Monday, January 28

Analyze This!!

Seriously, help me analyze this dream. It happened last night, and I woke up in the best mood.

American Idol is holding audition in Austin. For some inexplicable reason, I decide to go and try out. I get past the screeners, which usually means one is fairly decent or fairly horrible. I worry I'm in the latter group, but seeing how this is a dream, I decide to proceed to the judges. I'm a little nervous at this point. I go in the room. (Ryan Seacrest flirted with me, by the way, and asked for my number when we were off camera. Trust me, it gets much more strange!!I don't even like Ryan Seacrest!!!!!) Apparently, I sing well enough to get the 'You're going to Hollywood!' from all three judges. Randy calls me 'dawg.' Paula babbles about rainbows and puppies. (Totally not kidding.) Simon is nice to me, and tells me he liked my elbows. (Elbows? Really? What was I dream-wearing that accentuated my elbows so nicely? I guess I'll never know.)

So off I go to Hollywood. I take David with me. (?) I don't remember again what I sang for the second round, but it was my last song. I don't make it any further. But here's the strangest part: Simon is nice to me. Again. What in the world??? He lets me down very sweetly, and tells me to call him if I ever need anything. HUH??

Please let me explain at this point that I don't even like American Idol. I think it's stupid. It comes on before 9pm, so even if I did like it, I can't watch it. I have no few aspirations of fame or glory, and no delusions about my voice. I'm a decent singer, no more, no less. So why in the world would I have a dream like this??

I tried to tell John about it, thinking he might find it puzzling or interesting as I have, but he was no help. He just rolled over, squinted, looked me up and down, and said, 'Well, you must be feeling better. How much coffee have you had this morning? Why are you talking so fast? Why did you wake me up?' I punched him, and then he grabbed my arms to make the beating stop, and then, since the kids weren't up yet ...

Well, that next part isn't any of your business. (No, you may not lecture me for writing that last part. How do you think I ended up with three kids before I turned 24?? I'm just sayin'.)

So all in all, it's been a great morning. I've been up for 4 hours, and I'm in a wonderful mood. Here's hoping the day continues in this vein!!

Sunday, January 27

On to Sunday's thoughts ...

Thanks to everyone for the lovely comments about Evelyn's hair, and the well-wishes about my mouth. It doesn't hurt near as bad anymore. And thank goodness I only had to take those stoopid pain meds for four or five days. I hate those things.

In unrelated news: I have a cold. I coughed so much on the couch before bed last night that 1) John had to turn the TV up (sweet man that he is) to hear it over my hacking, and 2) my abs hurt like I did 100 sit-ups yesterday because I coughed so much! I seem to be doing better today, praise Jesus, because when I do cough, it makes me double over in pain.

Ok, I'm done with the whining. Other news ... Sam just ran in the house completely freaking out and crying because he did something stupid again a chicken (Rover, our aggressive rooster) flew up and bit his finger. There is the tiniest of cuts on his right pointer finger, and the world is now crashing down around him. On the upside, I didn't respond with, 'Well, honey, that's what happens when you torment an animal that has a brain the size of a small pea and already doesn't like you.'

I did respond with, 'I'm sorry to hear that. You shouldn't be throwing the roster, because he has a brain the size of a pea and doesn't like you to begin with. Go wash your hands with soap, and bring me a band-aid, and we'll look at it together.' See, wasn't that sweet of me??

I am so the mean parent in this house. The kids have pretty much learned not to come to me if there's not a massive head wound, or a bone protruding somewhere.

I made White Chocolate Cheesecake with Brownie Bites and Raspberry Glaze the other day for John to take to work. (I try to make something every week or two for him to take up there; it's good for morale in a very, very difficult store.) I had to capitalize all those words because it was a Very Important Dessert. It was my first attempt at cheesecake (a real one, not one of those no-bake ones), and it turned out really well, except that I used the wrong kind of pan. But it tasted really, really good. It was probably the first recipe I made with absolutely no redeeming qualities. I'll post the recipe later this week, but you might want to do a little juice fast or something before you read it. It's that rich.

And now my kids are telling me I should feed them. I guess I'll do that, and then curl up on the couch and take a quick nap while everyone eats. Mmmm, naps ...

