7/16/2012 Category :General 0

I’m not a morning person. I think it’s been covered once or twice before. The kids and I used to have this unspoken deal that they’d sleep until 8 but that’s been over for some time. So generally when Brenden comes bursting into the room, always to my side of the bed, talking 90 miles a minute I’m not ready. So I nod politely and make the appropriate noises of agreement/amazement/general interest and then tell him I’m working on waking up sending him off to the sunroom to play. Upon leaving my room he generally wakes Emily up with his joy at being awake for the day. They usually play very nicely coming in to check on me several times.

My favorite part of all of this is laying in bed listening to them when they are in one of their rooms or the hallway. One recent morning I overheard the following conversation from the bathroom:

Emily: Brenden I’m naked!
Brenden: laughter
Emily: Brenden what’s naked?
Brenden: Emily, naked means that you are naked.
Emily. Oh. I’m naked!

Why yes, I am still alive!

6/24/2012 Category :General 0

I have great plans to catch up on blogging soon. Honest. Taking a paymaster and then 4 summer classes, plus seeing clients has kept me just a smidge busy. But I haven’t even written about Brenden turning 6 or his kindergarten graduation, so expected those. Soonish.

For now, this quick look at the type of conversations we have around here:

Me: Brenden your skin is so brown. (As he holds his tan little arm against me)
Brenden: (crickets)
Emily: Mommy look at my skin! (Touch competitive. No idea where she gets that!)
Me: Yes honey I see your skin. You and albinos are the only ones that make me look tan.

House of Art

3/11/2012 Category :General 0

Thursday we had the pleasure of attending an art show for the kids. Art is a pretty big deal at their school. They have a color, shape and artist of the month every month. They read books and study about the artist and then do projects that relate. Then they gather select pieces and invite the parents to enjoy. They make a huge deal about it and the kids were very excited. We got several notes home reminding us not to miss it. We got a note about proper etiquette with instructions to treat the night like we were at a museum. Aside from looking at each child’s art, stations are set up all across the gym with different art activities for the kids to enjoy. Which is of course all Brenden really wanted to do! I’ve made galleries of each kid’s artwork and I’m including links here. Where I remembered to, I took a picture of the sign that explains or labels the piece and that appears first followed by their actual piece.

Enjoying the show.

Emily’s Gallery

Brenden’s Gallery


1/5/2012 Category :General 0

Today is little Miss Emily Grace’s 3rd birthday. And oh is that girl something else. Sweet, determined, independent little spitfire with a temper. She’s equally happy with pink, dolls, princesses, and bows as she is playing with the Batcave, the Scooby Doo gang,and dirt.

I am in no hurry at all to see either of my children grow up any faster than necessary, but I will not be sad to see this particular stage of 2-dom that she’s been in for the last 6 months to go away. She disagrees just to disagree sometimes. For example: We say, “Emily Grace!” She says, “I’m NOT Emily Grace! I’m Emmy!”. We say, “Princess Emmy” she says, “I’m not Princess Emmy! I’m Emily Grace!” Patrick and I console ourselves with the promise that someday she will be a master debater. She’s fickle. I ask her what she wants for breakfast or a snack. She insists on standing on top of the dryer to peer into the cabinets at her choices. She points. I retrieve. I begin to open. She screams. NO! I don’t want that!

But on the other hand, she’s so sweet. So loving. She gives the best hugs. And kisses too. And when someone is hurt she asks if they are ok. She’s helpful. She’s wonderful.


Cake is serious business.

Castle Cake.

For comparison, me on my 3rd birthday. Even though Emily insists it's a picture of her.

Bed Sharing

1/3/2012 Category :General 0

On occasion the kids ask if they can sleep in the same room. They usually want to camp out in their sleeping bags on the floor. We let them try every time they ask, but it never works. The laugh and play and don’t fall asleep so we always end up separating them. In the past few weeks Emily has taken to sneaking into Brenden’s room at nap and bed time. At first she wanted to play so we’d take her back to her room repeatedly. Then one day about a week or so ago she asked to sleep in Brenden’s bed. He thought it was a good idea so I let them try. They were so cute together I really didn’t want to have to break them up but they wouldn’t settle down and I was very close to having to do it. I gave them a final stern warning. Then I went to check on them and found this:

And now it has become a habit. The good news is, I worry less about what Brenden will do when Bailey dog dies and can’t sleep in his room any more. The bad news, now neither of them is going to be able to sleep alone. But it’s so cute!

1st haircut

1/3/2012 Category :General 0

Once when Emily was pretty little I cut some bangs for her to try to keep her little bit of hair out of her eyes. And that’s the only time she ever got a haircut. Until the week before Christmas. She finally got her 1st haircut! We were taking Brenden to get his cut when I noticed her ends were getting a bit shaggy and that she’d never had a cut. So we decided it was high time for that. It was bittersweet for her. She was happy to finally get to sit in the little cars they use as chairs like she’s watched Brenden do so many times, but was less than thrilled with the cutting of her hair. She did pretty well though.




