Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Butler Clan has MOVED!

Okay, after my big blog split and the debut of Parley and Prate, I decided I like Wordpress better than Blogger so I'm switching! From now on you can check on Butler family news at bandofbutlers.wordpress.com. Thanks!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pink Pajamas

Ari got some new cute pink pajamas from The Children's Place's fall clearance sale! I couldn't resist taking a few pictures, they are just so cute. :)

From Pink Pajamas and Hat

From Pink Pajamas and Hat
Look at that face!!!!!

Then I put her new hat on her so she could get used to wearing it, and she proceeded to climb on our safe and pull books down off the bookshelf. In her hat and overalls. Beyond cute.

From Pink Pajamas and Hat

From Pink Pajamas and Hat
My Favorite Game, by Ariana

Then I bribed her with a banana to sit still.

From Pink Pajamas and Hat

Here she is in the middle of her newest sound, something between a screech and a mongoose.

From Pink Pajamas and Hat

Photo Contest!

I entered Ari in a photo contest, and the winner gets a $50 gift certificate to Tiny Prints!  If you want, you can vote here.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Splitting Blogs

I've realized for some time that I kind of have two blogs in one on here.  An update on the family blog, and a soap box blog.  So I've split them.  For those of you who enjoy my articles on green living or political commentary, you can go to my soapbox blog, titled Parley and Prate.  For those who just want to know how the family is doing, you can go to my update blog, titled The Butler Clan.  So update your bookmarks!

The Butler Clan
Parley and Prate

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ari said mama!! ARI SAID MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't want to post until I was certain it was really "mama" and not just blabbering - I'm pretty convinced now!!

This morning I was taking a shower and Ari was in her play pen in the bathroom with me.  After a couple of minutes she got bored and stood up and started fussing.  I tried to comfort her, then went back to my shower - at which point she wailed, threw her arms in the air towards me, starting bouncing up and down and whined, "Mamaaaaaaaaa!  Maaamaaaaaaa!!"

She did it again just now after lunch when I left to go get a washcloth to clean off her face.  "Mama!!  Maaamaaaaaa!"

I'm not sure she knows I'M "Mama" - I think she may think "mama" means "fix it!" - but I am soooo okay with that.  :D :D :D

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Awesome Mommy Moments #3

I was sitting here at my computer having eaten a snack of a bagel and cream cheese when Ari came over and was playing at my feet. I gave her a spoon to chew on because she loves chewing on spoons (and banging them on things, they make terrific noises) so the chewing sounds she was making didn't concern me. Until I looked down. And she had not one, but TWO bagels in her lap because she had apparently found the package, opened it, gotten out two bagels, and was happily munching on one of them.

Oh, and I have good news! My daughter doesn't choke while cramming bagel down her throat. Also, she likes bagels.

Awesome Mommy Moments #2

So I was changing Ari's diaper today and there were these crusty white clumpy globules in it. Something that shouldn't be coming out of any of my child's orifices, ever. I freaked out for about 3.2 seconds before I realized it was dried cottage cheese from lunch that had dropped into the giant black hole that forms near her belly button when she sits down.

P.S. I filed this under "food" because I want someone to be searching my site under the "food" label and read this post. Because that would be hilarious.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Meemaw's 80th Birthday

We went up to Dallas this weekend for Justin's grandmother's (Meemaw's) 80th birthday celebration!  We had fun, ate waaaay too much cake, and even had a "mini date" while my parents watched Ari so Justin and I could go to the mall and play cards in the food court.  :)

Ari is really acting like she's remembering grandparents and people from time to time when she sees them.  She starts singing every time she sees PaPa Joe and laughs everytime she sees her Uncle Jerd and I think James is starting to scare her.  She was fascinated with my dad's oxygen machine, though (which we are calling his life support) and kept trying to eat the little cord.  We finally gave her a stethoscope and that seemed to satisfy her.

On Sunday we went to church with Justin's parents (which is about 18 hours away by car, or 55 minutes, I never can remember which) and Justin sang a sort of impromptu (decided to do it the day before) duet with his father.  It was really neat and I'm glad we got to go.  I loved the sermon the preacher gave and will be blogging about it later.  On the other hand, I am never leaving Ari in that child care ever again.  (Always trust your gut, mamas!)

I think Ari might be starting to get the concept of waving.  She'll hold her hand up but she doesn't quite move it yet so we'll see if it develops into something or if it's just a coincedence.  She does move her hands a lot.  :)

Well, that's it!  I think we're all starting to feel a bit better (except for the hacking, uncontrollable, sleep depriving cough) so it looks like it might be business as usual for us from now on! Back to play groups! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Standing up by herself!

Ari is getting so big!

