Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trying to Catch Up

Just when you think things are settling down...BAM! You get hit all over again.

After my last post, in late September, we thought we had it all under control. Life was going to go back to normal and we were going to get settled into our new home.

Hours after posting, though, Todd's dad ended up in the emergency room again. He was transported back to San Antonio where he spent another week in the hospital, recovering from a second surgery to stop the bleeding from the subdural hematoma. Todd spent much of his time up at the hospital and I played single mom for a number of days. Time was a luxury I didn't have.

Orville went home again, but ended up, only 48 hours later, back at the ER again, this time with a high fever and the complete inability to utter a sound (his speech had been affected by the first two surgeries, but he'd never completely lost the ability to speak before this). Another trek to San Antonio and more time in the ICU with lots of tests and a scary few hours when a possible stroke was considered.

Luckily, MRIs and CAT Scans ruled the stroke out and it was found that Orville had some considerable swelling on the brain, causing the speech problems. Luckily, the swelling was not deemed to be dangerous, though it certainly wasn't something that they didn't want to get in check. Orville spent another week in the hospital while medicines were tested and adjusted and he was given strict instructions to not go up and down any stairs, to not bend over and to not even sneeze or cough too hard. Hmmmmm...I'll see what I can do, Doc.

Orville finally went home two weeks ago and, with fingers crossed and with many knocks on wood, he has stayed put, doing well and regaining a little bit of speech ability every day. He and Todd's mom, Dorothy, will be coming to San Antonio this week for Orville's checkup. Here's to hoping for more good outcomes.

So that's what's been going on with us. And, because of all of this, we're still living out of some boxes and looking for missing items around the house. Now that we've had a couple of uninterrupted weekends, we're really feeling settled and getting into the swing of things. I'm hoping to have a little more free time to get back to blogging a few times a week. *Knock on Wood* *Again*

Last night was Halloween and we had a great time in our new neighborhood. My dad and stepmom are in town and they split the difference between our house and my sister's house. Dad stayed here and handed out candy to the neighborhood beggars while Jean did the same at ZZ's house. That afforded us the chance to go and do a little begging of our own as a family.

Last year, the girls didn't quite catch on to the idea of trick-or-treating, really just wandering around, wondering why they were dressed so silly.

This year, though, in their matching witch dresses and hats, they approached the first house and followed Devin's (aka - SpiderMan) lead in putting their little bags out in front of them when the homeowner opened the door. Once the goodies had been put in their bags, they just stared into them.

"That person just gave me candy. I must eat it now." And they did.

On to the next house. Again, they followed SpiderMan to the door and held out the bags. More candy.

"Hold on here. That person just gave me candy, but I'm not finished with my first piece. I guess that's what this bag is for."

Next house.

"This is the third time I've gotten candy for just ringing a doorbell. Is everyone doing this?"

Fourth house.

"Now I'm getting the hang of this and this is the best day of my life!"

From there on out, there was no stopping the dynamic duo. They rushed from house to house, as fast as their little, short legs could take them, and charmed the socks off of anyone who opened their door. They got "Trick or Treat!" down pretty well, as well as "Thank you," and "Happy Halloween." Being the efficient little things that they are, though, by the end of the night, they were just saying, "Happy Treat!" to those who answered their doorbells for the umpteenth time.

The five of us had the best time together. We went up and down just about every street in our neighborhood and finally said, "We're done," when we noticed that the majority of houses had their porch lights turned off. We shut down the 'hood!

Devin did great as well and got to see quite a few kids from his class. He was great with his sisters and didn't complain at all about having to go slow for them. I have three little girls from my class who live in my neighborhood and I got to see each of them, all dressed up and having a blast. It was awesome. Definitely one of the best Halloweens to date.

It's been great, too, that we've started to make friends in the neighborhood. It was nice to see familiar faces and hang out with some of our new found companions. We just couldn't be happier with this neighborhood. We couldn't have asked for more.

Here's to hoping for more time for more updates and a found USB cable with which to connect my camera to my computer.

'Till next time...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Settling In? Ha!

It's been nearly two weeks since we moved into our new house and things have been going swimmingly. We've gotten most of the important stuff unpacked and have hung quite a few things on the walls. It's really starting to feel like home around here. By the end of last weekend, we were starting to feel as though things were really starting to settle down, giving us back our much-needed "life as usual" status.

Until Monday night.

As Todd and I were sitting down for a comfortable night of television when the phone rang. Caller ID said the call was from Todd's sister, Jill, and we, of course, happily answered the phone, anxious to talk to our favorite Anthropologist.

But Jill wasn't her usual perky self. In fact, she was downright upset. She'd just gotten off the phone with her mom and had gotten some bad news about her dad, Orville.

Apparently, my mother-in-law, Dorothy, had noticed some strange behavior from Orville in recent weeks. Withdrawn, lack of interest in favorite hobbies, etc. But Orville recently lost a sister, and his melancholy attitude was attributed to his loss.

But on Monday morning, Orville announced that it was time to go. When Dorothy asked where they were going, he said, "To the park. The kids are getting off the school bus." Now Dorothy and Orville's youngest child -- Todd -- is 40 years old and no one in their family (with the exception of Devin) has ridden a school bus for 30 years. Dorothy tried to question Orville about his expectations about this, but he couldn't give any details. He just knew they needed to get to the park.

So Dorothy made a call to the family doctor and got an appointment for Orville. When they got to the doctor's office, though, Orville offered to wait in the car while Dorothy went in and had her appointment. Dorothy had to remind him that he was the patient that day.

A test of cognitive awareness led to CT scans and those led to hospitalization. Turns out, Orville had a subdural hematoma. Essentially, bleeding on (but thankfully, not in) the brain. Pressure was building up and causing his confusion. The pressure needed to be relieved immediately -- using a drain -- and once it was, Orville would be back to himself.

That was the good news. The bad news was that Yoakum Community Hospital was not set up for this kind of surgery. Orville needed a neurologist and those aren't exactly a dime a dozen in rural Texas.

Because of the extent of the hematoma, Orville was life-flighted to San Antonio early on Tuesday morning. Todd got to the hospital just after he landed and was with his Dad until the surgery at 11:00 that morning.

The surgery was a success and I'm happy to say that Orville went home today. It's been a scary few days -- while we were assured that as long as the pressure of a subdural hematoma was relieved quickly, a full recovery was expected -- it's still brain surgery and those are words that strike fear in the heart of any family. God is good and has given us more time with Todd's dad. We're thankful that our prayers were answered.

So here's to another week, hoping that things will settle down for good and that "life as usual" will be attained.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Big Move Debacle

It's been a long time comin', but I've finally got a few moments to sit down and chronicle the craziness that has dominated the Pruetz family for the past month.

Grab a snack, folks...this won't be short.

So, back in late July, our house sold and we started looking for a new home in which to move. Within a few days, we had found the home we knew was for us -- four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, a game room, and a study, in a still-under-construction gated community. It looked brand-new, as though no one had ever lived in it and we jumped at the chance to put an offer in.

So we sat down with our friend and Realtor, Monique, and went through the whole process. The reason the house looks so new is because it's a foreclosure -- the previous owners moved in, never made a single payment and were promptly thrown out on their rear-ends. They barely had time to move in, let alone paint or hang picture. The house had been sitting vacant since May.

We were warned that buying a foreclosure could mean a long, drawn-out escrow process and that there would be lawyers and government agencies involved. We were told to expect stress.

We listened to Monique's advice, but behind closed doors, Todd and I looked at one another and said, "What could be so hard? A bank owns a house and needs to recoup its money. What's the big deal?"

Famous last words of a fool.

All went well for the first few days -- our offer was accepted and our former home did well during the inspection and appraisal. The inspection at the new house came back with only minor issues (the doorbell would "dong" but not "ding," etc.), most of which were still covered under the builder's warranty since the house is less than two years old.

With it looking as though the green light was on for all parties, we started to pack. Boxes upon boxes, upon boxes filled our home and we started to live with less and less.

We started discussing finalizing the closing dates for both houses and it looked as though all of the documents for both homes were ready to arrive at the respective title companies and be ready for our signatures.

Suddenly, though, there was a glitch. The deed for the new house was missing. It needed to be prepared by a bankruptcy lawyer (something that should have been done in May when the house was foreclosed upon), and then needed to be routed to Countrywide for signatures and then to Fannie Mae for signatures. After that, it would be sent to the title company for final recording and the closing could commence.

The process seems pretty simple, but going through a title company, two mortgage companies (one of which is run by the government!) and a group of high-priced lawyers in Dallas proved to be an experience we would not soon forget.

With the closing of our former home fast approaching, we had to so some fancy footwork and ask for a lease-back so that we could have a place to live if our new home didn't close in time. Luckily, the woman who bought our house was very accommodating and allowed us up to three weeks to lease the house from her.

For about a week, every day was a new story from the title company -- the deed is here, the deed is there, we don't need the deed, we do need the deed, what deed? who said anything about a deed? The list went on and on.

We were getting extraordinarily frustrated and stressed out. It looked as if we might not get this house, as time was running out. Monique spent countless hours on the phone with the title company and the Realtor for the selling party (who was on our side from the beginning, thankfully). She went to church and petitioned prayers on our behalf. We couldn't have asked for a better advocate.

