Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We're in Lafayette for a few days of family fun and togetherness. It's so nice being back "home" where the pace of life is slower. There's no pressure to get things done, and almost no responsibility, beside taking care of the kids. It's nice to do this every so often and recharge. I have my parents and sister to help with Zoe, and I appreciate it so much since I don't have them around very often.

We arrived on Saturday after a nice drive here. We took both cars, since Darren has to work tomorrow and will be heading home later today. Zoe rode with me, and she slept almost the whole way. I enjoyed listening to the radio, and not having anyone talking my head off. Mom had dinner ready for us, then Darren and I went to get coffee and walk around a new area near Mom and Dad's house.

Sunday, we hung out in our jammies in the morning, then Mom and Dad took Zach to the airport to pick up Natalie and Kevin. We were able to spend a little while with them before taking the kids and heading to Darren's sister Erin's house in Maurice. There were gathered Erin, her husband, son and daughter, Darren's mom and stepdad, Darren's sister Kathleen, Darren's brother Sean and his family, his aunts Myrtle and Bea, Uncle Rick, cousin Pam, and her sons. We had a very enjoyable afternoon catching up with everyone, then all left to go to Acadian Village in Lafayette to see the Christmas lights there. We met my parents and Natalie and Kevin there, but they left when we arrived. They took Zoe with them, which was nice. We were able to walk around and look at the lights, and take Zach on as many rides as he wanted. It was cold and muddy, and we all had enough after a couple of hours.

Yesterday, Natalie and I headed to Target for some last-minute shopping. It's a family tradition to brave the crowds on Christmas Eve for all of those stocking stuffers that I didn't think we needed, but Natalie insists on. Afterward, Mom, Dad, and Natalie headed to church while Zoe and I napped on the couch. I woke up, and Kevin and I made homemade macaroni and cheese, cooked a ham, and baked a cake. We all had dinner together, and Zachary kept asking when he could go to bed so that it would be Christmas sooner. It was really cute! We also tracked Santa on the NORAD website all evening. Dad took Darren, the kids and me to ride around and look at lights. We didn't make it very far; we ended up at the home of my parents' former next-door neighbors. They were waiting for their daughter and her family to come over to exchange gifts, so we waited with them so we could meet Jenny's daughter Stella. After we left their house, Mom called and sent us on a quest for a candy thermometer. The only businesses still open were a couple of drugstores, but we struck out at both. We came home, put the kids to bed, then the adults began assembling the Santa presents. That took until after midnight, and we all promptly crashed. Zoe slept in her carseat from 9:00 last night until 4:00 this morning, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Zach woke everyone up at 7:00 this morning to annouce that Santa Claus had come. We all stubled into the living room, where we opened our stockings and tried to wake up. We were able to postpone opening gifts until 9:00, while everyone got dressed. It took us over an hour to unwrap everything, then Darren cooked breakfast tacos for everyone. Afterward, Zoe and I took a nap until 1:00. She is not sleeping well during the day unless someone sleeps with her, and I am all too happy to oblige!

Now, Mom and Dad are cooking steak for lunch, and Zach is trying to convince everyone to play with him. I guess Darren will head back to Houston after we eat, and I might try to drag someone out to go and take pictures around Lafayette. Tomorrow, we are heading to New Orleans for the day, and I think I am taking Natalie to register for her baby things on Thursday. It will be a nice week!

Friday, December 21, 2007

So Many Stories, So Little Sleep

I have been meaning to post since last weekend, but there hasn't been a stretch of time for me to collect my thoughts and write. I have been busier than ever, and now, we are leaving to go to Louisiana tomorrow for Christmas. The only thing I have accomplished is wrapping all of the gifts; I haven't packed or straightened up the house. At least all of the clothes are clean...I am getting up at 6:00 in hopes of being ready to leave at 9:15. Wish me luck!

I left Zoe with the babysitter for a couple of hours last Friday so I could go to school. I cried like a baby the whole time I was away from her, and even after I picked her up. It was bad! At least I got it out of my system, for now. We'll see what happens when I go back for good on January 2nd. Maybe I'll win the lottery between now and then.

My parents came in last weekend and we had a good time with them. We went to Pappadeaux Friday night, and did some shopping on Saturday. Darren, Mom, Zoe and I braved the crowds to finish our shopping for Zach for Christmas. Afterward, we went and picked up Zach and Dad, and went down to REI to pick out my bike that Darren is giving me for Christmas. We went home for a while, then headed to Galveston. We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, then went to Moody Gardens. We saw the Polar Express in 3-D. That was really cool, but Darren and I missed the middle of the movie. I was so excited that we were able to take Zoe to a movie, then she had a nasty blowout diaper in the really dark movie theater. That was quite an adventure, getting her cleaned up without spreading it everywhere. I did get to wear baby poop on my arm and leg for the rest of the evening.

