Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gabriel's Song

Gabriel has been really into making up songs on his guitar. He made up a really cute one about me. Yesterday, he sat down and said he was going to sing his song about me so I went to get the camera - I want to remember this forever!

First, he had to prepare. He needed to settle in and get ready to unleash the artist within him.

He wasn't quite primed...

"Are you shooting me a video?"

Of course I obliged. But instead of my song, I got some sort of abstract "Freeze" song performed by James. Apparently I couldn't hide how "hard" it was for me.

My inability to understand art at his advanced level had him in stitches. Maybe next time, I will get my song. Yes, he has only 5 strings on his guitar. Yes, he prefers to play without wearing pants. Yes, his alter ego is James - as is his middle name.

Its true it was "hard" to comment on his work at the time but after some thought I have come up with the following terms: avant garde, experimental, innovative. Modern was the wrong term, I should never have called a 3 year old modern. How insulting. He is post post modern.

In fact, here is what Wikipedia had to say about avant garde music: "Avant-garde in music may refer, among other things, to an extreme form of musical improvisation in which little or no regard is given by soloists to any underlying chord structure or rhythm, such as free jazz, and some forms of noise music. It can refer to any form of music working within traditional structures while seeking to breach boundaries in some manner. "

Yes, that is a perfect description of Gabriel's song, Freeze. He is always trying to overstep the boundaries, in all areas of life. I told you, he is an independent thinker.

Here's an interesting tidbit about Gabe, he has several imaginary friends, they are all "dads". There is Blue Dad, Yellow Dad, Brown Dad, Green Dad. Blue Dad is his favorite because even though he has blue skin, blue clothes, blue nose, blue bones, etc, his hair and eyes are brown like Gabe's. He actually has a Brown Dad (he calls Rohan and Primrose his Brown Dad and Brown Mommy). So maybe when he talks about his Brown Dad he is pretending to be with Rohan, I'm not sure.

Haley's Graduation

On Thursday the boys and I went to Haley's sixth grade graduation. Haley goes to our home church and is my honorary niece - I have no nieces in the area and she has no aunts in the area. But we have each other in that department.

She is an exceptional student. Straight A's every quarter, her soccer team went to Nationals, and she's very pretty - well rounded girl. On top of the graduation ceremony, the principle and teachers chose one girl and one boy as Student of the Year. This student exemplified the values of the school: compassion, honesty, respect, responsibility, self-discipline, perseverance, giving. She won it! It was a very proud moment for her parents, her honorary aunt and honorary grandparents (Nana and Soso).

Haley with her certificate

straight A's

Haley and her mom, Aruni - she had no idea she was going to win this award.

Nana and Gabriel

Mitchell (Haley's brother) giving Ethan a hug

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Inflatable Wonderland

At the beach I learned a good lesson. The children are happier, better behaved, better rested and have healthier appetites if they are exhausted from fun activities. In our regular routine, we only go do something fun once, sometimes twice per week. The rest of the time is spent running errands and playing at home. So I have decided to turn a new leaf and make their lives fun and exciting! After all, G will start pre-k this fall and that will be weird (for me, he will love it).

We began with Inflatable Wonderland.

Can you imagine that level of activity for over two hours? No wonder that child is skinny as a rail.

Memorial Day

We hung out with Nana, Soso, and Adam the intern. Here is a great moment captured by Nana of Soso and Gabe.

And here is a classic picture of Soso and Brandon when he was a baby. Isn't this hilarious? Last winter I scanned a whole mess of Brandon and Stephanie's (SIL) baby pictures. I really should post more of them, they are adorable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

South Padre misc.

Things that I packed but never used:
blue jeans
tennis rackets
cell phone (just kidding!)

