Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I Wish I Believed in Karma

Remember when the dog ate my planner? Remember how upset I was? Remember how insensitively my husband responded until I suggested he imagine his Blackberry passing through the dog's lower intestine?

He doesn't have to imagine anymore.

After 15 minutes of being left alone downstairs last night,
the dog turned what should have been this:

into this:

Fortunately, we carry insurance on our cell phones, so instead of having to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket for a replacement cell phone, we pay a small deductible to have a new one shipped directly to our home. Unfortunately, the replacement phone will not arrive before James leaves town for a few days to meet a client in the upper Midwest, leaving behind his very pregnant wife. Needless to say, he is a wee bit stressed out.

I hope the dog survives.

photo credit:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Craft Projects and Baby Names

Over the course of the week, we've been working on a craft project together, making name plaques for the girls' room. To finish them, we (meaning I) had to commit to a baby name. We've spent an inordinate amount of time discussing options that fall within the guidelines of my crazy rules, but we keep coming back to the same name over and over again.

Working Diligently

All Done!

Painting Plaques

Painting Polka Dots

The Installation

A Place All Her Own

The Big Baby Name Reveal: Brystol
(rhymes with "pistol")

Gracie Turns SEVEN! (The Celebration, Part Two)

For Gracie's Birthday Celebration, Part Two, I took a gaggle of girls and a couple of very tolerant boys to see the new Disney Pixar film, Up. The vote was unanimous -- Up is one of the best movies ever! We laughed, we cried, we learned lines to repeat incessantly later on -- a good time was had by all. After the movie, Gracie's little friends blessed her with very thoughtful gifts. Since we'd already done a gift exchange at her family party, she was so surprised by the generous gestures of her sweet friends, and so excited!

After the movie and gift exchange, two friends went on to a prior engagement and three friends came home with us. Once here, the girls played Barbies and dress-up and gave each other makeovers, while the boys vacillated between playing with Legos and playing the Lego Star Wars video game. Afterwards, each child made their own pizza for dinner. Dinner was followed by the "Happy Birthday" song and a second round of cupcakes.

Matthew's friend went home about 8:00 P.M. and I attempted to get the remaining kids settled down for bed by turning on a movie. After an hour of too much giggling and games still being invented, the kids were sent to their respective beds and sleeping bags. Matthew conked out right away, but the room full of giggly girls was going strong. After a half-hour of reminders to lower voices and work on sleeping, I turned on another movie hoping focused little girls would become sleepy little girls. My plan did not work. All three girls, though focused and considerably quieter, did not go to sleep as I hoped, but instead, stayed up until the movie's end.

At 11:00 P.M., lights were shut off, and everyone was sleeping by 11:30. I, on the other hand, could not get to sleep until 2:00 A.M., which made the giggling and goofing around at 6:00 A.M. not the happiest of surprises. Since the rest of the house still slept for hours, only the girls had homemade chocolate chip waffles with whipped cream before returning to their play. Both of our little girl guests were returned to their parents by 10:30 A.M. and Gracie spent the day gushing about what an amazing time she had.

Gracie and Her Girlfriends

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bitty Baby in 3D

I had a 3D ultrasound as part of my regular doctor visit today. The baby wasn't as cooperative as I hoped she'd be, and she spent the majority of the time fighting for her right to privacy. She kept turning and yawning and hiding behind my belly button (which casts a very dark shadow across the baby's face). She abruptly ended the scan by putting both her hands and her feet right in front of her face. Little stinker!

As for growth, I'm at 29 weeks gestation today, and the baby measured about 31 weeks and 5 days. Though she's still measuring big, her measurements are increasing at appropriate intervals along the growth chart. The doctor would be more concerned with larger or more irregular advancements. We're just destined to have a sizable baby, I guess.

