Thursday, July 31, 2008

So this giant mosquito walked into a ...

Sorry folks, that is all I have for a mosquito joke. It is evening and I've got nothing. So I asked my kids if they knew any mosquito jokes. My 3 year old said he did. It goes like this. "What does a mosquito do if you bite it?" he asked.
"I don't know." I said.
"Chop off your teeth!" he said and then laughed hysterically.

How he ever came up with chopping off your teeth, I'll never know.

My daughter who is 5 said, "What does a mosquito do if you take its buzz?" "What?" I asked. "Bite you!" she said, laughing just as hysterically as her brother.

Clearly, they get their unique sense of humor honestly.

To say the mosquitos are a problem here in South Texas is an understatement of gigantic proportions. Since Hurricane Dolly brought our area significant rains, we've been blessed (and I use that word with just a smidge of sarcasm) with lots of mosquitos.

I'm a little concerned to let my kids out in the backyard for fear they will be carried away by an angry horde of mosquitos, never to return home again. It reminds me of an episode I watched on Animal Planet where a bald eagle swooped into a tree and carried away an unsuspecting monkey to eat for dinner.

But I digress.

Today the kids were champions as we were out and about running errands for almost 6 hours. That is not entirely accurate. We did have lunch with the kids best friends (who happen to be brother and sister) and their mom who is a dear friend of mine. It was great to catch up with them since returning from vacation.

On a final note, we were able to get an amazing deal on an airplane ticket so my husband can go to our friends dad's funeral next week. My husband was going to go no matter what the cost, it's just that now I don't have to sell off any of my shoes to do so.

God is good.

Take care,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walking by Faith

This morning my husband got a call from one of his best friends from college to tell us his dad had passed away in the early hours of the morning. And although it wasn't entirely unexpected (he has been battling Lou Gehrig's Disease) it was nevertheless a shock. All morning I have been trying to wrap my brain around the whole concept of mans plans and God's will, bad things happening to good people, God's know, the whole nine yards.

To put it bluntly....I am never going to get it, the whole understanding God's mind part.

I'm not supposed to.

And I guess that is what I have been sensing God telling me throughout the day, that it's a faith thing. I keep thinking about the verse in 2 Cor. 5 that says, "We live by faith, not by sight." (NIV)

I mean the contrast between faith and sight is like night and day. If I made decisions on a daily basis based entirely on what I could see, I would probably never leave the house- it's a scary world out there. Or I might abandon my faith in God every time I saw bad things happen to good people, Godly people.

Contrast that with faith..."Being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Sure and certain are words of absolute confidence. That's what happens when my faith is anchored in God, completly convinced of who He is. It's the only thing that can keep me going in uncertain or questioning times.

In the end I guess I need to be ok with the fact that while on earth I may never get the answers to all the "why's". God is still who He is. What do I know for sure and have faith in? My God lives and my friend's dad is in heaven with Him tonight. For now, that's enough.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whew! Let's call this thing a wrap!

Well. It is official. We are home from vacation. There's nothing like a 1200 mile car trip on the way home from vacation to bring you back to reality.

Reality hurts.

I am so tired today. My head hurts just thinking about all the laundry I have to do.

Just for the record...all 66 stuffed animals made it home. The only casualty was my daughter's fleece blanket. But never fear, the wonderful hotel we stayed at in Oklahoma is mailing it to us.

Let me just put in a good word for Norman, Oklahoma. If ever there was a wholesome city in the U.S., it has got to be Norman, Oklahoma. Great, nice, helpful people. If it just wasn't so stinking hot there, it would be doable.

Now that I am home and no vacations are on the forseeable future, I am plunging completely into this blog. More new posts on a regular basis.

Take care,

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Road Tripping Songs, Kids Version

Here they are. Drumroll please...Our kids favorite songs from our road trip to Iowa, in no particular order.

