Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

Last week we met Ariel at the beach. Alex was hoping to get in the water, but it was a little to chilly for that. Instead we looked for shells and dug in the sand with Aiden.

Ariel brought Toby.

Aiden and his Uncle Alex

Auntie Ayo gave him the ole chase'n'poke.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Wednesday my dad moved Aiden's tree swing to the front yard. We had it in a tree in the backyard on a lower limb. I wanted it to be on a higher limb so the swing would go farther. Travis has been so busy with work lately, that he hasn't been able to fix it. My dad knows more than I do about hardware, so he took care of it for us.

This tree now has less than half the number of leaves it had the day this photo was taken. We had some windy weather on Christmas Eve that took care of that.

As soon as G-pa climbed that ladder, Aiden was all over it. He sure likes to hang out with the guys.

I think Aiden likes his new swing.

G-pa had his turn pushing Aiden on the swing too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuesday in Photos

Wow. This past week has been a BLUR. Travis still has his hernia. The doctor didn't think the surgery was an emergency, so I'm not crazy worried about it at this point. The hospital clinics were closed from December 20th and they don't open again until January 3rd. Hopefully the surgeon will call during the beginning of next week.

At the Boardwalk...

Skylar passed out right before we got on the train.

Alex and Ariel walking down a lit tunnel.

Aiden and G-pa check out a bright arch...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Week Off

I've been out of commission for a few days since my family has been in town. I found a couple minutes to get out some stuff out.

First off, Travis still has his hernia. The surgeon is yet to call him. Apparently a rush "order" on a hernioplasty isn't that big of a deal. Travis tried calling himself. They took his information but said that the doctor has to call him to make the appointment. So weird.

My dad and brother got into town Saturday night. They were supposed to come on Friday, but the roads were too icy for travel. My mom got in Saturday night, also, but she went to my sister's house. Sunday I baked cookies and then we did some shopping. Travis had to work Sunday night, so he stayed home and attempted to nap.

We went to Toys R Us for the first time with Aiden and he LOVED IT. I never doubted that he would like that place. It has just never crossed my mind to go there with him before. My dad wanted to get an idea of which Elmo toys Aiden likes best. We set him down in front of the Elmo display and let him go at it. He ran up to the first box and screamed "Melmo!" Then he'd pull it off the shelf, notice the box behind it and do it all over again. Needless to say, we left with a few Elmo in tow.

That night we went to the softball game, since I had help from both of my parents. Their team needed another player, so Alex got out on the field for the first time in three years.

Monday I baked cookies and we did some more shopping. I made chicken noodle soup in the crock pot for the first time. I thought it was really good, except I didn't realize I had forgotten salt until the end. Easy to fix.

Tuesday, the temperature soared to 80 degrees, so we got outside as much as we could. Aiden played in the yard all morning. My dad came up with a plan to lengthen Aiden's tree swing. I had absolutely no idea how to go about doing it so it would be safe and Travis has been working too much to have time to do it lately.

After Aiden's nap, we drove up to the Kemah Boardwalk. We met Alexa, Blair and Skylar for coffee and a walk in the great weather. The boys had a great time running around together. Blair showed Aiden the ropes. We saw boats and ducks and lots of people. Aiden seemed to be a little wary of the loud rides, but we got around them. We even took a ride on the train. Aiden seemed to enjoy it, although I think it went a little fast for him at times. He likes to stand and observe things, so a moving train moves a bit quick. He didn't freak out about it at all which was nice to see.

That night we went with the whole family to the Dickinson Festival of Lights. It's free and it is HUGE. Aiden did seem a little overwhelmed occasionally, but for the most part he enjoyed walking through the park himself. The only hiccup was on the ride in when a cop that was "directing traffic" yelled at Travis to learn how to drive. Travis yelled back at the cop about something, that including calling the officer a "dick". Not nice.

We finished the night off by eating Christmas cookies and watching Scrooged. I haven't seen that movie in forever. I had forgotten about much of the show. Plus, I'm sure it was different since I was watching the movie for the first time as an adult. HA!

I think this morning my dad and I are going to work on the tree swing. Travis is working all week and my brother stayed at Ariel's last night, so it's just us and Aiden. We've had the windows open for a few days now. It is very nice, but I keep having to remind myself it's almost Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holey Hernias, Batman!

Santa came a little early for Travis this year. He got his very own hernia! Brace yourself Internet, for I am going to explain what a hernia is. Basically, some event occurs that causes a tear in the stomach muscles. Then the abdominal organs (generally the intestines) are free to move in and out of the abdomen.

We believe Travis' defining moment was last Thursday when he was throwing up all morning. He said he felt a pull in his groin, but assumed he just pulled a muscle. It wasn't until Monday (after working all weekend and playing a game of softball) that he noticed the bulge. The next day he called to set up an appointment to have this most-likely-hernia checked out by a professional. I went with him to his Wednesday afternoon appointment. The doctor confirmed our fears.

Since his intestines still move in and out freely, the doc was not seriously concerned. He said the repair could wait, but there are many serious complications that could occur which would require an emergency surgery. If the intestines get stuck out, they could get a blockage or the blood flow could get stopped off. Both of these would result in necrotic intestines. That would be an even bigger surgery. This is exactly why we have insurance, so he is going to go ahead and have the repair done as soon as possible.