We were able to capture a few ultrasound images worth sharing:

Baby Profile at 29 Weeks

Looking Down

Looking Forward

Big Yawn

Everyday Moments: Digging for Worms

Digging for Worms

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Baby Bedding Preview

We decided early on that the two little girls would share a room, but when we made that decision, we had no idea how difficult it would be to find coordinating bedding sets. Not only did we want the sets to coordinate (or ideally, to match) one another, but we also wanted them to coordinate with the organizational system already in place in the room. As a bonus, they would also coordinate with the periwinkle paint already on the walls.

Several weeks ago, I found a modern-looking bedding set on the Target website I liked, but I could never find it on the store shelves and didn't want to place such a large order without seeing it in person. As I considered that set, we found and painted Gracie's new bedroom furniture group, the style of which lent itself to a more traditional bedding look.

I abandoned the first bedding set to begin hunting online once again, and right away found an alternate set of bedding I loved that I knew would meet all of our coordinating criteria. But would it work in the room with the now traditional furniture? Would there be too much black? Though I loved the look of the set, I wasn't willing to order it online and deal with a return.

That same week, the kids and I were out running errands and stopped at Bed, Bath and Beyond to check the bedding in stock. Lo and behold, two of the black spotted Little Miss Matched bed-in-a-bag sets sat on a clearance shelf. Each came with a comforter, bedskirt and pillow sham, and after two 20% off coupons, each cost $35 instead of the $80-90 normal price. I picked up coordinating sheet sets at Ross ($6/twin) and Babies R' Us ($9/crib). Since the two bedding sets are twins, I'll modify one comforter and bedskirt to fit the crib -- $2 provided enough black bias tape to edge the cut-down comforter. The spare pink top sheet and salvage from the crib bedding set will allow me to make window treatments at no additional expense.

We set up the crib today and tried the bedding sets on for size. The comforters look great on the beds, and the style is neither too modern nor too traditional. The periwinkle polka dots match the walls perfectly, meaning I don't have to paint. (Hooray!) The pink sheets picked up at different stores match one another perfectly and look wonderful with the bedding. The twin set meant for the crib will be quite easy to modify.

There really isn't much to do to finish out the room. I have to modify the baby's bedding set, sew and install the window treatments, make and install name plates (which means I must decide on a baby name -- eek!), apply some polka dot decals to the walls, relabel the shelving system using polka dot tags, and bring in all the baby's clothes and diapers.

I have to say it is very strange to have a crib set up in my house, but the reality is we have no more than ten weeks before baby is here, even if I go very close to full-term (and provided all goes well until the end). Realistically, we have more like seven to nine weeks -- a span of time so brief I can barely wrap my mind around it! Though I am extraordinarily grateful to be in my present position, making room for baby has not been totally easy. I'm counting the days until this irreconcilable state is over and a new little someone is here to take advantage of the work I've done.

Making Room for Baby

Shelf Space and a Changing Station

Gracie and the Spotty Frog

Crib Potential
(Set Still to be Modified -- Just Trying on for Size)

Gracie's New Bedding Set


Super Fun Take-a-Break Saturday

I have a giant, mostly unreasonable list of things I must have done before the baby comes, and about 83% of that list has absolutely nothing to do with the baby -- things like reorganizing the master bedroom closet (done!), pulling out some wasp-attracting holly bushes (done!), changing the edging on the front flower bed (done!), finding coordinating bedding for two little girls (done!), rearranging Gracie's room to bring in the crib (done!), and setting up the new baby furniture (done!).

Things still on "The List:" repainting the powder room, repainting Bub's room, painting the upstairs bathroom, painting over the green in the scrapbooking room -- the newly-applied green that I no longer like, finishing out the scrapbooking room when the new paint is applied, reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and pantry, installing kitchen hardware, changing the kitchen and dining room light fixtures, reorganizing the garage, rearranging the master bedroom, and deep cleaning all the baby gear.

Because we've been working hard, James felt like we were due a day of play yesterday, so we took the kids and left the house and "The List" behind. We went to the morning showing of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, then had lunch and played games at Dave & Busters. From there, we went to the new Lego store in our area where the kids were allowed to fill little bins of the pick-a-piece Legos.

It was a fun break indeed, but now: Everyone, back to work!