1/3/2012 Category :General 1

December was surprisingly quiet. I had finals and lots of papers that I had procrastinated writing and therefore spent the last two weeks of school writing all at once. The kids were both in the Christmas show at their school. We went to the tree farm and cut our own Christmas tree and we hosted Christmas as our house. But somehow, even in doing that, the month seemed much slower than the previous two.

The kids quickly grew bored of my hunt for the perfect tree and made up their own games. Apparently, I'm picky!

Patrick and I finally agreed on a tree and the kids happily posed for a picture. Mostly happily.

Patrick and the kids decorated the tree this year. The past few years I've picked a theme and then done it by myself. This family tree is much more special. No really, it's special, look at the lean.

We even found time to ride the neighboorhood train, The Holiday Express.

This year Emily was actually excited about the train.

The kids were genuinely thrilled with each and every gift.

Emily was happy to get many of her own versions of toys she steals from Brenden on a regular basis.

Boy, I had a lot to say!

1/2/2012 Category :General 1

6 new blog posts below. 3 more to catch up coming over the next few days.


1/2/2012 Category :General 0

Several months ago in a fit of impulsiveness I ripped Brenden’s carpet out of his bedroom. Every night he has to have his Bailey dog sleep in his room and one night she got very sick on his carpet. We’d tried cleaning it, but the smell just wouldn’t go away. My sensitive nose couldn’t take it anymore so up came the carpet. I don’t think Patrick really believed I was going to do it, but two hours later the carpet was gone. Initially I thought I’d paint the concrete until we could figure out what to put down, but I realized quickly that a cold concrete floor was no place for a little boy to play. We bought some wood laminate from my parents with the idea we’d put that down. But then we got busy and it didn’t happen. So we’ve had a huge stack of flooring in the dining room and a bare ugly floor in Brenden’s room. With plans to host Christmas at our house, we thought it might be a good time to finally take care of the situation.

I should also mention that Brenden is a pack rat. To his sensitive little soul everything is special and must be kept. Over the last few months I’ve taken a lot of efforts to get his room organized:
Magazine files to help control his books
A 3-ring binder and plastic pages to hold all his special papers
A toy box
Lots of purging when he wasn’t looking!

The efforts have helped a lot, but he’s room still looked like this when I went to empty it out for the floor dudes:


But after the floor was done it looked like this:

We did Emily's floor too and the kids loved that they could "ice skate" on their new floors. They didn't want to put anything back in.

I was able to get away with moving the huge train table out to the toy room. It opened a ton of room up:

Much easier to keep clean.

Teacher Conference

1/2/2012 Category :General 1

Brenden is at the same private school he was in last year for preschool. They do 18-month parent’s day out (which Emily was in last year) all the way up to Kindergarten. We love that the class size is small, only 12 kids in Brenden’s class. Also, that they cover all the kindergarten information in the first half and then move to 1st grade curriculum in January.

Brenden has continued to struggle with his writing this year. We feel pretty certain that he would have been right handed but is having to learn to use his left. But then again, I may have mentioned I failed handwriting in elementary school, so it could just be hereditary bad writing! He struggled with it last year but made big strides. With me in school all summer we didn’t continue working on it like we should have though and he slid back. So this year was back to square one and with a new teacher. He has made HUGE improvements, but he struggles to read what he’s written (even though I now can) and he just isn’t confident about it.

Homework began as a huge struggle this year too. He gets a packet of homework to do every Friday and it’s due the next Friday. Usually, that means 2-3 sheets a night. I refuse for to make him do homework on the weekend at this age. For a long time it was hard to get him to sit still and focus for the short time it takes to do his sheets. He pretends not to know the answers and tries to be very silly. But as the year has gone by it’s becoming less of a struggle.

Report cards came home and while all scores were good there was a note from the teacher to schedule a conference. I was a bit worried, but it turned out well. The teacher just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. She seems to appreciate all the same things we appreciate in him such as his imagination. She reiterated that he is struggling with writing. She mentioned that while he’s warmed up to her and will talk her ear off one on one he doesn’t seem to want to break into any of the groups or talk when called on in front of the class. Last year he had his threesome with his twin best friends and I had noticed he didn’t seem to have that connection with anyone this year and had wondered about that. She says he’s well liked by everyone. She said that everyone loves it when he talks in his monster voice and that they all agree he has the best one.

The teacher was telling us she can’t let him sit facing the computer or the window during table work because he will daydream. No denying he’s Patrick and I’s son!She also has caught him working very hard to pretend to write rather than just doing it.

