Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cap and Gown

Alicia was nice enough to send me a picture of Charlotte all decked out in her cap and gown. I'm glad someone was quick enough to snap one. Isn't she adorable? It just dawned on me that she is wearing my high school colors for graduation.

Charlotte's Very Last Day of Preschool

I got great pictures of Charlotte before school and this one of Charlotte with her teacher after school. I did not get a single picture of her in her cap and gown for preschool graduation. I wish I could have gotten video of her when she lost her hat into the choir loft she was standing next to. She was very worried and was fretting but did a good job of not bursting into tears and interrupting the graduation program. I can't believe she is finished with preschool. How did that happen?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gus and Simon

Eliza Claire's Pacis

Ruby's Pacis

Ruby and Eliza Claire went to the mall yesterday and threw away all of their pacis. Then we went to Build A Bear and made new friends for them to sleep with.

When we were throwing away the pacis there was a gentleman sitting nearby that saw us and just started cracking up. He thought the whole process was hilarious. You can judge for yourself. I videoed it so you could all share in this momentous occasion.

I had a talk with the big kids. I explained that this was not about them. I told them they were not to try to lobby for certain animals or otherwise involve themselves in this process. This was solely about their little sisters. Overall, they did a good job following those directions. I was pleasantly surprised.

Ruby picked a kitty cat with "jammas" on and Eliza Claire picked a bear with regular clothes. Both insisted on buying their new friend "big girl panties." Our new kitty is Gus Gus and our new bear is Simon.
Ruby helping stuff her kitty cat

Ruby putting kitty cat's heart in

Testing out kitty cat to make sure she is soft enough

Eliza Claire stuffing bear

Eliza Claire jumped in with both feet

Putting bear's heart in

Eliza Claire testing bear out to make sure he is soft enough

Gus Gus all decked out in her new "jammas"

Eliza Claire and Simon complete with sparkly pants and a rainbow shirt

Ruby and Eliza Claire washing Simon

Eliza Claire making sure Simon is extra clean

I realized today that they both bought the same type of animals as the luvies the already have. For some reason I find that interesting. Then I realized that Charlotte did the same thing when she gave up her paci. She had a bunny luvie and got a Bunny BAB.

Nap time is non-existent since giving up pacis. Last night they both went to sleep around 8pm, much earlier than the night before. Eliza Claire was only up twice (1:22 and 1:45). So definitely much better than the first night. I'm hoping tonight is even better.

I'm sad to say that Ruby and Eliza Claire seem to be jumping on a new, maybe not so new, naming trend I'm not really a fan of . They both made girl animals and both gave them boy names. I decided to not point this out to them as they are only two and I really didn't want to start the clothes selection process all over...

This is becoming a habit

When we arrived home at 2:45 pm from a morning of work and childcare I found this on the counter.

That my dear friends would be all three girls' breakfast! Oops. Surprisingly none of them mentioned the lack of breakfast this morning. Well, at least not for me. The silver lining: snack was already made when we got home :)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What Have I Agreed To?

Oh my, I think I might be in trouble. We told Ruby and Eliza Claire several months ago that when they were ready to give up their pacis we would take them to Build-A-Bear and they could make any animal they wanted.

Tonight at bed time, I mentioned that Charlotte gave up her paci before she turned three. I pointed out that they were almost three and it might be time to give up their pacis and be really big girls. Ruby's initial reaction was a resounding "I don't want to be three, I two! I gonna keep my pacis!" Eliza Claire quickly decided she would give me her pacis and started singing an "I'm gonna go to Build A Bear" song. Ruby of course had to follow suit.

Before leaving the room, we had to talk about what kind of animals they wanted. Eliza Claire wants a bear that is already dressed. Ruby wants a Hello Kitty with a Hello Kitty chair and clothes on. They also want to ride the merry-go-round at BAB - it is actually outside the store. I told them they could have an animal and clothes for the animal. I did not agree to a chair for the silly things or the merry-go-round ride. I think that is already more than Charlotte got when she gave up her pacis. I think she just got the animal, a bunny named Lisa, with no clothes or other accessories.

Ruby said she was going to miss her paci like she misses her kitty cat Zachary who died. She went on to talk about when her pacis died she was going to miss them. So cute.