For the moment, he is still allowed to work and go about his daily life. He is not supposed to lift over 30 lbs, which means he can still carry our son. If it ever hurts, he is supposed to stop what he is doing immediately. He has a cough. And coughing is painful. Having a full bladder is painful. Taking large steps is painful (like when he skips rungs on the ladder).

We have to wait for the surgeon to call us to schedule the pre-op visit. The Internal Medicine doc told us to give the surgeon a call on Monday if he hasn't called us yet. They put a rush on the appointment for Travis. Not because it is life threatening, but because he works a manual labor job.

While it will be a huge bummer for him to be in serious pain during the holidays, I am actually hoping he will have the surgery soon. I will be home for the next two weeks. That means I will be available to help him out in his first few days post-op with daily activities. My family will be around to give us a helping hand as well.

Our main concern at the moment is how we are going to pay for all of this. Travis does not have paid sick leave. The recovery time for this procedure is 3-6 weeks. Then on top of having half our income, we have to pay for the surgery. It's going to be a rough couple of months - that's for sure.

I sense the Grinch returning...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

Do you remember when you were a kid, that feeling that you got right before school let out for the summer? The anticipation of running through corn fields, climbing trees and chasing your friends around town on bikes?

Well, I have that right now.

While I won't actually be doing any of the aforementioned activities, I do have many other things to look forward to. My mom, dad and brother are supposed to get into town on Friday night. We have my holiday work party Friday night, sans child. Friday is my last day of work until the New Year.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Sister's Tree

This is the first year for both Ariel and Robert to put up a Christmas tree in their home. There's always something that prevents them from getting the tree: apartment is too small, they go out of town for Christmas, money is tight...

Well, money's always tight, but they went ahead and got a tree anyway this year. We celebrate Christmas with our parents separately every year, so this time we are doing one at Ariel's and one at our house. They went ALL out for their first time. They have 12-foot ceilings in their current rental house, so they bought an 11-foot tree to fill the room. Eleven feet is exactly twice as tall as I am.

They are learning a few things as they go. For instance, you need to saw off a couple inches from the trunk so the tree will continue to take up water throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately, they didn't learn this until they'd had the tree up for a week, so it was horrible dry by the time we went to decorate it. There were needles everywhere by the time we were done.

While the boys were outside sawing off the bottom branches, Ariel and I hung garland and lights on the banister. Then she had little holly berries for us to tuck along the garland.

After the tree was back in the stand, as straight as we could get it, we strung about 100' of white lights. Their tree topper is a gorgeous gold jeweled star. I'd really like to get the same one in silver for our tree, but I've decided I will only get it if I can find it on sale after Christmas.

(Everyone's in their softball uniforms.)

Ariel and Robert bought red and gold bulk ornaments and then they picked up several sea turtle ornaments. They are sort of forming their own theme for the tree. We had to place some of the turtles in front of poinsettia flowers so they would stand out from the green branches.

So pretty!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Schedule

Almost every morning, I pass a man on the walk from my car into work. He is a nice, chatty guy. We joke, in passing, about how we need to switch parking spots.

Before I pass Chatty Guy, I pass a number of people walking on the Seawall. There is a woman walking who, no matter the weather, always wears jogging shorts. That is a feat in itself, since there are usually gale force winds coming off the Gulf - with or without chilly temperatures.

There is also a man, who walks briskly with his German Shepherd. He is an older gentleman with a mustache and a buzz cut that never seems to grow longer than a couple inches.

In the evening, on the days when I pick Aiden up from daycare, I pass a large bearded man riding his bicycle down the same stretch of road.

We have a routine. There are a few variations on the routine, but for the most part, our weekdays are each the same. Aiden thrives on that routine.

Sunday afternoon, we went over to Ariel and Robert's. Travis went with them to their softball game, so they were gone for a couple hours before coming back for pizza. Aiden had already eaten his dinner, but he sat in my lap and ate an entire piece by himself before heading to bed.

After Aiden was down, we proceeded to put up Christmas decorations. We had wine and the Christmas music was playing. It was a nice, relaxing evening.

We made plans to be there past Aiden's bedtime, so we decided to stay the night. Ariel lives close to my work and since Travis would be passing the daycare to get to work, he brought Aiden in the morning. 99.99% of the time, I take him to daycare. Travis has to be to work an hour earlier than I do, so unfortunately, that meant Aiden had to wake up 45 minutes earlier than normal.

For Aiden, that equates to a morning full of crankiness. His teachers informed me at the end of the day, that he had cried inconsolably all morning. He had three bite attempts, two successful. He went into timeout four times that day.

Needless to say, Aiden needs his schedule and he needs his sleep.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Aiden's Friends

It has been months since we have spent any time with Kate and her parents. I have been wanting to put together a play date for while now too. So I put two and two together and got a 4-child-1-baby play date!

Each of the parents brought a little snack and I provided drinks and a few child-friendly snacks. It was a really laid back event starting after nap time and ending before bedtime.

Here Kate and Nadya watch on as Luke and Aiden share the farm:

Linsey is 5-months pregnant with a girl, so she took a little time to admire 2-month old Skylar with her mommy, Alexa:

Nadya was reaching through the farm with a monster hand, making Aiden jump back and laugh hysterically. Kate caught on quick:

Alexey showed Luke how to properly use the dump truck:

Chris and Zach take a child-free moment to snack and catch up:

Big boy Blair pulled the train into the kitchen so he could have some space to play:

Every one trickled out as the evening wore on. We hadn't seen the Ramby's since their Florida Thanksgiving trip, so it was great to see them as well. Little Skylar has put on some serious cheek-pinching-chub since the last time we saw her. I almost didn't recognize her!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole MY Christmas

I've been feeling a little Grinch-y this year and I'm not sure why. (Please listen to this video while you read this post.) I'm having such a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. At first I thought it was because it was too hot out. But then it cooled down and I realized that wasn't it. Then I thought it might be because I didn't have Christmas decorations up yet. But then we put those up last weekend and it didn't help. I keep trying to listen to Christmas music in the car, but I'm just not into it.

