Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grandma Says "Meow"

We love Skype. I think it helps everyone still feel connected, even with all the miles between us now. Today we Skyped with my parents, though Grandma looked different this time. When she popped up on the screen, she was a cat! Every time she talked the cat's mouth would move. Chase thought it was hilarious and they had lots of fun playing while she tried to figure out how to get her own face back! Here's a little clip of the experience (Facebook viewers, click "View Original Post" to see it):

Yes, the cat could throw up. That was Chase's favorite part. "Make the cat get sick again!" he said over and over.

Grandma did eventually get her camera figured out, but when her real face popped up on the screen Chase said, "No! I want the cat!"

(Sorry, Mom!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun With Ice

Here's a fun video of Chase enjoying some ice water. Turn your sound up.... The laughter is contagious!

(Facebook viewers, you'll need to click "View Original Post" to see this.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: Dream Car

I almost forgot about Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesday this week, until I passed a Ford Contour on my way home from work today and remembered this totally awkward story!

I got my first car in 1998, at the age of 21. My parents very generously offered to buy one for me. I knew I wasn't going to be able to get anything fancy, but I was at odds with my parents because I wanted something cute and impractical, while they wanted to buy me something practical and butt-ugly.

In 19 years I am going to look back on this blog post and laugh, because I'm sure I will be pushing the butt-ugly car, too.

Anyway, we did a lot (I mean a LOT) of searching that summer and we just couldn't find a car we could agree on. I made it my personal mission to find my perfect car... one my parents could agree on, too. My brother and I would drive around the area in pursuit and one day we drove by this lot with my dream (well, as high as I was financially allowed to dream) car parked out front... a 1995 green Ford Contour:

The office was closed but we got out to inspect the car and the doors were open! So we got in, checked it out and I left the lot totally smitten.

I went home and gushed about the car to my parents. When I told them where I found it they were skeptical, as they had never heard of the place before. I think my dad had to work or something the next day so my mom went with me to check out the car. When we got there my mom had this, "I'm not so sure about this" look on her face. Looking back on it, I know why.

This "dealership" was a shed on a dirt lot with 3 used cars parked out front.

But my mom was a sport. She humored me, with a hint of that very cautious and very skeptical look on her face the whole time. So we walked into the "dealership" (shed) and talked to the guy about the car. He gave us the keys and told us to take it for a test drive (*insert giddy shriek here*)!!

I was bound and determined to prove to my mom that this was a trustworthy place and it was a great car. We got in, fastened our seatbelts and I started going on and on about how cute it was, while pointing out the practical perks: "Look, mom! It has a tape deck! And it's a V6, so Dad will love it!" My mom kept saying, "I don't know, honey. I'm not sure I trust this lot. How do we know what kind of shape this car is in?" I rolled my eyes (Ugh, parents!) and put the key in the ignition with a big stupid grin on my face. I turned they key, and...

Nothing.

Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap!
I pulled on the key and...

The entire ignition came out with it.

Ummmmmmmmm....

Awkward! Awkward! Awkward!
I stared at the ignition in my hand, totally speechless, then looked up at my mom... who was staring at me like, "Are you serious?!?"

Seriously, folks. There is no way to recover from that. We walked in silence back to the dealership office (er, shed). My mom was classy enough not to start laughing, while I stuck my tail between my legs and moped back inside.

Well, they did fix the car and I got to test drive it a few days later. I was still in love with it (Hey, love is blind!). My parents hemmed and hawed and cautioned me, etc., but in the end it was mine.

(I think they were just ready to be done hearing me whine about wanting a Geo while they pushed for the Buicks that they just gave up.)

I am not kidding when I say I am sure I (OK, we) spent about double what the car was worth in repairs over the next 6 years. That thing was ALWAYS in the shop and it was ALWAYS really expensive to fix.

Sorry, Mom and Dad! Love you!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Baby Blue

Tonight we went to TCBY to celebrate our last official day of summer before school starts up again this week. When we asked Chase what kind of ice cream he wanted, he said, "Blue!" So blue it was!

(Sorry for the poor picture quality.... I took these with my phone.)

P.S. This is my second post of the day. Be sure to check out the previous post if you haven't already.

Boise Trip

*sigh* This post is late. You know what that means.... I must be getting back to the "real world" of teaching! It has already consumed my life and I don't officially start up again until tomorrow. Chase and I went to Boise for about a week to visit my brother, Jeff, and his family. My parents also met us while we were up there, so it was a week full of family reunions! We got back on Tuesday and I spent the rest of the week unpacking my room at my new school. Phew! Anyway, here's a little recap of our trip.