Today she stood for a long time by herself. She had already been standing for about 30 seconds when I took this picture. She's not nearly as wobbly on her feet as she was a week ago, and she wants to practice standing all the time. She'll pull herself up on anything she can find, the wall, a table, Mommy, the dog. Once I was laying on the couch watching her play, and she stood up using her table then would let go and sway for a few seconds before grabbing the table again. Then she would bounce up and down and get this huuuge grin on her face like, "Yay, yay! Look what I did look what I did!" And then do it again. I laughed so hard. :)

So here's our little angel, practicing being a big girl!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Well, I held out long enough. Plus, I might be going insane.

I tried. I tried SO HARD. I just can't avoid the batteries!

I bought her toys that would really stimulate her brain. You know, blocks. Stacking toys. Cups. Stuff that crunched when you twisted it. A ball. For a long time, she only had one toy that ran on batteries.

I have officially given up.

I went out and bought her a play table at a garage sale yesterday. Now I'm singing my 123s to the tune of La Cucaracha, Ari is pressing on the chocolate chips of a half eaten plastic cookie to hear a crunching sound and playing with an electronic pizza that unceasingly declares how yummy junk food is. I am going to be an awesome parent.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


Me: "Manwich does NOT come with meat!"

Justin: "Yes it does."

Me: "No! It doesn't! You buy the meat and brown it and add the sauce. Manwich is the sauce! It does not come with meat!"

Justin: "Then why would it be called Manwich? If it didn't come with meat, it would be called Girlywich."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Standing UPPY!

So I wanted to wait to post this until I had a video but my little one is waaay too into my camera phone to be interested in showing off while I have it pointed at her. So I'll relay the news less dramatically: ARI CAN STAND BY HERSELF!

That's right folks, and I'm not talking your I'm-keeping-balance-just-long-enough-to-find-a-safe-place-to-land standing. I'm talking 20 seconds. 20 SECONDS! It started about a week ago and now she's having tons of fun with it, even pulling herself up to a stand without help! (Okay, that was once, and is disputed, but I stand by it!...haha...stand...by it...gettid?...ha...um...::ahem::)

I don't know where my baby went! What's next? Flying lessons? Scuba diving? Dates? (No way, Ari bar! Not till you're 53!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Awesome Mommy Moments #1

I've decided to start a new section on my blog called Awesome Mommy Moments, because there are just some things that only mothers understand.  It's the little things...

Today I kept going around and something on my arm would itch.  I'd reach up and scratch and it would stop but then it would randomly start itching/scratching again.  I finally lifted up my shirt sleeve.  I had a partially digested Teddy Puff dried to the inside of it.

Thanks, Monster Mess*.

*Ari's new nickname.

Lesson for Today

Never, ever, EVER accidentally not press hard enough on your $7 crappy Wal Mart diaper pail that was probably designed by drunk monkeys because the latch, well...DOESN'T...and end up leaving the lid open after your baby starts eating solids.



Back in Houston

Well, we are officially no longer Ike Refugees!  No more free donuts...dang...

I'm not posting any pictures of the damage.  Because there wasn't any.  95 mile an hour winds at my apartment and the two rotten old pine trees are still standing in the yard.  Morbidly dissapointing.  Justin said he saw a billboard that had been thrown through the roof of a building in the Woodlands.  I was asleep.  ;)

We had a fun experience last night. And by fun I mean I might have accidentely thrown something through our wall.  Our baby monitor stopped working.  Only you didn't know it stopped working.  It didn't tell you until two in the morning when it suddenly rang out like the apocolypse was starting in our outlet.  I could not get the thing to stop screaching for the life of me.  I ended up having to sleep on the couch so I would be able to hear Ari if she cried.  Too bad we can't afford another monitor.  Maybe we'll use our walkie talkies.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back on Wednesday!

Justin just got an update from his school and we are officially going to be back in Houston on Tuesday!  He starts back on Wednesday and classes begin on Thursday.

In other news, my dad is in the hospital.  It's not serious right now, but he needs to keep up with treatment because apparently he's got some sort of breathing problem that's more serious than asthma.  I'm not sure what the situation is, but I'll update when I get back from visiting the hospital.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finally Got Internet

Well my parents don't have internet and we were in Oklahamo for a couple of days, but we're reconnected now!

We're still in Dallas, hanging out and having a ::very:: extended vacation time.  Electricity is back on in our apartment and Justin tentatively starts back to school on Wednesday, so we'll probably head back to Houston early Tuesday and start our lives back again.  ;)  We've signed up for text message updates via Humble ISD's alert system, so we'll see if that tentative date moves at all!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ike Update

Well, we're still in Dallas.  We evacuated to avoid hurricane Ike and our apartment complex is still out of power.  Entergy says it might be as late as October 17 to get power back on, but Justin is probably going to have to start work on Monday.  Ari and I can't go to an apartment without power (it's waaaay too hot for an infant) so we might be in Dallas for a month while we wait.  Justin's going to try to get a ride back to Kingwood with a coworker who also evaced to Dallas.  I guess we'll see.  We're having fun here, hanging out with friends and family, really getting to rest.  It's pathetic but I've watched more TV in the last week than I have probably in all of 2008.  There's just not much to do!!  ;)  Well, we'll see how things go, but we're kind of enjoying our forced vacation for the time being!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sign Class

