Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

Saturday night Hubs and I took the leap; we bit the bullet; we took the bull by the horns; we, well, we put Cavan to sleep in his own bed in the room he (has since) been sharing with Cullen.

It was bliss. Except there wasn't much difference, since he's been sleeping through the night for quite a while now. I usually have to wake him up after nine or ten hours, because that's about as long as I can go without my chest exploding. Sorry, men, but there it is. But I was excited to have my closet go back to being just a closet.

But it's been nice. We've been putting Cullen in bed, then Cavan joins him (albeit in his own bed) after his last feeding of the day. It's usually after 11:00. Then, one or the other, usually Cavan, wakes them both up the next morning. The first night it wasn't until around 9:30. The next, it was 8:30, which is still a respectable time.

Sunday night we (stupidly) remarked that this whole "moving Cavan into his room at night" thing has gone considerably smoother than we thought it would.

Do you know what's coming?

Of course you do.

This morning, he decided 4 was a good time to wake up. He hasn't woken up before 8 or 9 since I-don't-even-remember-when. Even in a San Antonio hotel he slept six or seven hours the first night, and then almost ten the next. So this morning he starts talking to himself (I have the baby monitor next to the bed), which is something "the book*" says all babies do, but should go back to sleep if you let them. Cullen and Christian both did. Cavan decided he wanted some company, though. He just kept talking away, so after about 30 minutes I turned the monitor off.

Now, before you get your knickers in a knot, understand that 1. he wasn't crying; he was "uhhhhhhh"-ing, 2. he ate until almost midnight, 3. he usually goes double that length of time at night. After all that, you'll probably reach the same conclusion I did: he wasn't hungry; he just woke up during the night in a semi-new place, and wanted his mommy. Unfortunately, his mommy was dead to the world.

About an hour later I jolted awake, and realized the monitor was still off. I turned it back on, and all was quiet.

Hubs' alarm went off 6:30, and he got up and took a shower. An hour later, simulaneously two things happened: hubs opened the bedroom door carrying a squalling baby, and I heard Cullen fussing through the monitor. Chubs had woken up again, but this time he wasn't going to be put off.

I fed him. Cullen went back to sleep. Hubs left for work. Chubs fell asleep on the ta-ta, again. I put him back to bed, in my closet. I went back to sleep.

It's now noon, and I'm about to go wake up Chubs and feed him again, the little trickster.

When will we ever learn?

You don't mention when things with babies begin to feel like a nice, happy routine!

Because, sure enough, they'll mix it up on you. Usually in the middle of the night.

* "The book," is the book I used to sleep-train all three. It's called, "On Becoming Babywise," and it teaches you how to train babies to sleep through the night. It has worked with all three of mine. At two weeks, I was waking Christian up after seven or eight hours. With Cullen, it was about that time frame, mabye three weeks. Cavan was about the same, too. Most Babywise babies will do it around 6 weeks. I think the statistics are 80%. Just FYI.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Alligator Cake

This was for my cousin's son's birthday. Obviously, it was an alligator-themed party. I wasn't crazy with how this cake turned out. It just didn't live up to what I pictured in my mind. I don't like the color green I used for the grass, or the overall green. I painted grass on the cake, then applied cut-out (kind of 3-D) grass over that, textured it, and painted on top of that, too. Clear as mud, I'm sure. Basically, I spent way too much time on the grass.

This glittery "Happy Birthday Jakob" banner isn't how I wanted it, either, but it got the point across. It was my first time using this edible glitter, and I thought it was going to be more transparent. It wasn't, so I had to brush away all the glitter from the letters. It ended up looking cluttered.

The lake/pond looked so much better in my mind. I just don't like the way it turned out. But I do like the floating, relaxing gator in the middle. He's pretty cute.

I also like the little orange frog. Except he was too heavy once I put him on the lily pad, and it kept tilting down into the water.

I also brushed green powder all over the base. I'm probably the only person that realized it.
This cake weighed a TON!
Let's break it down:
3 pounds flour
3 pounds sugar
2 pounds butter
1/2 gallon milk (don't know weight)
2 dozen eggs (don't know weight)
3 pounds strawberries
1 pound buttercream (approximately)
5+ pounds fondant
little bit of salt, baking powder, vanilla, other stuff
So I'm thinking this cake was over 20 pounds! Can you believe that???
Flour, sugar and butter weighs this much?
All I know is that it looked okay and tasted okay, and there was a lot left over. It was HUGE. Three twelve-by-twelve layers, with strawberries in between.