Fun at Dave & Busters

Loving the Lego Store

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Third

This week, I reached 28 weeks gestation and officially moved into the third trimester -- all while remaining upright and as active as ever! Physically, I feel very good. In fact, much of the time I don't even feel pregnant.

I'm moving a bit slower, particularly after walking for long stretches, and sometimes I feel like I have to focus to keep the waddle to a minimum. I'm not walking slowly or waddling because the baby is all that big or heavy, but rather because she's been consistently positioned on the left side, causing sciatic nerve pain and muscle tightness there. So far, the pain is no big deal -- not debilitating or anything -- but it is inconvenient and makes the 17P Hydroxyprogesterone injections I take often really painful. Every other week, I prepare for the home health care nurse's visit by wrapping my backside in a heating pad. Fortunately, I only have eight more injections to go, four of them on my left side. We'll try injecting there once more, and if it's still too painful, I'll take the rest of my injections on the right.

I'm still having some food aversions, and really only crave Starburst Fruit Chews (most recently supplied by my friend, Jenny), which I allow myself to eat in a limited amount. In addition, I have some hip pain and arm numbness when I sleep and for a while after I get up in the morning.

Other than those very minimal complaints, this pregnancy has been a much lovelier experience than I ever dreamed. I'm not having any contractions to speak of -- only minimal irritability right around the time the injections are due -- and my cervix remains stable, measuring around the same length all this time. I passed the gestational diabetes screen on the first attempt. I am not in the hospital, I am not on bedrest, and I have no official restrictions to be mindful of. This is all such a new experience, I feel like I wake up in a new world every morning -- a world full of new mercies.

I had a sonogram today, and the baby is still measuring two weeks ahead. She appears to weigh about 3lbs. 6oz. and is the size of a baby at 30 weeks gestation. My due date will not change since early sonos were spot on with regards to measurement and dating, but her growth rate may influence how my uterus behaves in the long run and when we decide to deliver.

My MFM would like to do a amniocentesis at 36 weeks to check lung development, possibly having me deliver then if the baby's lungs are mature. My OB/GYN would like to deliver me no earlier than 39 weeks (unless medically necessary). I'd like to go until 38 weeks and be done with it all. I stop taking 17P injections at 36 weeks, and statistically, women who are prone to preterm labor (like me) begin contracting a week or so after the injections cease. Knowing that, I think delivery at 37 1/2 to 38 weeks is a fair estimate. Only time and bunch of doctor's appointments will tell.

As for our little one, she looked so cute on today's scan! She looks more like a fat little baby with familiar features and less like a stranger on a TV screen. Today, we were able to see she has James' Filipino nose and my chubby cheeks. She has a puff of wispy hair on top (which absolutely comes from James since all of the babies on my side of the family are bald for their first two years) -- we just wonder if it will be Asian black or blond like my baby hair. This little one looks just like her sister in utero. We're so curious about her and extremely anxious to meet her in person!

Not too soon, baby -- not too soon.

(Baby Facing Forward, Tummy on Left, Face on Right, Hand Up Top by Cheek)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Everyday Moments: Babywearing

Some time back, I read a post at Owlhaven that made me think. Mary wrote, "I don’t want my children’s life-photos to be only of the 'highs.' I want to get better at remembering the little moments of ordinary life." Already, I think she does a fantastic job of recording the ordinary, and I think I do the same, still I'd like to be more diligent. I want to record more of those important-to-me everyday things so I don't forget.

I imagine in general there won't be much commentary -- similar to a "Wordless Wednesday" post, only on other days of the week. Please enjoy...

An Itty-Bitty Babywearer

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Community Group Wrap Party: Summer '09

Our church doesn't have "Sunday School," or a group Bible study on Sunday morning. Instead, we have "Community Group." The concept is the same, only we meet in the evening at someones home instead of on Sunday morning on the church campus. Another difference between Sunday School and Community Group is the fact that CG takes a break for summer, and this week, we wrapped up our group with an afternoon of fun. Kids played, adults chatted, food was cooked on the grill. We ate and enjoyed each other's company, then we took the kids to the neighborhood spray park.

