Monday, January 31, 2011

Still here.

Don't worry about us. We're still here, but we're trying to get our stuff together as our time together as a family becomes less and less. Eli leaves this weekend for training. I'm still in denial, or something. I might be too busy thinking about what I'm going to do while he's gone to make the most of the time that he's here.

This is my last week at Sylvan until July (maybe, we'll see), and I worked tonight, and will finish out the week on Wednesday. The new director asked me tonight if I wanted to work tomorrow night, too. I was already armed with my sarcastic reply, but somewhere in me, somewhere deep down inside, the mature Erin responded politely that I did not, that this was the last week with my husband at home and I was going to spend my free time with him.

And how do we spend our last days together? He was asleep by 8 this evening, and I'm headed to bed as soon as I brush my teeth. Yes, quality time for two exhausted, working parents.


Monday, January 24, 2011

I can't make this junk up

I haven't posted in a week, I know. We're running around crazy with our heads cut off. Eli is trying to wrap up some stuff at work before he leaves, so he's spending a lot of time at the office getting stuff done. In addition, he started his first jury trial this week. He's overwhelmed. (Pray for him, please!)

I'm not going to update with personal stories too much more (it's a time/sanity thing right now) but I had to put this next part down. This is not a reflection on my school or anyone I work with (or myself, I hope), but merely a reflection on the idiocy of preteens, which I believe is only seen in the microcosm of my particular school but can be generalized to preteens the world over.

Today is Monday.

This is the first Monday we have had school this month.

Something was bound to go wrong.

In homeroom, before I was even finished taking attendance, before EIGHT O'CLOCK in the morning, I had two boys get into a fistfight. I mean, really? On MONDAY? And it was over something really stupid that neither of them thought to come tell me about, following the whole chain of command thing. Nope. One kinda' playfully popped the other one on the chin. The second one took issue to the first and a fight ensued. See? It's always fun and games until someone gets hurt. I, of course, yelled the obligatory, "Stop!" because if we don't tell them to stop then the punishment is not nearly as severe, so I did my job, and they continued to fight, ensuring at least three days of out-of-school suspension. Then I called for the social studies teacher next door to come help, and he dragged both boys to the office. Had the fiasco stopped there, I might have survived. But I teach middle school, so it's never that easy.

No, it can never be that simple.

In the fight, when desks and belonging were being knocked around (but not people--not a single child got up out of his or her seat to vacate the area surrounding the fight! They all just leaned out of the way while continuing to sit in their desks and calmly watch...) a binder ended up on the ground, and out of it slid

a skin mag.


Like I said, I can't make this junk up. I honestly didn't know what to do, so I picked it up, touching as little of it as possible, and put it on my bookcase and put a Sport's Illustrated (no, not the Swimsuit Edition) on top of it until I could figure out what protocol was for this type of thing. We switched classes into reading and in the nanosecond that my students were in the hallway, word spread and several boys from one of the other classes who are in my reading class came in and made a beeline for my bookcase. They did not get an eyeful, however, because I knew what they were up to. I had to report this incident to my assistant principal and he came to my classroom to retrieve it and had to roll it up in the SI because the cover was that racy! Sheez.

Same students, later class: one young man brought a can of beer to school and was showing it around discreetly (I really should have been suspicious, looking back on it, because every day, without fail, this student tries to bring his backpack into my classroom when he knows full well that the rule is NO BACKPACKS, and that they are to go to their lockers first--well, today, he didn't try to bring that bag into my classroom). At one point this afternoon, so that he wouldn't get in trouble, he opened the beer and poured it out onto the carpet right in front of his locker.

That's right. Carpet.

In front of his locker.

Nobody will notice. Really.

REALLY? Are you kidding me?

When I sent my last period class to their lockers, several came back and told me that there was beer poured in the hallway. Of course I thought this strange and thought they were mistaken or overreacting, but sho nuff. The office dealt with the boy swiftly and severely, as I hope his mother will also. I think what the was most disturbing to me, though, was that my students knew for certain what they were smelling. I, on the other hand, was not as certain until the can was found (in the kid's backpack--empty, go figure--and no, I do not know why he didn't just throw it away, except to say that he's twelve or thirteen and is just not a problem solver...)

And that was my Monday adventure as a middle school teacher. The other teachers on my team joked that we just needed a flasher to complete our awesome day, but thankfully that did not happen. Oh. So. Thankfully.

Have I mentioned how much I love teaching middle school? :) (Because really I do--I get to tell the best stories...)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

E-Mealz, Revisited

We've been using E-Mealz for six months now, and I wanted to come back and give you an update as to how it has been going.

