Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Twilight Faux Pas

My thoughtful sister bought me a ticket to see the new Twilight movie on opening day - since opening day corresponded with our visit. So kind.  She brought me along to the theater and introduced me to some of her other friends that have all loyally attended the previous two movies together.  Now don't get me wrong, I like the Twilight series.  I have read the books.  I've even attended a Twilight book club.

But, while waiting in line (yes, we were waiting in line with all the other teenagers in town) I asked, "Which one is this?  New Moon or Eclipse?"  Stunned silence.  And, as soon as the words were out of my mouth I realized I had simultaneously done two things:
  • I outed myself as someone who merely appreciates the series as entertaining but wouldn't faint dead away in the presence of Robert Pattinson, trade places with Bella Swan if given the chance, plan a family vacation to Forks, Washington, or even stand in line to see the movie the first day it came out if it didn't involve hanging out with friends;
  • AND brought shame to my family (at least in the eyes of my sister).
I'm pretty sure all her friends took a couple steps back from me. And, when I turned my back, she might have even apologized for bringing me.  I DO know that she sat at the other end of the row from me in the theater - but, I choose to believe that's just a coincidence.

Ummm.  It's Eclipse.  Duh.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We've made it to Corpus...

...just in time for a hurricane!  Ok.  I'm being dramatic.  It's has 4 more mph of wind speed before it's a hurricane.  Technically, it's just Tropical Storm Alex.  And,  he didn't mess with any of our flights down here.  So, really, I should get off his back.

Actually, it was a very uneventful trip down - which feels a little bit like Utopia compared to some of our past travels with children.  There was even a packed flight on one of the legs of our journey, so Shawn called dibs on sitting next to the wee ones and I had to sit elsewhere crammed in next to two strangers... against the window... and SLEEP the whole time.  Ok, honey.  I guess I'll take this one for the team...  ;)  But, my lone traveling bliss didn't last longer than that one flight before Shawn texted me that Lulu needed to go potty.  Oh, the humanity!  I have deemed that taking a child to an airplane bathroom is the ninth circle of hell.  (But, then I returned her and went back to my nap at the window - sequestered by strangers.)

We're down here visiting my sister, brother-in-law and nieces; dad, step-mom and baby brother (Damn.  There's another sign that you're old: when your brother turns 21 in a month and you still call him your baby brother...)

But, our trip is already a raving success for the fact that I can report that my 8-year old niece's sarcasm is coming along quite nicely - this is, indeed, one of the true legacies I have to pass to the next generation.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I should just turn over the keys now

The babysitter was due to arrive in ten minutes.  I thought I should awaken the kids from their naps, so as to dispel the notion that I was trying to sneak out of the house while they napped - NOT a notion conducive to naps on subsequent days, FYI.

I walked into Elizabeth's room and she looked at me like "a deer in the headlights" from where she was playing at the end of her bed.
"Elizabeth Ann, did you nap at all or did you just play the whole time?!"
[cute smile]
"Tell me the truth."
"Jus' play.  Sooooo-ry."  [pause]  "Mommy?  You look pretty."
[small chuckle as I tried to maintain my stern, disapproval]  "Thank you.  You may get up now."
"Yay!"
"But, you need to sleep during nap next time.  Do you understand me?"
"Yes, ma'am."

I turned to walk away and was halfway to the kitchen when her voice called out from the doorway:
"Mommy?"
"Yes?"
"I loooove you..."
"I love you, too." [and, now I'm laughing]

I told Shawn this story and he said, "Oh, man.  You are toast!"
"Me? What about you?!"
"Oh, I've always been toast.  You were the only chance that girl had at someone being able to effectively parent her."

Well, it was a good four year run of thinking I was in control.

Friday, June 25, 2010

BlogHer

I'm a member of the BlogHer Publishing Network now.  Ooh la la.  I applied.  They accepted.  Now, I'm well on my way to total world domination!  *insert diabolical laughter*

What it really means is you click on that ad over there ---> and as soon as, say, a million of you have done it, I'll probably get paid a dollar fifty or so.  But, the other cool thing is that below that ad, there are links to other bloggers in their network that they think you might be interested in if you're interested in little ol' me.  Oh, come on, you know you like to cyber-stalk strangers just as much as I do.

