Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Olaf and Bjorn

When the boys were babies and even last year, I didn't really have to worry about hiding their Christmas gifts. Unless it was on the floor or shaped like a robot, they honestly did not notice that the guest room closet was crammed full of stuff.  So, this year, admittedly, I was a little lax. I had two big gift bags just hanging out on top of my dresser. They didn't even notice them for at least two weeks. But then one night as they're both lying in my bed, Hopper spotted them. "WHAT'S THAT!"  I scrambled and came up with the best off the cuff excuse I could think of with 2 seconds notice:  "THEY'RE NOT FOR YOU."  Well, if they aren't for us then who are they for, they wanted to know. This is where my excuse starts getting a little wobbly. I made up two cousins that they've never met before named Olaf and Bjorn. They live in distant country that you can only reach by canoe, so that's why they've never even heard of them. But, you see, Olaf and Bjorn are just about the same ages and seem to like the same kinds of things as the Hovland boys. But these presents right here? THEY'RE NOT FOR YOU. Judge if you must. It worked.
Then today, I had to do a lot of shopping for these families that my company is sponsoring for the holidays. My car was literally loaded down with toys and clothes in every possible inch. The Mazda 5 was bulging with presents. I go to pick up Rowan and when he sees the back of the car, his eyes get huge.
Now, buddy, I told him, these aren't for you, ok?  These are for some other kids.

"OH." he says, "Olaf and Bjorn?"
"um, sure?" (why not)
"Mommy, You're gonna need a REEEAALLY big canoe."

Friday, December 12, 2014


This is one of those mom posts where I think my kid is funny, but you may roll your eyes as needed. I can't help it, he cracks me up.

Every afternoon, I pick up Hopper from school first because his school is so close to my office. So, we have about a 15-20 minute drive to Rowan's daycare which I always use to pick his brain about his day. I used to just veg out and let him play a game or watch a video. That was until I found out from his teacher that he'd had lunchtime detention (or whatever the kindergarten version of it is) for an entire week and he hadn't told me because (and I quote), "Oh that. That was a secret." i.e. there is no downtime with this kid. You just gotta get him talking and hope to god you pick up any blips on the horizon before they send him off to the Merchant Marines (or whatever the kindergarten version of it is).  In the course of these conversations, there's always some prime Hopper going on. A sampling from this week:

Me: What did you learn in class today?
H: We made an Activity Scene!
Me: An Activity Scene? What's that?
H:Well, there's a gigantic star that sparkles and a baby king, and his crib is made out of wood and hay, but it's ok,  he's got a comfy yellow blanket.
Me: Was there anyone else there?
H: Oh yes. There was a guy with a goat and a king named Belafonte.
Me: ummm...
H: and his mom and dad were there wearing snuggies. And they all got together for a dance celebration doing the Hookie Lau.


H: Mom, tomorrow I'm going to paint your car with green flames on the sides.
Me: well...
H: and a dragon on the front hood. And we'll put big tires on here like a monster truck.
Me: ummm....
H: and some big lights up top.
Me: why are we doing this again?
H: 'cause then it will be almost cool.  (ed. note: it's a mazda 5, so, you know, not likely)


H: what do you call it when there's a puppet that's a machine that moves?
Me: uhhhhhh (thinking wildly),  Animatronic???
H: YEAH. Animatronic.
five minutes later--
H: Mom?  Can I get an animatronic triceratops costume?


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Lists Have Been Delivered

One of the reasons why we wanted to make sure that our Lists for Santa were completed by this weekend is because, every year, my company puts on a Breakfast with Santa for all the littles. I told the boys that they could deliver their lists to Santa directly instead of relying on the postal service because who even knows what postage to the North Pole is going for these days. They thought this was a much more sensible plan,  and also, there are donuts. 

So, we got our Christmas gear on and waited for Santa to show up

Hopper took this delivery very seriously, and I must say, did a very good job of being patient waiting his turn. Though in this shot you can clearly see him silently urging the kids already in Santa's lap to just get a move on already, for crissakes. 

FINALLY (after 2 whole minutes, it was a short line), it was our turn. Here Rowan is explaining to Santa that we brought him a list. 

Actually, Hopper pointed out, it's TWO lists.

Then comes the portion where they have to READ the lists to Santa. 

