Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Fun

It seems that this may be the way it goes...instead of a post every day or two, it'll be a post every two weeks or so. Of course, this is not the way I would like it to be, but the truth is that just not that much is happening around our house. I could bore you with the mundane details of our days: wake up, eat breakfast, feed girls, put girls down, shower, feed Devin lunch, battle with Devin over nap time, but girls down for another nap, get Devin up, play outside, eat dinner, give baths to the brood, drink heavily, go to bed. Repeat.

Despite the repitious life that we've settled into, we did have a wonderful Christmas. Just like every year, it started with the children's Mass at 4:00 on Christmas Eve. That was a nightmare. Addison (8) was in the choir, so it was me, Todd, ZZ, Brian and my dad, along with Devin (3), Faith (7 mo.), Grace (7 mo.), Presley (4), Brendan (2) and Kaelin (2). Doesn't that sound like a lot of fun? Todd and I held the girls, ZZ and Brian wrangled Brendan and Kaelin and my dad battled Devin and Presley. I can honestly say that if I didn't already know the Christmas Eve readings by heart, I would have no clue what was said that night.

Faith did fall asleep on me during Mass, though, and Grace on Todd. Devin was not a snuggly baby and I can only remember one or two times (seriously) that he fell asleep on me. So Faith and Grace doing so during church was a real treat for both Todd and me.

After finally getting out of church, we headed over to ZZ's house for our traditional BBQ dinner. Since moving to San Antonio, we've also added Tamales to the list. Yum!

The adults tried to have a civilized dinner, but seeing how we open all of our gifts from our family on Christmas Eve, the seven kids were bouncing off the wall with excitement. Soon, the roar became so loud that we gave up on dinner and moved into the family room to open gifts.

Sheer mayhem.

There was paper and tissue and ribbon flying everywhere. Every few seconds a screetch would be yelled by one of the kids, in sheer delight of whatever they just opened.

At one point, Devin just dove under the Christmas tree and started tearing into presents -- anyone's. Todd had to take him out of the room, give him some water and get him calmed down before returning. He was in a total frenzy and was actually panting from the whole ordeal.

Once the dust settled, we piled all of the Pruetz family gifts into the van and headed home. But there was one last present to be received. We couldn't get it to ZZ's house, so it had to stay at ours. It was sitting in the garage, waiting for its new owner.

Devin got a four-wheeler. Pa-pa (my dad) supplied him with a Polaris, battery powered four-wheeler that was presented when we opened the garage door as we returned on Christmas Eve. The look on Devin's face was priceless.

We set out some cookies and milk for Santa and put the bowl of Reindeer feed (prepared earlier in the day from a very special recipe) on the front porch.

We shuttled the kids into bed and spent some time "getting ready for Santa." Then it was off to sleep.

Sometime in the night, Devin crawled in bed with us, so at 7:30 on Christmas morning, he was rolling around in bed, trying to wake Todd and me up. We instructed him to stay put so that we could make sure Santa was all done downstairs.

We got the girls up (apparently, one had awoken my dad and he had her in bed with him. They were "talking" up a storm together) and got them downstairs. We started a fire and waited for the big unveiling.

I went up to our room to get Devin and told him that yes, indeed, Santa had come, and that it was time to go downstairs.

I picked him up and we descended into the living room. There, under the tree, was a Christmas wonderland the likes of which you've never seen.

A fully-stocked tool kit, a Hot Wheels toy that spanned the length of the room, a 12" Buzz Lightyear toy, four or five characters from the movie, "Cars," flashcards, a "Cars" suitcase and various toys and candies in his stocking.

The twins, too, made out like bandits with new outfits, baby Uggs, a new play gym, "The Little Mermaid" movie, and mirrors for their cribs.

We spent the morning playing and soon the whole family arrived (ZZ and her family as well as Todd's parents). We sat around, played with the new toys and enjoyed the day. We ate around 1:00 and stuffed ourselved silly. Brian and I sat next to one another and had a rousing game of, "Who can fill the other's wine glass faster?" We were pretty tanked by the time dessert was served (well, I was tanked. I can't speak for him, I guess).

Afterwards, everyone went home and my wonderful in-laws allowed me time to nap while they played with the kids. Bliss. I took a two hour nap. It was perfect.

That night we went to our neighbors', the Berkeses, house for a little Christmas get together. The whole street was there and we enjoyed some wine, food and fun while the kids all played. It was the perfect ending to a perfect Christmas. You just can't ask for more than this.

And now it's back to the same old stuff, but that's okay with me. I have my family with me and a lot to be thankful for.

The girls are doing so well. Faith is sitting up unassisted (although we still have toppling issues at times) and Grace can sit up too, but seems to prefer lying down. She's her mommy's daughter.

Faith is also getting close to crawling. She's just about up on all fours. Lord, give me strength.

They're doing great, too, on their solid foods. They have rice cereal in the mornings and some sort of veggie in the afternoon. Luckily, we haven't met a veggies we don't like yet. We've been through peas, green beans and carrots. We'll see what happens in the near future.

I'm off to shower while I can. The girls are sleeping and Addison is here today, so she is keeping Devin busy. Nice.

Dad took a bunch of Christmas photos so Todd and I could concentrate on the kids. I've requested that he send them to me and as soon as he does, I'll post them for all to see.

Today's the third day of Christmas. Hope you're all enjoying your three french hens.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

From Spit Up to Sit Up

I'm really batting a thousand here, aren't I? Once again, I've let quite a few days go between posts. What can I say? It's a bad time of year. Is that a good enough excuse? Let's go with that.

We've been having quite a bit of fun around the Pruetz house. While we're all still battling the stomach bug that has plagued us for nearly three weeks now, we have decided to not it get us down. We're on the move, Christmas shopping (Todd is doing so right now, tracking down paraphrenalia from the movie, "Cars," for Devin) and generally getting into the holiday spirit. This weekend marks our annual "Cookie Factory," a time-honored tradition for ZZ and myself during which we bake ourselves silly for two days straight and then hand out our somewhat mediocre goods to family and friends. The first year we did it, my white kitchen floor ended up black. No, I'm not exaggerating, either. Whenever I say to Todd, "This floor is filthy," he always asks, "But is it Cookie Factory filthy?" Nope -- it never is.

Faith and Grace are moving along in their milestones. Both are learning to sit up. They still topple over and need to be watched, but they can sit upright for about 15 seconds now and even balance themselves when they start to fall sideways. It won't be long before they're sitting up unsupported.

Also, this morning, Gracie held her bottle for the first time. I had to help her out a little but tilting it up, but for the most part, she did it herself. You have no idea how big of a deal this is when you have twins. It's the simple things in life...

Devin, too, is busy making life interesting. Now that the Christmas tree is seeing more and more presents make their way underneath it, I have to convince him every morning that it is not Christmas and that no, he cannot open even one of his gifts. It's like he's foaming at the mouth. The anticipation is just killing him. I love it -- it's like reliving every Christmas season of my childhood (okay, adulthood too). I can amost taste the excitement he's exuding.

And he's up to his usual antics, too. On Sunday, I took him to the grocery store with me. The usual items were purchased, including about a half-dozen apples. He had one on Sunday night along with me, leaving four in the fruit bowl.

Side note: Mornings have become a little easier these days now that Devin is a little more self-sufficient. We put a cup of milk in the fridge for him and tune the TV to the Disney Channel so that all he has to do is hit the "On," button when he gets up. It eliminates Todd and my having to get up at 6:30. We're usually up by 7:00, but those extra 30 minutes are very worthwhile.

So Monday morning, I woke up and went down to greet Devin. A hug and a kiss and, "What's for breakfast, Mommy?" I asked him what he wanted and his reply was, "Waffles." Okay -- I can do waffles.

So I started getting out the stuff for waffles and I said, "While you're waiting, why don't you have something fresh? Maybe an apple?"

"We don't have any apples."

"Yes we do, honey. We bought some yesterday."

"No -- I ate them all."

"No -- we only ate two last night."

"No, they're all gone."

It dawned on me at this point to actually check the fruit bowl to see what he was talking about.

Sure enough, no apples.

"Where are the apples?"

"I ate them all."

"All of them???"

"Yes -- I threw them away when I was done."

I looked in the trashcan. True to his word, there were four apples, somewhat eaten. It seems that Devin had taken a few bites of one and thrown it away. Minutes later, he was in the mood for more apple, so he started in on another and tossed it when he was done. Repeat. Repeat again.

Here is the evidence.

I couldn't do anything more than just laugh hysterically. I guess this is what mommyhood is all about.

Speaking of mom...

Mine won't leave me alone. For those of you who don't know or may have forgotten, my mom passed away shortly after Devin was born. It was sad, but after her very long and painful battle with Alzheimer's disease, it was a relief for all of us. We miss her dearly, though.

And, it seems she misses us, too. Or, if it's not her, then someone misses us.

