Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Bedtime Snack

We usually eat dinner at 5:30 p.m. Sometimes as early as 5 p.m., a lot of times 6 p.m., but almost never as late as 6:30 p.m.

If we eat on the early side, or if certain small people in the house weren't a fan of what was served for dinner, the kids are usually hungry at bedtime. So they can have a banana, an applesauce pouch, or sometimes a Nutragrain bar (if I'm feeling generous) before going to sleep.

Last night Chet was in a hurry to put the kids to bed, because he was headed to the Navy Exchange (before it closed at 9 p.m.) to buy a charcoal grill that we had a coupon for.

***Side note: We left our gas grill in Austin because it was in pretty bad shape, and when Chet shared that he wanted a charcoal grill this time, I balked. Because in my head I'm ready and willing to  finally learn how to turn on a gas grill and subsequently use it, but in the real world that's probably not going to happen. I'll never learn how to cook on a difficult-to-use charcoal grill. But, as they say, never say never...***

Anyway, we put the kids (minus Ruthie) to bed a few minutes early, and Ford is at the age where he thinks it's okay to get out of bed several times for random reasons. Chet had already left, and Ruthie and I were in the kitchen, when Ford started "visiting" us. I can't remember why he got out of bed the first couple of times, but the third time he said, "I forgot to eat a banana." So he and Ruthie shared a banana (Ruthie prefers to hold her own bananas, but doesn't mind if her sisters or brother feed her one...she HATES when Chet or I try to feed her a banana).

Apparently Ruthie was extremely thankful for part of her brother's banana, because she tried to kiss Ford on the lips. But he wrenched his head away and said, "Ew! She has a dirty mouth!" But he said it with a fond smile on his face, so I'm certain he loves her despite her "dirty mouth."

Hopefully the kids eat plenty of dinner tonight, because I'm afraid the bananas are currently too green to eat.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Barstool Wars

Our new house has a bar in the kitchen that separates (connects?) the kitchen from the dining room. We had one like it in our Mayport, FL base house, and I really liked it. But now I LOVE it, because during the day (breakfast, lunch, snacks) the kids can sit at the bar and I can just throw food at them from the kitchen rather than bringing it over to the dining table and serving them like English royalty.

Here's a picture of the bar (while standing in the dining area) on the day the movers unloaded everything:

Here are the adorable barstools I bought from Wayfair on sale AND with a coupon:
I showed them to kids online before buying them, and everyone decided Sydney would have blue (her favorite color), Lorelei green, Ford red (because he likes Marshall from Paw Patrol), and Ruthie yellow (in about two years). 

But then...over the summer the kids started watching a show called PJ Masks, and since Ford insisted on identifying with Catboy (yes, Catboy) from the show, he no longer wanted the red stool, he wanted the BLUE stool. Because Catboy is blue and Owlette (the girl character on the show) is red, so obviously it was impossible for him to sit on a girly red stool. I can't believe I just explained all that, because it's just plain ridiculous.

We tried to come up with a fair system for Sydney and Ford to take turns using the blue stool, but I spent way too much time enforcing that system, and the blue stool became a stumbling block for my first and third child. So we waved bye-bye to the adorable primary-colored stools and welcomed white stools (only 3, because Ruthie may never use one while we live here):
Ruthie doesn't usually dine in her highchair in the midst of the barstools, but this day she did. And I wanted to capture the post-lunch mess all over the floor. I'm always on my hands and knees picking up the food that can't be picked up with a dust buster. Tell me I'm not alone.

In addition to arguing over the barstools, they also started (continued?) arguing over plate and bowl types/colors. I was on a rampage by this point, so this is what the kids use now:
It's this set from Target, plus I bought four more of the (smaller) salad plates, because that's what they use the most. 

You might be thinking, "Just teach your kids not to argue!" I mostly agree. My older girls especially know better (it doesn't mean they always comply, but they know). But the barstools were causing huge issues, and it really drove the point home when I got rid of them and replaced them with boring (to my kids) white. The plates just happened to follow on the heels of the barstools, plus I've been looking for an excuse to get rid of all of our mismatched plastic plates for years. (The tupperware is drives Chet and me crazy! What is the solution?!)

