adult Weekend - Thanks Kelly and Bill

Michael and I finally got away for an adult weekend in August. Our dear friend Kelly got married at the Crystal Garden's at Navy Pier in Chicago. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. I am so glad we were able to be there. Of course the deejay made the mistake of playing Shout and my husband had his typical Pavlovian response and had to gator (read roll around on the dance floor). Keep telling him he is too old for this but I think until he throws his back out or something there is not stopping him.

We left Austin on Thursday morning. We spent Thursday afternoon and Friday just enjoying being adults and not being interrupted every 5.3 minutes by someone who needs something. Thanks to all of Michael's traveling days to Chicago before the twins were born we were able to stay at the Fairmont in a wonderful suite. I felt very pampered. It was also a good thing that we were enjoying the perks of his travel the weekend before he left for two weeks in Europe. We ate yummy Chicago style pizza, we saw a movie. We slept late (that means 8am instead of 6am). We had adult conversations. It was wonderful.

Several of our friends from "the SABRE days" were in town for the wedding as well. Friday night we went to dinner with all of them. It is amazing that as a group we all still get along and have a great time together even though it has been years since some of us saw each other.

While in Chicago we got to go visit Dallas, Cathi and Griffin. It was great to finally see where they live as this is the first time we have visited them since they left the great state of Texas.

Our trip would not have been possible without Grandma and Grandpa and the Weatherbys. They each kept two children for the 3 days we were gone. Words can not begin to describe how much I appreciate them! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What are the Odds?

Last night I heard the unmistakable "thunk" that meant someone had fallen out of bed. Sure enough about 3 seconds later it was followed by crying. It was Ruby. Then about 10 seconds later and before I get to her room, I hear another "thunk" and more crying. It was Eliza Claire falling out of her bed!

Now what are the odds of having two children fall out of their beds 10 seconds apart? I found this so amazing that when I got back to my room I woke Michael to share it with him. He was not impressed or amused. Tell me how you sleep through two children falling out of the bed and crying about it?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The kids decided to play outside while I was making dinner (a wonderful breakfast casserole from The Pioneer Woman with Jennifer's infamous changes). This is what I found when I went out to check on them.

Apparently they found enough water in the dogs' water bowls to make mud and proceeded to slather it all over.

Rehm was so proud that he was the cleanest kid. He still had mud all over the seat of his pants and couldn't grasp the concept that it didn't matter that he was the cleanest since he wasn't actually clean!

It was such a nice evening we decided to eat outside. When I took dinner out I noticed Charlotte had a yellow "stain" running down the side of her chin. Apparently she ate a "fruit" off of a tree in the back yard. I have no idea what it is. I "think" the tree is a wild persimmon but I don't know for sure. All I know is it gets these little green fruits about the size of a marble on it. I'm crossing my fingers that it isn't anything poisonous.

So the clothes have all been rinsed in the toilet, which all the kids thought was the grossest thing ever. And they are now in Hazel on the deep steam cycle with an oxyclean pre-wash. This is the first real test for Hazel and Alice. I'm anxious to see how they perform.

I just realized that I have a thing for naming inanimate objects and talking about them like they are part of the family. I wonder what that says about me...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


OK, I have a deep, dark, ugly confession to make. When Michael travels out of the country I smoke! Yes there I said it. You read right. This very responsible mom of four smokes a few cigarettes every day when her husband leaves her with four children for two weeks. Now granted this is only the second time he has had to travel like this so this is not a regular occurrence. And when I say I smoke I mean one to four cigarettes a day. So you see this is really not a big deal. Mom, you don't need to call and give me a lecture and you don't need to worry about this becoming a habit (well beyond the Michael is out of the country habit).

So last night I got caught by Rehm. I always wait until they are in bed or in quiet time and go sit on the back patio to enjoy my smoke and get my sanity back. I really think it is more about taking the 10-15 minutes to just sit and be still than it is the actual cigarette. But I look forward to my "guilty pleasure" all day and know I get to indulge definitely gets me through bed and bath time times four.

