The Old Crazy – still the same, really

I just came across a blog post I did back in February of 2009. I can’t even remember what I was looking for because I had to immediately stop and draw your addition to the old blog post. February 2009 was when Zach was six weeks old. SIX WEEKS OLD, I repeat for emphasis. The way I describe him, you would think he is doing back flips in the yard. He is clearly sitting completely still and staring – as all six week olds do.

Oh and the last paragraph, where I say he looks so much older than the baby next to him. HILARIOUS! He looks the exact same. It is good to be reminded that we are all those crazy new parents who find every thing fascinating and take 50,000 photos. It is what keeps us from bolting when they poop all over you for the third time and want to be attached to you all night. Well that and all that overwhelming love that makes you cry about how beautiful they are (embarrassing…he looked like Elmer Fudd).

Enjoy my crazy….

https://alittlewall.net/2009/02/16/bad-bad-blogger/

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PS I had a real hard time including this photo…as I am clearly sleep deprived, possibly also medicated and still look six months preggers. But then I was all, screw it. This is what I looked like and all I can see when I look at that photo is that tiny ball of baby who is now six and questioning me on the first religion (anyone?) and if sharks are mammals (again, anyone?).

PPS That is a lie. I totally stare at myself and don’t like it. BUT, I try to focus on the baby.

PPSS Seriously, I don’t know the answers to 95% of his questions. Are sharks amphibians? They don’t have lungs or hair so they can’t be mammals, Zach told me. Also, this is why I can’t have a reality show as everyone would think I was stupid like Jessica Simpson. You ask one question like are sharks mammals and the entire country thinks you are an idiot.

He slept better as a baby

So, for about a month now James has developed an unfortunate habit. No, not as unfortunate as him peeing everywhere, but close. He has decided he is scared in his room and needs to be in ours. It started with him wanting to fall asleep in our room which was fine. The boys chat and fight when they are together, so we caved.

But then he started coming in in the middle of the night. Usually at 5:45 when my alarm is going off at 6:30. Sometimes he had a leg cramp (the Wall standard for I need my mom and some Advil) but other times he just wanted to sleep with us. In our queen bed.

We are already full. Alex is all elbows and knees and I have learned how to subconsciously block myself when an elbow comes towards my face while having a conversation about why I wanted to make that merger, all while he is fully asleep.

But we don’t have room for a three year old. And we don’t co-sleep, it is just not what we do. They never have. Both my boys have wanted to be in their beds and left alone. Until now….

And at first it was sweet. He is my last baby and such a cuddler. He throws his arm around my neck and grips me while he sleeps. And I loved it for a night or too, but it is becoming a habit.

Then Zach got up. I almost lost it. A scared three year old I can deal with, but a six year old with a phantom leg cramp (again, everyone needs me and Advil) almost put me over the edge. The next night I told the boys that if ANYONE got out of bed I was not going to be nice about it. They have both seen me when I am tired (ahem, every morning) and it is not pleasant. They both solemnly nodded their heads in agreement.

But you guys, how cute are these two when I came in to move James after he had fallen asleep. They both simultaneously rolled over after I took the first photo.

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PS As per our previously agreed upon contract, no one tell Alex I posted a photo of him sleeping. It will be a whole thing and I can’t even.

What I learned the last day of the Rodeo

First of all HI! I have missed you, have you missed me? I assume most of you are with me on Facebook or Instagram so know the gist of what I have been up to, but I am sad to have been silent here on the blog for so long. I have two words for you as the cause of my absence: Downtown Abbey. I recently realized I could stream all the past seasons on Amazon Prime and commenced to do just that. I swear I wiled away any productive hours watching that show. I mean I got the basics of my job done; my kids were fed and clothed, but otherwise I was on the couch 100% invested in the Crawleys. Thankfully that came to an end and I am back!

