Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Elf" on a Shelf

Back in August I posted a blog about the most embarrassed one of our kids had ever made us. On that day, it was because of Owen.

Now we have one on Mason.

I must say that even though this was quite embarrassing, Mason was being completely innocent.

So the four of us went to Pottery Barn Kids and when we arrived, we were greeted by a nice sales lady who also told us that they had hidden the elf from "Elf on a Shelf" somewhere around the store. Whoever finds him receives a prize! (For those who don't know, Elf on a Shelf is a little toy elf who moves about the room/house during the Christmas season and reports back to Santa at night). We have been doing a lot of talking about elves this year since the kids really are convinced that elves are watching and are reporting back to Santa. It occurred to me that among all of our talking about them, I didn't think they had paid much attention to what an elf might look like, so I described what it was they would be hunting for. I told them this particular elf would be really little and wearing red. So off they go, searching for the little elf.

It should also be noted that all the workers at Pottery Barn Kids were wearing bright red aprons.

In addition to that, one of the workers was, yes...a midget...who was wearing red.

You can see it coming, can't you? So could Aaron as this particular sales lady began walking towards my kids.

Mason, excitedly telling Daddy, "There's a little lady wearing red!" thinking he had WON!

(Me, Monday night while hearing the story for the first time: "WHAT!! NO WAY! DID SHE HEAR HIM!?" Aaron: "YES she heard him!" "Oh My God! What did she say???")

Little lady: "Yeeaaah," her voice politely taking the tone of a bell curve.

So what does Aaron do? He walked the other way and acted like he didn't know our kids.

After Aaron told me this story I laughed until I cried because poor Mason was being innocent and had no idea! Yet I can't believe that actually happened. Aaron blames Pottery Barn Kids: "It's their fault! Why play Elf on a Shelf when you have a midget working at your store? Kids don't know the difference!!" It's true, everything we tell kids about elves fits the criteria of this nice lady, who, thankfully had a very good attitude about it all!

Maybe this is all completely politically incorrect. But it sure is funny!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Race Weekend!

Rewind to December of 2008...I'm at my yearly woman's exam and my wonderful OB/GYN, who Aaron and I both highly respect, suggested I train for a half or full marathon. Our response? We laughed in his face.

Spring 2010: I witnessed my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and future sister-in-law cross the finish line of their first half marathon, and because of it I set out in March/April to run a half marathon in November.

I had no idea if this goal was possible. My level of fitness at the time was somewhere around, well, none. 13.1 miles may seem like a medium-sized goal to you, but I assure you, for exercise-averse me, it was one of the biggest goals I have set for myself, ever. I made the "mistake" of announcing on Facebook that I was going to do this, so now I HAD to do it! I got myself some new shoes, some running gear, and a Nike+, and off I went. Aaron reminds me that when I started training I could barely run one minute without needing to stop. Yes, I said MINUTE, not mile! I started my plan on my own with "couch to 5K," which is a 9 week training timeline. I worked my way up and even shed a tear the first time I ran a whole MILE without walking. I ran my first 5K (3.1 miles) at the beginning of June without stopping to walk. But I still had 10 more miles to add. Ouch.

I kept training and in July I joined Fort Bend Fit (a local running club) that maps out a plan based on your speed and organizes long runs every Saturday, with "homework" runs during the week. I was never any good at keeping up with my weekday runs, but I managed to keep up with the long runs each Saturday (the distances increased by a mile or two each week), hitting a wall only once on "mile 4" week. Thanks to some tough love from my hubby, I pushed through that week and continued on. My original (lofty) goal at the beginning was to run the full 13.1 miles without stopping to walk at all. After some research and talking with the coaches, I realized that walking did not mean copping out. So I figured out an interval time that suited me (run 3 minutes, walk 1) and allowed me to go the distances that I only dreamed of going. I figured out my usual pace, and set a challenging race-day goal for myself to come in under 3 hours.

