Another easy craft project

Well hello my friends! Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? Pretending like you are working but thinking about all you have to do during that meeting you had this morning?

I know you will all want to run out and complete this yourself. Similar to my 10 Step Smore’s Cookie Bags, it was so, so simple and I have helpfully included the step-by-step instructions. Let’s begin.

1. Have a friend who wants teacher gifts and lets you create whatever you want – aka Ashley. Send her “suggestions” and then be fully supportive of the darling one she chooses.

2. Go to Randall’s, HEB and Target looking for the pumpkins. Claw through the candy corn (who needs that much?) to find the pumpkins hidden at the bottom. Buy them in bulk like there is a hurricane coming and candy pumpkins turn into water. Call them “groceries” to your husband.

3. Decide that simple, darling tags are way too pedestrian for you (no matter how much you like them), oh ruler of the Silhouette program and begin to envision a new one.

4. Realize you might think too highly of yourself and hang out with your children for 15 minutes to snap you back to reality.

5. Rush to Michael’s (they open at 9:00 am) to purchase the Mason jars. Realize the normal size ones are on sale (always) and that when you speedily recreate that tag it will be a perfect fit.

6. Drive across the street to Jo-Ann’s and purchase fabric with pumpkins on it. Check the link again and note she used cupcake liners and feel like a fool.

7. Push past your feelings, pretend you don’t have bills to pay and laundry to do and spend some time getting the tags just right. Print and cut.

8. Go back to the original blog and while actually reading her notes, see that she used stamps and want to cry. Make a note to pay more attention in the future.

9. Realize you don’t have the right color card stock; drive back to Michael’s.

10. Put it all together and notice that you hate it. All of it.

See? So simple!

Needless to say, I recreated the tags, went back to Jo-Ann’s, fought with my Silhouette machine and FINALLY my vision came to life.

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In case you are smarter than me and want to just print and cut, here are my tags for you.

I made an extra one for Zach’s teacher, but still have bags and bags of pumpkins…I am pretty sure some other teachers in H-town need this little gift, right? Email/Facebook Message/Contact on the blog me!

I really needed a drink

You guys, we went to Dallas in late September and it took us six hours to get there. SIX HOURS. When I told my friend, who recently moved to Doha, that I didn’t know how she made it 15 hours on a plane with her three children, she said the adults got alcohol and the kids got ice cream. Noted for next time.

We were there to celebrate my oldest niece’s birthday. I can’t believe she is now four.

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Here they are in order of appearance: Cousins 1, 2, 3, and 4. Though don’t tell 4 she is number four – she will cut you. She and James are two peas in a pod, for sure.

We took the opportunity to take some family photos. We just did it on the street in front of my sister’s house. Alex tried to give me all sorts of heat about taking a family photo. I am so sorry I would like to have a photo of our family- I don’t care if your eyes are squinty in the sun or your smile is weird. Your kids will want to see what you looked like when you are young.

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Plus, it is a well known fact the only photos I will pick  will have me looking good in them. So calm down and smile.

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I love this one so much. It is totally candid and such a perfect moment in time. This is our life. No one is looking perfectly right, but everyone is happy, loves each other and is doing the best they can.

This is a winner.

 

 

Monster Cookies and Deyhydration

The weekend before Halloween tried to kill me. I mean, I guess it I did it to myself, but you know I don’t like to take credit for negative things. Really it was just the Saturday of the weekend, when we had a soccer game, the UNT vs. Rice game and then the fall carnival at Zach’s school. Any one or two of those things would have been plenty, but all three spelled disaster for me.

All started fine at the soccer game at 8:30 a.m. My parents were in town for the football game, and as is their tradition, the boys went to spend the night with them at the hotel. Granny Marsh and Papa Wayne are so lucky they are loved so much and to get to share a bed with my wiggly boys. Sooooo lucky.

I had to swing by and get Zach at 7:50 for team photos while everyone else met us at the game. The Walls were there too and I insisted we take a photo of all grandparents. No grandparents were particularly excited, but I have one photo of both my grandmothers with me and one with both my grandfathers and I treasure those photos. To the grand-kids they are all their family and I wanted that photo for my boys.

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My mother noted that the entire neighborhood must be at the soccer game and she is basically right. Liv found someone from their neighborhood (of course) and I saw three of my friends who are not even on Zach’s team. The league Zach plays in is huge and people from all over the inner city play in it. Plus, the teams are small with only six kids on each team.