It's amazing how much smaller a church becomes when a select few know you personally and pray for you on a regular basis. It's been such a blessing to our family to "do life" with this group of people this year. While we're sure the group next year will be different -- some families are moving away, others will likely join -- we're excited for what's in store. Love you guys!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gracie Turns SEVEN! (The Celebration, Part One)

Our little baby Gracie has turned seven -- where did the time go? For about half the year, Gracie kept an active count down until her big day. She threw party venue options out from time to time and kept a wish-list that was updated after nearly every toy commercial. Her mind changed constantly.

When it came time to schedule something, she was tormented by her indecisiveness, so we talked about key things she wanted out of her birthday celebration: having fun, spending time with friends, getting balloons and eating cake. I called around to a few of the venues she mentioned and discovered the economy could do a 180 if the government more heavily taxed kid's birthday parties. To clarify, prices have climbed and they aren't reasonable. In fact, they're a joke.

Because I have no intention of spending $400 for an hour in a pink-clad retail store (no joke!) where my little girl and the other girly invitees with beg and plead with me to spend another $400, we decided on a home birthday party. I scheduled a date, made arrangements with a friend to borrow a huge inflatable water slide, covered a few of the other details, and jotted out the guest list. Gracie was very happy with our alternate plan.

And then came the Swine Flu scare. Schools were being canceled, sporting events were rescheduled, the news was daunting. It was troublesome not to know what the next day would look like. In retrospect, there was a lot of unnecessary media hype, but I (in my present condition) had no interest in filling my house with a whole bunch of potentially exposed children. I talked to Gracie about my concerns, and since we'd already been missing out on a few previously scheduled events, she understood.

We didn't want the day to go by in a way that in her mind it seemed to be unnoticed, so we brainstormed to come up with a second round of alternate plans. Gracie's been asking to have a couple of friends over for a slumber party, so we set a date for later in the month when a movie she really wants to see releases at the theatre. We'll take a gaggle of girls to the movies, go out for ice cream, then have a couple stay behind to sleep over.

The grandparents were already planning to be here for her actual birthday, so when the Swine Flu scare blew over, we moved our at-home family plans to Peter Piper Pizza. Gracie invited her BFF Rachel, and Bub and the girls played coin games and collected tickets until we drug them back over for pizza, cupcakes and birthday presents. Gracie had a great time on her actual birthday, and feels like the upcoming slumber party is her birthday, part two. She's such a precious child and was really content to have a little celebration with loved ones over lunch. She just makes me so proud!

On another note, Gracie received Chrissa, her first American Girl doll, this year. It's no secret she's been obsessed with American Girl stuff for the last couple of years. She checks the mail every single day for new catalogs and loves visits to the retail store and bistro. She's wanted a doll for quite some time, but we delayed the purchase to ensure she was prepared to care for such a spendy toy. Gracie has grown quite responsible this year, and she is going to be a big sister. Plus, she has her Poppa John wrapped around her little finger, which really helps her cause. Poppa John gave Gracie the doll, Nanny gave her the Chrissa movie, and James and I supplied her with accessories, matching outfits, and a gift certificate for more.

The Birthday Breakfast:
Teddy Bear Pancakes with Scrambled Egg Hair

"I'm the Birthday Girl!"

The Big Surprise

One Shocked Little Lady

Chrissa: Gracie's First American Girl Doll

Scenes from the Day

We Love You, Birthday Girl --
You are Our Joy and Our Treasure!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Grand Reopening

Though our local school district is still open for business for at least another month, the grand reopening of the neighborhood pool was scheduled for early May. For the first week or so the pool was open, it sat completely empty. The weather was too cool and too dreary, and on top of that, people were still scared of catching the Swine Flu. By the second week of the month, many neighbors threw caution to the wind and took the plunge.

We timidly followed suit a few days later -- timidly not because of health concerns or weather issues, but rather because I look like a giant walking blueberry in my lovely maternity swimsuit. Fortunately, no one pointed and laughed as I sat poolside and the kids enjoyed being in the water again.

