Friday, December 11, 2009


James: Poor Baby Jesus.

Me: What's wrong? (Thinking maybe he would tell me something profound regarding the Christmas Story)

James: He's so sad.

Me: Why is he so sad?

James: Because he has to sleep on toilet paper. Poor baby.

(The manger below was made from half a toilet paper roll.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

You can't win them all

James continues to be super competitive. I can't remember if this started with preschool or not. Anyway, everything is always, "I did it fastest, I win!" or "I did it better, I win!" or "I got there first, I win!"

This afternoon we were all lounging around and James says, "I know a game we can play. The person who wakes up in the morning wins!"

I hope everyone who reads this is a winner tomorrow and for many mornings to come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Annual Pics

I'm really happy about how pics turned out this year. I told them I didn't want any fakey fake backgrounds and minimal props. No sleds, no presents, no balls, no other cheesy studio stuff. Here's a few of the best:

(I guess one good pic with a fallen greek column is ok.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ben was getting James dressed this morning and they had the following conversation:

J: I want some Bob the Builder underwear.

B: I don't know if they make those kind.

J: Just go to WWW dot Bob the Builder Underwear dot com and look for them there.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

(This is from back in November. Not sure why it didn't post.)

I'm not a big fan of the early morning. I'm not up singing The Day Dawn is Breaking while it's actually breaking. The boy has made sure that I got a couple of early morning laughs this week.

Monday morning I'm in the shower before work. Ben is out on a walk so I *think* I'm going to have some solitude.

James throws open the bathroom door and yells, "THERES A BUG IN MY ROOM I WET THE BED AND I NEED CEREAL!" Well good morning to you too.

This morning James walks into our room at 6:00 and starts poking me in the back while saying, "Mommy, my butt itches!"

I guess there are a lot worse things he could tell me in the morning, so I'll be grateful for what I got.

Blue's Clues

I wanted to take a pic of James in his Blue's Clues shirt with his BC pals. Something made him start laughing and he gave me some real smiles.

He was really tickled...

And then he wasn't.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Usually the stories I share regarding my ESL classes are generated by the students. For example, in my morning class today the students were comparing and contrasting what you can/can't do in the U.S. with what you can/can't do in their home countries. Here were some of the tibits submitted:

In the U.S. you can't be a prostitute. It's not legal.

In the U.S. you can buy alcohol and guns. (Sounds like they've spent some time in TX)

In the U.S. you can't pay police for your tickets. They don't like money.

In the U.S. you can't little. (I later found out this was supposed to be "litter".)

In the U.S. you can't hit your wife. (And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I won't get beat....)

In the U.S. the government follows the laws. (Well, sometimes, maybe, depends...)

Anyway, today was a bonus day, because the student teacher assigned to my night class yelled out, "EVERYONE SHOWER TOGETHER NOW!" I was only half paying attention in the back until I heard that and finally realized she meant to say, "Everyone, say 'shower' together right now." (English is her 3rd language.) Thankfully it is a beginner class and the only one raising their eyebrows and giggling was me.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I'm pretty sure we'll be sticking with the bed guardrail for sometime.

This week in James land:

We were playing wii tennis with him. He likes to change up his mii (character) constantly. At the time, his character had long brown hair, facial hair and was wearing a white shirt. He stops midgame to say, "Hey, it's Jesus playing tennis!" Great, just great.

At Chili's on Friday night we were all sitting there enjoying a family dinner when out of NOWHERE James says, "First boys kiss girls, then the boys run away and then the girls cry." What the heck? I'm pretty sure they're not teaching this at preschool or on Nick Jr. This statement pretty much sums up 50% of dating relationships, right? Ben counseled, "Skip the kissing part and just run away."

We've been trying to get an idea of what he wants for Christmas so we can tell the various Santas in our life. Lately when I ask him what he would like for Christmas he kinda looks at me as if I should know and says, "Mommy, I just want everything, ok?"

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This is what crazy looks like

This is what James was doing after Trunk or Treat activities. (Disclaimer: I was out of state, you can't blame the dirty house on me!)

Halloween activities

James had a Bob the Builder birthday party this year, and suprisingly enough, he's stuck with Bob all these long months....Since I went to TX for the funeral, Ben and James did Halloween and all its many events on their own.

Getting ready to trick or treat

A cheesy Bob

With Lilly at the Trunk or Treat. So sad the photo is blurry, they are sooo cute! Lilly's mama made that AMAZING Tinkerbell costume!

At the Preschool Party
All the kiddos who attend the preschool on different mornings. We LOVE our school!

It's our first Jack o Lantern, Charlie Brown!

After going to the Pumpkin Patch, we had to carve one up! James told us he was "so excited" to take out the guts, but once he got a load of them, he changed that tune rather quickly. He wouldn't touch the stuff because "he didn't want to get dirty." Ha! A three year old boy who doesn't want to get dirty. Whatever.

