Monday, December 08, 2014

Where do Christmas Trees Come From?

We bought a new Christmas tree last night. After 15 years our old one retired, and by retired, I mean none of the lights worked anymore. 

This morning,

Rehm: Are fake Christmas trees made in a fake Christmas tree factory?

Michael: No son, they are grown at fake Christmas tree farms!

Maybe it was the time of day, or the lack of sleep, but this totally cracked me up. 

How many years do you think I can survive a tree with multicolored lights? My goal is at least 3 years.

It's beginning to look like Christmas.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy Eleventh Birthday Charlotte

What a special girl I have! Miss Charlotte is eleven. She is such a sweet, funny and sassy girl.

For her birthday this year we decided to redo her room. The last time it was decorated was when she was 2.5 years old. Her only condition on redoing the room was that I would keep both the quilts Cici made so she could use them for her own daughter one day! That was a very easy request to honor.

Charlotte approved the bedding and picked out the paint colors. Once it was time to get to work, I locked her out of her room until it was done. I wanted her to have something to anticipate for her birthday.

Things took a bit longer than planned. The big reveal happened tonight instead of this morning. She agrees it was worth the wait. And, she had forgiven me for forgetting to bring donuts to her class today.

I love the finished product and so does she!

Charlotte requested a baked potato bar and hot fudge brownie sundaes for dinner. My sweet girl did most of the preparation for her dinner while took her sister to Volleyball practice and finished up her room.

I think she had a great birthday. I sure hope so because I had a lot of fun putting it all together.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A very different birthday this year

Today, my eldest child celebrated his 15th heavenly birthday. We had plans to mark the occasion with a small celebration at the cemetery like we often do. That was not meant to be this year.

Instead we spent the day in Illinois. My brother-in-law Dallas, Michael's eldest brother died suddenly, and unexpectedly on Tuesday. We are here to say goodbye and to try to offer some comfort to our dear sister-in-law Cathi and nephew Griffin.

Like Sam, Dallas has left us much too soon. This is not the natural order of things. We aren't supposed to be saying goodbye to him, yet. It's just not right.

Spending Sam's birthday honoring Dallas and loving our family through this unimaginable time does on some level feel appropriate. Sam taught me how to love fully and unconditionally. He taught me that grief is not a bad emotion. He taught me that the pain comes because of how deeply we love and that love is always worth the potential pain. He taught me that those we love may cease to walk this earth with us but they are never gone from us. We continue to carry them in our heart. He taught me that my God is bigger than death and my God never stops holding and comforting me, especially in my deepest sorrows.

My son has taught me that we are not saying "goodbye" to Dallas. We are saying "until we meet again."

So on this day, I thank Sam for teaching me so many lessons about love, faith, and grief. Because of my love for Sam, I am equipped for loving my family at this difficult, sorrowful time.

Sam had a wonderful day with his Uncle Dallas, I'm sure. And I know I spent Sam's birthday exactly how and where I was supposed to.

I ask you all to continue to pray for our family. Grief is a long and difficult road. Dallas loved well and has left a large hole in many people's lives.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Late Night Drama

Charlotte just came in my room to tell me that Sandy the hermit crab looked "really, really creepy" and Charlotte was "pretty sure she was dead!"

I went to look. Without disturbing Sandy or using a flashlight, it appears to me that Sandy is molting. If so, it's a good thing as it means she is growing. We've had her over a year, so I wouldn't be surprised.

Charlotte is so freaked out by something that lives in a glass box with no means of escape, that she has refused to sleep in her room. She is now asleep on her sister's floor.

More details and pictures to follow tomorrow.

Now back to my late night reading,
Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, July 31, 2014

One Good Summer Hour

This hour was awesome.

Tomorrow we will be working on them more.

The aftermath of enforcing chore time is another story. I'm done being awesome Pinterest mom now. I've checked it of my summer bucket list.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, July 26, 2014

On returning home from camp

My camper just asked me if I got her anything while she was at camp. When I asked what she meant, she explained that several of her fellow campers usually got a charm or bracelet or something when they got home.