Back on Halloween, I heard footsteps upstairs and found no culprit (Devin was fast asleep, as were the girls, and Todd was gone). Thinking it to be an isolated incident, I just wrote it off.

But then it started happening more frequently. Devin's door will open and close at night, but when we go to investigate what he's doing out of bed, we find him sound alseep. Last week, Todd walked past Devin's room to check on the girls. Devin's door was open because Todd distinctly remembers seeing him sleeping in a certain position. He made a mental note to close the door after he was done in the girls' room, but when he went do to so, the door was latched shut.

Yesterday afternoon, one of the girls' play gym toys started to play music after no one had been in the room with it for two or so hours.

My dad was in town this weekend and I mentioned this all to him. He said, "That's funny...when you all were in Fredericksburg, both nights I heard Devin open and shut his bedroom door. When I went up to tell him to get back in bed, he was sound asleep. It happened twice and I thought I was going nuts."

We continuously hear footsteps upstairs (we have very creaky floorboards and can tell where in the house they are coming from) and lights turn themselves on and off throughout the house. Things go missing and reappear, days later, in different places. We hear music and voices and even laughter.

All in all, I'm pretty sure it's my mom. This was her favorite time of the year and I think she just wants to be near us. I'm happy to have her, of course. She's still a part of our lives and she always will be. The closer she is, the better.

So, I leave you to ponder these things and draw your own conclusions: Haunted house or crazy Erin?

Here are the photos I promised a few weeks ago.

Merry Christmas!


My MOM'S Club had our annual Christmas party on Monday, December 11. Guess who played Santa Claus?

My three-year-old with a saw. I have so much to be proud of...
This was taken at the Christmas Tree Farm, if you haven't figured it out.

Oh yeah...this looks like a great idea.

This is new at the Christmas tree farm. We'll do pictures every year. Cute, huh?

Faith...always serious.

Grace...never serious

Once again...serious Faith and goofy Grace. Their personalities are so different...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Pizza Hut Story

Okay, I promised, in my 12/2/06 post, that I would share this story and here it is. I have to admit, it's one my favorite Pruetz family tales...

In November of 2002, we found out we were expecting our first little one, Devin. It didn't take long for the morning sickness to set in and by the time Christmas rolled around, vomitting and dry-heaving were in full swing.

Along with morning sickness, though, also came cravings. If you've ever been pregnant, you may know what I'm talking about -- the ridiculous desire for some very specific delicacy, coupled with an overwhelming need to puke...all at the same time. It's a trip.

The worst of my cravings happened on the day we choose to go pick out our Christmas tree. It was a Saturday, around 10:30 in the morning when we left the house. The drive to Pipe Creek, Texas takes about an hour and we wanted to make sure we got a good tree. It would be just like us to end up with a Christmas branch or something.

As we pulled out of our community and onto the freeway, something in my stomach started to ache.

"Uh oh..." I thought, "Here comes the puking."

Only this time, puking didn't happen. The feeling wasn't nausea. The feeling was a need. A strong need. A need for pizza. And not just any pizza -- it had to be Pizza Hut pizza.

As we turned off the freeway to take the two-lane highway north to Pipe Creek (we'd been in the car for about 20 minutes), my craving was in full swing. I mean I have never been gripped by anything so strong in my entire life. I had to have Pizza Hut pizza and it had to be NOW.

I was terrified that we would never find a Pizza Hut on the way to the booming metropolis of Pipe Creek. I mean, I doubted that investors were banging down the door to put major chains in the middle of nowhere.

But the pregnancy Gods were smiling on us that day, as we had to pass through a small suburb of San Antonio called Helotes (that's pronounced Hell-OH-tess for all you Yankees) as we headed to the tree farm.

Helotes may not have a lot, but I am here to confirm that they do have a Pizza Hut.

I yelled -- loudly -- at Todd to pull in. Our Explorer was barely in "Park" before I was out of the car. I ran to the door of the restaurant and grabbed the handle.


I looked at Todd (who was still getting out of the car) with a look of hysteria in my eyes. Calmly he said, "It's only 10:49. They won't open for another ten minutes."


This couldn't be happening. I needed pizza. I needed it now. I couldn't wait ten minutes!

I paced the parking lot (people, I am not kidding here) until an employee unlocked the front door. The poor teenager barely got her keys out of the lock before I barged in.

I ran (seriously) up to the counter and said, "I need a pepperoni pizza as fast as you can make it. How long will it take?"

This poor little girl looked at me like I was holding the place up. In retrospect, I think I was pretty scary. Crazed look in my eye, drool spilling from my lower lip.

I was told it would be seven or eight minutes until my pie was done, but that I could have a trip to the salad bar if I needed something to tide me over. Salad would have to do for now, I guess, so I bolted to the bar as I left Todd to pay.

We settled down at a cozy booth at the back of the store, where I situated myself with the ability to see the kitchen. We were the only ones in the restaurant, so I knew any work going on back there had to be on our behalf.

"Where is it?" I asked Todd.

"It's coming."

"It needs to be faster."

"They're going as fast as they can."

"Find out what's taking so long." this point I actually made Todd go up to the counter to ask where our pizza was. I know now, four years later, that he told the girl behind the counter, "My wife is pregnant and having a major craving. She wants me to ask where our pizza is. I know you all are going as fast as you can, but I have to keep her happy and make it look like I'm being proactive."

He returned the table and minutes later our pizza arrived. The pie barely hit the table before I dug in.

And dug in.

And dug in some more.

Pizza pies traditionally have eight slices to them. I believe I ate six. I'm not sure what Todd ate. I think he may have just sat back, for fear of losing a finger.

By the time we left the Helotes Pizza Hut (only like 22 minutes since we pulled in), I could barely walk. I had eaten so much that I truly thought we might need to turn around and try this whole Christmas tree thing again. I felt sick and weak and disgusting. But I had my pizza, so I was happy.

As Todd helped me into the Explorer, I complained that I needed to lie down. He helped me recline the front seat as I moaned and groaned as a result of my gluttony. I settled down and we pulled out of the parking lot.

Over and over again, I told Todd that I thought I was going to die from being so full and that I couldn't possibly ever eat again. I was sick, I was going to puke, I was...

"Oooooh! Dairy Queen!"

That's right folks...after all of that, I saw a sign for an ice cream shop and wanted more.

"No!" Todd barked at me and headed the car toward Pipe Creek.

So there you have it. Not my shiniest moment, I admit, but good for a laugh, I hope.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bad Blogger...BAD!

Yes, it's been brought to my attention that I haven't blogged in quite awhile. In fact, on more than one occassion, I have been told, "I check your blog daily...why haven't you written anything in so long?" So Karen, Bridget, Meg, Christi and Polina...this one's for you.

I'm back.

The truth of the matter is that writing this next entry has been on my mind a lot because there's been so much going on and I knew it would bring a cramp to my fingers to type it all in. But as each day passes and more and more happens, I'm just going to get more bogged down, so I may as well do it now.

The girls had their six month check up last week and all went well. Faith is gaining weight finally and while neither girl is on the chart yet, both are steadily getting bigger. They are so small for their age. You should see them in comparison to other six-month-olds!

More recently, though, is the weigh-in they got yesterday when they got their monthly Synagis shots (RSV vaccinations). Faith weighed 12 lbs, 8 oz and Grace weighed 13 lbs, 4 oz. Wow!

After their appointment last week came Thanksgiving. My dad flew in from Houston (and boy were his arms tired! Ba-da-dum...thanks folks! I'll be here all week! Be sure to tip your waitress!) on Wednesday night and we dined on lasagna at my house that night. Thursday we all convened at ZZ's house and the drinking began promptly at 9:00, when the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade started. What can I say...we're Irish. :)

The day was a hit, but missing something as ZZ's husband, Brian, was in North Carolina with his ailing mom. Evelyn was a cancer survivor back in the early 90s, but it returned about four years ago and she began to lose the battle the week before Thanksgiving. The holiday was wonderful, but it wasn't the same without Brian. There was no one to spend 45 minutes making the gravy.

Sadly, although mercifully, Evelyn passed away the next day. We were all headed to Houston to see the Buller side of the family when ZZ got the call from Brian. We stayed the day at step-sister Heidi's beautiful new home on Lake Houston, letting the kids run around like little hellions. Saturday afternoon, after visiting our mom's grave (nothing like being surrounded by death to get you into the Christmas spirit!), ZZ and her kids left to meet Brian back in San Antonio. They will return to North Carolina next week for Evelyn's memorial service.

Todd, Devin, the twins and I all stayed in Houston and enjoyed some good family time. It was nice to spend time with my step-sisters and my parents although traveling with a toddler and two infants isn't exactly easy. I'd do it again, though. It was worth it.