One last tidbit about the house. This is a picture of our living room in Austin:
See that blueish table? Chet built it when we were living in Alexandria, I had him spray paint it the blueish color in Austin, and as of yesterday it looks like this:
It's hard to see in the picture, but the legs are this shiny copper color. The top is covered with this marble contact paper. Isn't Chet the best? He can't wait to carry out the plans I have for our bedroom furniture...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

*tap, tap* "Is thing thing on?"

I was trying to remember when I last posted, and was sure it was some time in late June. Since the actual date was Memorial Day, that misremembered late-June blog post must be one of the many that only exist in my head.

Here's the problem with life: you can always make an excuse for not doing what you feel led to do. Most of us have hundreds of legitimate excuses. Here are some of mine: Sydney, Lorelei, Ford, Ruthie, the laundry they create, the dishes they dirty, the books they need read to them, the books I  need read to me (well, sort of -- I read my own books, but it takes time and brainpower to do that). Those are just a few of my own excuses. And can I also just say that it takes A LOT of time time to prepare, serve, and clean up after children who eat 3+ meals a day? Sigh.

Anyway, the time is now to do what I feel led to do. If I wasn't supposed to write anything on this blog, doing so wouldn't even occur to me. But it does. (And obviously my writing is rusty, so bear with me as these muscles wake back up.)

By the way, we have completed our move to central California. We left Didi's house in Texas mid-July and arrived at our new home a week later. I might post some pictures if I can get over the fear of plugging my phone into my computer (why does technology have to be so obscure?!).

It's hot here, just like everywhere in August. We've been surviving inside, and Sydney has taken up putting future outfits together for herself:

Hang on, she says they're Halloween costumes. I should offer her services to Pottery Barn Kids.

Happy Thursday, y'all!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Today we honor those who lost their lives while serving this great country.

Here is a list of my Fallen Classmates, 2006 U. S. Naval Academy graduates:

Brandon Barrett
Daniel Bartle
Nicholas Bourgeois (a dear friend)
John Coghlan
Jay Dixon
Matthew McFarland
Michael Quin
Stanford Shaw

I'm not sure how many of Chet's classmates (class of 2005) have lost their lives in service, but I know of one, someone we both knew: Elizabeth "Betsy" Kealy. She was a wonderful person and friend.

I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and were able to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Happy Sunday!

The kids and I had a great morning at church with Didi and Papa Dave, and then Didi and I spend the majority of the day reorganizing her pantry -- not a planned project, but definitely a satisfying one!

The moving truck came Wednesday and carted everything away, leaving us with empty rooms (which always seem smaller empty than when filled with furniture...?), tumbleweeds of dust, and Easter-colored Hershey Kisses candy wrappers (the two culprits were aged five and older, and were NOT Chet and/or me). Chet and Sydney spent Wednesday night in the nearly empty house so that Sydney could attend her last day of school (the actual last day is June 1st, but thankfully she is excused the last three days) and so that Chet could pack the last of our things into his truck. He and Sydney joined the rest of us in New Braunfels Thursday evening.

This is my favorite stage of moving, "stuff"-wise. When everything is packed safely in the moving van, and all you're left with are the things you (mostly) really need. ("Mostly," because I may or may not have several rolls of washi tape, all of the kids' headlamps, and about 12 bottles of lotion I almost never use in my possession currently. #necessities) It's so nice and easy to keep track of and organize only a couple of suitcases worth of items. I'm always a little mad to see all of the boxes the movers haul into our new home, wondering why on earth we thought we needed it all in the first place.

Anyway, Chet spent Thursday night and Friday with us, and left for California Saturday morning. He spent Saturday night in El Paso, and is staying with one of our friends in the L.A. area for the next two nights. He's only a few hours from our new town at this point, and I'm so thankful he's had an uneventful trip so far.

I hope your Memorial Day weekend has so far been full of fun, relaxation, and perhaps even a bit of organizing -- more about Memorial Day tomorrow!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back in the Saddle

Here's the deal: I've been busy, but I've also been spending free time (that I could have spent posting here) mostly reading. I'm doing another Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge (both of them, actually), and it seems I think I'm supposed to finish the challenge(s) before the 4th of July rather than New Years Eve.

