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Embarrassing Parents

21 Sep

Do you remember when you were little and you thought your parents were great, and then all of a sudden all of that changed and you were totally embarrassed of them?  For me, it wasn’t gradual at all, and there wasn’t anything specific that embarrassed me about them, it was EVERYTHING. 

For instance, growing up in Texas and having parents that were democrats.  I didn’t know the specifics about politics, but I knew that all of my friend’s parents had Bush/Dukakis signs, and my parents were proudly displaying Clinton/Gore signs.  I cringed every time anyone came over and I just wished that my parents didn’t feel the need to be so public about their voting decisions.  Now, I can’t believe there was ever a point in my life that I was embarrassed that I had progressive parents.

Still another thing was the fact that my parents chose to listen to records, instead of moving along with the times and getting a CD player.  I could not understand why everyone around us was moving on to the latest in music, and we were still stuck in the 70’s with vinyl records.  But, without fail, my parents would turn on their record player and I would secretly jam out to some Lionel Richie in the corner. 

And, several years after my parents got married, they decided to go into the Peace Corps together in Guatemala.  During this time they got pregnant with my sister, and started a little family over there before returning a couple of years later.  When they came back, they definitely brought the Guatemalan culture back with them.  We had so many dishes, baskets and other Guatemalan paraphernalia adorning our home.  Not only that, we went to Mexico nearly every week to stock up on Mexican sodas and sparkling water.  When my friends would come over, I was horrified that I had to give them a Mexican coke in a bottle, or worse, poured out into a Guatemalan cup.  All my friends had normal sodas in a can at their house. 

And, my dad was insistent on making every meal from scratch.  No McDonalds or Pizza Hut with him.  But, I would cringe when my friends came over and my dad was slaving away in the kitchen making a totally foreign meal, when my friends probably would rather just order a pizza. 

Thankfully, I now realize just how ridiculous I was being.  Ironically, I feel like a lot of the qualities that my parents had, I now possess as an adult.  And, I feel so lucky that I had cultured parents that introduced us to a lot more than just what was “normal.”  I’m happy that I was able to live such a diverse life when I grew up in a small, Texas town.   I imagine that when Sean and I have kids, they’ll think I’m a huge embarrassment too.  In fact, I think I’ve already started embarrassing one of my nieces, and I’m not even her mom! 

Anyone else feel this way?

Funny Stuff from Faryn

15 Sep

So, my brother isn’t the only one in my family that’s hilarious.  My three-year-old niece, Faryn is also pretty damn funny.  Let’s recap some of the funny stuff she’s done lately shall we?  But before we start, here she is:

Up first is what I can only describe as her haircutting incident.  I know, it’s not all that uncommon for a child to cut their own hair.  That’s true.  But it’s what they do with their hair that makes it interesting.  Faryn decided to cut her hair and create hairy armpits with the parts she cut off.  How did she do this? Well, she used her mom’s (my sister) face cream as a glue to stick the hair she cut to her armpits.  Did you hear me? A 3-year-old with hairy armpits!

Then, we’re trying really hard to break the pacifier habit.  To do that, my sister told her that she needs to put all her pacifiers under her pillow at night so the pacifier fairy can come and take them away.  In their place, the fairy will leave a great present.  So, each night Faryn leaves one or two of the pacifiers she doesn’t like under her pillow and hopes that the fairy will come and be tricked by the one or two that are there.  Recently, she mentioned to my sister that although she’d been leaving the pacifiers under there, the fairy hasn’t come yet.  She was reminded of the need to put all of them under there, not just the ones she dislikes. 

And, her birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I asked her what she wants her birthday cake to look like.  She said that she wants a Belle cake (from Beauty and the Beast) with tiny Beast candles.  Hey, at least she knows what she wants.  The problem is that it doesn’t seem many other little girls want the Beast incorporated on their cake in any way, because we can’t seem to find them.  Any suggestions?

And lastly, we grew up in the lovely town of McAllen, Texas.  Most of you have probably never heard of it.  It’s a border town about 10 minutes from Mexico.  We don’t often talk too fondly of the town, but I wouldn’t say that we talk about it often.  Well, recently my sister was washing some clothes, and Faryn suggested that she include a particular towel because it “stunk like McAllen.”  I can guarantee that we’ve never said that.  It was all her.  I love that girl.

Underwater Camera

1 Sep

I’ve been trying to convince Sean to get us a DSLR.  It hasn’t happened yet.  So then I changed my strategy.  See, his dad is really great at photography and has several cameras, so now I suggested to Sean that he ask his dad to let us borrow a camera.  I mean, he’s got several, he can’t be using all of them, right?  Sean’s hesistant to ask though because he’s terrified I’m going to break it.  I am clumsy, but I can also appreciate just how much cameras cost, so let’s hope I’d be a little more careful than that. 

Anyway, in an effort to further convince him, I showed him some pictures from Jenna of That Wife’s pool party that I went to a couple of weeks ago with my nieces and some other wonderful Texas bees.  Granted, she and my niece took the bulk of the pictures with the both the underwater camera and regular camera, but I did take a couple and they turned out pretty good! 

(I took this one!!)

(Natalie, my 6-year-old niece, took this one)

(and this one!)

(and this one!  The rest are all Jenna from here on…)

I love looking at these pictures.  I had such a great time that day, and I know my nieces did too.  Speaking of breaking cameras, Jenna was so wonderful and just let Natalie play with the underwater camera the entire time we were there.  I was TERRIFIED she was going to drop it, ram it into the wall, or accidentally open the case and expose the camera to water.  She did none of these things, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t following her around the pool with my hands stretched out ready to catch it in case it happened. 