After the movie, we went to walk through the Festival of Lights. It was supposedly 55 degrees outside, but I think it was 20 degrees colder with the windchill factor. The wind was blowing so hard that my forehead was frozen, and my mom and I were laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of the situation. We ditched the lights about a third of the way through the walk, and headed home.

OK, I'm too tired to finish this post, so I'll write more later. Good night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Less Than a Week to Go!

I am going to try to focus on the positives about going back to work. My kids are going to be well taken care of, I will get to socialize with grown-ups, I will be making money again, and my kids will be happy to have me back. There, now that I've said that, I can return to my self-pitying state that I am currently in. My time will be dictated for me, Zach will have to go to after-school care and Zoe to a babysitter, and our time together will be much shorter. It's not forever, but it sure feels like it.

We've been doing a lot of holiday-related things together as a family for the past few days, and it's been a lot of fun. Saturday was hectic beyond belief; we had Breakfast with Santa at Zach's school, then we went out to breakfast, since there wasn't much left by the time we got to school. Zach enjoyed seeing his school friends, making crafts, and taking a picture with Santa. Afterward, we went home, and a man came to install our new AT&T U-Verse cable and internet. He spent over five hours at our house, and we now have more channels than we could ever possibly watch. We even have the Horse-Racing Network! How did I ever live without that? While that was going on, I went and had a greatly-needed massage and haircut. What is sad is that the therapist spent most of the hour working on my left shoulder, and wasn't able to relieve the tension. I need to go back and have another massage, or maybe quit holding a baby all the time. I think I'll choose another massage. I also got my first haircut since April, and it doesn't look very different. After that, I swung by the house, picked up Zach, and took him to a skating party. I went home for an hour, fed Zoe, then went to pick Zach up. We stopped and picked up a pizza on the way home, then spent the evening in front of our TV. My friend Jen came over to borrow a gingerbread man cookie cutter, and I ended up making icing for her. She did take a video of my kids, so I guess I shouldn't complain!

Sunday, we sat around until almost 2:30, then left the house to go and look for a new receiver for our TV. We ended up buying one, then went and parked at HEB. We caught a trolley there that took us along the Woodlands Waterway to the mall, where we bought a couple of Christmas presents. We decided to walk back to Market Street, and took a detour to look at the lights around the ice-skating rink and to eat dinner at La Madeleine. After all of that, we trudged through the aisles of HEB to get our greatly-needed groceries.

Yesterday, my parents' best friends came to Houston, and they came over for a couple of hours to visit. It's always so nice to see people from "home", and they are like second parents to me. I wish we could see them more often, but they have a second house in New Hampshire, and spend a lot of time there.

My plans for the rest of the week include finishing my Christmas cards, wrapping presents, getting some of my baking done, and trying to keep the house clean. Maybe I'll even have time to sit down and read. We'll see. I go back to work for three action-packed days next week, then we are headed to Louisiana on the 22nd for Christmas. Darren has to work on the 26th, but I want to stay longer, so we'll probably go in two cars. I have a lot to get done before then!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Adventure

The Sweet Life of Zach and Zoe

Here is a video that my friend Jennifer took of my kids. I am horrible about videotaping, so she took matters into her own hands. Thanks, Jen!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Moving Right Along

It seems like time has sped up significantly for me in the past few days. I am sure it has something to do with the fact that I go back to work all too soon, and the need that I feel to finish my Christmas preparations before then. I also have all sorts of other projects that I really want to get done, but I need a dose of realism. Do I regret not getting these things done? No, I don't. I'm just thankful that I have accomplished some things besides being an unshowered, babbling idiot until Darren gets home in the evening. I manage to get dressed every day, take care of Zoe, usually leave the house, get Zach off the bus in the afternoon, and take care of his homework. I am trying really hard to savor every moment that I have at home with the kids right now, because that memory is going to need to get me to June 6th. Sure, I'll have the weekends and school breaks, but it's not the same.

I hate Comcast! We just lost our Internet connection, so I am currently connected to a neighbor. It just lost the rest of my post, and I am sure it was Pulitzer Prize-worthy writing. I have a baby who needs attention; maybe I'll be able to recover the rest of the post, but I doubt it. Bummer.