A $270 mistake for the better.

I called the survey company this morning. They hadn't cancelled my order for the elevation certificate after all. Which would actually have been a rather disturbing error, since they assured me that it was cancelled, and the charges to my credit card reversed...

but as it is, that little mistake just means that the results won't be delayed by a day after all.


Tuck me in.

"Owie. Owie. Owie."

Concerned, I pad out to see what could be troubling Isaiah so at 3:30 in the morning, but he doesn't appear to be in agony.

Instead, I find him sprawled on his belly in the doorway of his bedroom, chin resting on his hands, feet kicking in the air. The classic image of mid-afternoon boredom, not night-time distress.

"Tuck me in."

I look for his blanket, tossed off rather forcefully to all appearances, while Isaiah makes his way over to his bed.

"I need a book."

I hand him The Three Little Pigs.

"No, not that one. I need Mike Mulligan."

He holds the big red book up high while I arrange his blankets around him.

Instantly, he curls up, arms around his book, and is asleep before I am done kissing him.


5:07 PM


That is when I got the email from the property manager, saying that they didn't have the elevation certificates after all.


Which wouldn't be nearly so bad, except that I'd just cancelled my order with the survey company.

And they are closed now.


One must never underestimate the importance of being bored.

Ah, the sweet sound of happy children.

I'd been feeling guilty for being such a homebody, not taking my children out of the house enough. But this week, that hasn't been a problem.

We've been running around non-stop, and it was all stuff they enjoy, too. I mean, going to the bank may be a boring errand for me, but the local WaMu branch has a terrific play area, so that's actually a special treat for the wuggies. And real estate contracts may be dull, but the Re/Max office is a new place they've never been before. And it was all interspersed with fun stuff particularly for the kids, like the McDonalds play place and the zoo.

But slowly, over the course of the week, well... let's just say that strangers have stopped remarking over the good behavior of my children.

This morning was rocky, and this latest bit of misbehavior resulted in a safety hazard which I'm not quite sure how to resolve in the short term. So into their bedroom they went, and there they will stay until lunch, and our afternoon of errands. And oh, there's quite an afternoon of errands ahead. Without the luxury of time, I'm running around collecting documents, rather than waiting for people to send them to me at their leisure. So we'll be taking a grand tour of the greater Houston area this afternoon.

Anyway the kids are in their bedroom, and happier than they've been in several days.

I wish I could just stay home and read to the kids and catch up on chores today.

But I think it's going to be okay, because the wuggies have had their dose of boredom, and that makes all the difference.

Works for Me Wednesday: Pretty Nails

A few months ago, a vendor at the mall did a little demonstration, buffing one of my nails to a glorious sheen. Seriously, it was amazing. It looked like I was wearing clear nail polish, except very, very nice clear nail polish, only better. It brought a natural rosy glow to my nail, too, and the vendor said that all the extra blood circulation would promote nail growth. I'm not sure about that, but it sounds plausible.

So I was definitely sold on the idea of nail buffing. Unfortunately for the vendor, I was not sold on the idea of paying $50 for a nail buffer. Not even if it came with fancy Dead Sea skin care products. And no, not even if they knocked the price down to $25.

I had absolutely no idea whether it was any better than the cheap buffers at the drug store.

Well, now that I've tried a few of the drug store variety, I can tell you that if you're wanting to invest in your nails, if the mall vendor will give you one for $25, it's definitely not a rip-off. Their nail buffer really is considerably nicer than the ones you can get at the drugstore, in addition to being nicer than a salon manicure.

But as for me? I'm using the two-sided Sally Hansen nail buffer that I picked up at Family Dollar for a buck.

The shine doesn't last as long as the shine on my mall nail did, but then again, the process with the Sally Hansen buffer is much, much quicker, so it really sort of evens out.

And whatever buffer you use (as long as you don't use one of the four-sided ones with built in emery boards to scratch your nails as you try to buff) the results are splendidly mom-friendly.

No chipping polish, no noxious chemicals, nothing for the kids to knock over and destroy the carpet with... just pretty nails.

