Saturday, December 31

Happy 2012!!

 It's a little bit after 10:30 p.m. on the last day of the year 2011. I'm not at all sorry to see this year go away. In fact, I'm beyond giddy that 2012 is a fresh slate. Of course, I know that all things involved in 2011 are not just erased, or discounted, because of a new year. But I truly appreciate the feeling of freshness that comes with a January.
Random Digression: I've got an hour and 15 minutes now to wait, and I suppose I'll just find another movie to watch until then (Prince of Persia. I do not understand why I enjoy this movie so much). Also, I can't believe how warm it is in my house right now. It's supposed to be much cooler the rest of the week, including tomorrow. I honestly can't wait for those particular temperatures. I'd rather be in cold weather than this warm, mild humidity. Don't ask me why I'm living here since I know straight up that I'm going to hate the weather here; currently, I have no idea.

Brian and Sydney and I dismantled the Christmas tree this afternoon. It was a real shame to do it though, as it still smelled so good. But you know, I get to that moment, shortly after Christmas, when I'm just done having all the Christmas decorations and accoutrement around the house. The tree and the outdoor lights (which we took down last night) are the first to go. As for the rest of the decorations, they'll be put back into boxes on Monday. I am looking forward to the normalcy around the house.
I think, to celebrate the New Year, I shall pop open my cheap champagne from the grocery store, have a few sips from one of my Waterford wedding flutes, and eat a brownie. Or two. Two perfectly symmetrical brownies. See? Smarter.

Friday, December 30

New mantra: BE SMARTER

So, I've decided on my major, A-number one, New Year's Resolution. And it came to me pretty organically, too. It's not hard, when I look back at the past year, to see that some major things went down that didn't necessarily have to go down the way they did. So this year's resolution: Be Smarter.
Brian thought that was a little too vague a resolution, but I think it pretty much encompasses everything that was wrong with 2011. I feel like so many things would have been less complicated, less of a hassle, and smoother, had I been smarter this year. When heading into 2012, I need to collect more information, spend more time considering all the possible pros and cons of an action, and to look at what I'm doing. I don't consider "smarter" as being more intelligent in the purely cerebral sense, but more in the manner of consideration prior to action.
I can count on both hands and feet how many things went wrong this year. Chief among them being our move out of the house and into the apartment in March, picking the apartment we did, and not having all the information before moving 1,000 miles away to Texas. (Given 2011 over again, I'd do a whole lot different.)
A perfect example from just this month: our health insurance. I was given the options from Brian's employer, and, even though I didn't like the plan, or the cost of it, I signed us up. Having done that, and then having lunch with Treva, who said, "Try the other companies and check their individual policies," I changed my mind on Brian's employer's insurance plan. Now, with more information, I was able to tackle our health insurance again, and find a plan I prefer for about $400 less per month. But again. See what I did there? I didn't have enough information, but acted anyway, thinking that the options presented to me were the only options. I wasn't being smarter.
Starting today, I will be smarter. A smarter mom, wife, friend and PERSON. I'll collect more information; I'll think more; I'll be more strategic; I'll be more focused, but aware of the big picture; I'll take deep breaths and ask more questions; I'll still trust my instincts, but back them up with hard facts. You know, the actions of a smarter person. A smarter Kimmie.

Thursday, December 29

A delightful Grimm indeed

I spent three hours in the waiting room at the auto shop today, waiting for my car to be serviced and for the new rear brakes and rotors. One would assume that three hours in a waiting room would be pretty hellish, right? Not so much today. I came prepared. I had my phone, my ear buds, my charging cable, a fresh hot tea from Starbucks, warm shoes and a sweater, and a backlog of television I wanted to catch up on. There was a cozy, leather armchair with an outlet behind it for the charger cable. I settled in, and was perfectly happy for three hours.
I watched the first four episodes of Grimm on the NBC iPhone app. Now, that's a good little show! I was all plugged in, and unbothered (mostly) for an entire morning, and it was lovely.
Also, I have new brakes that I can feel are working better. The oil was changed, and all the buttons and switches were checked to be sure they're in good working order. The car, from the wheels up (not including actual tires), is in perfect shape. Next month, tires. We can make it a New Year's Resolution.