I've been wanting to take ASL since Jr. High, but I never got the chance. They didn't offer it at my high school, A&M's class was always full, and even the community college near me has dropped their program. Then a few days ago I found out that the community center in Huffman offers a free sign class taught by a women who has been an ASL instructor for 25 years!! :D I went tonight, the class was 2 hours long and it was SO much fun! I'm really looking forward to going back for more. We learned family members and fingerspelling and numbers in ASL, a lot of which I already knew but it was really awesome to be able to see someone else doing them because it's a different experience (obviously) than when you're learning out of a book. The class is 8 weeks long and then I can move on to a more advanced class for another 8 weeks, I'm hoping that I can be somewhat conversational by the end. This will be a lot of fun!!! :D

Our daughter is going to be a musician

She has repeatedly shown herself to be very auditory. She wants a toy that makes noise rather than lights up or looks interesting. Right now she is banging vigorously with a rattle on the bottom board of our console table, finding all the different sounds it can make. My guitar is her favorite toy (though she tries to nurse on the tuning pegs more often than she tries to strum. ;)

She loves playing with the pots and pans and a wooden spoon when I'm doing the dishes or cooking in the kitchen.

Of course, it's not at all surprising, considering that she has oodles of musical talent coming from every side of the family. My brother wants to start teaching her how to play the mandolin and she had a toy piano before she had her first pacifier. Ari doesn't really have much of a chance. She's going to grow up thinking "EADGBE" are the first 6 letters of the alphabet.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Meals for Ari

If you're reading this on Facebook, you'll miss all the links, you should come to my blog. :)

Ari has begun three meals a day! She still nurses a lot, but we added the extra solids to help her stay full longer on the doctor's recommendation (she's still waking up three or four times a night to eat). Some friends have expressed interest in the fact that I make Ari's baby food, so I thought I would share a typical day of meals for Ari. :)

Making your own baby food is easy, cheap, healthier, and tastes better. It's actually good!! When I have to eat some of Ari's food to get her interested in it, I don't have to pretend to enjoy it. In fact, sometimes I'll just sit there and eat tiny bites myself, and she'll reach for the plate, and I'll say "Oh, no, this is good stuff, Mama's gonna eat this," and keep eating it. Then she REALLY wants some. ;) I make all her meals entirely out of organic foods, and it's cheaper than if I bought the Gerber stuff in the store. She's also able to chew solids now, from easily mashed up foods like pasta and banana to even crunchier (but still easily dissolved) foods like graham. I haven't yet attempted to make my own graham crackers, but I bought some organic graham flour at the HEB the other day and plan on trying it out soon! (Our kitchen is busy with banana bread right now.)

"Recipes" are below. That's in quotes because I really just kind of make it up. And I haven't included recipes for pureed stuff. You just cook it and put it in a food processor.

A note: Don't ever add salt to baby food, they can't handle sodium like we can and it will overwork their kidneys and is dangerous. They can eat salt that naturally occurs in stuff, but don't use it as a seasoning. Also be careful with nitrate rich foods, such as carrots and spinach, until your baby is 8 months old. Just research it. :)

Frozen waffle (organic Archer Farms homestyle waffles): I leave this frozen, it kind of serves as a teething biscuit (thanks for the tip, Paige!)
Fruity oatmeal

Macaroni and cheese (sometimes with some pureed chicken)
Veggies (if it's something like peas I might mix it in the mac and cheese, it's better than it sounds ;)

Snack (sometimes):
Cheesy crackers or graham crackers or puff cereal or a teething biscuit

Pureed veggies (peas and carrots and corn or broccoli and carrots etc)
Pureed fruit (applesauce with a dab of cinnamon comes in handy ;)
Leftovers from lunch (usually some mac and cheese left)
Diluted apple juice

Okay, so now for recipes:

Fruity oatmeal is pretty easy. I buy the organic oat bran from the bulk section of HEB for like $0.77 a pound, so it's about 5 cents a serving or so. Cook it with apple juice and mashed up banana and it turns into a fantastically healthy and delicious grit type breakfast.