Really??? Honey child you got to go to camp and we remembered to pick you up. Count your blessing, we could have left you there.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Monday, May 19, 2014

Therapist List

Charlotte was complaining about having to let the dogs out. Ruby tells her, "Don't worry, I'll put it on your therapist list!"

I asked, "What do you mean?"

Ruby: I'm sort of her therapist. Every day we go in my room and make clay projects and work through stuff. Like, not yelling so much and stuff.

Where does she get this stuff?

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Doing My Nails: My Experience with Nail Polish, Shellac and Jamberry

I love to have my nails polished. I always have. For many years I gave up on polishing or having a manicure because I would have chips in a matter of hours. It drove me crazy.

I am very rough on my nails. I'm bad to use them to scratch up stuff or not wear gloves when gardening or washing dishes. My nails are prone to pealing and I have a couple that are bad to split horizontally about a quarter of an inch down the side of the nail. None of these things make having pretty polished nails easy.

About four years ago a friend introduced me to shellac, also known as gel polish. It was advertised to last two weeks or more, for most people. For me it lasts 7-10 days at most. But that is so much better than the mere hours regular polish lasts. After a few months of going to have my nails done I decided to invest in the uv light and polish to be able to do my own shellac manicures. It was totally worth the money for me.

Recently a friend started selling Jamberry nail wraps. I was intrigued. There were so many styles to choose from and they were supposed to last as long as shellac polish. I decided to ask for a sample. I applied the sample to my index nails and did the rest of my in shellac polish.

At the end of 11 days, I had a bit of wear on the tips of the jamberries, seven of the shellac nails still looked great, but my thumb nail had chipped so badly I had completely removed the polish from that nail. Overall, they preformed similarly.

Here are the main differences I noticed in the original sample trial:

Jamberries do not require uv lights for application, all you need is a heat source.

When one of the jamberries started lifting at the tip of my nail, I applied a bit of heat and it was as good as new. When the same thing happened with my shellac, there was no way to fix it. I've tried to glue the shellac back down with nail or super glue. That typically only gains me a few hours to at most an extra day of wear.

Removing jamberries is much easier than removing shellac polish. Jamberries took seconds compared to ten minutes of foil wrapped nails plus a significant amount of gentle scraping for the shellac.

I ordered jamberries for myself and all three girls. When they arrived, I gave everyone a manicure.



Eliza Claire


Here is what I learned from our manicures:

Preparation is key. On the girls I used vinegar to clean the nails before applying. I had varying degrees of success. I was supposed to use rubbing alcohol but I was too lazy to go find it. I have since started using 100% acetone with great results. I had to reapply six of Ruby's. Once I did they lasted well over a week. I had to reapply a couple of Charlotte's. About a week later she started loosing hers in the bath each night. Eliza Claire's did the best. The all lasted at least 10 days. She has now lost 3. They other seven are still firmly attached. I wholeheartedly believe that if I had used acetone to prep their nails and the heat application method (heating the wrap a bit before applying) they would all still be on.

If a single nail messes up it is easy and quick to apply a new one. In less than three minutes it is applied and ready to go. Shellac is not a quick fix it would require at least 15 minutes.

I could stop at any time during applying my jamberries to deal with anything that comes up with out worrying about messing up a partially completed manicure. This is huge as it never fails that someone needs something as soon as I start doing my nails.

My nails that split aren't a problem with jamberries. I have an index finger that is split under the Jamberry, it was like that when I applied them. The Jamberry has protected it and has stayed on beautifully. With shellac, when this happens the nail breaks and usually ends up with an ugly chip.

Start up costs are cheaper with Jamberry. My initial investment in the shellac system was roughly $100. With Jamberry, I could get started for $15.

Jamberry has many fun designs that I can't achieve with regular polish.

I won't do shellac on the girls due to the need of the uv light. Jamberries held up well for them and they are even harder on their nails than I am on mine.

Here are my nails today, eleven days later. A little wear but still in good enough shape I can't talk myself into redoing them yet.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stealing Her Joy

Last week Charlotte and Ruby decided they were going to build hammocks in the back yard with some old sheets. I was completely fine with this idea. I thought it was fun, creative and going to allow them to use their problem solving skills. I know, it is shocking that my first answer wasn't "No!" I was completely on board, even if I did not think they would be successful.