First, family photos were in order. Here is the Grandparent/Grandkid photo (from L-R: Dad with Alex, Rhianna, Mom with Chase):

And here is the Aunt/Uncle/Cousin photo (from L-R: Jeff with Rhianna, Me with Chase, Julia with Alex):

(Sorry, Chase ruined the pictures with his balloon fascination!)

The cousins had so much fun playing together. Rhianna spent one night with us at the hotel and Chase thought that was so cool:


After Rhianna went back home to her mom's, Chase got to spend some quality time with his cousin Alex. I say "quality time" in quotes because at first Chase was not so sure about Alex. OK, that was putting it nicely. Truth is, at first he didn't like him at all. Alex kept taking his toys (the nerve!) and... are you ready for this?... touching him (gasp!). So until he learned the "bait and switch" tactic, and the fact Alex couldn't yet open doors (which meant he could hole himself up in a room with all the toys he wanted), he wasn't feeling the love for his baby cousin. But they did have some good moments, nonetheless.

Personally I'm not sure how anyone could resist this face!

Anyway, Chase was very good despite the fact his schedule was completely thrown off and he was exhausted. He was very good, I should say, until the trip home.

On the first flight: Angel. Second flight: Devil.

And I mean devil. DEMON. I was that mom on the plane... the one who does not know how to control her insane child. The one you look at and say, "Some people should not be allowed to have kids." The one that makes you thankful for your own angelic children. Let's be honest, folks, we've all done it. We've all looked at that raving lunatic child out in public and thought negatively about the parents and their obvious lack of parenting skills. I will never look that way at another mom again. That flight was the longest three hours of my life. Nothing I did helped. He wanted to kick the seat in front of him. I would stop him and he would scream bloody murder. He wanted to color, and then he didn't want to color. He wanted to throw the crayons instead. He didn't want to stay in the seat. He wanted to buckle his seatbelt but then as soon as it latched he would scream at me to take it off. At one point he was literally screaming at the top of his lungs, "DON'T TOUCH ME, MOMMY!!!!" over and over. Toward the end of the flight I took his face in my hands, tears streaming down my face, feeling completely helpless, and said, "Baby, please. Don't do this. Please.... For Mommy??"

(Yes, I know guilt trips are bad, but I was desperate. I'm human! I didn't know what else to do and I was going to lose it at any moment.)

He just looked at me, smiled, and then slapped me in the face.

It was the worst place to be because I had nowhere to go. I had no time out to put him in. I was stuck in close quarters with a lot of glaring adults. I know the kid was exhausted. And on top of that, he fought his nap that day in all the excitement of travel and he just lost control. He did finally go to sleep... 5 minutes before our wheels hit the ground (Ooooh.... That really pissed me off)!

When I got off the plane I literally handed Chase over to Brian and then broke down crying in the parking lot.

Thank goodness he is usually like this:

(He's listening to Peter Alsop on my iPod. I did try this on the plane, too, and it worked great until he pinched his finger in the headphones and burst into hysterical tears.)

Overall, we had a very nice trip. It was so great to see my brother and his family again. The last time we saw them was at their wedding (when Chase was 8 months old)! Hope to see you guys again soon! Thanks for having us!

More photos are in our Photo Album. My parents took all the photos up until they left and I'll add theirs as soon as they share them with me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: Jumper Cable Drama

It's Tuesday again, folks! Time for another installment of Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays!

I have been traveling all week so I'm going to re-tell one of my favorite stories ever, which I told about a year ago on this blog.

One summer my friend Amanda's car battery died just a few blocks away from where I worked. Hugely pregnant, she stopped into my office and asked if I knew of any guy in the office who could give her car a jump. I was in one of those proud "We don't need a man!" modes, so I said I could help her. I pulled my car up to hers and we opened the hoods. We hooked the jumper cables up to my battery just fine but her battery was so old it was corroded and we couldn't tell which was side was positive and which was negative. So what did we do? We guessed.

Never guess.

We hooked it up and a little spark flew up, followed by a tiny sizzle of smoke. Amanda was like, "Ummmm.... Christine?" I said, running to my car, "It's fine.... Just get in your car and I'll hit the gas!"

Never listen to me.

