Walk for a Cure

Technically October is breast cancer awareness month, but technically my life spirals out of control at a moment’s notice so posts end up coming out two months late. This is of no surprise to anyone I know.

Liv (a cancer survivor) always organizes a team to walk. There are some constants (Jim and Susan) and some new faces each year. The new faces this year included Zach and James. The last walk Zach attended was two years ago when we was just as pleasant as James is these days.

In 2009 I found a onesie for Zach that had the pink ribbon and the slogan, “A cause I can latch on to” which I found enormously funny. I mean, who doesn’t love a double entendre?

Not to be outdone by my 2009-only-one-child-working-part-time-self I knew my boys needed clever shirts. Turns out there are not really any that you can buy. OK, any that you can buy on such short notice. But you can buy pink ribbon clipart on Etsy and iron-on paper in a hurry.

Naturally, James was making his standard face and eating snacks the entire time. He is very thin.

The walk was PACKED. It took us an hour just to get to the starting line. By that time our boys were done. Done with being in the wagon and done with their snacks. We turned around at the first street we could and headed back to our car. It was still a disaster, they were both crying and we were basically speed walking to get there as fast as we could. Finally once we were back in downtown we let them out to walk. They both enjoyed “sliding” down/around the sidewalk of the Chevron building. Their hands were covered in black dirt. Gross. But worth it for less crying.

I insisted on a “blood only” photo for Liv. All moms want this even if they lie and say they don’t because they have such amazing daughters-in-law. Granted, most moms don’t call it “blood only”; but my grandmother loved that phrase and it makes me laugh when I use it.

Merry Christmas?

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all my sweet friends and readers! I really do appreciate everyone who checks in on this mess of Walls I have and leaves me comments on how they can relate and how I am not 100% crazy. Just like 97%.

I hope your holidays are as delightful as ours!

They have just started and I am already exhausted. 
Anyone need company and/or a 4 year old and a baby who may or may not cut you?

That’s right, I made elf doughnuts

Because I don’t have enough to do and Jack is not trying to kill me in my sleep, I decided I HAD to make elf doughnuts. These on Pinterest looked darling.

Elf Doughnuts made from Cheerios!  Perfect for your Elf on the Shelf or to leave out beside Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve

However, as noted by another blogger actual instructions on how to do this are hard to find. This same blogger said something about rolling hers in melted chocolate and then in powered sugar or sprinkles. People, these are cheerios. I am supposed to melt down perfectly good chocolate that I could be stuffing into my face when I walk by the pantry and roll cheerios in it? I do not have that kind of time. Or patience. Or utensils needed to dig chocolate covered cheerios out of goopy chocolate.

So I did what any self respecting mother would do: I wet the cheerios with water and tossed them in powdered sugar.

Once again; nailed it.

However, once they were put in the matchbox and placed on Jack’s lap I was pretty pleased with myself.

I was especially pleased the next morning when Zach could have cared less about the elf doughnuts. He did not find them charming and cute. He thought they looked odd and said James could have them. Now how ticked would I have been if I had wasted that chocolate and oodles of my time? Exactly.
I think I am pretty smart as well. Please feel free to spread the word about my wet cheerios trick, though I am not telling Pinterest. They might revoke my membership.

A few days later Jack brought some blocks (thanks Liv!) that were a much bigger hit. And not one mess was made with that one.

Go Owls! Go Ponies!

The first weekend of December we took Zach to his first “not on TV” football game; the Rice vs. SMU game at Rice stadium. I got him a Rice jersey online (the only one that could be to me with 2 day shipping via Amazon). It was a nice homage to his great-grandfather Harvey who attended Rice way back when it was still free. I decided to wear something red for my dad who went to SMU back when it was the 60s.

Zach got right to work playing football in his jersey and too small boots (PS KK those are from you and I need new ones this spring) in the yard. He was beside himself excited about the game.

That is the awesome thing about living in a town with a university that is so poorly ranked in football – you can get tickets on site and sit wherever you want. No one cares in the least.

Zach was very into it at first. He wanted to know who were the Owls and who were the Ponies (which color) but then he just wanted to climb up and down the stadium and clap when the crowd did. The game itself was pretty terrible. I kept having to say “OK that guy is going to throw the ball and that guy will catch it. Wait, wait, they all fell down.”

