Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not Enough Time

One of the biggest problems in my life is TIME. There simply isn't enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. And since something has to go, its usually sleep.

But Ryan has managed to come up to the solution to all my problems.

A clock with 14 (er, 41) hours on it.

Just think how much more I could accomplish with those extra four hours per day! I might actually get a good night's rest...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dry Run for Easter

The boys are excited about the Easter Bunny's pending visit.

The other day, they were playing with our neighbors, Noel and Tatianna, and the four of them decided to hide the loose, unfilled eggs I had outside. They took turns, the three of them hanging out inside, while the fourth went outside to hide the eggs. There was some sort of contest as to who could find the most eggs in each time, but I was never exactly clear on what it was they won each time. More that I think they had the joy of hiding the eggs the next time.

And last weekend, we celebrated my Chris' birthday (April 15), Elaine's birthday (April 21) and Al's birthday April 22). Carl and I made the bunny cake, attempting but not quite managing to fully copy Erica's excellent bunny birthday cake.

We're off to Houston today to celebrate my mom's birthday (also today) and Easter. I've never traveled for Easter before since munchkins entered my life, and its not easy. Between the easter baskets, the eggs we have to hide, the cascarones ... its a lot to hide from little eyes in the backseat of the mommyvan!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sweet Baby Matthew James

Matthew James finally arrived on Wednesday, April 20, at 1:35 pm. He's 20 inches long, and eight pounds, three ounces.

We stopped by to visit him and the happy family, and everyone is doing well.

Congratulations, Elaine, Drew and Connor! Thank you for our nephew. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tiger Cub Graduate

Team Danger's men all have new belts for Taekwondo. Here are Alex and Ryan (from behind) testing for their new belts last week.

Everyone passed, and Alex and Carl are now 1st Degree, L3 Black Belts.

 And Ryan is now an official Yellow Belt! He graduated from the Tiger Cub program, and even skipped his White Belt, and went right to a Yellow Belt.

We are so proud of both boys, and I have to say, I have rarely seen such a happy sight as Ryan with his new belt. He could not believe he was getting his Yellow Belt and skipping his White Belt. Most importantly, he is super proud of himself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Circle of Life

Alex's class has been learning about animals' life cycles recently at school. As part of their class, they have been checking in on a nest of baby Eagles as well as a nest of owls, via webcams. We've been watching them at home, too, especially the baby Eaglets. Its quite addictive, and we've spent a lot of time over the past week on the Eaglecam!

Live streaming video by Ustream

This morning, unfortunately, they learned about the end of an animal's life cycle. Their class' very own Peter Rabbit passed away over night, and I was volunteering in the room when Ms. Stading called everyone to the carpet for a very sad class meeting. I think I (and the other mom) probably cried more than the children did, but oh, was this a painful hour to be with eighteen sad little kiddos. Peter was a great class pet, and he will be missed.

Welcome to Kindergarten!

Now that our school district has finally put to bed their horrible idea to make kindergarten a half-day program next fall, we can safely take Ryan to all the fun activities Spicewood has planned to welcome him and his friends to kindergarten in August.

Thursday was "Meet the Specials," a chance for the children to meet their "Specials" teachers  - art, music, Spanish, and PE. Alas, I had a trial set to start 15 minutes before Ryan's activity, so Carl took Ryan. He had a blast!

 He saw his friends Patrick, Valerie, Derek, and Michael, and its such a good feeling for me as a parent that he already feels like such a part of the Spicewood community. I can't help but reflect on how better that is for him than it was with Alex when we knew practically no one. Its especially nice for Ryan since he is my shy, sensitive child. If he had been in Alex's shoes two years ago, I think he would have had a hard time making the adjustment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our New Nephew

... is coming soon!

We had a shower for Elaine, Drew and the baby a few weeks back, and I just realized I never posted any pictures. Bad Auntie!

Elaine has picked out a jungle safari theme for the new baby's room, so we used that as  springboard for the theme.

 The cousins all had a great time playing together, and helping Elaine open up the presents.

Friday, April 15, 2011

1st Grade Spring Field Trip

Last Friday, Alex and the 1st graders went on a field trip to the Twin Lakes YMCA. They had a fun day of physical activity and science lessons.

(Alex is in the blue shirt, top center)

Carl went as a chaperone for the class, so thanks to Danger Daddy for taking photos for me so I wouldn't miss out on the fun!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The President's Daughter

I first read 'The President's Daughter' back in junior high, and absolutely fell in love with Meg and her mother, the first woman to be elected President of the United States. Growing up and reading these books during the staunch conservative Reagan years, and having a president like Katherine Powers as a possibility in my mind was amazingly encouraging, and when I grew up, I wanted to BE her. And Meg.  And sometimes I wanted to be myself, playing the character of Meg in the movie venison of the book, where Sigourney Weaver would play the President, Harrison Ford would play my dad, and Michael J. Fox would play my boyfriend, Josh... but I digress.

(I used to - and still do - picture Harrison and Sigourney from 'Working Girl', and Michael J. Fox circa 'Family Ties' and 'Back to the Future', not as they currently are)

And now that I have completely dated myself, I should also mention that the sequel that immediately came out, 'White House Autumn' was also a favorite, although not one I have returned to reread nearly as much as 'The President's Daughter.' I've probably read 'The President's Daughter' somewhere around 30-40 times - and I tend to read it at least once a year even today. Other than 'Pride and Prejudice,' it remains the ONLY book from my early years that I continue to read with regularity.

