Thursday, August 28, 2008

Warning! This post will make 46% of you mad

Regardless of your political views, you have to see that tonight was an historic night. For the first time in American history we have nominated an African American for President of the United States. It is truly unbelievable and I am so proud to have been a part of it.

Yesterday when Obama was officially nominated I sat with my two kids and watched the convention and just cried. I told Avery that she was witnessing history and then Matt reminded me that she is 2, so she would probably rather be witnessing Barney. 

I am just proud that in 2008 we had the possibility of a woman and a black man for the democratic spot in the presidential election. I think we have come so far as a nation. I know we have more room to grow into a more perfect union, but I am so proud to be an American right now.

I hope the candidates don't go at each other's throats now and spoil it for us. I feel like we are so divided as it is and I don't want us to move any further apart. I hope that whoever our next president is will work to unite us and improve domestic issues as well as international ones. 

Less than 70 days to go. I love it! Looking forward to seeing what the Republicans do next week. I love how they have already started calling Obama negative when they would just call it "tough talk" if it had come from McCain.  He has answered every criticism and they are running out of things to knock him with
Here's how Jack felt about the whole thing...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Less Talk, More Pictures

Ok, Ok. So yesterday's post was a little long. I was just walking down Memory Lane and it turned out to be Memory Mile. Today is much lighter and way cuter. 

Here are a few shots we have taken in the last few days. It's hard to believe that Jack is 3 weeks away from eating solid food. He can't wait, I am sure, because he is starting to wake up a little earlier in the morning and I know that will stop when he is getting a full belly before bed. 

Avery is a little ham. She loves to run around, laugh, "flip" and visit friends. She just talks up a storm these days and has really picked up on common phrases that Matt and I say. For example, yesterday morning I was getting ready for work and I heard Jack getting fussy in the living room. I asked Avery if she would go see what Jack was fussin' about and she said, "isn't that your job?" nice.

Here's Jack with his giraffe and his favorite side-kick, his thumb.
This morning Avery asked us if Jack could lay in her bed. It was so cute and definitely a Kodak moment.
Trying to get a smile--didn't quite get the full smile in time. She was biting her lip by the time I took the picture. Plus she was running away, which is why she is off center. Don't worry, the photography lessons aren't going wrong. They just don't teach you how to keep your 2 year old in one place for a picture.
Jack's jump-a-roo. He loves it. And he thanks our friend, Kerry, for letting me know that he was ready for it. Grammie bought it for him when he was born and he is finally able to enjoy it.

Here you go, Joe and Christy! Another picture of Matt. This one was at our church after a Summer Celebration. Avery has balloons painted on her arm. I hope that's the only tattoo she
ever wants!
Finally a real smile. Now if I could only get her in a clean shirt....

Monday, August 25, 2008

The End of an Era

I watch The Hills

There. I said it. I know. I realize that there are a few of you that are not going to be my friend anymore and I just want to say that it has been great knowing you. I am so sorry to have disappointed you. 

For those of you who haven't given up on me yet, here's the rest of the story....

Matt usually gives me a look of pity and then leaves the room whenever it comes on. Despite this shameful admission, I just need to say that I am invested in the lives of these people. I think it is because these young kids (1o years younger than me) have all this money and style and are so put together. And they really seem to know what they want and who they are. They have their own clothing/jewelry/handbag lines for heaven's sake.

I think back to when I was 21 and I know that I didn't have that kind of self-awareness. Not only did I not truly know who I was yet, but I didn't even know what I wanted. Or how to get there. 

When I was a senior in college a relationship that I was deeply invested in (for reasons I can't even remember now) ended. At the time I just wasn't sure what to do. He had been a constant in my life for 4 years and I wasn't sure who I was without him. I wasn't sure what I was going to do after I graduated because being a teacher suddenly sounded like prison to me. I didn't want to go to the same place every day and see the same people. Suddenly I felt like I couldn't breathe and I needed to do something completely different to try and shake the pain, regret, and memories from this relationship and figure out what I wanted out of life. 

