girls gone wild. . .

So maybe this isn’t your typical Spring Break, but for a 27-year-old accompanied with her 4-year-old and a 2-year-old daughters. . .and a little self respect about showing body parts to everyone, maybe this is the average Spring Break.  We opted for a warmer climate.  However, east Texas was experiencing some cold weather too and the rain followed us for about four hours.  I am glad to say that Ellie’s fear of rain while she’s riding in the truck is no longer a problem otherwise I wouldn’t be able to type this email because reaching back and holding her hand like I’ve done on so many car rides would have hurt my shoulder!

We had a blast at Jackaroo and Lukachew’s house but were stuck inside all weekend.  We didn’t make it to the zoo because of the rain and possibly the Spring Break crowds wouldn’t have helped the situation, but we did ride on a train followed by a visit to The Purple Cow for ice cream.  I’m pretty sure once I left the 806 area code, I left all my dieting and will power and didn’t quit eating until. . .well, I let you know when I’ve finally sat down and had a talk with my stomach.

I’ve discovered that traveling with children and making good time should not be put in the same sentence.  The more you push to get somewhere, the more obstacles line up in front of you.  Leaving Jess’ on Monday, we stopped by the mall to play at the indoor playground.  Apparently I didn’t get the memo that everyone would be taking their kids to the mall on the first day of Spring Break.  Or at least all the Mama’s, the baby Daddy and her two closest friends that wouldn’t quit jumping off the play equipment designed for toddlers.  Seriously.  The girls still had a blast but you could tell it was a little too much for the girls.  I said, “Ten more minutes,” and Emma responded with, “Can you make it five?”  Ellie didn’t even make it out of the mall parking lot before she crashed for her afternoon nap and we were on our way to G-G’s house.

G-G had her hands full with one family member visiting after the other and a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old didn’t slow down my 83-year-old Grandma.  She took the girls for show and tell at the coffee shop. . .aka the Dairy Queen.  Grandma spent the night before calling all her friends to make sure they would be at the coffee shop in the morning because “her granddaughter Stephanie, you know the one that said her tongue was out of control when her Braum’s ice cream was melting and Papa couldn’t get the car door unlocked fast enough” was in town.  And then the laughter of women recalling every funny thing I had ever said or done back as a child was remembered.  Different colored socks, my hatred of squash sandwiches, vending machine sticky toys being thrown on the ceiling, Papa painting around the sticky toy stain because of the fond memory of Ole’ Steph, etc.  Ahhh the good ole days.

The girls were sad to leave G-G’s house and Ellie cried when we drove away.  Then we had to turn around and give G-G’s lottery ticket I left in the car and the girls got to scream bye one last time.  On the road at 9:15 a.m. with a stop at the Grapevine Mills Mall to go to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe for Emma’s birthday.  This is where I gripe about technology and our constant need for such luxuries. . .and possibly my inability to read directions or understand a GPS. 

Our TomTom (also referred to as “Billy Bob” because we really are rednecks and renamed our GPS) managed to get me to Grapevine but then had me exiting off the highway on to the access road and then getting back on the highway and going south when I wanted and needed to go north.  If you can imagine a conversation between my husband 350 miles away from me via cellphone and me in Podunkville, Texas with “Billy Bob” not running on all cylinders “speaking loudly and angrily” about the newest technology that is supposedly accurate.  Dustin says what anybody would say in his position, “Steph, calm down, what do you want me to do?  I can’t do anything.  Just pull into a gas station and find out where you are?”  Does he not know that you don’t pull over when there is a sleeping child in the car. . .a sleeping child that is not making noise because she is SLEEPING.  Ellie has this keen sense that when you park your car and turn it off, she instantly wakes up.  I said what any woman would say (or maybe just what I would say), “I am not pulling over in the middle of no where to ask a complete stranger where I am.  I’ll just keep driving until I find something familiar.”  Now that I think of it, isn’t that what a guy would say???