Dangit. Now I'm wanting some more cake.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What A Day!

(I wrote this a couple days ago, late, late, late at night. Forgive the rabbit trails.)

This day was far different from how I pictured it when I woke up this morning. Hubs went to work, but planned to take the afternoon off.

My FIL left yesterday to go to work near the Mexico border. He'll be gone anywhere from four to six weeks. Since it's been so hot and dry, there is NO GRASS. His cows need something to eat, so Hubs found some hay and was planning to pick it up and take it to his parents' house for them.

I got the kids dressed and ready, and once Hubs got home and changed, we were off.

It was another super-hot, dry day, with temperatures at 100. We drove to the next county over and found the place where the hay was located. Hubs had asked for eight bales, and they loaded them for us.

Cullen had fallen asleep in the truck, but once the first bale landed on the trailer, the whole truck shook. The back tires skidded sideways; that one bale weighed nearly 1,000 pounds. The motion woke Cullen up, and he started crying for Daddy. I got him and Christian out and we all stood around watching bale after bale pile up on the trailer.

Dear Lord, was it ever hot. I was out of the truck for about 10 minutes, and felt the tops of my feet burning.

After the last bale was on, Hubs secured them all to the trailer, and we headed for his parents' house. Our heavy-duty 3/4 ton truck seemed to be struggling, though. Hubs was taking it easy, going around 50 mph and avoiding the overpasses on the highways. The temperature gauge was beginning to inch to the right, so we stopped at a truck stop and filled up and hosed down the radiator. It brought the engine temp back to cool, so we took off again.

Not too far down the highway it started to warm up again. Hubs pulled off the highway and onto a feeder road, and found the one patch of shade to be seen. He got out to open the hood and I turned the air conditioning lower. Just as I did, I heard a sickening sound. I quickly turned the A/C off just as Hubs ran to the driver's door. He reached in and turned the engine off as we listened to it gurgle and hiss. It was over for hauling hay, and we were at least 35 minutes from town, and almost an hour away from his parents' house.

He started calling every one he could think of with a heavy-duty truck that would be capable of hauling such a heavy load in this heat.

I got the baby out to feed him. I didn't want him trapped in his carseat in a truck with no air-conditioning when it's 100 degrees outside. Christian and Cullen quickly began to get restless, so I gave them the snack bag I had the forsight to pack, and let them go to town on it.

Hubs called his mom at work, and asked her to come pick up the kids. Hubs and I would stay with the trailer until help arrived, but we really wanted the kids (especially the baby) out of the heat.

Even though she stopped to pick up cold bottled water for us, and several gallons for the truck, she arrived maybe 20 minutes later. Maybe. Thanks to her pride and joy:

That's a Shelby Mustang GT. Or a Mustang Shelby GT. Or a GT Shelby Mustang. But it's got to be one of those. Carol Shelby even signed the glove compartment for them... but I digress. I told her there must have been a MIL-shaped hole in the wall of her office, and the smoke was still hanging over her parking space. She heard: "stuck, grandbabies, hot," and took off. ;) That car can move.

Hubs' cousin Kody quickly showed up with his truck. We disconnected to the trailer; he connected to it, and we headed for home. By the time we got to our house, Kody's truck was also overheating. He had to drive (he deserves a medal for this) with the heater on. In 100 degree heat.

We got home and Kody took our truck and Hubs drove Kody's truck out to his parents' after it had cooled off a bit. I took a cold shower, put on dry clothes, and headed out there to get the kids.

Hubs unloaded the hay while MIL bathed the kids and I fed the baby.

We came home and got everybody's teeth brushed and put all the babies in bed. Hubs went to get in the shower, at last. He stood in the door and said, "Ummmm, there's no water."

[Head smack to the forehead] That's right. Our utility district had sent out a note (I had read it that morning) that the water would be off from 11:00 pm until 2:00 am to repair a line. It was 11:04.

This was sooooo not the day I envisioned.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So We Need Some Rain...