So at the suggestion of my father, who traveled a lot for work at the time, I became a flight attendant. Man, did my life change. It didn't look anything like the life I would have had with the guy I couldn't imagine living without. Suddenly I was living in New York City. I was a regular at the Louvre in Paris, at the beach in LA, in the shops of England, on the streets of Manhattan, and in the mountains of Colorado. I met people that changed me and shaped me. I saw more places and learned more about people and culture than I ever would have imagined. (and no question that I saw more than a lifetime worth of rats in NY. holy cow)

I still mourned the death of the relationship that I had with the only man I had ever loved, but I was starting to learn who I was and what I was about. It was clear that the person I was becoming would have suffocated in that relationship over time. I am too headstrong. I am too much of a leader. I enjoy being an equal partner in every sense of the word. And it turns out that I lean to the left a little in the political arena. (that would have NEVER worked for the college guy) 

After I became confident in who I was, I was fortunate enough to meet another man that I fell in love with. By that time I had figured a few things out. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I could accept and what I couldn't accept from a potential partner. I think that would make things tough for any guy, but Matt wasn't afraid of any of that. He only knew the independent me. He only knew the person who is adventurous and well traveled. He only knew the gal who made decisions on her own and didn't let her fear of losing him change her mind on things she believed in. I'm glad he was up for the challenge. I met him at the perfect time and things just fell into place with us.

I may not have my own clothing line and I am certainly not living the high life in Beverly Hills, but I am so glad about the way things have turned out for me. 

I guess I bring this up because at the end of this month I will officially no longer be employed with Delta. I have been on a furlough status for the last 5 years and it runs out on September 1st. The days of free travel are over. But I am so glad for the time I had traveling around the country and the world. I'm thankful for my French and Russian visas. I love that my passport is so full of stamps from places far away. Those years as a flight attendant helped me discover who I am and what I want out of life. 

Now I am so happy that I have been able to use my degree in the work that I currently do. I'm so glad for the time I have with my family and friends because I am home every night. It may not be Beverly Hills and I may not have my own clothing line, but it is perfect for me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Night at the Theatre (or is it Theater? I can never remember)

A couple of weeks ago Matt and I took Avery to see Seussical the Musical at the Zach Scott Theater. We weren't sure if she was old enough to sit through a play like that but we figured we would never know unless we gave it a try. Avery loves to read books and like most little kids, Dr. Seuss is on the top of her list of favorites. 

We were a little concerned that the show started at 7, just one hour before her regular bedtime. She is usually in the bath at this point and we start winding down from the day so we were a little concerned about how she would behave if she was too tired when the play started. 

It turns out that we worried for nothing, as usual. She was just fine all night. We kept telling her that we were going to see people sing and dance and she kept saying, "yeah" as if she already knew that and we were just idiots for repeating ourselves so much. Then when we got there she was more concerned about getting juice than anything else. 

Before the show started she played a fun game of "I have to go potty" with us. The rules of this game go as follows:

Toddler says: I have to go potty
Mom says: ok, I will take you.
[exit auditorium and go to women's restroom. Toddler goes into stall and then proceeds to scream "NO!!" so you decide she has changed her mind and you leave. On the way out she wants to wash her hands.]
[return to your seats]
Toddler says: I have to go potty.
Dad says: ok, I will take you.
[exit auditorium and go to men's restroom.  Toddler goes into stall and then proceeds to scream "NO! NO, DADDY!" so you decide she has changed her mind and you leave. On the way out she wants to wash her hands.]
[return to seats]
Toddler says: I have to go potty.
Mom and Dad say: screw potty training. Just go in your diaper. Enough is enough. And also, isn't it time for this damn play to start? 

Luckily God had mercy on us and the lights flickered in the auditorium to signal that she show was about to start. Avery sat on my lap and instantly put her thumb in her mouth. When the play started she just stared at everything. She didn't move and she didn't say a word. She was enthralled by the action. She didn't really move a muscle which surprised me. Toward the end of the First Act she did clap when everyone else did, but that was about it.

At intermission she quickly looked at me and I told her that they are taking a break but will be right back. She was quiet for a moment and then said, "They'll be right back?" to which Matt and I both said, "yes." Then about 2 minutes later she again said, "They'll be right back?" It was pretty cute. 

When the Second Act started she stayed on my lap but this time she pointed out the characters that were up high on doors or on a hill on stage saying, "she's up high" and "they are up there!" She clapped after every song and she started to dance a little on my lap. I could tell she was really into it. As the show came to a close and the actors sang the final song I started to tear up a little because it was clear that Avery really loved it. She paid attention the entire time and talked about the characters. 