Helping Daddy draw the "Vampire Pumpkin"

Watching carefully so that Daddy "does it right"

Doing the happy pumpkin dance?

With his eyes all aglow in the dark

Smiling like his new vampire friend

First Field Trip Ever!

So I took James to the Pumpkin Patch/Farm last year, but this year it was even cooler b/c it was for his first FIELD TRIP! It was too cute. He was soooo excited to go there with his friends from school. We had a great time, as documented by the photos...

The cute pumpkin he thought he wanted

Smiling for Mommy in the Pumpkin Patch

Smiling despite how freezing cold it was that morning

Our self portrait in the patch

The pumpkin he decided that he really wanted
Hanging out in the tire
Being King of the tire mountain with some of the boys from preschool

Trying to remain king of the Tire mountain while the kids gather around...

Going down the giant slides again and again

NOT wanting to pose by the flowers. Notice how his finger is pointing where he wants to be

Trying to drive the big tractor

Pumping at the water well

Mmm, roasted "cob on the corn". After eating 3/4 of it he told me, "Mommy this has a HORRIBLE taste!"

My Grandma

My Grandma (dad's mom) died last Monday, October 25th. Even though she was 96 years old, we were all surprised when she passed. She went to sleep one afternoon and didn't wake up. We should all be so fortunate to die that way.

She was the youngest of 17 brothers and sisters; all have passed on. She also lost her husband before I was ever born, and her only daughter in the early 80s. My dad was her only (living) child, and my brothers and I were the only grandkids. I imagine there was a very large, happy family reunion when she passed.

Almost the whole family was able to get together for her funeral. It was a really nice, but strange experience. The funeral was on Halloween. A few of us thought that was odd, but Dad said that she wouldn't mind and seeing as how chocolate was her favorite food, I enjoyed some for her on that treat day.

That night a few of my TEENAGED nieces and nephews all decided they should go trick or treating together and I could tag along as their chaperone. I wish I had a pic--they were too funny. No neighbors complained that they were too old and they sure hauled in the loot.

It was a quick exhausting trip, but so worth it. We all had fun together and remembered lots about Grandma. One of my favorite things about her was that when she was in her late 60s/early 70s she drove a Camero. It was my Aunt's car, and when she died my Grandma decided to drive it. She was cool. She also knew her way around a can of Spam. Ha! And Wyatts Cafeteria. And Kmart. She taught me how to play all kinds of crazy card games and dominoes. She always told me I was beautiful and smart. She always wanted to be a teacher--so she was extra proud that she had lots of teachers in the family.

Miss you, Grandma. See you on the other side!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to work

ESL classes resumed this week and I'm teaching a couple of classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. My night class has got me a bit concerned. All 20 of my students are Spanish speakers and it is the very lowest level, i.e. they can answer the question, "What is your name" and "How are you?", but that's about it.

I'm doing a little experiment this semester and not letting any of my students know that I speak Spanish. It has been my unfortunate experience that once they know I know Spanish, the vast majority of their questions are asked in Spanish and they want Spanish explanations, etc. I'm using the word Spanish a lot. Anyway.

It's been really difficult to pretend that I don't understand the conversations swirling around me and watching them struggle to put together simple questions when I KNOW what they want to ask, but I want them to at least try to do it in English.

There's a couple of other issues to deal with in the class. I've been assigned a Grad Student who is doing her practicum to get her MA in TESOL. She has to teach practically half my class. Yeah! Kinda. She's from France, has parents from Tanzania and English is her 3rd language. I'm not doubting her abilities, I'm worried about the accent. I guess that's a bit hypocritical since I've done my fair share teaching Spanish to gringos. We shall see.

Third issue: I've got 20ish students and there are 7 Marias. I'm not even joking, and none of them want to be called by any other name. I guess I'm going to have to call them by their first and last names or just use a lot of pro active eye contact. The class thinks it's hilarious.

Ben texted me the other night during class and I told him I was busy dealing with 7 Marias. He made me laugh out loud as he responded, "How do you solve a problem like 7 Marias?" I'll let you know the answer as soon as I figure it out.


Here's James, shortly before bedtime. Bob the Builder hardhat, Spongebob pjs and Elmo Slippers. You have to admit, he's a cutie!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

In the bathroom this morning:

James: I hope my pee comes out like honey.

Me: What are you talking about?

James: Well, I ate Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast this morning.

(Well, honey pee would be better than the nut alternative.)

At the restaurant this afternoon:

Server: What will you have to drink?

Ben: Water

Me: Water, and can you bring him (James) a water with a lid on it? You never know with these little kids. Better safe than sorry.