Ruby came in to get duct tape. Their plan was to tape the sheets up. I told her they could t use the duct tape on the sheets. A few minutes later they were braiding duct tape to make a rope. At this point, I very clearly told them, "no duct tape, at all." It was my only rule of this project. I went back to making dinner.

About 30 minutes later they came in very excited. They had made a hammock! They were very proud of themselves and I was very proud of me for sticking with the project and making it work. Until, I walked outside and saw...

Yep, that's a whole lot of duct tape holding up that hammock. I sent my daughter to her room for willfully disobeying. She was furious. When she tried to yell at me I told her she could write her feelings down and share them with me but she was not going to yell at me.

She returned a bit later with this:

After we calmly discussed how creative and determined she was, we addressed the willfully breaking the rules. She conceded that I did have a point. Then she and Ruby skipped back out and made two more hammocks with no duct tape! Ironic isn't it?

My guess is that duct tape will never come off of the swing set


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

One of the Best Parts of my Week

Wednesday night means activities at church for our family. I love children's choir, dinner and bible study, but none of these are my favorite part of the evening. My favorite part is taking home three middle schoolers after youth group.

Of course, one of them is mine. The other two live on my way home so it is not problem to drop them off. I love how excited they are from their youth group experience. I love listening to them giggle, suggest games to download on their phones, and converse. It is loud, silly, fun and just downright awesome.

Tonight's new game to be talked about and tried was Duck or Llama. It had them howling. Check it out. It sounds completely stupid but they were having a blast playing it.

It is also fun to get to be part of conversations with these kids. They are great kids who know how to politely have a conversation with an adult. I love getting to know them a bit better every week. It's impossible not to be in a good mood with these three in the car.

Meredith and Kathryn, thank you for the privilege of spending time with your kids. Please know it truly is one of my favorite parts of my week.


Monday, May 05, 2014


Rehm came home last week giddy with excitement. He had an idea for a science project he wanted to do.

Rehm: Mom I've got this great idea I want to try!

Me: What's that?

Rehm: Auqaphonics!

Me: you mean aquaponics?

Rehm: Um, maybe. Yeah, that's what I mean.

Me: Ok, why aquaponics?

Rehm: It sounds really fun!

Me: Research it and write me a proposal and we'll see what we can do. It sounds like a great summer project for you.

Rehm: Really, you're not just going to tell me "no?"

Me: Why would I do that?

Later, I posted something about Rehm's desire to try aquaponics on Facebook. One of my friends made a joke about pot. Then the whole situation made a lot more sense.

Rehm's social studies class had recently done projects on the largest cash crops in Texas. Rehm had been assigned marijuana. Did you know it's the number six cash crop? I'm still surprised it was assigned as a research topic.

I asked him if his idea for aquaponics came from his social studies research. He confirmed that it did. Suddenly his summer project didn't seem quite so awesome.

He had said all along he was going to grow herbs...


Disclaimer (so none of the grandparents need to call): Just to be clear, no one will be growing any illegal substances at our house and Rehm never had any intentions to do so. He truly found the concept of the symbiotic system of growing fish and plants together to be intriguing. In fact, we will probably give aquaponics a try with some goldfish and Italian herbs. Rehm is already planning in his head the delicious pasta sauces he will make with them (the herbs not the goldfish).

Eliza Claire's Dream

A school project from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day came home today.

It says: I have a dream that everyone will have comfortable shoes, which are the right sizes. I want people to have shoes because people are getting cut. I can help by giving people shoes

In the picture a road. The person on the left has shoes on his/her feet and is giving a box of shoes to the barefoot person. They are by the road because the barefoot person is homeless.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, May 03, 2014

My Husband is a Beer Snob

He hasn't always been a beer snob. Over the last few years he has become the can't buy beer at the grocery store, can't just order a shiner beer snob.

Most of the time his beer snobbery does not bother me as it does not effect me. Tonight we are at Bangers, One hundred and one beers on tap and sausage made in house.