But clearly, I was still in a DA-daze because the end of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo snuck up on me and suddenly we had two days to go. Which was the last weekend of the entire thing. I can hear your collective gasp. Exactly.

I don’t even know what happened! It wasn’t like last year when I forgot to buy tickets and had to con Uncle Chris into selling me his, I had tickets well in advance. There was a lot of rain, baseball started and poof! it was the last weekend of the rodeo.

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So here is what I learned going the last day of the Rodeo:

5. Everyone who went days 1-19 is much smarter than me. Give yourself a #momwin on that one.

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4. Agventure smells MUCH better without all the cows. When you go the last day, they are 98% gone. Packed up on their trailers and back to their homes. Don’t try to show your city boys real cows, it is not happening.

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3. You need a little person to make some elbow room around the remaining hatching chicks. There will only be one small incubator left. Don’t think too hard about the ones that have earlier dates and have not hatched. Be grateful your kindergartener can’t really read dates.

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2. The carousel is not worth it. I repeat, not worth it. The line is forever long, as is the time it takes to fill the entire thing. Use a trip to the zoo as bribery to avoid this at all cost.

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Do not be fooled by our smiles and Alex’s high hat. Panic was setting in as I looked at all the people and lines around us.

1. I should have stayed home. Yes, the boys loved it for the first hour. Then the place filled up, got hot and sticky and I lost all patience. My hometown has a rodeo for the entire county, I should have just promised we would go to that one. Driving four hours with my children would be more preferable.

Though my baby brushing a baby goat almost made it worth it. Almost.

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Why I love January

OK, so two weeks ago when the boys went back to school, I drafted this blog post in my head. Then I promptly forgot about it. It was Tuesday and the boys were finally back in school after 17 sleeps and I could exhale. I didn’t have to feed anyone, entertain anyone or pretend I think this is funny.

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You guys, I didn’t do a thing that entire day. I took full advantage of this stay at home mom gig and stayed at home. I might have napped. I might have watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I might have had a giant grin on my face for that entire five hours.

I mean, we did have a nice Christmas. I know you don’t know that since I have been MIA. Why did I have to go MIA?? I was not planning on it. I was thinking I would have all this time to blog and chat. Negative. Let me run down all what happened for you…you know I adore a summary post.

After I published that last December post, the school year ended and Zach’s birthday was three days away. He wanted to have his party at Chuck-e-Cheese’s and it was so easy. I reserved it all online and just showed up with some cupcakes. He didn’t want favors as “the things they win with their tickets will be there favors”. Having just come out of crafting overload, I did not argue.

Can you even believe I have a six year old. My fat baby is six. I can’t even take it.

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James got to invite one friend and he picked Harper, of course. These two are best buddies could not love each other more.

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Birthday = done, on to Christmas Eve! Everyone came to our house for Mexican (my family’s tradition) and church. I got out the tripod my dad got me for a Wall family photo. This was the best we could do. On the whole, it is pretty good.

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And Merry Christmas! Santa came, complete with photo documentation for a skeptical six year old and brought the boys all they wanted – except the bb gun Zach asked for. There is no need for a little boy living in the middle of Houston to have a bb gun. No way. I told him Santa could not get gifts that parents didn’t want their kids to have. It was in the contract.

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After breakfast we packed up and went out to the Walls to spend the night and open more presents.

Then it was my birthday – happy 37th to me. Gross. How am I so old?

My parents were in town so we threw handed  the boys off to them and had lunch at ZaZa. My sister, brother-in-law and nieces arrived and we went to Tokyohana to celebrate. My parents were highly, highly skeptical, but it turned out to be perfect. It is super kid friendly and aside from the fire scaring my niece Vivian, everyone had fun.

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How cute is she, even if she is so scared??

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Every child wanted to sit next to me. James started crying when Charlotte took his seat. Luckily Zach is the sweetest big brother and always moves for his cry-baby brother. I say that with love…IMG_5527

We had a fun weekend with my them all, I love to spend time with them and Vivi is thinking about acknowledging that she has an Uncle named Alex. She currently refuses to make eye contact or speak to him. It is hilarious. His voice is very loud and low for little girls.