The main cause of any concern was that she doesn’t want his confidence to hold him back. She mentioned that he’s been hiding his little hand which was a big surprise to me. He never does that around us. It makes me a little sad, but I know it’s something he’s always going to have to deal with. So it’s something we’ll keep working on and make sure we keep taking him to the Hands Down activities.


1/2/2012 Category :General 1

If I thought October was busy it’s only because November hadn’t happened yet. In November I went to conferences two weeks in a row,then the next week attended a Thanksgiving Feast at the kid’s school and went to Vegas.

Conference one was for school. I went with a lot of my classmates that started the program at the same time I did. We have bonded and attending the conference really cemented that. I learned a lot about the field and it was exciting. Conference two was the Texas Conference for Women which I attended with my friend Kelli. She moved to Houston this year and we don’t get to see each other as much so it was nice to get to hang out with her. The conference was really geared toward business women but it was still very inspirational. I got to see the one speaker I’d really been looking forward to and enjoyed others I didn’t even know I would.

The kids have a very cute Thanksgiving Feast at their school. Every class has a different costume that they make as a class. They have their own table cloth laid out on the gym floor. They make the menu and bring the items for the feast as well as make the decorations. I got to go to Brenden’s feast last year and I loved it. This year, Emily got to participate with her class too. And Patrick even gave himself time off to go.

The proud Pilgrim.

Turkey Emmy.

Some of my family got to meet in Las Vegas this year for a very non-traditional Thanksgiving. We’d done this a few years ago and it was really fun. Not something you’d wanna do every year but a nice change. We had a great time again this year, but it sure is different with kids, especially when they are sick.

Vegas Burleson style. No, we don't have 3 iPads. Only 2. Yes, somehow I think that's better.

Watching the dolphins at Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden.

The kids saw these cats and dogs that move around and bark/meow at the airport when we arrived. They really wanted them but never asked for them. When we were leaving we decided to buy them as a treat. They (the kids, not the animals) were so happy!


1/2/2012 Category :General 0

October was a busy month. We went to Owens Family Farm to pick our pumpkins:

Sitting under a shady tree with their pumpkin picks.

Brenden on top of a hay bale.

We carved pumpkins (that molded quickly):

Working hard to scoop out his pumpkin guts.

Emily works equally hard.

We celebrated my 35 birthday (YIKES). Emily especially enjoyed my birthday cupcakes:

Emily loves sugar!

We took a field trip to the Arboretum with Brenden’s class:

Playing in one of the little houses.

And finally, we trick-or-treated:

No idea what possessed her to strike this pose. But it was cuteness.

Bat Emmy and Bumblebee Brenden.

1st day of school! 1st day of school!

1/1/2012 Category :General 0

Ok, so here’s the truth. I missed the ACTUAL first day of Brenden’s kindergarten experience. I was out of the state. But it was for a very good cause. And I was here for Emily’s first day of preschool so that should count for something! Patrick did an excellent job of getting Brenden ready. He took him for a haircut the day before, got him dressed and to school on time, and even documented everything for me. You can read his account here: Below are my pictures of Brenden’s SECOND day and Emily’s first day.

Her backpack straps touch the ground!

Excited about his second day.

The Beach

1/1/2012 Category :General 0

About mid-school year last year Brenden got the idea that he really wanted to go to the beach. He asked about going frequently. With me already in school time was not readily available. We decided to wait until the summer break. We thought of a big elaborate trip to Padre but after deciding to make the drive to see our friends in Denver, we weren’t thrilled with the idea of another very long car trip. We ended up sticking closer to home and going to Galveston and had a great time.

We got a condo right across the street from the beach. The kids saw it as one huge sandbox. Not totally impressed with the ocean. Brenden did work up the nerve to play in the water some despite his fear of being eaten by a shark. After much assurance that the sharks were out much further in the ocean than we’d let him get. He was having a blast splashing and running in the water with Patrick until a wave got him and water went up his nose and in his mouth. He did venture back out though. Emily really did not want to have anything to do with the water. She didn’t even want me to carry her in. We had a really nice, relaxing and casual trip with lots of tv time and cooking in the condo rather than eating out. Brenden has asked frequently if we will go back. And I think the answer is yes!

On the way home we spent some time at Johnson Space Center. The kids loved it! We also got to stop off and see a friend of our’s from high school we hadn’t seen in some time.

He would not take his life jacket off for anything.

Patrick had fun playing in the sand too.

Getting water for their sandcastle.

Brenden enjoying the space center.

Um. So….

12/14/2011 Category :General 1

Looks like I have an entire semester of blog posts to catch up on here including Brenden’s first day of kindergarten and Emmy’s first day of preschool. Man, this grad school thing is really getting in the way of my life! Anybody still checking here for updates? Expect many catching up posts in the next few weeks. I just have to make it through one more day before I’m done with this semester.