He asks what I want. I say a beer. He wants me to taste one before he orders. It's ok, not amazing. He asks what I want, I say a beer.

Finally I tell him, "I liked it when I could just say I wanted a beer and you brought me a shiner and there was no big discussion to be had.

He asked what I wanted, again. I said, "just get me a damn beer!" Sorry mom, for the language and the beverage.

He brought me a hefeweizen that has a bacon after taste. I have no clue which local, artsy fartsy brewery it's from. But at least I now have a beer.

Now, I'm going to have to pick a sausage. Oh, joy!

Happy Birthday Honey,
Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, April 25, 2014

I am on a Roll!

Yesterday Ruby wanted a new mommy.  Today Rehm told me he hated me.  I must be doing something extremely right...or extremely wrong.

Rehm has gotten in a habit of being really slow in the morning. He procrastinates and barely gets done what he is supposed to before time to leave for school.  I don't know what he is doing but he is so slow!  It is driving me crazy.

This morning was no exception.  He went to print a practice log for band and took 15 minutes to get it printed and filled out.  I kept calling up asking why it was taking so long.  I'm sure he was surfing the web or on his phone.  Finally, I told him to quit "fiddle-farting" around and get moving.

He decided to be a snot.  He was complaining that fiddle-fart didn't make any sense and wasn't even a real word.  I countered that it was two very real words.  He kept on and finally stated, "I prefer procrastinate to fiddle-fart.  It is more proper."  I about hit him.  Not really, but the snark, attitude and fiddle-farting continued.

He needed to take out the trash.  I had asked him to do it last night.  Of course, he procrastinated and did not do it last night.  He had every intention of not doing it this morning.  He went so far as to tell me if it was such problem that I should take it out.  Yeah, that went over really well.  He took the trash out.

Finally, he was ready to go to school.  He likes to get there about an hour before school starts.  This morning we did not have to take anyone else to school.  He got his stuff together and told me he would wait in the car.  I took my sweet time getting out of the house.  I was not very happy with him and decided to give him a taste of his own medicine.

We get to the end of our street and I turn the opposite direction of school.

Rehm:  Where are we going.

Me:  To school.

Rehm:  But this is the wrong way.

Me: No its not.

We get to another intersection and again I turn further away from the direction of school.

Rehm: Umm, school is not this way.

Me:  Sure it is.

Rehm:  I get what you're doing.  You're trying to prove a point aren't you?

Me: Nope, I just wanted to go this way to school this morning.

Rehm:  But this is not the way to school.

Me:  We can get there from here.

Rehm:  I need to be at school by now!  I'm running late.

Me:  No, you're not.  School doesn't start for another 45 minutes.

Rehm:  But I have something I need to get done!

Me:  What is it?

Rehm:  I need to finish my science homework.  I'm supposed to be at school already.  Now, I'm late! We are nowhere near school! I get it you are trying to prove a point!  Will you take me to school now?

Me:  I am taking you to school.  (Again I turn the wrong way)

Rehm is pretty angry with me by this point.

Rehm:  I hate you.  You are being a hippocrit! You always tell us to be loving and kind and you are not being either of those things!  I need to go to school!

Me:  We are going to school.  So why have you started fiddle-farting around and not getting stuff done?

Rehm:   You never focus on me!  You only spend time with the girls!

Me:  I'm spending time with you now!  Just think of all the extra time we are getting with each other this morning. 

Rehm:  MOM! I need to go to school.

We are now within sight of the school, but I still don't feel that I have adequately made my point, so I turn away from the school again.

Rehm:  Mom, the school is right there!  I can see it!  Are we going in another circle?

Me:  Um, no, I would call it more of a square.

A few blocks later he realizes we are finally on our usual route to school.  He apparently feels safe at this point and makes some absolutely ridiculous statement about how none of his procrastinating is his fault.  Needless to say, I altered our path again. 

Rehm: You are so mean!  Why can't you just take me to school.

Me:  I am taking you to school.  If I were mean, I would have made you walk.  I'm just spending quality time focusing on you, you mentioned I was too focused on your sisters.  This is me, focusing on you.

