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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cousin Lovin'

One of the best things about being back in Texas is that we are within driving distance of family. And what's better than being able to drive to see family? When they do the driving! So we were very excited when the Woodlands Simciks came to visit us for Memorial Day weekend. Of course Frank and I loved catching up with David and Laura but the cute pics are of Leo and Gus making memories with their cousins Ellie and Charlie:  

Being silly in the pantry: 

"We just woke up. No pictures until we've had our coffee."

It's day one of the spray ground opening and they are ready to go! Isn't Ellie's swim suit adorable? 

 And the brainwashing begins:

Gus says, "So this Aggie walks into a bar..."

Bros with their boys:

...and girl!

Frank holding Gus and Charlie while they chew on carrots (thanks for the idea, cousin Franklin!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tree Huggers

Just a few cute pics of the boys hugging followed by brave Leo climbing a tree in our front yard: 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

From Rookie to Rough Rider

We got into the Frisco spirit by attending a Rough Riders baseball game. The whole scene is really fun--lots of excited Friscoians (?) in a really cool-looking ballpark (that Leo likened to a castle) all sweating to death but not complaining because they know it's going to get worse. (There actually was a breeze today.) 

Gus enjoyed his very first baseball game from the comfort of his stroller. He is sporting a hat that was actually the bowl that held Leo's ice cream. 

Leo and Frank in front of the ballpark castle.

Leo eating his ice cream out of said baseball cap bowl and wearing his new Rough Riders cap. (All the kids in Frisco are doing it.)

Gus LOVES to clap and I think this time was even at an appropriate moment.

We had lawn seats. Look at Gus in the background who is enjoying the shade from a giant sign.

The Frisco Rough Riders beat the San Antonio Missions 2 to 1, probably because of Leo's sideline coaching.


I am not a credit card person. I mean, I HAVE a credit card but that's it. I don't go for those store credit cards Whenever I'm offered a store credit card I completely ignore the "save 10% on this purchase" pitch because all I can think is, "I'm gonna have something else in my wallet and then another bill to pay. No, thank you! I'll pay 10% more just to NOT have to deal with that." That's a long thing to think about it and then the cashier is like, "Excuse me, ma'am? Why are you staring off into the distance, looking aggravated?" I say, "No, thank you and don't ask me for my phone number or email address either! Can I just buy a freakin' dish towel and a toilet brush anonymously?" Clerks love me.

Okay, back to credit cards. I had to break my rule for one card. One store. The best store ever--Target. And here's why:
1. When you have a Target Red Card (TRC), you get 5% off ALL THE TIME.
2. You get free shipping when you shop online.
3. Consumer advocate and fellow-anti-store-credit-card-activist Clark Howard (whom I have met and interviewed for a story so I feel like he's my buddy too) approves of the TRC. 

Here's what he says: "Now, I don't like the idea of telling people to get another extension of credit. However, if you are a dedicated Target shopper, I have to say this is the right thing for you to do. It's a clear exception to my normal rule against 
 store credit. That 5% is a significant enough number to make me rethink my typical advice."

4. You can get a debit card OR a credit card. 

5. Where else can you buy groceries, clothes, beauty products, tissues, bath mats, light bulbs, greeting cards and blenders in one clean, classy environment? (Notice Wal-Mart does not fit this description.)

Now, 5% might not sound like much but since Target has an $80 cover charge, that's at least a savings of $4 every visit. Oh, you didn't realize Target had an $80 cover charge? Let me ask you this: Have you ever left a Target without paying $80? Me neither. I am LUCKY if I get out of there for less than $80. I'm talking' Super Target, people. I'm buying lots of groceries with my Red Card.

The free shipping is fantastic because you can ship stuff anywhere, not just to your house, and it's free. And you get 5% off on that stuff too!

I find myself thinking the following while shopping at other stores: "I could get that here OR I could wait and get it at Target and save 5%." And since there is a Super Target six minutes away from my new home in Frisco, I'm kinda there every other day.