To be fair, Santa thought that Rowan's list said "box," not "BOAT." So Ro had to set him straight on that one. 

And then Hopper had to explain exactly what kind of exercise bike he wanted. (the kind where you pump your arms and pedal at the same time)

At this point, the line has grown because this all takes a while. So, we just had them hop on Santa's lap real quick while I take 500 shots, in which neither of them are ever looking at the camera, not once.  Ah well. At least we saved on postage. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lists Have Been Made

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've had pumpkin pie for breakfast three days in a row (what?), the boys decided it was time to finalize their lists for Santa.  Since Hopper is the only kid in this joint who can write, he did most of the heavy work, while Rowan directed. 

And Directed. 

And directed some more. 

Hopper struggles a little bit with handwriting due to some hand strength issues we found out about when he was around 3. He's been in OT since then, so I gotta tell you, it makes my heart grow about twelve sizes to see him working so hard and doing so well with this. Even if his motivation is that someone, somewhere will be sucker enough to buy him nunchucks. 

 Here Rowan is trying to decide between putting down "robot" or "boat" (hint: he went with both). 

This was a long arduous process. At least 15 minutes or so. 

In the end, this is what they came up with:

Rowan:  Train, dinosaur, boat, teddy bear, robot (and he reserves the right to ask for any and all of the same turtle stuff that Hopper asked for, but in blue)

Hopper:  Turtle Mask Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle variety--Red, boxing gloves, exercise bike (don't ask, it was a long walk through Academy Sports), nunchucks, spinning star, BatCave

 So, there you have it. I have attempted to put these things on an Amazon list for each kid if any family would like that link; however, if any of you actually buy my 5 year old a spinning star, I will throw it at you. Let the Holidays Begin!

Friday, November 21, 2014

100 Minutes of Thanksgiving Music

We're having a big Thanksgiving luncheon at work today and knowing how awesome I am at cooking, I got put in charge of the music.  So, if you too are put in charge of the music for your Thanksgiving holiday, no worries. I have already put together a playlist for you.  This is roughly about an hour and a half long, (a little more maybe). And other than a couple eyeball rollers, it's completely listenable! 

All That Meat and No Potatoes                  Louis Armstrong
Mashed Potato Time                                  Dee Dee Sharp
Hey Good Lookin’                         Hank Williams
Be Our Guest                                Angela Lansbury and the cast of Beauty and the Beast
Come On-A My House                    Rosemary Clooney
Maximum Consumption                            The Kinks
Dinner Bell                                                They Might Be Giants
Texas Cookin’                                            George Strait
A Chicken aint Nothin’ But a Bird            Cab Calloway
The Thanksgiving Song                             Adam Sandler
Boogie Woogie Blue Plate                         Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
Roly Poly                                                    The Little Willies
Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie                   Jay & the Techniques
Ice Cream                                                   Sarah McLachlan
Sugar, Sugar                                               The Archies
Autumn in New York                                 Frank Sinatra
Eat It                                                          Weird Al Yankovic
Sweet Potato Pie                                        Ray Charles & James Taylor
Suppertime                                                 Johnny Cash
Tasty Pudding                                            Miles Davis
I Gotta Get Drunk                                      George Jones & Willie Nelson
Gratitude                                                    Earth Wind & Fire
I thank You                                                Sam & Dave
Pantry                                                         Lyle Lovett
Yummy Yummy Yummy                          Ohio Express
I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For            Bing Crosby
Cold Budweiser & a Sweet Tater               Joe Diffie
Meat and Potato Man                                 Alan Jackson
Hot Biscuits and Sweet Marie                     NRBQ
Frim Fram Sauce                                         Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Chicken Fried                                              Zac Brown Band
I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl               Nina Simone
I also have a "B" List, which is only a B List because the A list is for work and I just can't see my boss getting chowing down to Rev. Horton Heat. So, if you'd like to make your playlist last a little longer, take a listen to these:
Fatman                                                       G. Love and Special Sauce
Ham N Eggs                                            Tribe Called Quest
Alice's Restaurant                             One of the Guthries I'm currently blanking
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off             Harry Connick, Jr.
All You Can Eat                                      Fat Boys
All You Can Eat                                      Shonen Knife
Let me Teach You How to Eat               Rev. Horton Heat
The House of Blue Lights                      Asleep at the Wheel
Hot Potatoes                                           The Kinks

Sunday, November 16, 2014


I always feel a little bad when I remember that I let two weeks go by without a blog entry. Sorry about that. As always, if you're on Facebook, feel free to friend me. I usually accept requests even if I don't know you. Unless you're wearing a bikini or offering me part of the inheritance from your 2nd cousin's uncle who is a member of the royal family in Nigeria. I tend to post all the piddly things I used to put on here, so you know, pictures of puppies and fart jokes from my five year old.