We returned home just in time for Todd and I to get the flu -- or something of the like. Whatever it was, it hit us like a ton of bricks. On Wednesday night, we tag-teamed with the kids while we both visited the minor emergency clinic down the road (after I had made it home from running an errand just in time to puke in my front yard. Be sure to pick up my new book, "How to Impress Your Neighbors"). Shots of steroids and anti-inflammatories, an antibiotic, a nasal steroid and some anti-viral medication for Todd and a wish-we-could-help-you-out-but-you're-breastfeeding pat on the back for me and we were on our way to healing. Or so we thought.

Turns out, that was just the beginning. The darned illness made its way thoughout my body and kept me in bed for 14 hours on Thursday (I miss college...). I thought I was feeling better on Friday, but our trip to the Christmas tree farm proved that I needed to be in bed.

I woke up feeling much better today, but now Todd is battling the brunt of it. I took the kiddos to ZZ's house this afternoon to celebrate her twins' second birthday and gave Todd about two-and-a-half hours to sleep. I know it wasn't enough, but I hope it helped a little.

Hopefully, we'll all be on the mend soon. The kids seem to be fairing well, although the girls are a little cranky these days. Not much we can do for them, though. Poor things. We've been doing a lot of extra holding time for them. Devin is not happy. You just can't win.

Our annual trip to the Pipe Creek Christmas Tree Farm was a success, despite my overwhelming need to sit down every few feet.

We discovered this place during our first Christmas in San Antonio in 2002. I loved the idea of actually sawing down our own Christmas tree, as we did the same when I was a little girl during the short time we lived in Northern California.

Since then, we've returned every year. Our first year, we were pregnant with Devin and I had horrible morning sickness. It was on this trip that the famous Pizza Hut incident happened (don't know the story? I'll be sure to post about it later).

The next two years we had Devin with us, who became increasingly more interested in helping his Daddy out with the sawing and handling of the tree.

The fourth year found us again pregnant (although not aware that there were TWO!) and me with morning sickness.

And finally, this year, with all three kids in tow, I was nauseus and dehydrated. How is it that three out of the five times we've been to this place, I've been sick? Should I take this as some sort of hint?

Anyhoo...we found a great tree (I fed the girls while Devin and Todd hunted) and got it home safely. Devin helped us trim it last night by putting every ornament he could find on a single limb near the floor. We did a little "rearranging" after he went to bed last night.

I have photos from the trip, which I will post under this date/title, but not tonight. The camera is downstairs and I am upstairs. You do the math. :)

I have lots more to tell, but no more energy with which to do it. That pretty much gets us up-to-date on the goings on in our house, though. The rest of the stuff is fluff -- the Pizza Hut pregnancy story and a ton of updates on the rather creepy, everyone-in-our-family-including-my-ridiculously-pragmatic-father-is-a-believer ghostly encounters in our home.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Very Exciting News from the Pruetz House!

Okay -- I lied. There is no exciting news. I just wanted to hook you and get you reading. I've got updates and news that is exciting to us, but nothing that any of you will jump up and down and do a cheer over. Unless you're psychotic. And if you are, please refrain from telling me about it. I just don't want to know. I've got enough to worry about.

Things are movin' and groovin' around here. The girls are making daily strides in their quest to go from potato-like creatures to human beings.

First and foremost, these girls want to move. Grace especially wants nothing to do with lying on her back, batting at the play gym. Instead, she immediately rolls to her tummy and starts inching her way toward something...anything. She's even managed to get her feet up under her and push up, so that she's like a little triangle with her bottom in the air. It scares the heck out of me -- only a glimpse of things to come!

Faith is also not content to stay in one place and she has figured out that rolling can be a mode of transportation. She spots something across the room and goes for it -- back to tummy, tummy to back, back to tummy, tummy to back. strikes fear in my heart.

The twins are also very interested in sitting up and thankfully, a new product on the market called a Bumbo Seat helps babies to strengthen the muscles they need to sit up. We only have one and may need to invest in a second one very soon!

The girls also started on cereal yesterday. Normally, babies start rice or whole grain cereal at about four months, but because of prematurity issues, we were instructed to wait until five-and-a-half or six months. They will be six months this coming Sunday, so we decided we were close enough.

Naturally, the first few sessions have been more for practice than they are for actually filling their tummies. But surprisingly, both girls have done very well. It didn't shock us that Grace attacked the spoon as though this were the last bit of rice cereal left in the world. She's already a pro.

Faith, our sensitive little girl, is a little more resistant to change (hmmmm...wonder where THAT comes from). She will take a bite or two, but then resort to pushing most of the cereal out of her mouth with her tongue. Often, feeding time ends in tears, too. It's what we expected, though, and knowing that Devin was the same way makes us feel confident that she, too, will learn to eat just fine. Devin's never met a food he didn't like. Except Burgoo. Sorry Aunt Shirley and Uncle John.

Along the same lines of filling our kids' tummies with yummy food that sticks with them, comes the most important part of enjoying parenthood: When your kids sleep through the night.

The girls have slept through the night once before, on September 8-9. Apparently, though, it was just a fluke, as they have been waking up around 3:00 a.m. ever since.

Now I never let Devin play me when he was a baby and he slept through the night at four months. I wasn't going to be a sucker.

But with the girls, I'm a total sucker. Maybe it's because they almost weren't or because they struggled so much in their first few weeks, but I just can't say no to them. I'm just now learning to let them "cry it out" at nap time and that has resulted in them just recently starting to nap in their cribs. Seriously. I'm a sucker, I'm telling you.

So, while I know they should have been sleeping through the night two or three months ago, I've just let it go on and on until now. Now that they have some real, solid food in their bellies, I feel better about letting them cry at night. I know it will only go on for a couple of nights before they get out of the habit of waking up, so starting last night, we resolved to make them sleep through the night. We braced for a few hours of early morning wailing.

What a total non-event it was, which only lends credence to my theory: They were ready a loooong time ago. They've only been waking up out of habit and not out of necessity.

Sure enough, at 3:00 this morning, a cry was heard from down the hall. Todd got out of bed, shuffled to their room, popped a pacifier in Grace's mouth and came back to bed. The next thing we knew, it was 7:30 a.m.

Here's to hoping this trend continues.

And Finally...

The holidays are upon us and that means only one thing: The Dawn Arrow Celebration of Lights. It all started last year when our next door neighbors, Billy and Lisa, decided to have the eves of their house lined with lights by a professional. Suddenly, there was neighbor envy and the rest of us (the other four families, including us) decided to do the same with their eves. This was only the beginning. Runway lights down the driveway, trees as tall as our homes wrapped from trunk to tip, spotlights, wreaths, etc. Driving down our street was like driving down the Vegas strip.

We've started early this year in an effort to be able to turn on our lights as soon as the last piece of turkey hits the colon. Todd has already lit our soffeting (we've decided to forgo the professionals this year in an effort to save a few bucks) and three trees in the front yard. Even our back deck is lit.

Soon I'll do my garland and lights around the front door and Lord only knows what new and ridiculously innovative products we'll be suckered into before December 26th. I'll be sure to post photos as soon as the decorating is complete on all of our homes.

There's a strong possibility that our street will be able to be seen from space, too. I'll see what I can do about a satellite photo.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Brush with Yard Work

This story has nothing to do with our kids. In fact, it has nothing to do with me, either. I just thought this was the funniest thing I've ever seen (maybe with a few exceptions) and wanted to share it. Welcome to my world.

In San Antonio, we have brush and large item pick up twice a year. It's those two days that the trash guys will pick up old mattresses and big pieces like that, along with large tree-trimming and yard paraphernalia. The other 363 days of the year, it's your responsibility to get the stuff to the dump.

Our day was this past Monday, so Sunday afternoon Todd said to me, "I think I'll get some trimming done before the brush pick up. I'm just going to do this bed up by the house." Said bed is in the backyard.

Well, two-and-a-half hours later, Todd has all but anhilated the bed by the house. He's taken all of the underbrush and ground cover and pulled it up. The only things left were a couple of loquat trees and a crepe myrtle. It was all dragged out to the street for pick up the next day.

On Monday, after a line of thunderstorms moved through the city, Todd said, "Before the brush guys get here, I'm going to do some of the front yard."

We only have one bed in the front yard and it's of moderate size, so this did not take long. But it certainly added to the pile at the sidewalk. Neighbors were starting to talk. There were a number of, "Mine is bigger than yours," jokes made.

When the brush guys didn't arrive by early afternoon, Todd set out to tackle the back bed in our backyard. This is by far the largest bed we have, spanning from one end of the yard to the other, and as deep as ten feet in places.

Sure enough, tree branches, ground cover and surpuflous plants started flying. And out it all went to the street. By now, we have a mountain in our front yard.

True to form, the pick up did not happen on Monday and the pile sat at the curb overnight.

Tuesday morning arrived and Todd said, "I have a few more pieces to get." Back to the three beds he went, finding more and more to add to the enormous mound of rotting foliage in our front yard.

By the grace of God, around 2:00 Tuesday afternoon, the trash truck arrived They pulled down our not-so-long street and picked up the brush at our neighbors' homes.