But despite the nudging, arguing and downright ugliness, the deed was still nowhere to be found. It seemed that the title company, who is supposed to be the mediator between the two parties -- a unbiased third party who facilitates closings and the documents that go along with them -- was somehow connected to the lawyers, Nationwide and/or Fannie Mae. It was almost as though they didn't want this house to close because the longer it took, the more money they got.

One afternoon, though, it finally happened -- the deed was found. It was only an e-copy, but the bankruptcy lawyers all agreed that it would suffice to go ahead and close.

So we closed on our former home and went ahead with the final preparations to move out. We stayed in the old house for about five days and planned to close on the new house on the 11th.

Thursday, September 11 came around and an 18-wheeler arrived bright and early. It was a long, hot day as four men loaded everything we owned into a truck. The kids were upset at seeing their belongings go away, but we explained to them over and over again that they would be at the new house waiting for us. We were confident that we would close late that afternoon and move into our new home the next day (my sister graciously opened up her home to us!). We wouldn't have to live in a hotel for a week, as we thought we might have to do. And what a blessing! Hurricane Ike was heading straight toward Houston and a million people were trying to get out of its path...many venturing to San Antonio. There was not a single hotel room left in the city.

The morning turned into lunch and lunch into afternoon, and still no closing. We were starting to get worried. Around 4:30 in the afternoon, Monique showed up at our door. She did not look happy and was on her cell phone, having a very heated conversation with someone. Yikes. I would hate to be whichever client was getting screwed on this deal. Whatever it was, it was bad.

And then I realized the client of whom she was speaking was us. She got off the phone and said, "The lawyers have changed their minds. They want the original deed to be found before we close."

That was it. I completely lost it. Tears started flowing, as I watched my furniture, belongings, memories, clothing, keepsakes and personal items being loaded into a truck. Our lives where on hold with no way to move forward. Our kids were freaking out and we had no place to go.

As I was sobbing, Monique called the title company and demanded to speak to the highest-up person available in the office. She out-and-out accused them of taking some sort of kick-back, attacked the escrow officer's ethics and abilities and let a few choice words fly. And then, she pulled out the stop and did the ultimate...she handed the phone to me.

I lit into the woman on the other line. Tears of anger, frustration and exhaustion poured down my face as I gave her my sob story and when she had the audacity to tell me she understood, I ripped into her like I've never done. Don't you dare tell me you understand, when everything but the clothes on your back are on a truck and you don't have a destination for them. Don't you even venture to think you know what it's like to explain all of this to a five-year-old and two two-year-olds. I informed her that we had no place to go, that there wasn't a hotel room to be had and asked if she had any extra room in her home, because we needed shelter.. I invited her to come over and see our home for herself and experience our lives for one minute. I informed her that her company "would pay for this."

Once the woman could get a word in edge-wise, she apologized over and over again and said that she would right the wrong. She promised me that we would close on this house and that we would be in it on schedule.

After I got off the phone, Monique and I talked and I called ZZ to ask if we could stay for more than one night. In fact, we didn't know how many nights it would be. My wonderful sister and her equally as wonderful husband welcomed us with open arms, never asking how long we'd be there. At least we had a roof over our heads.

Monique had an event to attend that night, but informed us that she'd be back at the house later that night to help us clean. The movers finally left around 7:30 and I took the kids to my sister's house for baths and bed while Todd scrubbed the old house for its new owners.

After the kids were tucked in, I headed back to our former residence to help Todd and sure enough, at 9:30, Monique showed up, ready to scrub. How's that for service?

We were done with cleaning the house, though, so we took a moment to sit down (on the floor, of course, since the house was empty) and discuss what had happened earlier. Apparently, Monique had spent her whole event on and off the phone with the title company and the seller's agent. They were all burning the midnight oil after my little fit. She couldn't tell us when we would close, but she assured us that, for the first time since we'd started this process, she was certain that everyone was working on our account and not just giving her lip service.

So we loaded up the car with our final belongings and handed the keys to Monique. We said our goodbyes to our home of six years and tearfully drove away, exhausted and questioning everything. I sobbed the whole way back to ZZ's house. I needed a good emotional outburst and I got it.

Our night was fitful, to say the least and Todd left for work extra early, having barely slept a wink. I got Devin off to school and got the twins up and fed. I hopped into the shower, but checked my phone just after getting out. Sure enough...there was a call from Monique.

I listened to the message -- the deed was magically found and we were closing at 1:30. I called Monique back, talked to Todd and had it all arranged. It was really happening.

Sort of.

Around 12:15, I got a call from Monique, asking about our wire transfer. I informed her that I had authorized our financial advisor in Houston to send the wire to the title company the day before and that it should be at title company's bank. After a thorough search, though, it wasn't there. Our down payment had never made it.

So I called my financial advisor, thinking this would be an easy fix. That is until I heard her voice mail.

"Thank you for calling Morgan Stanley. Our office is currently closed, in preparation for Hurricane Ike. Please leave a message and I will respond as soon as our office reopens. Or you may call customer service."

Oh my this a joke? Can anything go smoothly for me? Our transfer never made it and the only person who can make the transfer happen has been ordered to leave her office building!

So I called customer service and explained my situation. I needed a large sum of money to be sent to my title company's bank ASAP, as we were closing in an hour. They informed me that they didn't know how to get in touch with our advisor and that maybe I should contact the nearest branch office for a cashier's check. I asked them to please look for any method of getting in touch with Julie, our advisor, while I called the only Morgan Stanley branch office in San Antonio on the other phone.

So they put me on hold and I called the branch office. I asked for their hours and directions to their offices. Just as I was about to hang up, I said, "Thank you for your help. I'll be there shortly, as I'll need to order a cashier's check."

I'm so glad I said that, because the woman responded, "I'm sorry. We don't issue cashier's checks at this location." Grrrrr! Another set back, but thank goodness I knew not to go all the way downtown to get a product that wasn't available to me!

Meanwhile, I was still on hold with customer service, who finally comes back on the phone and says that they'd located Julie and to please continue to hold. By this time, Todd had made it home from work and was walking in the door, ready to go to the closing. I explained the whole thing to him and we called Monique from the home phone to give her the update. She told us to stay on hold with the bank, but to get in the car and start driving to the title company for the closing, just in case we could get the transfer to go through.

So we did just that...while holding the cell phone for dear life, hoping to hear anything at all. Customer service finally came back and told us that Julie would be calling ASAP. We confirmed both of our phone numbers and hung up. Sure enough, the phone rang moments later and a very sorry Julie was on the line. She was in her car, heading toward the office. She had already called her boss who was going to meet her there because he needed to authorize the wire. They had to all but bribe the building security to let them in, but they got it done (and even managed to pull a few strings to get it though more quickly than usual).

By the time we got to the title company, everything was in order. We had a confirmation number for the wire transfer, the bank knew to send their portion of the payment and we while we were looking pretty ragged, we were ready to sign.

We walked into the title company's office and were greeted by the woman at whom I had yelled the night before. Fully expecting her to give me the cold shoulder, I was astonished when she greeted me with a hug and apologized again for everything we'd been put through. She assured me that she would be handling our closing and that the escrow officer who had been so difficult to work with would not be present. That escrow officer has no idea what she dodged in not being there, because I had more than a few words planned for her.

So we signed our lives away, as anyone who has ever signed for a mortgage understands, and walked out of there owners of a new home. It was hard to believe, considering all we had done to get to that point, but we had it. The house was ours. We just had to wait for it to fund and we could move in.

Because of Hurricane Ike, though, the movers weren't able to get us in that weekend, so despite the fact that we were fully funded within hours of closing, we didn't move in until last Tuesday.

We spent the interim days at my sister's house. It was quite an experience, as ZZ and Brian have four kids and Todd and I have three. And, of course, Presley's 6th birthday party fell during the time we were staying there, so that added an additional five six-year-olds on Saturday night. Oh, and ZZ's friend Tiffany had to evacuate from Houston and stayed there too.

Can you keep up with that? Let me help you.

5 adults
12 kids
2 dogs
2 fish
1 cat
1 rabbit
Total Chaos

It was a mad house, but ZZ and Brian never once complained. They were so accommodating and loving that we couldn't have felt more at home. Thank God for family. Thank God for good family.

Tuesday rolled around and again, the movers were here bright and early. The move in was much quicker than the move out and by Tuesday evening, we were all settled in our own beds, ready to spend the first night in our new home.

Since then, it's been a whirlwind of activity around here. Unpacking boxes, putting stuff away, wondering what happened to certain items (we didn't find our silverware until this afternoon!) and finding places for every little thing we brought with us.

It's tiring work, but there's something about setting up your new home. The kids are loving it and have already met some of the neighborhood kids. Devin has successfully ridden the bus to and from school and we're all settling into our new lives. We miss our neighbors and our old neighborhood, but this was a change that truly needed to happen.

Well, it's taken me over an hour to write this and if you haven't fallen asleep yet, then there must be something wrong with you. It's not exactly thrilling. But in 20 years, when all of this is a distant memory, I plan to look back, read this and laugh. I seriously doubt that the laughter will come any earlier than 20 years, though. I have a feeling we'll have a pretty bad taste in our mouths for a long time to come.