But, here's how I know it's meant to be.  The final link is something they think you might be interested in from iVillage.  I don't know if it will still be there by the time you read this, but as of this posting it was a link to "How to make Playdough."  Bliss.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You just can't please me

So, I never go to the liquor store.  Alcohol just magically appears at my house (ok, it could have something to do with Shawn - but, no, I'm going with magical).  But, today I ventured into the liquor store. And, if I do say so myself, I was looking quite young.  I had my hair in a mussed, haphazard pile on my head; I was wearing workout clothes; more importantly, I was wearing sunglasses to cover the tell-tale crow's feet.  Couple that with my high of being carded all vacation long and I thought, "Oh, yeah.  Here it comes.  I'm getting carded for sure!"  (BTW, you know you're over 30 when the prospect of getting carded makes you a little giddy - and you don't even care if it's because the young waiter is trying to flatter you...)  I stepped up to the counter and I got... nothin'.  Not even a second glance from the cute, young thang behind the counter.  But, then I realized, most underage drinkers probably aren't buying 12-year-old scotch.

I'm going back.  And, I'm only going to buy Coors Light, wine coolers and Strawberry Hill Boones Farm.

P.S.  I just died a little bit inside realizing that it was still legal for me to drink when my scotch was born.  I'm buying the 18-year-old stuff next time.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cousin David

Our precious nephew David is visiting us for the week.  The kids are having a blast together - as evidenced by the fact that they made a playset of a bike rack.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"After a While" by Veronica A. Shoffstall

[A friend of mine was hurting recently and I was reminded of this poem.  My mom sent this to me when I was in college and a boy broke my heart.  These words helped me become a stronger person; a person who realized I really could stand on my own two feet; a person that some wonderful guy would someday be lucky to find (don't tell Shawn I said that - his eye rolling might hurt my feelings.  ;)  Hope it speaks to you, too.]

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand
and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts and
presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting
for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn
that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye you learn.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rewind Part Deux - Lost Pines Family Vacation

And, one more time, get in your time machine.  Rewind back to Memorial weekend.  And... let me tell you about our family reunion/vacation!

My mom and step-dad host a family reunion for their four daughters and families every Memorial weekend (but, to be clear, they're really just bringing their grandkids on vacation - we're just lucky enough to get to come along as their caregivers)!  We did an abysmal job of taking pictures, but luckily we had some sitters along who snapped a few.  And, my sister got a couple...

Look how sweet they can act...
But, this is more like it...
And, to name those hooligans:
Back row: Abby W. (Aug '01) holding Roman K. (Dec '09),
Spencer J. (Oct '03), Megan W. (Jan '04)
Middle Row: Lauren V. (Feb '04), Elizabeth J. (Jun '06),
Ava V. (Feb '04), Miranda K. (Jul '05)
Front Row: Graysen "Gigi" V. (May '08)


Our fabulous sitters who allow us to stay out
later than 8:00 after the kids go to bed!

The resort has a "Crooked River"...
...and a water slide!

And here's a few that just crack me up:
Oh, where to start?  Megan in the back with a slap bracelet around her neck giving off a distinctly African tribal vibe?  Spencer in the front doing what is clearly a ninja move of some sort?  Abby and Lauren in the front - natural born posers regardless of the mayhem all around them?  Or Lulu?  Oh sweet Lulu.  What color is the sky in that beautiful, carefree world of yours?

Men on their iPhones:

Has there ever, in the history of mankind, been a more clear "I'm-going-to-humor-you-with-this-picture-but-really-I-just-want-you-to-leave-me-alone" face?

And, never to be one to leave a person hanging, I owe you the story of "The Territorial Horsefly."

Brandy and I awoke early one morning to go on a hike (a passing salute to actually working out - don't worry, we didn't do it more than once).  We had to hike a bit on a path that skirted the resort property, but then we arrived at a some sort of National Reserve.  We passed through a gate and, voilĂ , remote forest/other world experience.  We walked aimlessly for a bit and then I felt it.  A pinch on the back of my shoulder.  I asked Brandy what it was and she yelled some exclamation of horror and said it was a huge horsefly.  She batted it off of me, as clearly it was a biting horsefly at that, and on we went.  But, oh no.  The horsefly landed on her a couple of seconds later.  She screamed and ran, but it hung on tight.  I had to muster every ounce of sisterly love to bat this bird-sized fly off of her.  Then we ran away.  And it landed on me again.  We screamed.  We laughed.  We ran.  I think I even peed a little.  And, this fly just kept jumping from one to the next of us.  Finally, we found our way, panting and exhausted back to the gate through which we'd arrived and bolted through it.  We kept watching each other and giving cautionary swats to ourselves, but the devil bug didn't follow us through the gate.  Creepy territorial fly.  Obviously, just didn't want us on his side of the gate.

