Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

A lot, actually. On the 21st, I have my next meeting with the rabbi and I need to figure out at least a method for choosing a Hebrew name. I'm not sure if it should somehow match my English name's definition (which is "beloved" and I'm not thrilled by "Ahuva", "Chaviva" or "Leeba") or if it should represent a trait I hope to exhibit or what...

I could just 'cheat' and use Avigail, since it was my Grandma's given name and is, roughly, Lily's middle name. At least it's a name I like already.

What to do.....

June 29, 2011 A

Just a few things that are puzzling me today:

How can a boy who is so messy use up ALL the soap?? Seriously. I think he gets lost in the moment and just loves the suds too much. At least it's not bar soap... the scum it leaves seriously grosses me out. 

Why did so many people move to Texas? It's not pretty. It's hotter than Hades. There are maybe 2 natural lakes in the entire region. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Yeesh. When I grow up, I want to move to Colorado. Or Oregon. 

What do car mechanics get paid? I took my car in for an oil change some time ago and they wanted to charge me another $35 to change my under-hood air filter and $90 to change the cabin filter. I purchased both for a total of $40 and did them myself in less than 20 minutes. What on earth were they planning on doing that meant I should shell out another $85?

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Izzy quote: Mermaids don't wear tops. Just bottoms. Like this, a skirt. With flowers on it. They wear skirts in their house, and dance class.

June 27, 2011

Oh, this is taking wall art to a whole new adorable level. :) 

The things we'll do...

... to be entertained! Ben is currently watching Barbie: Swan Lake with the girls. He begged for it not to be put on and has been glued to it ever since. Guess tomorrow had better be a tv-free day! ;-)

There and back again!

This last week is a BLUR! I'll try to recall at least the most important parts...

Wednesday, Chad was hoping to take Ben out on the boat with his dad to do some night fishing. An appointment made the group outing impossible but he still took Ben out to at least spend the night on the water.

Thursday morning, I scrambled around to get the girls ready and we met the boys at the lake at about 10am. The water was so much nicer than the last time we were out. I think the girls were a bit apprehensive of 'daddy's boat' after the last excursion. No wind advisory this time, tho so we made it without getting tossed up and down in our seats. We went to a little cove with a decent shore and splashed around for a few hours. Lily took a little while to get used to the water but once she decided it was ok, it was incredibly hard to keep her out of it. She wanted to try to sit in it with Daddy and dunked her own face a few times. Izzy was running around in the water with Ben, as if she'd always been comfortable in the lake. The last couple of times, it took work to get her to get in up to her ankles!

Friday, we packed up and headed to Galveston. Well, Kemah. It's a little town about 25 miles north of Galveston. They seem to pick up a lot of the 'overflow'... for a town of 1,773 it's pretty busy. They have a boardwalk with lots of carnival type rides, restaurants and little shops. The girls got to ride the Red Baron and Carousel with me - first time on REAL rides, I think. Ben did a whirly ride that I can't recall the name of. Looked like fun, tho.

We drove around for a little bit and seemed to see all there was to see in Kemah. I'm sure if we'd walked around more, we'd have found something intriguing but it seems like it's just a little bedroom community that picks up the extra tourist traffic.

We had dinner at a place called T Bone Tom's (yummy chopped beef sandwiches and fried pickles!) and then called it a night. Well, as I recall, the girls and I did and Chad took Ben back out to the boardwalk for a while. I was so sleepy, it's a bit foggy.

Saturday morning, we headed to Galveston to check out the beach and Moody Gardens. Moody Gardens looked like a fun place to go but SO expensive. Every attraction had separate admission pricing! They weren't just a bunch of rides or anything... they have a Rainforest Pyramid, Aquarium Pyramid, water park, paddle wheel boat, theater, discovery center. And charging upwards of $15 a person for EACH thing. So off we went to the free beach. :) I think the girls were a bit overwhelmed by the speed of the surf, even if it wasn't that high. Lily managed to entertain herself, picking up little clams out of the sand and spitting sand out of her mouth every time she stuck her fingers in. Ben took off and enjoyed the water with Chad.... I think it's the first time he's seen the Gulf. He said the water didn't taste so great, tho. hehe As it was closing in on lunch time, we called it a morning and headed back to eat and lay the girls down. Izzy passed out HARD but Lily had napped on the way back to the room and was just being her normal crazy self. Chad took Ben to the NASA Space Center till it was dinner time and we headed back to T Bone Tom's. (I keep wanting to say F Bone because that's what their sign actually looked like. Choose your fonts wisely, folks!)