Earlier this week, Hubs came home from work, and mentioned there was a grass fire burning across the highway that leads to our neighborhood. It's been so dry here. We've only had 6 inches of rain this year, and more than two weeks of triple-digit-temp days. Definitely desert conditions. There's been a burn-ban in effect for quite some time. Apparently some Union Pacific Railroad employees were doing some work, and a spark set off the fire. We weren't worried, since it was across the highway, although we could smell smoke.

Just minutes after Hubs got home there was a knock at the door. Our across-the-street-neighbor's mother was at the door, needing to borrow our phone. She was supposed to pick up her grandchildren, but the daycare is located across the street from the fire, and was evacuated. She didn't know where the kids were. It was a frightening time. She found out they'd been taken to Christian's elementary school, which is also across the highway from the fire. Not a great plan, if you ask me. Which no one did.

Hubs changed out of his uniform and turned on the sprinklers. Then he took off to check the status of the fire. He said he'd be right back. An hour later, he came home, reeking of smoke. By this time, our house was full of it, too.

The fire had jumped five lanes, and was heading for our neighborhood.

The fire burned right up to the backyard of the houses two streets over from us, before the fire departments got it out. Our county commissioner had this strip dozed to try to keep it out of the backyards.

It burned a huge section of land behind that street, and next to our neighborhood pool, convenience store and hamburger place, as well as many acres across the highway.

Our house smelled like smoke for a couple days, even though we all washed our hair and clothes that night.

Jesus, Bring the Rain.

Never a more fitting time for that song, eh?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Have You Seen This?

Cavan is way too lazy for any of this. Maybe in another month or two he'll be ready to start lessons. You know, once he can hold his head up on his own.

And then there was the Fourth of July... so what if I'm a little late with the pics?

Sassy! This girl is just too darn beautiful. I dressed all five of us in red, white and blue, and the second we get to Aunt Laura's (who lives on the lake) Christian runs to change into her swimsuit. So this is one of two pics I got of her before she changed.

I kept telling him to be still and smile, but apparently what he heard was, "Squat down, put your hands on your knees and look confused."

Wow. Am I going to have to lock her up in a few years, or what? There was a little boy there, and he gave her a note (!!!) with a heart on it (!!!) that said, "Your my frand." Awwwwww. Hubs wanted to find the kid and whoop him.

He has this uncanny ability to look sweet and innocent. Which he is so NOT.

Chubs didn't get in any pics. He was wearing a onesie that said, "100% Hunk," or something like that. Should have said, "100% Hunk of Beefy Baby Rolls." Or something like that.

He spent the day napping in the arms of various family members.

He didn't complain.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Family Vacation

A couple weeks ago we went to San Antonio for three days. Which was more than enough time spent in a hotel room with an infant, a toddler, and a young child.

Oh, the joys of family vacations. Good times. Good times.

We did significantly less than any of us wanted to do, but that's to be expected with a nursing infant and a toddler who becomes super grumpy every time the wind changes direction. But the good news is that all three kids made it home safe and sound. There were a few times we were tempted to leave them on the Riverwalk with a sign that read, "FREE!" but we couldn't find a marker.

Oh, I kid. Or not.

Anyway, a photographic journey of our, um, journey:

First stop was the Buckhorn Saloon, which, let me tell you, is THE place to go in San Antonio. Forget the Alamo, nosirree. The Buckhorn Saloon is a must-see.

There is all manner of stuffed carcass and whathaveyou.

"Whathaveyou" being an old western town, complete with blacksmith shop and realistic sound effects. Which makes your kids ask you 2,496 times, "But what's making that noise?"

Right now, Cullen is trying to locate the barking dog. Another realistic sound effect that goes off every time someone steps near that barrel that other kid is fascinated by.

Although, this was nice. It's an old-fashioned jail. So we put him in there. "Better get used to those bars, kid."

Name that movie.

Then Christian bellied up to the bar so Hubs could pretend to pour her a drink out of one of the many cemented-down bottles. Note the period-appropriate porcelain pedestal sink in the corner.

Christian was sure she could figure out how to get a root beer herself, since Daddy obviously had no clue what he was doing back there.

Here, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are patiently waiting for us to quit photographing every. stinkin. piece. of touristy-western crap memorabilia in the place.

The Buckhorn Saloon is on the cutting-edge of pop culture. Christian wanted to get her picture taken with "The Guy on the Horse in Night at the Museum." Otherwise known as Teddy Roosevelt.