I'm off to bed. Nighty night...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Still Breathing...

Hi! I don't have a lot of time right now (of course, when do I ever?), but I wanted to give a quick update to say that yes, I am still alive! We finally got moved out of our house and into our new one and while we are happily here and loving it, the move was not without drama. As soon as I get a few minutes to myself, I'll be sure to fill you in on the details.

Thanks for bearing with me!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Our Neighbor's Weeds

Last night was the Kindergarten parent orientation night, so Todd and I went to Devin's school to hear all about things like core knowledge, D'Nelian handwriting, self-managers and how things are done at his elementary school. It was very interesting and I feel like a (mostly) prepared mommy of a Kindergartener.

On our way home, though, Todd and I had quite the encounter. As we were driving through our neighborhood, we began to smell smoke. As we rounded a corner, we saw a house on the main street that had smoke billowing from the backyard. I mean just pouring out of there. It was incredible.

Todd slammed the car into park and jumped out to run around to the back of this house. While he did so, I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911. But as I was directed to the correct department, Todd came around the corner of the house, waving his arms as if to say, "False alarm." I apologized to the 911 operator and told her that no, indeed, there was no fire.

Todd got into the car and informed me that there was just a man sitting in his back yard, burning stuff in his chiminea. The man had told Todd that all was well, that there was no out-of-control fire and thanked him for checking on the situation.

So we pulled down our street and walked into the house (Todd's parents were watching the kids). We told Grandma and Grandpa about what had happened and Todd said, "There was so much smoke, I even reek of it!"

I walked over and took a sniff of my husband's shirt. As I sniffed, he sniffed too, and we both just sort of stopped and looked at one another. That wasn't just any kind of smoke coming from that backyard.

I am not, and never have been, a drug user. I've just never understood the allure and even through innumerable college fraternity parties, I never tried any sort of illegal drugs. I felt like a real wild woman when I bought a pack of cigarettes once. I'm pretty mild, to say the least.

But just because I don't smoke weed, doesn't mean that I don't know what it smells like. There was plenty of it at the aforementioned frat parties, as well as pretty much anywhere along fraternity (and even sorority) row.

And if I had never smelled it before, then I certainly smelled it a lot on our honeymoon in Jamaica.

So I am familiar with the odor and I knew what it was as soon as I took a whiff of Todd's shirt. Holy smokes (no pun intended)! That guy was totally burning out his entire backyard!

Todd and I laughed so hard that my hysterical spouse even went over to the next-door neighbor's house (who happens to be a police officer) to ask for his opinion. Billy confirmed that, indeed, that was the small of marijuana and suggested that this guy may have found the drug in his kid's backpack and was "teaching him a lesson" by burning it in the chiminea. In doing so, though, he was managing to get the entire block stoned.

I couldn't resist writing this down -- it was just so funny and so typical of something that would happen to us. Despite our living in suburbia USA with homeowners' associations, minivans and disposable income, we still manage to live a few houses down from the guy who believes everyone should be enlightened by the use of a controlled substance.

I'm outta here now...I have a sudden craving for Doritos.

PS - No, we haven't moved yet. I'll upload pictures as soon as I unpack the USB cable for my camera. It might be awhile, so don't hold your breath (unless you're sitting outside with my that case, take a deep breath and hold it in as long as you can).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Self Discovery...Sort Of

I've been wondering when this was going to happen...and today it finally did.

This evening, Faith and Grace were standing in front of a mirror. I walked into the room to see what they were doing, and they were admiring themselves, being typical girls.

When I asked them, "What do you see in the mirror?" they each pointed toward their reflection. Faith said, "Grace!" and Grace said, "Faith!"

I'm not sure they are 100% aware that they are separate people!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

History in the Making

Tonight, as I was making dinner, I turned on the news...just as I always do. Despite the fact that the six o'clock news has been broadcast from the Democratic National Convention in Denver for the past three days, I still turned my head toward the television set to see why Katie Couric sounded so different. Oh yeah...the DNC.

I haven't paid much attention to the DNC and, next month, I doubt I'll pay much attention to the RNC. The truth is, these conventions are just a bunch of pomp and circumstance from which no real news is generated. But they do serve to unite and rally their respective parties and there is something to be said for that.

Regardless,'s not very interesting to those of us who aren't there.

Tonight was different, though. The news was being broadcast just as the roll call vote was beginning. If you're not familiar with it, the roll call vote where each state takes turns announcing who their delegates and super-delegates have voted for in the primaries.'re not wrong that this information was available months ago. This is what I mean by a lot of pomp and circumstance.

The roll call vote was interesting nonetheless. I'm a sucker for all things American. My heart swells at the sight of Old Glory waving in the wind and rarely is the Star Spangled Banner played without bringing a tear to my eye. These conventions, as well as a lot of other things in our government, may be antiquated traditions that truly serve little points today, but that may be what I like the most. It's a link to the history of our country.

But today was even more special. Today, for the first time in United States history, a minority was given the Presidential nomination.

I truly don't believe that it matters if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent or certified Wack-Job...seeing Barack Obama get the Presidential nomination is something everyone should take pride in.

Look how far our country has come! Only forty years ago, African-American citizens weren't able to vote. They drank from different water fountains, sat in separate areas of restaurants (if they were allowed in at all) and were given lesser educations than white kids. Their churches were bombed and they feared for their lives at times. And all of this in a country that touts, "freedom and justice for all."

Wow...with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Racism (against any minority) is still alive in the US, but to think how far we've come in such a relatively short amount of time is truly awe-inspiring and today, as much as any other time, I am especially proud to be an American.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Another Milestone

Today, I took my first born and dropped him off at the local elementary school where he started Kindergarten. That little bundle, who came home from the hospital what seems like only days ago, is now in "big boy school." It was a momentous occasion.

The day started early for us, but Todd was home to celebrate the big event and we managed to get all three kids out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door by 7:20. We arrived at Devin's school and ended up parking in the grass, amid a sea of minivans and SUVs. We marched straight into the cafeteria and found the table at which Devin's class would meet.

We met Devin's teacher, Mrs. S., last week and so he spotted her right off the bat. Luckily, one of D's friends of his Pre-K days last year was also in his class, so he sat right down and began chit-chatting. Todd, the twins and I sat back and watched, snapping pictures and even taking a little bit of video.

Soon it was time to go back to the classroom and we followed 22 five-year-olds down the hall. We were behind the class and by the time we reached his room, Devin had already found his cubby and put his backpack away. He was looking for his seat and promptly found it. And there he sat, a Kindergartener among many.

There was a little ceremony at the flag pole shortly after school started, so we waited outside Devin's classroom while they talked about where they went this past summer, told a little about themselves, etc. I loved being able to peek in and see my son's interaction with his friends and teacher. I got a warm-fuzzy inside and felt very good about where Devin was.

We weren't able to stay for the ceremony, so as D's class walked down the hall, we said our goodbyes and gave our final kisses. I told him how proud I am of him and that Daddy and I love him very much. And then Devin looked me square in the eye, hugged me and said, "I love you, Mommy. I'll miss you, but I'm going to have a good day."

And with that, he was gone. Down the hall, in a straight line, remembering to be quiet and use his manners. My son, the elementary school student.

Todd and I were left standing there. We looked at each other, shrugged and said, "Well...I guess that's it."

So we shuffled out, quietly, and loaded in the girls into the car. Neither of us cried, though neither of us said much, either. We both sort of took in the surreal morning in our own minds, and dealt with the bittersweet feelings of letting go by ourselves.

I've had a good morning. I've enjoyed the quiet and not battling over who's watched too much TV or what we're going to have for lunch. I'm enjoying some one-on-one time with the twins and am getting some more packing done.

But as I type this, the whole event is sinking in and I'm getting a little misty-eyed. Devin is my true love -- I doodle his name in the margins of pieces of paper and my tummy gets all fluttery when he gives me a kiss. I still go into his room at night, after he's fast asleep, and run my fingers through his soft hair, whispering, "I love you," one last time before morning. I have joked for more than five years now that I have a crush on him -- I want to be his prom date.

But life goes on and I will let go just like my parents did and so many other parents have done. Devin will do great, will share his own personality with others and will learn life's lessons. It's sad that not every lesson is from me, but then I remember that I didn't learn everything I know about life from my mom and dad -- I learned them from the world and people around me.

So Devin, the world is yours. Go explore it, love it, learn from it and teach to it. I love you, son, with all my heart.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whirlwind of Activity

I know...I know... I am painfully aware of how long it's been since my last post. And I won't lie to you... it's not likely to get better anytime soon. Allow me to explain.

As you know, per my last post, our house sold. This means that we've been on a mad-dash to find another house, lest we be homeless at the end of this month.

Well, find a house we did! We found a great home that fits all of our needs and that is brand new. Apparently, it went into foreclosure before the residents could live in it for more than a few days. I'm not exactly sure how that works, but if you could see this house, you'd know that no one has lived in it -- no nail holes in the walls, no traffic wear in the carpet, no paint on the walls. The microwave even still has some of the original package left around it. It's a gem! And being a foreclosure, it's also cheap. About $30K less than we should have paid for it!