1. Lean On Me by Mitchel Musso
2. I Don't Think About It by Emily Osment
3. Cartoons by Chris Rice
4. Billy Joe McGuffrey by Chris Rice
5. Kiss the Girl by Colbie Caillat
6. Dry Bed by Billy Bragg
7. Curly Headed Baby by Ramblin Jack Elliott
8. Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas
9. House Party Time by Dan Zanes
10. Theme song to "Phineas and Ferb"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

Today's post is going to consist of an assortment of thoughts because, to be perfectly honest, I am tired.

Why might I be tired you ask? We spent the entire day with grandma and grandpa and the cousins at Chuck E. Cheese's, Build a Bear and just for extra kicks a playland.


Now, I can't seem to think. I just have the phrase, "Where a kid can be a kid." running through my mind.

Over and over.

It is funny because this morning I was reading in Proverbs during my devotions. Can I get an amen here, because one of the wonderful things about vacation has been getting to have daily devotions. In the morning. Uninterrupted. I was in Chapter 23 and verse 5 caught my attention. Here it is in the New International Version, "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."

Then we went to Chuck E. Cheeses and the Proverb wasn't lost on me as I watched my husband's wallet sprout wings and fly away to the token machine. Cast a glance, POOF, money gone. Just like that. Spent on tokens and cheap, plastic toys.

Isn't God great to give us such vivid pictures of the scriptures coming to life?

If Just Wouldn't be Family Vacation Unless....

Sometimes you can predict what will happen on a family vacation before you even go. Certain things are just a given. Here are few of our vacation "givens" at grandma and grandpa's house, so far.

1. At least one child will get sick and vomit. This time this one came by way of our daughter and thankfully she is fine now. I believe it was motion sickness that got her.

2. The kids will consume their weight in Tang and Pringles. I only hope the kids dentist isn't reading this.

3. The baths will be few and far between. The motto is "Chlorine is your friend." I think it is keeping them semi clean.

4. We will end each night hunting for lightning bugs. This one is so much fun and is more of a tradition than just a given. I wish we had lightning bugs where we live in Texas.

5. A family vacation to grandma and grandpa's just wouldn't be complete without a trip to Chuck E Cheese's. While there, we will spend our entire budget on tokens so the kids can buy cheap plastic toys with their prize money.

That's all for today!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Basement

We made it to Iowa Sunday night with our sanity hanging on by a very thin thread.

The minute we pulled into grandma and grandpa's driveway the kids jumped out like caged birds set free. They ran inside, yelled their hello's and went to the one thing (among a thousand) that grandma and grandpa have at their house that we don't...a basement.

Now grandma and grandpa's basement, mind you, is not like any old run of the mill basement. Not hardly. Theirs is a kid wonderland of sorts full of amazing toys, gadgets, all manner of clothing and every single toy my husband had growing up and most of them in their original boxes.

Most kids think they have died and gone to heaven in the basement.

Just to give you an idea of the goods, here's a list of just a few things I saw yesterday. Mr. Potato Head, cases of tiny cars, old roller skates, various hats and sunglasses, dolls (belonging to my husband's sister), multiple bean bags, two different basketball hoops, a ping pong table, etc. Get the picture?

We probably won't see the kids all week.

Many of our kids favorite childhood memories have been made in grandma and grandpa's basement. Epic ping pong matches among the cousins, fierce hockey competition, bean bag flopping contests, NBA like basketball games and trying to chase a chipmunk out of the basement with brooms.

I am not kidding about the chipmunk. This year alone grandma and grandpa have found three chipmunks in the house. In fact, the night before we arrived, grandma and grandpa came home to find a dead chipmunk in the middle of the family room floor.

Only in Iowa people, only in Iowa.

So, here's to a week of fun basement memories and no dead chipmunks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to Iowa we go

On Saturday we left for a 10 day vacation to Iowa to visit the grandparents. Ten days sounds like a long time to be gone, but considering we are crazy enough to be driving there, the actual "vacation" time is not as long and the "trip" part is.

Here is a recap of the top 10 lessons I have learned so far on our trip, in no particular order.