The boys insisted on going back to the hotel with my parents (again, so, so lucky) so Alex and I grabbed a quick breakfast with his parents then headed to the football game.

You all know my love of Rice football games. For real, I love them. My mom had brought the boys matching UNT shirts and small footballs they played with the entire game. We moved seats about four times and everyone is just so happy to be there and relaxed.

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James and my mom are saying “Go Eagles! Go UNT!” –  just getting ready in the parking lot.

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My parents were very pleased to learn about the Roost (where you can drink in the stadium) and even though UNT lost, we had a fun time.

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It is borderline insulting how my boys look just like their father. Rude.

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But that was not the end of our day. James, Alex and I came home early so James could take a nap and I could make cookies for the Sweet Shop at the school carnival. Why yes, I do stay at home and should have made them during the week, thank you for noting that.

I was determined to make these monster cookies I had pinned last year. They looked fairly straight forward and darling. And they were.

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So during the hour and a half before I had to leave to set up, I stood up and made dough, rolled it in powdered sugar, baked it then stuck in the eyes. Then I had to put them in individual bags, of course.

I changed (again) and raced up to the elementary school to help set up Zach’s class booth at the carnival. I sat down around four and waited for Alex, the boys and my parents to get there. The boys immediately went in different directions as there was so much to do!

Zach loved this giant inflatable slide and James went racing through the ones for little kids.

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Around five I was chatting with some of my friends and started feeling bad. Like I might throw up and my stomach was cramping like crazy, bad. They immediately thought I was pregnant (NO) because they had been discussing how hard having three kids is when I bolted off. I assured them there was no way, though I did appreciate their concern.

I tried to drink some water and sit down but it just got worse. Alex finally told me that I looked like I felt sick and should go home. You guys, I was concerned I was not going to make it home. But I did and started pounding water. I have not felt that bad since I had the flu. While I was laying shivering on the couch I counted how much I had to drink that day. The entire day I had: one coffee, two diet coke, one beer and one bottle of water. From 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Factor in a lot of standing and sweating it was no wonder my body wanted to shut down.

Luckily, I had Alex and my parents who didn’t even miss a beat. Alex and the boys stayed at the carnival for a while longer, getting to do all they wanted and my parents went and got food for the boys. They came and picked them up to head to the hotel (again, so, so, lucky) all while I laid on the couch drinking as much water as I could handle. By 7:00 I was feeling close to normal and starving. I took that as a good sign.

But I was so bummed to miss the rest of the carnival. I really was. I love those things. Apparently there was an obstacle course and the cake walk. Plus someone was dressed as Frankenstein in the principal’s office who would walk around once in a while.

Hopefully I have learned my lesson and will do better next year. But I am a slow learner, so it is anyone’s guess.

Why am I the only one who understands

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This past Friday the Dad’s club at Zach’s elementary hosted a Dad’s camp out on the school grounds. Now, let me ask you – what do you think that means? Well, apparently I am the only one who understood that it means the dads and kids camp out in a tent on the playground. My mother in law thought they would be “camping” inside. My friend Mary asked if they were staying all night – I gave her the crazy eye and said, “of course” and Alex combined them both and kept asking what they would be doing, where they would be sleeping AND if they would be staying all night.

I repeat, it is a CAMP OUT. How am I the only one who gets this?

Please keep in mind I don’t camp. At all. Aside from my long run at Camp Cho-Yeh summer camp I don’t like sleeping outside.

I asked Alex if he would be purchasing a tent and he said they could use the one that my mom bought for Zach at the River and sent home with us recently. While it is an actual tent, it is about 4 x4.  Alex is 6.1, just for your information.

Here is a model of what the row of tents looked like with our mini-one included.

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No joke. It was hilarious. Alex tried to sleep diagonally and ended up having to sleep with his feet out the door. Hilarious. He also promptly lost Zach’s sleeping bag, so they had to open up the cone shaped one I stole from my friend Kate back in 2011  and use a blanket on top. I am hoping to find Zach’s in the lost and found as technically it is Liv’s and she is not going to be pleased to hear about this.

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Apparently the entire night is one big free for all. The dads sit around and talk and the kids run wild. Alex said he went inside during the movie time to find Zach and the twins riding a chair down the ramp from the stage. Zach assured him it was totally safe and totally fine. I think they finally went to sleep around eleven.

Oh, it also rained a bit and Alex had some how put the cover for the tent under the tent so they had to use the sleeping bag cover as a rain shield. I am not making any of this up.