Anyway, the point of this post was to say I need a camera.  Hopefully Sean will come around.  Maybe he’s going to surprise me at Christmas!  A girl can dream…

*To see more pictures from the weekend, and find out who else was there, head over to That Wife’s post!

Kids and Animals

14 Jul

So, I talked about my nieces visit a couple of weeks ago and mentioned our baking project, but I didn’t talk about the rest of the weekend yet.  Well, part of what they love about visiting Austin are all the animals they can encounter just in my neighborhood.  And no, I don’t mean our dogs.  We live in Northwest Hills Austin and there are a lot of deer and other random critters around.  While they were here, all they cared about was seeing a deer.  Luckily, we did lots better than that. 

We found a frog (more likely a toad) hanging out in our backyard:

One of my nieces kept asking me to pick it up.  But the thing was HUGE!  But, it reminds me of a story from when I was little.  We had a lot of toads in our yard when I was growing up.  One day my sister and I wanted to count just how many there were, but toads all look-alike unless they are different sizes.  So, we came up with a very scientific method of marking them with our washable crayola markers each time we caught one (though she was scared to touch them so it was usually me).  Unfortunately the same stupid toad kept jumping back into our grasp, so we counted a total of 2 toads the entire time. 

Ok, but back to the animals.  We also found a turtle:

We had to catch him just for a bit because I mean, he was so cute!

They really wanted to take him back to Dallas, but I told them that he was an Austin turtle and needed to stay here.  So we released him, and Natalie (my niece) made sure that we found the perfect spot. 

But, up to that point we hadn’t seen a deer yet.  Well, as we were playing with play-doh in the living room and finishing up breakfast, a couple of them came into our front yard.  I didn’t get a picture of the deer, but I got a picture of everyone’s reaction:

So glad you came Natalie and Faryn! Can’t wait to see you again. :)

Cloth Diapers

23 Jun

So, we’re not at the baby stage yet, nor are we trying at this point, but several people I know are, and a lot of the blogs I read now are about newlyweds, which oftentimes segues into motherhood.   And, let’s be honest, I planned the hell out of my wedding, so pregnancy, parenting and all that goes along with that, will probably follow on that same path.

My latest obsession?  Cloth diapers.  Never in a million years would I think I would be on the cloth diaper train, but I totally am.  Lest you think I’ve gone crazy and will be using the weird cloth diapers from the past, check out what they look like now:

Source

Cute, right?  But I’m not done yet, here’s some more from gDiapers:

 

And still more from Thirsties:

Love them!  I’ve read a lot about them, and the washing, cleaning, and changing process is definitely not as labor intensive as I originally thought.  Plus, you can reuse them for multiple children, they are better for the environment and they save you lots of money in the end.  And, you can register for them so people can help you stock up. 

I mentioned them to Sean to see what he thought about using them, and he didn’t really have an opinion either way.  I was surprised, I assumed he would not be interested in them, but once I mentioned the saving money part, I think he got a little more interested.

Baking with Kids

16 Jun

So,  this past weekend my two nieces from Dallas came to visit us.  We met my sister halfway between Austin and Dallas to pick the girls up, and then drove back to Austin to start our weekend.  One activity that I was really looking forward to was baking with the girls. 

I love Bakerella and came across a recipe she made with her niece.  I thought it looked like a lot of fun, and more importantly easy, so I thought we should try it.  So what was this recipe?  Pudding cups!  It’s such a neat idea. 

The goal is to melt chocolate, and make “bowls” out of balloons by dipping the balloons into the melted chocolate.  You give it some time to dry and then pop the balloon leaving behind your neatly formed bowl. 

Well, we heated up the chocolate, waited about 3 minutes for it to cool down and started dipping our balloons in the chocolate.  At this point we incurred a little problem.  Apparently waiting 3 minutes for the chocolate to cool down is not enough time.  The balloon popped in my face spraying chocolate all over me, the kitchen and the kids.  No worries, I’m a calm aunt, I decided to pour the chocolate into a new bowl so that it wouldn’t retain the heat from the microwave, and got right to dipping again.  Um…yeah, popped in my face again.  More chocolate explosion.  So out came the ice cubes, and I surrounded the bowl with ice to cool the chocolate, and now the bowl too as it had taken on some of the heat from the chocolate (apparently waiting for the chocolate to cool on its own was not an option).    Well, the ice sorta worked.  The balloon didn’t pop right away, but the longer I held it in, I was just asking for it to happen a third time, and so it did.  Popped again.  GRRR… but I wasn’t going to give up.  I decided now that instead of dipping I was just going to take a spoon and lightly coat the balloon with chocolate to form the bowl.  No, this wasn’t as fun as dipping, and it didn’t really allow my nieces to help, but I was tired of cleaning up chocolate. 

Here’s an example of what the process should have looked like courtesy of Bakerella:

 

Did you see that it was a child actually doing it, and she still did it better than me?  But you know what, our finished product looked awesome!  We decided that we were going to do something a little different from Bakerella (other than the failure that was the dipping process).  We decided to add gummy worms and Oreo “dirt” to make them a little more exciting.  Also, the pudding recipe they used involved peanut butter and one of my nieces is allergic to that, so we went the instant pudding route.  Probably not as yummy, but it was mostly about the presentation anyway. 

Here was our final product:

Little girl hands couldn’t leave the pudding cups alone:

Yum!

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