Wednesday, December 28

Venus over the moon = PRETTY

I hope Y'ALL had a good Christmas. Mine was awesome. I had a great visit with Mom; enjoyed a delightful Christmas morning watching my kid go crazy over Santa Claus; ate a wonderful Christmas dinner; and was treated to several days of happiness. What happens during a period of time like that though, is that I ignore the blog, and just live my little days without comment or critique. I won't lie, it's a quiet existence, but a life uncommented makes for a boring blog. And I shall bore you no longer.
Random thoughts as I look around my bedroom:
~~ I'm done with the Christmas decorations. I like them a lot, and they look adorable in their placements, but I'm done looking at them. However, I can't do the decorations without first taking down the tree, and I can't do that without my family's help. So, Saturday it is for the tree, and Monday for the decorations.
~~ I just finished an impromptu web chat with my mommy. Since I've got the wi-fi, I was able to conduct the chat from this very space, with no effort whatsoever. Technology is awesome!
~~ I'm gonna sign up for the gym tomorrow or Friday. I like the less weight I'm carrying around, but I need more energy and activity in my life. I've got a kid in school five days a week and no job yet. There is no reason in the world why I am not at the gym at least three times a week. And maybe a yoga class or something, too. I'm on it.
~~ I'm taking my car in to the shop tomorrow for some fixing. It needs rear brakes and rotors, and the 50,000-mile service. Also, I'm getting the state inspection, so then I can get the car registered in Texas. The downside is that the shop does not have rentals or anything. And the visit will take about four hours. So, I can either hang out in the waiting area, which, I was told, is nice, or they'll take me to the mall down the street. I'll vote for the mall, as that gives me much more opportunity for getting into trouble. Once the work tomorrow is done, all that's left for the Jetta is new tires. I'll be getting to that next month.
~~ I think I can watch The A-Team movie a thousand times, if I haven't already. Last night, I watched Crazy, Stupid, Love. It was really quite good, and I giggled at several parts of it. I've got The Help, Horrible Bosses and Water for Elephants here still. I hope to get to them throughout the rest of this week and weekend.
~~ I really, really, really want an inexpensive, trustworthy babysitter. I want to go to the movies!!

Thursday, December 22

Thursday ITEM! list ... with Mom here!!

ITEM!: My mom is here! She arrived in town last night, and it's been pretty awesome hanging out with her since then. We had dinner last night, enjoyed our Starbucks twice today, visited the Nordstrom, and picked up random things at the Hallmark store. It's like we were never separated.
ITEM!: Oliver and Daisy have discovered the hidden location of their stocking stuffers. They sit vigil outside the closet door whenever they're in the guest room, occasionally whining at the gifts and treats inside, waiting for the objects to open the closet door and sacrifice themselves to the hungry mouths outside.
ITEM!: The subterfuge that is Santa Claus continues. Last night, Sydney's elf, Buddy, brought a book back with him from his nightly visit to the North Pole. He wrote a little note, "To Sydney, From Buddy," and stuck it to the book, The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas. She was very, very pleased, and we read it this morning, and Mom read it to her tonight.
ITEM!: I won't be changing the furniture layout in my bedroom. I had been thinking about Cozy Chair, and how I'd rather have it upstairs in my bedroom again. But to make room for it, though there is room, I'd have to move the armoire, shift the dresser and bookcase, and move the entire bed and nightstand ensemble down the wall about three feet. I debate and I debate. The interior designer who is staying with me this weekend suggested that I keep everything where it is, because even though the chair could work, the spaces and positions of everything in the room right now work really well. I shall continue to debate though, and may just change my mind again before she leaves. Because if I decide to bring the chair up, having a third pair of adult hands and arms will prove useful.
Last night, Buddy was on the movie shelves. Tonight, Buddy is sitting on a picture frame in the guest room, HANGING OUT WITH MOM, who if you don't know, is here.