Once they left I was still staring down a full week, plus a Monday, of quality family time. Luckily I had thought a bit ahead and signed the boys up for half day art camp on Monday and half day gymnastics camp on Friday. So we filled the time with a trip to the trampoline center, including my three year old playing dodgeball with 12 year olds. Normal.

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We went bowling.

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Then we spent a morning doing this:

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Video is here: http://instagram.com/p/xR0Ai-xwda/?modal=true

New Year’s Eve the Wall’s kept the boys, which has become a nice little tradition which I hope continues (pretty please?). We had the Rockets tickets that night and Alex was shocked when I agreed to go for my one game of the year. It was a 6pm game however, so we had some time to kill once the game ended. I don’t know who won. I barely paid attention.

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So we had about two hours to kill before our dinner reservations. We walked to some bars downtown and pretended like we were 22 again. And what did we do at those bars? Oh we drank water (to hydrate) and registered Zach for Little League (the deadline was the 1st). I would say sad, but really, it is about on par for 37 year old parents of two. We are tired and have stuff to do. We rang in the New year at a bar and then immediately Ubered home. I was in bed by 12:30. Awesome.

Finally the celebrating could come to an end. Are you not exhausted just thinking about it? I am. While it was fun to see everyone and so nice to not have to get up at school time, I started having flashbacks to the summer with 12 hours each day to entertain my children and might have gotten a bit panicky there at the end.

So I am glad for January. I like my routine. Even with the cold and rainy weather, it is a relief for me.

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.

I thought it was a good idea

Zach has been in school now for six weeks now. Part of me can’t believe it has been that long and another part of me is already ready for a break. This getting up early thing is for the birds. Well, when you have grumps in the morning it is. Like myself.

It takes the boys about five minutes to really wake up. There is the turning on of the lights and me shaking them, but after about five minutes they are fully awake. And talking. On the other hand, it takes me like an hour to be awake. I am not exaggerating. I am actually being generous with the hour statement.

So I try to put on a “mommy is awake face” (I don’t ask for comments on how that is going) and push on. They get up, get dressed and then eat breakfast. At 7:30, breakfast has to be done to get shoes on, brush teeth and head to the garage.

Where we get on the bikes.

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Anyone who talked to me during the summer, knows how excited I was to bike to school. I can’t remember why now.

I have a bike trailer which James rides in, but not happily. Every. Single. Morning, he cries that he does not want to go. Please keep in mind we are a 4 minute ride from the school. We ride there, walk Zach in and ride back. it is like 15 minutes tops. Then we come back and James gets to play or watch a show before his school starts at 9. It does not matter. Every day, without fail, James will have a fit about some part of our morning routine. Most mornings I fly down our driveway with him screaming about how he does not want to go. People are going to start thinking I am a kidnapper.

One morning I decided to Love and Logic him with acceptable consequences and let him wear his pajamas and no shoes into Zach’s school. He was thrilled. I was not.

So I tried suggesting he ride his scooter home. This, obviously, took about ten minutes of negotiating on where he would be able to get out of the trailer (not on the street near school with all the traffic) and if he had to wear a helmet (yes).

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Success! This option worked well for a while, we could take all the time we needed to get home, no rushing and it ate up the time between drop offs.

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Then he got tripped up by an acorn, fell over the scooter and that option was done. It was a slight scrape, but you would have thought he broke something. Again, my neighbors might be calling CPS soon.

Plus there is the sweat. Oh my Lord the sweat. You would not think going less than a mile at a casual pace would make a girl sweat – but then you would not know me. This humidity is killing me. When we get home I have to put on all new clothes. Usually just more exercise clothes, obviously.