They approach our home.

They slow down.

They speed back up.

They leave.


We were horrified. Were they seriously going to leave that huge pile of stuff at our curb? There were no restrictions put on this deal! We were told we could put out large items and brush for pick up. No one said there was a limit!

We stood in awe, staring out the front window, wondering which neighbor or family member would allow us to use their pickup truck to haul this stuff off.

Just as we were making plans, though, another truck rumbled down the street. Followed by another. And they both had boom-style cranes with claws on the end. Oh my.

And to work they went. Claw-ful after claw-ful was dumped into the backs of the trucks, as Devin stood on the front porch, mouth agape at the opportunity to be so close to such large and noisy machinery.

Todd was so proud of this feat, that he actually got out the DVD cam. That's right, folks, we got it all on film. Thank God. Heaven forbid we don't save this for posterity's sake.

The still camera also made an appearance. Here are some before, during and after photos.

Not only is this pile like ten feet high, it's also about 12 feet deep.

To give you a little perspective, the pile appears to be the size of our four-door Honda Accord. But the Accord is a good 20 feet closer to the camera than the pile is.

One truck had already left as we neared the bottom of the heap.

What my yard looks like, sans mountain.

Like I said...Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Spoooooookiest Night of the Year

Halloween was a roaring success in the Pruetz household. Thanks to our extraordinairly fun neighbors and some bizarre encounters here on the homefront, it was one for the record books.

The day started out like any other -- a trip to the grocery store and a batch of homemade chocolate cupcakes with orange icing for the neighbors and their kiddos. And when I say "homemade," I really mean, "Betty Crocker." I'm no idiot.

We made sure that Devin, who has all but given up napping, laid down for awhile in the afternoon to prepare for the sure-to-be late night. He chose to sleep in our room and I wasn't about to complain about long as he naps, I don't care where he does it. We set him up with lots of pillow and blankets and quietly shut the door. He was out light a light.

The girls laid down, too, and Todd went to the store. Ahh...a moment of peace for Erin. I laid down on the couch and drifted in and out, enjoying a rarely found moment of silence.

Not suprisingly, it didn't last long and soon I was wide awake again. About 45 minutes into his nap, Devin was awake. I heard him walk down the hall, into his room and start noodling around in there. He as a particularly noisy floorboard right by his bed and he stepped on it a number of times. Then he walked out of his room and into the guest room next door. More noodling and heavy footsteps. What was he doing to make so much racket?

After ten or so minutes of this, I came to my senses. How had Devin gotten out of my room -- the door to which is at the immediate top of the staircase -- without my hearing him open the door? I glanced up the stairs from the living room and sure enough, the door was closed. Not only had he opened the door, but closed it, too. Hmmmm...

I went upstairs to investigate. I peeked in the guest room. No Devin. I peeked in his room. No Devin. I peeked in at the girls. Asleep -- and no Devin.

Now I was more than perplexed.

I walked back toward the stairs and stopped at the closed door of my bedroom. Slowly I opened it, in order to catch what was surely a toddler running around like a maniac. As I peered in, though, I was astonished at what I saw.

There was Devin, curled up asleep in my bed, in the same position in which I left him an hour before.

At this point, Todd walked in the door from the store and I shared with him my story. He, too, investigated, and found nothing. There was zero cause for the footsteps I heard.

Later that day, I talked to ZZ and told her the story. What she told me freaked me out more than the phantom noises I heard.

Last Halloween, she was alone in her house. All of the kids were at school and Brian was at work. She was waiting for her oldest, Addison, to get home from school. She laid down on the couch for a quick rest and heard her cat, Tigger, upstairs. She heard her jump off the bed in the master suite, pad down the hall into the laundry room and jump up on the dryer. Tigger must have knocked something over, as there was a loud crash that prompted ZZ to get up off the couch and investigate.

As she did, though, she glanced out the window to see Tigger outside. She ventured up the stairs, only to find nothing out of place that would have caused a crash and nothing that could have made the footsteps she heard.

Amazing that virtually the same thing happened to us, exactly one year apart on Halloween, huh? I blame my mom. She loved Halloween and enjoyed a good practical joke. I think she's making sure that ZZ and I have truly spooky Halloweens. I love it. Bring it on, Mama. :)

About an hour later, Devin woke up and we started to get ready for the big night. BLT sandiwiches are traditional Halloween fare in our house and I made dinner while Todd and Devin got ready. Down they came and we all sat down to enjoy our food.

Devin wouldn't eat, though. He kept saying that his tummy hurt, which is usually code for, "I need attention." We told him that he needed to eat for trick-or-treating energy, but he only complained more. Finally, he said, "I need to throw up." I looked at him and I could tell this was no false alarm. I picked him up out of his booster seat, but it was too late.


All over the kitchen floor. And again on the rug in the hall. And again in the hall. And twice more in the toilet. How could so much stuff come out of such a little kid?

He cried for awhile and said, "I don't want to trick-or-treat," but as he started to feel better, he decided to go. I couldn't possibly tell him no -- Halloween comes only once a year! But we agreed that if he didn't feel good while we were out in the neighborhood, he could say he wanted to return home.

Then it was time for costumes. Buzz Lightyear for Devin and then Todd and me. We went as one another. I won't explain. I'll let the photo say it all.

We met our neighors outside. There are five families on our street who are very close. Lisa, Billy, Zach and Dillon next door. Gina, Guy, McKenna, Jordyn (identical twins, too!) and Alyssa on the other side. Duke, Susan, Dale, Reid and Macy across the street and Kurt, Elena, Jasmine, Emily and Nate next to them. We all have a spectacular time together and our kids have a blast hanging out together. Zach is the oldest at 13 while our twins are the youngest at 5.5 months.

We all gathered and made our plan. The ladies would take the kids around the block and return home to take over the candy-giving-out duties while the men took on the responsibility of trick-or-treating.

We made our way up the street and it was quickly obvious that it was going to be hard to stick together. The older kids zoomed from one house to the other while the little ones like Devin and Reid were much slower. So Susan and I stayed behind and let the others go at their own pace. It wasn't long, though, before Devin turned to me and said, "I want to go home." I wasn't about to argue. The poor kid really wasn't feeling well!

So we returned home. Kurt and Elena turned their garage door into a large movie screen and were showing, "The Corpse Bride." Devin relaxed in their front yard and enjoyed the movie.

The rest of the night went off without a hitch. We had the perfect amount of candy and everyone who showed up was well-behaved and deserving of free treats. :)

Hope your Halloween was as spooky as ours!

In Other News...

Today marked the girls' first day to receive their Synagis shots. Synagis is a medication given to preemie babies during cold and flu season. Preemies are particularly at-risk for RSV, an upper-respiratory infection that causes only mild symptoms in most kids and adults, but that can be life-threatening in babies born earlier than 37 weeks. The girls were 31 weeks.

They have to get the shots once a month throughout the fall and winter seasons. I hate having to see them get poked and pricked like that, but it's so much better than the alternative.

The only fun thing about the visit was getting the girls weighed. Faith is now 11 lbs, 5 oz and Grace is 12 lbs, 3 oz.

We will go back on December 1 and the first of every month through April. Poor kiddos.

This has been quite the long post, so I will leave you with some Halloween photos that are sure to make you laugh!


Just a few of the neighborhood kids -- McKenna is the werewolf, Emily is a pirate girl, Jordyn is a Southern Belle, Alyssa is a kitty cat, and Nate is a train conductor.

Devin as Buzz Lightyear, in front of our house

Devin as Buzz Lightyear, in our house

Erin and Todd as Todd and Erin.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Outdoor World...Found Indoors

Devin's Doozie

After not even being able to get near the place last week, we decided to give Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World another try.

Sure enough, the crowd was much smaller and we were able to get in and out of the massive tribute to all things outdoor with ease.

We went there because we knew that Devin would love it. It has everything a little boy could wish for: NASCAR, camping, fishing, hiking, boating, hunting and ATVs. There's even archery!

And the place is so much more than retail. There's a huge, two-story waterfall that cascades into a pond stocked with fish and a river that runs throughout the store. There are tons of taxidermied animals (including a lion attacking a zebra...try explaining that to a little boy who idolizes the animal characters of the movie "Madagascar) and even a place to purchase some freshy made fudge.

Chocolate? Who? Me? Well...if you insist.

Animals and wildlife are represented throughout the building and in one of the display cases was the skin of a tiger (I'm not sure if it was real or not -- I'd really rather not know).

Devin happened across this skin and said, "Oh sad! Someone squished a tiger!"

Needless to say, it was a fun time and, thankfully, we got out of there only spending $10 on some over-priced (although very yummy) fudge.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Yoakum High School Class of 1986
and other exciting tales

This weekend was Todd's 20th (bah ha ha ha ha ha ha!) high school reunion in the booming metropolis of Yoakum, Texas.