Maybe it's because I won't have any snow in my life this year? Maybe it's because my family is not here yet? They should be trickling in over the next week, so maybe that will help. With or without Christmas, I am looking forward to seeing my parents and brother. Travis' parents won't be able to make it this year, which is a little sad. But, it means that we HAVE to go to Illinois next year.

Tonight I'm going to sit down with the DVR and see if I can find some Christmas movies to record. Maybe that will help scare of this Grinch?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I need a shoulder rub

Travis kept me up from 4 to 6 this morning, throwing up. Aiden cried from 6 to 7 am. The clouds are gone, so the sun was back in Aiden's face during the entire drive to the island.

Travis went to work this morning because if he doesn't work today, then he probably won't get his overtime for working late every day this week. I know how he feels, but it was silly because I know he can't work if he has to stop every 15 minutes to vomit.

His boss sent him home after 30 minutes.

Not sure what's wrong with him. We ate the same meal last night, except that he had ice cream just before bed. So I'm not confident that it's food poisoning. If it's a stomach bug, I REALLY don't want it and I REALLY don't want Aiden to get it. UGH.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dog Days Are Over

This morning I was in the bathroom getting ready while Aiden was playing in his bedroom. He said, "Momma?", which is actually unusual in the morning. He's not much of a morning person. I was setting my makeup down to go see what was wrong when he started screaming crying. I realized his scream was a little muffled, so I started to panic a little. I found him stuck behind the futon in his room. He wasn't hurt, but I could tell it freaked him out a little.

Last night we were rolling the ball back and forth to each other. He always sits right in front of me when we do this, so we've never been very far apart. I decided to slowly move myself backward throughout the game to see how far he could accurately throw the ball. Keep in mind that he can't throw it from his hands to mine. The ball bounces along the way. But! He was able to get it to me from 10 feet away! It was getting to the point that I worried it might be too far away for me to get it back to him. If you know me at all, you know I don't have a sporty bone in my body.

The video is a little whacky, but I LOVE the song. Watch it. Or close your eyes and just listen to it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All Lit Up

Travis is working late all week, so I am picking up Aiden from school at night. Usually I drop him off and Travis picks him up. That means it will be a little more commute time for me this week. Last night we didn't get home until a little after 6 so it was dark out. Aiden got to see the lights on the house for the first time. He just walked along the front of the house pointing at the lights saying, "igh, igh". That's how he says 'light'.

When we got in the house, we took a moment to show him all the lights inside the house. I think his favorites are the blinking, colored lights we have hung in the bathroom. They have a music box that plays Christmas music. It's a little cheesy, but it reminds me of when I was a kid, so it has a certain nostalgia that I like to keep around at the holidays. Actually, my dad bought us that string of lights years ago.

Aiden points at each light and says a different color. He doesn't really know which one is which yet. Most of them are 'boo' (blue), some of them are puhpooh (purple; and there's not even a purple light on the string!). We're working on the rest.

Next was the Christmas tree.

He was more interested in the ornaments than the lights. Ironically enough, he recognizes most of the animal ornaments. He points at each fish (I have an ocean/beach themed tree) and says "ish", he points at his sheep ornament and says "baa" and then he points at the seahorses and says "aaaaaaa!", which is his version of 'neigh'. Gah, I love that kid.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Day with a Tree

We dedicated our Sunday to Christmas decorating. But first, we needed a tree. I did some research the day before on where might be the best place to buy a Christmas tree from, based on price and availability. Last year we went to cut down our own tree. It was a lot of fun, but the tree itself wasn't really worth the cost. Instead we went to a garden center near our house that has a ridiculous amount of trees for a ridiculously cheap price tag.

We decided to go with a short needle tree this year. Every year in the past we got a long needle tree. I've heard they shed easier and honestly, it's a little difficult to get the ornaments on each branch. It didn't take us long to find the perfect tree. It's about 6.5' tall and it was so full that Travis didn't have to stuff cut branches in any gaps this time. HA!

On a side note, the maple in our front yard has started to change colors. It seems that the leaves all fall out at the same time somewhere between Christmas and the New Year. It's the only tree in our yard that actually changes color before losing it's leaves. All the other trees' leaves turn brown then fall off. It's just not as fun.

After we got Aiden laid down for his nap, we began decorating the house. Travis put lights on the house, while I did garland and lights on the fence by our driveway. I find it a little difficult to get into the Christmas spirit down here in Texas with the balmy temperatures. It helps a little that it cooled down this weekend. I wore a jacket while we picked out our tree, but it was too warm for the jacket in the sun while I put up the garland.

I can't help but see the irony in the Christmas garland next to the green grass and palm trees...

We have this tiny niche between the new and old cabinets that we have been trying to decide what to do with. I think we're going to try to find some sort of a recycling bin that might fit in here that won't be an absolute eye sore. Until then, it's Aiden's play niche.