Works for Me.


Ten Days

An agreement has been reached, our offer accepted. The contract has been signed by all parties.
Now we have 10 days to figure out if we really want to go through with this.

10 days to track down the condo association and make sure they're fiscally responsible. They certainly appear to be doing an amazing job of maintaining a tidy row of townhouses and a lovely pool for quite a reasonable monthly fee. On the other hand, I'm having a horrific time tracking down anyone who can provide me with documentation.

10 days to get the house inspected, make sure there are no red flags there.

10 days to talk with the someone from the sheriff's office, make sure that the neighborhood really is as safe as all the nice neighbors say it is.

10 days, for that matter, to decide whether or not we're really confident that out of all the neighborhoods in the greater Houston area, this is the one we want to commit to.

I think it is, though--provided we get the right set of answers over the next 10 days.

It's going to be a busy week...


In the dead of night, she cries for the morning sky.

We leave on the light, but that is a pale substitute for the sun.

She screams and she cries and pounds the walls, but to no avail. Her struggles and her strivings can never speed the morning.

Oh, my child, the morning will come soon enough. But it will be as darkness to you unless you learn to rest in the night.



I probably would have been much to intimidated to attempt a souffle, except for a recipe that I found in a baby food cookbook, of all places. Souffles were not exactly what came to mind when I thought of easy, toddler-friendly meals, but that's what the book said. I tried it, and sure enough, it's become a favorite in our house.

The recipe was a pretty standard cheese souffle--make a white sauce, add cheese, add egg yolks, thicken, fold together with beaten egg whites. However, the mom-friendly version calls for baking it in an ungreased dish. It makes things a bit messy when you're serving it up, but it rises just fine, and you don't have to deal with the hassle of coating the dish, which I've never succeeded in doing properly, anyway. One little missed spot, and the souffle doesn't rise.

Anyway, tonight I tried out a different recipe. It calls for using hot milk in the white sauce. I'd always heard that was a big no-no, but it worked like a dream. Silky smooth without the faintest trace of a lump. But it was very, very thick. So thick I don't think you could honestly call it a sauce. So instead of thickening it with the egg yolks, this recipe said to allow the "sauce" to cool before adding the yolks. So since they didn't get cooked at this stage, the yolks actually thinned the mixture, rather than thickening it, and the resulting texture was approximately the same as with a more standard recipe.

Thus the mixture is much sturdier as it cooks, and you can actually bake it in a normally greased dish.

It was a gorgeous souffle, slow to deflate, easily slice-able, and silky-textured.

Best of all, it was all very straightforward and simple to make, with little room for disaster.

And that's always a good thing.



Good Weekend

Andrew's school held a classical education conference this weekend, and a couple of students volunteered to watch the kids, so I got to go on Saturday.

It felt so very, very good to spend the day with grown-ups.

Andrew gave his talk on the relationship between pure and applied mathematics, which went quite well.

There was much singing of hymns and folk songs, and it was astonishingly tuneful. Thinking and singing both! Ah, such food for the soul!

The main speaker, Dr. Markos, is a Lewis scholar, and had lots of good stuff to say about the role of literature, and the Tao, the Chronicles of Narnia, the myth of the Enlightenment, etc. etc. etc. We stayed afterwards for a long time talking with him, and in addition to being quite brilliant, he's a splendidly nice fellow. He teaches at HBU, which is only the other side of Houston, so I have high hopes that we'll be able to hear him again sometime.

Over the course of our conversation, Dr. Markos happened to mention Cici's as a great place to feed a family on the cheap, and so when we got home, we loaded the kids up and took them out for pizza.

The food was exactly what you'd expect from a $5 all-you-can-eat buffet, but the manager was extremely friendly and personable, and did everything he could to make us feel welcome.

It's a strange thing, but having a really friendly pizza place makes life so much sweeter. Moreso than you'd think. It's one of those little things that turns out to be a big thing, even if the food isn't all that great.

Yup. It's been a good weekend.