I did run into a little embarrassing snafu with my TRC the other day. I tried to use it and it didn't work. I ended up having to use my only credit card and the sweet cashier STILL gave me 5% off. I called Target and apparently, I only had $113 left on my TRC and my purchase was over that. The rep explained that I would have had to tell the cashier, "Put $113 on my TRC and the rest on my other credit card." Okay, got it but what was with this $113 left? Is there like a super small minimum on the TRC? She told me it was $700. "Can I get my credit limit raised?" I asked the TRC expert. "No, you just opened your account a couple of months ago," she said. I could tell she knew she had all the power and that I was an addict. "Well, I just paid my bill so does it show that I have more available now?" She said, "No, we can't see that yet so you just have $113." Then I told her, "I swear I'm not a credit card junkie! I just LOVE the Target Red Card!" She said, "We're glad you like it. Thanks for calling" and I said, "Ooh, ooh, wait...if I use my regular credit card for the balance do I still get the 5% off?" Dial tone. She was gone.

I could still hear myself frantically screaming into the phone, " I still get the 5% off?" And that's when I knew that I was, in fact, a Target junkie. I mean, asking to have my credit limit raised? Like I need to spend more than $700 a month at Target? I had to take a step back and reevaluate my priorities. I decided I needed one of those visualization boards to do just that. I figured I could get the supplies for it at Hobby Lobby...or I COULD save 5% and drive six minutes down the road...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birthday Questions

Here is what a 4-year-old Leo had to say: 

1. What is your favorite color? The same color as my birthday cake…so much kind of colors.
2. What is your favorite toy? Pirate's Cove
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas
4. What is your favorite tv show? Baby Einsteins (actually Little Einsteins)
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Yogurt
6. What is your favorite outfit? Ones that do not have Polo shirts
7. What is your favorite game? All of the games, even toss bananas (no idea what this is) 
8. What is your favorite snack? Cheerios and Goldfish and yogurt
9. What is your favorite animal? I like pandas.
10. What is your favorite song? “La la la la”
11. What is your favorite book? The little book about Lightening McQueen
12. Who is your best friend? John
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Deliver the newspapers
15. What is your favorite drink? Milk
16. What is your favorite holiday? 4th of July
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? All of my animals.
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cereal
19. What is your favorite thing to eat for dinner? Mac and cheese  
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor (and he is wearing his doctor name tag in the picture!) 

What a difference...

...four years makes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Iron Man

I was wrong when I said Frank doesn't have a hobby. I realized that the man is actually obsessed with ironing. Every single night he gets out his ironing board, his iron, his starch and his water/steam thingie and irons one shirt. He rarely irons more than one shirt at a time. I think this is because he actually likes to iron so he spreads it out.

He always sets up his ironing supplies in front of the TV. He used to do his hobby in the mornings. He would watch The Today Show and iron. He said that was his last thing to look forward to before he went to work. (Totally sad, huh?) Now he's a night-ironer because he gets up too early to iron.

The other night I was going to Target and he asked me to get him a new iron cover. Natch, I chose the super cute one when, in fact, I should have chosen the super padded one. I learned my lesson from Iron Man when I got home. But then--an ironing light bulb moment! Frank realized he could put the new cover over the old one to make a semi-thick ironing pad. An ironing triumph!

When we're staying with people he likes to ask, "What's your ironing situation?" which means, "Do you have a top of the line iron and a full-size ironing board?" He absolutely cannot iron under less than desirable circumstances--which would involve an iron that costs less than $100 and/or one of those mini-boards that college kids use. (Speaking of college, I've always been a fan of the "college ironing" method--putting clothes in the dyer for about seven minutes to get out the wrinkles.)

There are two cool things about this hobby: 1. It doesn't take up a lot of time. In fact, it doesn't take up any incremental time as he does it while we're watching TV together. It's quality time. 2. If I need something ironed, I can just throw it in with his one shirt. He does a good job too!