For us, this has been a great investment. Why? First, I really dislike grocery shopping, so it's nice to have a concrete list of things to buy, aisle by aisle, so that we can get in and get out quickly. Secondly, we're actually eating. Regularly. Real food prepared in my kitchen. That's a vast improvement over the past seven years. Haha. Plus, I'm still making things that are very easy to make, but I never would have thought of!

We have a subscription to the Walmart plan for two, and it really has been enough to feed us plus a toddler. Leftovers, when stored in individual containers get eaten as lunch the next day, or dinner for the toddler the next night. We really have saved money doing it like this. I'm amazed.

We've also learned to tweak some of the meals to suit us. For instance, we don't eat bread with our meals enough to warrant making a side of cornbread or buying fresh rolls. Now, it's a different story when it comes to frozen Sister Schubert rolls (YUM!), which we can keep frozen and bake as necessary. We also buy a bag of frozen chicken breasts instead of paying more for fresh. It costs a little more but lasts longer so is better for the budget. And, of course, Eli has this really expensive hobby called hunting. But, the expense is worth it if he kills a deer and we have a freezer stocked with ground meat and various steaks and sausages to work with for a whole year. Rarely do we buy anything but chicken. And rarely do we buy fish, since my coastal-native husband has a rule of thumb about eating seafood away from a sea [that is, he doesn't]. Plus, he'd much rather catch his own fish, but that's neither here nor there.

What has also helped is that our neighbors frequently invite us over for dinner, so that's one less meal we eat a week. Have I mentioned that I love our neighbors? She's a really good cook! Haha.

We just renewed our subscription to E-Mealz for another three months, and I plan to use it even when Eli is gone to training so that I will eat, and will have leftovers for lunch.

So, if you're interested in looking up any information, click the button below (there are referral perks for me!). And if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

5 Months and 1 Day of O

I'm really glad now that I didn't get to post about O yesterday. Why? Well, because yesterday I would have written about how he hadn't rolled over back to front yet and how I have just accepted (for the umpteenth time) that he doesn't have to do everything that E did when E did them. (She was rolling by 4 months.)

Tonight, I was doing the dishes and I put O on the carpet in the living room in a swaddle. He wiggled his arms out and then, half-swaddled, just rolled over. He just did it. It was crazy.

But, of course, he wouldn't do it again once I got out the video camera. Darn thing, scaring the children.

So. Five months. I don't remember what I said about him last month, so I'll just tell you that I love this little boy. His laugh, his guffaw. He is soooo adorable. He's a drool monster still, no teeth. He started drooling a full month before Elsie ever did (he started at three months, she started at four), and he goes through several bibs in a day, soaking the fronts of his clothes. He reaches for stuff that he wants, but is still working on his gross motor skills so there's a lot of flailing involved.

Something very different about him is that he still loves to be swaddled. And he hasn't slept through the night for a while. Here's hoping??

I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but Eli will be gone from the beginning of February to the beginning of May. Then he'll be home a week or two, turn around and go back to finish his training for the National Guard. Tonight as I was cleaning up the living room (maintaining, if you will), I had flashbacks to sleep training Elsie. Man, I do NOT want to go through that again by myself, but if I don't do it early enough, O may not end up being a good sleeper like E is. Bah. Suckarooski.

And, on that note, will you let me know if you or someone you know in my neck of the woods is trying to get rid of a twin mattress set? And a dresser? We've waffled about the toddler bed and I think we've just decided to go with the twin bed set-up for Elsie. The intermediary choice just seems pointless.


Friday, January 7, 2011

20 Months

I think I probably need to start planning a birthday party for a two year old!! I at least need to think about it, anyway. Time is flying by, and both children are getting soooo big!

E & O just finished up their first week at the same caretaker. Elsie loves being around all the other babies. I think she especially loves that those babies have names, and is particularly proud to have some sort of ownership of Oscar.

Her hair is getting long and I have no idea what to do with it. I know that if I cut the curls out of it, they may never come back, so I'm going to leave them for the duration. But, her hair is so thin, like mine, that it doesn't make a very good ponytail. I could put a clip in her hair to keep her bangs out of her eyes, but she hates having anything in her hair so it's almost pointless. Since the air is so dry, she spends a lot of time looking like she has her hand on a Van de Graaf generator. I keep an unscented Bounce dryer sheet laying around to rub on her head whenever it gets bad. :)

That's all I can think of for now.


Monday, January 3, 2011

There and Back Again

While Eli would have probably titled this post "Self-Inflicted Torture", the title I chose is the subtitle of The Hobbit, a book that is painful to read because Bilbo Baggins makes this treacherous journey, and then when he accomplishes his goal goes home, but instead of Tolkein magically transporting this poor hobbit back home and ending the story, the readers have to trudge all the way back the way he came, following his travels. It's painful.