Macaroni and cheese is a lot of fun and one of Ari's favorites. (You can buy organic flours in the bulk section at the HEB for less than a dollar a pound, or you can mill your own for even cheaper.) What makes this work is the pasta. I found this pasta at the HEB the other day - it's absolutely perfect. Rice, beet, and spinach based, it's tiny, swirly, colorful, and perfect for tiny fingers to grab. There's no wheat to worry allergy conscious mamas and it tastes wonderful. So I cook the pasta (don't cook it for as long as it says or for as long as you're used to cooking wheat pasta, it only takes a couple of minutes or it gets soggy...which isn't bad if your baby isn't chewing yet, anyway) and meanwhile make the cheese sauce. Put a pan on low to medium low heat and melt some butter into it then add flour (you can substitute a rice flour for entirely wheat free but I've never done this so you'll have to watch it closely). Cook it until it's a paste then add some milk and keep stirring and cooking until it's a thinner paste. When you are ready to add the cheese, add it. A mild flavored cheese works best and it needs to be finely shredded. Only cook the cheese long enough to melt it. You might need to add more milk/cheese to get the consistency you want, but the longer you cook the cheese the lest awesome it will taste. ;) Pour the sauce over the pasta, and voila! Instant fave. :D

The chicken is just as fun. (To save money and still eat very healthy, you can buy the organic chicken from the HEB when it goes way on sale because it's going to go bad in 24 hours, so it's cheaper than normal chicken, then cook it all at once and eat it throughout the week.) You can cook it however you want and then puree it with a bit of water or milk (or juice if you're bold). The last time, I breaded mine with some flour, milk, egg, and a bit of seasonings (some rosemary and such) then cooked it in a pan with a bit of sunflower oil and pureed it. She loved it! (And so did Justin and I. ;)

So there you have it! A day in the life of a mobile, eating Ari! Good enough that you can sneak some off your baby's plate. ;)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ari and the Teething Biscuit

We gave Ari a teething biscuit the other day, because the list on the back of the box of milestones she's supposed to have accomplished before she can have one was completed! So she tried them out. They are the wheat teethers from Earth Baby Organics, but I think we're going to switch to the non wheat version...either way, she LOOOVES them. She's never sat in her high chair for so long! She got so messy and covered in cracker from top to bottom and did NOT enjoy the cleanup that ensued! We ended up just having to give her a bath because the washcloth just wasn't getting into all the nooks and crannies she managed to stuff cracker into. ;) Looks like we found a new staple treat... :D

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Smiling baby

It's like you just can't fit enough happy into this child.

Happy Swim Time!

We went over and did a photo shoot and had bbq with some new friends of ours yesterday. They set up this awesome little kiddy pool and Ari and her friend S played around for a while until both mommies discovered giant spiders in the grass and got a little freaked out. ;) She does love the water though!!

Trying out some new vintage processing... :)

Ari really liked this flower, she kept trying to crawl on it and eat it.

She found herself a slide!!! :)

"Do we have to get out? Really?"

Ari and her friend S! S can't crawl or really sit up on her own yet, so she was just kinda chillin' while Ari pretty much dominated the swim area. Look at that huge swimsuit! We had to borrow it - 18 month size! ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2008


"Sometimes cucumbers can enjoy the pickle they're in, but only when they relish it."

~ Justin

Library Reading Time

The library near us has a "mother goose lap sit," a reading time for infants. They sing songs and play games and read books. Ari LOVES it. Today, my whole play group met up there. Ari had just woken up from a nap, so it took a bit to get her excited. But near the end, they brought out the boxes and boxes full of toys. Ari literally crawled straight to the middle of the toy pile so she was surrounded by toys, and just kind of stared, then crawled around to all the boxes and dumping them out. At one point she actually got herself stuck inside one of the boxes! Between the libraries close to us, there are 4 infant reading times a week, and so far we've been going to all of them. She just has SO much fun!

By the way - this adorable outfit she's wearing that my mother bought for her - yeah. Size 18 MONTHS. As in, EIGHT - TEEN MONTHS. It's not joking, either. There was a toddler about that age walking around today. Ari was TALLER.

She's gonna be a drummer!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ari's helping me pack

Yes, she did it on her own. ;)

This is what we woke up to this morning

Don't ask me how. I just work here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Sound

Ari has found a new sound. She does this ALL THE TIME! Can you hear it?

Baby Prison

We finally got Ari a little baby prison so I can clean (or, you know, blog about it) while she safely practices crawling. Here's a little pic of her chasing after her Sophie in it.

It's going to take some getting used to. She would just crawl up to the edge and scream. Then I got in the pen with her, completely ignored her, and just began playing with her toys and laughing hysterically. When I left, she seemed to be fine on her own. She's just old enough now that she should be able to play for a few minutes by herself without constantly having to be held! :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008


In response to the panic in the streets that the scare of BPA has created, I've decided to ditch all my plastic stuff and switch to natural. Even silicon pacifiers have toxins! I've just decided to play it safe from now on. So I bought Ari "Natursutten" natural rubber pacifiers, a "Sophie" natural rubber teether, a "Zmooz" organic cloth and natural wood teether, and "Green to Grow" BPA free bottles. I expected her to accept the new toys in place of her old - she's just not picky when it comes to stuff like that. I never, however, expected that she would love them THIS MUCH.