Tuesday, December 20

Christmas is coming!!

Well, part of my house is clean; I've done some of my food shopping for the weekend; and most of the presents are wrapped. All in all, I would say it was a relatively productive day. Relative to yesterday, when I got nothing productive accomplished. Tomorrow, after I drop Sydney at school, I'm off to the grocery store, and then, I finish up the cleaning of my house, because my mommy will be here tomorrow night. Sydney's really excited, can't you tell?

Last night, Buddy sat on Sydney's dresser in her bedroom. Other clever places I've put him that I haven't mentioned: atop the television in the living room, on the painting in the entryway, hanging from the candlestick holder on the mantel, and on the bookcase in my bedroom. Tonight, Buddy is hanging in Sydney's stocking.

Monday, December 19

Soon, we'll all be flying straight again

I've been busy. Well, not really, but kind of. I've been messing around with my books, and in so doing, I've ended up rereading a bunch of them that I really, really like, and therefore getting to bed too late to blog or do much of anything. Of course, this also makes me tired. It's 11 p.m. already tonight, and I don't know if I'll get to sleep before midnight, but I'm hoping.
Also, (gross alert!) Daisy's poops are normal again. Sadly, my little pup has had diarrhea for the last week. I have no idea what's been causing it, but it seems to have finally run its course. She's eating food for a sensitive stomach now, and has been cut off almost entirely from treats. The stuff going in is better, and finally, the stuff coming out is better. Actually, it's all better when the dogs are at their best. We'll see tomorrow morning though. She usually, when feeling well, wakes me up by playing and biting at my fingers when I go in for the morning snuggle. I haven't had that for more than a week.
Also, now that the dog is finally feeling better, it's Sydney's turn to have a health issue. Ugh. It would be lovely if everyone felt well again.
Good news? My mommy will be here in less than 48 hours.

Friday, December 16

They're the real enemy

I've had two mosquito bites on my left foot that have been driving me batty the last couple days. I got the bites while out walking Oliver and Daisy Tuesday night. We decided, because some other dog was in our usual running spot, to venture onto the larger grassy knoll. Obviously, the grassy knoll is a better habitat for mosquitoes, because after mere moments of standing on the grass, I felt the little fuckers digging into my ankle and the top of my foot. I looked, but could not see them, leading me to believe that they were less than mosquitoes, but no-see-ums. I've had these bites now, for three days, and they itch as much today as they did the first day.
What I have to figure out now, is the best avenue for fighting them. I already know of the Skin So Soft oil from Avon, and its miraculous ability to repel mosquitoes. I'll be ordering that and putting it in mine and Sydney's baths. I've seen a couple other repellents in other catalogs, including One Step Ahead. I had hoped for the winter at least, to plan my attack on the mosquitoes. Though now that it's cooling down again, they'll be gone for a while longer.
I'll invest in the bath oil (online), and citronella candles (Target), and I've got to find that door netting (storage unit). I will win. But for now, I just got a couple places on my foot that itch.

Thursday, December 15

Also, I've hurt my finger

ITEM!: I tried on some jeans that haven't fit in a while tonight. I'm pleased to say that, although they did not "fit exactly right," they are closer to fitting than they were a few months ago. Now, knowing that I can, and have, dropped 10 pounds in three weeks gives me the motivation to do it again. In another 10 pounds, those jeans will fit, I hope.
ITEM!: My car is requiring fixes. I took it to the local VW dealer this morning for a brake inspection, and the assessment came up as I had thought. I need rear brakes and rotors, tires (which I knew), a service (which I also knew), and brake fluid flushing. Also, I need a new windshield (of course, there are three cracks in it). I had a few items in the red, which I just mentioned, a few others in the yellow, which will need attention in a bit, and more items in the green, which are fine (front brakes reside here). I've found a service shop nearby that specializes in European cars, including VWs, that is not the dealer. I'm going to call them tomorrow and get a quote for what I need.
ITEM!: I'm making popcorn tomorrow morning for Sydney's school holiday party. Mom had a good idea, which is to spread green and red sprinkles on the warm popcorn when it's still warm from the popper. Festive, and less sugary than all the cupcakes and cookies she'll get from the other moms.
ITEM!: I spent a ridiculous amount of time messing around with the new Timeline feature on Facebook tonight. You can scroll through all your statuses and activity from the present back to the very first day you joined Facebook. While I like re-reading about all the things that have entertained, bugged, saddened and pleased me over the last almost-four years, I'm struck by how addicted to the damn web site I am.
ITEM!: If I'm going to be pulling back my bangs in barrettes for the foreseeable future, I need to clean up my eyebrows. Or find someone nearby who can do an inexpensive wax shaping on them. That's what I need.