But you don't get something for nothing and buying a foreclosure comes with its own set of issues. There is about three times the amount of paperwork (if you can imagine, since buying a house is already paperwork-laden as it is) and every process takes about three times as long. Todd and I signed the contract nine days ago. The selling party just signed theirs today. Fabulous.

In all of this, too, is the issue of elementary school. Since early spring, Devin has been enrolled at the school nearby our current home. The new house, though, is in another elementary school's attendance area. That means that I have to go down to the school district's central office, bring my buyer's contract and get a letter stating that we are, indeed, moving into a house in the new school's area. Then I have to take that letter to the new school and get Devin enrolled there.

Sounds like a pain, huh? It is. And to make matters worse, school starts next Monday, so I need to get this worked out by then and somehow convince Devin that going to his new school is way cooler than going to the school I've been talking up for over a year now.

He's not buying it. In fact, the poor kid is really having a hard time with all of this. The timing is great for making a clean break -- new house, won't have to change schools, etc. But the timing is terrible for a kid who doesn't like change -- new house, new school, etc. I guess it just depends on how you look at it.

So, with all of this comes the craziness of moving -- packing up five people and six years worth of stuff, shopping for homeowner's insurance, doing mortgage paperwork, running around looking for special boxes in which to pack the good china, changing addresses on statements and bills, transferring utilities from the old house to the new one, get the old house ready for the new owner, finding a mover... The list goes on and on. Needless to say, our days are long and our patience is thin. We're looking forward to being settled in and into a new routine!

If you were in the middle of all of this, what would you do? Why, take a vacation, of course!

Late last year, long before we ever put our house on the market, my parents decided to rent a house in Flagstaff, AZ for the month of August. Not knowing much about Northern Arizona, I couldn't figure out why my parents wanted to trade summers in Houston (where it is 95 degrees and 99% humidity) for a summer in Arizona (where it's 110 degrees and 0% humidity). Weren't they just substituting one extreme for the other?

Apparently not.

Flagstaff is an oasis of cool weather and summer storms in what is believed to be the hottest, driest state in the country. Near the center of the state, Flagstaff sits at 7,000 feet elevation and looks like something right out of a coffee table book about mountain towns -- towering pine trees, crystalline lakes, soaring mountains and breathtaking views. The highs in August are in the high-70s to low-80s with brief summer storms almost daily. For a girl who grew up in the flatlands of Texas, hearing thunder rumbling from one mountain to another is a sound that won't be soon forgotten.

So the call of cool weather and a pre-Kindergarten getaway was too much for me to pass up and I booked a trip for Devin and I to go visit Nana and Papa during their time in the Southwest. If I had known it would fall during the middle of all of this, I would have never done it. But since I haven't yet learned to see into the future, I booked the trip during the worst possible time (in our lives, anyway) to do so.

Oh, but I am so glad that I did. Flagstaff, and all of the surrounding areas, was amazing. Simply beautiful and not easily described in words.

Devin and I arrived in Phoenix at 8:30 on Wednesday morning. It was already 95 degrees outside and I just had a hard time believing that a two hour drive could really make that much of a difference.

Lo and behold, though, it did and by the time we arrived in Flagstaff, around noon, it was 78 degrees and perfect. Oh it felt so good!

We pulled up to the mountain retreat that my parents rented and Devin and I both drew a breath. Picture in your mind what a luxury house in the middle of the mountains should look like. Are you seeing log-cabin detailing? A huge front porch and an even bigger back porch? Wood floors and soaring, beamed ceilings?

Well add to those things a gourmet kitchen that is about twice the size of my current kitchen, three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a huge loft, an enormous laundry room, a dedicated study, high-speed internet access, big screen TVs, and upgraded and custom amenities and you've got quite a retreat. It was fabulous, all the way from the in-suite bathroom to the 400-count cotton sheets on the pillow-top king bed. San Antonio? What San Antonio?

We were pretty exhausted when we arrived, so after a quick lunch we took a nap. Not long later, we were refreshed and ready to go. Dad and Jean took us out to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument where we got to hike (I use the term loosely -- it was more like a walk around a park) around the base of a volcano that erupted about a thousand years ago. The path that the lava flow created is still more than visible and you can even see the cap that blew off the mountain about a mile-and-a-half away from the mountain itself. The park was beautiful and we had a great time peeking into caves and looking at different types of lava rock.

We were pretty tired that night, so after dinner and some good conversation on the back porch, we hit the hay.

Arizona is two hours behind Texas, so Devin woke up on Thursday at his regular time -- 7:30. Only it wasn't 7:30. It was 5:30. Good morning, sunshine. *Sigh*

We got ready pretty quickly, as Devin was excited about the day's adventure. We drove to nearby Williams, AZ, where we caught the local steam locomotive to the Grand Canyon.

The ride was about two hours long, during which we saw incredible landscape, were entertained by musicians and actors and learned about the Grand Canyon and its surrounding area from our tour guide. It was fantastic!

We arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon around 11:30 and headed to the Arizona Room for lunch on the rim.

This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon and it's far more than expected. As with everything else in the world, pictures just don't do it justice. The enormity of the expanse, coupled with the peace and profound beauty was enough to bring tears to my eyes.

After lunch, we hiked along the rim of the canyon, up to Yavapai Point, where the view was spectacular. Of course, there's not a bad view of the canyon, but this was certainly something special. Again, words just can't explain.

After our trip to Yavapai, we took the bus back to the train station and after a little shopping, boarded the train back to Williams. Along the way, we were "robbed" by bandits and the town sheriff came on board looking for them. It was very entertaining and something I doubt we'll soon forget!

Our Grand Canyon day was a long day, so after a quick pizza dinner, we all folded in for the night.

Friday's wake up call also came nice and early - 5:45 a.m.

After a yummy breakfast at a local Flagstaff eatery, Dad, Devin and I drove to the Arizona Snow Bowl, which is the local ski park. During the summer, they run the ski lift and you can take a ride up to 12,500 feet and get a bird's eye view of the whole region. You can even see the Grand Canyon from way up there!

It was a fantastic sight and Devin even got to use the highest toilet in Arizona. What a claim to fame!

After the 35 minute trip back down the mountain, Jean picked up Devin and Dad and I got to do some father-daughter bonding on a hike down Kachina Trail. Hiking is one of my favorite past times, though I admit I haven't done any serious hiking since high school. There is something about being able to get out there, with the trees and the rocks and the wildlife and just walk.

The trail started off pretty easy and pretty typical -- dense trees and underbrush that would suddenly open up into a field of yellow sunflowers. A way into it, though, it became very rocky and Dad and I found ourselves clamboring down boulders and slides to follow the trail.

We knew we needed to turn around and had back, as clouds were rolling into the area and there was thunder in the distance. But the trail just kept getting prettier and prettier, so we kept saying, "A little further... a little further..." Finally, we couldn't deny the approaching weather and turned around to go back.

What we found, though, was that those rocks we'd climbed down a few minutes earlier now had to be scaled up. It wasn't easy, but it was a lot of fun. My stamina kind of surprised me, as the inclines didn't do much to phase me, but the rocks really made me huff and puff. I had to make my poor dad stop more than a few times so I could catch my breath. I couldn't figure out why I was having such a hard time until my dad reminded me that I am used to a 650-foot elevation in San Antonio while we were hiking at nearly 8,000 feet. Oh yeah! The air is much thinner up there! Whew! I thought I was losing my mind!

We were pretty tired upon our return, but true to his word, Dad took Devin to the local fire station where the owner of the home they are renting works. He took Dev on a personal tour of the station and Devin came back with the dreams of being a fireman. Keep dreamin' kid...keep dreamin'.

Saturday came with another trip to Williams, this time to see the classic car show. Everything from 1930s roadsters, to 1950s Chevy Bel Aires and 1960s Ford Mustangs lined the Mother Road, Route 66, as old coots and young fanatics alike gazed at the cars of their dreams.

We ate lunch at a classic 1950s diner Cruiser's and headed back to Flagstaff for a nap and relaxing afternoon. Dinner that night consisted of Thanksgiving dinner, with a roasted turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans and two pies - pumpkin and pecan. Yum!

We went to Mass on Sunday and then just spent some time hanging out before having to head back to Phoenix (where it was 106 degrees) to go home to San Antonio.

This was such a fantastic trip and I loved having one-on-one time with Devin. He loved being the center of attention with his Nana and Papa and I loved watching him discover a part of the country he didn't even know existed. Pictures will follow soon.

So there you have it -- that's what we've been up to. Sort of sorry you asked, huh?

I apologize for the long post, but like I've always said, this blog is as much for me as it is for everyone else. I want to make sure I write down every detail before the memories begin to fade, so that one day, my kids can look back and know what my thoughts and recollections were at the time.

Forgive me for what I am certain will be a long time before I post again. Life is crazy and I just can't seem to help it. :)

PS - Todd re-synced our Internet browser with his browser at work. So now we have all of his favorites bookmarked, but managed to lose all of mine. That means that if you haven't gotten a comment on your blog from me recently, it's because I lost your link and haven't memorized your URL. I'd love to have your pages back, so please leave me a comment with your URL or send me an email.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It Was All Worth It...

Yesterday's post all about my crazy day of scheduled, reschedule, re-rescheduled and re-re-reschedule showings has all paid off:

Our house sold!