As I write, they are both running around their room and I think I just heard a, "Mommy I want my paci." So I might not have to worry about a trip to BAB for a few more days, weeks, months - who knows.

I'm back from the paci run. As I got upstairs I heard Ruby say, "I don't want a bear! I want a paci." I gave her a paci. Eliza said she wanted an animal so I assured her that she could still go to BAB tomorrow as long as she didn't have a paci tonight. By the time I left the room, Ruby had given her paci back to me and was back on board with an animal from BAB.

I hear crying again and something about wanting a paci. I think it is Ruby, again. I'm afraid it is going to be a long night. I really think Eliza Claire is ready to give up her paci. I think Ruby is just caving to peer pressure. I don't want to think about what the means for the future...

Guess I should go see who wants a paci now.

Edited to add: Ruby was the first to fall asleep (around 9:45). Eliza Claire was still laying in the floor chanting to herself that she was a big girl and didn't need a paci. As of about 10pm both girls are quiet and neither has a paci - assuming neither found one I missed when I collected them...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rehm and the Wobbegong

Rehm has been "working" on an "independent" study project for one of his classes at school since January. It has been a frustrating experience for his parents as he has spent the majority of his time search the web for "fun facts" about his subject instead of doing the real work.

We finally got him focused and on task and this is what he(we) produced. He is a great idea guy, he is not great with follow through. We would work for ten minutes and he would want to know if we could quit and he could go play DS. " NO! of course not! If you had actually worked on this in class, instead of pretending to or instead of telling your teacher you were working on it at home with your parents, that might be an option. But for you, young man, the answer is 'NO!'" Can you tell I was a bit frustrated with the boy?

Each class member had to pick a sea creature to do their presentation on. Rehm, of course, picked and obscure shark. Their presentation was supposed to be more of a story than just a presentation. So Rehm was a marine biologist from the Loceanograpic Aquarium in Valencia, Spain. His task was to design a new exhibit for the aquarium featuring the wobbegong shark.

Here is the video of his dress rehearsal at home. Part of the reason I videoed the dress rehearsal was so he could watch it see for himself how he did. I did not video his actual presentation as I wanted to just sit back and enjoy it.

His actual presentation blew his dress rehearsal out of the water. He is completely in his element speaking in front of a group of people. His whole 2nd grade class came to watch him present. He did a great job and added several facts that we had not practiced, but did so in a very cohesive and appropriate manner. At the end he had members of the audience come up to play a game - they had to find the wobbegong in a picture. He gave prizes when they successfully found it. Before chosing the second participants he said something along the lines of "you only need to raise your hand if you are really smart," I about died. I looked over to see his two teachers chuckling with each other.

Rehm presenting

Rehm at QUEST Fair

Wednesday night is the final step in this process. The school has a fair where everyone can come and see all of the presentation boards and ask questions of the students. I'm so glad this project is over. I hope he is more on task when it is time to do next year's independent study.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm the Mommy!

My youngest girls have started referring to me as Mommy Jennifer at least half the time, especially when they are really trying to get my attention. Why? Because they play mommy/baby games so frequently I'm never sure if they are talking to me or playing with Charlotte and calling her. At least once a day I answer the call of "Mommy!" only to be told, "No, I talking to Mommy Charlotte."

It is funny and has surprised me, but I don't like sharing the title of Mommy. I am THE Mommy in this family. The one and only Mommy! If I have to put up with all the mommy responsibilities I deserve to be the only one with privilege of this title. I do not want to be called Mommy Jennifer and I don't want to hear Charlotte called Mommy Charlotte.

This is a one Mommy household and unless she intends to start doing all the laundry, cooking, chauffeuring, boo boo kissing, fit calming, etc. and I get to start being demanding, pitch fits, make huge messes and play all day, I will be the only Mommy here!

Mommy Jennifer Mommy

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This morning Ruby informed me she wanted to eat breakfast in the car on the way to school. We had time to eat at home but I decided to humor her. When Eliza Claire heard the request she also wanted her breakfast in the car.