We invited Ariel and Robert over to help decorate the Christmas tree. I was really hoping Aiden would get to be a part of that, but we didn't have time before his bedtime. Instead, Travis and I sat with him while "he" hung his first Christmas ornament from last year. The best part is that it's a sheep - his favorite animal of all time. He didn't stop baa-ing until we got him to bed.

Ariel, Travis and Robert played softball before coming over to decorate. I fed them spaghetti with garlic bread and wine. While we decorated the tree, we ate Rice Krispie treats and chocolate hazelnut Pirouettes. Of course I also forced everyone to have a mug of homemade hot chocolate. Needless to say, we weren't the most lively bunch come 10 o'clock.

I love the Christmas season!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I like finding entertaining websites. I usually check them daily for a while, then forget they exist. But check it out if you need some funny in your life. It has regular posts of text messages that have been altered by auto-correct.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Best Screamer in Class!

This past Sunday evening, Aiden and I went to watch Ariel, Travis and Robert play softball. They play in a league on a team for Ariel's work and it's a weekly thing. I used to enjoy going. I would sit outside, drink a beer and eat a pretzel while they played their one-hour game. Things just aren't the same with Aiden. I've actually decided that I'm going to stop going, unless I have a friend to go with. Otherwise it is entirely too stressful for me to enjoy any of it.

Aiden is a toddler who only learned to walk six months ago. It is this shiny, new thing that he is still perfecting. Which means there is no way to get him to just sit in one spot while we watch the game. Sometimes I can get him to stay in a certain area, but I still have to follow him around so I can catch him when he falls down the concrete stairs or cover his head when a rogue softball flies our way.

On top of this, I have to keep an eye on my purse and Aiden's diaper bag. That doesn't leave room for much game watching. This last trip was a doozie. We had FOUR balls hit within feet of where we were standing. Two were pop-ups from a game and two were from a team that was practicing throwing the ball back and forth. None of them hit us thankfully, but it was a close call each time.

Then, in the last five minutes of the game, Aiden was running and fell. He wasn't able to get his hands in front of himself in time to fully catch himself, so he whacked his forehead REALLY HARD on the concrete sidewalk. There was an audible thud and a delayed cry while he inhaled the maximum amount of air his lungs would allow before letting it out in a horrific scream. Ugh. It was heart wrenching.

There was no blood. That was good, but at first I couldn't tell where he had hit himself. Honestly, it wasn't until the next evening when he came home from daycare with a bruise blossomed on his forehead that I realized he'd hit his head and not his nose. I was stressed out from all the chasing and trying to get Aiden to eat the crappy food they serve there and keeping an eye on our stuff. I'm not going back again unless I have someone to help me. Or if it's a championship game.

Tuesday, Aiden came home from daycare with a goose egg where his forehead was bruised. Turns out, he fell down again and hit his forehead on the floor. I don't know if it was a really hard hit again, or if it swelled up easily because it was already damaged. Either way, it's a sad sight. Now every time he taps his forehead on something, severe sobbing ensues. This morning he was trying to fit through a door that wasn't open all the way and his forehead rubbed the door jamb. Just rubbing it resulted in a good cry. Poor guy.

The last week was pretty rough again with Aiden. The molars that had been trying to work their way through his gums finally broke all the way through. There were weeks with just the points of each molar coming out of his gums. Thankfully, there is no longer little patches of tissue in the middle of each tooth. YUCK. Since yesterday, he seems to be in a much better mood because of it.

His teachers did inform us yesterday that Aiden is the loudest kid in the class. He yells the loudest when they are outside and he cries the loudest when he is hurt or mad. He seems to have developed this horribly high-pitched keening. Gah. It's the worst when I'm holding him. Ahhh, parenthood!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Facebook Status

Here are a few funny Facebook statuses from my friends as of late...

"It is inappropriate to tell knock knock jokes to the homeless."

"Stop staring at me Jimmy Wales!"

"You know you're officially getting older when your son asks you, 'Daddy, why do you have train tracks across your head?'"

"Monday = headache"

"Not sure why Micah just ran through the living room carrying two eggs."

"I don't know if it's just me, but don't you think 'LOL' in texting is pretty much the end to the conversation? Meaning, that is all you say back or get back... Crazy times we live in... LOL"

Happy Facebooking!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Second Half

I'm sure you are on the edge of your seat wondering what I did for the last half of the 4-day weekend. Am I right? HA.

Friday night, we rented Grown Ups and laughed our butts off before bed. I recommend it. Did you hear that Adam Sandler bought each of his co-workers from that film a Maserati? NICE.

Saturday, we did a some shopping in the morning. Then we spent the afternoon tidying up the house and enjoying a little more couch time. That night, Jenna and Jandi came over for dinner. We sat at the table and ate Wing Stop boneless wings. Aiden loves Jandi, and vice versa, so when Jandi came to sit at the table, so did Aiden. Funny thing was he went straight for the chair directly next to Jandi - not his high chair. It was so cute that we let him sit at the table with us.

We liked having him in a regular chair like us, so I think we are going to break down the high chair into his booster seat. It will be nice to have that huge chair out of the way. The only nice thing about it is that we can fit more people at the table when Aiden sits in his high chair. So we'll probably keep the high chair component handy. Especially with the Christmas holiday around the corner.