Sunday - we went BACK to Galveston, road the ferry around and saw some dolphins. :) Only a few of them actually leapt out of the water completely but it was still cool to spot them. And coming back to the original port, gulls and pelicans were flying right in front of the upper deck so we were able to see them up close and personal. Brown pelicans are so pretty.

The drive home - ugh. So long! We stopped at the Sam Houston statue, where the children were all underwhelmed. It was neat but SO hot outside that they just didn't care for picture taking.

Dinner with Justin and Sunny, who took care of our puppies while we were gone. :) Lily kept stealing my food so eventually, I will have a picture or two of her holding my corn on the cob to post. She was so happy to see her 'nana sunny'. I don't know why she calls her nana at first. Silly girl.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Svenska Turistföreningen - STF Kolarbyn/Eco-lodge - Photo gallery

This looks like it would be a really neat experience. I wonder how long it takes to build one of these little huts? Would be neat to have on someone's property for wilderness time.

Svenska Turistföreningen - STF Kolarbyn/Eco-lodge - 

After the storm

There's nothing quite like crawling into bed sometime after midnight, only to be awoken at 3am by pounding rain and hail. If our room was in the back of the house, it wouldn't be so bad. But unfortunately, the kids have the back bedrooms and the staccato of the rain and hail on their windows is impossible to sleep through.

Lily woke when I went in the girls' room to gather them up. We ended up going downstairs because the wind was howling like mad. Turns out the worst of the storm was right on top of us but at least that meant it was short-lived.

Most normal people, when woken by thunderstorms, can go back to sleep when it quiets down. Our girls do NOT have that ability. I laid on their floor till 7am and probably slept about an hour of that time. Lily was adamantly asking for more drink and didn't understand why I wouldn't schlep up and down the stairs for her. I guess she finally wore herself out at about 5. And then Isobel woke up and came down to the floor to lay down with me at 6. She was so sweet about it, patting my back and trying to tuck the blanket around me.

Thankfully, it appears we escaped any really terrible damage. The hail shredded the trees pretty well but the car doesn't have really noticeable dings in it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Little readers

Something helpful for all mommies, whether you love reading or not. Help your toddler love reading

Beautiful Rubber Stamp Sets | Family Style

Caught this through Beautiful Rubber Stamp Sets | Family Style LOVE these stamps. Makes me long to create this: to enjoy them. If only I had an extra closet, just waiting to be used!

Oh wait!

I totally forgot to put this here. My parents had their beit din and mikveh yesterday. It's amazing how so many years of yearning and 'somedays' can culminate in an hour long event that forever changes your identity. No long 'practicing Jews', my parents are officially members of the Tribe. :)

My next meeting with Rabbi  Dennis will be the 21st of July and we'll make sure then whether the tentative mikveh date of Aug 18th still works. I'm anxious and completely at peace at the same time.

We had a good conversation last night. I mentioned how sometimes it seems I should be doing more or learning more or asking more. As if there should be more changes going on internally as well as just in my general lifestyle. He told me that attending services, keeping Shabbat and the various holidays, having an active prayer "routine" are actually considerable progress and other things can come in time. There are chaverot and study groups that function within congregation that I can become part of eventually. Hopefully, we can meet some other families that we can hang out with and let the kids form some friendships of their own.

How long till winter?

Izzy asked today if it would be a long time till winter. I told her we had to make it through summer first and she said 'well, when it does snow, I will need help with my snowman'. Already lining up the winter activities and it's not even technically summer yet!

Current wonderings:

What type personality are my children? Isobel seems to need to know what's going on to stay on an even keel, Lily is apparently ok with life changing at the drop of a hat. Heck, she doesn't even need the hat.

What should I be reading? I have new books to read but it seems like I'm having a difficult time actually delving into them.

Latest literary acquisition is "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee." My rabbi recommended it as a good resource for finding ways to incorporate Jewish beliefs into every day parenting life. Today would have been a good day to have some insight, as I tried to remember what I had on my grocery list between screams, howls and general mayhem from the peanut gallery. I don't want to be the mom who can't handle a trip to the store but some days, I AM that mom. I want to just sit down and cry with the kids until we're all sorted out.