At any rate, I also realized that there were some updates I hadn't bothered to post, so here are some of those.

First, the vegetarian thing. I had pledged to try and go vegetarian for the entire month of October. I actually made it through three weeks, then it sort of frittered out. It wasn't because I didn't enjoy it. Actually, I found it really easy to follow a vegetarian diet for most of my meals--it helps living in a town that has lots of vegetarian options, even for take out or, say, breakfast tacos.  This may be controversial, but I'm telling you: soy chorizo is sometimes better than the real thing. A few things led to my vegetarian downfall:  1) I went on a girls' trip out of town with my two best friends from high school. They didn't force bacon down my throat or anything. It was more like we were having so much fun and eating out a lot, so I'd absentmindedly order something with meat for dinner and be too preoccupied with my margarita to care.

 2). I also found out, rather bizarrely, that I'm allergic to eggs. I had been having these bouts of hives for probably 6-7 months. I would just randomly break out in a rash all over my arms and stomach and they'd last for several days. This happened at least once every two weeks, sometimes continuously. It was particularly bad in the summer, so that even when it was 100 degrees outside, I was trying to wear long sleeves so people didn't think I had the plague. Some people told me it was stress-related or that it might be heat rash gone crazy. I went to the doctor twice and they'd give me steroid cream that works. But it would just keep coming back. So finally, I went to an allergist and he ran some blood tests. Apparently, hives can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease or even liver failure.  A ridiculous amount of vials of blood later, the results came back and as it turns out, I have an adult-onset egg allergy. It's not serious enough to kill me or anything, just, oh, CAUSE A REALLY ANNOYING RASH.  I used to eat breakfast tacos at least 3-4 times a week, so that pretty much was what was making me Plague Girl.  So, basically I've had to cut out a majority of the eggs in my diet. This has actually been harder than any vegetarian thing. Eggs are in EVERY THING.  Bread, baked goods, pasta, cream sauces, fried foods--you know, all the major food groups (heh).  I still eat bread. I just have to take a Zyrtec every day and sometimes if I eat too many things made with eggs, that #*$ing rash will come back.   So, the reason this made the vegetarian thing go the way of the dodo is because I was more focusing on what wouldn't make me break out and also, I was using eggs as the major protein source in my vegetarian diet. Try as much as I like, I hate goddam lentils. I mean LOATHE them. I know I could also eat other kinds of beans to get protein, but I already live two boys and a husband. We're all full up on flatulence here.

Pupdate: I still have THREE of the seven pupgirls left. The others have been adopted already.  One is leaving today, one is leaving tomorrow and by the grace of God, HOPEFULLY the last one will be leaving on Friday. They are predictably gorgeous now and full of fun. They also try to eat my goddam curtains every goddam day. The weather has been super cold for Austin and rainy this past weekend, so they've spent a LOT of time hanging out in the living room. Our days are generally spent rotating between getting things out of their mouths, trying to convince Hudson not to kill them and plastering the floors with newspaper. I'm a bit ready for a break.

So, that's what we've been up to. What about you?

Here are some recent pictures from Halloween and a trip to the pumpkin patch where we learned that my boys don't like pumpkins all that much.

Saturday, November 01, 2014


I grew up Catholic and every year we celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Or more accurately: we justified having big honking Halloween Celebrations because the days are all so close:  October 31st, November 1st (All Saints) and November 2nd (All Souls).  If you're not Catholic and you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a quick summary from wikipedia.