Aiden was quite cranky that evening. He only took two short 15 minutes naps during the day, so he was on edge by bedtime. I think we put him down a few minutes early. He was out within seconds. And when we went to check on him before we went to bed, he was laying in the exact same position as we laid him down in. Covered up with his blankets and everything. The blankets are a big deal because those usually get kicked off immediately. And he's too young to be able to cover himself back up properly. He was definitely tuckered out. I think it helped that Jenna and Jandi were there. He always does better when we are around other people. I've decided that's a good thing.

Sunday we did even more shopping. It was our annual family Thanksgiving shopping spree. My dad likes to give each of us $50. We get to spend $40 on our self and $10 on whoever we draw out of a hat. This year, I had Robert and Travis had Alex. I was able to purchase a new pair of boots that I so desperately wanted. My chiropractor will be so proud that I am no longer walking on those worn heels anymore. Robert lost his wallet right before Thanksgiving, so I found him a replacement wallet. Travis bought a few things from Academy for himself (hooray for Thanksgiving weekend sales!) and two 80's comedies for Alex. We will have to wait to exchange gifts when everyone gets here for Christmas. It's easier than mailing them.

My dad likes to do this little shopping spree to get us thinking about Christmas presents for ourselves and others. It makes it easier to get an idea of what everyone would like each year. Plus, I'm always up for a paid-for-shopping-spree. ;)

After Aiden woke up from his nap, we played outside and then went for a walk. The rest of the evening went by entirely too quickly...

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Very Merry Thanksgiving

Want to know the best part of our Thanksgiving weekend? Travis had FOUR DAYS OFF IN A ROW. That has got to be a record. Aside from when he asks off for Christmas. Psh.

This year, Ariel and Robert volunteered to have Thanksgiving at their house. In the past, we have always done it at our place. It was nice to take a step back and actually enjoy the day, as opposed to running around like a madman trying to have 10 dishes hot at the same time. Ha.

Wednesday, I got out of work early and took advantage of that child-free time to do what food preparation that I was in charge of. When I got up Thursday, all I had to do was throw the prepared green bean casserole in the oven and bake the rolls. After that, we had a few hours of chaos before we were able to relax a little. We decided to stay the night at Ariel's since Aiden's bedtime is 7:30. I didn't want to worry about running home to get him in bed on time, so we just packed ourselves up for a couple days "away".

Of course, that's not as simple as it once was. We have to pack our own overnight bags, Aiden's overnight bags (which include extra clothes, PJ's, sheets, blankets, Mr. Lion, food, toys, etc.), the travel crib, Callaway's food, Callaway, plus the food I was in charge of making for Thanksgiving. Puts a pinch in my shoulders just thinking about it again.

In the end, we didn't forget anything. THANK GOODNESS. We got to their house before Aiden's nap time so we could help out with anything they needed before all the guests arrived. They ended up cooking TWO turkeys. They invited eight people besides themselves, but that is still a LOT of turkey.

Here's Ariel's thinking: Robert and Mike wanted to fry a turkey for the first time in their entire lives. Since that very well could end in disaster, Ariel wanted to roast a turkey as a back-up.

Thankfully, there was no disaster. Mike thoroughly enjoyed injecting the turkeys with cajun marinade. He brought an extra turkey to fry for his girlfriend's family too.

The boys all stood around and stared for a good 10 minutes as the first turkey settled into the fryer.

The meal turned out great! Thank you Ariel and Robert!! (Pictured below: Wendy, Mike, Jenna, Ariel and Robert.)

We took in as many Thanksgiving-orphans as we could find. Jenna included!

The nice thing about having a bunch of people around is Aiden finds lots of people to entertain him. Brandon (on the couch behind him) read Aiden several books before passing into a tryptophan-induced coma.

After dinner, Travis fell asleep on the couch. Sadly, he was sick for the majority of the weekend. In a way, it's nice that this sickness fell on days he already had off, but then again, it would have been nice to have him around a little more.

The rest of us retired outside for the remainder of the evening. We just chatted it up for a while, but then Jenna had to head home. After a bit, we decided to play some games. We started with a round of Apples to Apples (I really need to get that game!), then took a break for dessert. After pie, we headed back outside for a game of Taboo. Ugh, it was so much fun!

Yes, I am wearing a Snuggie in this photo. It is literally a square blanket with sleeves. So strange. A cold front came in while we were outside playing Taboo, but we were having too much fun to take the time to move inside. Ariel's friends Tara and Kevin came just as we were sitting down for dinner, so they didn't eat with us. But they did stick around for leftovers and games! It was a blast.

Tara's birthday was at midnight, so we sang her happy birthday before they headed out to the bars. Ariel and Robert stayed up to watch a movie and I went to bed.

The next morning, we ate cinnamon rolls and lounged on the couch ALL DAY. Seriously. We came down at 8 to feed Aiden breakfast and Travis was astounded when I came back into the living room at 11 with Aiden's lunch. He could not comprehend that he had just sat on the couch for four hours. It was awesome. We watched Shaun of the Dead, ate leftovers, watched a Law and Order: SVU marathon and ate more leftovers. I'm pretty sure that it's been years since I did that much sitting all at once.

But! It was worth it! We had a great time with friends and family. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Arthur who?
Arthur any leftovers?

"I hate turkeys. If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkeys. There's turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Someone needs to tell the turkey, 'man, just be yourself.'" -Mitch Hedberg

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


A few things I am thankful for, in no particular order...