Once race day arrived, I was ready. I knew my pre-race routine - what I liked to eat, how much water to start with, how many e-caps I would need, what flavor Bloks I liked, where I needed to put Body Glide (found a new spot every week!), how I liked my shoes laced, etc. I kinda felt like a real runner. I hit the starting line and it was all business. I knew I had to speed walk those 1 minute walk breaks and keep a close eye on my pace during my runs if I wanted to make it in under 3 hours. I hardly stopped when I saw my fan club (just long enough to kiss my babies at mile 3 and mile 8) and put off peeing until I absolutely had no choice. And if you think I was gonna waste time in the port-o-potty lines, you're wrong! I found a dollar store that wasn't even open for business (roads were closed due to the course) with a couple of spectating employees that let me RUN through their store to their line-free restroom! SCORE! The last turn of the course had a HUGE hill (okay, at least it seemed huge after 13 miles) that zapped the little energy I had left. But I crossed the finish line and beat my goal! I knew at that moment that I had left everything I had on the course, going as fast as I could at all times...which sometimes wasn't very fast at all, but it was what all I had at that moment.

I had a blast and definitely plan on crossing more finish lines! Here are some pictures from one of the proudest days of my life: my first half marathon. My trusty Asics have run over 130 miles since I started training so these pictures are a long time coming! Please enjoy!

11-14-10 Race weekend

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This year was the first time Owen and Mason picked out their own costumes for Halloween.  I couldn't imagine what they would choose and as they flipped through catalogs, kept changing their minds.  I wondered how we'd ever settle on one that they'd be happy with in 2 hours!  We were out one day and I saw a costume for a pit crew guy.  They are really into the movie "Cars" and when I explained the costume to them, they were sold.  I was worried that Owen would later wish his costume were red so I tried to convince him that the red "motorcycle/bmx rider" costume might be a good choice.  It looked very similar to the pit crew suit (all one piece and quite shiny).  My everything-red-all-the-time child immediately put down the red motorcycle suit and went for the blue one.  And THAT is how I knew they were for real about these costumes!
 (Owen, Mason)

Of course leading up to Halloween there were several fun activities going on!  The kids had a party at school and were allowed to wear their costumes, which they were VERY excited about!

Here's Mason who went straight for the cookie!

And here's Owen showing off his little craft project.  They are getting pretty good at placing objects in the correct places.

 We also went to the Halloween carnival at the school where I used to teach.  The kids had so much fun winning candy!

(Owen, Mason)

On Halloween we hung around the house and did some fun activities.  We made some rice krispie treats with Halloween sprinkles, carved jack-o-lanterns with specific instructions on how the faces should look from the kids, painted pumpkins, and trick or treated!
 (Scary faces: Mason, Owen)

Click below for the album of Halloween day pics.  There are too many cute ones to post them individually!  Enjoy!
Here are the kids telling us all about Halloween.

After trick or treating and bath, the kids gave us a pretty funny little puppet show (that they didn't realize we were watching).  I debated if I should post this video because it's about 3 minutes long.  But because it needs to be documented just exactly how they are at this age, this is a perfect example of how much fun they have playing together.  And besides, I know some grandparents and other friends who will enjoy hearing their little conversation.

In the previous video, you probably noticed the stuffed Halloween kitty that Mason named "Mister Majesty."  We have no idea where he got the name, so here he is trying to explain it to us...quite funny!

And if that wasn't enough activity for the day, after all of that the kids decided it was time to dress up like pirates. Here is a cute video of them (mostly Owen) trying to convince us why they should stay up.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Aggie Game Day

This past Saturday we decided to take the kids to College Station to experience game day at Kyle Field. We did not actually go to the game (not brave enough to take 2 toddlers just yet) but we had fun partaking in some pre-game traditions, the most fun being parking really far away and walking to the stadium. I kid. We barely missed the team walking into the stadium/practice facilities, but we enjoyed the kid zone for quite a while, saw uncle Kyle and Manda at their tailgate spot, and watched the Corps march in. The kids really thought the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band was pretty awesome. We even got to take the kids potty in a maroon port-o-potty. Maroon doesn't make it any more fun, let me tell you. Once it was game time, we headed to the car and hit up an old favorite lunch spot and did a little shopping. The day was quite fun and we look forward to taking the kids back for an actual game! Oh, and let me just say how HAPPY we are that we BTHO Texas Tech! WHOOP!