Anywho, we shortly found Decatur because on the right side of the road was the gas station Dustin throw up at on the way home from Galveston six years ago.  And then a mile ahead on the other side of the highway is where Emma had to stand in the corner of a closed down gas station (with me standing right there too, I’m not a bad Mom) on the way to Jess’ for our San Antonio vacation three years ago.  Who needs directions when you have memories?  Dustin was on the phone with me and sadly because of these memories, he too knew exactly where I was.

The part about getting somewhere quick and having offspring with you made the final part of our Spring Break trip last from 9:15 a.m. to 6:55 p.m.  Besides the malfunction of “Billy Bob,” the trip was alot of fun and didn’t seem like it took that long.  Granted when you’re getting out of the car every few hours to eat, drink, pee, repeat. . .

Emma’s favorite part on the trip home was a tie between the Rainforest Cafe people singing Happy Birthday to her and later that afternoon peeing on the side of the road.  I know, it takes a lot to please my little girl.

Ellie’s favorite part was singing “I Got Spots” from the nine hours of Blue’s Clues DVD entitled Blue’s Got a Baby Brother I listened to.  Did I mention nine hours?  There were a lot of other options, but the girls opted for Blue’s Clues and Camp Rock. . .I know, I know everyone’s jotting down when the next road trip is so you can come with us.  Enjoy the pictures!


A smile and a little bit of Gatorade to start out the six hour trip to Aunt Jessie’s house. . .life is good.


What a great way to start out the trip!


I think this was my sixth or seventh attempt at a good picture.  And then I kept looking at my eye liner and was rethinking my make-up routine. . .ohhh the wonders of being a woman. . .


The kiddos enjoying a little Rockband.  Even toddlers know how to rock!!  Seriously, being my offspring was there any doubt?


Band Bio:  Ellie “You Want A Piece Of This??” the drummer for the Simow band likes walking beside the stroller with her teddy and binkie, Sprite in a cup with a straw and Schlotzsky’s Wisconsin Cheese Soup.  Turn offs include being told no, not getting to buckle her own seat belt and having to wear shoes (Papa do you remember our past theatrical performances known as the Gibnks?).


Band Bio:  Emma “I’ll Take That As A Personal Challenge” lead singer of Simow enjoys hot cocoa with pink marshmallows, setting the table for dinner and hairdillys (the more the better).  Her dislikes are sourcream, sweet pickles and taking a nap on Sundays.


Jackaroo, Emmernoodle, Ellie Bellie and Lukachew anxiously awaiting the train. . .a possible some better nicknames from their mothers. . .


Emma on the train. . .she takes the best pictures.


Luke and Jess


Ellie was like a little bird and I was tempted to act as though I was regurgitating the popcorn like the Mama bird would do, but then again I didn’t think the people behind me would understand my humor.


Can you tell by Ellie’s cheeks it was a little cold and windy?


Jack and silly Emma


The older kids dressing up the youngest. . .boy do I remember how cruel older cousins can be.  Yah, I’m talking to you. . .there’s probably about seven of you I could name. . .it’s tough being the baby.


The mall had little tables and chairs for the kids, so I got to eat lunch by myself while the girls dined together on Sonic and “Daddy Chicken” aka Chick-fil-A.  Their Daddy always get Chick-fil-A if we’re ever out at the mall, so they call it Daddy Chicken.


Ellie looks a little too at home behind bars.  She’s got that, “Dear God, I promise not to do this again if you get me out of here” look.


This is a side effect to eating Fun Dip.  Her teeth were a little green too.


Emma’s favorite thing to do at G-G’s house. . .the dishes.  G-G lets her help out with drying the dishes as well as picking up leaves in the back yard.  Someone should inform G-G of child labor laws. . .just a thought.


Mama:  “Where’s Ellie?  Peek-a-boo!  Where’s Ellie?”

Ellie:  “Go away.”


Grandma had everyone over for a fish fry since I was in town.  The irony of this, I don’t eat fish or fried food.  Now that I think of it, ever since I started bringing the girls down to Grandma’s house, we’ve always had a fish fry.  As stated above, I had left my area code a few days before, so fried foods were now part of my daily diet.  This is my cousin’s Danny “Cousin Steve’s” boys Braxton and Grayson.  The little cousins were finding acorns for the squirrels. . .and then finding a bird bath to throw the acorns in.


