Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Last year was the first year we all wore costumes. Before that Animesh and I had not even thought about costumes for ourselves although we loved dressing up the kids. But that all changed last year. It began with a wild fascination with The Incredibles...and it became even MORE popular with the kids when they realized we had the exact family members in the exact order as the Incredible Family--Dad, Mom, Girl, Boy, Boy. Yes, I have pictures of us as The Incredible Family. No, I will not share them with you. That skin tight suit I poured my body into was worse than the leggings I bought for my costume this year.

Because the houses in our neighborhood are 12 miles apart (I might be exaggerating just a tad...) and because there are no street lights in our community, we like to visit Mom and Dad's nearby neighborhood for some trick-or-treating fun.

This year we went as a High School Musical cheerleader (GO WILDCATS!)...

...a simply adorable Peter Pan...

...Go Diego GO!...

...and Mommy the Bumblebee...and Daddy as Shrek. I am pretty sure Animesh will never again tell me over the phone to buy him any costume I want.

When Deven got in the car after school this afternoon, he began chanting the oldie but goodie, "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!" Preschool education (by fellow classmates) at its finest. I gently reminded him that this was not the POLITE way to ask for candy and that his treat bag might remain empty if he repeated this to perfect strangers. I suggested using manners instead. He thought for a minute and then gave me his trademark thumbs-up sign while stating, "Good thinking, Mom."

We thought Trevor would tucker out by the 3rd or 4th house--but he conserved his energy while "driving" to the next candy stop. He meant business, too...any attempts by his brother or sister to hitch a ride resulted in Trevor racing into the driver's seat and proclaiming, "Me drive red car!"

While we were out on the streets Mom, Animesh, and I were recalling the good ole' days when local hospitals would offer to x-ray candy after you went trick-or-treating. Lucky for us that almost every house we visited was a neighbor-friend of Mom and Dad's...which slowed us down a bit since Mom struck up lengthy conversations with each neighbor...but reassured us that the goodies our kids were receiving were most likely safe and untainted.

Hope you enjoyed your Halloween. Now, time to raid those candy bags.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jack-O-Lantern



When Animesh whipped out those cool balloon animals a few weeks ago, my friend Melody wrote to me, "Never underestimate the hands of a surgeon." You are absolutely right, Melody.

I bought this cool carving kit from Williams-Sonoma about 5 years ago. It has sat in our pantry all this time...I kept forgetting to use it. Yesterday we blew the dust off the top and cracked it open. This is the finished product. Animesh claims this is his first-ever pumpkin carving creation. All those surgeries he's so busy doing (and his perfectionism) sure have served him well for just this project. Way to go, honey. It's spooky-cool.

Pumpkin Patch

What a fantastic day it was to visit Love Creek Orchard yesterday. It felt like fall with the gorgeous 70 degree temps. We enjoyed showing Mimi and Papa (who had never been) the fun pumpkin patch with all the activities it has to offer. This annual outing for the last 5 years has quickly become one of our fave family adventures.














Happy Halloween Week!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Celebrity Showdown

Leave it to our neighborhood social planner to come up with yet another fun event. Last night Angelia hosted a "girls only" appetizer/dessert party at her house...but with a twist. We all had to dress up as a female celebrity--preferably one with serious issues. Everyone was pretty creative...and Angelia went all out with the decorations...complete with backstage passes for us and a red carpet to walk on!

The food was unbelievably tasty...thank goodness it was a recipe exchange so we can hopefully re-create all the yummies in our own kitchen. I wonder if everything will taste as good if I'm not among celebrities...

Britney Spears, a pregnant Nicole Richie, jailbird Paris Hilton, and a hilarious Angelina Jolie...yes those are GROOVY GIRLS she's using for all her kids!

Her body's too booty-licious---J.Lo poses with our hostess with the mostess--Gwen (Angelia) Stefani.

Three different Britney Spears...current Britney on the left, bald Britney in the middle, and school-girl Britney (me) on the right. Think "Baby Hit Me One More Time." I feel sorry for the girl and want to remember Britney when she was sweet and innocent.


Keep visiting Angelia's blog for more party photos. Way to host a spook-tacular costume party, girlfriend. Tons o' fun!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sleepless in San Antonio

Well, actually we're sleepless in Boerne, but close enough. Trevor was up all night with a sick tummy. Three times he decided we needed to be reminded of the dinner we fed him last night at T.G.I. Fridays...and WE decided that we will never, EVER look at macaroni-n-cheese the same way again.