  • My son and husband
  • My family
  • My friends
  • A roof over my head
  • My pets
  • A vehicle to get to me to and from work every day
  • All the fun stuff we have to fill our home
  • A job to pay for all the items listed previously
  • Oh, and the Internet. ;)

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little poo shoveling

What an excellent weekend! Friday, after work, I did a little Christmas shopping. I had planned to visit several more stores, but ended up not having time to head up north. Instead, I went to a couple places in Galveston, before heading home with Aiden. When Travis got off from work, we partook in Friday's Movie Night that a few of my friends from work do almost every week. They've invited us several times before, but we always had previous plans. Since the past few weekends had been so busy, I had decided we would take it easy this weekend, so we didn't have anything on the schedule for Friday night.

Aiden trying to find out where the 'Mouw' went

Everyone brought some food that we all shared and then sat around the TV to watch Buddy the Elf and do a little chatting. It was a nice laid back evening, although we did keep Aiden up quite a bit past his bedtime.

Travis had to work Saturday and I still had some Christmas shopping to take care of. Aiden and I got up, ate breakfast, then were on the road to Shopper's Hell. That's how I feel about the city of Webster. There are so many stores and restaurants in one small area, that the traffic is always horrific. Top that off with Old Navy opening up a new store and having crazy sales to celebrate and you've got one stressed out Nikki.

Aiden and I did the forbidden and got fast food while we were between stores. Aiden LOVES chicken nuggets. What kid doesn't? Funny thing, is Aiden calls them crackers. Ha! We spent a few minutes in PetCo looking at fish, lizards and tarantulas before I picked out some new fish. I only got three, but we need to fill up our tank a little. What I REALLY need to do is buy some faux-plants to put in the tank. I still have all my saltwater decor in the tank, but it's actually a freshwater tank now. The coral doesn't provide the same protection that a plant would from the aggressive fish in our tank known as Bubba (the orange one).

That afternoon, Sue came over to watch Aiden at our house while Travis and I went to a wine party. Our friend Kai threw a party for 20 of his friends at an Italian restaurant. It was from 4 to 6:30, they served appetizers and unlimited wine. Bad idea. At least for me. I drank entirely too much. Although that was not quite apparent to me until it was time to leave. Everyone went over to Kai's afterward and once we got to his house, I realized the extent of the damage.

I still enjoyed the rest of the evening and we were home by 9 to relieve Sue. Thankfully the next morning I only had a headache - no nausea. Phew! We spent the morning lounging around. Travis made breakfast burritos and then we headed outside to play.

Travis was cleaning up the dog poo from the yard with two shovels. I looked over to find that Aiden had found his beach shovel and was following his daddy around. Every time Travis leaned over to scrape up a pile, Aiden would squat down and hit the ground with his shovel. It took them about 15 minutes before the entire yard was cleared out. I know he missed a lot, but it's better than nothing; that's for sure.

After Aiden's nap, we all went grocery shopping for Thanksgiving food. Then we headed down to Galveston to hang out at Ariel and Robert's until dinner time.

I have heard several people mention going out for Chinese food recently, so I decided it was our turn to hit up a buffet. Aiden has never been to a buffet, let alone out for Chinese food, so I was looking forward to the trip. It was nice to be able to offer Aiden a little of everything to see what he liked. He mostly seemed to enjoy the low mein noodles and a pork dish. It was an excellent, random meal spent with family. It's fun to do stuff like that every once in a while. We should probably do it more often. Especially when it's so hard for us to find a time when we are all off work at the same time!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I know I'm the queen of videos lately. Bear with me. I love so many of them! Including OK Go - they are always so creative. (See their last videos, here, and the one that started it all, here.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

People Are Awesome

I like to think that everyone in this video survived their 'trick'...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunday at the Zoo

Sunday morning, while we were eating breakfast, David mentioned that he wanted to go to the zoo again. He said it had been a while since he had gone to the Houston Zoo. I have wanted to take Aiden ever since I HAD him, even though for months he wouldn't have known the difference between the zoo and our backyard. I was complaining about how I wanted to go, but I wasn't up for spending $30 a person to get in there. David assured me that it was only $10. $10 we could do!

So, at lunch time, we got on the road into Houston. Aiden slept during the drive. Although I don't think he got to sleep long enough. He did great during the entire time at the zoo though.

I wasn't sure if Aiden would show any interest in the animals. I worried that it would be hard to point out the animals in the exhibits since all I could do was point from a distance. David said that Aiden would love it at this age and he was right! There was even a large cat exhibit where Aiden pointed out the cat that we couldn't find. HA!

It was a little chilly though. Before we left the house, I went through our box of larger sized clothes in the garage in search of a coat. I found two coats and a heavy jacket, so I think we are set for the winter! PHEW. (Again, many thanks to everyone who has given us hand-me-downs!! Alexa, Jenn, Sara and Heather.) Thank goodness Aiden had that coat because it was was humid-cold. And rainy for a bit even. We took a break halfway through our trek to go through the Lizard House. It was indoors and WARM.

We only stayed at the zoo for a few hours before we had to head back home. Travis, Ariel and Robert's softball team had their championship starting at 5:00 pm. They won the first game, but lost the second. Although they were happy they lost the second when it started to pour down rain while we were chatting post-game. It was COLD.

My favorite Davidism of the day: "Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes?"

Ahhhh, David. We will miss you, friend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Just Call Me Hood Rat

When I think of my childhood and life as a teenager, I would say I was a good kid. I did a few things I probably shouldn't have in high school, including attending a few underage parties, but nothing too extreme. I never got in trouble - save for two run-ins with the police.

