Sunday, December 30, 2007

Just in case 2007 hasn't quite screwed me over enough...

It turns out there just might be another bidder on the new house. Fan-freaking-tastick.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

We are making an offer on a house (excuse me while I go throw up)

When we got married almost 8 1/2 years ago we had a small house built all nestled in the woods. Other than a lawsuit (won't even go into that) with the builder, it was perfect. Turns out that after 8 1/2 years a small house, is even smaller! Especially when you add three dogs, two cats, and a 2 1/2 year old! We have looked at other houses many, many times. But for one reason or another, we have always talked ourselves into staying right here. The biggest reason is that houses are a lot more now than they were 8 1/2 years ago and the thought of tripling our house note makes me nauseous. Also, I really like our street name... yes, I know that's corny but we live on a street named, "Running Bear" and that's just cute.

When we built our house there were maybe 20 houses in our neighborhood and lots and lots of trees. About 2 years ago the empty lots were all purchased by a builder and there are now about 200 houses in our neighborhood with more being built every day. We've been watching these houses and have looked at them several times, but that whole note thing always comes into play. Well, today we made the move. We found a four bedroom (oh God would that be nice?!?!?) that is a foreclosure with all the upgrades for almost 30,000 less than the same house new with no upgrades. $30,000 less! So, we've put in the offer and we'll see what happens. Of course, talking and dreaming of a new house was one thing, making the offer was something totally different. Please excuse me while I go throw up.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Snakes and Lizards, OH MY!

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is having a special exhibit on "Snakes and Lizards" right now. Since every little boy (and big boy - Jeff) loves snakes and lizards we figured it would be a great way to spend the afternoon. We quickly decided that it wasn't worth the price to get in and the money would have been better spent going to the zoo, but at least we enjoyed what few reptiles they had to show. Too bad Duchess wasn't with us! ;o)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

Apparently Chase was a VERY good boy this year because Santa certainly spoiled him rotten (of course, Duchess, Memaw, and PawPaw may have had something to do with it as well... not to mention Mommy and Daddy).

Turns out that we even heard Santa's reindeer on the roof last night, when they shook and made their Jingle Bells jingle! It took us a few minutes, but we finally convinced Chase that if he didn't go to sleep, the reindeer would leave our house and go next door. Christmas morning proved that going to sleep was the answer because there were presents everywhere!

We hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas as well and that your Christmas Wishes' all came true!

Friday, December 21, 2007

On the Road Again

Jeff's entire family lives in Texas, they are Texans through and through. My family, on the other hand, is every way. After moving south from Alaska my grandparents and aunts/cousins ended up in Mississippi. We try really hard to make it to Mississippi twice a year to see my family. Fortunately my grandparents (Chase's great-grandparents) make it to Texas quite often and are great about showing for birthday parties and just to visit. However, thanks to IVF last summer we didn't make it down, so it had been a year since most of my family had seen Chase. And, as most of you know, a lot can change in a year!

Since Jeff and I are both off for almost two weeks at Christmas, we hit the road and go for a visit. The drive is only about 6 1/2-7 hours depending on traffic, so it's tolerable. Or so you would think. Tolerable in my book is totally different than tolerable in Chase's book. Duchess let us borrow her new Santa Fe (loaded and F-A-N-C-Y), so that helped. I think we watched The Little Mermaid about 4 times and only a few minor meltdowns. Not bad!

Our visit was short, but fun just the same! My grandmother is a wonderful cook and always spoils us rotten with homemade breakfast and a big Christmas lunch while we're there. One of my cousins, Rachael, got engaged and asked for Chase to be her ring bearer which is very exciting. This will be his first time in a tux, I know he'll look adorable.... if we can only get him down the aisle.

As fun as it is to visit, it's always nice to be back home. Of course, I can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa's Wonderland (and as close to snow as we'll see around these parts)

About an hour away is a lovely place that opens for just a few short weeks a year called Santa's Wonderland. We discovered it last year and quickly decided that it would definitely become a family tradition! You go in to "Santa's Village" where there's a big bonfire and cute little shops. Texas snow (a.k.a. soap snow) blows down on you and there is usually live entertainment. If your little one pleases they can take a picture with Santa in his cowboy hat (again, definite Texas thing) and then ride on the mechanical bull. There is a huge TV screen where a Christmas Classic is playing and even a petting zoo and pony rides. On a cold night the hot chocolate and kettle corn are to die for. It's just a very happy place. The best part though is the hayride through the Christmas lights. To see this place from the freeway you have no clue what is in store for you. You load up on the wagon and Christmas music fills the air. Your journey begins and for the next 35ish minutes you are surrounded by beautiful scenes and lights galore. It is phenomenal.

last year, not knowing better, we went on a Friday night and ended up waiting in line for about 2 hours before loading on the hayride. Although we loved the place and hayride itself, the way was miserable. This year we learned that if at all possible you go on a weeknight. We went on a Wednesday and had no wait at all. We were told that they after Christmas is even better since they stay open until New Years.

