Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

After weeks of pestering Riley about what he wanted to be for Halloween, he couldn't make up his mind, other than something terrifying like the Chainsaw "Master" (he thinks it's master and not "massacre"). But, mean mom that I am, nixed the Leatherface idea, but for reasons unknown, other than the fact that it was 1:00pm the day OF Halloween and we were out of ideas, I decided to let him be Jason, from Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm St. I don't know cause I don't watch scary movies, and he doesn't know cause he hasn't seen them either (and probably never will, judging by his response to our one Haunted House trip, which you can read about further down).

So this leads us on a trek of all the stores in the North Austin metroplex, a couple of Wal-Marts, Target, Goodwill, and finally, an overpriced, simple hockey jersey with foam rubber hockey mask at Party City that we had to wait in line about 30 minutes for. The things we do for our children, right? I've already warned him that if I don't get good enough advanced warning next year, he will go as a 5th grader, and that's that.

But, we had fun trick or treating, and passing out our candy, I got smart this year and took ours with us and passed it out on the road, so I didn't come home to a bowl full of chocolate! We came home, the candy wasn't even looked at, the kids wanted to watch TV for a while, and we all passed out pretty early. Of course, David was awakened Saturday morning by the crackling of candy paper...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

City Hall Study Trip

This wasn't one of the more exciting study trips. Just not much to do at City Hall. And I still owe a mom $2.00 for parking (stupid meters, and I never can keep quarters!) So the kids are studying maps and directions and they made a map of the city and mapped out the route and had a map of City Hall, and got to see some interesting art that is on display, and wave at the Mayor, and look out the north and south balconies, and sit in council chambers, but that's about it.

Then we went to Pease Park for lunch and play, and that was way more fun! I got pictures of her and her friends playing on the bars and having a great time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Haunted Houses are Apparently Pretty Scary

So Riley has been BEGGING, PLEADING, HARANGUING me for weeks now to take him to a haunted house, a real, live, honest to goodness, scare the bejezus out of you, haunted house. There's one by us that's supposed to be like, in the top 10 scariest haunted houses in the country. But me being the good mother that I am, say no way, no how will I subject my sweet and innocent child (who I don't even approve of letting him watch a simple vampire movie) go to a haunted house like that. The school has a pretty simple one at Fall Fest, he can go to that one this coming weekend, it's pretty tame. Well, Saturday night on our way to a Girl Scout sing along, I see our little town has a haunted house, in an old rickety building, entrance fee: 2 canned goods. How scary can that be if the cost is food? It's probably put on by the high school kids since it's across the street from the high school, and in the parking lot of an elementary school. After the girl scout event, I call Riley, tell him to throw some tuna in a bag and be ready, I go pick him and David up, and we go wait in line for the haunted house. And we wait...

We waited for 3 Frickin Hours!! The kids had a great time running around and playing, listening to the people scream inside, someone knocked down the walls so they had to put everything on hold to put the walls back up, which is why it took so long. They met a kid there whose parents were working in it, he was telling them all about how scary it was, he took them to the exit and let them meet the "chain saw master" so they weren't scared of him (it was the kid's cousin). I kept telling the kids, we don't have to do this, we can go home, but they were SO excited, and were jumping up and down, thrilled to no end.

Finally, it was our turn, they were only letting about 6-8 people in at a time, with a guide with a tiny flashlight. We walk in, turn the corner, and BAM, my poor son's face is buried into my side, where it stays the ENTIRE time, crying his eyes out, he's crying, "MOM, get me out of here, I want to leave, it's too scary!!" There was a guy screaming, "HELP ME!" while some guy drilled into his fake leg, the girl from The Ring followed us around making that clicky-croaky sound, a tricycle rolled across the floor by itself, a clown with a hatchet in his head chased us, a blacked out maze with skeletons and bones on the floor that we were tripping on, a body in a guillotine, and as we walked by it goes down and the head comes off, LOUDLY, there were a lot of loud noises, and Riley cried through the whole thing, I kept telling him not to look, and he says, "I can still see it!!" I covered his eyes, had his head pressed to my side, wrapped around my body, David was carrying Regan and she was buried in his neck, at the end the scary clown was calling us to him, and I was like, you're out of your ever lovin' mind clown, but then I realized he was trying to get us away from the chain saw guy, but the kids knew him, so when they heard that, they knew it was over, and they were okay then. We rushed through that whole thing so fast, we got outside, and then the kids were mad at ME. They said it was all MY idea.