Looky! More stuffy carcasses! Or is it carcassi?

Then there's Dexter, the Capuchin Monkey, also from Night at the Museum.

The Buckhorn is actually five museums in one. There's the horn and antler collection, reputed to be the largest in the world (!!!); a wax museum of Texas history (double !!!); the Texas Ranger museum (okay, all sarcasm aside, this would have been quite interesting, had I been able to view it. Unfortunately, I was chasing Thing 1 and Thing 2 and reminding them that we were in a museum, and a museum is not a place to chase, wrestle and scream.); there's also the aquatic reef (stuffed, of course); and... something else. But it was quite good, I'm sure.

After that riveting adventure, we walked across the street to the Children's Museum. Here, Christian has encased herself inside a giant soap bubble. She and I actually got in there together, and got the bubble all the way up over my head. Cullen was crying in the stroller.

This is a nail sculpture of Christian's and my butt. Mine's the little one.

Cullen decided to stop throwing a hissy fit and play with all the cool stuff we don't have at home. Like toothbrushes. And teeth.

Then Christian milked "Alamoo," the museum's water-lactating cow. Does water-lactating make sense? Since "lact" means "milk," I'm not sure that's accurate. I'll get back to you on that. But dude! That cow gave water instead of milk!

And then Cullen had to ride it.

You probably can't tell from the picture, but Christian is yelling at Cullen to put it down! And to stop doing that! And that she had it first! And that she was going to tell Mom! Who, by the way, could have cared less at this point, and just kept standing there taking pictures.

Our last day in SA was rather hurried, as we tried to pack up all the junk we had stuffed into a tiny hotel room. We had a VERY short visit with my friend, M'lissa, on our way out of town. I haven't seen her in quite some time. I had forgotten how much I love being around her. She is so freaking funny. It wasn't near enough time spent with her, but luckily she doesn't live that far away.

Here is Christian with M'lissa's daughter, Ashley. Also known as Christian's best friend that day.

One of these days I'll call Hubs from the road, telling him I'm on my way to M'lissa's house, and to please get Cullen off the roof, give Christian something to eat, and change the baby because he has a poopy diaper.

Or not.

I can dream though. Right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Wanna See the UGLIEST. CAKE. EVER?

It's a face only a mother could love. Unfortunately, this mother DOES NOT.

He's been on a shelf, wrapped in 382 layers of Glad press-n-seal wrap, since last September. I made him the week before Hurricane Ike hit Galveston. I went to a class to make him, and the instructor came here from England to teach.
I remember asking her what she would do if the hurricane headed for Houston, since at that time it was pretty far out in the Gulf.
She looked a little nervous, but said, "Do you think it might?"
Turns out, it did hit Galveston while she was still here. She said she watched through her hotel window, and saw it coming up I-45. The hotel ended up losing power and water, and basically kicked all the guests out. One of the organizers of the classes let her sleep on the floor of their camper, and ended up driving her to Dallas so she could catch a return flight to England. She was scheduled to teach in Germany just days after Ike hit, and really needed to get home.
Anyway, I got this grotesque thing down the other day, took his picture, then dumped him in the trash. His tongue was actually pink when I made him. It's faded to almost white. I don't know why, but his head has a bump that wasn't there last year.

Poor, ugly little dog. I named him Cujo.
I'll post a picture of my latest cake soon. Just to restore faith to both of my readers that they don't all look this ugly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

He's a Happy Baby

He does this all the time. Just laughs and smiles and giggles. He's shaking because I'm tickling his chest. Usually he laughs and smiles when you take off his diaper... doesn't bode well for the future, I'm afraid.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

He's Just a Fat Little Baby

Does anybody else remember that old Amy Grant song? Cavan makes me think of it quite often! Here he is, awaiting his lotion after a bath. I wish you could smell through the 'pooter (as Cullen calls it), because this baby smells DEE-LISH-US!

Hubs wrapped him in Christian's old pink baby towel, and just to push his buttons, I had to take a picture of it. Especially since he ripped off the bow I put in his hair last week before I took a picture of that. But dang, this boy would have been a cute girl!

Can you guess what this is?

Does this help?

Okay, fine. Here's the whole thing.

This baby got some rolls, yo.

Yummy. Fat little baby rolls. Life is good.