Wednesday, December 14

Midnight snack? Sadly, no

I found my closest Cheesecake Factory, which is about 15 minutes away. I can't wait to go there. I'm dying for some pasta, and some dessert.
There is no Islands in Texas. Nor is there a Krispy Kreme in Houston.
What we do have here is a plethora of Fuddruckers restaurants. The closest one, also, is about 15 minutes away.
I miss Oregano's.

Can you tell I'm hungry tonight? It's too late to eat anything, as whatever it is will just sit like a brick in my stomach all night, and digest to fat because I'm sleeping instead of moving around. So, I'm going to bed a bit hungry, which isn't a bad thing.
Hey, did I tell Y'ALL that I've lost 10 pounds since we moved here? Obviously, emotional turmoil and overwhelming stress can sometimes be a good thing. I'm working on the next 10 pounds, because once I lose those, it'll be like having a brand-new closet, full of jeans that I haven't been able to wear in a long time. It would be easier if my stress level was as it was when we first moved here. It's easy to lose weight when you can't stand having any food in your stomach. I need to get stressed about something again. Weird; to hate the stress, but enjoy the results of it.

Tonight, Buddy is sitting on the bookshelf in the office.

Tuesday, December 13

And then she discovered the Sydneysaurus

So lately, Sydney hasn't bee too impressed with going to school. Kindergarten, she says, is "too long in the day." I tell her that kindergarten, at six hours, is the longest any school day will be for the rest of her life, until she chooses otherwise in college. So really, get used to it, because it won't get any worse. (She complains, but ultimately, is always in a good mood about arriving and when leaving her school, so while I empathize with her plight, I also know that she's making it worse for my benefit.)
I think though, I came up with a solid plan for getting through kindergarten while driving to school this morning.
The motivation: every paleontologist had to get through kindergarten. No one who didn't finish kindergarten has ever become a paleontologist. There's a path, you see, that goes from kindergarten to grade school, then to high school, then college. Then, paleontologist. And every paleontologist knows how to read, write and do math, so that's all very important. It was an incredibly persuasive argument.
I left out the four or five years of graduate school just because I didn't want to overwhelm her any more than I already had. She doesn't need to know that, at five years old, she has a good 23 years of schooling ahead of her if she really wants to become a paleontologist. But the thought got me curious, and I did a bit of Internet research tonight.
The top ten paleontology programs in the U.S. (in order), according to U.S. News and World Report: Yale, University of Chicago, Berkeley, Harvard, Michigan, U of Cincinnati, U of Kansas, Penn State, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech. There are some Ivy League schools there, so that's something to strive for: Harvard! Yale! Berkeley! Of course, along with that comes the tuition fees and such. The current yearly tuition for Yale's paleontology program is about $38,000. The University of Chicago's yearly tuition is $55,000. Wait. What?
Wow. While these schools do mention their generous scholarship programs, I can't help but think, DAMN. Time to start saving A LOT.

Tonight, Buddy is sitting on the painting frame above the sofa.