There was only one small kink in the plan, I forgot to make their breakfast. Actually I completely forgot about their breakfast. It wasn't until we were speeding down the highway halfway to school and Ruby said, "You didn't give me no breakfast" that I remembered.

I immediately felt horrible. What kind of mother fixes and eats her own breakfast and forgets to feed her two two year olds? Then of course I had to figure out how to solve the problem because I didn't need Ruby walking into her class at school and announcing that "Mommy didn't give me no breakfast!" That would have sounded great.

Luckily I was very close to a McDonald's. When I told them that was where we were going, Ruby exclaimed, "McDonald's not sleeping anymore!" Because on another day I was a bad Mommy and didn't want to take them to McDonald's and told them we couldn't go because McDonald's was sleeping. I don't think we've been back to McD's since then and every time we go past one Ruby wonders if that McD's is sleeping or not. The girls split a chicken biscuit and hashbrown - not the healthiest but at least something I knew they would eat.

Charlotte was miffed that she didn't get any special breakfast because she had already eaten. She fixed herself a granola bar and grapes while I dressed the twins. I'm sure she is going to conveniently forget to eat breakfast one day soon to see if that gets her a trip through the drive thru. I think she will be very dissappointed at the result.

Ruby did pay me back for forgetting her breakfast by pitching a 20+ minute fit at pick up time. I was late to get Charlotte and it took me 15 of those 20 minutes to talk Ruby in to putting her big girl pants back on. She cut in line waiting to use the restroom. When I made her go back to her spot in line the fit ensued. First the shoes came off, then the big girl pants, then she refused to put them back on. I tried to put them back on her but she was having none of that. And with no pants on, a dress on and pitching a fit it made it impossible to just carry her to the car because she was indecent. Thus the 15 minutes of coaxing her back into her pants.

I think I need to stash a few snacks in the car for the next time I forget to feed someone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bear and Kitty Cat

Eliza Claire and Ruby have gotten in the habit of bringing their luvies out of their rooms. I don't know how it started and I don't really like it due to the problems that ensue but haven't nipped it in the bud yet either.

Eliza Claire actually has two luvies, bear and sheep. Bear in her most favorite and goes everywhere I'll permit. Sheep is necessary at night but is definitely the second rate luvie. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Sheep. It must be hard to always be the one left behind. But Sheep doesn't seem to mind too much and is always right there waiting for Eliza Claire when she is needed. Even in the dark in the middle of the night Eliza Claire can tell Sheep and Bear apart. And she must have both, no matter how long you have to search in the dark for the missing on.

Ruby has one luvie, Kitty Cat. I'm not sure how she ended up with one and Eliza Claire ended up with two, but it was not intentional. We used to have a puppy dog too and all four got rotated and each girl had only one luvie at a time. Somewhere along the line Puppy Dog got lost (probably two years ago). And sometime after that Eliza Claire ended up with a second luvie in her bed. Probably becaues she was losing her luvie in her bed and waking me up to come find it and I decided that if she had two in her bed it would take her longer to lose both of them.
Kitty Cat in her swimming soup

Ruby was not happy that I was taking pictures of Kitty Cat. She wanted no part of it and didn't want Kitty Cat in them either, as evidenced by those chubby little fingers trying to grab her.

About six months ago Grandma got the girls another one of this style luvies to be the back up. His name is Extra Bear and he is a third rate citizen (even though he looks just like Bear). Nobody wants Extra Bear ever! I feel really bad for Extra Bear and the scorn he recieves. It must be really hard to never be wanted or loved.

Last week Ruby lost Kitty Cat. For about a week we could not find her anywhere. I was beginning to think she was truly lost. While she was gone Ruby made do with random other stuffed animals and dolls but at nap and bed time every day asked for Kitty Cat.

We found Kitty Cat yesterday in the corner of the play room. Ruby was so happy to see her. Surprisingly by bed time she was lost again. When I tucked Ruby in she asked me to look for her. I asked her where Kitty Cat was. She said, "downstairs, she wearin a purple swim soup!" It totally cracked me up that the blanket style luvie was wearing a swim suit. We found her again this mornin and Kitty Cat looks really good in her "swim soup."