Being the every conscience mother that I am I didn’t have a hat for my child so he had to steal Alex’s. But I do love my baby in too big hats.

Alex discovered they served beer and wine in the upper deck (The Roost) so he disappeared for a while. Don’t worry, we found him and took the opportunity to walk to the top (kill me now) and put our wings up.

First Buzz

That’s right. My baby got a hair cut, his first at 16 months. I was really not on board with this plan as he has such little hair, why would I cut it? But Alex was insistent that we get his hair buzzed since the back was getting a bit long and the wisps in the front were as well.

So I gave in and was glad I did. Alma asked when he sat down (and immediately started screaming) who had cut his hair in the past. I had to make her understand that no one had touched his hair – this is how it grew in. I asked if she could use scissor and she basically rolled her eyes at me and told me that buzz was the only way to go. James did not enjoy this idea at all. He screamed the entire time. Hair got stuck in his tears and in his mouth making him even more mad.

But it looks so much better now. It is all the same length and is growing together nicely. I would have a better photo for you…

but Alex was in charge of taking the “after” shot.

It is my turn to roll my eyes.

We might be professionals

The past month my friend Alison and I have attended not one but two book signings based on blogs we read. The first, our, very preggers friend Lanie also attended and we were all pretty sure she was going to have that baby in line. We all look a tad bedraggled meeting John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love. They write an entirely too happy all the time blog about redoing their house. Even if they are the most chipper people ever I do like them and wish them well. Which means we of course all bought their book and took a picture with them.

Alison was the bravest and asked them to sign on their favorite project which just happened to be the first one in the book. They seemed genuine on it, but I doubt them….again, they really are just a tad too happy to be working and living together all day every day with no break.

There were two girls in front of us in line that were obviously hard core bloggers. They had their big cameras out and were taking pictures of all the items at West Elm including the cookies they gave us and each other. Check out who is in the back of this photo taken by the extra ambitious one. I enjoy how thin I look since I am cut in half. Small world: As I went to check out their blogs (linked from the YHL site) they mention they are both into the Houston Roller Derby. There is an admin at work who also rolls and she confirmed she knew exactly who I was talking about and they were in fact over the top bloggers.

About two weeks later Alison and I trudged out past the Beltway to see Deb Perlman of Smitten Kitchen. She is the one I talked about here.  I really do adore her. I had her sign her Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats recipe from the blog and book, which is the only way I will ever make rice crispies again. Well, except for when I microwave them. 
The gray hair in the back of the photo tried to regulate where Deb could sign the book at first. Step off lady, we have been here for 2 hours and I am asking. Deb, of course, was gracious and we chatted about the deliciousness of the treats and how I had to call Alex to confirm (via my recipe book he has never entered) that they were in fact from her site.
You can see that Alison and I stepped up our game this time. That is hot rolled hair and make-up you are noticing. You are welcome. 

Is this just us?

Or do your children also fight their father with inflatable swords the second he gets home from work?
What about the baby?
Can he not be bothered to take out his pacifier? He cannot.

This is the current favorite activity at our house: sword fighting. The main issue (because there are many) is that the baby thinks any stick is a sword. So every bat, drumstick, bowling pin, etc. is carried on high, waddling your way. He has no concept of inflatable sword vs. hard sword.

Sigh.

Girls moms don’t have to deal with this crap.

What the Jack

Jack is still hanging around our house. I find him in a stack of blocks, under the tree and on Zach’s bed. i am still trying to be creative and these two landing places I am decently proud of – though only one is an actual original idea.

Zach loved that Jack was eating cupcakes. This seemed to tickle him to death which did make me happy.

I felt Jack, like all of us during this time needed a drink. This landing spot annoyed Zach as he couldn’t get him out to torture that poor elf.

As a side note my apologies for my delay in blogging. I was on such a roll I know. But the entire family was sidelined by the flu last week and it has taken us two weeks to recover. That plus I couldn’t get the blog to work at work so I couldn’t do my updates during lunch. But no worries, I am back! Get excited. I know you are.

Jack will be the death of me

Why did I start this whole Elf on the Shelf business? You know why.

Pinterest.

Everyone makes it look so cute. All the ideas! Have him swing from the chandelier! Make elf doughnuts (OK I am doing that)! Write notes to your kids! There children are just thrilled that this odd hand and feet-less thing are lurking around their house. Not mine.