The first time she figured out she could chew on the wood on her Zmooz, she got a huge grin on her face and just started chomping down. She thinks the squeak in her Sophie is absolutely hilarious, and a few minutes ago (before I trapped her in her entertainer) she was rolling around on the ground giggling and chewing on the giraffe's squishy legs. And her pacifiers double as natural teethers - she seems to actually enjoy them more than her others! She is able to more easily grip the ring and so can insert and remove it with ease, a struggle with her others. Anyway - I'm really glad with these purchase and I can rest knowing my daughter is chewing on something completely natural - and not chock full of potentially hazardous chemicals that have been deemed "inert" by the same people who are trying to sell them.

I have a feeling Sophie and the Zmooz are going to be regulars in her toy rotation from now. ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Texas A&Sam Houston State

I dressed Ari all up in Aggie gear for Justin's parent's visit this week. When they showed up at our door, she was wearing a white and maroon A&M onesie, maroon A&M shorts and maroon A&M booties.

I gave her to her grandparents (who are both from Sam Houston State) and went to finish brushing my hair. When I came back out, my beloved aggie daughter had been converted. Check out the picture.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baby and Doggies

Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do! I've been in Dallas for a couple of weeks, and that was a bit of an adventure. Anyway, here's a little pic I snapped this morning on my phone - Ari is fascinated with these dogs!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dancing Baby!

I cheated a bit. She didn't actually GET herself into this position. But boy, does she love it there! I put her hands on the bars and she just started DANCING! Check out those moves! She certainly didn't get 'em from me! Swing those hips, baby!! Yeah!

Bragging on Justin Again

He's just so talented! He doesn't know I'm blogging this one, and he probably wouldn't approve because it's "not finished," but the main part is done. It's just so hilarious I had to share it!! It's called "Productivity."

Sunday, July 13, 2008


That's right, folks! My daughter is officially CRAWLING! It's not much right now, just a few inches to grab a toy before she rolls back over to her back, but it's definitely not long now before I have a fully mobile child! Ari and I are headed to visit grandparents for a week in Lubbock. I'll bet that by the time we get back, she's a movin' and a groovin'!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Husband is Awesome

Justin is signing up to be an illustrator with iStockPhoto, a cheap stock site where he can submit illustrations for download. I just had to brag on him a bit, he created an image today for his application and I thought it was just hilarious.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where is it? I have no idea.

Justin, while holding a can of beans and twisting his hands: "Where's the scrapey-McOpener-pop thingy?"

Me: [staring]"...the can opener?"

Justin: "Yeah."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Talking Baby

Ari and I love talking to each other. It's probably her favorite game in the entire world. I got a bit of a conversation on video while she was naked after a particularly messy (albeit very exciting) lunch of carrots and broccoli.

When it was over, I picked her up and took her to the computer, where we watched the video. It was then I discovered that possibly the second greatest game in the world, besides talking to people, is talking to yourself while watching yourself talk to people.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ari's First True Head Bonk

...and it was Mommy's fault!

I was holding Ari on the hip walking through the front door of our apartment when she suddenly leaned forward. I was too close to the frame, and she hit her head - hard - on the wood. I waited...3...2...1...SCREEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAM! We got a frozen bunny out of the freezer and I tried to comfort her - heaven knows how much head injuries hurt. She's fine now but she's going to have a nasty bruise, possibly even a bump, right above her left eye.

As you can see from the photo, it's obviously bothering her quite a lot now.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ari Goes Swimming!

Me, Justin, Ariana, and two of our friends who are down from Dallas to visit all went to the pool today! Ariana was so cute in her little blue swimsuit and red goggles and white hat. I slathered her in sunscreen, waited thirty minutes, and off we went!

The water was warm, no doubt heated by the ridiculously hot sun that had only started to cool, so the transition was not a shocking one for her. In fact, she seemed to not even notice she was in water. The first few minutes she just stared. At everything. At the water, at people blowing bubbles, at me, at Justin, at the sky. After a while, though, she got really excited. We passed her from person to person and she splashed herself and got water all in her face and splashed herself some more. By the end of the 45 minutes we were there, she was smiling and laughing and splashing and getting very excited. We left while she was still having fun so her last "memory" of water would be good, and came home. She was so exhausted she went to bed 15 minutes early. She had such a tiring, good day!! :)

I don't have any pictures, which is sad, but I didn't have a camera I could take to the pool. We're definitely going to go to the pool again, and probably often, so we might go get a waterproof disposable to take down there. She just had SO much fun, someone needs to record the absolute bliss on her face when her hands hit that water and it splashes up in front of her!! :)

Ari's First Laugh

Ariana has laughed before. After much work and tickling, I can usually coax a few giggles out of her. Today, however, Ariana was in my arms, getting tired and about ready to go down for a nap. This was, however, before she noticed Toby lying on the floor. She watched him for a few minutes, he just lying there, occasionally letting his limp tail whack the floor. But when he moved - oh when he moved - she went INSANE. She laughed SO HARD I thought she was going to break something. She giggled and cooed and chortled hysterically at him for about 10 minutes. I managed to catch a bit of it on this video. I'm really looking forward to more of this laugh!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You've Won!