Redesigned/titled the blog. I had considered trashing it completely and starting anew but that's actually more work than simply importing the old entries and hoping people  I don't mind the nonsense from years past.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wet Wednesday

Making more of an effort to spend time outdoors. It's easy to convince myself that I'm acting in their best interest to keep them out of the heat but ultimately, time outside is important. Our house faces east so the majority of the back yard is in shade till at least noon.

 I have to give up on being a control freak mom and just let the other freak flag fly and let the girls do what they do best - make a mess and have fun. There's actually LESS screaming when I don't monitor their every interest. Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mundane mundus

When I was pregnant, people would ask me if I was excited or scared or nervous about 'the big day'. I rarely had a genuine response to that because I didn't know what to say. I think I told most of the Curious that I was excited about it or maybe anxious. But I don't think that touches on the truth of it. I looked forward to 'the big day' but not with any real trepidation. Not even the first time. I knew it was coming and nothing would stop it or alter it so I didn't have strong feelings about it. It was simply marching toward me inexorably. Oh, that sounds ominous. But it wasn't that way for me. I just don't get wound up, I guess. I get more nervous about calling someone I don't really know or talking to a person in authority than I did about childbirth. Way to go, huh? Way to embrace the enormity of the moment. 

Change does make me nervous but I think I manage to be more nervous about my lack of excitement than about the actual event. 

On Thursday, my parents are having their mikveh to finalize the conversion process. My father is thrilled beyond words and is likely to jump up and down. No lie. My mother is where I get my oddness, I suppose, as she's simply of the mind of 'Well, of course we're doing this. It's what we've been working towards for the last 18 years.' Why get worked up over reaching the very point of life you've been working towards. 

Thursday evening, I have a meeting with the Rabbi to discuss my own mikveh date. I am a bit anxious about this but I think more because I feel as tho it's happening to someone else. Maybe that's more accurate than just saying I don't feel excited, etc about things. I react as tho it's someone else having the experience. Is this normal?

Lily has started toilet training herself and THAT almost freaks me out. The end of babyhood is upon us. She's speaking more clearly, likes many of the same things Izzy does (books, babies, same movies) and now she's toilet training. And it's all her own idea. Seems to be key with our girls, to getting them to do pretty much anything. 

Life is moving forward in so many ways. 

Things are different here.

Recently came across this delightful blog and haven't been able to get enough of it. She and her family moved to France for a year (I guess they're somewhere in the middle of that year now?) and she posts about the myriad adjustments that have to be made as Americans and an established family (6 children! :) ). It's really quite fascinating. I've been perusing old entries and came across some other wonderful sites... sites I might never have come across on my own. At least, I don't know how I would have. Anyway.

A few:

Got kids? Those kids have birthdays? Dreamy parties
I'm not sure how I've not come here before. So much whimsy!
I want to be her when I grow up. Ambrosia

It's safe to say that I wish I were a designer and lived a more fascinating and creative life. Maybe I just want to live in France tho. Hot cocoa for breakfast, 2 hour lunches are the norm and markets to buy one's dinner, fresh fresh fresh.

Maybe if I let the boy get his tv, he'll get me Rosetta Stone and learning can commence! Speaking the language makes it more likely that we'll visit some day, right? RIGHT?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Much sadder Eeyore.

We went to the store this morning to pick up fruit and yogurt to make smoothies. With nowhere else to be, we took our time, wandering the aisles and looking at all the unnecessary things. A little plush Eeyore caught Izzy's eye and she asked if maybe next time 'could we come back and get the very sad Eeyore' so she could 'take him home and be his mommy'? I said "We already have a sad Eeyore at home, don't you remember?" Izzy's reply was perfect: "But this one is MUCH SADDER!" When did my little 3 year old figure out justification, not to mention degrees?

There's no connection but my little Izzy is going to be a much sadder Izzy when she finds out we are likely to NOT have her brother this summer. She looks forward to his visits every week and while she understands we don't have him every weekend, she knows that he DOES come here and on the weeks she gets a "yes, he'll be here soon!" she is always so excited. The grown up world is difficult to navigate. It's hard on the grown-ups and probably many times more difficult for the little ones. So many arbitrary decisions being made and changes of heart occurring.

I recently changed this to a private blog because I feared too many things could be taken out of context or twisted to mean something they don't but it seems now that no matter what, people can decide what they believe is true and just live accordingly. It doesn't matter a bit what I say or feel if someone else wants to attribute motives or opinions to me. This makes me a much sadder me.