In 1989, I was in high school when the third book came out, 'Long Live the Queen.' It was much, much darker than the first two books, and it threw me. I only read it once, and the outrage I felt that the bad buys were never captured and made to pay for the crimes they committed against Meg is still fresh today. She had been kidnapped and tortured physically and mentally, and she manages to free herself (Girl Power!), and we deserved to see them pay for what they had done. And they weren't caught. Still, Meg was confident that they would be, so I assumed they would be, as well.

For the next twenty years, I didn't exactly frequent the teen fiction sections of the book store, so I was unaware until recently that a 4th book was written in 2007. And that the first three had been 'updated' (goodbye, Meg's obsession with drinking Tab and watching Hill Street Blues, welcome to emails and lattes). So I checked them all out from the library, and I've spent the better part of the week reading the newly updated first three and then plunging into the 720 page 4th book, Long May She Reign.

And, well, I still don't know how I feel about it. In many ways, it was great to return to the world of Meg, the President, her brothers and father, Preston, and her friends Beth and Josh. Ellen Emerson White has a true gift for writing - her style is so very unique, that it manages to make you believe you really are the characters you are reading in a way that few authors can, and it sticks with you for days, weeks, months, hell, DECADES, after you first read them. The sarcastic humor I've always loved was there, the political discussions are there, and we get a bit of romance and even going into the steamier side of romance (side note: is this typical in teen fiction these days? Would the Sweet Valley High characters be sexually active??and a second mental side note that I need to carefully monitor what exactly my boys start reading!). So it was great to return to a bunch of old friends, and see what they were doing.

The President's Daughter  White House Autumn (President's Daughter)  
Long Live the Queen (President's Daughter)Long May She Reign (President's Daughter)

(and how cool are these covers? I love the subtle nods to Wyeth, Vermeer, Whistler, and Da Vinci)

Except... it didn't quite work for me. * SPOILERS FOLLOW* One of my biggest pet peeves from the 3rd book is that Meg never had her day in court to see her kidnappers brought to justice. When I saw the size of the 4th book - a chunky 720 pages - I did a little happy dance because I knew this meant we would FINALLY - twenty years later - get Meg the justice she deserves. I mean, in a 720 page novel, the Secret Service would find these b*stards and we would have closure. Right??  Was this too much to ask for?

Alas, it was. As I kept reading page after page of Meg having nightmares, not eating, hating her mother, having nightmares, not eating, hating her mother, having nightmares, not eating, hating her mother ... I started to fear it wasn't coming. And it didn't. 720 pages, and the kidnappers are still out there.
I did a google search late last night (after finishing the book) to see if there was a 5th out there, or at least plans for a 5th book. But the author;s web page hasn't been updated in four years. Grrrr... I'm getting too damn old to wait another 20 years for the 5th book. Please, Ms. White, do us a favor, make the next book a bit shorter (say, only dedicate 100 pages to Meg having nightmares, not eating, and hating her mother) and try and get this book out sometime before 2020. Much thanks in advance.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time to Clear out the DVR

My DVR is always bursting with the dozens of kids shows I've recorded for the boys, so whenever there is something really important for me to record, I have to triple check it to make sure it deletes one of their shows rather than deciding not to record mine. I've lost many a Glee episode thanks to my temperamental technology. 

So its time to clear out the 15 different Batman: Brave and the Bold episodes from the DVR, because April has several must-see record things coming up for me, all centered around my Royal Wedding Obsession. First up, William & Kate.

I know, I should totally be opposed to the fact that Lifetime television has put together an unbelievably fast movie about William and Kate's romance, manufactured from what I can only imagine is pure speculation centered around the 100 photos of the two of them taken together.

And yet...

After watching the trailer below, I'm almost more excited about this tv movie than I am for the royal wedding!

And of course we have all the other pre-wedding coverage on such hard-hitting networks like E!. Before, finally, on April 29, the big day itself arrives.

Even thought I'll be watching everything by myself, in the late night hours after munchkins are safely in bed, or in the early morning hours before America is awake for actual LIVE coverage, I still feel the need to dress up for these events. I may need to buy some new hats. I couldn't be seen in my own living room in the middle of the night wearing the same hat twice, now can I?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Little Frank-N-Furter

Ryan is quickly becoming the entertainer of the family. He does his best singing and dancing while riding in the mommyvan, and has a special affinity for all the 'Glee' songs I've downloaded. That's my boy! Besides the Justin Bieber cover, he loves John Stamos doing Rocky Horror's "Hot Patootie." *Such* a chip off the old block. ;)

You'd never guess he was exhausted from having spent the weekend camping with the Scouts. Oh, to bottle that energy...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Star Wars LEGO Party Decor

I received an email this morning from Birthday Express asking if I wanted to throw a LEGO Star Wars birthday party. Because if so, they now have LEGO Star Wars party plates, napkins and cups.

Grrr... they couldn't have come up with these two months ago, BEFORE my agony over the dearth of any LEGO party items and Ryan's birthday party???

Oh well. At least I'm all set for his 6th birthday.


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