I thought they might have nightmares or something, but surprisingly, they didn't, and today they woke up laughing about it, Riley said it wasn't scary, yeah, right, but I think we're gonna wait a few more years before we try anymore haunted houses.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

If You Read One Book This Year...

And you're a parent, it should be this one: Parenting With Love and Logic. The author, Foster Cline, taught a seminar at our church on Saturday and I can't say enough good things about it. I've been reading the book to prepare for the seminar, so I knew what I was getting in to. The school that the kids go to, the teachers use his method, and have read his book, Teaching With Love and Logic, which uses the same basic principals. Basically, it's about how to raise responsible kids, kids that you will want to be around when they grow up, and that will be functioning adults. I could write about 3 pages of things I learned, but I won't bore you, but really, if you are looking for any type of parenting advice, I can't recommend him highly enough.

And, I've never laughed so hard, it was an all day seminar, and I didn't want it to end! I was so sad it was over, and even after having such a busy week and having to get up early again on my only day to sleep in, I was so exhausted, but so not wanting to leave, I could have sat there and listened to him for hours. He has so much wisdom to impart, and I just want SO much for my kids to grow up to be likable, responsible people, I'll read anything, I'll do anything to make sure that happens. And this guy has had such great success, being a famous child psychiatrist for many years, and having 7 successful children of his own, I would say he knows a thing or two about raising responsible kids! So, if you are looking for good parenting advice, read this book!

If you read TWO books this year, the other book you really should read is The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, but only if you have a box of tissue handy. But that book too, will change your life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Omni Hotel or 5th Grade...WWYD?

Regan's class had a field trip to the Omni Hotel downtown (they are studying maps and directions) and she was so excited, she really thought she was going to have "The Suite Life of Regan" or something. She liked swimming pool and hot tub on the roof and the suite that they got to see, complete with a bed for me and dad, and a bed for her and Riley to share (yeah, right) and they saw the laundry room, and they got to eat cookies and milk! She wanted me to go with her, and I was about to, but got a last minute call to sub for...5th grade.

I was apprehensive, but as it turned out, I AM smarter than a 5th grader. Maybe barely, but it counts. I was so excited that the afternoon was a Social Studies lesson and that was always one of my favorites, so I was really getting into it. The morning was math and science, which is kind of boring and I probably didn't remember as much about food chains as I needed to to really get anything across, but I handled it. The kids were decent, we had a great discussion in the afternoon when one of the kids grabbed a 9/11 book off the shelf and wanted to ask a bunch of questions about it, the whole class got to talking, and this just seems like a great age, very inquisitive, not quite much of a F-off attitude like most middle and high schoolers, I felt like they were genuinely interested in learning something.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what grade I want to teach when I do go back to school, and I had always before wanted to do early childhood, but the older I get the less I want to wipe snotty noses and tie shoes that have pee all over them. So one of the reasons I wanted to sub was to see which age group was a good fit, and this one was. I really did enjoy it, so I'm putting this on my list. I'm narrowing down my options. Of course, let's hope I don't reach retirement age BEFORE I graduate!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bobbing for Apples/Caramel Apples

I bought a bag of apples and some caramels to melt, so we could have some fun, and I was telling the kids on the way home from school about how we were going to melt the caramel, put a stick in the apple, dip it, etc. Then for some reason we started talking about Bobbing for Apples, and I was telling them what that was, and I realized they had never done it before. So we get home and as I was putting everything away, I hear some laughter in the jungle, um, I mean, backyard, so I go out and see that the kids had grabbed my two big popcorn buckets, filled them with water, each got their own small apple, taken off their school shirt, and were going, "Ready, set, GO!" and sticking their head all the way down to grab the apple. It was so cute, so I ran to grab my camera. The only thing is, they would take a huge bite out of the apple, chew it, then toss it back in the water to go again, but that made it much easier to grab next round. But it was fun while the apple lasted.