The first was on Valentine's Day. I think it was my first Valentine's Day with Travis, which puts us in 2000. I was 17. We had just dropped off my dad's girlfriend at the airport in Champaign and were headed home for the night. I missed my turn, so I took the next right. It was only after I was already committed to the turn that Travis pointed out that I was pulling into a bad neighborhood. I kind of freaked, and tried to speed through until I could take another right to get back on the main road.

After doing what I like to call a California stop, I got pulled over by a cop. He was very stern, asked for my driver's license and insurance. I was driving my dad's car, so I searched through the glove box for the insurance. The only card I pulled out was expired, but it was all I could find, so I gave it to him with my ID. A couple minutes later two more cop cars pulled up. The first policeman came up to my window, while another went up to Travis' window and had us both get out of the car.

He asked us to empty our pockets, slowly. We did it. Then he asked for permission to search my car. "Sure," I said. I have nothing to hide. He made sure to ask if I had any drugs or weapons in the vehicle. "No, sir." Travis and I just stood on the side of the road where the police had set us and watched them go through my dad's vehicle.

Thankfully, they did not tear into the seats or break anything. I did chuckle when they opened up my Sea World pen with a killer whale on the tip. I'm assuming they were looking for drugs.

After they had completed the search, the original cop came up to talk to me again. He admitted that we looked out of place for this neighborhood, so they assumed we were buying drugs. I explained what had happened and he actually apologized for the inconvenience. He said, under other circumstance, he would have let me go for rolling through a stop sign in a known bad neighborhood. BUT. My insurance card is expired and that's a no-no. Since their reason for pulling me over was for running a stop sign, they had to give me two tickets: one for the stop sign and one for expired insurance.

The good news was they let me drive home. I was shaken, but glad that the cops were nice to us in the end. I had to go to court some time later with the current insurance card to prove the vehicle was insured. Unfortunately, even though the vehicle was insured, I had to pay for a year's worth of this special, expensive insurance for people who were driving without proof of insurance. Annoying, but I could deal. It's my responsibility as a driver to make sure a vehicle is legal before I get on the road.

That following fall, I had graduated from high school and was attending the local community college. I was driving home from class and was planning to stop by and surprise Travis. It was 3:55 pm and I was driving through a school zone. Since the school zone speed changes at 4:00 pm, I decided it was close enough and went the normal posted speed.

Unlucky for me, there was a cop waiting at the very end of the school zone. He clocked me "speeding" and pulled me over immediately. I was parked on the side of a fairly busy road, which was horribly embarassing for me. He did the normal routine and got my driver's license and special insurance card. He came back a couple minutes later and asked me to get out of the car.

Oh no.

I was getting shaky, since I was unsure what warranted this behavior. He made me turn off the car and take my keys and purse with me. After he got me to the back of my car, he asked me if I knew my driver's license was suspended.

Blink, blink.

"WHAT?! No! Why is it suspended?!"

"I'm sorry, but my computer doesn't tell me the 'why', only that it is suspended."

"What? Ok. So, what do I do? What happens now?"

"Well, you can't drive on a suspended vehicle, so I will have to drive you home. Then you can contact your lawyer or the courthouse to find out how to solve this."

By this point, I was SOBBING. I couldn't stop. The police officer told me to stop crying, that I wasn't in THAT much trouble. He said that he would have let me go on a warning for speeding through a school zone right at 4, but he couldn't let the driver's license part go. Are you kidding me?! I have to get a ride home in the BACK of a cop car! That is humiliating and SCARY.

Needless to say, I didn't get to stop by Travis' house. After a little digging, I found out that my special insurance had been cancelled, which was against the rules for my previous encounter with the police. I had to have that insurance for a year and cancelling it beforehand is frowned upon. Question was, why was it cancelled? I had to pay for an entire year in advance. I didn't get any money back, so I had no notification that it had been cancelled.

After speaking with the insurance company, it turned out that they had accidentally cancelled it. HA. My court date was set for something ridiculous, like two months later. In the meantime, my MOM had to drive me to COLLEGE everyday. Then she picked me up and brought me to work. Lucky for us, we worked at the same place, so it was easy to get a ride home from her at the end of the day.

It took one visit, on my court date to prove that it was the insurance company that had cancelled my insurance, not me. I had paid in full and could prove it. They reinstated my license and I have not had a problem since.

The result of these run-ins with the police is that I have a constant fear of all police when I am driving. I am convinced that they will pull me over for something that is just this side of illegal and then find something else monstrous wrong with me or my car. As far as I know, I am doing everything legally. But that's just the thing. If I am doing something illegal, I don't know about it.

All that, topped with the fact that Travis got pulled over here in Texas for driving without a seatbelt when he was, in fact, WEARING HIS SEATBELT, has me a little terrified. Everytime I see a cop on the road, my pulse speeds up and I sweat just a little.

I need therapy.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I wish I could find a job that pays enough for me to study stuff like this!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Ever since the time change, the sun has moved back directly in front of us for the drive into work every morning. That means Aiden SCREAMS until I get the sun visor up in front of him. I got lucky and it was cloudy a couple days this week, so I didn't have to swerve like a madman trying to one handedly unfold the visor and set it in place.

On Tuesday, during the drive in, we had the visor in place while Aiden read a book. That kept him entertained while his view of the road was obstructed. He was quietly reading, when he sweetly asks from behind his wall, "Momma? Momma?" Ugh, adorable.