But now Bear is lost! And we were late to school looking for her. We could not find her anywhere. I know he is in the house, but I don't know where. Eliza Claire is not going to be nearly as easy to pacify until he is located. I dread going home because I know it is not going to be pretty where Bear is not located for nap time.

I think it is time to go back to the Luvies Must Stay in you Bed rule.

Oh joy,

PS. Since writing the original, Charlotte found Bear in an Elmo purse and brought it to Eliza Claire in time for nap time. Way to go Charlotte!

PPS. At press time Extra Bear could not be located for photo op. I told you he was a third rate citizen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Blog Book

Front Cover - 2007 was our 10th anniversary and this picture was taken outside the church where we were married. It seem an appropriate cover photo for the book

Back Cover - Picture was taken Christmas Eve 2007

I ordered a book of a year of Mayhem Mania from blog2print about two weeks ago. It came in the mail today. I love it! It is perfect! As I write Charlotte is sitting beside me, flipping through it with a running commentary of every picture she sees. She is having a blast.

I've known about web sites that do blog books for over a year now and been saying I need to take advantage of it. Several months ago I looked into blurb. From the looks of it blurb produces great books and allows you to do a ton of customization. Unfortunately, blurb requires you to download their program to do the book in. The few times I played around with it, by the time a did a page or two the program crashed, required me to reboot and start over. I had over a year's worth of blogging to do and this did not seem like it was ever going to be a viable solution. You could have blurb automatically populate the pages but I didn't like it's formatting. The pictures were square and small. And every post got its own page no matter how short it was. So some pages had a bunch of wasted white space. Blurb did have an option to footnote each post with any links used in the original posts. But I don't remember anyway to include the post's comments.

A few weeks ago I found blog2print. It did not require downloading a program. It did everything on its site. Blog2print also allows you to customize your book extensively. I chose not to go that route as I now have over 500 blog posts to deal with. I went with its default layout. It took 20 minutes from start to finish to make an almost 200 page book containing a year of blog posts for $87. For an additional three dollars, I got the entire book in .pdf format, which I did for back up purposes. Blog2print does not footnote with links, but it does footnote with all comments. The comments are not with each original post but are in the back of the book though the post does nicely note the footnotes. The pictures are smallish (probably 2x3) but good. The pictures do not show up in the same spot they did in the original post and captions end up as part of the text. Blog2print does not page break after each post it fills the entire page. This means that sometimes a new post will start at the bottom of a page - not ideal, but not a huge deal for me either.

Click on the picture above and you will notice that the captions do not match the pictures. But it is pretty easy to figure out what goes with what. Here is the original post so you can see the differences.

Typical page above

Close up of how comment footnotes are noted

Another option I found was to pay someone to do a custom book. The person I saw started at $200 for the first 50 pages and $1 or $2 for each additional page for the size book (8 1/2 x 11) I did on blog2print. I would have had a much "prettier" book when completed but I would have had a fortune in it (a minimum of $350). I could not do that.

The last option would have been for me to set aside the time to do all of the customization myself. But right now I'm not getting laundry done and could not imagine where I was going to carve out the time to spend hours and hours making the perfect book.

I think blog2print gave me a nice balance between time, cost, and final layout. It is not my dream book and it is not perfect, but it is "good enough". And sometimes "good enough" is what I need.

I will definitely be ordering Mayhem Mania 2008 from blog2print soon.

Jenn - learning to let go of some things and like "good enough"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Mother's Day

I guess Mother's Day really started on Saturday for me. Michael let me sleep in until 9 am! Then Charlotte made me breakfast (a cheese sandwich - my usual) and brought it to me in bed. The rest of the day was pretty normal, except I had pink eye, again, and a sinus infection and had to make a run to the doctor. Then to a baseball game for Rehm. Then home to make tortilla roll ups for a fundraiser we were attending (recipe coming soon). Then to battle my computer that isn't working well - by well I mean horribly and I'm probably going to end up having to get a new one, but I'm being optimistic or in denial and just going with "not well".

Saturday evening, Michael convinced me to stay home from the fundraiser and rest - a very good decision. He took all the children to childcare and went solo to the fundraiser. I took a much needed nap. The children did not get in bed until 10 pm! This was the second night of late bedtimes. Not good. I was up 5 or 6 times with Ruby and Eliza Claire during the night and Michael another 3 times. UGH!