So they came in and dried their wet heads and we started unwrapping the million pieces of caramel you need to make the caramel apples. They thought it was pretty cool when I let them eat a piece of it. Then as we got down to one caramel left for each of us, I said that we could eat just one more, so that would be two for each of us, and Regan throws it in her mouth and with her cheeks full goes, "That makes THREE for me!" Riley felt slighted, but nothing he could do about it at that point. They liked dipping the apples into the caramel, and then into the nuts, and then making a royal mess of things later when it came time to eat it. Maybe it wouldn't have been as messy if I had taken them out of the refrigerator earlier, but I forgot, and Regan went to take a bite and her teeth stuck to the apple!

Friday, October 17, 2008



Why are Halloween decoration so much cooler than Christmas decorations? Maybe cause we like skulls better than fat guys in red suits? Anyway, the kids and I have had fun putting stuff out this year, posing the bones and buying some more cool stuff for our collection. Regan decided to be a pirate (not just any pirate, but this specific pirate) and Riley is still undecided, although he alternates between something that requires a gun which mom and dad have vetoed, and something that requires a chainsaw, also vetoed (we're such downers). How I miss the days of Riley dressing up as Bob the Builder and Spiderman, now he wants to be Leatherface.

But, I did tell him that maybe dad could hide in the bushes with the chainsaw for when all those teenagers that are "too cool" to dress up, but not too cool for free candy come ring our doorbell at 10:00 at night, what a fun shock that would be to have dad start up the chainsaw then!! But, mom and dad probably wouldn't take kindly to us scaring their little snowflakes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Thing I'm NOT a high school teacher. Ruled that one out pretty darn quick today. I subbed for high school English, which, theoretically should be right up my alley (it was one of my favorite subjects) but either the fact that the kids thought they were going on a field trip and it got rained out, so instead they were stuck inside taking a "practice" PSAT, OR, my inherent belief that pretty much all teenagers are just evil (really, your teacher left me a list of your class rules, and NO where on this list does it say you can eat your lunch, text your friends, or believe it or not, blow your little bicycle horn while hiding it in your purse, I'm old, not stupid). Why do all of them think they can get away with murder, and use the excuse, "Oh, our teacher lets us!" So, I think I'll stick to my old rule of thumb, teach no one taller than me, which pretty much keeps me at about 5th grade.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This is what grown men fight over! Riley was *shocked* to see it, he was telling me, "Mom, it's FLOORS!" I know son, but you don't understand, it's floors for 49 cents a square foot, so MOVE YOUR BUTT!! Ikea had a huge sale, and people were grabbing them off the pallets faster than they could bring them out and it wasn't pretty. But, we got what we needed and got out. Not that we were the ones fighting, I guess I should clarify, I don't need floors that bad, and David was very nice and gave up several boxes to greedy people that were jerking them out of his hands. In the grand scheme of things, they are just floors, but it was nice to get such a great deal. Now to put them in...

Maybe we'll host a brisket/floor laying party?? Any takers??

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

And a grown up can go mad from the noise! I took the kids to Chuck E Cheese to enjoy the last official day of Fall Break, and they had a great time, as usual. There was a fun Raging Ape game where you have to hold on to his vibrating hands as long as possible to win tickets, and it made your hands tickle, it was pretty funny.