1. Tejano music makes me happy. Never mind the fact that I don't have a clue what they are singing about. For all I know they could be telling me to leave my husband for the man with the mustache in Mexico. I like the music anyway.

2. The drivers side door handle breaking while stopped in San Antonio therefore causing the driver for the remainder of the trip to exit out the van door, makes our family look like we should be auditioning for the Shriners Circus.

3. Any casual mention of the word "gas" as in, "How much gas is left in the tank?" or "Should we stop for gas?" causes uncontrollable giggles from the back row of the van.

4. While in theory it seems reasonable to allow each child to bring whatever number of stuffed animals they can fit into their backpack, it is in reality not doable or practical considering they can each fit 32 stuffed animals into their backpacks making our van look like a stuffed animal machine exploded inside the minute they unzip their backpacks.

5. Our dog is really Hudini reincarnated considering she can escape from the tiniest of places quicker than a flash.

6. Mitchell Musso's version of "Lean on me" gets old after you have listened to it fourteen times in a row since the oldest child proclaimed it "The best song ever in the world. Period."

7. A child losing a tooth in the hotel room raises the whole vacation excitement level by about 10.

8. A child misplacing said tooth in the hotel bed raises the whole vacation stress level by about 10.

9. The beauty of Texas is that you can drive for almost 500 miles and still be in the great state of Texas.

10. Going on a family vacation is great. Don't take my word for it though. Here is what our oldest child wrote in his journal on day one. (by the way, he's 8):

"We have just started on are trip to Iowa. My sister was really mad because she could not get hooked in. Then we had to get ice in the cooler. Then we went to the post office. To drop off some letters to send. After that we keep on going on are trip to Iowa. Its goin to be a great trip."

There you have it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Answers to Frequestly Asked Questions About My Blog

Ok. I have to confess something right off the bat. See, if truth be told, I have never actually been asked any of the Frequently Asked Questions About My Blog. I know, it is a real shocker. However, since my blog is new, I imagine if I were to be asked any questions about my blog they might look something like the following questions. There, I got that off my chest and feel better already.

1. What is a Eurovan?
A Eurovan is a van made by Volkswagen and in my opinion is one of the coolest vehicles around. It is especially great for parents with young kids in car seats. It features backwards captain chairs and a pop up table. Here is how Wikipedia (the free encyclopedia) describes it: "The 2nd row of seats face the rear and are removable, the 3rd row converts into a bed, a folding table in the passenger area, window curtains, and a fluorescent lamp above the table."

All this to say you can ride in a Eurovan and feel like you are on a train in Europe when in reality you are on a highway somewhere in Texas headed to the HEB grocery to pick up toilet paper.

2. Do you ever get unusual stares from people when they see your van or have you ever had any unusual experiences as a result of owning this van?

Good question. Most people are simply fascinated by the van. We get a lot of "Cool!" and "Awesome!" from people when they see the inside. Also, we do get the peace sign on occasion. There is definatly a perception among people in general that those who drive VW vans are hippies. Unfortunatly I am not a hippie, although I do strive to be hip.

3. How did you come up with your blog title?

I spend a lot of time in the van driving our kids 25 minutes to school and back. Being in the van so much gives me time to think (When I am not telling the kids to quiet down or I am singing along to the Jonas Brothers with them) and it provides plenty of material from the kids and their interactions and actions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Today is my son's birthday, so to honor him I am going to take a little trip down memory lane with the help of Suzanne Vega.

About a week ago my daughter was looking around through my husband and I's CD's. She happened upon Suzanne Vega's "Solitude Standing". She put it in the CD player and within one minute I was taken back to our tiny, one bedroom apartment in the Bronx. We were living there for three years while my husband completed a medical residency in emergency medicine. Within a few months of arriving in New York in June of 1999, I found myself pregnant with our first child.