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As you can imagine, James was not pleased to be left out of these shenanigans. I had to bribe him with a trip to Chick-fil-a, the cupcake store AND with a viewing of Frozen. We scooped up Mary (she forgave me for the crazy eye) and her little girl and had a relaxing night, only being in charge of two children.

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James and I finished off our night with a trip to Randall’s for soft dog food for Norm. He got his teeth cleaned and apparently needed softer food. I let James ride the Ernie and Bert fire truck because I was feeling generous. And he looks so cute on it.

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Can you tell how tired he is? Drinking his “hot milk from his baby cup”? Don’t even start – I know he is waaaay too old for me to be heating up his milk AND for that cup. I don’t have the energy to care.

Anyway, everyone had fun. Alex and Zach were exhausted the next morning from the no sleeping in a little tent plus the 8:30 a.m. soccer game. But it was the most quiet afternoon ever in the Wall house. Both Alex and James took a nap and Zach and I laid on our respective couches and watch TV. Delightful.

I personally am looking forward to two years down the road when Alex will have both boys with him at the camp out. Hopefully in a bigger tent.

The End is Near

Zach has one more soccer game before the season is over. FINALLY.

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Don’t get me wrong, this year is much better than last year, when he was four, James was two and I wanted to die. There has been basically no crying, except for when he has gotten “hurt” and marginally no complaining. He likes the games a lot but not the practices – which is totally normal. Plus, my dad got some great action shots of him where he looks like a for-real athlete!

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The downsides are the twice a week hour long practices at dinnertime. With James. But even that has been OK. They practice at an elementary school near us and like the helicopter mom I am, I let James climb and play on the playground 50 yards from me. Independence, that is what I am fostering.

But it was still just a lot of soccer. Lots of practice, lots of games, lots of sweaty soccer socks.

We had a great coach this year. Coach Brett lives on the street behind us and is the most positive supportive coach you could be lucky enough to get. Because that is how we did it – luck. I had to stop being so effusive about how great he was given I live with Zach’s last soccer coach and didn’t want him to take it totally personally.

For the end of the season, I put myself in charge of the thank you gift and made him this personalized water bottle and card with an Academy gift card from the full team inside. I love my team parents – they all just said “Sounds great!” and let me do what I want. You know those are my favorite kind of people.

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And since I have no boundaries, when one of the other moms asked what I did for our coach, as she was in charge for her other son’s team, I suggested the water bottle for him too. Naturally.

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Though at first sight “Coach Todd” looks kind of like  “Coach Toad”…perhaps I should have chosen a different font…

Click over to Teacher Gifts if you would like to order one for the coach in your life!

Halloween with a Power Ranger and Ninja Turtle

Zach and James were pretty set on their Halloween costumes this year. James insisted on being the red power ranger and Zach wanted to be the red ninja turtle. I didn’t post the photos on Facebook because I started drinking and forgot to take photos of my children. Luckily I have a new friend who saved me. These are her twins in the photo as a Texan and a Skylander.

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We hit two Halloween parties (because we like to challenge ourselves) which only served to pump the boys up even more for the trick or treating. At the second one we tried to force a piece of pizza in their faces, but I think I was the only one who ate. As soon as it was dusk, it was on.

You guys, it was all Lord of the Flies in our ‘hood.  Zach, the twins and some other boys were sprinting house to house up and down the street. People were everywhere and some streets were closed to cars. Parents were pulling wagons for little kids or coolers, or both in our case. We kept running into kids from both the boys schools and other random friends. It was like one long block party.

I legitimately lost Zach for about 10 minutes. Lost. No clue where he was. We were on my street, but a block down. We all know that I am not a hoverer, but even I was getting slightly concerned. Luckily he was still with the gang of boys. They had stopped for a candy break in an open lawn. I am sure the neighbors were thrilled.

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James and the twin’s little sister were slower on the take. James kept falling down in his costume (I don’t think he could see) then rolling around the yards just for fun. Finally he got the idea and he too started running house to house. I put Alex on him as clearly I am not fit to be in charge in the dark.

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When we decided to head back home, we ran into one of Zach’s classmates and his dad. We convinced him (with an alcoholic beverage) to trick or treat down to our house. The boys were so cute handing out candy, including some from their own bags. They sat out on the front stairs and forced everyone walking by to take some.

I can safely say this was the best Halloween so far. Everyone could basically do it on their own, the weather was perfectly cool and they could make it staying up so late. Except I do miss the angry parrot from three years ago…

Goal for next year – arm Zach with something to call me with when I lose him. Good thing he knows my number.