We finally get to school a good 20 minutes later than I typically drop him off.  He is not happy with me.  He makes that very clear. He gets his stuff and goes in the building.  I look down and notice his band practice sheets laying on the floorboard.  Yep, the practice sheets that took him forever to complete because he was procrastinating, those.  Oh, the irony.

Ah, parenting.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ruby wants a new mom

Ruby is mad that I won't let her go back outside to play with the little girls down the street. She told me, "You are the worst Mommy, ever! All the other mommies in the entire world are better mommies than you!"

I asked if she wanted me to call her a new mommy and she said, "Yes!" Then she proceeded to pick up the phone and call herself a new mommy.

She's still here. Hopefully she changes her mind soon.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, April 20, 2014


What a wonderful day of church, naps, family and good food.  I am blessed beyond measure.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014


When Ruby walked out of school this afternoon my first thought was "how did I not notice her outfit this morning?" Then I thought, "you didn't walk her to a school and she was still in her pajamas when she came to breakfast." 

That's when I realized that I did walk her to school! So how did I miss this completely non-matching outfit? The answer: I have absolutely no clue. We were running late, Eliza Claire was freaking out over running late and one if the other two was having some crisis, though at this point I have no idea what it was. I guess Ruby's wardrobe was the last thing on my mind. 

I love these jeans. I think they are adorable and fit Ruby's style perfectly. Why she paired them with this shirt is a mystery. I'm sure if I asked her she would have some reason that seems perfectly obvious in her world but would never occur to me. 

In the end, it really doesn't matter if she looks like a rag-a-muffin or not. She is one amazing kid. 


The Best Neighbors

Friday evening Michael and I went out to dinner. When we left, two of the girls were across the street at Winnie Kate and Elliot's house. Winnie Kate is three and Elliot is not quite two. My girls love them to pieces. They love to play with them. I sent their mom a text letting her know to send my girls home at any time.

Two hours later Michael and I arrive home to a completely empty hours. That's when I check my text messages and find this adorable picture.

Not only had Ruby and Charlotte not gone home, Rehm and Eliza Claire had both gone across the street as well. When I arrived, my wonderful neighbors were feeding my kids dinner. Talk about feeling like a horrible mom and neighbor! Oh my! I told them we owe them a date night and to please not be shy about sending my kids home!

It seems Rehm went over to tell the sisters to come home for dinner. He got sidetracked talking to the adults and never got everyone home.

We truly have awesome neighbors! We are so blessed..


Fourth Grade Field Trip

Today the fourth grade went to Inner Space Caverns. They were supposed to go earlier this year. The original trip had to be rescheduled due to falling on a no school fur to ice day. 

Charlotte informed me before the originally planned trip that I had never been on one of the field trips. Further, she pointed out that I had been on more than one field trip for each of her siblings.I assured her that I was sure I had been on at least one prior field trip of hers. She went through the list and sure enough I had not attended a single one! Bad, bad Mommy! Poor middle child. 

Today was field trip day and I had to go even though I had a couple of things on my calendar that I really wanted to attend. I'm now behind on my 100 Modern Blocks and I missed my father-in-law's Holy Week sermon today. 

I like going to caverns. I like spending time with my daughter. I do not like field trips because my children tend to insist I come and then completely ignore me. I get that they are having fun with their friends, but why is it so important that I be there if you are not even going to come over and say hello? Ok, I'm done complaining. 

It seems I've been going on the wrong child's field trips. Charlotte spent a good deal of the time with me. In the cavern she held my hand and talked to me through most of the tour. It was lovely. It truly was. 

I'm very glad I went, but I don't promise I'll go on any others this year. 

Field trips always mean a completely disposable lunch. This is one part of field trips I have come to enjoy. It gives me an excuse to make a milk jug lunch box. These are quick and easy to make. I love the milk jug lunch box because they keep my child's lunch from getting mashed flat when all of the lunches are put in the bin to be transported. No chip crumbs and flat sandwiches for my kids!