Anyway, we really have been busier than usual. Isn't the month of May, with Mother's Day and the end of school, always a hectic time of year? Our extended family also celebrates several May birthdays. On top of that, we're gearing up for our big move from Texas to California. We get more and more used to moving (and a fraction more efficient) each time we move, but if I think too long and hard about the disorganized and extremely inconvenient nature of moving in general...well, let's just not go there.

I should clarify: when I say "gearing up" for our big move, what I mean is that the moving company sent people to pack up our house last Friday (May 19th), and they showed up again this morning to finish. It took these fine, efficient people 6.5 total hours to put all of our earthly possessions into boxes, while Chet and I sat around eating donuts and feeling impressed by, and appreciative of, their hard work. (That sounds sarcastic, but it's not! They were great!)

(Please note: we shared the donuts with said fine, efficient people.)

So really we're past the "gearing up" phase and more accurately in the "there's no turning back now" phase. Our house is a sea of boxes, and the moving truck will come pick all of them (and our furniture) up Wednesday. Chet, Sydney, and Lorelei are still staying in our house so that Sydney can attend school and Lorelei can go to her gymnastics class, and Ford, Ruthie, and I are staying with Didi and Papa Dave in New Braunfels.

Moving IS inconvenient. For example, Chet will have to make breakfast work tomorrow with two plastic spoons and a single paper coffee cup (Starbucks, size Tall), out of which the girls will eat cereal. But there's also a fun flipside: today after school he took the girls to the bowling alley and then out to dinner (not our normal Monday night routine!). I have to keep reminding myself that it's all an adventure.

I also have to keep reminding myself that even though we're in the midst of a move and summer vacation is quickly approaching (my least favorite time of year), I can still have a routine. I miss recording our family memories and the things that my kids say and the random things that pop into my head, so I'm going to make time for blogging again. But I have to be honest: without the use of our home computer (I'll be using Didi's computer for the majority of the summer), I won't be able to post many pictures (if any). I'm fine with that, but I know that pictures make this space more exciting, so I apologize in advance. Pictures or no pictures, I'm getting back in the saddle!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend -- He is risen!

Our Easter festivities started last Wednesday, when we took a picture with the Easter bunny at the mall:
Obviously, I'm kidding. We did SEE the Easter bunny, but didn't actually sit with him. I'm not sure any of these three would have been brave enough (Sydney would have).

We also dyed some eggs during the week (we went all out by dying NINE WHOLE EGGS):

Lorelei was off school Wednesday and Friday for Easter, and Sydney was off Friday (Chet wasn't off at all). On Friday Didi and Papa Dave, as well as my aunt and uncle and cousin (who were visiting Didi and Papa Dave), drove up to Austin to spend the day with us. We had fun just catching up, and then going out to dinner. Uncharacteristically, I suggested we take a picture after dinner to commemorate the visit:

Saturday morning I went to Target with Sydney and Lorelei (they are SO SILLY when I take them places together -- sometimes I would rather have in tow irrational 3-year old Ford and uncommunicative 1-year old Ruthie). I can't even remember what we bought, so obviously it was a crucial shopping trip.

Our church held two Easter services this year, one Saturday evening and one Sunday morning. We were scheduled to work in one of the 3-year old classrooms Sunday morning, so we went to church as a family Saturday evening. Thankfully Uncle Grant was there to snap a family picture:

After church I tried to get a good picture of Ruthie's dress, but she kept running toward me (ha!):

I tried to use Ford to anchor her in place, but she was suspicious of that:

After church and nap time on Sunday, we gave the kids their Easter baskets and did a small hunt in the backyard:

I don't have any pictures of the hunt, because in my experience they never turn out well (sort of like pictures of kids unwrapping presents -- those never turn out for me), so I decided to leave my phone in the house and just watch.

I was going to say that it was nice to get back to our normal routine Monday morning, but then I remembered that I had an 8 a.m. dentist appointment yesterday, and that I took Lorelei, Ford, and Ruthie to the grocery store after picking up Lorelei from school (I NEVER go to the grocery store then, but we desperately needed bread and milk and bananas). Let me tell you...EVERYONE was at the grocery store at 1:15 p.m. yesterday. Was it because they were off work for "Easter Monday?" Or did everyone run out of food over the weekend (the store was closed Sunday)? Or is it always so busy Monday early afternoon? Whatever the reason, it was intense.

Happy Tuesday, friends!