Here's to the next ten days, a good inspection and buyers who don't exercise their option period!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today started out with a phone call from Centralized Showing Service, the company that schedules home showings in San Antonio. Our house was scheduled to be shown between 9:15 and 10:15.

So I raced around, cleaning, vaccuming and mopping, only to get a call at 9:10 that said, "The Realtor would like to reschedule from 5:30 to 6:30 tonight."

Fabulous. Okay, fine. Whatever. I'll hold off on the rest of the cleaning until this afternoon.

11:00 came the phone call, "The Realtor would like to re-reschedule for tomorrow morning between 9:30 and 10:30.

Grrrrrrr. FINE. I'll clean tonight and shuttle the kids out the door first thing in the morning.

At 1:00 the phone rang again.

"The Realtor would like to re-re-reschedule for today between 3:00 and 4:00."

Okay, that is IT.

I okayed the showing, but I flat-out refuse to leave this house. The girls haven't been feeling well for two days now (Grace had a 102.3 fever!) and Devin woke up with a horrible cough this morning. There is no way am waking up my kids just to leave for ten minutes.

Please pray this house sells soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Mystery Solved?

I think we may have solved the mystery of Grace's strange finger injury. But before I get into that, I'll update on the injury itself.

Luckily, we've got a real trooper on our hands. Todd and I both held our collective breath as we had to keep Gracie's right hand (her dominant hand) clean and dry until the stitches dissolved. Neither one of us quite knew just how this was going to happen.

It seemed, though, either through her own trepidation or the Grace of God (or both), Gracie has learned to use her left hand a lot. She eats with it and picks things up with it and has really favored her right hand, allowing the wound to heal nicely.

The stitches completely dissolved earlier this week, so we took the bandages off and started letting her bathe again without a baggie over her hand (believe it or not, she even held her hand out of the water during bath time!). For the first time, I really took a look at the scar. I'm not usually squeamish about this kind of stuff -- as a mom, you just can't be. But this one hit me right in the heart and I couldn't really bring myself to look directly at the wound.

But I've taken a closer look at it now and it's pretty amazing, really. The cut goes a good two-thirds of the way around her right ring finger and is obviously very deep. It won't be a scar that will ever completely fade, though her young age does lend itself to a pretty complete healing. For now, we call her Frankenbaby.

I worry a little about how much she's still favoring it, though. Today, for example, she was getting herself to a standing position from sitting on the floor. As she leaned forward to place her hands on the ground, she put her left hand down flat, but put her right hand down with her palm up, using her wrist to pull herself up. Hmmmmm...

Devin has his five-year-old appointment tomorrow, so I plan to ask the pediatrician if she wants to see Gracie or not. I suspect I know the answer to that.

Anyway, onto the point of my post...

Yesterday, the girls were playing together, babbling in their own little language. I'm usually able to pick up every third or fourth word and get the gist of their conversations. This particular exchange was about bites they had gotten. Faith pointed to the one that Grace had laid on her this past weekend. Grace pointed to the area where an ant bit her a few weeks ago. Faith then showed off the part of her heel where our herding dog, Zoe, had tried to get her to go a certain direction (by the way, before you call Child Protective Services on me, Zoe is very gentle and only herds the kids away from danger).

Then Gracie put up her injured finger, pointed to it with her left hand and said, "I bite!"

Well...I guess Todd's assessment was right. Grace must have fallen onto her own hand, with mouth open and, CRUNCH! Nearly bit off her own finger.

There's one for the family album, huh?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Preferred Pacis

We are a pacifier household. When Devin was little (little-er, really), he had to have three pacifiers at a time -- one in his mouth and one in each hand. It took an act of God to get him to give them up.

But he did give them up, just in time for the twins to get addicted to them.

Luckily, they aren't nearly as dependent upon them as Devin was. They don't walk around all day with them in their mouths, they don't care to take them places with them and if they need one because of some injustice that's been done to them during the day, any paci will do in a pinch.

But bedtime is another story.

We have four pacifiers that will do at bedtime. And they are the only pacifiers that will do at bedtime. We call them "The Preferred Pacis."

They are just Gerber brand pacifiers, so you'd think they wouldn't be hard to find. But they aren't the NUK pacis, which are the most easily found. Instead, we somehow got hooked on the Gerber, soft-centered latex pacifiers.

Okay, no big deal, right? They're Gerber -- they can't be that hard to track down.


It seems that Gerber has discontinued making these pacifiers. They are still making the smaller sizes, but my girls won't have anything to do with those small ones. They have to be the larger sizes (6+ months) and these are the sizes that are no longer being produced.

I'm stressing about this. I can't imagine the girls' reaction if we ever lose all four preferred pacis. There will be a lot of sleepless nights on our hands.

I've sent a strongly worded email to Gerber, asking about getting my hands on some of these now-worth-their-weight-in-gold pacifiers. I've bid on a few on eBay ("Ewwwwwwwww!" I know, but I'm at my wit's end!) and even won one of the auctions in which I will be paying nearly $14.00 for two pacifiers.

Desperation has set in.

Despite completely different subject matter, I feel a lot like this:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Devin's Doozie - A Visual Journey

Tonight, Devin got himself ready for bed. He walked out of his room in the following get up:

Cars jammie bottoms
Space-themed jammie top
An Ace Bandage, wrapped around his lower left leg
Spider Man house slippers
One Spongebob Squarepants gardening glove

Unfortunately, he disrobed before I could grab my camera.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Giving the Finger

It's been awhile since my last post because life in our house has suddenly just gone off the deep end. I mean, I fall into bed every night and fall asleep in minutes, only to wake up eight hours later and run like a mad woman again until bed time. It's a cycle I just can't seem to break.

I'll recap about our 4th of July weekend a little later in this post, but first I need to write the post that goes along with today's title.

Today, Grace gave me the finger. Specifically, the tip of her finger.

This week, Kimberly, Todd's best friend's daughter, is here visiting and helping out with the twins. She loves the twins and makes my life fantastic when she visits. I look forward to her being here every time!

So this morning, Kimberly, Devin, Faith, Grace and I were in our living room. The kids were all playing and everything was normal.

Grace was walking along between the couch (where I was sitting) and the coffee table holding her little toy bongo drums.

All of the sudden, the poor thing took a spill after stepping on a toy truck. The bongo drums went flying and down went Gracie.

She, of course, began to cry and I, of course, picked her up. But when I did, I saw blood on her lips. My first thought was that she had cut her lip on a tooth. But when I got her onto my lap, I realized that she was pouring blood. Gushing it.

So I flew into the kitchen to set her on the counter and figure out where the red stuff was coming from. The mouth? A cut on her leg? Where the heck was origin of all of this???

And then I saw it. The tip of the ring finger on her right hand was dangling. It was almost off.

I shouted out my findings, a few expletives and declared that I needed to get her to the ER.

Kimberly, being the angel that she is, helped me get Grace in the car, got my purse for me and called Todd to let him know what happened.

Meanwhile, I drove like a crazy woman all the way to the hospital, with my hazards on and blaring my horn as I took illegal turns and sped around other cars. I was a woman on a mission.

I drove the car up to the porte corchere at the emergency room and pulled Gracie out of the back seat. I left the car there and hours later, realized that I had parked in such a way that others couldn't really get through the driveway. *Gulp* I hope no one else had an emergency today.

I hauled bottom into the ER screaming, "Help! My daughter nearly severed her finger!" At this point, both Grace and I were covered in blood.

We were taken back, assessed, and gotten to a doctor in a matter of minutes. The doctor took a look at the finger, wrapped it up and gave me the scoop.

"We're going to need to put her under to reattach this. When was the last time she had anything to eat?"

"8:30 this morning."

"We can't put her under until it's been six hours since she last ate, so we'll have to wait until 2:30 to do the procedure."

With that, Grace was given some Tylenol with Codeine and we were left to wait five hours for the "okay" to reattach the dangling digit.

So we killed time watching TV, alternately going to get stuff to eat (Todd had left work to join us at the ER) and trying to get Gracie to rest.

Right on cue, though, around 2:00, Grace was given a drug similar to Valium that made her loopy and relaxed her enough to allow the nurses to get the IV in her arm.

Once all of the pieces were in place, Gracie Too was given a sedative that knocked her out in seconds. 45 minutes later, she had two internal stitches, four external stitches and the hope that any nerve damage will heal with time due to her young age.

Our little one slowly woke up, demonstrated that she could drink fluids and keep them down and we were discharged. Now we just have to keep that finger clean and dry for two weeks. This is where I just laughed.

It's all pretty typical, really. Grace is just like Devin and Devin is always two steps away from the ER. It would only stand to reason that she, too, would end up at our local emergency room.

What's a major mystery is how her finger got involved.

Kimberly confirmed that while there was plenty of blood on the floor and kitchen counter, there was no blood on the toys. As we expected, the toy that was held/thrown and the one that was tripped over did not cause the gash.

The only thing we could come up with is that when Gracie fell forward, she caught herself on her hands and her front teeth hit one of her fingers upon impact. That would explain why she had blood on her mouth when I first picked her up.

So really, this is the utter definition of freak accident. "One in a million, Doc. One in a million."