The man driving the hayride (meaning the man pulling the wagon inside the warm cab of his dodge) made the comment that he watched Chase through the whole thing in the mirror and loved how excited he was. I'm telling you, a two year old certainly makes this time of year magical.

**Edited to say that we did make a 2nd trip after Christmas and it was defintely a lot less crowded (we even got to park in the actual parking lot)! Much colder too if you can't tell. The first time we were in light shirts, the next time all bundled up! Fun!!!**

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

Monday, December 17, 2007

It can only get better... right?!?!

To put it plain and simple, this weekend sucked. Thanks to our lovely Texas weather it has gone from 80 degrees to 55 degrees in one day. You can imagine what that does to people's systems. It's nice. Poor Chase got the sniffles on Friday and by that evening he was telling me, "Mommy I not fweel well." That's never a good sign. An even worse sign was when he began coughing shortly after going to sleep and wound up in our bed for the night.

We did manage to get some Christmas shopping done Saturday morning, but the winds were gusting to 40mph and it was just too chilly to stay out long with a little one that didn't feel well. We had made the mistake of telling Chase that Madison's birthday party was that day and he let us know that he wanted to go to Madison's Happy Party RIGHT NOW! I think that might have been another reason I gave up on the Christmas shopping, but I was busy beating my head against the wall so I'm really not sure.

The party itself was at Pump It Up (inflatable equipment place) and was lovely. The kids and adults had a blast, but I decided that taking my fluffy self through the obstacle course while trying to hoist a 30 pound toddler and a 42 pound toddler up the rock wall was more than enough for me. I learned my lesson really quick.

As most of you know we live in the country and after nightfall the roads are dark and dangerous. On our way home we were going about 60 when a very large dog ran right out in front of us. With oncoming traffic on one side and a ditch in the other, Jeff had no choice but to hit it. All I could do was think, "Please don't swerve!" because I knew we'd flip. Unfortunately it killed the dog, but thank God we were OK. I sure love my Tahoe because had we been in a car, we'd have been in trouble. It was awful. Even worse, it was someones pet because it had a harness on... broke our hearts.

On Sunday both of my guys were under the weather and it was just a dreary not fun day. We went out to meet some people looking at a LaZBoy set we were selling and Jeff rolled down the window so that Chase could see us in the storage unit next to him, but still be in the warm, cozy car. When we went to leave the window would not go up. To make a long story short we just had to dish out $480 to replace a cable that had snapped. Can't tell you how happy that makes me.

It just seems seems to be one thing after another. Somebody tell me, it can only get better... right?!?!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Breathe In, I Breathe Out...

Tonight was our annual Christmas party for the teachers at our school. I don't know if you've ever been to a teacher party, but these things can get pretty wild. Teachers apparently keep a lot of stress pent up inside and at parties it can definitely come out. Those that know me know that while I loved a good party in my younger days, those days are now few and far between. In the grand scheme of things tonight's party was a little more mellow than most. Sure there were the Victoria Secrets Undies making the rounds, margaritas and sangria, etc... but overall it was mild. Perhaps it was because one of our teachers will be moving after the holidays to another country due to her husband being transferred and this was our sad goodbye or perhaps it was just because we were all exhausted. Who really knows. However, there was a big announcement that yet another teacher is now expecting. Another teacher that is not me. Another teacher that is due one week before our sweet baby we lost would have been due. A teacher that is not married and who it seems is no where near leaving her partying days behind her. *sigh* Yes, I'm happy for her. It's great, she's having a baby. However, I must have looked like the weight of the world had dropped down on me because another teacher asked if I was OK. Sure, I'm fine... kind of... no... not really. It was all I could do to keep from crying. God what is wrong with me?

Earlier today I was told by a friend that they just didn't know how I did it. How I could handle this all. How I could seem so OK, when I had to be dieing on the inside. I just seem so, so strong. What she really wanted to know was, "How was I... really?" Well, if I have to be totally, completely, 100% honest, I'm crappy. My heart is broken. I'm scared. I'm devastated. All I can think is I should be pg right now. RIGHT NOW! I've learned to breathe in and breathe out. I've learned that all I can do is take it one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other. And even more, I've learned that I have to just pray that eventually it really will be as fine as everyone thinks it is. I'm trying to move on so hard that it hurts. I fight the pain and the tears and put a happy smile on my face and hold my head up high to face the day. I look at Chase and beg my heart to just move on and enjoy the now. But God, it is so damn hard.

So, in a nutshell, that's how I "really" am. I'm sure she was so glad she asked.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chase's First Shiner

After our Santa trip (that didn't go so well) we took the kids to the McDonald's that has the nice indoor playground so they could play while the adults visited. The play area is indoors and seems rather nice. They have computers for the kids to play with, a basketball game, and a slide/climber. Best of all it's closed in, although we quickly found out that our toddlers are now big enough to push the door open and escape.

All was going well until I heard Chase's cry. That cry that makes my heart beat a zillion times a minute and causes me to move w/lightning speed to him. As soon as I saw him I knew that something was wrong... terribly wrong. His face was swollen and red and he was holding his eye. Of course while I never want my Doodlebug hurt, I certainly don't want his eye hurt! Turns out it was actually right below his eye... phew.