Click here for some pics of our Aggie fans:
Aggie Game Day

This is what we do

One of the most precious sights a mommy can see:

Two sweet little boys who hunted down their pretend tools so they could join their daddy in fixing the sink.  (Owen in green) 

And something else to make a mommy proud - recognizing all their numbers in order to line up all the peg boards in reverse order from 10, so they could count down and yell BLAST OFF!! 

The other night we got home from HEB and all three of the boys in this house were in a very silly mood, instigated by Daddy.  It started with a "magic trick" where the kids would count to 3 and snap their fingers and the light would turn on (or off).  They thought it was amazing that they could snap their fingers and control the light!  They eventually figured out that Daddy was flipping the switch, which then led to them wanting to flip the switch.  So during each "off" period, Aaron would pose in a different way for the next time the light turned on.  Of course the kids thought this was hilarious and the flickers got more rapid, which led to a very funny evening.  Here are just a few seconds of our fun that took precedence over unpacking the groceries: 

I also mentioned in a previous post how the kids love music, singing, and dancing, and I even posted a picture of the kids hanging out with Daddy in the playroom having a mini jam session.  Well, I found a video that was on a different camera that is just adorable.  Mason on guitar, Owen on vocals (although he isn't quite sure of the words yet), and Daddy on maracas!

The guitars you see them playing are fairly new to them and they each play some different songs.  Owen is still trying to learn the words to "What I Like About You."  In the mean time, I got some pretty cute video, including the "yowwwww!!"

They were recently introduced to a new song: Kiss' Rock and Roll All Night.  Evidently they had part of the chorus stuck in their heads.  Almost as funny as seeking out their guitars and spontaneously bursting into song, are their outfits - a t-shirt, undies, and some house shoes from Holland shaped like clogs.  Nothing screams rocker like red and blue elf shoes!  And be sure to listen to Owen towards the end.  I think he takes it up an octave!

And here's a video of another nightly show.  This time to "I Gotta Feeling."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Music and Cooking

It is CRAZY to me how musically inclined these kids are.  They carry tunes quite well, have a knack for remembering a melody after hearing it just once, and have some pretty legit moves when playing their toy guitars (they raise their legs or tip the guitar up or down for effect, etc).  And they turn everyday things into little songs.  For example, when they want their hands wiped after a meal they sing a little song (and I'm not even sure how long it's been being sung, but for a while now).  To the tune of jingle bells (who knows!?) they sing "wipe my hands, wipe my hands, wipe my hannnds-a-hands!"  They also have a little kid mp3 radio that I've loaded up with some of their favorite songs.  They LOVE to turn it on and dance around, sometimes performing for us for up to an hour!  Not sure what other activity holds their attention quite as long!  They'll mix in dancing, singing (or pretending to) holding a mic, or playing their guitar.

The other day I was piddling around the house and peeped in the playroom to find the cutest scene ever!  Daddy and the boys were having a "show" (and they even got Daddy involved).  Mason was intently watching Aaron play the guitar, like he was having a lesson or something.  And Owen is in the background with his microphone.

Eventually they switched and Mason backed up Owen while Owen did a little singing.
I'm excited because I know they are approaching the age when kids can start learning a musical instrument.  I really would like to find out more about it because I think they would really enjoy guitar or drum lessons (although my ears may not)!

Another thing the kids have enjoyed recently is helping with cooking.  A pizzeria down the street from us provides take home kits for kids, so no matter how ugly the pizza, we know it's gonna be good!  It has sort of become a daddy-and-boys activity and they really love it!

We also had a cookie making day.  I told them we could make some Halloween cookies and asked them to tell me who they would like to send them to.  In my mind I was thinking they would come up with one or two people people (probably Numna and Bee) to send them to.  Well my generous children came up with SIX different places to send them: Numna, Bee, Granna & Granddaddy, Mimi & Papi, Grandma Mary, and their best buddy (who moved away) Cate.  Owen and Mason had fun picking out the ingredients at the grocery store,


rolling (and sprinkling flour)


decorating (they decided on the color combos all by themselves!)


and mailing all 65 (yes, 65!) of their cookies.

They even donned my (and Aunt Lindsay's) old Mickey aprons.  Needless to say, they were very proud! 

Click here for the rest of the cute pics:

Show and Pizza with Daddy

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Mason:  I have to put slippers on when I ride my bike, to protect my feet.  Like helmets protect my head.