A Tattooed Bub

Gracie in Goggles

The View from Up Here

Monday, May 11, 2009

Steals and Deals: Free Flavor Day at Häagen-Dazs

Tomorrow (May 12, 2009) is Free Flavor Day at Häagen-Dazs. Find a participating shop near you, and go in between 4:00-8:00 P.M. for a FREE scoop of any Bee-Built ice cream flavor -- so many to choose from!

The Fine Print: One per customer. Free item includes one single-scoop cone or cup. Offer valid on Bee-built ice cream flavors at participating locations only.

photo and tip credit: Money Saving Mom

Bargain Baby Preparation

Having a baby can be a very expensive business, but it doesn't have to be. With a little ingenuity and effort, bringing a baby home doesn't have to break the bank. We've been preparing for our summer addition by purchasing furniture second-hand, by stocking up on cloth and clearance disposable diapers, and by accepting gently used items from generous friends whose littlest girls are their last.

When I consider what we already have for this baby, I believe we have enough for a healthy head start. Sure, I need a few more cloth diaper covers and some odds and ends here and there, but I think we could realistically bring a baby home without James having to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart.

Though I have everything I need, there are a few more things I want, and since I'm not generally the person who spends loads of money on things just because I want them, I've been browsing the internet looking for resources to help me acquire those wants using things I already have or can get my hands on for very little cost. I'm sharing some of these links with you here. If you have some favorite frugal baby sites, please return the favor by linking them to me in the comments section below.

Nursing Implements

Free Nursing Cover Pattern :: Bliss Tree

Homemade Nursing Pads :: Passionate Homemaking

Contoured Nursing Pad Pattern :: Pampered Cheeks

Baby Leg Warmers

How to Sew Baby Legwarmers ::

How to Make Legwarmers Out of a Sweater ::

How to Make Leggings for a Baby ::

How to Knit Super-Easy Baby Legwarmers ::

Harper (Baby) Leg Warmers :: The Funky Hooker

Baby Slings

Baby Sling Resource Page (Many Free Links):: Mamma'a Milk

Free Mei Tai Sling Instructions :: Jan Andrea

More Mei Tai Instructions :: Walter + Veronica

Free and Simple Baby Sling Pattern :: Karma Baby

Cloth Diapering

Recycled Diaper Sewing :: Fern and Fairie

Sewing Your Own Cloth Diapers (Pattern Links) :: The Diaper Jungle

Free Diaper Patterns :: Cloth Diaper Sewing

More Free Diaper Patterns :: Zany Zebra Designs

How to Make a Cloth Diaper Soaker ::

How to Make Wool Diaper Covers ::

Free Soaker Pattern :: Katrina's Sew Quick

Free Tiny Birds Soaker Pattern :: Tiny Birds Organic Baby

Make Your Own Wool Soakers ::

Other Stuff

Free Grocery Cart Cover Pattern :: Jan Andrea

Miscellaneous Baby Savings Ideas :: Frugal Baby Tips on Blogger

More Miscellaneous Baby Savings Ideas :: The Frugal Baby

photo credit:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Bittersweet Mother's Day

"[Death] was a fact of life,
but if I brought it up,
people would suddenly get interested in
their hangnails and cuticles,
or else distant places in the sky,
and seem to not hear me."

-- Sue Monk Kidd
The Secret Life of Bees

It's Mother's Day today -- a day to honor mothers, a day to be honored as a mother. I'm a big fan of Mother's Day as a concept, because really, who doesn't appreciate a day where all sorts of great stuff is centered around them? It's like a bonus birthday, and there's nothing bad about that.

But Mother's Day is not all about flowers pinned on dresses and lunch out with the kids. For many people, Mother's Day is a day of grief and misery -- a truly heavy burden to bear. On Mother's Day, some people recall the mother missing from their lives, while other people recall the children they've lost or only dreamed of. People would most especially rather not discuss the dead on Mother's Day, but today, as I sat in Sunday service, I couldn't help scanning the crowd wondering who there had a broken heart.