When our son was born in 2000 my husband was in his 3rd year of residency which basically meant he was gone a lot working and when he was home he needed to spend a fair amount of time with all the academic stuff. All this to say I was by myself frequently with a new baby, no extended family around and add to the mix the fact that I was incredibly sleep deprived. Oh, and did I mention our son did not sleep well? In fact, given his lack of sleeping through the night during his entire 1st year of life I am amazed at how well he sleeps now.

Most nights would find me rocking him to sleep only to have him wake up when I would attempt to lay him down in his crib. The cycle would then repeat itself.

He liked music though and in particular Suzanne Vega. I can not tell you how many nights I held him in my arms swaying around our living room listening to the song "Gypsy" over and over again until at last he would fall deeply asleep and I would lay him down in his bed and collapse in mine.

The words are beautiful and haunting and somehow summed up so many of the emotions I felt during that new and scary transition to motherhood. I will forever think of him every time I hear that song.

So, Happy 8th Birthday son. I love you so much.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

About me, the Unedited Version

Here it is, just like I promised and longer than 1200 characters. Once I am not quite so technologically challenged (like that will ever happen) I will move this post to a side bar you can click on and read.

I am sure some of you are laughing as you are reading this because it probably takes something very easy in order to do what I just suggested. Oh well, just so you know what I am working with here in regards to my non computer savvy skills, let me just say I took typing my freshman year of High School back in 1985. My teacher would play the Pointer Sisters or The Four Tops and we would then type in unison to the beat.

Try it.

Get the tune to something like, "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" by The Four Tops going strong in your head. You know the words, "Sugar pie, honey bunch. You know that I love you. Can't help myself. I want you and nobody else." Now try typing to that beat. Kind of gets you typing in a great rhythm, doesn't it?

That was typing my entire freshman year and now you know the extent of my computer education, which is to say I have none.

On that note, let's move on.

My name is Julie and I am a mom to three kids. Two boys and one girl, all in a four year period of time. My youngest baby weighed 10lbs and 2 oz at birth. If that does not earn me an extra crown in heaven, nothing will.

I have been married to my husband for almost 13 years. We met in college and he had long curly hair and drove a Volkswagen van. It was love at first sight (of him and the van). He no longer has long hair, but we do drive a Volkswagen van.

Like I said before in my profile, I am a Christian saved by God's grace. I am convinced that He loves me, in fact is wild about me, which just goes to show what an amazing God we serve considering I never thought I would truly believe that statement.

I am originally from the Midwest but have lived in Southern Texas close to the water for over two years. I love living in Texas. It give me the freedom to say "Hola!" and "ya'll" in the same sentence. Plus, it really is true, everything IS bigger in Texas...the heat, hair and humidity.

I love to read, listen to music, go to movies, take long walks, sleep and travel. Most of our travels lately have been road trips which is a blast with three kids who somehow have bladders the size of a grape once we get in the van.

I was a teacher before having kids. I taught Jr. High for a couple of years. God bless Jr. High teachers. In fact, I take back what I wrote earlier about crowns in heaven for women who birth large babies. Jr. High teachers should be the ones to earn an extra crown. I also taught 4th grade at a public school in Harlem for part of a year until I got pregnant and would need to leave the room to go vomit.

I am excited to have a blog. I have wanted to do this for a while but somehow life with three kids, one husband, a dog and fish got in the way. The way I figure it, if I stop watching "Dog the Bounty Hunter" at night I should have plenty of time to blog. Hope you enjoy.

Hot Diggity Blog!

I know what you are probably thinking. "What a corny way to start a blog."

And you are right. It is. However, I am so excited to be starting my own blog that I just could not help myself.

I hope you will stop by often and please feel free to comment. As long as they are nice comments, not mean ones. My skin is not thick enough quite yet for tough words, although my enthusiasm is high enough to cover a multitude of sins.

Stay tuned for more posts coming soon, as in just a few minutes. I can not figure out how to put a section of "about me" stuff on a side bar and not have it limited to 1200 characters. Therefore I am writing it as a post. I think I will call it, "About me, the Unedited Version". Catchy, right?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.