I'd planned to blog about what else we've been up to, but I'm a little weary and am looking forward to the date I have with my latest novel. I'll blog more when I can. If that day ever arrives. :)

So this is

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Devin's Doozie

In recent weeks, the Pruetz family has been passing something around that's had our stomach in knots. If it's not nausea, then it's a lack or appetite or indegestion or...worse.

Anyway, we've been using the term, "stomach bug," to describe this general malady and today, out of the blue, Devin asked, " big is a stomach bug?"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dear Abby...

If I were to write a letter to Dear Abby at this very moment in time, it would go like this:

Dear Abby,

My son is running around the house in nothing but a pair of too-tight denim shorts and a his sisters' pink feather boa around his neck.

So my question is this:
Should I pour myself another martini?

Erin Pruetz
San Antonio, TX

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Big Four-Oh

This past Thursday, June 19, my Todd-e-o turned 40 years old. This is especially fun for me, since I am still in my 30s. My early 30s. :)

We celebrated the occasion with Todd's parents, his sister Jill, her boyfriend Tom and my dad. We had a feast of a dinner, topped off by a specially made cake by me -- in the shape of a coffin. I joked that we were mourning the passing of Todd's youth.

It was a fun evening, but I wasn't about to let his momentous occasion slip by without doing something special for my husband.

A few weeks ago, I booked a room for us at the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel and set us up with reservations at one of the fine dining establishments on the river.

But I didn't just want to take Todd to a hotel and to dinner -- I wanted to make it a production full of surprises and unexpected twists. As my sister ZZ always says, "I love a good caper!"

So I kept all of this, except the dinner, a secret from Todd.

My dad came into town under the guise that he was just here for a visit. After Todd returned from a Saturday morning church meeting, I told him that I was going to visit a friend of mine who I hadn't seen in forever (thanks for the excuse, Polly!). Instead, though, I took a pre-packed bag down to the hotel, checked in and set up our room with chocolates and champagne.

I returned home from "visiting with my friend" and my dad said to us, "I'm here, so why don't you all just go down to the river to hang out? There's no reason to have to wait until your 6:30 reservation!"

So we decided to go ahead and head downtown to the river.

During the drive down there, though, I told Todd the story my dad, sister and I had concocted the night before.

A little background information: When I was a kid, my dad commuted from Houston to San Antonio every week so that our family wouldn't have to be uprooted. Subsequently, he became very familiar with San Antonio. That helped aid in the story I told Todd to get him to the hotel without any suspicion.

I told my unsuspecting hubby that when my dad was working in San Antonio, he used to take his clients to a little-known, private bar at the La Mansion Hotel. I told him that it was a converted hospitality suite that was open to the public, but that you had to know it existed and that you had to ask for a key from the front desk, the concierge or the bar tender. The bar, I explained, was simply known as "Room 430."

I explained that my dad had gotten us a key and that there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us there.

The whole ride down there, Todd talked about how cool it was that we were going to get to be a part of this exclusive club and that he couldn't believe we'd never heard about it. He bought the story hook, line and sinker.

So we got to the hotel and I pretended to not really know where I was going (the hotel is 150 years old and has been built in stages, lending itself very well to my story). We finally made our way to "Room 430" and I said, "Well, I guess this is it." I took out the "special" key and we both leaned into the door to see if we could hear any voices from inside.

We heard nothing (of course), so Todd said, "Well...try the key. See if it works."

It did, of course, and I opened the door into our beautiful riverview suite, replete with a private balcony.

Todd stepped into the room, looked around and said, "This isn't a bar."

I was standing behind him and as he turned to me, he saw the smile on my face and realized that he'd been duped.

"We're staying here tonight?"

"Happy 40th birthday!"

We popped open the champagne and stepped out onto our balcony to people watch (a place like the San Antonio Riverwalk is a great place for people watching). We relaxed for awhile and enjoyed the quiet and solitude of our private room.

We then hopped a River taxi to the Fig Tree Restaurant and sat down for what was one of the best dining experiences of my life. White linen table cloths, waiters who attended very need, an extensive wine list and award-winning entrees. It was fantastic.

After dinner, we walked back to our hotel, where I suggested we stop by the hotel bar (the real one) for a drink.

We made our way through the lobby and into the quiet bar, where about a dozen of Todd's closest friends, including his sister, were waiting to celebrate with us.

This is the point where Todd cried. So many people were there to wish him a happy birthday and celebrate with him. It was just magical.

We had a great couple of drinks and enjoyed our friends and finally retired to our room around 11:30. We had another glass of champagne and ate the cake that the hotel had placed in our room for Todd's birthday.

We fell asleep around midnight and didn't get up until 10:00 this morning. I don't recall the last time I slept until 10:00. It must have been high school.

It felt so good.

We ordered room service and ate our Eggs Benedict out on the balcony, as we watched the Riverwalk awaken for another busy day of tourism and fun.

We headed home around 11:30 and here I sit, quietly typing as my family takes a rest. It was a wonderful weekend and I am so happy to have been able to celebrate Todd's birthday in style. Thanks to my dad and my sister for helping set everything up and for everyone who came to the bar to celebrate with us.

Happy 40th birthday, Todd. You are loved beyond measure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Chocolate Spoon

When I was a freshman in college in 1994, I got care packages from my mom a couple of times a month. Cookies, cards, pictures and trinkets were always a part of the mix and one time I got an extra-special treat -- a bunch of chocolate-dipped spoons! I loved these things, as they released just the right amount of chocolate in your coffee as you stirred it with the spoon. Definitely one of man's greater inventions.

I used just about all of the spoons and enjoyed them immensely. I got down to my last one, though, and decided to save it. You know -- for that perfect, cold day cup o' joe. It was worth waiting for.

So the spoon stuck around for the rest of my freshman year. It also stuck around for my sophomore, junior and senior years. I just never found the right "time" to use the spoon.

Around that time, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and I clung to everything she gave me, knowing that care packages and trinkets from my mom were things of the past.

So the spoon stayed on through college and moved to my first apartment. Two years after graduating, I bought a condo and the spoon moved to the condo with me. Two-and-a-half years after that, Todd and I got married and moved to San Antonio. My mom died a little more than a year after moving into our current home and I just couldn't bear to throw the spoon out. That chocolate-dipped utensil has sat in our silverware drawer for more than six years now.

Until today.

While I was on the phone with a friend of mine with whom I needed to do some major catching up, I turned my back on the twins, knowing they would amuse themselves with baby dolls and other such notions. I watched them carefully enough to pluck them from the kitchen table a few times and break up a fight over a pacifier, but didn't pay much attention as they started rifling through the drawers I allow them to rifle through.

But when Grace toddled into the living room with a huge hunk of chocolate, I knew immediately what had happened. My mom's spoon -- 14 years in the making -- was being devoured by two little devils in my very own kitchen.

I didn't cry. Actually, I laughed. Th whole thing is pretty silly and it was just my obsessive-compulsive personality that made me keep the spoon for more than a decade. I knew my mom was laughing hysterically up in Heaven, watching my girls get chocolate all over themselves and laughing at me for holding onto something so inconsequential.

But the whole thing did raise one very important question:

Is 14-year-old chocolate bad for babies?

The answer to that question will be in the next 24 hour's diapers.

Monday, June 16, 2008


A few months ago, Faith jumped out of her crib. We thought it was an isolated incident, because she didn't do it again. We just assumed it scared her and she was going to stay put.

Two weeks ago, she did it again. Todd and I both wondered when this would become a habit.

Today was the day! All was quiet around the house and suddenly, "THUD!"

I ran upstairs to find Faith standing next to Grace's crib, looking a little stunned, but obviously trying to help her sister get a dropped pacifier and blanket.

As soon as Faith saw me, she started to cry, so I picked her up, rocked her and made it clear that she needs to stay in her crib from now on.

Fast forward about 15 minutes and I heard a lot of screeching upstairs. I went back up to the twins' room and opened the door. There was Faith, feet perched halfway up the rungs in the corner of the crib, ready to make a leap. I got there just in time to stop another, "THUD!" from happening.

I am not ready for these girls to be in "big girl beds" yet, so I guess it's time to purchase a crib tent.

It's just another day in paradise!

Devin's Doozie

This doozie happened a long time ago. In fact, I was pregnant with the twins when it happened! However, it remains one of my favorite memories of Devin and I am writing it down to make sure the moment is never lost.

When Devin was two, Todd decided it was time to teach him the ol' "Pull my finger," joke. You know the one. Don't make me explain.

So anyway, the joke became very popular in our house whenever Todd felt "the need." Devin was very impressed by his Daddy's ability to do such a thing on cue.

One day, while Todd was at work, Devin decided to play the trick on me. Not fully understanding how it works, he turned to me and said, "Mommy...pull my finger."

Being the fabulous mom that I am, I obliged, and pulled on the chubby little digit pointed toward me.

Upon doing so, nothing happened. Only silence and fresh air.

With a hurt look on his face and a question in his eyes, he looked at me and said, "It didn't work!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Darn It!

As we were filling out the paperwork to get the house listed and on the market, we came to a horrible discovery:

We are required to take the children with us when we move!

This changes everything.

*Big Smile Here*

Monday, June 09, 2008

Naked Baby

What is it about my child (specifically, Faith) taking off her clothes all the time?