Saturday, January 26

Saturday's Musings

(note: I started this yesterday, and just finished it today, so I'm keeping the title of Saturday's Musings, even though it's Sunday)

Well, Evelyn is starting to accept her hair a little more. (See previous post) But still, every now and then, she'll just break down into tears. When asked what her malfunction is what's wrong, she just breaks down in tears and sobs that her hair is ugly. It's been a little strange, her reaction to short hair, for several reasons. For one, John and I have always worked on not putting much emphasis on physical appearance. We think she's the most beautiful little girl in the world, but we know that we're a tad biased, and that there really are more important things. (Like great shoes. I kid. Mostly.)

Also, she was the one who cut her hair and said she wanted short hair! Silly little monkey. As soon as we went into the bathroom after the initial cut, and I told her we were going to have to cut the rest of it, she went ballistic about how she didn't want short hair and that she was going to be ugly, and her hair was going to be awful, and Dad wouldn't think she was pretty any more. Oy!! It was very hard for me to not laugh (yes, I struggle with inappropriate responses from time to time. Laughter seems to be the most common response, especially if my kids are freaking-out upset. Sue me.) and to try and calm her down, but then I started thinking about hair.

My hair is long. It grows rather slowly, and I take decent care of it. I don't blow-dry it (well, I actually don't own a hair dryer. This infuriates my mother when she comes to visit, because she either has to bring her own, or not blow-dry her hair. Sorry, Mom!!), I don't put any chemicals on it, other than hairspray once every two weeks or so, I don't brush it when it's wet, and I use shampoo that makes my hair happy. I don't wear it down on very windy ways, because of all the knots, and I let my mom trim my split ends at least once a year. She derives great pleasure from this, cause she's been trying to get me to cut it for years. I will not. I love my hair. More importantly, my sexy husband loves my hair, and for that reason alone, I would keep it long.

I tried to imagine how I would feel if I was suddenly told that my lovely (albeit fairly thin and sometimes stringy) hair would suddenly be cut short. Really, really short. I'm pretty sure I would be devastated. Now, yes, I know it's just hair. That's what I tried to tell Evelyn. But let's be honest; it's more than that. For most women, and a lot of men, too, our hair is a huge part of who we are. When people donate to Locks of Love, it's a big deal. It'd be much easier to just write a check for $30 than donate a foot of hair. And if you did just write that check, you probably wouldn't go around telling people what you had done. But when you're growing your hair out for L of L, you tell people. You tell everyone you know, and probably a few strangers, too. (Note: I'm not saying that L of L is a bad thing. I think it's wonderful!! If you do it, good for you!!!)

If you get a new haircut and your hubby or kids or whoever don't notice, it really ticks you off! And if you do something really drastic, like make a big color change, or go to a totally different style, it's kind of devastating if no one comments on it. Even the color of your hair can be an identity thing. Picture the blondest blonde you know, and imagine dyeing her hair black. Or imagine dying your hair black. Or blond, if your hair is already dark. It'll change the way you feel about yourself. How happy do you get right now when you just have a flat-out Good Hair Day? Man, it makes me so excited!! And because I feel prettier, I act different. I've been known to flirt more (with my husband, people!) when my hair looks great and my makeup just works and I have on my cute jeans, than when I'm not showered and haven't shaved in a week and haven't had my morning coffee. I'm just saying.

My mom had cancer when I was in junior high. She's fine now, completely in remission, but she had to go through a bunch of chemo and then six weeks (I think?) or radiation. Of course she was upset about having cancer, and all the things that go along with that (hey, I have cancer! I might die! Crap!), but there was something a lot of people didn't understand: why she was so upset about losing her hair. Now, my mom isn't a vain person, any more than the average person is. She can rock the color pink and knows it, but she doesn't spend too much time focusing on outward appearance. But to be told that 'you have the Big C, and your life is going to be turned upside down, and you're going to be pumped full of all kinds of toxic chemicals, and that there could be all these awful side effects, and oh, by the way, that lovely long hair of yours? You can kiss that goodbye, too' is a Big Deal.

So all that to say, I think I should probably be a little more sympathetic to Evie about her short hair. No, it's not something we're going to dwell on, and yes, the new rule is still that she can't say anything negative about her hair, lest she start a downward spiral into inconsolable tears, but I think I'm going to be a little more patient from here on out.

Unless she cuts it again. Then I'm just going to shave her head and paint her scalp blue.