First of all, please meet Jack, our diverse Elf. He is the brown eyed elf with dark skin. I am the affirmative action of elves people. I wanted a brown eyed elf to match my boys and my only option was the dark skin. This is obviously a racist 1950 elf as calling his skin dark is really being a tad extreme. At the most he is the color of Auntie Tami. But either way, we white, white Walls need a little color in our lives.

So the first night he arrives we read the book and Zach is excited. We talk about not touching him. But then he falls over and nudge him with my hand. Zach yells “His magic mommy!” at which point I try to say that only Mommy’s and Daddy’s can touch him. But the damage is done. By the afternoon Jack is riding a firetruck and James is eating his face.

Sigh.

But I persist. Jack rides on the back of an elephant, he writes Merry Christmas on this formerly blank plastic cups, he hangs on the school bag wanting to go to school.

And the questions start: Zach asks how he gets to Santa, why his mouth does not open, why his hat doesn’t come off, do his hands come unstuck when he is with Santa and many, many, maaaaaannnnny more questions. I sense that he wants to believe, but is just a tad wary.

This should make me sad, my baby not believing, but honestly it is just a relief. When the night comes that I forget to move Jack he is not going to be surprised and I am OK with that. He still believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the reindeer so if he doesn’t believe this weirdo flies in and out of our house at night we are calling it good.

But those elf doughnuts are going to be freaking adorable!

Weekend Edition

I had grand plans for getting the blog rolling this week after a week off  (doing what I don’t know) but the flu came to visit us this week and just left today. And by left I mean I finally have an appetite again and only a fever of 99. Luckily James bounced back and was in school on Thursday and Zach and Alex managed to not get it so far.

I thought everyone might enjoy knowing how our last weekend shaped up. Besides it being absurdly hot here it was the usual busy Wall’s weekend – park, Einstein’s, trying to force a 3 year old to nap, etc.

Until Saturday night when Alex decided to get the Cutty out for a drive. You remember the Cutty right? The joy of Alex’s life, totally worth the insurance, registration fees and monthly storage costs. To him.

Well on Saturday he wanted to take it out to wash it and then drive it to dinner and a holiday party. You all know I just love being driven around in 85 degree heat and high humidity in a car with no AC. But I digress.

We made it to dinner fine, but the Cutty stalled in the parking lot in front of the valet stand. Might I mention this parking lot was a one way in – one way out parking lot with not a lot of turning room. Luckily I was already at the table or I would have had to run inside pretending I didn’t know the man steering the car into a spot being pushed by valets.

Oh don’t worry, after dinner it started up just fine and we headed to the party. We pulled up next to our friends at a red light at which time we realized the breaks were out. And by we, I mean Alex blew through the red light and yelled “I think the brakes are out!”. He was pumping them to no avail. Luckily I remained calm, which may surprise many of you, but my survival training immediately kicked in. And by “survival training” I mean the fact that I think every worst case scenario on TV is going to happen to me. I can tell you how I would get out of a car under water (though I do actually need to know that living in Houston), how to get myself and children out of a car if it starts on fire at the gas station and the chair through James’ window plan in case of a fire in the house. Doom and gloom you say? Not at all! I don’t have to worry about these things happening because I am prepared. Cra-cra, but prepared.

So what do you do when your breaks go out? Not try to drive home….ALEX. “It is only 2 lights”. (It is 8 lights, I counted.) You immediately look for a place to coast, preferably a large parking lot with the concrete bumpers that will stop your car. And thank the good Lord, there on our right was a huge Citibank parking lot completely empty. It still took some convincing that we needed to pull in and try to stop but finally he realized us trying to drive home (and stop where once we got here??) was a bad idea. As we coasted uphill into a parking spot and Alex had to throw it into reverse then slam it into park to get the steel beast to finally stop, he finally realized the breaks were fully gone.

I think he was in shock.

He really should work on some survival training and stop thinking everything is so happy and rosy.
Or that is what he has me for.

So Sunday morning, here we all were having Chris the tow truck driver take the Cutty away.

He also offered to buy it and I told him to name his price but somehow my window was child locked (that he can do but not stop a speeding car) and I was foiled again.

And yes, all sarcasm aside, we are both very thankful neither child was in the car. And I am pretty sure both our mothers wished they could say the same.