Eewwww.  I'm getting the heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rewind to Dance Recital

Rewind back a couple of weeks.  Done?  Good.  Lulu had her dance recital!  It was darling and precious - although, it involved a lot of makeup.  Shawn and I had to keep reminding ourselves that she looked like a china doll, not a hooker.

(I'm not terribly certain why every dancer seems to be
doing something different in the next picture.  But, it
didn't matter, they were precious nonetheless.  And,
they sang/screamed their little hearts out!)

She had so much fun, it even seemed tolerable that we had an 8:00 dress rehearsal Friday evening, an 11:00 performance on Saturday morning and a 9:00 performance Saturday evening.  But, the very sweetest part of the whole weekend was the fact that Shawn and Spencer came to all three of those performances.  If Lulu was on stage, her fan club was there supporting her.  I know it will be years before she realizes what awesome men she has in her life, but I'm so happy for her that she will realize just that one day.

(She's in too much awe of the roses to look
at the camera in either of these pictures.)
And here's the good luck note Spencer
drew for her to keep in her dance bag.
It's she and all her friends performing:
(and if your heart didn't just melt a little bit,
you are made of stone, my friend.)

I'm glad we had this experience together.  But, I'm glad it'll be another year before recital rolls around again...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hate Me

I'm at a spa. I've already had a massage today. I have another one scheduled for tomorrow. Thought I would jump at my kid-free opportunity to get away for a couple of days. My sweet husband couldn't get away from the office (because he has to work hard so he can send me to spas :-/ ). So, I'm napping by the pool. Just thought I would check in to tell you - you should hate me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Elizabeth Ann's Birthday

Somewhere in the madness that was the end of school and the beginning of summer (June 8th to be exact), our Lulu turned FOUR!  Happy, happy birthday, my darling girl.  You could not be more beautiful to us - inside and out.  You are the girl I always wished I could be.  You are happy, confident and you blissfully dance to the beat of your own drummer.  May you always know such self-acceptance and confidence every day of your life.  You are the life of the party around our house.  You keep us laughing.  And, you constantly touch our hearts with your love and joy.

I love how most every story you tell us happened "on Tuesday."  I love how you always want to wear a dress and sparkly shoes.  I love how you always want to have your hair done - complete with ribbons, bows or flowers.  I love how you smile for pictures by pulling your mouth back and attempting to show every tooth in your head.  I love how you hold your dress out in a curtsy the whole time you walk down the aisle at church.  I love how you think you are the boss of your brother - and he lets you believe that you are.  I love how you carry every little toy you can find in a purse.  I love how you carry on long elaborate conversations with your stuffed animals and your dolls.  I love how you chose to have cookies for your birthday instead of cake - cookies that everyone decorated themselves.  I know you will constantly change and evolve as you grow, but today this is who you are.  And, you are perfectly YOU.

I'm sure it is a story that will be told to you thousands of times, but when your daddy thought you were going to be a boy, he told me we could name you Hope.  When we found out that you were indeed a girl, he 'fessed-up that he didn't want to name you that after all.  Well, you are still my hope.  My hope for the future.  My hope that the light within you will brighten every life it touches.  (But, I do have to agree with Daddy.  If you hadn't been our Elizabeth Ann, you wouldn't also be our Lulu, our Elle, our Belle, our Belly, our Elizabeth.)

We love you more than words could ever say.  And, we hope you had a great fourth birthday, big girl.



"Spa Party" at the Bear Castle - complete with pajamas, make-up, manicures and stuffed animals...
...and the greatest Big Brother in the world who wore his jammies, came to a "girl party" and never uttered a single word of complaint (although, it didn't hurt that he scored a leather-clad motorcycle wolf out of the deal).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Party Van

My darling, wonderful, beautiful, amazing (ok, this could go on and on.  I'll just leave it with...) AWESOME in-laws took the kids to the lake for a week.  Yesterday I.  did.  nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I collapsed in a pile of exhaustion - and it was beautiful.  Today I was a little more motivated.  I started doing some long-overdue organizing.  But, first I had to deal with the mess left behind before the kids went on vacation.  And, this is what I found:


I will have it known that this is not the kind of driving safety that we condone at the Johnson's.  And, for goodness' sake, Barbie, what in the world are you smiling at?  I should not think this is the kind of situation in which you should be proud to be caught.  It is downright scandalous.  You better hope Mattel doesn't catch wind of this.  You could lose your endorsement deals.  I would also like it to be noted that this debauchery led to some kind of destruction of a brick structure as evidenced by the detritus laying about the ground.  I am horrified.  And, a little bit scared to continue on with the organization...