Okay, so 1 in 6 ain't horrible odds, but I do like winning things. Especially when those "things" involve Dr. Pepper. So when I picked up a 2 liter of the goo for a party I noted the "1 in 6 wins!" on the bottle and decided that, this time, I would actually take the time to enter the stupid code on the stupid internet, thereby signing myself up for a lifetime of ridiculous spam, to see if I could get my hands on a free bottle of sweet tasting, carbonated liver poison.

After the party, Justin and I gathered around the computer and signed up for our Dr. Pepper membership, which is on a horrible written, cumbersome, GIGANTIC website that nearly ate our computer four times. Then I entered my code. I waited...waited...and YES! Wow! I won! Alright, and now to claim my prize! What greatness would it be? A free small fry with purchase of a franchise? A fountain drink redeemable at 10 convenience stores nationwide? Maybe even a 2 liter?

"Congratulations, Amber, you did it! Claim your WALLPAPER PRIZE now!"


I won a...a what?!

That's right, folks. 1 in 6 wins ain't gonna cost this company a DIME. Because I am now the privileged recipient of a FREE downloadable advertisement for my computer desktop! What happened to the days when stupid marketing schemes like prizes on a coke meant popping the top and out comes a five dollar bill instead of soothing liquid goodness?!

Oh, well. This is America, right? Maybe next time I'll buy a Coke.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Grandpaisms

If you liked my granddad's "whorehouse" comment earlier, you'll like this.

I went into his bedroom to watch TV with him as he was falling asleep. I asked him what he was watching. "Oh, I don't know," he said. "Well, what do you want to watch?" He can't push the buttons, so I was going to help. He hesitated, thinking. "The black man." I laughed. "Which black man, Poppy?" He looked very confused. "Well," he said. "There's only one."

(I asked his nurse: turns out he wanted to watch Obama on the 10:00 news.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Eventful Week

Well, wow, this has been an eventful few days. Because so much has happened, I’ve decided to divide the story up into segments. Pictures will come later when I’m not on 28.8 dialup in the middle of nowhere.

Last Thursday morning I drove up to Dallas. My brother was graduating (yay! He’s headed to UNT in a few months) and my grandmother was in town until Monday. She’d never met Ari. I made it with plenty of time for me, Ashley, my cousin Kelsy, my mom, my dad, and my grandmother to make it to the graduation.

It was a good ceremony. One of the speakers told a ridiculous story about a kid who “made up” a new major: criminal psychology. I guess he didn’t realize how idiotic he sounded to be so high up in the world of education and not know that “criminal psychology” is actually a field.

We were going to go out to eat but graduation didn’t end until about 9:30 or so, so we just went home and my dad made shish kabobs. I have no idea how to spell that word. Thank you, Spell Check.

We’re Still Alive
Because we didn’t get to go out to eat after graduation, we left on Friday night to eat at AW Shucks, an outside seafood restaurant in downtown Dallas. My mom, dad, and grandmother piled into my mother’s Lincoln, and me, Ashley, James, and Ariana were going to follow in the Matrix I was borrowing from a friend.

As we were driving down the highway, I was in the lane to the right of the far most left lane. I needed to merge right, so I checked behind me. No one was there, so I began to merge. At the same time, a teenage boy was in the lane to the right of the one I was trying to merge into, and he was trying to merge left. He was behind me, but apparently hadn’t seen me. I veered to avoid him, but overcorrected and ended up in the far left lane. At this point something must have happened to the alignment because, try as I might to keep the wheel straight, it kept swerving right to left like a piece of luggage too big for it’s wheels about to tip over. Ariana was screaming and everyone else was quiet. I kept saying, “I can’t make it straight! I can’t make it straight!” I also yelled for my brother, who was in the backseat, to watch out for Ariana. After not hitting anyone going back and forth through several lanes of traffic a few times, we finally crashed into the median. It may have saved our lives, because it straightened out the wheels enough for me to drive us to the side of the road. I leapt out of the car and ran to the back seat. I was shaking but Ari was fine and giggled when she saw me. The left back wheel was twisted underneath the car. Though I was stoic for a few minutes, I eventually broke down sobbing. The car was barely drivable at a few miles an hour, so my brother drove it cautiously back to our house and switched it for his car, then met us at the restaurant.

AW Shucks
This place was really cool. It was across from The Granada downtown and served the spiciest, best seafood EVER. My dad and I shared a plate of crab legs, shrimp, and sausage. I got hot peppers in my eye. My sister screamed at me to wash it out before I burned off my cornea, and my mother offered to call an ambulance. I rinsed it out with ice water and was fine. The food was fantastic, and I really enjoyed the whole evening.

Saturday and Sunday we basically just hung out with my grandmother all weekend. I bought some cloth diapers on Saturday (Ariana is getting so big!) and enjoyed a lecture from my grandmother about how cloth diapers are not only bad for babies, but inconvenient and more expensive (yeah, try that one on for size). I’m trying out a couple of new types of diapers and so far, I am a HUGE fan of Thirstie’s All in Ones. I might just get all of that type next time I buy.

