Immature Parents

There are times when I believe I am way too immature to be a parent.

This afternoon was one of those.

I picked up my 6th grader from school today and asked him how is day went.

He mumbled a few words until suddenly remembering something at which point he became very animated.

“Mom, there’s this 2 week away band camp that I can go to this summer and I think it would be lots of fun. It’s only $750 and we get to be in a band, work on our own instrument, there’s a dance every night, but we can pass on going to that, and you sleep in the college dorms.”


“Oh and Mom, at band camp there’s a rock wall and a pool and basketball courts.”

At band camp.

Am I the only one who’s mind went directly to Alyson Hannigan and her, “This one time, at band camp?”

Please tell me I’m not.

And after watching that clip just now I can assure you there will be absolutely no band camp this summer.

Or any other summer.

Thankfully we already have a vacation scheduled right in the middle of band camp so the idea of going was put to rest pretty quickly.

Now if I can only serve our apple pie dessert with a straight face.

(Told you, immature. And no we weren’t really having pie).


The Rabbits, It’s Always the Rabbits – Part 4

Read here for The Rabbits – part 1, part 2, part 3

I know what you are thinking…Again with the rabbits?

Yes, the rabbits but this time it’s different.

Unbelievably, I just bought some rabbits.

I know.

Along with the rabbits I also purchased some ducks, geese, chickens, and honeybees.

You can close your mouth now.

Thankfully I purchased these animals from the comfort of my home.

And even more thankfully, I will never ever see any of these animals in my backyard or, even better, dead on my dining room floor.

Instead of angel Christmas gifts this year, my kids, influenced greatly by my 8 year old, decided they want to buy gifts through Heifer International.


“Heifer International works with community groups in third world countries and provides them with animals which help families help themselves. They train beneficiaries in animal well-being, agroecology, water quality, gender equity, and other topics. The training enables them to care for livestock, grow crops sustainably, and further lift themselves out of poverty.

Families then share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. This extends the impact of the original gift, allowing a once impoverished family to become donors and full participants in improving their communities.”

I gave each child a budget and told them they could buy whatever animals they wanted as long as we didn’t exceed our total. We went through the gift catalog on the website reading about each animal, their cost, and talked about how those animals could help someone.

They contemplated, they added and subtracted, they debated, and they discussed.

Eventually, they decided and we bought a flock of hope (chickens, geese, and ducks), honeybees, and rabbits.


Yes, rabbits.

Once we convinced Caroline that buying a pegasus horse was not an option she went with the rabbits.

The family that kills rabbits just bought rabbits.

Cue the Lion King music. Again.

This year our family has talked a lot about poverty, families that are struggling, and kids who are hungry, both locally and far away. My hope is that by exposing them to programs like Heifer International and the Angel Tree they will see themselves as part of the solution and know that they can make a difference even at just 11, 8, and 4.

Donating to Heifer International was new to our family this year but based on the kids excitement I know it will not be our last experience with them. I think this program would also be fun for a school service project, a bake sale focus, or even an animal themed birthday party.

I’m not receiving any sort of compensation from Heifer for telling you about their program. I’m only asking that once you can purchase “a pegasus” our family is notified immediately.

Christmas Card 2013

Whew. It’s been awhile since I was here.

So sorry about that extended break.

I meant to warn you beforehand but I didn’t quite get to it.

Since it’s 2 weeks past Christmas now seems like the perfect time to share our Christmas card – OK not perfect but just go with it.

The week before Thanksgiving my husband found out he was going to be in Japan for the first two weeks of December so I knew we had to get our Christmas card picture taken immediately or it just wasn’t happening.

So we did what any family does and headed to the drainage system near our house.

Thankfully, we just took shots by the trees and saved the ditches for next year’s card.

We first started off taking a couple of nice shots…


…but then we quickly moved on to silly…



and even sillier when trying to set up the next shot.




Until finally we got what we were going for…


The card above is scanned so it’s not the best colors but I was very happy with the actual card.

Hope you have all had a wonderful start to the new year!

Days 1, 2, & 3 While in Japan

My husband just returned last night after being away for almost 2 weeks on a business trip to Japan.

(He had to go train people in a computer program. No one in Japan has the technical knowledge to do this training? I think he really just went for the Okonomiyaki and Ramen. Love you dear!)

Regardless, we are all very glad to have him home.

Each day I emailed him a little synopsis of our day so I thought I would share days 1, 2, and 3 with you.