What?? No, I wouldn't really do that. Probably.

Monday, January 21

Oh, Evie

As I mentioned earlier, Evelyn decided to cut her hair last night. I think most of you know how well it turned out last time when one of the kids got a hold of scissors near that girl's hair. At least it was a little easier to fix this time. And a little cuter, too, I think. (click any of these to enlarge)

I present, Evie.

With short hair.


Here's the view from the front. Could her eyes be any bigger or bluer? She sure didn't get that from me!

From the side/back angle. Does that look red to anyone else?

She's starting to get ticked off at me ... we had taken about 20 pictures at this point, because she's the wiggliest little person alive.

Ok, we pulled the top back with a clip to get the hair out of her eyes ... and to make her look cuter. It worked on both accounts, I think.

And from the side. All in all, I think I did a pretty decent job, don't you??

Come on, give me your honest opinions. I can take it, I promise!!! :)

Where I've Been

I got an email from Lyndsey today (well, she sent it yesterday at noon, but I just opened it five minutes ago). I was excited, because someone hasn't been returning my phone calls, and I wasn't aware that we were fighting, but I've got three kids under six, ya know, so maybe we did have a fight and I just missed it? Because that happens sometimes. Well, that situation in particular has never happened, but I do tend to miss things that are right in front of my face. I'm just saying.

But we're not fighting. Her email was letting me know that she's been avoiding the phone in order to get things done, so no worries, but that's why I haven't been hearing from her. I laughed really hard when I read that, because I've totally been avoiding the computer for the same reasons. To get things done. (Um, and read. And play with my favorite new toy. But I digress.) I've also had a crazy week this week. Sorry for the absence. And lack of pictures. Mom, I promise they're coming soon!!

I spent last weekend and the beginning of the week getting ready for Wednesday. What happened Wednesday? Well, I went to the dentist. And I had a filling done. And two root canals. And a tooth extracted. And a deep, under-the-gum cleaning. It was awesome. For real.

No, it wasn't. I was in the dentist's chair for almost 6 hours. My mouth doesn't respond very well to pain killers, so I was given over 30 shots in total. In my gums. It sucked, big time. They wrote me scripts for pain meds and penicillin. I hate being on pain meds. When Evie was born in the hospital, and they gave me the pain meds to take home, I think I only took 6. Total. I've already taken more than that. It hasn't been fun.

Then on Thursday, instead of taking it easy like they told me to, we went to lunch (I had soup) and ran a bunch of errands. Then Sarah, my sweet and lovely friend who herself was in the hospital a week ago for a kidney infection, came to stay with me, and we went to a meeting with the ladies in my church.

And my older kids got sick on Friday. And I think now that David is over his cough, he decided to catch Sam and Evie's cold, which (of course!) includes a pretty wicked cough. Oy.

Things got better yesterday, though, when the weather turned nasty, we missed church because of above-mentioned cold, and John was at work for 13 hours. He got home after 7, made a fire, turned on the game, and we all snuggled up on the couch. We sent the kids to brush their teeth, which apparently, in Evie Language, means, 'Go ahead and dig around in the cabinet we didn't even know you could reach and find some scissors and cut a huge chunk out of the back of your hair.' Obviously.

All those things did happen, but it was actually a good week. I'm not kidding. I've spent some great time with my kids, and had some good talks with John, and while I'm not really crazy about pain medicine, I have been sleeping awfully well. I've been on top of my housework, and even though my dishwasher broke, I've been at least breaking even in the kitchen. At times, you might even have been able to call it clean! So now I'll make my mom happy and put up some pictures.

'Mom, are we almost done with the pictures?'

'Fine! If you're going to keep flashing that thing at me, I'm going to make faces. So there.'

'Mmm, I love eating pizza. And blue markers. And I love trying to grab the camera with a bunch of pizza grease on my fingers!!'


'Hi. My name is Zsa-Zsa. I am a chicken. I like to eat bugs and lay eggs.'

You knew I wasn't going to let a chance to post a chicken picture pass by, right?!?!? :)

Thursday, January 10

It's HERE!!

Oh, my goodness. I want to marry my new camera. Seriously. I love it with the fire and passion equal to the heat of a thousand suns. I had to restrain myself from hugging the UPS guy (who is really nice and always chats with me), but luckily the kids went and met him and got the box for me

For real.