The Butlers
On Monday my grandmother went back to Lubbock and I went to figure out how much it was going to cost to fix the car. I was planning on getting back to Houston by Wednesday so that I wouldn’t miss Toby’s obedience class. That wasn’t in the stars. It’s gonna cost several thousand dollars to fix, so I parked it in my father’s driveway and my mother in law drove me and Ariana to her house, where we planned to stay for the next few days since we had spent so long with my side of the family.

We had SOOOO MUCH FUN at the Butlers! Linda took me shopping for fabric and patterns and over the course of the four days I was there, we sewed three dresses for Ariana. I say we. She sewed two, I sewed one. It was so much fun, and the dress I sewed for Ari is really adorable. I’m quite proud of myself and plan on doing more of this in the future. J I’ll put up pictures of it later. The dress Linda sewed for her was a cute blue and white polka dotted vintage 50s looking dress with a bit of a modern twist – it’s very cute. I can’t wait for a Sunday we’ll actually be going to church. ;)

Ariana started to cut teeth while we were at the Butlers! I noticed that her chewing on my hand started to be a little sharper than usual, and when I looked, sure enough, there was a small white peak inching through the gums. Now you can definitely see the beginnings of a tooth, it seems to have finally poked through Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, Ariana, my parents, and I all headed up to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents, who love to see her. We’ve had a really good time so far. My grandfather has always been a fun loving guy, and that hasn’t changed even though he now slips between dementia and lucidity. He confuses my father for his (my grandfather’s) brother sometimes, and once thought Justin was Mexican because he speaks Spanish. But in his periods of clarity (which are often) he says some extremely hilarious things reminiscent of his sense of humor.

For instance, just today, my parents and he were talking about how they plan to move to northern Dallas because that’s where all of their friends are. My grandfather was wondering what they would do with their current house. “Well,” my dad said, “we’d probably sell it. What would you do with it?” With all the seriousness in the world, he looked at them and said, “Well, I’d start a whorehouse.”

So it has been quite a busy week for us. Justin had to stand in for my class on Wednesday and take notes for me, but it looks like I’ll actually be back by next Wednesday to finish out. He is currently driving up to Dallas in a van he borrowed from a friend so he can take me down to Houston tomorrow. He’ll meet me in the morning and we’ll be on our way! Though it has been exciting and fun, I am really looking forward to going home.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Daughter Hates the Vacuum

It's true! At first I thought maybe she was just tired. And then maybe just annoyed. But every time I run the vacuum cleaner, she totally freaks. She doesn't get mad or even just upset - she screams that scream that makes big crocodile tears stream down her face, the scream she screams when something incredibly painful or scary has happened. Most children love the sound of the vacuum - it's soothing. I will give her this, our vacuum is remarkably high pitched and jolting. Maybe the sound just grates her nerves. Who knows. Either way, the dog hair is definitely winning the vacuum war on our carpet.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dinner's Ready

Today, as I was getting off of work, I was thrilled to get a text message from Justin that said, "Dinner is ready!" Justin's idea of "dinner is ready," apparently, means, "I've boiled three hot dogs and there's bread in the pantry."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back :)

This past Mother's Day weekend was a big event for us; we hosted both mine and Justin's family in our apartment for the weekend to celebrate Mother's Day and Ari's baby dedication. In preparation, I laid off blogging and any other "extra curriculars" for over a week to prepare. But now I'm back!

Justin had a "social" at his junior high last weekend. I went for moral support ;) and it was pretty fun. Not a lot of Jr. Highers showed up, but the few that did looked like they were having a blast. I caught Justin on video dancing with his daughter. :) We're having technical difficulties right now, but I'll upload it later.

"Uncle Jerd" (Justin's brother, Jared) loved playing with his "fluff" (Talsi). He really just needs to take her home with him. Except I think she might go insane without Toby around. She really does love Jared, though. Goes crazy whenever she sees him. I mean, look how happy she is!

This IS her happy face. I promise.

Toby was pretty hyper the whole time. He gets REALLY excited when he sees my inlaws...so we "short leashed" him. (I.E., tied him to the couch.) He was very confused.

On Saturday, my brother James head butted Justin. You can see the bruise on his left eye lid. The kids at his school kept asking if he was wearing eyeliner because it really looks like he is! Not the cute girl kind, but the punk rocker kind. You can't see it well here, but it's pretty funny. In response to his kid's questions about eyeliner, Justin said that he says, "No, my brother [in law] head butted me." I told him I was glad. That's a much more manly answer than "Yes."