We stayed for several hours before we had to get home and make fried rice and bok choy salad for our new church home group. It was our first meeting with the new group and we had a great time there also, meeting new people from the church and getting to know everyone. The kids had a bike parade and also had a great time meeting new friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bailey and the Ducks

Regan and I took Bailey to the Duck Park while Riley was at gymnastics, just to see how he would do. We've never taken him around water like that, or other wild animals (other than the plethora of rabbits that regularly visit our backyard) so I wasn't too sure what to expect. It was pretty funny. He started out not too sure if he wanted to get his footsies wet, the ducks came right up to us to eat the bread we were tossing, and they weren't afraid of him at all. Then he started sniffing around and one of them hissed at him, he jumped back like, "what the heck!" But before long he was up to his tummy in the nice, clear blue water (not) and having a great time running back and forth chasing the ducks and geese. It was so cute. We'll definitely have to take him back. The worst part is he can't jump in the back of my truck, I have to lift him, so I get to grab an armful of wet, hairy dog. Ick.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mooyah, Zilker, Amy's...Oh, My!

Zilker Gardens

Since the weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately and David had to work, so our day trip to Waco is postponed yet again, we picked up Daniel and Kenzie and headed to Mooyah Burgers for lunch, yum. They have some really yummy burgers and the kids loved inserting the term "mooyah" into every sentence. Regan said as we left, "They should call it 'Horse-yah' cause Horses are better!" Not to eat dear, not to eat.

Then we headed to Zilker Gardens to see the Dinosaurs! That was a lot of fun, they had life size dinos all over the place, and of course, a day with the Aldridge siblings is never dull. The woman at the gift shop told us to be on the lookout for the extra dinosaurs, so Daniel was trying to take pictures of the little gray haired ladies that he saw on the trail (even saying they were out of their natural habitat, the Bridge Club!) Guess you had to be there. Anyway, it was fun, they had some really neat dinos, and of couse, we all had a laugh at the Japanese Gardens (think Airplane!) and by that time it had warmed up quite a bit so we decided to cool off at, where else, Amy's Ice Cream.

So we headed to our favorite location, next to Phil's so the kids could play. They had the coolest cow, a skeleton cow, but they covered and moved it before I could get a good picture, bummer. But Daniel and Riley played a rousing game of Shuffleboard, and we enjoyed pumpkin (or as Regan said 'punkin') ice cream.

We had a great day and can't wait to hang again you guys, I always have a blast with them too. We're on a mission now to get our big brother Donnie down here for Thanksgiving so we can have the whole family together again for the first time in over 10 years!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Inflatable Wonderland

Today we went with some friends to Inflatable Wonderland, for half price day. The kids had a good time running off some steam. We haven't been there in forever so they really enjoyed it. Most of the pictures I took didn't turn out very well, but I got a few good ones.

It's allergy season here so David spent his work trip sick as a dog, and worked from home today, which was why we wanted to get out of Dodge. We're all starting to feel the blessed effects of Ragweed though. Gotta love Texas allergies.

Yesterday Riley had his follow up doctors appointment where we got our "official" ADHD diagnosis *SHOCK*. So, now we move forward. I'm still pretty adamant against medication, at least while he's doing well in school academically, but I just second guess myself on that decision at least 20 times a day. Who knew parenting would be so hard?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo

TX Wildlife Expo

Let me start off by saying one weekend is NOT enough time to do all the fun things they have at the Expo. This was our first year to go, and it was awesome! David is out of town for work, so I took the kids (plus Tristan) after church/Luby's and we caught the shuttle from Highland Mall, which the kids liked as much as the Expo, and so did I since it saved a ton of gas.

When you first get there, they gave out these "Outdoor Kids Challenge" cards to all the kids, with the instructions to check off two activities from each section (the sections being Recreation, Nature and History). Then turn your completed cards in as you leave and be entered into a drawing to win some cool stuff like a lifetime hunting license, camping gear for a family of 4, a fishing trip, etc. So armed with our little orange cards, we set out to do as much as possible, not knowing just how much stuff they have there to do!