We arrived in Y-town around noon on Friday and spent some time with Todd's parents while they cooed over the girls and played with Devin. It was nice to sit and let someone else entertain the shortest Pruetzes.

That night was the Yoakum Bulldogs vs. the Cureo Gobblers (no, I'm not kidding). We took Devin, got settled in our seats and watched kickoff. Yoakum scored a touchdown and extra point almost immediately, but whatever happened after that is a total mystery to us.

You see Devin, my sweet, precious three-year-old, does not have the world's longest attention span. In fact, he is in the running for the world's shortest attention span. And while he loves sports, he'd much rather be playing than watching. What's the fun in watching?

So while we got to watch a little bit of the game, our little Doodle found it to be much more exciting to jump from the steps of the stands down to the walkway below. Over and over and over again. He was fine for awhile, until he started doing it from the fourth and fifth steps. Then he was annoying the fire out of everyone around him, so we took him below the stands to let him run around.

True to form, he picked up a game of football with some kids while Todd caught up with a number of his former classmates. When it was time to try to get back to our seats, though, Devin would hear nothing of it. He kicked and made a fuss, telling us that he wanted to return to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

That's all we needed.

We loaded the boy into the car and drove clear across Yoakum (2.5 minutes, tops) and dropped him off with Todd's folks. Then we hopped back into the mini-van and returned to the game where we were able to watch the bands perform at halftime and spend too much time in line for nachos. We saw a number of Todd's friends, though, and had a good time laughing and having fun, sans children.

Yoakum lost, 33 to 7. Apparently, the touchdown we saw was the only highlight of the game.

We woke up on Saturday morning and Todd and I headed to the High School for a tour, given by the Yoakum High School Principal and Class of '86 graduate. A number of Todd's friends were there and we enjoyed talking with them in the auditorium, one of the only rooms in the school that remains almost exactly as it was when the school was built.

Wooden, folding seats, with initials (some suspiciously looking like T.O.P...) carved deeply into them. A cement floor and a balcony. It was like stepping onto the set of "Grease."

Pricipal Kvinta (that's pronounced "Kwinna" for those of you who do not have Czechoslovakian backgrounds) pointed out the two pencils that Todd had thrown and stuck into the ceiling so many years ago and then took us all throughout the building.

The first stop was the computer sciences room. Interestingly enough, this was the only other room in the school that has not been renovated. Yoakum High School opened for its first year in 1892 (no, you're not reading that wrong), so you can imagine what the architecture was like; hardwood floors, raised "stage" areas for the teachers' desks, and tall windows for cross-ventilation.

It was interesting to see rows and rows of computers sitting in a room that looked straight out of a page of a history book. A juxtoposition of cultures, if you will.

The rest of the school looked a lot like my alma mater of Kingwood, Texas. Typical classrooms with rows of desks, dry-erase boards and inspirational posters on the walls. Some of the rooms had old desks from the 1950s, though, which were also interesting.

The tour of the main building ended in the Principal's office, where Chris Kvinta took out the paddle from their high school days. Back in those days, anyone who got paddled got to sign their names to the piece of wood. Todd won with the most signatures: TEN.

We saw the rest of the school, with some new outter buildings and updates. It was a lot of fun and it wasn't hard for me to picture Todd running through the halls.

We returned to Todd's parents house and got ready to go to the reunion party that night. We arrived around 4:00 with all three kids in tow (including Devin who had been up until 11:00 the night before and who had not had a nap that day). Everyone gathered around the twins and marveled at how much Devin looks like Todd. We enjoyed showing them off and stayed until about 6:00, when Devin's steam wore out.

Again, we did the drop at Grandma and Grandpa's house and returned to the party. On the way, we picked up a bottle of wine and, for Todd's posterity's sake, a bottle of MD 20/20. You'll be happy to know that we did not even open the stuff.

We had a great time, laughing and recalling goofy Todd stories. I finally had a number of faces to put with names and was able to catch up with some people we hadn't seen in a long time. It was really fun.

If you haven't gathered by now, Todd was Yoakum High Class of '86's class clown. And being married to the class clown brings a lot of pressure. Everyone is wanting to see just who would marry such a character and what is that person like? I had to make sure I was at my goofiest, so not to let anyone down.

The goofiness included taking a decades-old Air Force photo of one of Todd's friends and taping it to the mirror in the women's bathroom with a note that read, "For a good time, call 1-800-AF-STUDS." His wife found it almost immediately and brought it out, laughing. So, I wrote another one and sent Todd into the men's room with it. This one read, "Trumpet Lessons. 1-800-AF-STUDS." It stayed up for hours, until Jimmy saw it and nearly peed his pants. My work was done.

And that was the long and short of the reunion. A hysterically fun time in Yoakum, Texas.

More Exciting Stuff

Last Thursday, we decided we would take a trip out to the new Bass Pro Shops here in San Antonio. I've been to the one in Dallas (Grapevine, actually), but Todd had never seen one and I knew Devin would love the fish and all of the animals and outdoorsy stuff.

So we loaded up the family truckster and headed out I-10. We were excited to get to do this on a Thursday because, really, how many people would be there during the work week?

A lot.

We couldn't get near the place. They tried to get us to park across the freeway at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and take a shuttle to the shop. thanks. It's just not that important.

So we took a drive up I-10 and decided that Devin needed to see Natural Bridge Caverns. We were headed the absolute wrong direction to get there, but we took a detour and got to our destination in about 55 minutes (had we left from our home, it would have taken 20).

Once we got there, we made the executive decision to not actually tour the caves. With a stroller full of babies and a nearly 90-minute tour, we both agreed that it may not be a good time to go spelunking.

But there are plenty of other things to do, including mining for gemstones, which Devin did like a pro. He loved it.

After awhile, we went next door to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. This is one of these places where you stay in your car and drive through different zones, filled with animals from all over the world.

In our ride, we met up with some very fiesty ostriches (who pecked at my window for food and stuck their heads in Todd's window, looking for a bite to eat -- luckily he was holding the bag of feed) and some hungry zebras (Devin is a fan of the movie, "Madagascar," so he was thrilled to see so many Martys in one place).

We also encountered a number of different types of antelope and even some bison. There were deer and giraffe and dozens of other animals. Devin was in awe.

After our drive, we stopped at the petting zoo. It was going to be impossible to get the girls' stroller in and out of there, so I sat in the car while Devin and Todd explored. About 20 minutes later, they returned, with Devin covered in dirt from head to toe on his left side. Apparently, a goat was interested in his shirt and knocked him down. I'm proud to say he laughed at the whole situation!

Of course, since this whole thing was spur-of-the-moment, we did not have the camera. The digital camera we have is a professional-quality one that is too big to keep in my purse, so we have to remember to get it and all of its accoutrements every time we go on an outing. I'm hoping for a small, point-n-shoot for Christmas so that I can keep it with me at all times.

We have, however, gotten a few good photos of the kiddos lately. Enjoy!


An Update on Video Egg
I've been hoping to post video to this blog for awhile, now, but apparently, Video Egg is not compatible with Macs. Either that, or our DVD Cam is not compatible. Todd tried explaining it to me, but my eyes glazed over. So, until we can figure out how to make it work, we'll have to stick with stills.

Grace on the left, Faith on the right

Devin in our bed

Faith in her swing

Devin and Grandpa asleep in Grandpa's favorite chair

Goofy Grace. This is easily the funniest face I've ever seen any of my kids make!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Exotic Animals Found in San Antonio

Today, Todd, Devin, Faith, Grace and I all went for a walk at the new park near our home. It's called Stone Oak Park, named after the master-planned community in which we live.

To be realistic, it's not as much of a park as is a nature area. No playground or sandbox (so far...I think there are plans for them, though), but rather gravel trails with benches along the way. The trails circumvent a cave system that will be open to the public some day in the future.

The park is very pretty and, although it is only partially finished, the trails are beautiful and rustic. They are pretty easy, although Level 2 and Level 3 trails are part of the newest expansion, set to open at the end of this year.

So we had a great time just meandering along the trails, enjoying the beautiful weather and God's glory around us. Since we were there during the heat of the day, we didn't see a whole lot of animals, but we were able to point out different animal tracks, trees and cactuses to Devin. It's hysterical to hear him say, "Prickley Pear."

At one point, though, we heard something scurry into some of the brush (remember, this is San Antonio, so it's more like short trees and scrubby brush than the pine-straw blanketed piney woods of Houston where I grew up) and Todd investigated. It was a squirrel and he pointed it out to Devin. This was the first time Devin realized that there may be animals along the way and he became very interested.

Devin's Doozie

A short way past the squirrel-sighting, Devin shushed Todd and me and told us to stop. He said he'd heard an animal in the distance. Todd and I exchanged amused glances and followed our son to the edge of the trail.

There he stood, crouched down, quietly peering into the bushes. Todd whispered, "What do you see, Devin?"

Devin's response, "An itty, bitty hippopatamus."