As the author of this blog (which may also be a prelude, in its own right, to some epic tale), I will not do that to you. So, here's the really big nutshell, summing up our Christmas adventures:

We spent a quiet Christmas day at home, and even spent a little time next door with the neighbors and their extended family. Elsie got her Police Car, and Oscar got something fun to chew on. On Boxing Day, we drove down to Mobile and celebrated Christmas with the Beaver clan.

Then, the next morning, we got in the car and started the long drive to Texas. We didn't know if we would make it in one day, so planned to possibly take two days to drive, but we made it. We did take one long stop in Bossier City, LA, to take advantage of a $15 jeans sale at Old Navy. Elsie got a bouncy ball from the giant Beaver brand gumball machine and chased the ball around the store while Eli tried on jeans.

It was nice to spend some time with my family. I appreciated the extra day there to keep from feeling like it was a whirlwind visit.

On Wednesday of that week, Eli, O & I made the long drive to Houston for the Texas Bowl (Baylor vs. Illinois). On the way we stopped at Buc-ee's and got some Beaver Nuggets and Buc-ee t-shirts (Power to the Beaver!).

Baylor bit it. BUT, on the bright side, I did get to see some of my college friends that I haven't seen in six or seven years. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with M & E and talking the whole game (I don't actually go to football games for football--heaven forbid--and never have!). It was great to see CM and DJ and R&P and SE and KE and well, even PC, really. Then, as a final surprise, TGJ had my cell phone number and she came over to see me. Like I said, I had a fabulous time. And Oscar was a doll for the whole game, and pretty much for the ride to and from Houston, because yes, we turned around and drove right back to Crowley. (Yes, we're crazy, and it suits us just fine.)

Thursday, Eli, my dad and Nephew went to the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. I spent the morning with my friend E and her daughter. And in the afternoon I spent the afternoon with Stacey and Niece at the studio. We tried a painting craft with Elsie, but, well, toddlers and paint are not really compatible, so we did the best we could. Mom and Dad took everyone out for fajitas, and when we got back the cockatiel laid an egg. Weird.

So, we got in the car the next morning to drive back before the new year, but got caught up in bad weather and ended up getting a hotel room in Tuscaloosa (so close, yet so far!) before driving home on New Year's Day. I was the only one to greet the New Year, because Eli and Elsie were asleep. I was about to close my eyes when Oscar woke up to eat. After he went back to sleep, I was still awake for a little while. Happy 2011 to me!

Really, the kids were actually pretty good in the car for the whole journey to and from TX. It could have been much, much worse, so I count my blessings where I can get them. It was great to get off of the road, finally, and be in my own home in my own bed, which is where I'm going now.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Decade

Crazy. With the turn of the year, it has been almost a decade--A DECADE!!!--since I graduated from college. I just can't believe it. So, to usher in the new decade, I have some new goals for my year. Resolutions, maybe. Hopes, dreams, desires, yes.

1. Take more pictures. Of us, of the kids. Oh, and also print off some of those pictures and not just let them sit in digital purgatory.

2. Go on more dates with Eli, or at least set aside a "date night" that will be screen-free (i.e., no phones, no computers, no televisions).

3. Stick to the budget; pay off our credit cards; pay down our other debt. We're down to credit cards, Eli's student loans, and our mortgage. I sure would like to end this year with only student loans and the mortgage.

4. Get a household management routine in place, even if it's not perfect. This would include housework, yard work, laundry, cooking, etc. This will start/continue with FLY Lady (

5. Minimize. Get rid of my piles, my junk, and anything that I don't just LOVE. I think I'm going to try to use the 52 missions from

6. Pray for my family, by name, daily. (Attributed originally to AAH's resolutions--what a great challenge.) Pray more, pray often, pray with my husband and children at times other than meals. Use my Power of a Praying Parent prayer calendar.

7. Run. Or do SOMETHING for exercise. I miss running, but it requires kid-free time and motivation. I don't have much of either.

8. Read more, craft more, bake more, have more intellectual/creative pursuits in general. I need the outlet.

9. Get my junk together at work. I love my job. I need to make sure I keep it.

10. Spend more time with friends. Friends are important. It's too easy to get caught up in the tedium of being a working wife/mother. I could (and do) fill my days doing things for others, but I need a place where I can just be me, however boring I'm turning out to be, haha, and can relax and shoot the proverbial breeze with the girls (or have some of those creative pursuits mentioned in #8).

So that's the plan for the year. We'll see how it goes!

Next time, I'll tell you about our holiday travel adventures. Mwahahahaha.