He has been so great since his four molars broke through the gums. He still has his moments, but that is totally doable. I will take that over 24/7 angry cries ANY DAY. His molars are still pushing up, so there are times when he needs a little Ibuprofen to quiet the random outbursts of tears. He likes to play by himself again, which is wonderful. It makes preparing dinner much easier for Travis and I.

I have noticed lately that Aiden likes to ball up his blankets and cuddle up on the pile on his tummy. Tuesday night I talked with Travis about putting a pillow in bed with him. I'm pretty sure he's past the suffocating-in-his-sleep stage, but we are still worried about him using such an item to help propel himself out of his crib. I understand that IS a possibility. We went for it anyway. We found the flatest pillow we could and through it in one end of the crib. He LOVES it. He just curls up on his tummy, head on the pillow. I'm sure it's a nice change from his hard, flat mattress.

Just within the past month, I have noticed a few developmental increases in Aiden. He is suddenly able to hold a crayon like you normally hold a pencil to write, as opposed to the caveman grip he used to do. He also is able to scoop yogurt out of the cup and feed himself with a spoon. It's still a big mess, but he is getting so good at it. The only downfall with that is he absolutely refuses help from us (like when he gets to the hard-to-reach bottom bit).

Aiden has also started to copy words we say. I can point to something and repeat the name of the object, then sometimes he says it too. Of course, it's Aiden's version of the word, but it is still obviously an attempt to copy me. Just the other day he said "maah" for milk. That was huge for me because I had noticed that he has made no effort to SAY the word for anything we taught him the hand sign for. Milk is one of those. Now he makes the hand signal AND says "maah, maah".

He's growing into such a cute little guy! I love it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mom and Cara

This photo cracks me up. My mom was going through old photos and came across this one of her (left) and her cousin (right) when they were somewhere around 9 or 10 years old. Whenever they had family visits, everyone had to dress up. My mom said that their parents used to like to make them pose like adults. It is pretty funny. Although nowadays you'd probably get a visit from Child Protective Services.

I haven't seen it in years, but I remember seeing a video of my mom and her three siblings when they were kids. My mom was the youngest, at somewhere around 5 years old I think. She was a waitress, walking around smoking a cigarette and serving her brothers and sister drinks like they were in a club. Ohhhhh funny...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Festival

Sunday we got up bright and early to get on the road to the Texas Renaissance Festival north of Houston. Zach and Linsey invited us to go along for the Roman Bacchanal weekend so our boys could wear togas together. It was a 2-hour drive and we had a two car caravan. To help pass the time, we listened to Mitch Hedberg for a good hour. That man is hilarious. Then he had to go and overdose on drugs. Ugh. Happens to all the great comedians.

Right as we walked into the front gate there was a stand for face painting. Linsey and I really wanted to get our own faces done, along with the boys. Unfortunately Luke was not too thrilled about some stranger touching his face, so they didn't do his. Aiden was in the middle of taking a bite from a cookie when the woman started to paint his cheek. He FROZE. And stayed in that position, cookie hovering in his mouth, throughout the entire painting. It only took a minute, so it wasn't for that long. But it made me laught the whole time.

After the artist was done with Aiden's dragon, she moved on to da mommas. We both did fancy eye embellishments. It was so pretty I didn't want to wash it off at the end of the day. I did, however, get a chance to walk through Walmart with the paint still on. That earned a few stares.

Last year I saw the archery range and really wanted to give it a try, but didn't work up the guts. This year, I decided before we even got to the festival that I was going to try it. You get 10 arrows for $5, so I did five and Travis did five. It was a lot of fun. Too bad I was better at hitting the ceiling panel than the balloons.

Roman Bacchanal toga and face paint

Zach and Friar Luke

You can sort of see Travis and Aiden in the shadows next to Zach and Luke. Zach swears up and down that Luke screamed "weeeeee!" the entire ride. Aiden could not figure out what the heck was going on. I was convinced the dads had more fun than the boys. I couldn't believe how fast that thing went. Oh man did it make me laugh though.

There are lots of weaponry shops throughout the grounds. We stopped in several, but this one seemed to specialize in ninja swords. David LOVES ninjas and swords, so he had to stop to check them out.

I got a ton of pictures this year. Normal etiquette teaches you not to take photos of random strangers without their permission. This year, I realized that these people are dressing up because they want their photo taken. I jumped in for a few of them. This first one of me with the fawn was probably my all-time favorite costume.

LARGE centaur and a tiny child

Just hangin' out with a couple barbarians

We spent five hours walking the festival grounds. Last year we got stuck for two hours in the parking lot waiting for traffic to start moving because we left at closing. This year we left before dusk; partially to avoid the rush and partially because we were all exhausted. Linsey is something like 14 weeks pregnant!

A few of the activities in which we partook:
  • Fire Whip - although we didn't stay long enough to see him light the whip on fire
  • Drench a Wench - a woman sits above the tank berating the throwers and random people in the crowd. She was so vulgar and mean I couldn't stay to watch for long. David and Travis, however, found it hilarious.
  • Ate gyros for lunch - VERY delicious
  • Tried honey mead - not so delicious

There were a hundred other things to check out along the way, like the costumes (fairies, ninjas, women with corsets that hold their boobs so high it looks painful), the random child riding a llama and the various stages with music that related to the area we were in (gypsies in the greek section, oompa band in the german section and so on).

We had a blast, but I'm pretty sure I am still recooperating from the busy weekend.