Things that were worth their weight in gold!
sunscreen - and lots of it!
camera / extra 1g memory card
pack n play (Ethan)
canned air - to get the sand out of my camera, cell phone, other places sand gets into

Things that I wish I hadn't forgotten:
floss - that's right, I did not floss for one week - ew!
salon conditioner
goggles (Gabe)
cap (Ethan)

At home I work out 3-4 times per week so I intended on working out 3 times during vacation. I only exercised twice. Its not a big deal because we were very active and ate healthier than we ever do at home. Does that sound like a good excuse or what? Here's a run down of what I did in case you find yourself in a hotel room or on a beach in the near future:

Day 1
5 minutes warm up, 5 minutes stretch

push ups -10
lunges -15
crunch -20
wide fly push ups -10
squats -15
reverse crunches -20
military push ups -10
leap frog squats- 15
fifer scissors -20
decline push ups- 10
hot foot -30 seconds each foot
mason twists -30
bonus round!
dive bomber push ups -5
squat jacks -15
wall sit -1 minute
in and outs -20

totals: 85 push ups, 135 legs + 3 minute, 150 abs

Day 2
2 mile jog (dry sand) B went farther on wet sand

crunches - 50
in and outs - 20
fifer scissors - 20
cork screws - 20
v-sits - 5
v-sit with leg lifts -5
mason twists - 50

170 ab movements - dry sand didn't get my heart rate in my target zone but it worked my thighs and glutes much harder.

Note of interest: gas prices on the island are the same as the mainland.

The Chronicles of South Padre, Part 6

Dolphin Watching. Gabriel was so excited about it, until we got on the boat - then he was more excited about the boat than the dolphins. Until we saw a fast boat go by, then all he wanted was to be on a fast boat.

I expected to pay a bunch of money, enjoy a lovely boat ride but not see any dolphins. Actually we saw dozens of dolphins, it was so cool! Well, the boat was pretty cool too. Being a land lover, my legs were very wobbly on the boat. It was amazing to watch the captain and crew walk with such finesse. These are men you would not considered poised if you saw them on land. I wished we had a boat so I could get used to it too and walk around it like those men did.

When we returned, we swam in the pool and Gabriel decided to swim! In the past he would swim with some sort of flotation device strapped to him but this time he really swam, underwater, with his eyes open! His dad is a very strong swimmer, he's lucky to have someone like that to teach him what he needs to know about swimming. Once he started, he didn't want to stop! He swam a LOT then he napped and ate well!

We finished off the day at Louie's Backyard (restaurant) for sunset dinner. The food was so fresh. All of the food we had on the island was so good. Everyday we devoured seafood, fresh vegetables, it was magnificent! Just as we finished our dinner, a fireworks show began. This was our last day on South Padre. Our vacation ended with the most brilliant moments. I could not have envisioned or anticipated a better vacation.

The Chronicles of South Padre, Part 5

We spent the majority of the day on the beach. The boys and I built a sandcastle while B body boarded. The waves were crazy - it was a red flag surf day. It think the technical term is gnarly, they pretty big and fierce.

We flew our auto kite - meaning after our kite got into the air (which took 15 seconds) we anchored the string into the beach. It was heaven for me because if there are two things I could sit and watch all day they are kites and waves. Well .... uh ... last March I went back to STL (so the kids could visit my parents) and I thought the same thing about the baby elephant at the STL zoo.Later, while the boys were napping, I went for a jog on the beach. B and I took turns so one of us could stay in the condo with the kids, but we managed to still get competitive about it. He went farther than I but I stayed on dry sand - he jogged on wet sand. He rounded out his exercise with ocean swimming, I finished out mine with an ab routine I'll post on a later blog.

Gabriel spent a good ten minutes pretending to be a marshmallow.

We had dinner in Port Isabel at a pirate themed restaurant - the kids loved it. Their shrimp was served in a paper ship. Too cute!

The rest of the evening was spent slathered in aloe and lounging in the condo. I taught Ethan how to color (he previously thought of crayons as snacks) and I taught Gabriel how to stay in the lines when he colors.