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Passing Wave to Our Anniversary

Our eleven year anniversary was Saturday, June 5th.  Here's how the week looked: 
  • We returned home from our family reunion vacation (I promise I have pictures to show you from that!) on Tuesday evening.
  • Wednesday I did a whole lot of laundry and Shawn and I both had meetings at church.
  • Thursday evening the kids had their final swim lessons.
  • Friday Lulu had her dress rehearsal for her dance recital (I promise, promise I have some darling pictures to show you from that one!).
  • Saturday was the dance recital complete with two, count 'em, two performances - the last one at 9:00 in the evening.  Yes, you're remembering correctly, she's not even four yet.  (But, she did love every minute of it, so I didn't feel too much like a Toddlers & Tiaras mother - yet.)
  • Sunday morning Shawn left town somewhere around the six o'clock hour (I gotta be honest and say I didn't smile and wave him out the door.  I did roll over and grunt a goodbye to him, though - that's something, right?)  He'll be back Wednesday evening. (Yes, I know.  I just did it again.  Do not come murder me while Shawn is away - I have an alarm and a gun.)
All this to say, this may have been our most pathetic attempt at celebrating an anniversary in all these eleven years.  But, in a way - it wasn't.  Eleven years ago was the day our family was created.  And this year we were completely surrounded and involved with our family of four.  Our kids are more cool than we ever could have imagined.  They bring us immeasurable joy and happiness.  Loving them and raising them together has done nothing but bring us closer.

And we love each other more today than we could have even dreamed possible eleven years ago.  We are each other's best friends.  The rest of the world could disappear (although we wouldn't want it to - our friends and family bring beauty to our lives), but as long as we've got each other, we'll be just fine.  My hurts are his hurts, my victories his.  And visa versa.

So, although this anniversary was less than glamorous, Shawn; and, although you're half a continent away... I wouldn't have our life any other way than exactly how it is.  I love you.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"I mean this is like a blog post all its own"

So, we've been back from our family vacation for a couple of days now and life has taken off like a shot - there has been laundry, Vacation Bible School meetings, final swim lessons, more laundry...  I've got a lot to tell you of the fun we had with our cousins, aunts, uncles, Nanny, Pop and two babysitters at Lost Pines, but it'll have to wait til I'm not quite so tired.  Also, Lulu has a dance recital coming up, so keep an eye out for those sure-to-be-darling pictures.  Our little ham is super excited about that - although, I can't promise that she really understands exactly what it is.

In the meantime, you'll have to tide yourself over with this little tidbit from our first night of vacation:

Brandy and I decided to leave the family gathering to go check out the pool situation for the next day.  Little did we know the pool bar would actually be open (at least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it).  We walked up, placed our orders... and got carded.  Oh.  Ha ha.  Cute bartender trying to make the old ladies feel good about themselves.  No really.  No really?!  After a completely failed attempt to use my crows' feet as identification and Brandy demanding, "January 26, 1972!", we walked away with our heads hung like the most dejected, busted 20-year olds you have ever seen.  But, we've never been girls who give up very easily.  So, we quickly found a bar inside (clearly, it was one with better lighting) and got what we were after!  We debated going back to the pool bartender and having our Pretty Woman moment, "Remember us?  You wouldn't serve us?  Big mistake.  Huge!"  But, we took the high road.  We're so mature.

It was twilight as we headed back to join the rest of the family and we saw something on the sidewalk in front of us.  As we got closer, we realized it was a snake slowly slithering its way across our path.  It was at this point that Brandy said, "Geez.  We get carded.  We see a snake.  I mean this is like a blog post all its own."  We wondered if maybe we were dreaming, the night was taking such a surreal turn.  But, we looked down, and we were not, indeed, naked so we felt like it all must really be happening.

So there, you go.  That was our first night of vacation.  And, that story has nothing on "The Attack of the Territorial Horsefly".


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