Ellie found a bike that looked kind of like hers at home.  She hopped in the back and then Braxton got in the front.  Can you tell who didn’t get a seat?


Emma, I’m not sure what Ellie is doing and Braxton


Alas, Princess Emma got a turn on the bicycle and all the world is right again.


“Mama, I holdin’ baby!!!”


Emma holding her cousin Grayson and Grayson thinking, “Who are these people?”


Breakfast at G-G’s house:  scrambled eggs, buttered toast and bacon.


I hope they don’t get used to this.


Every summer I spent at Grandma and Papa’s house, I always went to the toy store and got paints (usually neon and the carpet staining kind).  This tradition was carried on to the next generation.


The girls working on their sun catchers.


A dedicated Ellie perfects her technique of mixing every color and getting a portion of that paint to the object she is in fact painting.  Ellie’s motto:  “Who says a gold fish has to be gold?”


Concentration keeps Emma’s steady hand from painting outside the line and keeping the bold colors from mixing together.  Emma’s motto:  “ELLIE!!!  QUIT MIXING THE COLORS!!!”


See, Mama can find a corner anywhere. . .even at G-G’s house.


Ellie left off where she did the last time she was at G-G’s house.  Wherever G-G was, Ellie was right behind her, or underneath her.


The girls climbed up in G-G’s bed after dinner to watch Benji.  It was on one of those black rectangular devices that you put in a machine and have to manually push a button to fast forward and reverse to your desired spot in the movie. . .I think it was called a VCR?  I know, the girls were confused too.


G-G and Emma right before we left and right after I told G-G to turn off the heater while I loading up the Tahoe.  I think my exact words were “I’m burning up old woman, turn off that heater!!!”  Maybe not those exact words, but she did turn it down to 78 degrees.


Ellie, G-G and Emma.  G-G had a few new bruises courtesy of you guessed it my little bull in a china closet, Ellie.  Ellie wanted to climb up in G-G’s lap all by herself so I can only imagine what that did to G-G and her pace maker!


Hey, I was there!  I was in three pictures out of 143 pictures of our Spring Break.


Excellent product placement yet again.  Emma at the Rainforest Cafe for her birthday lunch.


This was Ellie’s “This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, but that bobcat looking at me just made me poop my pants” face.


We were right next to a giant tree that had a giant butterfly about the size of Ellie.  I don’t know why a 2-year-old would be a little freaked out by the realistic jungle animals?!?


This is the said bobcat that kept moving its head and looking at Ellie.  Every 10 minutes all the animals would go nuts and start growling and moving around and I swear Ellie did a little excited scream and then looked at the bobcat to make sure he hadn’t made it any closer to our table.


Ellie still staring at the bobcat.  This cracked me up!  Emma called her Daddy and told him, “There’s monkeys and elephants, and lions and fish and disco balls and butterflies.”  Disco balls?  There was a giant rotating world in the middle of the restaurant and Emma thought it was a disco ball.  How she knows what a disco ball is still puzzles me a little?!? 


Emma the monkey eating her banana.


Yep, I’m 5-years-old.


Happy, slurp, Birth, slurp, day, slurp, Em, slurp, ma, slurp, lick. 


In theory this is really cool. . .until you put an adult size rear on top of those really cool bar stools and then your adult size rear is in fact the same size if not larger than the animal you are sitting on.  Cute picture of the girls though!


Ellie, Emma and the overpriced recognizable frog “CHI-CHI.”  I was the parent telling the girls before we went into the restaurant, “You can look at the stuff, but we’re not buying anything.”  And my awesome girls didn’t throw any fits like some of the other kids did.  I love my well behaved kids!


Lizard want a flower?  I’m pretty sure Emma wants to work at the Rainforest Cafe when she grows up!