The Chronicles of South Padre, Part 4

At home, for instance on a weekend, it is like pulling teeth to get all four of us dressed and out of the house in the morning. It takes planning - it takes careful execution - it takes strategy. But the mornings on the beach we leisurely woke up, got dressed and headed out for our adventures. No fuss. No planning. In fact, on this particular morning, we made it to the front door of Schlitterbahn Water Park 5 minutes before they even opened! Yay! By the way, these pictures were taken with a waterproof disposable camera, which is why they look like they're from 1992.

Gabriel was awesome! He rode all of the rides. Absolutely fearless, he is. It was so fun watching him all excited when we got to the front of the line then shouting "woohoo" on the way down.

Ethan significantly enjoyed the park more when we were all together than when we split up - we split up most of the time we were there. It made me realize that even though we have always been a family, we become more and more cohesive as time goes on.

Excellent core workout: walk upstream in the lazy river. Or I guess any river will do.

As far as the park is concerned, it is a must see for anyone planning a trip to SPI. When you arrive, you get into a tube and essentially never have to get out of it. There is a lazy river and a conveyor belt that takes you to each water slide. Speaking of water slide, there are uphill water slides too! This is THE coolest amusement park I have ever had the privilege of entering. Speaking of privilege, our tickets were courtesy of relatives of acquaintances of my MIL/FIL and we are soooooo soooooo soooooo grateful for them. We might not have gone otherwise, because usually amusement parks aren't as kid-friendly as this one is, so we often wonder if it is worth the money. We will soon try the one in New Braunfels and maybe buy a season pass! (we have Seaworld passes too, so this may turn into the summer of fun!)

We stayed at the park for 5 hours but it felt like one hour - SO MUCH FUN!

When we got home, the boys fell asleep right away for a good long nap. B suggested we play Scrabble Express on the balcony. I was elated! B rarely plays games like that with me but I LOVE to play! I was like an annoying little kid, "really? you want to play with me? oh goody!" I insisted on having a glass of wine despite B's warnings that the tannins would make me sleepy. Well, after I lost (after all, I want him to play with me again one day, wink wink) B went down to the beach to catch some waves so I decided to read. After 4 pages sleep overcame me - just as B said it would. I had a fantastic nap! I love vacation!

That evening was spent in the condo. We made chicken enchiladas and watched the Spurs lose to the Lakers.

The Chronicles of South Padre, Part 3


Bada Bing Bagels. Located on the main drag on the island.

Coffee= slightly worse than McDonalds.

Bagel sandwich = one of the best sandwiches I have ever consumed. In fact, as I write this I can imagine the flavor and am scheming how I can duplicate "The Liberty".

Proprietor = super cool, laid back local.

Speaking of cool laid back locals, there were several of them at the bagel shop talking about how they all unexpectedly got sunburns the day before. They complained that it had been years since they were sunburned. I felt a bit less like a dope but even that barely took the sting from the blisters that had developed on my back.

Then we drove to the Sea Turtle Rescue Center. It was like walking through the pound - but they don't let you take the turtles home. Ok, the turtles were awesome and would you believe it, friendly, but all joking aside, what these people are doing is really great. They have excellent facilities for rescuing injured turtles, all due mainly to private donations but some federal grants as well.

After having my heart turned inside out by the spirited, 2-legged sea turtle we returned to the condo for naps and playing in the pool. Then it was off to dinner at a local brewery. Again top shelf fare, top shelf service!

In the car on the way I was asking G what he likes about the beach. He had me going in circles, "Because its fun."

"What makes it fun?" I asked.

"Because I like it."

"What do you like about it?"

"Because its fun."

After several minutes of that type of conversation he said, "Mommy, will you please stop talking, I'm trying to think."

After dinner, we drove to the north end of the island, as far as the road goes. The shops and restaurants fade away into the dunes. We found a random cross and pulled over to watch the sunset. The children played in the sand, expending the last of their energy and I clicked away with my camera.