Monday, December 12

A nightcap? I wish

I wish I enjoyed the taste of grown-up alcohol. I see these Captain Morgan rum commercials, and it makes me wish I liked the taste of rum. And then I think about bourbon, or cognac, and remember that, even though I've tried most of those drinks that have crossed my path, I am not a fan. More than anything, I like the idea of having a warm, "sophisticated" drink every now and then. Weird? Peer pressure? Perhaps, but I still wish I enjoyed any of those brown alcohols.
Tonight, Buddy is sitting on the shelf in the laundry room next to the water heater. (It's apartment living, my dears. I have a raised water heater resting on a shelf.)

Sunday, December 11

Seven for a Sunday

1. I still haven't finished addressing my Christmas cards, though all the thank-you notes are done and ready to go in the mail. I'll get the Christmas cards done first thing tomorrow, and then drop them all off at the post office.
2. I'm starting to get way excited to see my mommy in a few days. I say "a few," but really, it's 10 days. Less than two weeks is a good thing. I may not let her go back to California.
3. Oliver and Daisy are getting baths and haircuts tomorrow. They are so matted up and stinky! I can't wait to pick them up in the afternoon once they're done. They'll be all clean, all soft, and all of us will be all happy.
4. Brian and Sydney did their Christmas shopping for me this afternoon, and cleverly, hid the gift in my closet. I just don't ask about those kinds of things. My kid and hubby can be so random sometimes.
5. I'm on the hunt for a new dinosaur field guide for Sydney. Unexpectedly, it's the only thing she requested of Santa Claus on Friday night. And Santa never, ever fails. I'll investigate Barnes & Noble first, but I'm also of the opinion that I'll venture back down to the Natural Science Museum to get something there. They had a bunch of good books that she was interested in. As well as other stocking stuffers.
6. Brian bought a package of homemade jumbo marshmallows at Whole Foods last Friday, and they have become the bane of my existence. I've been shortchanging my normal food intake because of my increased intake of marshmallows, and that's not a good thing. They are almost gone though, so by tomorrow night, my diet will no longer include marshmallows.
7. Last night, Buddy was sitting on the fireplace mantel. Tonight, Buddy is sitting on the stack of Christmas movies.

Friday, December 9

And I'm spent

It's super late, and this post is going to be time-stamped for Saturday (which bugs me), but at least I've got a huge "to-do" off my to-do list. I have finally written the thank-you notes for Sydney's birthday. This is unacceptable, rude and ungracious of me, but I blame Texas, and the move, for my tardiness in this task. Also, I don't like doing it. But they're done now.
My reward for finishing them was being able to watch Glee on my computer while writing them (and catching up on the last five weeks of episodes), and starting to address my Christmas cards.
I'm about halfway through my awesome Christmas cards now, and will hope to finish them up tomorrow night. I'll have a boatload of mail going out over the next few days, but that's okay. I bought a lot of stamps.

Also, tonight, Buddy is sitting on the appliance shelves in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 8

I love Y'ALL

I'm going to start using the word "y'all" in my Facebook posts. It'll placate the Texans I know and love, and will freak out the rest of my little world. I know I promised to not include the phrase in my speech, but adding it to my text every once in a while may be just the hook I need to remind everyone that I'm living in a different universe now. However, as I will be using the word begrudgingly and ironically, it will always be in caps: Y'ALL. I'm not yelling, I'm just giving the word an extra bit of attention. I'm making you aware of it. I'm making us all aware of it. Y'ALL exists.

Tonight, Buddy is sitting on the curio cabinet in the living room.

Wednesday, December 7

He looks so happy

Tonight, Buddy is sitting atop the bookcase in Sydney's room.
And weirdly, before just now doing an Internet search for pictures of The Elf on the Shelf, I had no idea that the elf could be seated in this way. I thought he always had to be leaned up against something, because his legs always stuck out, creating a balance issue. I see this, and now I know that I have another option for balanced seating. This opens up a whole lot more opportunities for Buddy's sitting spots. He's comfortable right now, but tomorrow night, I shall position him this way, and find a different kind of place to chill out.