Before Daddy left for work I made my run at 6am to the closest Valero to stock up on some Gatorade (or "alligator" according to Trevor)--lemon-lime flavor, of course, so as not to have to deal with any red stains later. When Trevor started up with some pretty substantial diarrhea, I jumped into "nurse" mode...deciding that I would make Trevor adhere to a strict "BRAT" diet...which consists of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce & Toast. Trevor, naturally, had other plans.

Have you ever tried to make a 2-year-old adhere to ANYTHING? Or a 4-year-old? My 6-year-old has become quite reasonable over the last year and a half. But, she's a girl. These boys are a whole other ball of wax. Anyway, my explanations to Trevor about why he needed to have DRY toast for breakfast ("I want cream cheese!") were met with explosions of defiance and (ear-piercing) shrieks of "NO WAY!" I mean, how was I supposed to get him to stick to this BRAT diet when his brother was eating an appetizing breakfast of greasy pancake/sausage on a stick? So, I relented. Don't call CPS on me.


Trevor doesn't understand why I'm following him around with a towel and an old toy bin I hastily grabbed early this morning when he started doing the "I'm going to throw up" gag. He repeatedly declares, "I'm all better!" At least he's stopped vomiting.


Turns out that Trevor was on to something...after I looked up the link for the BRAT diet on the internet, the newest medical advice states that children are better off sticking to their normal diet when they have diarrhea. I'm sure this is just the first thing my children will prove me wrong about--with many more to come in the future. Does Mother really know best, anyway?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Worry Wart



It was inevitable. I knew as soon as she climbed into the car this afternoon that it would happen. Priya fell asleep on the way home. I watched her eyelids become heavy...oh, so heavy...and then finally close. Exhaustion had overtaken her. When we got home I let her sleep while I unloaded the especially rambunctious boys, the groceries, and the school bags. I opened all the car doors for ventilation, and she snoozed hard in her booster seat, drooling and all, for a good 45 minutes. A friend of mine called, and while the boys ran in and out of the house, I sat in the glorious sunshine (and wind) while visiting with my friend and keeping an eye on my beautiful child. I didn't wake her, because I know how it is when you just can't keep your eyes open. I could have used a nap today, too, after the sleep I've been losing the last couple of days.

Monday we received a note from the school announcing the creation of a new kinder class. Today was the day we would be notified if our child would be moving to that new class. Tomorrow is the official "moving day." I have had a pit in my stomach since Monday...trying to rationalize with myself that if Priya were to be moved that it was meant to be, that all the teachers were as wonderful as her current teacher, that she would be able to learn in a better environment, yada, yada, yada.

It was hard enough to send my baby girl off to the big world of elementary school...hard enough to watch her grow up before my eyes and wonder if her teacher would love and embrace her like she should be loved and embraced. Her teacher did. So, why rock the boat? Why toy with this mother's sense of peace whenever her daughter passes through those school doors? Why? WHY?!

As it turned out, I never did receive that phone call today. Priya stays where she is. Instead of being relieved and moving on, I found something new to worry about. What if her 2 closest little buddies get moved to the new class tomorrow? Sigh. Does the worry ever end? As a parent, I guess not. And, provided that the worry doesn't make you attempt to control your children's lives, worry can be a positive thing. Yes, some days are better than others--less to worry about--but some degree of worry and concern is always there. The friend I spoke with this afternoon is currently worrying about her 2 middle school boys. What exactly is this fierce protection over our children that can send even the sanest, most rational parent into a tizzy so fast it makes our heads spin? I'll never know...but I wouldn't trade that feeling, or my children, for the world. So, I guess I'll settle in for the long haul...cuz it appears that this worryin' is here to stay.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthday Girl

Based on my last post, you know what a week I had had. I was downright weary...and ready for Friday since my in-laws were coming (they always entertain the kids so nicely) and Animesh was flying home from Boston. Priya's party was scheduled on Saturday at Pump It Up, so I didn't need to clean the house or do any other major preparations.

Or so I thought.