As far as we can figure from Chase's reenactment and description he was climbing up the steps of the slide/climber when he tripped and hit the window ledge. I was actually kind of surprised because when we really inspected it there really is a major safety concern. There is no railing of any kind to keep this from happening and it could have so easily been worse! Fortunately Chase only had a cut below his eye and it wasn't bad enough for stitches. Needless to say he is now sporting his first shiner. Window ledge: 1, Chase: 0! No doubt it is just the first of many to come.

***I will say that I contacted McDonald's and they are really on top of it. They acknowledged that this was an issue and they were very apologetic that it had not been caught in their recent inspection. They are in the process of having the safety issue corrected and reinspected. I will be notified upon completion (I guess for my approval... hahaha!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Operation Santa Christmas Picture 2007 (a.k.a. OSCP2007)

And what do you want for Christmas?

That would be the question that every child longs to hear from Santa ... or so you would think. My child would be the exception. Actually he did have an answer, but it would not be typical in any sense of the word. Chase's response would be as follows, "To get the ____ off your lap!" You can just use your imagine to fill in the blank.

I actually thought (how naive of me) that we were going to get a *good* Santa picture this year. In fact, I thought this until the very.last.possible.moment. Then reality struck. And when it struck, it struck fast and hard. Here is my holiday tale of Operation Santa Christmas Picture 2007 (a.k.a. OSCP2007) for your reading enjoyment.

Once upon a time a "practically perfect in every way" Mommy and Daddy had a "practically perfect in every way" little boy that they named Chase. They loved Chase more than anything in the entire world and wanted Chase to experience anything and everything he could. Each Christmas they would take Chase to Santa's cottage so that they could capture the moment forever in a picture. After all, when Chase is older he will treasure these pictures forever. Chase's first Christmas he was not even a year old and only looked up at Santa in wonder while his portrait was snapped. By Chase's second Christmas he had gained knowledge and knew that old men dressed in strange clothes was not normal and became very, er I mean VERY, unhappy when placed upon Santa's lap. Still by Chase's third Christmas he was now two years old and much, much wiser. He had seen Santa in pictures and knew that there was something mystical and magical about the jolly old man and his curiosity had peaked. He led his Mommy and Daddy on to believe that he liked this old man and wanted to go and see him of his own free will. Silly Mommy and Daddy for believing him!

Mommy and Daddy picked a special day for the big trip to Santa's cottage for OSCP2007. They thought they were being smart and invited some bigger friends to go with them in hopes that Chase would view the said friends visiting on Santa's lap and want to do the same. Upon arriving at our destination Santa appeared through the door of the cottage and Chase was very excited to see that Santa was indeed at work that day. He waved and Santa waved back... a good sign Mommy thought! Mommy was overjoyed and leaped out of the vehicle while building up the excitement of seeing Santa and taking a picture with him. Chase, being the curious little boy he is, raced into Santa's cottage with Mommy and right up to Santa's big chair. Mommy honestly thought that things were going really well when Chase even began to talk to Santa, all signs were pointing in a smiling picture at last. Santa and Chase talked of reindeer and barns, Christmas, and good boys and girls. The time was coming, Mommy was giggly, Chase was smiling ... then it happened. The 12 words that would forever haunt OSCP2007... "Would you like to sit on Santa's lap and take a picture?" Oh the horror, the absolutely horror! On his lap? "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" screamed Chase as he bolted for the door. "NOOOOOOOOOO sit on Santa's lap!" Crap. Alas, the smiling picture was not meant to be.

Mommy and Daddy thought they could save OSCP2007 by walking Chase around the cottage and negotiating with the help of candy canes, but again Chase proved to be the wiser. At their wits end Mommy and Daddy grabbed Chase as he ran and placed him upon the lap of Old St. Nick. All we can say is the result was a rather worn out Santa and a really, really, really ticked off Chase. Perhaps OSCP2008 will prove more glorious.

*** I will be scanning our really nice OSCP2007 tomorrow at work and post tomorrow evening. But to you tide you over, here are a couple of pictures taken after by the big live Christmas tree. If you receive a Christmas card from us, please pretend you did not see these. ***

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Spike it Peas!

I know that Chase is adorable. I've been told this a zillion times and I've said it a zillion more. In fact, I'm almost obnoxious about just how cute he is (hey, at least I'm honest). I've even been known to say things like, "Other mothers must look at my son and feel envy that their child is not nearly as cute as mine." My mother says I shouldn't say those things, but it's tough when I know it's true. ;o) OK, I don't *actually* say this to people other than those that are very close to me, but I think it quite often. Anyway, his adorableness just continues to increase on a daily basis and I almost can't stand it.... almost. Today we went to get his hair cut by Mrs. Crystal. She is wonderful with him and Chase is an absolute angel during the haircutting process. When asked if he would like his hair trimmed or cut short where he could spike it, we were quickly informed he wanted to spike it peas.... now that's my boy. In the past we've always spiked the entire top of his head, but I've longed for the day we could spike just his bangs. Today was that day and I have to say it is definitely the cutest haircut yet! Enjoy!