Rehm came outside - he was supposed to be in bed. Here is the conversation that ensued.

Rehm: Mom, was that a cigarette you were holding?

Me: Yes.

Rehm: Were you smoking it?

Me: Yes.

Rehm: Do you have more?

Me: Maybe

Rehm: Why were you smoking that cigarette.

Me: I like to have one occasionally, like when your Daddy is out of the country. He knows I do this and you don't need to worry about it.

Rehm: Smoking is bad for you.

Me: Yes I know that and that is why only do this occasionally. YOU are supposed to be in bed. This is not something you need to worry about.

This morning he started in on the questions and lecture again. We went through the whole scenario again. I reminded him that I am a grown up and I know that smoking regularly is bad for you and that is why I only do it very rarely and that this was not something he needed to go tell everyone.

So any guesses on how many people he told at school today. I can hear it now. "You won't believe it, I caught my MOM smoking a cigarette!"

So there you have it, there is my dirty little secret. You all know it now. And if my son or daughter feels the need to share it with you, you now have all the facts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Best Laundry Spray Ever!

My mom gave me this recipe and it truly is the best laundry spray. It is quick, easy and cheap to make. It gets out stuff that Shout and Oxy Clean weren't getting out, especially red stains - pizza sauce and the like. The instructions I was given were to wash immediately after applying but I have left it on clothes for 48 hours or so before washing with no problems. So use at your own risk but this is the only laundry spray I use now.

The Recipe:

Combine equal parts water, dish washing liquid and household ammonia in a spray bottle. Caution: Make sure you don't use with bleach or with a dish washing liquid containing bleach!


Designs by Cici

I have discovered a wonderful seamstress who makes all kind of wonderful creations. She makes kid items like aprons, car blankets, pillow cases, bags, dresses, etc. She also makes quilts, and women's purses and bags as well. She has a very exclusive client list and I'm lucky enough to be on it.

Here are her latest creations for my girls. Are they not adorable? They absolutely LOVE them and so do I. Charlotte even took hers for show and tell this week she loves it so much!

I've created a monster

Or a meteorologist! I'm not sure which. Yesterday Rehm came in the room when I was watching the Weather Channel. He was immediately mesmerized and proceeded to watch about 2 hours of hurricane coverage. For the rest of the day everything that came out of his mouth pertained to Ike and what he had learned on the Weather Channel. My thought at the time was that it was educational and sciencey but man, I'm tired of his weather updates!

I guess there are worse things he could be interested in...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Fort Worth Zoo

As a treat for the kids on the way back from NC we spent several hours at our favorite zoo. I absolutely love this zoo and was glad to finally get the chance to share it with my children.

Hey, do I know you?

Whose the Monkey?

Really big snake - Rehm made me take it's picture. It was awake and moving around.

Ruby climbing an ant hill

Charlotte climbing the ant hill
Rehm climbing the ant hill

Eliza Claire taking her turn


Checking out the gazelle's

Some kind of Black bear, maybe an Asian black bear? Don't remember.

Checking out the Bengal tiger

Look how many kids can fit on a Komodo dragon

It is no coincidence that they are all dressed in red. It makes it much easier to locate everyone in a crowded space when they are all wearing the same color. I guess we really are our own little school. Kind of crazy when your family operates more like a school than a family. Oh well, what's a girl to do? Actually, Michael did the packing so I guess he gets to take credit for their attire this time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beach Trip

See I really did get around to writing about this year's beach trip.

We really had a fabulous time. The turtle hatching was by far the highlight of the trip. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience.

Other things we enjoyed were window markers

Playing at the beach with cousin Zander.

Eliza Claire loved playing in the tidal pools but wanted absolutely nothing to do with the "big ocean!"

Going to the aquarium.


The twins thought the otters were cats. You can see one "cat" looking at the girls on the far side of the water.

Playing in the pool.