As for my heart, there are still significant cracks. It's amazing how things change from one year to the next to the next, and even more amazing how much remains precisely the same.

Two years ago on Mother's Day, Zachary had been dead about a minute and a half and I was a seeping, weeping wreck. I could hardly pick myself up off the floor, much less celebrate motherhood, still, that Sunday morning, I let the family drag me down the street to The Waffle House for breakfast. We left when a pregnant woman waddled in and I started sobbing into my syrup.

Mother's Day last year was much better. Though dealing with a bout of unexplained infertility, I was functional and capable of celebrating my blessings while realizing that celebration was not a dishonor to the dead.

Mother's Day this year is full of interesting dynamics. I'm pregnant, which is honestly both a blessing and a burden. I am still in shock to be with child, I am in shock to still be with child. I don't deserve this miracle at all. God has shown me the most unmerited favor, and a happier person could not be found. But pregnancy brings up all my failures: my failures as a parent, my failures as a woman, my failures as a child-bearer. In the midst of the joys and blessings of Mother's Day, tears were shed today -- tears for our struggles, tears for our losses, tears for the fears we still feel.

Today has been a bittersweet day.

Fortunately, my sweet family seems to understand these odd dynamics, so for this Mother's Day, there was little on the agenda -- just what I needed. I was met this morning with kisses, cards, and gifts. James and the kids chose a meaningful set of Willow Tree figurines that represents both where we are now as a family and where we hope to be in the next few weeks. (They were on the mantle before the early church service.) We later lunched at La Madeleine with my mom, then came home for a lovely lazy afternoon.

"He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD."

Psalm 113:9

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Homeschool Book Fair and My Imaginary Friend

For the first time ever, I attended a Homeschool Book Fair, and not just your run of the mill book fair (whatever that may be), but rather the BIG book fair in Arlington -- the one held every year for the last 25 years. Several people I know attended the book fair last year, but it was held around the time we decided to homeschool and way before I knew about it or about curriculum or really even where to begin. (This time last year, I was busy picking the brains of my friends, reading reviews and commentaries, and visiting local used book stores trying to figure out where to start. I've come a long, long way.)

Earlier in the school year when I heard about the book fair after the fact, I was so sorry I'd not gone. As the year progressed, though, and as I learned more about homeschooling and how my children learn, I really decided against going at all. After some trial and error this year, we've found materials we love that worked for us and that will work for us for easily one more year. I thought attending the book fair and being tempted by all the shiny new books would sort of muddle my focus and get me off track.

The closer we got to fair weekend, the more the buzz heightened on the homeschool message boards. People were updating their Facebook statuses. Twitter was all a-tweet. I wondered if I would regret not going, still I made no plans... until I saw a blog friend was coming. She was driving into the Metroplex to attend, and that little fact tempted me.

Renae blogs on Life Nurturing Education, one of the most beautifully written blogs on my reader. She chooses her words as carefully as the artwork she features and as carefully as the scripture she includes to make her point, and I'm always so excited when Google indicates there's a post I've yet to read. She'd connected with me to make plans to meet once before when a local university hosted Space Frontier Days, but instead, I went with Amy and Sara to hear FlyLady speak. Because I essentially bailed on Renae before, I couldn't miss that connection when she was in town once again.

We made plans by e-mail and decided to meet in person over lunch. I arrived at our appointed time, but there was so much construction around the Arlington Convention Center, Renae drove in circles for a half-hour or more -- no more than two miles from me all the while. I felt so bad! I didn't mind the wait, though -- sitting alone in a quiet restaurant while drinking a cold glass of tea and waiting on a writer I admire is never an inconvenience. (Actually, with as busy as I feel I've been lately, sitting alone in a quiet restaurant while drinking a cold glass of tea sounds pretty good regardless of who eventually joins me... but I digress.) When all was said and done, I'm so glad we decided to connect -- my imaginary friend (as Renae so humorously put it) is as interesting in person as she is on her blog.