All Souls' Day is a day of prayer for the dead, particularly but not exclusively one's relatives. In Western Christianity the annual celebration is now held on 2 November and is associated with All Saints' Day (1 November) and its vigil, Hallowe'en (31 October).[2] In the liturgical books of the western Catholic Church (theLatin Church) it is called The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, and is celebrated annually on 2 November, even if this date falls on a Sunday.[3] In Anglicanism it is called Commemoration of All Faithful Departed and is an optional celebration.[4] In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the associated Eastern Catholic Churches, it is celebrated several times during the year and is not associated with the month of November.
Some believe that the origins of All Souls' Day in European folklore and folk belief are related to customs ofancestor veneration[15] practised worldwide, through events such as the Chinese Ghost Festival, the JapaneseBon Festival. The Roman custom was that of the Lemuria.

If you live in Texas, or grew up here, you'll recognize that these days also coincide with Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead.  Also from wiki:

The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the triduum of AllhallowtideAll Hallows' EveHallowmas, and All Souls' Day.

To me, the fact that the Catholic holiday and the Mexican holiday fall on exactly the same days and celebrate just about the same thing isn't much of a coinkidink, though both traditions go back centuries from different parts of the world. If you do a minimal amount of digging around, you'll find that there are traditions of honoring the dead in just about any culture you can think of.  Catholics, though, other than the requisite Halloween All Souls Festivals have a special mass, you say some extra prayers, light some candles. Dia de los Muertos, however, is on a completely different level. 

  During the three-day period families usually clean and decorate graves;[4] most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (altars)...Toys are brought for dead children (los angelitos, or "the little angels"), and bottles of tequilamezcal or pulque or jars of atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased's favorite candies on the grave.Ofrendas are also put in homes, usually with foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto ("bread of dead"), and sugar skulls and beverages such as atole. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased.[4]  . Pillows and blankets are left out so the deceased can rest after their long journey... these sometimes feature Christian cross, statues or pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pictures of deceased relatives and other persons, scores of candles and an ofrenda. Traditionally, families spend some time around the altar, praying and telling anecdotes about the deceased. 

So here I am:  a recovering Catholic living in a state right next to Mexico and not only that, but  my mom's birthday would have been today, November 1st.  Our first without her. I'd like to say that attending a mass in her honor would be enough for me, but I'd be lying if I did.  It occurred to me that spending some time putting together some things that she would like if her soul came to visit would be a nice way to remember her on this day. Now, I don't pretend to believe my mom's ghost is gonna show up on Saturday and sit down with me for a nice chat, but if she did... if She Did..

My "ofrenda" maybe doesn't look super authentic, but let's get real: If I had festooned this thing with papel picado and incense,  Bonnie would have given me the side-eye.  I also didn't use marigolds, which are pretty standard, but honestly, they don't smell all that great.  I  did make sure to put a few of her favorite things:  white chocolate truffles and dark chocolate kisses,  iced coffee, a long letter with pictures telling her what everyone in the family has been up to since she passed (so much! so, so much, it's amazing how much happens in 6mths, you don't realize til you have to share it with someone who didn't see it). Some of her favorite Barry Manilow songs on the ipod. And some things that remind me of her: a necklace she gave me, one of the crocheted ornaments my sister in law made for her that she decorated her Christmas tree with for eight straight years, photographs, and since it's her birthday, some cake. 

It's fine if you think it's a little weird or a little hoo-doo-ey. It's not for you. It's for me. I think about and miss my mom every single day. She's been gone for almost 6 months and it hasn't even begun to hurt less. The only thing that changes is that I find different ways to deal with it that don't involve bursting into tears and making other people uncomfortable. And I gotta tell you, putting this together, remembering the little things she liked, thinking about what I'd like to tell her if her soul, for just one day, came back to visit... It was nice. And if you knew her, you'd know she would've liked that. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 days!

It's 10 days to Halloween, do you have your costume ready yet?  I...uh..hmmm, now that I think about it, DO NOT. I have the makings of a costume, TWO costumes actually, but I haven't completed them yet. Crap. I gotta get on that.  The reason why I have TWO costumes instead of just the one is that I have a fear of costume commitment. And also, one of the costumes is kinda gross.  I mean, it's not that gross, but maybe a little too gross for say...3 year olds and kindergarteners. So for the event that is at the daycare and school, I have to amend the gross costume I plan on wearing out trick or treating  and to an ADULTS Halloween party to something a little less icky. So, essentially, I'm making two costumes out of one.  Do you want to know what I'm gonna BEE??  heh. Hint there for ya.**

The boys don't have a fear of costume commitment; however, they do lack recognition of certain laws of physics and also, my arts and crafts skills.   Hopper would like to be both an astronaut AND a rocket ship at the same time. By that I take it to mean that he would like to be an astronaut in the act of piloting a ship, which is fine, but DUDE. I'm really not all that good with cardboard or rocket boosters, so he may be S.O.L. 