Well who-the-heck knew? Apparently, San Antonio is home to exotic, wild animals. I didn't see the hippo, nor did Todd, but Devin swore it was there. And who are we to doubt him?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Updates from the Home Front

It occured to me earlier today that I have made a number of statements and prayer requests, but have never followed up on the news to go along with them. you go.

We had our check-up on Friday to make sure the girls were healing well after their bout with strep. Sure enough, their oxygen levels were perfect and the wheezing had stopped. We got instructions to continue with their Amoxicillan (since it seems they are not allergic to Penicillan-based drugs like their mommy is) and continue life as usual.

We did talk, though, about Faith's failure to gain weight. Right now, there is a larger discrepancy in the sizes of the two girls than there ever has been in the past: a full pound! Fully clothed, Faith weighed only 10 lbs, 7 oz.

Babies at this age should gain six to eight ounces per week and Faith has only gained seven ounces in three weeks.

Dr. Trexler didn't seem too concerned, but wanted me to start forifying Faith's breastmilk again in an effort to up her calorie count. Breastmilk is 20 calories per ounce and with fortifying, it becomes 22 calories per ounce. Two calories don't seem like much, but when you really don't do a whole lot more than just lie around all day, it makes a huge difference.

So we're back to buying Enfacare and putting measured amounts of it in Faith's breastmilk. Hopefully, this will do the trick and she will get chunky like her sister.

And in other news...

So many of you all have inquired about how my niece, Presley, is doing. The great news is she's doing fine. After an initial diagnosis of tubular sclerosis, ZZ took her to see many, many doctors to see how far the disease had reached in her body. An appointment with her neuorologist, though, brought an interesting turn of events -- it may not be TS after all.

It seemed that many of Presley's symptoms were more indicative of epilepsy than of TS. There's no denying that TS symptoms are present, but epilepsy seemed to be the prevailing concern.

So a 24-hour EEG was done on Presley to determine what kind of activities were going on in that noggin of hers. She was hooked up to a machine with a zillion little wires attached to her head. She had to sit in bed for 24 fulls hours, getting up only to go to the bathroom (for which she still had to be attached to the machine, meaning ZZ had to carry all of the wires for her!). She was also videotaped for the entire 24 hours, to monitor any physical correlations with any seizures that were recorded.

Can you appreciate what it must have been like to have a four-year-old stuck in bed for 24 hours? It wasn't pretty...

A few days later, though, Z and Presley saw their neurologist and he confirmed it: While it may be TS, it's more likely epilepsy. They just can't ignore the epileptic-type sympoms she has.

They will continue to test and monitor for TS, which could rear its ugly head at any time. But epilepsy, especially juvenile epilepsy, is much preferred over TS. Praise God!

You can keep up with Presley on her CaringBridge Web Site.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for Presley and inquired about her health. Once again, God has shown His mercy.

During her stay, Presley was given a very special hat, made by a local ministry, to help keep her from fidgeting with her cranial connections and to make her smile. I couldn't resist taking a photo.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cosmic Math

Today's post is brought to you by a Type-A personality with too much time on her hands.

I actually figured this whole thing out in the days after the twins were born, but I'm just now writing it down. I am sure it's a stretch, but I really don't believe in coincidences and I think God may have had a hand in my kids' times of birth, if for nothing more than to amuse someone who spends way too much time just "thinking."

Let's start with the time of day each of my kids were born.

Devin: 1:01 pm
Faith: 2:11 pm
Grace: 2:12 pm

Here is the pattern I noticed -- When you add up the hours and minutes of their respective births (separately), you get their birth order:

Devin: 1st pregnancy, 1st child
Hour: 1+0=1 (1st pregnancy)
Minutes: 0+1=1 (1st child)

Faith: 2nd pregnancy, 2nd child
Hour: 2+0=2 (2nd pregnancy)
Minutes: 1+1=2 (2nd child)

Grace: 2nd pregnancy, 3rd child
Hour: 2+0=2 (2nd pregnancy)
Minutes: 1+2=3 (3rd child)

I'm sure a lot of people are out there saying, "Okay Erin...this time you've really lost it," but I think this is pretty cool! Of course, if we were using military time, this would never work, but since we're on a 12-hour clock...

So ponder that! Have a great weekend!

PS - Todd is in the nursery dressing the girls. They are both just giggling up a storm. They've given us a few chuckles here and there, but this is the first time they've both consistently laughed. It's like music to my ears!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dawn Arrow Death House

After nearly a year of defiantly titling each of my entries with the date of my entry (even though dates every entry automatically), I have finally decided to give it up and give them cute names. All of my friends' blogs have cute names for their entries, so why shouldn't I do the same? I've been doing it for consistency's sake and I've decided to let go of my OCD tendencies and throw caution to the wind!


Today brought lots and lots of fun to the Pruetz house.

Ha! Again.

Todd has been feeling sick for a couple of days. Head and chest congestion, sore throat, achiness...the works. I knew it was only a matter of time before everyone else started to feel the wrath of this mysterious malady.

Sure enough, Devin crawled into bed with me this morning (can't-get-a-good-night's-sleep-Todd was in the guest room) and immediately started hacking. I could hear the congestion rattling around in his throat and chest and he complained all morning about his nose being stuffy.

Around 7:45, both girls woke up and sure enough, they were stuffy and congested too.

At the stroke of 8:00, I called our Doctor's office and made an appointment for 9:00 for all three kids.

An hour later, we were sitting in the office of Stone Oak Pediatrics and were seen fairly quickly.

Luckily, our pediatrician, Cheryl, is a personal friend of mine and she always takes extra time with our kids.

First she examined Devin. Then Faith. Then Grace. Then pulse-ox meters for both girls. Then tempanograms for all three. Next were rapid strep tests for the brood and finally Xopenex nebulizer treatments for the babies.

She was right -- all three had strep. She gave Devin a prescription for a decongestant and all three got Amoxicillan to clear up the infection.

Three short hours later, we were home.

Four o'clock was Todd's turn to see our doctor. Sure enough, he returned 90 minutes later with a Z-Pack in hand, to clear up his strep throat (the first time he's ever had strep!) and sinus infection.

Luckily, I have escaped all of this. Until this evening.

First the cough. Then the tickle in the throat. Now the inability to stay awake, even while typin...zzz...zzz...zzz...

Just kidding.

So, the whole family is on antibiotics and I'm waiting for morning to arrive when I call my doctor and say, "Look -- my husband and three kids all have strep. I think it's safe to say this is what I've gotten," and hope that he just calls a prescription in for me.

So, if you plan to stop by our home any time in the next two days, here's a word to the wise: DON'T. Save yourself. You won't regret it.


PS - On a lighter note, here are the kids' stats:

Devin: 35 lbs
Faith: 10 lbs, 7 oz
Grace: 11 lbs, 7 oz

We're a little worried about Faith's somewhat stunted growth, so we'll go in on Friday to revisit this whole strep thing and talk about why she's not gaining weight as quickly as she should. Here we go again...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October 10, 2006

Yesterday, as the girls were lying on the floor of their room (with Todd and me, of course), they came to an awesome discovery: one another!

We give the girls "floor time" a few times a day, letting them roll around and stretch out. They aren't quite to the point of reaching for toys yet, but they do enjoy watching the ceiling fan (we call them ceiling angels) and having the freedom to move around.

Well, yesterday afternoon, they were next to one another on the floor, as is the usual custom. At one point, Grace turned her head and saw Faith. Now this has happened a zillion times and it's been no big deal. But this time, it was like a lightbulb popped up over Grace's head and she said to herself, "Hey look - that's another person over there!"

So she reached out for Faith and Faith responded to Grace's touch with her own turn of the head and proverbial lightbulb.

You think that's cute? Wait 'till you hear about what happened next!

Everyone says twins have their own language. My sister, ZZ's twins had their own for a long time. They were just mumbo-jumbo to the untrained ear, but to Kaelin and Brendan, they made total sense to one another. They asked questions, answered back and collaborated on many "projects."

Naturally, I've wondered when it will start for my twins.

Apparently, yesterday was the day!

As the girls were discovering one another by patting the other's arms and shoulders, they were also discovering that they could communicate with sounds.

It started with Faith (she's our talker, while Grace is our mover) who made a sort of trill sound with her lips. Grace follwed with an, "Ah-gee," and it went on from there. They both still do their little "Hi!" and are making lots of other noises, too.

This whole communication went on for nearly an hour. They were so content to just sit there and "talk" with one another. I started to get the video camera, but then thought twice about it, as I was afraid if I moved around a lot, I'd distract them and this important moment of bonding would be lost. I'll catch it next time.

I'm still trying to figure out our video camera (Todd is the techincal guru around here -- I just know how to take video) and get stuff uploaded to Once I do, though, you'll have video to go along with Pruetz family stories!



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October 4, 2006

Erin's Doozie

I'm just so proud of this, I had to write it down.

As many of you all know, Todd was a stand-up comedian in college and that makes him much funnier and wittier than I. Rarely do I get to a joke before he does. Until today.