Sunday was also a full day. It started with getting four very tired children ready for church and assembling all the things we needed to take with us to our various activities for the day. I also had to open all of my Mother's Day gifts - most of which were made by my wonderful children. From Charlotte, I received a card all about me, a bunny necklace, and a painted votive holder. Rehm made me some beautiful flowers out of construction paper. Ruby and Eliza Claire made me "vases" with a heart message. [Funny aside: The teachers in their class told me that they asked the children what they wanted the message to say on the heart. Most said something along the lines of "I love Mommy." Eliza Claire's response, "I eat meat!" They obviously got her to say something else, or at least forged something else from her]. From everyone I received a necklace made from a key to my grandmother's house - the full story will be a separate post sometime soon.

We went to church (I worked, Michael volunteered in Charlotte's Sunday school class and the kids all went to Sunday school). Afterward we all toured the church's new building that will open next week. It is awesome! I can not wait to move in. It is going to be so wonderful. My dear son, who was not happy with the gift he had given me, used some of his bible bucks (reward money for learning memory verses, going to worship, etc.) to buy me an orange frog.

Following church we had lunch with Michael's parents. Then it was time for Michael and Rehm to go to the Texas A&M vs. University of Texas baseball game, time for Charlotte and I to go to Ballet Austin to see Cinderella with our dear friends the Weatherbys and GramNan, and time for the twins to have a nap! Grandma and Grandpa were gracious enough to watch Ruby and Eliza Claire while we went to our various activities.

The ballet was just amazing. Everything about it was just beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Charlotte seem to enjoy it too. She sat through the whole thing, which given her attention span is amazing. We forgot to warn the girls that the characters did not talk. They were a bit confused for the first several minutes until we explained that small fact. After the first act all three could not stop dancing during the intermission. It was precious. Charlotte has decided that in the fall she wants to take dance lessons again next year, shocking decision for the day, I know.

We all met back up at Hoovers (my previous review of Hoovers) for a wonderful dinner and had the added benefit of having Miss Jenni, our beloved friend, for our server. We got to talk to Hoover himself and he was even nice enough to let me snap this picture.

Charlotte wearing a mask at Hoovers - it was a gift from Miss Jenni

Rehm wearing his mask

Grandpa, Hoover, Ruby, Miss Jenni and Grandma

After dinner we came home and got everyone in bed, late again tonight. It was a truly fabulous Mother's Day. But boy am I tired now. I wonder how many times I'll be up with the girls tonight?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Sleepover

Charlotte had a sleepover planned with her friend Kennedy. Kennedy's older sister, Lael, was having a sleepover at their house. We thought it would be fun for Kennedy to have her very own sleepover and invited her to our house for the evening. Unfortunately, it ended up that Kennedy didn't come. She decided she wanted to be at her house that evening instead. Charlotte was very sad. So to help her feel better I proposed an alternate solution, a sleepover with her sisters in their room.

Rehm heard about the sleepover and he wanted to join the fun. After bath, everyone set up their sleeping spot. Then we went downstairs and had popcorn while watching The Backyardigans (one of the few shows all four children can agree to watch).

Next everyone got situated for the evening and I read them a story. We read This Way Ruby. It is a cute story about a family of ducks. There are five baby ducks named Rufus, Rory, Rosie, Rebecca and Ruby. When I read the story I always rename the ducks to be be Sam, Rehm, Charlotte, Eliza Claire and Ruby. After the first few pages, Rehm asked where I had gotten a book that had all those names in it. It was so adorable. I had to explain that I had just changed the names and tell him the real ones.

After a Bible story and prayers it was time for lights out. For the first 20 minutes, they did great. Everyone was mostly quiet. When someone would say something the other three would shush them. Then Ruby got silly. It was downhill from there. Around 9 Rehm decided to give up and go to his bed. He was tired and just wanted to sleep. At 9:30 they were still making noise so we had to officially end the sleepover and send Charlotte back to her room. She was very sad. We promised her that she could try a sleepover with her sisters again soon - hopefully next weekend.

I guess for a first attempt it was not terrible. Hopefully next time will be a success.