Rowan would like to be both a PIG and a GHOST. And yet, when I suggested that he go as BACON, he blinked at me uncomprehendingly.

So, in short, we have tentative, almost to fruition, HEY IT COULD HAPPEN plans for costumes, yet nothing concrete 10 days out. I'm not worried. I've probably told you this before, but I buy costumes all the time for the boys to play dress up, so we regularly have about a veritable wardrobe for them to choose from. I'll probably just lay them all out and let the monkeys choose which ones they'd like though so help me, if someone asks me to make robot arms out of dryer vents again this year, I will lose it.

**(Ok fine, I'm going as a ZomBee and either  a Spelling Bee or a Queen Bee--get it?? same bee parts, different make up.  Also known as--YOU KNOW I CANNOT RESIST A PUN COSTUME TO SAVE MY LIFE and  I FOUND A BEE COSTUME IN A THRIFT STORE FOR 5 BUCKS)

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Funtos

So, you may or may not know that we've had seven cocker spaniel puppies at our house for a week now which we are fostering for rescue. I've done this before, but it's been a while since I've had seven. Seven is....more than five. Three more than four...QUITE A BIT more than Smidge. What I'm saying here is that we are knee deep in poo over here. So tonight, some of the pups are going to a co-foster. For that reason, I thought I'd try and get a group photo of the girls all together. It was.. Less successful than I thought it would be. At six weeks old, they are at the cocker spaniel equivalent of  a small child taking off his pants smearing chocolate pudding on his hair and chest while screaming NO FUNTOS! YOU MAY NOT TAKE FUNTOS!! Which is to say: they are Rowan. Seven fuzzy little girl Rowans.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Faking It

This is the third Friday in a row that Hop has had some version of stomach upset bad enough to go home from school.  The first two were more of spewing halfway across the room type things and today's was decidedly uh, further south (update: he waited for the spewing til he got in my car. Hoo. Ray). ANYWAY.

 So, I'm getting upset that this is the THIRD Friday in a row that he's sick because I don't know if it means we have to stay home all weekend, how's he going to feel tomorrow, WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY FEEDING HIM at school on Fridays that's maybe causing this. After I picked the poor kid up and dropped him with his dad and returned to work, I'm talking about it with some of my other coworkers who are also in this day-long training that is preventing me from leaving to take care of him which is already making me feel extremely guilty and crappy. This lady, who I normally like, actually suggests to me that Hopper is lying.

"You know," she says, "Sometimes they do these things to get out of school."
Yeah I know kids do that, I tell her, but there are several things wrong with this suggestion:
1). Its FRIDAY. If he wanted to get out of school, don't you think he'd be doing this shit on a MONDAY?
2). It's not lying when there is ACTUAL PROJECTILE VOMITING

"Oh," She says, "You know, kids have lots of ways to make themselves throw up if they want to get out of something."

Ok, lady, first of all, he's FIVE. He doesn't even know there is such a thing as making yourself throw up. He never saw that particular Lifetime Movie. Secondly, WHAT THE EFFF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.  I tried to explain to her that Hopper actually LIKES school. He hates missing it. He tried to get me to take him there on Saturday to make up for it the last time he was sick. Besides the fact that when I pick him up he's the color of chalk and got cold sweats and I know I mentioned this about 15 times already, but do you remember that there is a lot of throwing up going on? And you know what she says to me?

"Oh girl, I think you got yourself a faker."

I actually could not even speak there for a minute.  I could not even.  I just...walked away.

But  now you'll have to excuse me, I gotta go clean up some more pretend vomit from my kid who apparently is into extreme method acting and also apparently has figured out how to rig some sort of high tech undetectable horf simulator under his Power Rangers tshirt. Then I'm gonna pour some wine and think about WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.