Todd was reading a article about Teleporting Atoms when he said, "How do you tag an atom? Do you color it blue? Do you put your name on it?"

My response: "Hi. My name is Adam."

He was furious that I got to it first. He threw himself on the bed and swore this was like that Friends episode where Chandler had his third nipple removed. Chandler later missed a very obvious joke about Rachael's high school reputation and swore that he had lost his witty power when his superflous nipple was removed.

Today's Final Score
Erin: 1
Todd: 0

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October 3, 2006

Good Morning,

It's a typical morning in the Pruetz house. Devin is searching for some long-lost toy and doing his version of "The Running Man" for Todd. The girls are still sleeping and I'm banging away at the computer. What fun!

Todd and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this weekend by retreating to Fredericksburg for some wine tasting and R&R. It was so good to have some time with Todd and reconnect without someone screaming, whining or spitting up. Dad and Jean, being the wonderful people that they are, stayed with the kids while we were away. We couldn't be more thankful for their generosity.

We left Friday afternoon around 3:15 and made it to Fredericksburg around 4:45. We checked into our Bed and Breakfast, the Schandua Suite. We stayed here four years ago for our first anniversary and were so impressed with it, that we returned again!

It's not your typical B-n-B. It's not some old, victorian house with bedrooms upstairs and a common area downstairs. Instead, it's a single, two-room suite that is completey separate (although in the same building) from the owner's home. It has an enormous bedroom with the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. In the bedroom is also a couch, a TV and a table and chairs. Attached to the bedroom is a double-sink bath, a separate water closet and a big walk-in closet. All of the ceilings are like 15 feet, so you can imagine how big the place feels.

Off of the bedroom is the library. It has a couch and chairs, a desk and a TV, along with a 25-foot wall filled completely with books. Behind the living room area is a small table and chairs and a complete, pullman kitchen.

The owners, Jon and Sharla, keep the kitchen stocked with all sorts of goodies. Milk, OJ, veggie juice, Cokes, cereal, fresh fruit, coffee and fresh, German pasteries from the bakery downstairs. YUM!

The best part about this place is the location, though. Like most quaint little town, Fredericksburg has a Main Street on which there are cute shops, fun eateries and entertainment as far as the eye can see. This little town's Main Street is about five blocks long and our suite sat right in the middle of the action. It's perfect!

So we checked in on Friday evening and enjoyed the appetizers that are a part of your arrival package. Then we headed out for some good German food and beer. We found The Auslander Restaurant enjoyed some good fried mushrooms and excellent German potato skins!

Then we headed down the street to the Fredericksburg Brewery where we had a beer and just relaxed.

It was back to the suite for one of the best nights sleep we've had in a long time.

The next morning, we woke up and enjoyed having a leisurely morning with nothing to do. We eventually headed out to walk Main Street and shop for goodies. We found a beautiful iron piece for the wall above our bed and a few other knick-knacks here and there. was time. Wine tasting. This is what the trip was all about.

Before we left San Antonio, we found a map of the Texas Wine Trail and scoped out the wineries that we wanted to visit. Becker, for sure, as we visited them four years ago and buy their wine very often.

So we started there, tasting a number of their reds and a couple of their whites. We bought a glass of their ... something or another. I can't remember. But we enjoyed it a lot, sitting on their patio and making friends with some folks who walked up with their Yellow Labs. So much fun!

We headed down the road to a newer winery called Torre di Pietra. We did more tasting there, supplied by our now-good-friend George and purchased a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Again, we sat out on their patio and enjoyed the live swing band.

By now, we are feeling no pain.

Our last winery would be Grape Creek Vineyards. I won't even go there. We were less than impressed. 'Nuff said.

On our way back into town, we passed some little place called, "Chip, Putt and Taste." Could it be? Golf and wine? We had to find out.

Turns out, that's exactly what it was. A little place, decorated with photographs of famous golfers like Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods, with a chipping green and putting green out back. On the menu were wines from all over the region and even some sparkling wines. We tasted a Syrah, a Zinfandel and a Merlot and purchased a glass of peach champagne. So yummy!

By this time, we needed to dry out a little, so we headed back to the suite for a snack and a nap. That night, we had dinner at the Rathskeller Restaurant where we just split an appetizer and a dessert. They had a great, live guitarist who played many of our favorite tunes, from James Taylor to the Beatles.

We were exhausted, so we retired early and, again, enjoyed a full-night's rest with no interruption.

Sunday brought the reality of having to return home and after a quick walk down Main Street, we returned to San Antonio. I was ready, though. I really missed my kids!

Naturally, we forgot the camera, so you'll have to just picture all of this in your mind. But if you're ever in Fredericksburg, please stay at the Schandua Suite and tell Jon and Sharla that we say hello...


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 2006

Way back when, during the days of the NICU and daily trips to and from the hospital, I mentioned that Faith does everything Grace does, only a few days later.

Well, she has stayed true to that statement.

Gracie has become a pro at rolling over. In fact, like her mom, she likes to sleep on her side, giving us all the more reason to keep her sleeping in her car seat at night (the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recommends all babies sleep on their backs until age one). She just flips over all the time with ease.

Faith has been staying on her back, contetedly. Until now.

Todd and I were standing in the living room, talking about something, while the girls laid on the floor nearby. Devin was being his usual self, bouncing around, trying to interrupt us.

He succeeded when he said, "Mommy! She rolled over!"

Without glancing down, I said, "I know. Grace rolls over a lot now."

He replied, "No! The other one!"

I looked down and, sure enough, there was Faith, quietly lying on her tummy.

Geniuses. Both of them.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

September 23, 2006

Just another day in paradise...

On Tuesday, the girls turned four months old and that meant another trip to the doctor's office. So on Thursday the 21st, I took them in for their check up.

They are doing so well! Faith is exactly ten lbs and 21.75 inches long. Grace is ten lbs, 12 oz and 23.5 inches long. Both are finally on the charts for their true age (four months) and for their corrected age (two months). Faith is in the 8th percentile for a four-month-old and in the 80th for a two-month-old. Grace is in the 15th for a four-month-old and in the 95th for a two-month-old! Woo hoo!

Both girls passed their physicals with flying colors and even did some cooing and talking for Dr. Trexler. She was very impressed. I'm telling you, they're geniuses.

Earlier today, I left the two girls lying on the family room floor while I went into the kitchen (we have an open floor plan, so I was essentially still the same room with them. Don't call CPS). I was talking to Todd, with my back to the girls. In mid-setence, though, Todd interuppted me and said, "Did you leave her on her tummy?"

I turned around to find Grace on her belly. Apparently, Wednesday's roll-over wasn't a fluke (like we thought it may be, since she didn't seem to have much interest in doing it again). We rolled her back onto her back and she flipped right back onto her tummy. We turned her over one more time and got smart -- the video camera! As soon as I get it figured out, I'm going to use Video Egg (thanks for the idea, Meg!) to post the amazing images of Grace rolling over. No baby in the history of babies has ever completed such a feat. :)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 20, 2006

Houston, we have a roll-over

It's official -- my girls are growing up! Today, while we were having floor time in the living room, Gracie rolled over from back to tummy and then again from tummy to back! We are thrilled by her obvious brilliance and are excited to see what kind of rocket-scientist-like stuff both she and Faith come up with next.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

September 16, 2006

For those of you with kids, or kids in your lives, go hug them now

I just got the news that a friend, and fellow MOM'S Club member, of mine went to wake her 20-month-old daughter up this morning, but instead found her lifeless in her crib. The little girl had been suffering from seizures most of her life and it seems that she likely had a seizure in her sleep and suffocated.

When she went to bed last night, there was no indication that anything was wrong. They were on their way to a playdate at the park when my friend made the horrible discovery.

Please pray for the Long family. Their suffering is enormous -- more than I can fathom.

And please, go hug your kids and tell them how much you love them. Life is precious and fragile and can be taken from us at any time. No one knows God's plan and while He always knows what's best for us, it's not always clear to those of us on Earth as to why things happen. Live every day like it may be your last.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

September 14, 2006

Happy Birthday, Butch. You're officially in your 30s. Scary.

A series of musings from me. Nothing exciting...

The girls are cranky and seem to like nothing. They don't want to be in their swings, their cribs, their car seats (although they sleep in them at night and love them then, thankfully), their bouncy seats, their play gyms or anything else. They only want to be held. They are either awake and crying or asleep for a few minutes at a time. It's enough to make Todd and me looney.

But there's just so much to love! When they are in good moods (it happens every so often!), we get the sweetest smiles and the most adorable coos from the girls. They both give us a breathy, "Hi!" or say "Ah-gee" (see, Gene and Linda, they're already learning your name!) and sometimes a giggle or too. It makes up for all of the crying, screaming and seeming hatred for any and everything other than me.