Tuesday, December 6

Santa's been busy

I got a big chunk of my Christmas shopping done today! Happily, it was in only two stores: Toys R Us, and Target. I got all of Sydney's gifts from Brian and I, as well as making some suggestions to Santa Claus for gifts and stocking stuffers (wink, wink). I'll be making my way to Barnes & Noble tomorrow for any additional stuffer ideas for Sydney and Brian, and then to Petsmart for stuffers for Oliver and Daisy. Santa Claus is awesome.
Also, tonight, Buddy is sitting on the decorative Christmas pitcher in the kitchen.

Monday, December 5

A Christmas ITEM! list

CHRISTMAS ITEM!: When I'm at home during the day, I find random things to do. Today, I went from room to room rearranging the Christmas decor, deciding whether "this" looked as good as "that" in that one place. I shifted things from place to place, and in more interesting news, I moved things from room to room. I think I may actually be happy with my decorations now. That is, of course, until Sydney decides she'd rather have something else than the one, and the other thing moved away so she doesn't see it anymore. I am well aware that this sentence made little to no sense at all.
CHRISTMAS ITEM!: We finally finished decorating our Christmas tree. I love that the bottom two feet of my tree are covered in the most random placement of ornaments. Sydney was incredibly helpful putting the ornaments on, and she had a blast doing it. It was so fun just handing her the ornaments and letting her go to town. What amused me the most was that Brian was the neurotic tree decorator who tried to police her placements, when he (and most of you, I'm sure) probably figured it would be me. I eventually told him to just leave her be. He looked at me so sad and defeated, and said in a whisper, "You'll do something about all this though, right?" (My random thing to do tomorrow: rearrange Christmas tree ornaments.)
CHRISTMAS ITEM!: I think I'm going to venture out to Toys R Us tomorrow to do some shopping for my kid (and hubby). I love Christmas shopping, and I think starting out at Toys R Us will pop my cherry really well this year. I'm quite thrilled to have some freedom for Santa shopping for Sydney. She only wants two things, and after that, she said, "Santa will come up with something." This is both exhilarating and terrifying. I have to find something that she'll love without even knowing she wants it.
CHRISTMAS ITEM!: I picked up my Christmas cards today. I'm going to be sending them out the same day I send out the thank-you notes from Sydney's birthday party. No kidding, all those cards will be sent out this week. It's a bit of a mission.

Sunday, December 4

And now, we have a tree!

I remember being annoyed last night because it was so warm in my house. That is totally not the case right now, as I huddle on my sofa, chilled more than I'd like to be, and sporting a cold nose. My phone says that it's 55 degrees outside, but I feel like I should say no to that, and declare that it is, instead, quite a bit cooler. Of course, I'm cold because all my windows in the living room are open. I stay in here because I'm too lazy to get up and move. Also, my legs have fallen asleep, so I think it may be painful to move.
We had an adventure today, by traveling out to a Christmas tree farm with Jon, Emily and Benjamin. We grabbed our raincoats at the last minute, and I'm incredibly pleased that we did. The temperature did nothing but drop as we exited Houston, and the raindrops made it even more uncomfortable. The farm was adorable, with all kinds of activities for the kids, were it not raining and cold. A lot of the things were closed, including most of the eating places. It was a pleasure farm, open only October through December, where they grow only pumpkins and Christmas trees. But today, we even learned that they ship in the pumpkins.
The trees grown at the farm though, were weird. The farm had one "patch" of trees that didn't smell, were hypo-allergenic or something, and didn't really qualify as a Christmas tree. The second patch were a different kind of fir tree, but it was like they were big, bushy pines, trimmed and shaped into perfect conical shapes. There shape was so exact. The smell was non-existent. We decided against those, too. The third selection of trees was a group shipped in from North Carolina. Now these trees were the kind of trees we like in our house. It has actual limbs and branches for ornament hanging. It smells like a Christmas tree. It's tall, green, and not perfect. Making it, of course, the perfect Christmas tree for us. We managed to get the lights on it tonight, but the ornaments will wait for tomorrow.
Tonight, Buddy is in the entry way, atop the key holder.