It happens a few times a week. I'll walk into the twins' room, to find that Faith has taken off her shorts (we gave up on shirts months ago) and is sitting there in her diaper. Sometimes, shirts come off randomly in the living room or while she is sitting in her high chair. You just never know.

Yesterday, after nap time, I went to get the girls out of their cribs and there was Faith, stark naked, lying in her stomach, chin resting on her hands and feet in the air, looking like a 1920s poster girl for a burlesque show.

Today, I got back from taking Devin to Vacation Bible School and before I could even get Gracie out of the car, Faith had already taken off her dress and was running around the house in only a diaper.

I can't imagine where this comes from. ZZ? Any insight? :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Movin' On...

It's been a long time comin', but we've decided to put our house on the market.

This is a bittersweet time for the Pruetz family, as this house holds just about every memory our family has made.

Todd and I bought and moved into our home after only nine months of marriage. We bought this four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home knowing we would start a family and fill the home with the pitter patter of little feet.

Sure enough, only 13 months after moving into our home, Devin was born and we went from being a couple to being a family.

We knew this house wouldn't be our "forever house," but it worked very well for our family of three. Devin had his room and bathroom, we had a study and a guest room, as well as our bedroom and bathroom, along with a big kitchen, a family room, a formal living room and formal dining room.

When there was some doubt as to whether or not we would be able to have any more kids, we started to think that this abode may be the one we sell after we retire.

And then the shoe dropped. Two shoes dropped, actually.

We became pregnant with the twins and suddenly, our house didn't seem quite so big anymore. At first it wasn't bad, but now that three kids are sharing one bathroom (a big bath with two sinks, but still not big enough) and we are swimming in toys ranging from baby dolls and toy high chairs to Hot Wheels and monster trucks, we just plain don't have enough room.

So, with some sadness and yet a bit of excitement, our home will have a "For Sale" sign in its front yard tomorrow.

We're looking to upgrade, but are resisting the desire to go hog wild. We'd like to stick with four bedrooms (the girls will have their own rooms, but can sleep together if we have guests over), three full bathrooms (Devin will have his own and the twins will share), a game room and a study.

Luckily, we live in an area of town with lots and lots of growth, so we don't doubt that we'll find something great.

But until then, we've got to keep this house clean with three kids and a dog living here.

Jealous? I didn't think so.

So if you read the headline, "San Antonio mom goes psycho after scrubbing kitchen floor for the fourth time in 24 hours," you'll know who's the star.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Obsessing... Again.

By now, you all have probably figured out that I obsess. It could be about events or a meal or what I'm going to say to so-and-so or... The list goes on and on. It's a part of my personality that I just like to classify as "quirky."

Of course, "quirky," is really just code language for "annoying."

But I digress.

Anyway, this time around, I am obsessing about today's release of Sex and the City: The Movie.

Now I have to give you a bit of background here. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am pretty conservative about this, er...topic. I like a good joke about sex and can talk about it ad nauseam with my girlfriends, but promiscuity and casual sex are just not things I've ever been able to understand.

So it's a little surprising that I would like the show "Sex and the City" so much, but the truth is, I do.

Maybe it's because I have been blessed with some incredible girlfriends who have seen me through the toughest, roughest and loneliest times in my life. I have found friends in places I never knew I had them and have been disappointed and betrayed by women who I thought would never leave my side. During the highlights and the lowlights of my life, my girlfriends (even the ones to whom I no longer speak) have seen me through. I hope that they all feel the same way.

So "Sex and the City" is a good reminder of how powerful female relationships can be and it draws me in.

I'd be lying if I didn't say, though, that Carrie's relationship with Big, Charlotte's quest for a baby, Miranda's struggle between family and career and Samantha's all-around over-the-top personality don't draw me in. They do.

So the movie, a continuation of the show that ended four years ago, opens today and I am ecstatic to see it. I am going with my three best friends (think of us as the married, conservative, Catholic versions of the four women in the movie) and can't wait.

And when I say I can't wait, I mean I can't wait. I've been looking at spoilers all morning, trying to get a grasp on what happens. Does Carrie marry Big? Does Charlotte really get pregnant after adopting a baby? Are Samantha and Smith still together? Inquiring minds want to know!

As I was reading through speculation upon speculation, there was some talk of the ultimate loss: death. Apparently, there is a rumor that Big dies on he and Carrie's wedding day. Could it be? Holy smokes! That's terrible! He's smarmy and gross and self-centered, but what would SATC be without Mr. Big???

There's talk about Steve's mother dying, about infidelity and about Samantha moving to Los Angeles. Los Angeles? How could SATC take place in any city other than New York?

So here I sit, reading spoilers and speculations, wondering how I am ever going to make it to Sunday afternoon before I get to see this movie.

Is anyone else sitting in their living room, stewing over what may or may not happen? Drop me a comment if you are! Misery loves company!

And one last thing

I don't have HBO. I have never had HBO, so the SATC episodes that I watch are the very watered-down versions on TBS. I've never seen an un-edited episode of SATC and I have to wonder how I am going to react to what I am sure will be pretty explicit scenes. Who knows? I may end up hating it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where In The World is Erin Pruetz?

I am such a slacker. I wish I could say that I'd been on some fabulous cruise around the world, or that I have been hanging out in a luxury spa every day for the past three weeks, but believe me when I tell you that this is not the case.

In fact, nothing is the case. Life around here has been status quo and every day little things have happened that have made me say, "I should blog about this!" But, invariably, I would become distracted and not write a word.

Then something else would happen. And I wouldn't write. And again, and again, and again.

After awhile, my thoughts and desires to blog just overwhelmed me and I reacted in the classic Erin manner: I just ignored it all and now, here I sit, with a huge gap between posts. Hopefully, I can play catch-up in this entry.

Todd shaved his head completely bald in support of his best friend Tim's wife, Ivy, who is going through chemo to treat a cancerous lymphoma. I took quite a few pictures, but a symptom of my avoidance has been that I haven't downloaded pictures in quite a long time, so I don't have any to post at the moment.

Happily, though, Ivy's tumor has shrunk 60% after only two rounds of chemo. Woo hoo!

Mother's Day
I had a great Mother's Day, during which I got to sleep in and dine on my very favorite breakfast: Eggs Benedict. I got a day of not having to clean the house or cook and even received a new Dust Buster! I know...quite a gift for Mother's Day, huh? Well, I asked for it. Literally...I asked for a Dust Buster for my special day.

March for Babies
Our whole family, my sister and her twins, along with some very good friends of ours all participated in the March of Dimes March for Babies. It was an amazing experience to meet so many people whose children were born premature, but who had survived their ordeals due to the miracles of modern medicine. I can't wait to do it again next year!

The Last Day of School
Devin's last day of Pre-K was last Thursday and we said a sad goodbye to Crown of Life Lutheran Preschool as we graduated to Kindergarten. I can't believe how fast this past year went and now I'm in the, "What the heck am I going to do with these kids all summer?" mode.

Okay, not fabulous, but truthfully, that's about as good as it gets! I promise to get back on track with blogging a few times a week. Thanks for bearing with me and my "issues." :)


Monday, May 12, 2008

Devin's Doozie

This Doozie is less of word and more of deed.

I just found my son grooming the dog with one of our forks. Fabulous.

*Side note: I know I need to update. I promise to soon -- I've just been lazy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Angel and the Devil

My girls change personalities weekly. One week, Faith will be the aggressive biter while Grace is the unwitting recipient of her sister's personality quirks.

Seven, ten...maybe 14 days later, though, they will switch personalities and Faith will be the withering rose while Grace creates a reign of terror over her identical twin.

This week, Grace is the antagonist while Faith is the protagonist. Actually, now that I think about it, it's been this way for a few weeks.

A few minutes ago, Grace hit Faith a couple of times and then threw a toy at her. It was an immediate time out for Gracie, so had to sit on the bottom step of the stairs for two minutes.

These girls know what time out is and Grace was none-too-happy to be alienated from her mommy and sister. She cried and wailed, but knew better than to get up. She just sat there, looking very pathetic.

Well Faith, being this week's sweet twin, saw that Gracie was very unhappy and decided to make it "all better." She picked up Grace's paci and blanket (we call them "minkies") and took them over to her sister. Knowing, though, that Grace's foul mood could rear its ugly head in the form of a slap, Faith gingerly set the pacifier and blanket down on the step about six inches from Grace. Then she backed away carefully, keeping both eyes on the tiny tyrant. She's no dummy.

After time out was over, Grace and I had a hug and a little bit of snuggle time, to assure her that mommy still loves her very much. During this time, Faith found her cup of orange juice. Most incredibly, though, after she found her own, she went on a search for Gracie's, just trying to make sure that her sister knew she was loved and cared for by many.

I have to admit, it made my heart melt. They do love each other, despite the fighting.

On a different note...

Yesterday afternoon, as I was on the phone with my good friend, Sheena, I had my back turned toward the kitchen. I should know by now to never turn my back on the twins, but I guess I just wasn't thinking.

As I turned around, though, I saw what I had been missing. Both girls had managed to climb up on the kitchen table and help themselves to the apples in the bowl that sat upon the dining apparatus.

Every apple in the bowl had a bite out of it.

The whole scene reminded me of the time Devin did a similar thing.