Thanks for everyone who left me such sweet comments! I'm looking forward to actually getting good at taking pictures, so when I hear other people talking about their cool digital SLR cameras, I can sound like I know what I'm talking about. I probably won't actually know what I'm talking about, but I can hopefully sound like it. :)

I'm having so much fun playing with it. Two lenses to mess with, exposures, filters, settings, I can't figure out how to turn off the flash for some of the settings and it's making me a little kookie, and all kinds of other fun things. As soon as I figure out how to get the pictures from the camera to the computer, I'll put some of them up. I think the chickens are getting tired of me using the big black thing to click at them, so I promise not to bore you with (too many) pictures of my beloved, egg-hiding, ankle-attacking, loud-crowing birds.

In other news, J and I went to see A Tuna Christmas last night. It was my big Christmas gift to him, and I thought I had done really well. Sometimes I'm not very good at figuring out what to give him. (Then I found out what he was giving me for my gift, see above paragraph, and I felt that my gift was woefully inadequate. Hmph.) Anyway, the evening was great. My aunt watched the kids, which worked out well since she lives about 15 minutes from The Paramount where the show was playing. From what I hear, the Tuna shows have been around for at least 20 years, and I am sooo glad I finally got to go to one. We'll be going to the others, too, at some point. If you've never seen these guys, I hope that you're able to go one day. I laughed so hard that I was almost crying, several times. These two have small-town Texas completely nailed!

We spent the whole morning completely cleaning out all three rooms upstairs. Evie's room literally had me sitting on the floor in tears. I don't know how it goes from being a little unorganized on Tuesday to bringing me to tears on Thursday, but it did. It was bad. b. a. d. But now it makes me happy to go in there, and I haven't let her play in her room all day. I might not let her tomorrow, either. :)

Tomorrow we take David to the doctor for his cough (he's had it since before Thanksgiving when we all got that cold, and that's a little too long for me!), and John is going to cook a brisket, since his dad and Heather are coming over for supper tomorrow evening. Oh, and we have art class tomorrow afternoon. It's going to be a long day. I'm going to bed early ...

Oh, by the way ... my bloggie friend Paula who is wonderful and sweet and has 24 kids (bio and adopted) is expecting!! YAY, and congrats, Paula!!! I just love babies!!!! And how wonderful is it to be so blessed with such a large family! I'm super happy for her.

And I sure do love babies. Don't know if you've picked up on that yet...

Monday, January 7

Camera stuff

Oh, yeah. My camera should be here tomorrow. I am trying to type very slowly and calmly, because I actually want to jump and shriek and scream and jump and shout and then jump some more.

So this is me being calm. Very, very calm.

Here's what we decided to get.


So I'm going to go sit on my front porch until tomorrow. You know, just in case UPS accidentally put my camera on an airplane instead of a ground truck, making it get here a day early.

Hey, you never know. Stranger things have happened ...

(By the way, that website, Andorama, is amazing, and their prices were the absolute best we could find, after almost of month of intensive searching. I love finding a good deal!!)

Friday, January 4

Wild and Wacky

Ok, those of you who know me well know that I just lovelovelove baseball. Except this year, when the Astros sucked. But believe me, that's a lot more than I want to get into in this post. I probably wouldn't stop typing about it.

Anywhoooo ... I love baseball. And here's a wonderful article for anyone who loves, likes, or reasonably tolerates baseball. A fun list filled with quirky, wild and wacky stats from last season.

Fun Baseball Article, click here

Eggs! and other ramblings

Our chickens are laying eggs! Because I still had 2 dozen store eggs in the fridge, I've only used a few of them. But they are lovely and different colors and the yolks are rich and yummy. Again, since I had 2 dozen store eggs and get twitchy if I throw just about anything out, I decided to give some of the first eggs away. Some to our neighbor, and some to Kristie.

Then the chickens started hiding their eggs, and we've only collected two in the last 3 days. We should be getting at least 7 per day at this point. Hateful, stingy birds. They lay outside because we don't have anything set up for them to lay in inside the coop at the moment. I'm going to change all that tomorrow and hopefully start getting eggs again in a few days.