We had grits on the balcony :)

We got to see a water spout.

And we even got cool souvenirs! Each child had $5 to spend. I took pictures because I knew by the time we got home some or all would be lost. Eliza Claire still LOVES her hat and Rehm wears his necklace to school frequently.
Ring and Necklace (love the pose!)

Necklace and two matching braceletsHat
Necklace and sea shell

In the middle of our trip, Michael had to go to Toronto for a conference for work. He was gone from Wednesday afternoon until midnightish Friday. Not ideal for our vacation to the beach but still a nice time for everyone.

For more pictures from our trip to the beach click here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Beach - Random Ramblings

Rehm and Charlotte pin pointing our location

Storm Brewing - View from our balcony

I love the beach. It is my most favorite place in the world. If I could I would live there at least part of the year if not full time. I always feel like all is right with the world when I can sit and look at the ocean.

I realized this year that I am spoiled when it come to the beach. In my world going to the beach means a full week in ocean front accommodations. If you have to walk to the beach and can't see the ocean from inside the place you are staying it is not the beach. See I told you I was spoiled. Thanks Mom and Dad this is all your fault. And if I'm spoiled just think how much more spoiled my kids will be? They think the beach means going 1300 miles away and having grandparents around to spoil you as well.

I think I like all beaches and any beach will do but I'm about to decide that it is really a specific beach. Yes the one I grew up going to every year from the time I was 4 or so - Pine Knoll Shores, NC. Sometimes more than once a year. See I told you I was spoiled.

It is such a beautiful area. Of course it is much more developed than when we first started going there. I have to point out every year that I remember when we had to go to the mainland to go to the grocery store. That there used to only be the local surf shop and only one now there are dozens and they are mostly chains. I always lament the loss of the "cement pier" that had the best fishing in the sound. It was torn down to build the new bridge that replaced the old drawbridge. Of course all of these things happened 20+ years ago. The new thing we have to comment on is the missing Iron Steam Pier that has been replaced by some very nice multifamily homes. Man I miss that pier, walking out and seeing what everyone was catching, watching the surfers, at low tide being able to see a small piece of the actual Iron Steamer stinking up above the waves. Then there is the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium that has gone through 2 or 3 remodels over the years and is now a fabulous place to go but so vastly different from what it used to be. I remember when admission was free and a visit would take at most an hour...
Rehm, Ruby and Eliza Claire checking out the fish at the aquarium

I remember as a teen hating going to the beach because it was boring. There was nothing to do and everyone there was "under five or over 30!" But amazingly I always have fun and was always ready to go back the next time.

The first several years we went to the beach we stayed the Oceanana. It had a huge play ground, great pool and was right on the ocean. They served breakfast poolside every morning. And every morning I would have a big bowl of super buttery grits. Those were always the best grits! Yum! (OK so they were just instant grits that you mixed up yourself, but I loved them). Even now when I think of breakfast at the beach it means sitting outside on the balcony with a bowl of grits. I have made a point to indoctrinate all of the kids on "Beach Breakfast." I wonder if it will stick for any of them?
Intercoastal Water Way

This place is so special to me that this is even where we got married. At the Anne Street United Methodist Church in Beaufort, NC. Beaufort is a fabulous little historic town on the Intercoastal Water Way. It has lots of neat shops, historic houses and fabulous restaurants. It is always a treat to go stand on the boardwalk and look for ponies on Carrot Island.
Ten years later standing on the steps of the church where we were married. If my scanner worked I would show you a picture from the actual big day.

All of us at the boardwalk in Morehead City

This part of NC holds a lot of history for me. And I truly love getting to visit this magical place. Thanks Mom and Dad for starting all these memories. I hope when my kids grow up they have as fond of memories of this place as I do.

When I'm feeling nostalgic again I'll be sure to write about the infamous eel story...Sorry Dad, but it has to be recorded for posterity.

PS more to come from this year's trip soon. I got a little sidetracked :)