Day 1

  • Roughly 5 hours after you left…
  • Caroline woke up with a fever
  • toaster oven handle broke totally at breakfast
  • garage door suddenly not working correctly so we are now walking the bikes through the house
  • filled Caroline up with Advil and she went to school
  • swam 1400 until got kicked out of lane
  • picked up Sophie and the vet informed me that she needs to have her ears washed out and medicine put in everyday for the next 14 days – I will let you guess who will be doing the last 2 days of treatment
  • music class – made $20 selling cards towards adoption
  • dinner at Cici’s
  • basketball – Andrew’s head coach is weird, like straight from the chimps looking weird, Andrew thought he was fine
  • Andrew swims then Alex swims
  • Smuggle Caroline into girls locker room where I give her a shower and ignore the mean looks from the cleaning lady who is doing no cleaning
  • Drive home while Andrew & Caroline watch Tom & Jerry Nutcracker in car
  • Alex is dropped off by Sheryl from practice
  • went to bed at 1:00 am

Day 2

  • Caroline still had fever, went to school, would not hear of not going
  • swam 2100 – didn’t get kicked out – tired
  • pick up Caroline and she has a constant cough
  • Alex goes early and stays late to work on project
  • piano lesson
  • drive thru mac n cheese & cornbread for boys for dinner, Caroline thinks I’m poisoning her with said bread
  • drop Andrew off at boy scouts with Bryce
  • drive Alex to soccer practice (Laura brings him to indoor game after practice)
  • go back to Boy Scouts
  • Andrew has to bring a collection of 10 of something to next meeting – he wants to bring 10 pencil leads – our kid is weird sometimes
  • take little 2 home and shower them
  • drive to indoor soccer game at 8:30 pm game where team is killed 9-0
  • drive home & kids asleep by 10:15 – yikes!
  • went to bed at 12! getting better

Day 3

  • fever still, doesn’t go to school, cough is too bad
  • Drive Alex to school early
  • Start cleaning out closet with Caroline – complete waste of time attempting that with her
  • doctor’s appointment at 11:30 who says she has no idea what the cough is – if doesn’t go away by Friday will do chest xrays – decides to put her on liquid zpack
  • go to target to pick up a few things before winter storm which is supposed to hit tomorrow night – $160 later we leave Target
  • get Caroline lunch and medicine and start to heat lunch in microwave
  • Caroline starts throwing up everything she had to eat that day
  • Clean up puke – fun!
  • Put Caroline in shower and eat lunch
  • Andrew comes home and shows me his collection of pencil lead that he has had at school – Jessie is helping him collect the lead “I think she’s breaking her pencil lead on purpose. She gave me like three leads in three minutes.”
  • Get lecture from nurse on phone about why Caroline needs to have her medicine & that if she doesn’t take it, she’ll have to come in for a shot
  • I plead, I beg, I try and hide it, I literally sit on top of her, and yet no medicine goes in – it all comes out with spit and runs down her face
  • I say, welcome shot!
  • Pick up Alex from band rehearsals. He is so enthusiastic about the practice that I’m willing to bet that he will want 76 trombones played at his wedding.
  • Eat chicken dinner, burn rice, eat leftover cornbread, and strawberries. I eat the corn. No one else acknowledges its existence.
  • Everyone “helps” in giving Sophie her medicine. Basically Sophie got 3 treats and no medicine tonight. I don’t care. She can go deaf.
  • Drive to swimming.
  • Again shower Caroline in locker room.
  • Drive home. I say no to Tom & Jerry. Caroline proceeds to harass me for next 15 minutes on why she can’t watch it. I win.
  • Put younger to bed in our bed. You are going to have to kick Andrew out of your spot. He’s been loving sleeping there every night and says it’s so cozy.  Have to reassure Andrew that Caroline will not throw up on him.
  • Alex gets dropped off from swimming and takes worlds longest shower all while humming Christmas carols. He then eats last piece of pumpkin pie and 2 granola bars.
  • Tuck Alex onto the sofa cushions in our room. We’re having quite the slumber party without you here.
  • I eat tons of Halloween candy while sitting at the computer.
  • Looks like it might be another 1 am night.

Love you and miss you – only 9 more nights till you come home!

Jennifer & the kids


Baby It’s Cold Outside

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Actually, it’s not just cold in Texas right now, it’s freezing.

Wednesday we were in shorts and it was 79 degrees outside.

Thursday we had tons of freezing rain and temperatures below 30 degrees.

School was cancelled on Friday (insert cheer from my kids) so we stayed home all day. With temperatures not expected to reach above freezing until Monday we may be in the house for several days.

The kids wanted to go outside because everything was covered in white. Initially, I told them no, “It won’t be fun. It’s just ice.”

But I relented and we all bundled up and ventured outside. After five minutes I was done. Actually I didn’t want to go out at all so I’m being pretty generous when I say five.

“Can we have a snowball fight?”

“No, it’s just ice.”

“Can we make a snowman?”

“No, it’s just ice.”

“Can we slide down the hill?”

“No, it’s ice and you would kill yourself.”

I went inside after about 15 minutes, standing in the doorway, watching them, peppering them with constant demands – “Get off the fence,” “Please don’t climb on that, “Get down from there.”