Ellie’s feeding her elephant balloon animal to the lizard and Emma kept trying to touch the lizard’s tongue with hers.


Ellie and her “Ellie”phant.


My Ellie.


My little monkey Emma


Enjoying a little play time at the rest stop on the way home.


One last slide before we return to the real world.  No more playing all day, watching movies whenever or demands of drinks and foods whenever. . .wait a second, that sounds like a typical Monday thru Sunday if you ask me?


Birthday O Rama. . .


So I gave Emma choices and this is what she chose for her Birthday Girl outfit. . .as Nana says, “Emma marches to the beat of a different drum.”  This is me 22 years ago. . .


Powdered donuts mixed with 22 preschoolers, I’m sure Emma’s teachers were thrilled with me today!


Ellie’s shirt says, “It’s my Sister’s Birthday!!”  Seriously, I have some cute kids!


Tinkerbell graced us with her presence this afternoon.  Tinkerbell almost broke her arm as she was showing me how she could fly off the couches.


Ellie’s thinking, “I’ve been waiting on this damn cake all afternoon, can we finally eat it???”  I wonder if other parents that do their children’s commentary cuss for their children?


Emma whispered to Keeley, “You need to tell me Happy Birthday.”  Tomorrow is going to be such a disappointment when no one tells her Happy Birthday. . .


Our surprise from five years ago just keeps surprising us everyday.  Emma turned 5-years-old this morning at 12:20 a.m. to which I quietly went into her room, climbed up her bunk bed and sang “Happy Birthday” to her.  Why was I up at 12:20 a.m. you ask?  I’m usually not in bed til 2 o’clock in the morning anyway and what better way to spend my time than singing to My Angel (okay, singing only happens twice a year, once per child).

“My Angel” are one of the many nicknames for Emma.  Along with “Noodle Bug,” “Emmernoodle,” “Emma Laverne (no her middle name is not Laverne, it’s Sage),” Daddy’s choice of “Sugar Bear” and Ellie’s favorite “NO EMMMMMAA!” usually yelled rather loudly.  All of these names are still okay to call Emma even though she is now 5-years-old. 

This morning Emma took the opportunity to let Mama know that not only was she 5-years-old and she felt herself growing last night, but that we’re not going to rock on the couch before bedtime anymore.  Reading her story is okay, but she’s too big for rocking.  Okay, I won’t lie, that hurt a little.  Then the burning from my leaving the hair straightener on my hair too long hurt my scalp and like all things that pain too shall pass.  Emma’s five now and calling the shots.  I don’t remember that chapter in the parenting books I read before she was born?!?

I’ll recap the day in hopefully a short (couple of ) paragraph.  Emma’s “Birthday O Rama” began with three bites of applesauce for breakfast because the thought of the peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich that awaited her for lunch was just too much for her to have an appetite.  Ellie ran up to Emma first thing and said so sweetly, “Happy Birday Eeema!”  We worked on this last night which meant Ellie had to run out of her room before I tucked her into bed to practice her one line on the Birthday Girl herself.

The phone didn’t stop ringing with birthday wishes for the Emma which really made her day getting to talk on the phone so much.  We continued the tradition of watching the birth of Emma DVD like we’ve done every year.  Let me explain there is no crowning, no pushing or “I see the head” in this DVD.  More of the things that were going on in the nursery of the hospital while I was sleeping it off in the recovery room. 

Then the beloved PB&J was moments away.  Ellie would also be partaking in the PB&J for the first time.  Ellie started with, “Tis good Mama,” which was quickly followed with, “I no like tis.”  I think it’s a texture issue which I can name one person whom she gets this lovely food trait from.  I’m just going to mention the  fruit in yogurt or tapioca pudding or food touching each other and I’ll bet you know who you are (hint #2:  I sleep with you. . .and yes that does narrow it down. . .smart ass).