Then I drive James up to his school for his 9:00 am start time. As you might have guessed – he does not want to go there either. He finally stopped crying two weeks ago. As in, after he had been in school (THE SAME SCHOOL HE HAS ATTENDED SINCE HE WAS ONE) for four weeks. I mean, I love that I am his favorite and clearly he knows something the rest of you don’t and wants to hang out with me all the time, but dude, cut a mom some slack and be cool. I will be back in four hours.

So by 9:15-9:30 I feel like I have worked out, I have done a ton of negotiating and taken two modes of transportation. I am beat. Just reading this post exhausts me.

But Zach loves to bike. Loves it. I bought him a combination lock which uses a four letter word vs numbers for the code. I set it as one of his sight words he was struggling with and felt like the mom of the universe. Until I had to keep telling him it over and over while sweating at the bike lock. L-I-K-E. I don’t.

I think if I was more of a morning person this would be great. Zach is in a great mood in the morning. He is super chatty and wants to tell me all sorts of things about bugs and poop. I just have a really hard time wanting to hear it at 7:40 am.

But this was totally my idea and he is fully on-board. Plus, we all know I would just be sweating getting he and James in and out of the car in the morning. I am an equal opportunity sweater – Alex is so, so lucky to have me.

And I do like the ride home. While hot and stickyer, I love to hear the things he did that day when they are fresh in his mind. We go slower and chat the whole way. That sort of makes up for the morning. Sort of.

Not just a pretty face

If you are in my moms group (hi friends!) or paid attention my leaving note on my other blog (hi friends with attention to detail!) you have heard that I am starting a small business selling teacher gifts. As one of the husbands said, including mine, what exactly are you doing?

Valid question husbands.

Before I left work, I was forcing encouraging my boss to make this latte card for her daughter’s teachers. She said off-hand that I should start a business selling teacher gifts. I could not imagine taking anything else on at the time, so I just waved the idea off.  Then this past summer my friend Beth, who started selling the Rodan + Fields skin care line, wanted to partner with me to make end of summer gifts for teachers using the R+F sunscreen. We both loved the idea, but seeing as she lives in Baton Rouge, we just could not make it work.

But I decided to do a small test run of making various gifts for the end of the school year. I contacted some moms I know that are too busy for this stuff and/or don’t want to deal with M&Ms in a jar. I created a quick PDF and also had a link to my teacher gift Pinterest board. Everyone really liked the gifts I dropped off at their offices/homes, with instructions for them to take complete credit for it. My friend Allie even sent me some referrals (thank you again Allie!).

You guys, it was fun. I loved it actually.

Oh, but did I mention I sort of forgot to tell Alex about it? Whoopsies. I just felt silly for some reason and thought he would not think it was a good idea, so instead of being a grown up and telling him, I just went about my business (pun intended) and left him in the dark. He did not say ask any questions as to why our kitchen table was covered in bags, beach towels, insulated cups and glass jars. Not a peep. I do love him so for not questioning my crazy crafting. His attempt to avoid my crazy is one of my favorite things about him.

Don’t worry, I did finally tell him, but he insists on referring to it as my super-secret business.

So what am I doing exactly? Well, if you look up on the black ribbon under the heading of the blog, you will see Teacher Gifts.

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There I have my five offerings. The way it works is that you pick which item you would like and I create it for you and deliver it to your work or home. OK, I really could have just led with that sentence and saved you all a ton of time.

Anyway, if you don’t like those offerings or they don’t fit with what you need, you can send me a link to most anything on Pinterest, either on my board or others and I can re-create them for you. And, as always, I deliver!

I also have links to many of the printables here on the blog too. On the right hand side under Blog Categories, you can click either Printables, for all printable things, teacher and otherwise, or Teacher Gifts, which is pretty self-explanatory.

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PS are you loving my use of the Snipping Tool?

That is enough business talk for a while, back to stories of me getting peed on and run out of places.

But when you need a teacher gift, I hope you will think of me!