My brother is morally opposed to Senior pictures, so the fact that we were able to get even five minutes out of him for a few shots was a miracle. I think I'm going to be able to convince him to let me take him on an actual photo shoot while I'm in Dallas for his graduation. I'm looking forward to it, it should be fun. :)

Ari's baby dedication went well, the video is on Facebook and YouTube. My mom took over a hundred pictures, but the camera is BRAND new and she wasn't used to working it. (Anyone who has ever switched to digital from film will know what I'm talking about!) Anyway, there was a technical malfunction and we don't have any of the pictures, but we do have a few to make up for it. :) This is me and my pretty newly-dedicated baby. The bib may be off-putting, but it's better visually than the puddle of saliva that had already collected on her dress from picture taking. ;)

Here is Grandma Linda with her grandbaby. I think Ari was a bit sick of being passed from person to person and was making sure we lodged her official complaint.

Here's her Grandpa Joe singing to her. It's the first and last thing he always does around her. She has no hope at NOT being a musical child. ;) She really loves some of his songs (and really hates others! ;)

After everyone had gone and the bustle had died, me and Ari settled down to put her to sleep. Her bedtime story tonight was "The Secret Garden." She was a bit worried at the part when Dicken was introduced, but she settled down after she found out he was okay. :)

Today I put her to sleep in her bassinet. I promise she was right side up when I left her!

No story with this one, I just love this picture.

Tonight I made homemade pizza with mozzerella, pepperoni, green peppers and a whole wheat crust. It was absolutely fantastic.

And THEN, I remembered why I don't cook like that very often. This was only one table! It's clean now...after an HOUR!

Well that's all for my update for now, I'll be posting more about the past couple of weeks of my haitus as it comes to mind and as media becomes available. In the meantime you can check out my YouTube or Facebook accounts for more. (Though my Facebook videos are set to "public," my YouTube videos are private, so email me if you want permissions to view them.)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Being "The Mommy"

I'm used to working with kids, all sort of kids. Small kids, big kids, young kids, old kids, happy kids, screaming kids. Most of them like me, ask for me to come back as their babysitter, run around the house in excitement when I show up. They curl up with me on the couch at bedtime, ask for me to read them stories, and fall asleep in my arms. But there is one thing that all of these kids had in common: I was not the mommy.

There was always someone that ranked higher in their minds than me. No matter how much they laughed at my jokes, loved running around and playing with me, begged me to read them a story, there was always someone who made their face light up, their voice change, their steps a bit lighter. Someone else. I was not the mommy.

I remember when this first hit home with me. I was "babysitting" a nine month old boy, the son of a friend. I put "babysitting" in quotes because there were about five of us girls hanging out and we were all watching him, so it really wasn't that big of a task. We fed him and changed him and played with him...and when it came time for bed, we tried to put him to sleep. Nothing would take. We rocked him and sang to him and walked around with him; we talked to him and hummed to him and all he would do was scream. Scream his little head off, scream like the world was ending, scream so loud I was genuinely concerned he might break something. We were helpless. And then, after about 20 minutes of desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with this child, his mother came back through the door. I apologetically handed him to her, saying that we had tried to get him to calm down. The next thing I witnessed was miraculous. This screaming, livid child hit his mother's arms...and was silenced. He instantly settled into her breast and fell asleep. It was then that I realized...no matter how "good" at taking care of this child I was...I am not the mommy.

I remember the first time I really felt like Ariana's "mommy." We were at Justin's school and we were showing her off to all of his teacher friends. After a while, I guess she just got overstimulated and started fussing. The teacher who was holding her at the time said, "Oh! Guess it's time to go back to Mom," and handed her to me. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I am the mommy.

Ari has started sobbing, and I mean really sobbing. I'm talking big teddy bear tears, red eyes, monster pout, quivering lower lip, and that characteristic and desperate half-shaky gasp in between wails. And I love...I love...that I am the one that gets to comfort her. There is no comfort that trumps mine, no higher earthly power to which she can plead. Sitting on the couch at 6:00 and just rocking her, I am not waiting for Mommy to come home. I'm not watching the clock wondering if I should just feed her or wait...I'm not reaching for my cell phone to call for backup or see how much longer they're going to be...I'm just rocking her. Because she's mine. Because there isn't going to be a Mommy to walk through the front door and take her away from me. Because I'm the one who comes home to her. Because I'm the one she smiles at when she wakes up. Because I'm the one whose sleeve she grips while bouncing in my arms. Because I'm the one whose lips she tries so hard to trace and follow with her own, whose face she can now awkwardly and clumsily grab for, whose voice makes even those teddy bear tears and desperate sobs fade away. Because she calms to my voice, settles into my arms, and slows her breathing when she feels my breath. I'm the one who gets to hold her, because there is no one else to hand her to. Finally...finally...I am the mommy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


OH, did I forget to tell everyone? I married Jamie from Mythbusters!


I "promised" Justin I would share this picture with the world.

We were in Wal-Mart and we saw these hats...these Fedoras...just lying on the shelf. Just LYING there! Poor hats...they were so...lonely...without some kind soul to wear them...

Seriously though...doesn't he look sexy?!?!