When we returned to the condo, the kids fell asleep straight away.

One of the incredible things about this trip was how well behaved the boys were. They requested naps and went to bed easily. We all ate lots of healthy food. Oh! the food! The entire trip we ate so healthy. In fact, as soon as drove onto the island for the first time, my allergies dissipated along with our tensions. Ethan's diaper rash took a vacation from him. However, sadly, as soon as we returned, my allergies and E's diaper rash returned along with our tensions, tantrums, and nap time battles (G).
Our first meal inland was at McDonald's (aka Satan's Lair). I guess we just need to move to the beach to lead happy and healthy lives!

The Chronicles of South Padre, Part 2

Our day began with shopping for body boards. We went to about five surf shops looking for hte best deal. Surf shops are fun for about ten minutes but they get old quick with their over priced gear and tacky souvenirs. At last we just bought some even though there's a good chance we over paid. Days later we went to Walmart on Port Isabel and saw body boards on the cheap.

Arrived at the beach. After a few shots of B teaching G the basics of body boarding, my camera batteries died! Luckily I had the foresight to pack extra, however they were in the condo.

We played and played and played. Then we went back to the room and napped and napped and napped. Upon waking I quickly discovered that I was sunburned! Oh no! B and the kids seemed to be sun kissed. How did I allow this to happen? I was so careful to apply sun block liberally and reapply after playing in the ocean. Later in the night B and G develop sunburns as well.

After enjoying (B's favorite) dinner of avocados and shrimp we watched the Spurs game then turned in.

The Chronicles of South Padre, part 1

Sunday, May 18 - my wild husband's bday. Our day began with a delicious and extravagant breakfast of fresh croissants, giant, juicy strawberries, and THE BEST COFFEE in the WORLD at Nana and SoSo's (my MIL and FIL). We sang Happy Birthday - I'm sure B appreciated my morning voice belting out a tune. Who wouldn't? After all, if you've heard my speaking voice over the phone in the morning, you only have a glimpse of the angelic beauty of my singing voice in the morning ... or any other time of day.

We soon departed - after shooting cup after cup of that delicious coffee - for South Padre Island.

The view from our room.

We checked into the condo and immediately headed to the beach. Let me tell you something about the beach; I imagine that heaven smells like the beach. It is the most divine smell that beckons miles before you get there, a combination of saltwater, sand and contentment.

We waded into the waves neck deep - securely holding onto the children - and rode the waves back to the shore. We dug holes in the sand and watched the tide fill them back up.

We rinsed off and dove into our resort's pool - one of three pools actually. It was so much fun. Our kids are fun and adventurous - something I often overlook in our daily lives.

Then we piled into the car and explored the island, noting shops and cafes of interest.

After we returned to our room, B & G went to Port Isabel (the last town on mainland before you get to S. Padre) to go to HEB to stock up on groceries. As they were checking out, G asked the cashier, "May I please have a sticker?" Love his good manners! When they were leaving there was another cashier standing by the door, he looked at her, stuck the sticker to his forehead and matter of factly says, "I paid for my head." He is so funny! I know no other 3 year old with a sense of humor like his!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Most Productive

8:30 am : cut kids hair and pack their suitcase while they are in bath

9:00 am: feed kids breakfast

9:30 take them to nana and soso's for road trip - visit, enjoy a cup of coffee (my MIL makes the BEST coffee) install car seats and dvd player in nana's car

11:15 kenpo (karate) routine

12:20 download itunes.

12:30 paint master bathroom

3:00 clean up paint, put bathroom back together

4:00 hair appointment

tried to mimic this style
ended up like this, even better! also had my blonde highlights turned to red highlights.