Saturday, December 3

Did dinosaurs throw snowballs?

Sydney and I made our way down to the Houston Museum of Natural Science today. I drove down there all by myself, with nothing more than directions on a paper, and my (not) stellar internal compass. Still, I got a bit turned around, and it took us about 10 minutes longer to arrive at the museum than it should have, but it could have been a lot worse. We did manage to get a free parking space in front, which I consider a bit of a coup. Of course, as we arrived, we discovered that today was the only day during the holiday season when the museum was hosting SNOW on its grounds. Hence, the incredible crowds of adults and children wandering the place.
The museum, sadly, has "only" five dinosaur skeletons, which was a bit disappointing to my budding paleontologist, who, I'm sure, expected a display similar to the new one in Los Angeles. Still, we wandered the exhibit, checked out the other floors of the museum, and even went into the butterfly pavilion (which is fun, because whenever a butterfly would get near Sydney, she'd squeal and swing her arms around). The snow, though, was her highlight of the visit, and she was happy to wait her turn ... and was unhappy to end her turn. She was additionally made unhappy when she learned that the snow was only there for the day, and that we couldn't come back another day to play again. I hate disappointing her like that! She had so much fun!
I also tried to get a holiday card picture out of today's unexpected photo opportunity, but walked away unhappy with the results.
Also, tonight, Buddy is sitting on the towel tower in Sydney's bathroom. She asked him this afternoon to hide someplace easier tonight, but I didn't let that influence the hiding spot. I had it chosen earlier today. I'm enjoying the hiding of Buddy.

Friday, December 2

The tag, you see, is easy

I'm inexplicably excited about having an E-Z Tag in my car right now. The Tag (which is easier to type than "E-Z Tag," so it is the shortened, nifty name I'll use for it) is the quicker, faster way of traveling the toll roads in Texas -- also discounted, we found out. Stick the tag to the interior of your windshield, and the microchip in the tag sends a signal to the toll plaza as you drive through it (at any speed), deducting the cost of that toll from the account set up when you purchase the tag. This is brilliant, of course, and I'm so glad that Brian and I each have one in our cars now. Also, there's a convenient toll road in Houston that is only E-Z Tag. It is no longer off-limits to us.
Don't you see? Now, there is nowhere we can't go.
Also, we're not dragged down by the constant fear of not having the money or coins when arriving at a toll plaza. I was always so paranoid about that when we lived in Boston. And I never bought the E-Z Pass (as it was up there), so the cash option was always my lane, and I was always afraid of being arrested for not having the cash or coins, or for going through the wrong lane. That random fear now has been neutralized.

Tonight, Buddy is sitting by the coffee cups in the kitchen. Sydney and Brian found him pretty quickly this morning, I heard. I think I may throw her off the trail by putting him in the kitchen, but knowing her, she'll still spy him right away.

Thursday, December 1

It's December!

Well, happy December everyone!
I can't figure out exactly why I'm so eager for Christmas this year ... oh wait, yes I can. It's because my mommy is coming out to visit me for a few days over the holiday. I remember last year I wasn't feeling much about Christmas, but this year, I'm listening to carols every day, I'm plotting and planning, and I'm counting down days. Perhaps a lot of that also has to do with my kid and how excited she is for Christmas.
I brought out our Elf on the Shelf, named Buddy, yesterday. Of course, I failed miserably on Buddy's second night by forgetting to move him. Brian distracted Sydney for a couple seconds this morning so I was able to shift Buddy by a couple inches, "because he just liked that place so much, and was able to see everything so well, he wanted to stay close to where he was yesterday." Well, that worked in a pinch, but I was told tonight that if Buddy didn't find a different place to sit while we were all sleeping, she was going to be mad in the morning. So, tonight, Buddy is in the plant by the living room window. I think it'll take her a while to find him, and that's a good thing. At five years old, it should start getting a bit tougher. Last year, I got frustrated finding only easy places to put him. This year should be more fun.