Last night, Emma changed her mind from Donut Stop donuts to powdered donuts for her class today.  So approximately 80 powdered donuts and a gallon of milk was devoured by 22 preschoolers and 3 teachers to continue the “Birthday O Rama.”  By the time Emma got home from school, she had a few more phone calls to return and then played house with Ellie.  She and Ellie split a Coke and Ellie got her big girl panties out of her drawer and decided to give potty training a try.  So a scared Mama watched as Ellie sucked down her half of the drink and prayed that the really adorable blue striped panties wouldn’t get peed on along with making a huge puddle in the floor.  Every 10 minutes and then every few seconds Ellie choose to de-robe (take off panties), climb up to the potty, push and then robe again (put cute panties on again).  This process lasted about 45 minutes until Ellie started crying because she scraped her foot and I knew my couch would never smell the same if she lost control of her bladder.

On to banana pancakes and an ice cream cake.  Emma’s favorite food would probably be banana pancakes (next to PB&J of course), so she and Ellie had that for her birthday dinner.  Her best friend from preschool stopped by to give Emma a birthday present which. . .drumroll please. . .a burned CD of. . .oh my gosh. . .Taylor Swift.  A little screaming was involved and Emma holding her hands over her mouth and this is what the next 13 years are going to be like.  Imagine Emma, Keeley and Ellie (yes even Ellie knows the words to Love Story) singing along with Taylor Swift.  Dustin and all the girls Emma, Ellie, me, Keeley and (Keeley’s Mama) Jennifer had the makeshift ice cream cake I made this afternoon. 

Emma’s last request for the finale of “Birthday O Rama” was to watch the sun set.  We’ve watched it on our way home from town before and Emma remembered this yesterday as we were driving over to Papaw and Meme’s house.  Out of the blue she said, “Ohh we just missed it Mama.”  And started telling me about watching the sun set this past summer.  We drove a couple streets over, but there was a huge cloud in the way and we’re going to try for tomorrow night.  What a night!  What a day!

My Angel is 5-years-old and so loving and silly that it just breaks my heart to see her grow up.  I’ll ask her sometimes as I kiss her goodnight, “Will you always be Mama’s Angel?”  And she always replies with yes and gives me a goofy grin followed with a giggle like that was the silliest thing Mama ever said.  Like there’s no way she’s ever not going to feel this way about Mama and can’t imagine a time when Mama won’t be the coolest person she knows. . .yah, my time is coming that Emma will call me Mom and not want to kiss me goodbye in front of her friends, but I’m going to treasure these moments and not look too far ahead to the future.  I’m glad I’ve been there everyday and it was a little strange for me to send her off to school with donuts and milk to celebrate part of her birthday without me.  I guess this is the start of Emma growing up.  But she did inform me that she wasn’t going to let ME move out until she was 21.  She didn’t want me to be lonely without her.  My Angel, so thoughtful and considerate. . .Happy Birthday Emma Laverne!!!  We love you so much!!


A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~Author Unknown

What the daughter does, the mother did.  ~Jewish Proverb

Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter’s mouth.  ~Victoria Secunda

early birthday present. . .

So the highlight of the past week was obviously Emma’s bravery as she placed her ears in the hands of not one but two accessory store employees when she got her ears pierced.  She was a brave little girl, sorry, big girl Thursday afternoon.  I told the girl piercing Emma’s ears, “Please make me feel better and tell me this isn’t your first time to pierce someone’s ears.”  She said she knew what she was doing and I later told Dustin that she seemed so knowledgeable that I asked her to babysit our children the following night so we could go out.  He thought I was just so funny.

Emma just stared at me the whole time and when it was over she was still staring at me with those big puppy dog eyes.  And then I patted her on the leg and told her what a big girl she was and that if she wanted to cry it would be okay.  And then those big puppy dog eyes formed huge alligator tears and Emma cried.

The crying lasted about three and half minutes.  Ellie kept saying, “I pierce my ears,” which she kept pointing to her ear cartilage.  She said this over and over during the process of Emma’s ear piercing experience.  But when she saw Sissy crying, Ellie let go of her ear and laid back in her stroller and chewed on her binkie and held Teddy a little tighter.  I still haven’t heard her say she wants her ears pierced and it’s now Monday night. 