Jenn - the horrible, awful Mom who doesn't like to go on field trips. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Worshipping with Kids

If you saw us Sunday in worship you would think my children had never been to a worship service. Actually two were very well behaved. The two sitting with Michael. He never seems to get the worship troublemakers. Hmm, maybe I'm the problem and not the children. I'll have to think about that...

During the sermon, I was trying to take notes. I started this discipline sometime last year. I found that it helps me stay present and focused during the sermon and helps being able to remember that thing that spoke to me. If I don't write it down, when I think about it later, I can never remember what caught my attention. Charlotte and Ruby were on either side of me. One was leaning on me and the other was trying to hold down my writing hand. It was frustrating but not horrible.

When we went up to form our circle for communion, I had a girl on each side of me. That was perfect. Ruby decided she didn't like standing next to a stranger and moved on the other side of me. That made Charlotte mad because now she could not stand next to me. This led to lots of dirty looks and sighing on Charlotte's part.

During a prayer in the communion liturgy, Charlotte decided she needed to stretch. Not a little stretch. She had her arms stretched way over her head and her back arched and was twisting from side to side. When I told her to stop she acted like I was insane for having a problem with the stretching. More ugly looks and sighing ensued.

I leaned over to Charlotte after communion and told her that I loved her. She loudly whispered, "Your breath stinks!" Wow thanks sweetheart. I'm glad you feel loved enough to share that with everyone we are worshipping with.

When it was time for us all to join hands so we could say the Lord's Prayer. Ruby did not want to hold Charlotte's hand. After giving her the choice of holding her sister's hand or moving back to my other side and holding the hand of a gentleman she did not know, she acquiesced. Of course then Charlotte decided she needed to hold Ruby's hand in a vice grip. That lead to Ruby complaining and squirming. More intervention by me and they settled down again. Halfway through the prayer, I realized Ruby was licking my arm!

I apologize to all who were around us. We try very hard to teach our children manners and how to act in church. I try to remind myself that this is how they learn. But some days, it sure is embarrassing and a lot of work!

I Don't want to grow up!

Saturday was a day with lots of chores much to Ruby and Eliza Claire's dislike. Rehm was at a band competition and Fiesta Texas. Charlotte was hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa ushering at a kids show at the Zach and just getting spoiled.

Ruby spent most of the afternoon playing with her friend Ellery that lives close by. She was not happy when we insisted that she come in to get ready for dinner. She was MAD! She pitched quite the fit. She was also hungry and when Ruby is hungry she gets extra mad.

She eventually calmed down, we went to dinner, had a great time and came home. After we got home she apologized to me for get mad. Her dad complimented her on being mature and apologizing without prompting.

Ruby immediately said, "I don't want to be mature! That means I have to move out of the house!"

Oh, how I live this girl. She always keeps me on my toes.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Crazy Dog

This afternoon, with four of us at home, Pearl managed to sneak a major snack. One of the kids left the pantry open and she rummaged in it as well as doing some counter surfing.

In round one she got a 8 pack of peanut butter crackers (My family has always called them Nabs, but I'm not sure anyone else refers to them that way) and a pound of linguini. She only got one of the packs of nabs open. She ate every last crumb. The pasta was open and spread out but I don't think she ate much if it.

After cleaning all of the mess up and closing the pantry, I left to get Rehm from school. When I got back, we found another open bag of pasta! Grrr!

When I told Rehm that we luckily had one package of pasta she didn't get in he said, "Let me guess, she didn't eat the veggie pasta." He was correct.

It seems that Pearl doesn't agree with me that she should be on a grain free diet. Every time she counter surfs it is for carbs. Einstein's Bagels are her favorite. She's been known to eat a half a dozen of them at a time.

The strange thing is I left her uncrated for a couple of hours today while I ran errands. She was an angel and didn't get in anything. But this afternoon, even with us at home, she was a very naughty dog. I'm thinking we will have to have some dog wearing* time to help her remember her manners.

*dog wearing is a great training tool that we have used many times. We attach the dog's leash to our belt. The dog has to go wherever we go. It keeps them close by so when they start thinking about getting in trouble we are right there to correct them.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Five months after it should have happened, the holiday cards are in the mail!