Gus has been here eleven months

Gus' eleventh month has been life-changing. He packed up and moved from the only home he's ever known. And while he'll always be a Georgia native (and his brother too), he seems to be adjusting to Texas life just fine. In fact, he keeps asking us if he can get this bumper sticker for the back of his Cozy Coupe:

The truth is, Gus doesn't care where we live as long as his blankie is close by:

Every time he sees it, he inserts his thumb into his mouth. He used to just sleep with it but now it's becoming more of a Linus-situation where he drags it around. Grandmother--who knows all too well about raising a child who is addicted to a blanket--immediately ran out and found Gus a duplicate blankie.  So far he is not suspicious even though one blanket says "Mommy's Little Man" and the other says "Thank Heaven for Little Boys." Thank heaven he can't read yet.

Gus is also into door stoppers. This is a dangerous vice because he can actually take the little white rubber part off. Of course he wants to put them in his mouth. He also likes to do this with the white covers that go over the screws on the bottom of the toilet. This has also ended up in his mouth. He's got a thing for white, round things. Because of this and his other curiosities, we have to watch him LIKE A HAWK. He can't be trusted!

And Leo can't be trusted with him. When Gus is crawling, Leo likes to crawl right next to him and put his arm around him. This would be cute except Leo also likes to push down on Gus' back and rub his head and things of that nature that are always a little too rough.

I've always thought Gus is more curious and active than Leo however, Gus has not tried to open cabinets yet! And Leo was already doing that by this age. I still put the breakable/toxic things up high because I'm sure that day will come soon. But for now he's just happy scooting around and getting into everything that's not behind a cabinet door. He especially loves to look out the window. He wants to do what Leo does so badly!

And a quick run-down of the basics:

Eating: Faves are bananas, sandwiches (or anything involving bread) and he just started eating yogurt. He also likes
to chew on carrots, a habit he picked up from his cousin Franklin.

Playing: He'll play with anything but especially age inappropriate toys and balls.

Sleeping: I won't say anything about this dare I jinx it.

He's still happy and content (except when Leo harasses him or if the food isn't served quickly enough). I've given up waiting for his head to spin around. Now I just expect that he's going to give me the biggest, cutest six-tooth smile every time I see him.

I asked Leo to help me take photos of Gus. This made for one rowdy photo session:

Friday, May 04, 2012

My Very Own Gridge!!!

I invented the gridge. So it was really ironic that I didn't own one. As I've noted before, a true fun house is a home with a fridge in the garage. And now, after 35 years of a gridgeless life, I am elated to announce that I have one. 

Yes, we moved to Frisco, TX where dreams really do come true! 

Here I am putting a chicken pot pie from our nice new neighbors into it: 

And here's Frank putting his first case of beer in our gridge.  Now I don't have to get that call on Friday afternoons saying, "Hurry and put four beers in the fridge for me. It's four beer Friday!" And then I schlep from the laundry room to the kitchen fridge, trying to hold four beers at once so I don't have to make two trips. Now Frank can just drive home, get his beer in the garage and come on in.

Let the fun begin!

Never Ending Birthday

In addition to the joint birthday with John, Leo also had three more birthday celebrations! His second b-day was at school, where he had cupcakes and fanfare with his classmates. The third was in Houston, where he got the coolest cake ever courtesy of Grandmother and Grandpa Ron. Leo had mentioned that he would like a cake with a train and a shark. Boy, did he get that: 

 And it was delicious too!

 While in Houston he also got to ride the Hermann Park train with cousins Ellie and Charlie (and Gus, Mommy, Tia, Uncle David, Aunt Laura and Grandmother)

On his actual birthday he celebrated in his new hometown of Frisco, TX at Babe's, a chicken/country joint. Granny Jo and Popsy were there...

...and so was a chicken hat!

 He then got another cake--this time an ice cream one!

Gus had no idea why we celebrated Leo's birthday from April 14th thru April 30th. However, he is always up for a party, even if it's celebrating assistant's day. (Pickins' were slim in the balloon section of the grocery store.)

So after FOUR birthdays I'd say our Leo is officially FOUR!