Anyway, despite plucking the girls off the table as quickly as I could, the damage was done. It is now their favorite past time to get up on the table and make a mockery of me. We've done time outs and even light spankings to let them know that this is not acceptable. So far, nothing's worked. They're still climbing on the table, laughing in my face as I try to keep from smiling. Despite the obvious defiance and testing-of-limits, they look simply adorable, perched up there like that.

I don't really know how to stop this latest phenomenon. I tried pulling the chairs away from the table, but our entire downstairs is either tile or hardwood, so wherever the chairs go, they just scoot them over to the table and start climbing.

This is my reality.

Monday, May 05, 2008

You Asked...I'll Answer

I really didn't know if anyone was going to ask any questions on my blog, but apparently this is a pretty popular trend in blogging! Some of you (Tina Z...) were smart-aleks about it and I plan to answer each of your questions -- So there!.

Q. Good friend, sorority sister and mommy-of-two, Tara, asked, Where exactly did you learn the words to the Aardvark song and what are they?

A. I learned the words of the Aardvark song from college best friend, Heather Moore. It was a camp song that she sang when she was a counselor. The words go like this: "Aardvarks are my friends, Aardvarks are my friends, Aardvarks are my friends..."

For those of you who don't know this lovely little ditty, it's just those same four words over and over again, sang to the tune of "Yankee Doodle." If you sing it correctly (some words and syllables will be broken up strangely), you'll end it in perfect timing with the music. If I have counted correctly, you actually say, "Aardvarks are my friends," 11 times.

When you're done with verse one, you yell, "FASTER!" and move onto verse two which is -- you guessed it -- the same as verse one...only faster.

Q. High school buddy, Christi asked, "Do you believe in ghosts?"

A. We don't have enough time for the answer I'd like to give, so I'll try to keep it as short as possible.

I most definitely, 100% believe in ghosts. I don't know why they hang around or why they're not in Heaven with God. I don't know if they are "stuck" here or if they have unfinished business or what. I wish I had the answers to those questions, but those are truly two of the biggest mysteries I'd like to have solved.

Everyone has special talents -- artistic, athletic, creative, etc. God gives us those talents and abilities to use for His glory. I truly believe that one of my abilities is to see ghosts (yes...I see dead people). I see them daily, in my house, around my house, etc. They don't scare me and they don't bother me, though they do perplex me. Why are they here? What can I do to help them? Devin sees them, too, but the girls don't seem to have picked up on their presence.

I'm also haunted. Not my house, not my I have had the same ghosts following me around my entire life. I can tell the new ones (they come and go) from the old ones (of whom I've been aware since I was about three). Sometimes I go months without seeing them and other times they won't leave me alone. Last week, in particular, I think they were playing games with me. I just couldn't get rid of them.

My sister is the same way. She, too, is haunted and when I'm at her house, I see her ghosts.

So there. Now you all think I'm a lunatic.

Angie, from whom I got this idea, asked a series of questions:
Q. Did you really think my question/answer thing was dumb at first? j/k

A. Hah! And you thought I wouldn't answer! I didn't think it was a dumb idea. I just didn't "get it" at first. Now I'm totally into it!

Q. Do you prefer dark or light chocolate?

A. Milk chocolate, any day of the week, any time of the day, under any circumstance.

Q. If you could meet one momo mom, who would it be? (totally just kidding here)

A. Hah! Another one you thought I wouldn't answer! I'd love to meet Angie! Of course, I'd like to meet all of my Mo/Mo friends -- just to share the experience with another person would be amazing.

Q. Do you ever read gossip magazines?

A. Nope -- don't really like magazines.

Q. Who is your favorite author?

A. I don't have a particular author, rather a type of book that lends itself to some pretty big names. Murder mysteries are always a hit with me, so people like James Patterson top my list. I also like true crime, so Ann Rule ranks up there, too. My favorite book is, "To Kill a Mockingbird," so Harper Lee (a Chi Omega!) is a definite favorite by default.

Q. If you could have been named something else (first name), what would the name be?

A. My parents almost named me Ivy. I've always loved that name and secretly wished it were mine.

Q. What traits do you admire most in others?

A. Honesty. Humor. Faith (in something -- you don't have to believe in my God...just believe in something). Hardworking.

Q. Annie asked me, "Are you still obsessed with Robert "what's his name" from The Cure???"

A. I've definitely grown out of that stage in life (you know -- the stage I was in when I was 13!). But I do still really like The Cure and listen to their music often. I even have my kids listening to it! I think they are talented guys and their work still speaks to me after all these years.

Robert Smith, the lead singer of The Cure, known for his wild hair and white makeup, is still good looking to me. Obviously, my tastes have changed a little and marrying a guy who looks like he just crawled out of a grave isn't high on my priority list like it was back then. But the core of who he is still a handsome man in my eyes.

All the way from New Zealand, Mo/Mo mom, Jocasta asked three questions:

Q. Where would you go on holiday if you could go anywhere in the world?

A. Italy, particularly Tuscany, Venice, Rome and The Vatican. I will go there some day before I die!

Q. What song is guaranteed to lift your mood?

A. "All Just to Get To You," by Joe Ely. It was Todd and my first dance at our wedding and it reminds me of a life that was simpler and easier, but also how far Todd and I have come together and how I could never have this life without him.

Q. If you could choose 1 thing to be the best at what would it be?

A. Being a mommy. I think I'm a pretty good mom -- we take fun trips to parks and zoos and even places like Disney World. We dance and sing and talk and do all of the normal stuff. But I wish I were one of those moms who does art projects with her kids and orders cocoons so they can watch them hatch into butterflies and who teaches them to read when they are three... You know those mommies. I've always wished I could be the mom who does stuff like that.

Casey asked me a few questions as well:

Q. What was your first car and what sone reminds you of driving it?

A. That's a tough one, since I had a lot of cars at varying stages of my learning to drive. I learned to drive on my mom's 1968 Willys Jeep which didn't have a radio. The first car that was mine after I got my license was a 1982 Datsun 280 ZX. I didn't drive it much, as my dad didn't trust it. So instead, I drove his Toyota Cressida while he drove my sports car. Wait a second...

Anyway, the car I drove the most was the Cressida, so I think anything by REM would be what reminds me most of that car. The album, "Automatic for the People," takes me back to cruising around my hometown of Kingwood, being as cool as cool can be. Or so I thought...

Q. Favorite ice cream

A. It depends. Usually something chocolately, with a crunch to it. But every once in awhile, I have to get a Daquiri Ice from Baskin Robbins. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Q. What was the last GOOD movie you saw that you would recommend to others?

A. Wanna hear the saddest thing you've ever heard? I don't recall the last movie I saw (aside from reruns on TBS). Give me a month or two and I'll come back to this question.

I suck.

And finally, my friend and favorite smart-alek, Tina, asked, "Do these pants make my butt look big?"

A. Yes.

So there you have it! This was fun -- at least for me! If you have more question (I have a distinct feeling I'll be fielding a few about the ghosts), let 'em rip! I'm up for (just about) anything!

Friday, May 02, 2008

First Haircuts -- Goodbye Mullets!

Today I took the twins for their very first haircuts. Since they were as bald as eggs until after they turned one, I've been waiting for this for a long time. Over the last 12 months, their wispy, fine hair has grown little by little, but I've resisted the urge to cut it, knowing that the longer I waited, the better off they would be.

Well this week, I just couldn't take it any longer. The girls had both developed major mullets and I could no longer stand looking at my daughters, picturing them driving El Caminos and drinking Nattie Light. Something had to be done.

So Devin and I took the girls to Cool Cuts 4 Kids, one of those salons that caters to toddlers and young kids, keeping them busy with TVs at each station, toys, movies and video games.

After a short wait, Faith was up. She sat right in the chair, didn't make any sort of fuss as the cloth was draped around her shoulders and sat perfectly still as her hair was straightened up and styled in a cute little bob. She was topped off with a little red bow to match her dress and I was given a lock of her hair and a photograph of her sitting in the chair (well...the fire truck, as it were), all in a handy-dandy little folder.

Knowing that I would never get this lucky again, I plucked Grace away from all of the toys and sat her in the fire truck. Sure enough, the tears began to flow. I dug a lollipop out of my purse (placed there just for this occasion), and while she held onto the confection for dear life, she didn't actually suck on it until after she was out of the chair.

My poor little girl just sat and cried the whole time. Oddly enough, though, she didn't squirm. She literally just sat and cried. It was as if she knew that she needed to sit still or was going to be getting a lot of funny looks for the next few weeks. So, despite the wailing, she really did just as well as Faith had done.

Soon enough, Gracie was done, too, sporting a white bow and I got a little folder with her picture and a lock of her hair as well. Devin got his first haircut at the same place (at eight months old!), so now we have a matched set of these little keepsakes.

Afterwards, we went next door to Target where the girls were obviously very happy with their cuts. They were strutting their stuff like two little proud peacocks. Mommy was pretty happy, too. :)

Here are some pictures from our first salon adventure.

The before: Mullet city

Faith patiently waits as she gets a new 'do

Grace managed to scream and sit still at the same time

Afterwards - Faith is in red, Grace is in green

And here is a bonus shot of Faith throwing a fit at lunch today. The best part is how Grace is reacting