Friday afternoon I called Pump It Up to let them know how many pizzas to order. I learned that we were never put into the system, there was no record of me ever calling, and that the entire place was booked already. Come to find out, the computer "glitched" (as computers sometimes do), and in spite of the confirmation letter and credit card receipt that had been sent to us, 2 people had been given the same confirmation number. No way, no how was Priya's party happenin' at Pump It Up.

"Calm down, Jennifer," I kept repeating to myself. After the initial panic, I jumped into flexibility mode...a mode that mothers are all too familiar with...and decided to have the party at the house. Which meant I had exactly 14 hours to plan.

Meanwhile, after relaying this bad news to Priya, her response took me by surprise but then made me so proud. Yes, there was some pouting...for about a minute...but then she smiled and said, "We need to call everyone so they can come to our house! Can we get a pinata?!"

The problem was that my in-laws were still on the road, Animesh was in the air on an airplane flying home, and the boys were exhausted having not taken naps that day.

Enter Papa. Papa (my dad) saved the day and sped over to the house, bathed the kids, fed them, and put them to bed while I made a whirlwind trip to Walmart...purchasing items that would hopefully make for a fun 6th party.

And, fun it was. It was relaxing, we enjoyed the outdoors thanks to some beautiful weather, and almost all of our friends showed up to share in Priya's special day. In fact, now that it is all said and done, I'm so happy the party was at our house instead. Although I still want my free party Pump It Up has promised us.

Priya was happy as a clam at her big High School Musical bash.


Deven was feeling a little left out as Priya played with all her girlfriends during the party. After much begging on Deven's part, Priya relented and allowed Deven to blow out half of her candles. He was thrilled.


I think the party was a success thanks to the bouncy house we put up (which already we owned, thank goodness)...


...a hastily bought pinata (Dora would have to do as there were no High School Musical pinatas to be found)...


...and WAY too much pizza. I ordered almost double what we needed...some families went home with pizzas as party favors, but there's about 6 full pies in our freezer.


Each gift Priya received was so thoughtful and appreciated...


...like these hat boxes that Mimi (my mom) handcrafted for some stylin' storage. Aren't they adorable?!


We cannnot believe how quickly these last 6 years have flown by.


Priya, we hope your 6th birthday brought you as much joy as you bring into our lives. We love you to the moon and back...to infinite and beyond...forever and ever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Honesty Post



As she often does, Maile inspired me once again when she wrote her sanity post. After my day (week, month), I felt the need to be honest.

I've had a rough day or so. Okay...it's been a rough month. And, it's only half over.

Am I the only one out there who thinks that motherhood, while the most rewarding things I've done, can be the most DIFFICULT?!

As if he isn't busy enough at work, October is a busy travel month for Animesh--he left town again after having traveled the first week of the month. And lately, I've been feeling particularly exhausted and worn out. My mind is on overload. Can anyone relate? You don't have to be a mother of 3 like me or a stay-at-home mom--although I don't think many of us actually stay at home anymore. We pile so much on ourselves...sometimes because we want to and sometimes because we have to...and I can't seem to shut my mind off at the end of the day. Did I wash the clothes that are needed for school? Do the kids have clean underwear? Did I make lunches? Did we choose a show-n-tell to bring? Did I make the flu shot appointment? Do I need to call in more medicines for the dogs? Did I write the tuition check? Did I put the yellow shirt on Trevor for "yellow day?" Did I remember to put my bra on (very important...)? I used to be a big breakfast eater, and now feeding myself in the morning is the last thing I remember, if I remember at all. Nope, it's not about me anymore.

I had lunch with a wonderful friend today, and she and I were talking about how we sometimes are mistaken for "having it all together" or "never losing our temper" or "being the perfect mom." It's a lot of pressure to live up to those expectations...and, frankly, I don't think there are many of us out there who actually CAN. I certainly don't in the privacy of my own home. I guess it's not common for moms to talk about what it REALLY MEANS to be a mother. It can be hard. Really hard. But, sharing with other moms can be so refreshing. And, less lonely.

I have mentioned how thrilled I was when I got my XM radio renewed a couple months ago...and, admittedly, I have become an avid fan of Oprah and Friends on XM 156. Specifically, I love Oprah's BFF, Gayle King. She's a hoot. She's real, she's honest (a bit too honest, but I can totally relate to that), and she seems like one of those chicks you could sit and gab with for hours about anything--or nothing.