I decided to attend the book fair since I was already in the area, so after lunch, Renae followed me to the Convention Center. Once inside, we really went our separate ways. She was meeting some other blog friends and I had books and equipment and supplies to ooh and aah over. I knew the minute I walked through the doors that I was there to get in trouble. Instead of going crazy, though, I exercised some restraint. I learned by watching experienced conventioneers: I looked through things, I asked questions of the vendors, I made lists of things I wanted to buy, and then I walked away. I'll likely pick up some of the things I found interesting, but instead of buying at full price, I'll spend the summer watching curriculum message boards, checking out the local used bookstores, and perusing eBay and Amazon.

It's amazing how far I feel I've come in only a year's time with regards to homeschooling. Attending the book fair last year would have been far too overwhelming, but attending this year just helped to solidify the good decisions we've made to ensure the quality of the education our children receive. Being around so many like-minded people and seeing so many amazing children truly inspired me to persevere, and though my hands held only lists and catalogs, my heart was full of much, much more.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Searching for something fun to do on a summery Friday night, we opted for a last-minute road trip to the Galaxy Drive-In Theatre in Ennis to see a double feature of family fun movies -- Monsters vs. Aliens and Hannah Montana: The Movie.

I have loads of fond memories from summer nights spent with friends and family at the Admiral Twin Drive-In Theatre in Tulsa and wanted my kids to share in some similarly fun times. We'd taken the kids to the drive-in movie once before we moved away from Tulsa and Bub already had some spotty memories of the fun he had there. He was so small he couldn't remember all the details of his trip, he just remembered having a great time. Gracie was so small, she slept through the while thing! It was high-time to repeat such a nostalgic experience!

We've been talking about taking the kids to see a movie at the drive-in for a while. The problem we face living here is the fact that the nearest drive-in theatre is easily an hours drive from home, even longer with the unpredictable DFW traffic. The drive alone wasn't enough to dissuade us, but when we combine the drive time with the late movie showings, we were concerned the kids wouldn't be able to stay awake through both features.

When we really talked about it in more detail this week, we decided to go ahead and take the risk. Gracie's really wanted to see Hannah Montana, and we expected that would motivate her to stay awake. Plus, the admission cost for our family of four was only $16, so even if she/they did fall asleep, we would've already seen one movie at half the price of a local show.

Once we decided the value was worth the risk, we were ready to go. Then, somehow, the topic of parking direction came up. James wanted to park the car facing forward with all of us belted in our seats. I wanted to park the car in reverse (as I grew up doing) with the rear door open, the kids piled in the back on pillows, and James and I outside of the car on lawn chairs. We are naturally both very insistent people, so such a small issue can become a very big deal with neither of us willing to budge. Since I wasn't interested in watching movies crammed in the not-so-comfortable front seat of my not-so-big car, I decided I'd much rather stay home. James thought about my position and my condition for a while, then decided parking in reverse wasn't such a bad idea. I'm glad he's such a reasonable man!

The all-highway drive was easy to make, the theatre was really clean and well-equipped, the concession stand offered a large menu of inexpensive goodies, and the drive-in theatre experience as a whole was a blast! James seemed to enjoy time lounging in the lawn chair with the warm summer breeze -- though it meant I got my way. We cannot wait to go back again!

Piled on Pillows in the Back of the Car

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spring Soccer Celebration

After a whirlwind of rain-outs, smoke-outs, and a silly swine flu scare, the spring soccer season has finally come to an exhausting end. The team celebrated with a parent/kid scrimmage on the practice field, a water balloon fight, giant cupcakes, and the distribution of trophies along with kind and encouraging words from the coach. Bub was named "Best Goalie!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Steals and Deals: Discount Dallas Zoo Membership

Join the Dallas Zoo with the best deal of the year -- 20% off the Family Membership. For $63 (instead of $79), enjoy free admission all year for one or two named adults in the same household and their children or grandchildren (under 18). Also, enjoy free parking and events all year, along with four free Monorail Safari/Endangered Species Carousel tickets. Use Promotional code E1CCSA09 at to enroll with this discount.

photo credit:

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