Honestly, I was embarrassed to send them so late. I decided late was better than not at all. Though, if I hadn't sent them no one would have thought twice about it. Sending them five months late, looks pretty lame. Oh well, they are done.

Ruby helped me stuff cards. I gave her the job of sealing envelopes. She looked down to find a large stack wait for her and exclaimed, "Woah! I better get lickin'!"

Rehm noticed me working on the cards last night and wanted to know why it was so important to get them done right now since Christmas was eight months away. When I told him these were for 2013 he laughed and wanted to know why I was so late doing them.

If for some reason you are reading this and did not receive a card (and you would like to receive very late cards in the future), send me an email with your address and I'll add you to my list.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Dinner Conversation with Eliza Claire

Tonight Michael and I were both sitting with Eliza Claire while she finished a late dinner after softball. I don't know quite how the conversation started but it had something to do with how much she likes to snuggle with me. Which turned into a conversation about the future.

Me: When you grew up I'm going to come to your house and tell you "I need snuggles!"

Eliza Claire (giggling): No you won't!

Me: Sure I will. Your kids will be complaining about wanting to snuggle with you and I'll tell them they can't because it is my turn!

Me: When you grew up are you going to have a husband and kids?

Eliza Claire: Yeah!

Me: Are you going to have a job, as well?

Eliza Claire (more giggles): Early I'm going to have a job but not when I have kids.

Michael: Are you going to stay home and snuggle with them all day?

Eliza Claire nods.

Michael: What if they are all boys?

Eliza Claire: Then I'm going to go to WORK!

Of course we all cracked up at that point. She is the cutest thing.


The Holiday Cards: The Rest of the Story

This is a follow up to my very frustrated post about Sam's club and my holiday cards from yesterday.

The short story is, I am a complete and total idiot and now have the cards in my possession.

Yeah, I can never stop with a short story. Who are we kidding? There is a reason I always liked Paul Harvey.

Yesterday afternoon, I called the online customer service number. I talked to a very nice gentleman who informed me that the cards were printed in store. I am amazed that I was able to stay polite when he told me this news, but I did. He said he would resend the order to the store for me and would put a note in explaining the situation. I'm sure the note said something about a crazy, super frustrated lady that was going to go all "Tawanda" on someone if they didn't find my cards, quick like.

A couple of hours later, I get a call from Dawn from the photo department at the local Sam's. She proceeds to tell me she has my cards in the store and has had them since 3/20 - the date I originally went to pick them up. She was confused as to why there was a repeat order and had stopped it from printing and called me. After I once again went through the whole debacle she said, "you are talking about the store in South Austin, correct?"

Insert complete shock and silence from me, followed by almost hysterical laughter, and then very sincere apologies for being a complete idiot.

Yep, somehow, in having to chose an alternate store to the one I typically use that was not available (I've learned in this process that they discontinued their photo department), I selected a Sam's Club 30 miles from my house to print the cards! And, thought I had selected a store approximately 10 miles away. I didn't even know this Sam's existed. Out of the four in the area it is by far the furthest away.

I had gone to the wrong store, not once, but twice!

Now, I will admit that I was a complete idiot. However, Sam's was not without fault. The phone number listed on my status for pick up for the store, you know the one where the cards actually were, was incorrect and gave me an error message. After I looked up the "correct" number, I called the store, where I thought the cards were. I was told the cards were there but arrived to find out it was someone else's order. The wrong store never questioned if I was at the right store or called any other store to check. They just told me the cards were in Georgia. The cards were never in Georgia. The Store that had the cards never called to see why I hadn't picked up, which the store admits is standard procedure after seven days.

But at the end of the day, I totally screwed up! I was wrong and I very graciously admitted it once it was brought to my attention.

I will say, everyone I dealt with had been well trained in dealing with a unhappy customer and tried to be helpful. I was given a discount on the cards though not the full price, "for all the trouble I went to." I did not ask for the discount as I was obviously the idiot who had them printed in the wrong store.

So after almost two weeks, two 20 mile round trips to the wrong store, and a 60 mile round trip to the right store, I have the cards sitting on my counter waiting for me to get the address labels printed so they can be mailed. My effort to make the process cheaper and quicker sure did not turn out like I planned. At the end of the day, the laugh I got when I realized my stupid mistake and the reminder to be humble and remember we all make mistakes were worth the experience.