Today Gayle's guest was one of the most hilarious comediennes I have ever heard. And, surprisingly enough, she's a pastor's wife and a Christian. But, Anita Renfroe is also real and speaks from the heart (or her funny bone) about being a mom. I first heard her William Tell Mom on YouTube this past summer when someone forwarded it to me...and it has since become a world-wide sensation. I have seen it at least a dozen times, and I'm usually crying from laughing so hard by the time the song is over. I heard every single one of those lines from her song when I was growing up. And, 6 years into motherhood, I can safely admit that I have uttered (or screamed) at least half of those lines. Especially the "because I said so"---which prompted me to buy the sign to put in my kitchen.

Anyway, check Anita out when you need a "mom-pick-me-up"...I certainly needed one today when I was feeling like a broken record that was about to explode.

And, if anyone wants to join me at the Women of Faith conference Feb. 7-9, 2008, we can enjoy Anita in person. She'll be here in San Antonio! Whoo hoo!

Monday, October 15, 2007

"FUN"draiser

This weekend was the big fundraiser at Priya's school hosted by the PTO. Titled "Fair and Fun Run", it offered a little something for everyone.

As the room parent for Priya's kinder class, I was in charge of (among other things) filling the volunteer slots for our class booth. Animesh joyfully offered to work a shift which helped me out a lot. I had to rearrange his time slot so that he would set up and work the first shift so that I could attempt the 5K fun run. Mom and Dad were going to watch the kids...it was set.

Little did we know what the booth entailed. We had the "Polly Pick Pocket" booth...which requires the volunteer to wear an apron (and a feminine one at that) and ask kids to pick one of the pockets for a prize. Imagine that. Teaching kids at a school function how to pick pockets. What a great educational lesson!

So, here is my sport-of-a-husband...wearing his Polly Pick Pocket apron...just before he, in his words, accosted children and asked them to pick his pockets. After his shift Animesh mentioned that if he had been doing this on the street and not at a school function, he would have been arrested 5 minutes into it. Nothing like a man approaching children asking them if they want a piece of candy.


The fair was filled with lots of activities and games, but some of our favorites included face painting...


...tattoo art...


...colored hair spray...


...digging for treasures in the sand...


...and plenty of fun fair food such as the ever-popular cotton candy. This was Trevor's first experience with cotton candy...


...and his first-ever nachos. Of course both were a big hit.


Deven thought the scarecrow needed a little Spurs spirit with the season about to begin.


Deven could have bounced down this slide all day long...especially as full of sugar as he was.


The fun fair family.


We got to spend the fun fair day with Mimi and Papa Jim...one of Deven's fave people in the world.
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Daddy took this one while we were waiting to see what we won in the silent auction. We were TIRED!

We are guessing that the school raised enough money (at least between us and Melody's family! :) to meet their fundraising goal for the year! Animesh and I admit it...we have a weakness for silent auctions. But, admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?!

Friday, October 12, 2007

GNO

I came to recognize the "GNO" subject line in my email inbox over the last week as we planned it...it means a Girl's Night Out! Last night we visited Pasion Latin Bistro and had a blast. Melody, great choice for our first outing.

Helen, Lianne, and our fearless social planner, Angelia, say cheese.


It was cool how the Taft High School grads--Melody, Dawn, and myself-- ended up on the same side of the table. Go Raiders.


The beverage possibilities were endless...


...but in the end I decided on the Watermelon Mojito. And, I didn't regret ordering it. Both times.


The Tres Leches cake was out of this world...definitely one of the best I've had. And, I've had a lot.


Angelia's "Cinderella slippers" that showcased her trendy black pedicure.


Melody taught me how to "shoot from the hip"...to place the camera at your hip and push the button...and hopefully capture something abstract and cool. This is what happened when I tried it. Yes, I definitely captured someone cool.


This is Helen when I told her to "act natural" when I pointed the camera at her.


The camera was sitting on the table for this shot of our social planner, Angelia.


Dawn and I stayed a little later and gabbed on the patio enjoying some cooler temps and great guitar music. We would have stayed later had the gigantic bugs, crickets, and moths not decided to dive-bomb at our heads and down our shirts.

I think I speak for all of us when I say we had a great time eating, drinking, laughing, and, yes, talking about our children. Looking forward to gathering next month with mi amigos.