7/26/2011 Category :General 1

We got back last night from a long weekend in Colorado visiting friends. We all had a great time but are happy to be home. The kids were especially happy to see all their toys and their dogs. Mostly we relaxed while the 4 kids (ours and the two we were visiting) and sometimes more played. At one point there were 7 little boys and our little girl (who held her own) playing in the same house. We spent time each night out on the deck in the cool breeze, a welcome break from day 5,000 of 100+ degree weather around here lately. We went to Tiny Town and the Denver Childern’s Museum both places we had taken Brenden on our visit there 4 years ago. Not the difference in the pictures below:

Brenden said a few things along the way I had to capture.

1) Upon waking up the morning we left I heard him sweetly telling the dog, “Bailey today we go see Wilder and Hunter. We’ll be gone for 4 days and then we’ll be back.”

2) As we started the long drive, “Hey, we woke up early like Grandpa when he was going to get Grandma”

3) After asking us something repeatedly and finding our patience gone, “That’s just the way God made me. He wanted me to be a kid that asks a lot of questions over and over.”

Here is a link to my photo gallery:


7/6/2011 Category :General 0

It’s disaster week here on the Burleson channel. It’s not exactly a secret that I’m accident prone and not so coordinated, but this week it seems to be plaguing the whole household.

Sunday as I was doing dishes I hit my elbow on the cabinet door handle and started bleeding. Monday evening at the grocery store Emily hit Brenden in the nose and it turned into a bloody nose. Then yesterday as I was about to leave for class Emily fell going up the step to the sunroom. She hit her nose and head and scraped her arm and leg. So she had a bloody nose, head, arm and leg. Today with my knee and back already killing me from who knows what, I ran into the door frame leaving Emily’s room and hurt my arm. I know there’s more, but you get the picture.

Update: I knew I’d think of more….
I burnt my ear on my hair straightener. And not just an “ouch, that hurt” but like a burn with a degree.
Also, Patrick burnt his finger on some steaming water he was draining.

Below is Emily’s black and blue nose with a little “bad booboo” as she likes to call them.

Potty Training

6/9/2011 Category :General 0

Brenden was very difficult to potty train. In fact, he still goes to sleep with a pullup on at night since he takes a drink to bed he rarely wakes up dry. Long after he learned to pee in the potty he was very resistant to doing anything else.

So it’s in total amazement that I can say at 2 Emily is nearly potty trained. And I didn’t have a darn thing to do with it. We never moved the little potty out of the kids bathroom even after Brenden had switched over to the big one. So it just sat there unused. One day when Brenden announced he needed to go to the potty, Emily said, “I go poop” and off she went and did just that. It started happening every once in awhile. I thought, ok. When I finish my school semester we’ll take those three weeks I have off and really concentrate on this. I didn’t think it was fair to start when I couldn’t give it my full attention. But as time has gone on, she’s doing so well, I almost hate to get involved because I’m afraid of ruining it. So she’s going at her own pace and go more and more often. It’s not consistent enough for underwear just yet, but close. She takes off her own wet diaper because it is bothering her. If she does go in her diaper she will tell me she needs to go potty. And today when she woke up from her nap (Brenden and I were napping too) I heard her go in and use the potty. And what’s great is she even dumps it into the big toilet for me! And she’s always so proud of herself. Tonight before bed as she sat on the potty with the door open Sam, the dog, peeked his head in. She said, “HI SAM! I GO POOP!”

So I hesitantly say that for the first time in 5 years of diaper changing, we are getting very close to being down to just a night time diaper. And that, in the land of parenting, is VERY exciting.

Who made that?

6/9/2011 Category :General 0

Brenden has this little game he likes to play: Who made that? My part of the game involves telling him whether the stated thing was made by God or people. For some reason, I love that he thought of this game. We played it today when he wanted to know who made the guy inside his new prized possession bought with his saved up change—a transformer. “Mom, who made the guy inside? Was it Gourd?”


5/18/2011 Category :General 3

This morning Brenden and I were talking about how he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up. He was asking me how you drive a spaceship and I told him that I’d never been on one before so I wasn’t sure how the controls worked. He graciously told me that when he is a grownup he’ll let me on the spaceship and then he’ll blast off. After school he wanted to play with the camera and take pictures. He really loves doing this but hasn’t done it lately. He sometimes gets some pretty good shots. I was asking him if he’d rather be a photographer when he gets bigger and he hesitated. So I asked him if he wanted to be an astronaut who takes pictures or a photographer who goes to space. He’s reply was that he’d like to be an astronaut who takes pictures of space.

Below are some pictures he took of me. He was directing me to make funny faces and even specifically telling me what to do in some of them.