Before we knew it there was smoke EVERYWHERE. We ran out of our cars and the plastic was literally melting off the jumper cables... including the handles (so we couldn't unhook them from the batteries)! In a panic I started running around the neighborhood knocking on doors and screaming for help. Amanda totally kept her cool (that is SO Amanda... and SO not me!). Finally the smoke died down once we turned our cars off, and we were able to pry the cables off the batteries with some old rags once they cooled down. We then realized the cables had actually burned into the side of my car (that was fun to explain when I traded it in for a new one a few years later)!

*sigh* OK, fine, I'll admit it.... We needed a man.

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Totally Awkward Tuesday: Nice Shot!

It's Tuesday again, folks! Time for another installment of Tova's Totally Awkward Tuesdays.

I'm keeping with the sports theme this week. I honestly don't think there is a sport I have tried that I haven't failed at. This week's sport: Basketball.

Let me take you back to the summer around 4th grade when I was a proud member of the pink team. Let me first say that the #1 reason I am terrible at all sports involving a ball is I'm terrified of getting hit. #2 reason: I don't understand the rules.

So I decided to try basketball. In practice I was an OK dribbler and an OK free thrower, but if someone tried to pass me the ball I screamed and ran the other way. I mean, come on. I wasn't a great catch, so the odds of breaking a nail or getting hit in the face were way too high.

I spent the entire "season" just running up and down the court during games, and if it ever looked like someone was about to pass me the ball I looked away.

Sidenote: I think this is when I started developing my acting skills. I sure looked like I was involved in the game, but there was not a whole lot going on upstairs except, "Don't get hit with the ball, don't get hit with the ball."

So I managed to make it through every game without ever touching the ball. Impressive, huh? Until the last game, that is.

So there I was on the court, following the crowd back and forth as usual, when all of a sudden... the ball was in my hands.

OMG, OMG, OMG.... What do I do with it?

Remember reason #2 I suck at sports? I don't understand the rules. I honestly had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I looked up. There was a basket. I was good at free throws.... I could do this! I saw Angela, the coach's daughter and the big shot star of the team, waiving her arms frantically and shouting, "Christine! Pass it to me! Pass it to me!"

Huh! Big shot. You get enough baskets. This one is mine.

I threw the ball at the basket. It hit the rim (in those days if you hit the rim you got one point). The world went slow-motion as I jumped up and down, screaming. It was my moment! The Chariots of Fire theme song played in the background as the crowd erupted and I took my dramatic bows of thanks. The coach pulled me out of the game and I sat on the bench with ants in my pants. I looked up in the stands and my mom gave me a meek wave as I beamed.

After the game I was on cloud nine. "Mom, did you see it?!? Did you see that shot?!? I scored a point, Mom! I scored a point!"

"Yes, honey. Too bad it was for the other team."

(Thanks, Mom, for that important detail.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Elmer & Ryan Visit

Brian's dad and our nephew, Ryan, came to visit for 10 days and just left yesterday. We had a really great time, despite the fact everyone but Chase was sick at one point or another while they were here! We took Ryan to the doctor the second day they were here and it was all downhill (health-wise, anyway) from there. He was a trooper, though!

While I was in New York, Brian took them to Austin so Ryan could check out the University of Texas' football stadium:

They also did some other exploring around campus:

While they were in Austin they also checked out the infamous Congress Bridge Bats.

When I got back from New York we took the kids to the Belton Sprinkler Park, which they both enjoyed:

Ryan loved the water gun:

Chase thought it looked fun, too!

Brian and I spent the next day with Ryan and Chase at a the Lions Junction Family Water Park in Temple, but unfortunately I didn't bring my camera. We had races down the water slide. Here are the results of our numerous races:

Brian vs. Ryan = Brian wins every time.
Christine vs. Ryan = Ryan wins every time.

I guess that makes me the big loser. Oh, well. It was still fun. I hadn't been on a big water slide in a long time!

We ended the visit with an overnight trip to Dallas. We visited the JFK Museum and saw where he was assassinated. Here is a photo taken in front of the book depository. The car driving by is right about where Kennedy was shot.

We also went to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. Here is proud Grandpa with his two grandkids in the locker room:

Needless to say, we pooped the kids (OK, and ourselves) out!

More photos are in our Photo Album if you're interested. I don't have the photos from Ryan's camera yet, but I'll add them as soon as I get them.

Thanks for visiting, Elmer and Ryan!