Owen:  Yeah, we have to do it again, and again, and again.  Like an 'E'.
Me:  What do you mean, "Like an E"?
Mason:  Because on an E you have to write a lot of lines.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hawaii Part 2

Day two of our vacation was spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Now, I have to say I was a bit skeptical on how much fun could actually be had at a "museum" when the rest of the island of Oahu was just outside it's doors!  Well, museum it's not and I was proven wrong!

The PCC, as they refer to it in Oahu, is made up of villages that represent the main islands of Polynesia: Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and Aotearoa (New Zealand).  Everything was very hands-on and the kids really enjoyed themselves.  There were several street shows with the traditional dances and clothing from each island, which was quite entertaining. Here is just a taste of it.

The kids had a passport take to each village and collect stamps to show they visited.  They thought this was really awesome!

Some of us learned a hula dance in the Hawaiian village.

We got to weave some art from leaves, which ended up being a game.  (Pull the fish to the bottom of the twig and sling).

Here's Mason taking a turn at Tolo spear throwing in the Tongan village.


Here is a funny video of Owen while we were on the canoe ride through all of the villages.

Here are the kids learning the "titiorea" (sticks played along to a traditional song) in the Aotearoan village.

Owen and Mason playing with Poi Balls. They LOVED this and thought that if the ball slung out of their hand, they "WON!!"

We capped the day off with a Luau dinner and an AMAZING show performed by tons of people from all over the Pacific.  The music was great, the dancing was great, the costumes were great!

Here we are after the Luau dinner, getting ready to go to the main show.

We thought the kids might get tired of everything by the end of a very long day but clearly they enjoyed every minute of it! Here they are helping out the drummers on stage with their new drums.

It was a great day, and the Polynesian culture is so interesting and fun to experience! If you are ever in Oahu, we all recommend the PCC!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

Today, as I was cleaning out some drawers, Mason asked me if all of my nail polish was from the "toenail store" (as he calls my nail salon).  I told him that it was from Target and he said, "Oh.  I like Target better than the Space Center."  Atta boy!  (We just went to the Space Center on Saturday).

For the past few days we have been on the hunt for the RED version of a toy that Mason has in blue.  The kids and I, and sometimes Daddy, went in several stores with no luck.  I FINALLY located the red one while the kids were at school the other day and I presented it to Owen as soon as I picked him up.  He was SO excited!  He asked me several enthusiastic questions about how/where I found it and then said, "we've been lookin' and lookin' and lookin'!" 

The kids begged me to get some "red soup" (tomato soup) for lunch yesterday so we stopped at Panera Bread.  They also informed me they wanted the go-gurt (yogurt in a tube) to go with it.  We picked out a table that was right near a couple of 60ish year old grandma-looking women.  I was filling my drink and the ladies started talking to Owen and Mason.  One asked what they were eating. 
"It's SOUP!" 
Then Mason said, "and this is yogurt.  It keeps my poo-poo soft."  The ladies cracked up and had to agree with him.

For the fall/winter I decided to get them some Land's End down vests.  The kids spent a lot of time looking at the computer to decide which color they wanted and then we waited patiently for them in the mail.  They finally arrived and the kids were very excited and proud to put them on.  (They had previously been strutting around in some vests from last year that are too small).  The very first thing they said/did (which they did not do in the old vests) was
"Now we're garbage mans!" 
"Yeah, let's go drive our truck!" 
And off they went to the foot of my bed to pretend to drive around, and then get down off the bed to collect "trash" from around the house. 

Let's face it, there's no logistical way around peeing in front of your kids while smooshed together in a public restroom stall.  Of course I have them stand back, etc, etc to gain as much privacy as two curious three year olds will give, but it never fails, as I'm squatting there (no I don't sit!) :
"Mommy, why are you going tee-tee out of your bottom???" 
"Because, honey, mommies don't have ding-dings." 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hawaii Vacation, Part 1

I can't believe its taken so long to get to any Hawaii blogging! Between 3 cameras we had over 3000 pictures to go through. We have finally whittled them down to our favorite ones. All 650 of them! You ready?

Just kidding!