6:30: arrive home to show off new hair, go out to eat and watch Spurs game with hubby

What a fun day! I barely missed the children at all! From what I hear from Nana, they barely miss me too! :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Poke an eye out

At night, when G is supposed to be winding down and getting sleepy, he rather gets wound up. He runs around the house in circles, screaming like a banshee. The more tired he is the more running and screaming he does. I don't get it; the more tired I get, the slower I become but I suppose that is an instance where logic plays in favor of the adult.

Last night, while we were going through the routine he tripped and hit his eye on the rail of my bed, splitting his eyelid open. There was - of course - lots of blood, which is fine on other people but when it is coming out of either of my children it totally freaks me out. I called B - who was at the gym - he seemed to think G would live until he got home. Just to be sure I called my MIL/FIL, first aid and accident-prone-children experts, who also thought that steri-strips would do the trick (and even generously offered to run out and get them for me although they were exhausted from a long day).

G spent the time between his accident and the time the dad-bulance arrived in my bed, eating popsicles (which make everything better) and watching cartoons. A real treat, in his book. Today he shows how remarkably resilient children are by commencing his running and banshee screaming antics first thing in the morning - in my opinion, far too early for such shenanigans.

dad's first aid to the rescue!

He even helped himself this morning to Ovaltine. When I found that he done this, the only thing he had to say was, "I wanted some chocolate milk, mommy."

chocolate face

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother's Day to me!

The best Mother's Day ever!
1. Saturday B took me shopping :-) can you imagine how much I loved that? Especially with the beach trip coming up, there are lots of little luxuries I wanted: sunglasses, new beach towel, beach toys for the kids, etc.

2. Saturday Night: I took the boys to Chili's for dinner. B stayed home. The boys were well behaved AND ate all their food! What more can a mother ask for?

3. Sunday morning: B made me breakfast of my choice and everyone actually sat at the table with me for breakfast (I love eating at the table, so I usually do it alone).

4. Sunday afternoon: we all go to Seaworld! Fun!

5. Sunday evening: we go to church where the men surprise the women with roses and told us what they love about us. B loves that I make up for his weak spots and without me he wouldn't be able to do anything that he does.

Oh, how spoiled I felt! What a great weekend!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Beach or Bust!

We are headed back to the beach! The week of B's bday - May 18, we will be on South Padre Is. soaking up the sun and reading and letting the kids run rampant in the sand. Here are pictures from our last beach trip over New Years on Mustang Island. I'm so stoked - oh my, I better get to doing some crunches for my bikini body!


the boys were playing in the tent daddy put up in the backyard. i got some cute shots of E.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A-Z about me

A. Attached or Single: attached
B. Best Friend: Rhiannon
C. Cake or Pie: I can't choose between them
D. Day of Choice: during bible study, Tuesday
E. Essential item: wallet
F. Favorite Color: brown
G. Gummy bears or worms: bears
H. Hometown: STL
I. Indulgence(s): chocolate
J. January or July: July, its my birthday month!
K. Kids: love them, have two of them
L. Life is incomplete without: God
M. Marriage Date: Feb 14, 2004
N. Number of siblings: 1 brother
O. Oranges or apples: oranges
P. Phobias or Fears: my kids dying in the middle of the night
Q. Quotes: Nothing great ever happens without taking risks.
R. Reason to smile: The Office and 30 Rock (Thursday nights on NBC)
S. Season of choice: No real seasons in SA. During the "winter" months there is jacket season.
T. Tag: Krista
U. Unknown fact about me: if I said it, it would no longer be unknown
V. Very favorite store: general shopping: Target - clothes: Dots or Melrose
W. Worst habit: talking on the phone
X. X-ray or Ultrasound: is this a choice?
Y. Your favorite food: chocolate
Z. Zodiac sign: Leo

Praise God!

Ethan went to the hematologist today for a follow up. Salmonella gone (finally!), hemoglobin counts normal, immune system strong. What a great day! So great in fact that we need not return to the hematologist. This is the first time in Ethan's little life, that the next time he goes to the Dr. will be for a regular checkup or shots. No scheduled appointments on the books for E. Praise God!