Devin is such a little boy now. This morning, he has managed to play teeball and golf in the front yard, eat everything in the house (yoghurt, strawberries, grapes, carrots, Goldfish and two bean-and-cheese tacos), tear up my latest issue of "Parenting," drink my Diet Coke, usurp the girls' new (well, new to them) play gyms and find a lot of joy in the words, "Pootie" and "Booty." Not words bad enough to punish for saying, but not words that you really love hearing from your three-year-old's mouth.

We're working on a new "rewards and consequences" system. We have a dry-erase board on our fridge that has two columns: one for stars and one for Xs. When Devin does something good, he gets a star. Consequently, when he does something bad, he gets an X. Once he gets to ten of either one, there is a reward or a consequence. Ten stars equals some sort of treat while ten Xs means something gets taken away.

Yesterday, he reached ten stars and got lunch at Sonic. We wiped the slate clean last night and have managed to amass five Xs already today. He's trying very hard to catch up to the Xs with stars so he can get a reward. We'll see.

Todd's getting a little restless at home, but that bodes well for me because he keeps finding projects to do. He finally refinished the chandelier in the formal dining room, rearranged the formal living room, re-painted the kids' bathroom (one side with a blue wave for Devin and the other side with pink and yellow flowers for the twins) and spot cleaned the carpets. He even refinished all of our bedroom furniture, which is gorgeous now. It was pretty to begin with, but was starting to look dated. Now it's all satin-finish black with wrought-iron hardware. So pretty. We just need to find a headboard for the bed. That'll come with time, I guess.

I love being married to Todd for a zillion reasons. First of all, he's easily the funniest person I have ever met. It's great to go through life laughing. There's never an end to his silliness and I never tire of the way he sees the world. For example, in kid-friendly neighborhoods, there are often signs that say, "Slow -- Children at Play." To me, that says, "Go slowly -- there may be kids in the street." Todd sees it completely differently, though. He sees it the correct way, of course, but he also likes to muse over the fact that the kids in those particular neighborhoods don't run very fast. You know, "Slow children at play." See what I mean?

I love Todd for his depth, too. He's not just this goofy, silly guy. He's got a lot of conviction and excellent ethics. I'm proud to be with someone like him.

And finally, I love that his family means more to him than anything else. He just lives for Devin, Faith and Grace. He dreams up ways to make them all happy, whether it's playing ball, going for a bike ride or rolling around on the floor.

And, being an excellent artist, Todd is always creating things for the kids. Devin's nursery was Raining Cats and Dogs, with giant, cartoon-like kitties and puppies falling from a rainy sky. Now Devin has a Hot Wheels room, complete with seven-foot Hot Wheels logo and orange Hot Wheels track chair-rail moulding. And you've seen the photos of the girls' room.

Along with fun, custom-painted rooms, Todd is also always making posters and photo montages of the kids. Just last night, he sat down at the computer and came up with a new rock group starring Faith and Grace -- the Sugar Honey Girls. Using sayings from two of their onesies as their hit singles, he created a promotional poster of this new musical sensation and even formed a production company (SPIT UP - Sugar Princesses in Training Unlimited Productions). All of this in a couple of hours. We'll have this printed out and will hang it in their room in a poster frame.

The Hot Wheels Wall in Devin's Room

The Sugar Honey Girls

Yep, life is good. Precious (albeit loud) little girls, a spirited son and a talented and hysterical husband. What more could I ask for?

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2006

Where were you?

I was sitting in my bathroom, putting on my makeup and getting ready for work. It was pretty late in the morning, but I worked for a company that allowed me to roll in any time I wanted to. Ahh...the days of the dot-com.

I had the morning news tuned to the Dallas FOX affiliate when I heard the network break in with news of a crash or explosion at the World Trade Center in New York City. I immediately left my bathroom and ran to the TV to watch the horror unfold. Reporters were already speculating on what had happened and I was furious that they were calling it terrorism so early on. No one knew that the first plane to hit the building was a passenger jet -- no one was 100% sure if it was even a plane. So why would they be saying so early that it was terrorism? Not long before September 11, 2001, PGA golfer Payne Stewart had died in a plane crash in which the aircraft lost pressure and went on auto pilot, eventually crashing as it ran out of fuel. I was sure that something of a similar matter had happened. No one in the world is evil enough to actually hijack a plane and crash it into on the world's tallest buildings.

But then, as I was yelling at the FOX news reporters, a second airplane came into view and a huge explosion errupted on my screen. I was stunned. I sat there, silent, my mouth agape, not being able to comprehend what I was watching. Certainly this was just a reply of the earlier event, but how could it be since now both buildings were burning? I must have realized what happened the same time the FOX newsroom realized it, because as I screamed an expletive, so did everyone on TV.

I called Todd on the way to work and he hadn't heard the news (he left his house very early every morning to drive to Fort Worth for work). He and his co-workers turned on the TV in their office and watched the replays over and over again.

I got to work to find that I was only the second one there. Most everyone else had opted to stay home, while a few co-workers trickled in. I tried to get on my computer for the latest update, but all Web sites were bogged down. I couldn't get on any of them -- local or national.

Then, as I sat and pondered the meaning of what had happened, news of the Pentagon came through the radio. Then Shanksville. I thought to myself, "No one is safe."

A co-worker ran in and said, "One of the towers fell." I just couldn't comprehend what that meant. The towers are each like 110 stories tall. A tower that size could never fall.

But it did. And minutes later, the remaining tower fell. I buried my head in my hands and sobbed. I was scared, sad, mad and confused, all at the same time.

Those of us in the office decided to go down to the bar atop which our office sat (we worked in a hip part of Dallas called Deep Ellum) and ask if we could watch their TV. They agreed and even provided us with beverages as we watched in terror. Finally, my boss called me on my cell phone and said, "Everyone just go home." We did.

Where were you?

Our show of solidarity.

On a much lighter note, here's a Devin's Doozie for you

Last night, as his is usual ritual, Devin came out of his room long after he should have been asleep. He hollered down at Todd, who was in the kitchen setting up the coffee maker for the next morning.


"Devin, Daddy is busy. He's fixing his coffee."

*Long pause*

"What happened to it?"

And finally...

We got our first giggle out of Grace last Tuesday, September 5. I was wiping some stray milk from her cheek and she started to cry. When I looked down, though, I realized she was smiling. It wasn't a cry -- it was a laugh. Apparently, she likes to be tickled!

Peace. Please.


Monday, September 04, 2006

September 4, 2006

Happy Labor Day! I hope that everyone is having a great time enjoying their day off and the "fruits of their labor." Whatever that means. :)

So much going on here and yet, so little. I have tiny bits of news here and there, but really nothing huge to speak of.

First, the kiddos. All are doing well. Faith and Grace are growing like weeds. Grace is a bottomless pit who eats whatever Faith doesn't finish. Faith is still smaller, although also gaining. It's been a month or so since they've been weighed, but I'd estimate that they are around 11 (Faith) and 12 (Grace) lbs. It's getting harder and harder to carry two infant carriers!

Devin is doing well, too. We are officially potty trained, going days now with no accidents (knock on wood). It's just in time, too, since he starts religious education this week at church. It's the Good Shepard program which gives younger kids the chance to learn about the Mass and the basics of the physical chuch like the altar, the ambo, the vestments, etc. It comes highly recommended and we're very excited about it!

And I'm doing well, too. Life has been a little stressful around here, needless to say, giving my Zoloft a run for its money. Some days I think it's working, while others make me want to call my doctor and say, "Prescribe something stronger." Post-partum depression is one heck of a strong illness. It really sticks around and plays tricks with your mind. I have to wonder how long this will last, because I'd really just prefer to feel normal without medication.

The job hunt is going well for Todd. He had an interview that went very well last Thursday, although I am not convinced it's the right job for him. He's in touch with former employer Accenture and should hear from them this week about some positions they have here in their new San Antonio offices (which were supposed to open on the 1st!). I would really like for him to work for Accenture again -- they are a great company to work for. We'll see what God has in store for us...we're trying to keep the faith.

Last night, Todd, Devin and Uncle Brian went to San Marcos to hear Uncle Brian's favorite band, The Derailers. Apparently, a good time was had by all! Devin danced for the entire two hour set and even asked a little girl to dance. They had a blast, just the boys.

That's about all for us. Thrilling, huh? To add some excitement, here are some photos. :)


Da girls


Gracie Too

The girls' room -- a work of art by Todd. It's fun being married to an artist!

On the left side of the window is a quote from Cinderella that says, "A dream is a wish your heart makes..." The right side finishes the sentence with, "When you're fast asleep..."

Grace's bed with her name and life-size Tinkerbell

On the wall over the side of her bed is the quote from Disney's Alladin that says, "Let me share this whole new world with you."

Faith's bed with her name and life-size Tinkerbell

Guess who just had to get into a photo?

The sign on the girls' door

Smiley Face Faith

My kids

Faith and Grace

Devin and Uncle Brian at the Derailers' Concert