Here are some of the highlights:

We had a super long travel day from Houston to Honolulu. Our day started at 6 AM and we weren't settled in our room until 11 PM (Texas time). Owen and Mason did GREAT during the long layover and long flight! It was definitely a preview of what was to come with them - just go with the flow.

Here are Granddaddy and Owen burning some energy in the Phoenix airport.

Excited boys taking their first steps in Hawaiian sand on the way to dinner. (O, M)

My super tired kiddos on their first night in the "Hawaii Hotel" as it was called the entire trip. (O, M)

The first full day we were there was Aaron's 30th birthday.  Not a bad way to ring in the new decade, especially when its started off with some Malasadas from Leonard's!

Owen and Mason were so excited to be in Hawaii that they wore their life jackets before we ever left the hotel.

They also gave us a lesson on snorkeling first thing in the morning.

We then headed to East Oahu for some of our favorite things.  Our first dip in the ocean was at Kailua Beach which has super soft sand and sparkling blue water.  Then we got some lunch at Maui Taco, did a little shopping, and headed back to the "secret" hotel pool where the kids enjoyed pool-side smoothies while looking out over Waikiki Beach.  Not a bad set up!
(Mason, Owen)
This video is a perfect caption of the fun we were having that day!  The kids were in great moods and the whole family (including Granna, Granddaddy, and Aunt Lindsay) were having a fun time playing in the water!

 (Owen, Mason)
 (Mason, Owen)

After our quick swim, we all got cleaned up for a wonderful fireworks show over Waikiki Beach with a perfect view right from the balcony!  Then we headed to the Outrigger for Daddy's birthday dinner at Duke's Canoe Club.

And no birthday is complete without a duet performance of Happy Birthday from the sweetest voices around!

Owen's in blue and Mason's in red.  I know, opposite "favorite color" jammies.  They were trying to trick us!

Here are the links to the rest of the pictures from the first couple of days:
8-26-10 Travel Day
8-27-10 East Oahu

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A funny story about Owen

Because this needs to be documented...

Owen doesn't have a lot of experiences with automatic faucets in restrooms so today during a trip to the potty with Daddy he noticed the faucet didn't have handles (which to him means he can't control the temperature). Just before he stuck his hands under he said "cold please."

I guess now he thinks he has some magical powers at controlling water temperature since obviously cold water came out of the faucet! I love it!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preschool and Potty Training

The kids have had an important past few days - learning to use the potty and starting preschool. The official first day of school was 2 weeks ago but we were out of town and then, despite my hopes of starting last Wednesday (the day after we got back from Hawaii), they were simply too jet lagged to start. We didn't get back on a good schedule until Sunday. We used the weekend to really get good at going potty, making them go naked practically the whole time. They did pretty good, not too many "leaks" as they say, and Owen even took himself to the potty to do his business (for a lollipop). Mason is notorious for having a harder time in that area and it wasn't until Sunday that he got his lollipop! And when it was time he ran to the potty on his own. He was pretty bummed out on Saturday that it hadn't happened for him yet, even saying "Owen is doing good" after Owen got 3 lollipops to Mason's none. After spending most of the weekend with a naked bottom, they were finally doing well enough for a little Risky Business action.  Here's Owen:

Monday morning was their first day of school. We have been so busy lately that it snuck up on us (even though we were two weeks late in starting). I didn't really talk a lot about it prior to them starting and we missed meet the teacher, so I was fully expecting a rough morning. Before we left the house, it was looking grim as far as Mason making it to school. He had a meltdown over his shoes and then wouldn't sit on the potty. I don't have enough trust yet that they can make a 20 minute car ride so it was very important for him to take his morning pee! It was quite a battle and Owen and I had to pretend we were leaving for school several times before he realized he didn't want to be left behind.

 Luckily Mason let me get the obligatory picture on the front porch.

And for posterity, here is one from last year.

He finally peed and got his clothes on. And we did make it all the way to school clean and dry. Happily, Owen and Mason went right in and got to work and when I hugged them good-bye there were no tears. I sent a bunch of extra clothes because I wasn't confident that they would tell the teacher that they had to go potty. At home they pretty much just take themselves to the potty. They aren't very experienced on what to do when they don't know where the potty is. But, when I picked them up they were both still in the same shorts they arrived in! YAY!! No accidents!