In other Stewart news ... My father-in-law is moving to Austin. He left Maryland this morning, and will get to Round Rock (where his sister lives) on the 9th. Why is it going to take 5 days? No idea. MapQuest says that from Round Rock to Maryland is 1523 miles from Round Rock, or 23 hours and 30 minutes. So, you'd have to drive under 5 hours each day to take 5 days to get here. Or, let's assume that he's planning on getting here early on the 9th. You'd have to drive less than 6 hours each day. Hmm. I know he plans on doing some sightseeing, but that's a lot of historical sites. But you know what? He's really, really into history, so more power to him.

He's not sure where he's going to live yet, not even what part of town he needs to live in, so Heather (John's half-sister) and I have been trying to to a little legwork for him. I'm a little stressed about the whole thing, and a little ticked off at John that he's not stressed about any of this. I mean, I'm not losing sleep or weight or hair or anything, but I want everything to go smoothly. And this is John's dad, people.

Anyway. I can only control my actions and responses, so there's really no point in getting worked up. What's going to happen will happen, and I can decide to have a positive or negative attitude. I've decided to be positive, and see all the good things that can come of this.

When we were in Katy, my mom gave my ten pounds of venison hamburger (ground venison). My mom rules, for real. I made chili for the first time last night, and was extremely nervous. I've a) never made chili, and b) never cooked with venison. Luckily, my fears were unfounded, and the chili turned out wonderfully. It was awesome, and I ate too much of it last night. And today for lunch. I'll post the recipe tomorrow, and you all have to make it immediately. It's not too spicy ... I plan on using more spice next time, actually. And did I mention the good part?? John and the boys and I chowed on it. Evie ... not so much. But I was expecting that. Oh, well!!

John gave me a Magic Bullet for Christmas, and I've been loving it! I've been maxing XanGo smoothies every day, and my energy level has gone up, and my knees haven't been bugging me at all; they usually bug me worse in the cold months. I hadn't been taking it in a while, and I forgot what a difference it makes. Wow! The kids love smoothies, too, so it's been fun all around.

I'll be posting a book review in a few days. I'm going to post more about what I'm reading this year, if for no other reason than to keep track so I can make a list at the end of next year. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, January 1

It's Here!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

I love the first day of each year. It's a great time to start fresh, get some good new habits going, get some old bad ones out ... it's wonderful!

Here are a few of my goals for this year. Yes, most of them (at least the ones that are bloggable) deal with my house; it's the area I struggle with the most. It's the only real thing that John and I have ever fought about, so if I become perfect with my house, we'll never fight again, right? Right??? :)

1. Put a load of laundry in the washer every morning when I wake up. I've tried the 'laundry day' thing. It made me homicidal, and didn't work.

2. Spot sweep under the table after every meal. It takes 2.3 seconds, and makes the biggest difference in the world, so why am I not doing it?

3. Wipe down the bathroom each night. Ditto detail on #2.

4. Take five minutes (set with a timer) before nap time to straighten the loft and kids' rooms, and another five after each meal. We call this a 'five-minute drill,' and they're surprisingly effective. If I do it after each meal, we can hit every area of the house and porch, and when you keep up with something, it never gets so bad that it's impossibly overwhelming. Or so John has been telling me for the last 6 years.

5. Clean my sink every night before bed. Who likes to wake up to a dirty kitchen? Not moi.

6. Make a meal for my father-in-law once a week. This will probably be done once a month, and I'll take over several frozen dishes, once he moves down here. (This situation will probably get its own post in the next few weeks.)

7. Get back to my quiet times in the morning. I've been very, very bad about this lately, and it's really starting to effect my life. When your spiritual walk is off, nothing else seems to be completely right. Nothing. This is probably the most important thing on my list.

8. Get back to my mornings in general. I've just slipped out of this habit in the last month, with all the sickness and holidays and whatnot.

This might seem like a big list to you. Or you might be thinking 'duh' about some of these, like having a clean sink before bed. But the whole things is very doable if I just get into the habit. I've been doing #'s 1 and 5 for a few weeks already, and it has made the biggest difference to my day. I hardly even have to think about it anymore; it's already becoming second nature, like making coffee and letting the chickens out.

So what are your plans/resolutions/goals/whatever? Leave me a comment and let me know. Lurkers, please de-lurk!! I know there's a few of you out there, because I talk to you on the phone and you tell me you read my blog. Heather. Or whoever.

And did I mention ... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!