10 mins later, before our food had even arrived, I knocked MY WATER glass over. It covered the whole table, ran off onto James' lap and puddled all over the floor. Hello, Karma! Teeny, tiny one room restaurant. Thankfully there were no obvious mockers. The employees didn't even mop it up while we were still there. They just kinda stepped around it carefully in their comings and goings. Weird.

Monday, August 31, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

Inevitably when we go to Walmart or Target or anywhere on the planet earth, James sees something he wants. The miracle is that he is almost always placated when we say, "Oh, we should put that on your Christmas or Birthday list."

Today we were watching a bit of TV and an ad came on for a new kind of bathtub cleaner. I said, "Oh, that looks like that would do a good job. I should get some of that."

James says, "Ok, we'll have to put it on your Christmas list."

I am so excited to open presents this year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Chucky Experience

There are no thumbs up for Chuck E. Cheese here.

When we were in Texas we decided a nice air conditioned activity would be to visit CEC. James had never been there and was MEGA WAY OVER THE TOP EXCITED when we told him we were going. Papa even decided to go with us. Yay! We thought we were all jumping in the minivan to provide James with a one of a kind special experience. The one of a kind special experience we had was probably the most traumatic thing that James has gone through since exiting the womb.

He was fine when we got our hands stamped and ordered pizza and got drinks. His beautiful long lashed eyes were all aglow as we walked through the maze of games and rides. And then it was all over. James spotted him. Yes, him. The 10 foot tall furry rodent staring at him dancing mechanically like the tin man on a stage. James stopped dead in his tracks and could not even say a word. We picked a table to sit at and we led James by the shoulders to sit down because he had his eyes focused on the mechanical monstrosity. He still hadn't said anything and his mouth had been hanging open so long that he had probably begun to drool.
All of a sudden he snapped into life and said repeatedly, "I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that." We turned his chair and we thought he was ok, but he continued with the whole slack jaw stare thing. Papa cut up pieces of pizza and put them in his mouth and he just sat there mechanically chewing. (I know it's sounds terrible but Ben and I thought this was all terribly entertaining, especially since James isn't even fond of pizza.)
We sat there and ate for a few minutes more and then I saw HIM coming. Yes, him. The man who comes out every hour dressed up like Chuck E Cheese. We had spent the last 20 minutes convincing James that CEC on the stage was a machine and would not come get him. And here comes trouble, BIG FURRY TROUBLE. Before I could jump up and warn him not to come near us he made his way over. I wish I could convey James' reaction. It wasn't a scream or a cry, but he looked up, saw CEC standing right next to him, and it was one of those moments that would have brought us $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos. He startled, just about fell out of his chair and started the whole "I don't want to see him!" thing again. I have to credit the man-CEC for his very rapid backward stepping tiptoe departure. I thought we were going to have to leave before spending any tokens.
However, James was wa-ay excited when Ben proposed that they go play games and ride the rides. He looked around continuously to make sure no CEC was near him and then went on with his business. We won lots of tickets and got him some fun little prizes. We thought all the trauma had been forgotten. How stupid are we.
For the next week. And I mean 7 days, people, James said the words Chuck E Cheese and Chuck E Cheese's approximately 30,000,000,000 times. It was like this:
"We went to see a mouse named Chuck E Cheese at a Place called Chuck E Cheese's. He lives there. It is a machine. Sometimes it is a man in a costume. He dances like this. [does demo of mechanical dance] I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese wears clothes that are purple and red. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. I only liked the games. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese." Etc. Granny was pretty sure we needed to get the kid in therapy.
Anyone who came by the house was subjected to his narrative about CEC. He'd tell people at the grocery store, church, on the sidewalk. Wherever. Then after about a week the story changed and he LOVED Chuck E Cheese. Was really excited about it, talked positively about the whole thing. Granny felt tons better and we regained our sanity about having to hear him repeat everything a million times a day. Things sounded so great that Granny and Papa decided to take him again before we returned home. Two days before our departure they told him, "Hey James, we're going to go to Chuck E Cheese today!"
Long story short, we didn't make it back to CEC. It was a major "NO I DON'T WANT TO GO!" I don't know why I'm bummed out that he doesn't want to go back to the land of gross expensive pizza and ridiculous games and cheap prizes, but I kinda am. C'est la vie, right? I don't see Disney anywhere in our near future, either ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

James and Friends

After Fruit Snacks soothed the savage beasts!

James and Lilly, being angelic for a moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sad, But True

These are the only pics I took when we were in Texas. I could have taken pics at Gatti Land, the sea center, the pool, with more family, at the INFAMOUS Chuck E Cheese's (which you will surely hear about soon) The Great Texas Mosquito Festival, The Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory, at the park, etc etc etc, but we just didn't do it. Shame on us.

James finally allowing Aries to be near him.

Styling Papa's hair

Enjoying himself at the beach. All he wanted to do was keep throwing things into the waves and watch them come back.