Emma had a surge of energy much like her Mama and Papa get when public speaking is involved.  Emma’s Daddy does not feel the same way nor enjoy  public speaking as her Mama and Papa do. . .and then we all know how much of a “social butterfly” Emma’s Nana is (I’m going to get a call about this tomorrow from Emma’s Nana)!  I think the shock left Emma and a new found rush came over her.  She’s was bouncing off the walls and wanting to show everyone her earrings.  She asked if she could tell anybody that was within shouting distance about getting her ears pierced.  I told her she could tell the shoe store lady and Emma proceeded to explain what they did to her ears and how she can’t take them out for six weeks and her Mama has to clean them three times a day and turn them and no one can touch them. . .it was quite a lengthy conversation but the way Emma started out the conversation with anybody she told was “I just got my first ears pierced right now.  I just did it like five minutes ago, see!!  And I didn’t even cry until they were done.”  She was the cutest girl I had ever seen.

Today ear piercing, tomorrow a tattoo. . .I’m kidding, I’m kidding. . .I’ll probably be getting a phone call from not only Emma’s Nana, but Emma’s Meme as well!


Getting our hair pulled back, this is still a really cool idea. . .


Somewhat of a forced smile.  Before I even walked up to the counter to find out of someone pierced ears, Emma was already sitting in the chair waiting to get her ears done.


“Ohhh that’s neat. . .is that a needle??”  We actually had a talk about what they did and I would pinch her ear to let her know what it “sort of” felt like.  I didn’t want to lie and say, “this won’t hurt a bit.”  I wanted her to know that this will hurt, but not for very long.


“I am so EXCITED!!!!  I have been wanting my ears pierced for so long!!!  At least two months that I can remember!!!!!  I”m so excited!!!!!!”


This would be the deer in headlights also the big puppy dog eyes while the knowledgeable Christine and Marcella were counting to three.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMMA!!  Yah, I know it’s a little fuzzy, but I’m sure you can get the idea of what’s going on.  This was also right before she found a mirror and was in awe of her beautiful earrings.


This is Friday morning right after she woke up.  The funny part about this was right before I took this picture Emma said, “Hang on Mama,” and she licked both of her hands and smoothed down her hair.


Big girl Emma with her new diamond earrings.


Picture no. 1403 of Emma and her new earrings.


Emma after school.  She dressed up so she could show all of her friends at school her new earrings.  Her teachers let her stand up in front of the class as soon as they walked in and let her show everyone.


I know you can’t see the earrings in this shot, but I thought it was a really cute one of Emma. . .even with the battle wound on her nose from the bounce house.


Okay, last picture of Emma’s new earrings I promise.  Happy early Birthday my soon-to-be 5-year-old. . .where has the time gone?


there’s something in that coffee. . .

I’ll have to admit up until a few months ago, I did not believe in Starbucks.  There was something somewhat asinine, birdbrained, daft, dumb, fatuous or more or less idiotic (I love about paying $4.00 for a single cup of coffee. . .but alas I have seen the error in my ways.  Or I got Starbucks giftcards for Christmas and I don’t technically have to pay for the coffee or grande chai tea latte no water with whip cream. 

I have also become one of those moms that I didn’t want to be because I have introduced Starbucks to my children, my 2-year-old and 4-year-old to be exact.  Maybe it’s because it’s $1.00 or that it comes in a cute miniature version of my drink or maybe it’s because Starbucks calls it “hot cocoa” rather than “hot chocolate.”  I don’t know, but my girls ask for it when it’s cold outside and we’re going into town. 

So hopefully the CEO of Starbucks has a few moments and decides to google “moms that feed their children Starbucks” and finds my blog and sends me unlimited giftcards for his coffee.  Here’s hopin’!!



Seriously, this picture is like the best picture ever of Ellie Bellie and she’s holding a Starbucks coffee cup.  Now that my friends is product placement at its finest.


Emma’s drinking her pirate cocoa from “Arrrbucks.”  And apparently Mama needs to redo Emma’s fingernail polish as well.