And after all this blasted build up about the cards, I sure hope every one isn't disappointed when they arrive. Remember these are typical "I used snapshots and had them printed at Sam's cards," not something professional by any means.


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Good Parts of the Day

Ruby came in last night and saw a pan of rice fresh from the oven and exclaimed, "We are having duck duck for dinner!" When she saw my look of confusion she tried to explain. She thought we were having cous cous but got the name wrong.

Kaitlyn Princess, also known as KP, molted. It's the first time I've ever had a hermit crab molt. These were all of the parts we found from the molt I have no clue what happened to the rest. Everyone seems to be healthy and growing. The kids had mixed reactions to the molting. Some thought it was awesome and some thought it was gross. I find the idea both fascinating and disgusting all at the same time.

Rehm got new fish yesterday. Two mollies. He also ended up with a stow away baby mollie. The good news is the baby mollie has been spotted today and seems to be doing well as are the larger ones.

Charlotte and I have been reading the book Dragon Slippers for the past few weeks. Tonight we finished it. I loved watching her get excited when it all came together at the end. She can not wait to start the second book in the trilogy. The only bad part is we finished a little later than I would have liked. But when I wanted to stop we were at a real cliffhanger and I knew she was not going to be able to go to sleep until she knew what happened. She's been trying to fall asleep for a half an hour and is now stressing over the fact she can't sleep and has the STAAR test tomorrow. She is finally almost asleep. She will be fine and will do great tomorrow even though she is very worried about the test. Have I mentioned lately how much I despise all of the testing we do? But, that isn't a good thing from today so we are not going to talk about it.

More on the holiday card front to come tomorrow. It's too late for a second post tonight.


The Joke's on Me!

Ugh, ugh, ugh! Remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had finally ordered Christmas cards? Have you noticed that yours still hasn't arrived? Don't worry, it's not because you weren't on the list this year. It's because I still don't have the blasted things!

I ordered them from Sam's Club this year instead of online so that I would get them in a few days instead of a few weeks. Funny, isn't it? I originally went to pick them up on 3/20. When I got there, it was explained that online orders are all processed in Georgia. No where on the website did it tell me they were not processed in the store! And, my order status changed to "Pick up in Store" on Thursday. To me that means they are ready to be picked up in the store. But, no, it doesn't mean that at all. Apparently, I'm supposed to have some magic psychic ability to read the Sam's Club website's mind and know that it means no such thing.

The lady informed me they would call when they were ready. That is what they always do because they never know when they will arrive. Again, how was I supposed to know that? Again, she had no answers and seemed completely unaware of what was or was not explained on the website.

Today I realized they still had not called. I called and asked if they were in and was told they were. Great, my April Fool's cards would be a few days late but still close. I drive 20 minutes to go get them and spend another couple of dollars in tolls. I ask for my photos and the guy pulls put a package for Israel Mayen. Um, that's not me and I spelled my name for you! Hey Israel, if you happen to randomly be reading my blog, your photos are ready to be picked up, mine however are not.

The guy today was very polite and could understand why I would be frustrated but he had absolutely no idea when my photos would be there. He offered to get me a manager. If my photos are in photo processing hell in Georgia, the manager in Texas isn't going to do me a bit of good. The photo guy suggested I call the number on the website. I informed him the only number I had found so far was for the photo department of his store. Guess what, it isn't even a working number! It gives you an error message. It just keeps getting better.

Long story longer, I still managed to spend way too much money before leaving the store and I still don't have a Christmas card to send to anyone. I will be hunting down the number for online orders and calling them at some point today. Hopefully I'll get some answers and have cards to send soon.

If you haven't received a card in a week or two, it's not my fault, it's Sam's!

Learn from my mistake, don't order photos online from Sam's. They get held ransom in the Georgia photo processing Bermuda Triangle!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Break: Hiking around the Ranch

Our first full day on the ranch we relaxed and took a hike. 

The house from one of the mountains