Seriously, I’m worried about their common sense.

It’s ICY folks.

With temperatures that officially felt like 13 degrees and ice covering the ground, my kids naturally played soccer outside for an hour and a half.


Now they’re inside watching Christmas movies which I’m completely fine with.

Gives time for the pneumonia to set in.

Just a joke, please oh please God, just a joke.

Update: The kids are home again today (Monday) and still thrilled about it. Too much ice on the roads. No one to clear them for us in the South so we wait till it warms 🙂

London Gift Options

Dear Family,

We really would have gotten you something from our trip to London, it’s just that there were so many wonderful options to choose from in the gift shop that we became overwhelmed and had to leave immediately.

But we did manage to take some pictures of the sweet, adorable, and loving gifts this town has to offer.




I was thinking my nephews would just love their very own catapult.




And some dream inducing bedtime reading for my niece…


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Yes, thank you London for all of those wonderful gift ideas. We thought about purchasing many but may have in fact been  swayed by the dish towel display at Target.

Until next time,

Jennifer, Kelly, & Alex

London – Day 2

Alrighty, last we left off in London we were following a group of men in their Speedos.

You know, typical London stuff.

Onto day 2…Buckingham Palace to start.



Here’s a picture of the back after we took a tour of the palace. No picture taking during the tour so you will just have to trust me when I say it’s luxurious. The whole time I was there I kept thinking, I wonder if the queen walks through here in her nightgown at night to go get a midnight snack and Is that weird to be in charge of washing the queen’s underwear? Why? I don’t know but that’s what I was thinking.



Inside the gift shop, which just happened to be about the size of Buckingham Palace.


As we were exiting the palace, the changing of the guard was beginning.

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We rushed Alex up to the gate so he could get a look.

He found himself a place to climb up on.


“Mom, mom, mom. Give me the camera.”

I like to title this one – Alex and the Japanese Tourists, July 2013 – and then I gave him the camera where he looked exactly like everyone else around him


I would show you a picture of that but I can’t since he had the camera and was taking 754 pictures of the guards.


After eating a lunch at Wagamama, one of my  favorite places to eat in London, we went to the Tower of London, probably my favorite place in all of London.





He was in heaven the entire trip – young jedi of history that he is.

Sidenote: This kid is amazing. Seriously.



I, on the other hand, have a rule of no more than 2 museums per day.

I know, party popper.

Thank goodness he had his aunt there.


This was our tour guide, a retired beefeater.


The Tower tour is fabulous & full of amazing stories and tales.

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I also like the juxtaposition of architecture you see everywhere in London – very old with very modern.


My son made sure to take pictures (for his brother) of a special exhibit telling about all the animals that were held in the Tower through time.

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The Tower of London is also where the Crown Jewels are held. We couldn’t get any pictures but trust me, if you need a little brooch for your Christmas outfit, you might want to see what they’ve got there.

Also at the Tower of London is the White House which displays many of the military pieces of the royal family.

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No historical tour can be complete without taking a picture of the toilets they once used.



And here are the travel guides checking the map to see where we were headed.

IMG_1235 I did not look at a map while we were there and it was great. I just followed them around like a little duckling.

We ended the day walking around a little more and then headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest.



Next up ..Day  3


Thankful Turkey – A Family Tradition

Each year I make a paper bag turkey and feathers for our family’s annual Thankful Turkey.

He usually gets called Tom the Turkey or Ted the Turkey and we add thankful feathers onto him each day.

Here’s a photo of our 2009 Tom:


This year I decided to upgrade us to brown wrapping paper.

I know, we are the last of the big spenders.

I found a turkey picture I liked, printed it out, and drew freehand the turkey onto the brown paper.

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My children have informed me that it looks like Ted is holding his private parts.


You just have to love them.

Or tell them, “Do not say Ted the turkey is holding his private parts ONE MORE TIME!”


After dinner, everyone takes a feather (scrap paper I have) and writes down one thing they are thankful for that day.

After I had written my feather on the first day I asked my preschooler what she was thankful for.

She said God.


I decided to take that moment to add a bit to my feather.


Here are some more things we are thankful for…






But don’t worry the next holiday is never far from our minds.


And just to cover our bases…



Halloween 2013

Just popping in today to share costumes from last night.

My 4 year old was a cheetah for most events this Halloween but chose to be Belle for trick or treating.

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My 11 year old didn’t care about his costume so he went as a soccer player by default.


My  8 year old decided he wanted to be something from Harry Potter.  Any guesses?



Yep, he’s Mad Eye Moody.


We took a $7 coat from Goodwill, ripped it up, lightly spray painted it with white (to make it look dusty) and stamped it with a black stamp pad to make it look old.

I bough these face paints and brushes this year and have loved how easy they are to use and how the paint doesn’t smear.


I would love to hear in the comment section what your kids dressed up as this year.


Now on to November!