We started off in the shooting range, the kids had to do a shooting orientation to learn safety rules, then they got to shoot a rifle at some targets. They also had bow and arrow, crossbow, shotgun, and muzzleloader, but we didn't make it to those.

Then we went to an area called Wildlife CSI where we learned about different kinds of "scat" (poop) and the difference between certain animal tracks, saw a lot of animal furs and skulls. We dug for dinosaur bones, went "fishing" and caught a magnetic fish and they took it to a board to identify what they caught. We went under a red tent (thus the red pictures) and saw a lot of odd fish on ice that they got to touch and hold (ick, it smelled bad!).

There was a Birds of Prey show with Hawks and Falcons, we watched part of that, then learned how to use a compass. They had cones marking certain spots and the kids had to turn the compass to a certain degree and write on the clipboard what cone they were pointing to. The got to ride a giant fake buffalo, and the boys practiced roping a fake steer while Regan checked out the horses.

Regan then ground some corn while Tristan made rope, and Riley learned about some historical artifacts. Then we met a real Buffalo Soldier and he explained to us how they came to be known as "Buffalo Soldiers" and a little about their past. They had a lot of stuffed (as in taxidermy) animals around, so of course the kids were having fun playing and posing with those.

Then we went back to the fishing area and got to fish for catfish (no luck today) and by that time it was closing time and we had a LONG walk back to the shuttle! We were exhausted but had such a great time, we've decided next year, hopefully dad will be in town and come with us, but we are going first thing on Saturday so we can spend the WHOLE day there and get more stuff done, like, plucking a game bird, scuba diving, or paddling a kayak!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Regan is Funny

That's not exactly news. But she has said some funny things the past couple of days, they made me laugh.

She doesn't like the outlet mall because it's "outside". She wants to go to the mall that's the inside mall. But I told her we were going to the outlet mall and she said, "No mom, I want to go to the INLET mall!"

Then I overheard her telling one of her friends, "When you grow up, you don't want to be a Dumb Alex, you want to be a Smart Alex!" I think she totally misses the concept of the term "smart-aleck."

Today her school had a cheer camp, and the cheerleaders taught them cheers so they can help cheer at the homecoming game next week. It took her a few minutes to warm up to it, but now she's cheering all over the place. It was so cute! They even lifted her to the top of the pyramid, and she was in heaven. I think she found her calling.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fall Break Week One

On Monday, David went to San Angelo for the night to work, and the kids had gymnastics, so afterwards, we had a picnic at the park, and played for a while. Long enough for me to realize the park where we used to walk Jake years and years ago wasn't the same, safe, family-friendly park anymore. As soon as it started getting dark, the weirdo's started coming out, so we split!

Tuesday was Brownies and Regan is now selling fall products (nuts and chocolates) to raise money for her Brownie troop, which is just hilarious to hear her sales pitch. It goes something like this..."Hi, I'm Regan, this is nuts, what would you like to buy?" She got to practice at Mimi and Papa's and it's a good thing, she's not really a salesman, but who can resist a cute little Brownie?!

Wednesday night was church and it was an awesome service!

Thursday again, not much, since I told the kids we wouldn't have any fun until they cleaned up, so they would rather not clean, and not do anything fun. Fine by me! Finally, we ran some errands in time to drop Riley off at gymnastics and for me and Regan to hit some good sales at The Children's Place!

Then on Friday, we went to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua (okay for me, the kids LOVED it, especially Regan, and of course, now she wants one, BAD). And when David got home from work we went to eat Chinese and play Putt-Putt, which was a blast, and there was a raccoon playing in the water fountain on the putt-putt course right next to us, little thing wasn't shy at all. He was so cute, just bathing away, looking right at me. The weather has been nice so it was great to be outside enjoying it, and letting the kids run around and burn off some energy! Excuse the grainy pics, but they're from my cell phone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pink for October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and most of you know that breast cancer has affected my family personally. Also, I participate in the Komen Race for the Cure and if you would like to join my race team, or just make a donation to the Komen Foundation, you can click HERE.

And don't forget to...