It was as though I was seeing a play for the very first time. 

After the show the characters were in the lobby and we went to meet some of them. Avery was a little hesitant with some of them but she pointed out others and wanted to say hi. I thought it was cool that they were in the lobby so that the kids could take pictures with them.

Since we had such a good time at the play and we were already downtown, we decided to go to Tiff's Treats for cookies. We sat outside and ate warm cookies and talked about how much fun the play was. Matt asked Avery if she wanted to do more stuff like that and she said "YES!"  but I think she would have agreed to anything since she was eating a cookie and it was 8:45 pm.

It was fantastic for all of us. Jack stayed with Grammie and Poppa and had some great 1 on 2 attention. He probably loved the chance to have them all to himself. Matt, Avery and I had a great time together at the play. We were so happy that the late night didn't turn her into a typical 2 year old monster and it was nice that she stayed still during the play and actually paid attention. 

I'd say it was one of the best date nights we have had in a long time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Calling All Pharmacists!

I think men just don't see stains on clothes before they wash them. It isn't their fault, really, because it is something in their genetic make-up that prevents them from noticing spaghetti sauce, juice, old banana, dirt from the playground, or that mystery stain that shows up on children's clothes. I mean, who could blame them for not noticing. It isn't like every. single. outfit. has some kind of mess on it. 

Except that EVERY. SINGLE. OUTFIT. does have some kind of mess on it. 

And so it would be nice if perhaps men (not naming names) could figure out some way to overcome their genetics and actually look for the stain on every outfit before washing and drying it. I'm just saying. Because as much as I love to shop for clothes for our kiddos, it would be nice if they could actually wear the outfit more than 1 time before it is ruined due to stains. 

Don't get me wrong, they still wear stained clothes because otherwise they would have to go naked, but it would just be wonderful if we could keep them looking new a little longer. 

Any scientists out there that know of some kind of drug we can prescribe to men that would help them to see the stain before it becomes permanent could get really rich by marketing it. See, really, I am just a public servant trying to help someone with the ability to make these kinds of drugs rich. I am nothing if not helpful. 


Jack is 5 months old now. He weighs in at a hefty 20 pounds. I haven't measured his length yet this month but he comes up to Avery's chest (almost to her chin) when we stand him up next to her. His current favorites include laughing, playing with his feet, watching Baby Einstein, and "talking" to us. He isn't quite sitting up yet, but he is close. He loves to sit up in his Bumbo seat and play with toys. 

Avery is turning into a little smarty pants. Tonight we were on a walk and I started counting our steps. I stopped at 10 and then Avery picked it up from there...all the way to 20! It was fun to hear her say all the numbers by herself.  Next I starting counting again but paused after each number. So then Avery started to say the next number. I said one...she said two...I said three...she said four...and so on. I was surprised that she was able to do that. It is so much fun to watch her grow and develop. 

Lucy got a haircut and she looks about 5 pounds thinner. Which says a lot for a dog that only weighs 8 pounds to begin with. I will have to take a picture and post later this week. Poor Lucy. :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

It turns out that Icy Hot is my favorite

I should start right off the bat by saying that Jack seems like he is feeling a lot better. He is still stuffy and we are treating his first ear infection (which was minor and probably just a result of the congestion), but overall he is acting like he feels good.

and now...

Are the Olympics keeping you up as late as they are keeping me up? I have really been enjoying them but man, I will be glad to get back to sleep on a regular schedule. 

I remember always liking the Olympics. I used to record them in the days of VHS and watch them when I would get home from school or work. I guess I could DVR them now but I don't have any other time to watch them so instead I just stay up way too late watching them live. This year has been so much fun to watch because of the Michael Phelps hype. I think I am more impressed that he actually did it given all the expectations the press put on him. Usually people succumb to the pressure in situations like this and end up falling short. I say good for him for all of his success.

And have you seen Dara Torres? That woman is so awesome. 41. A mom. The first mom to win an Olympic medal for swimming. And she was soooo close to the gold. What an inspiration.

All this leads me into my feelings on boot camp. Oh, boot camp. I have had 3 classes and so far I haven't thrown up, which is my own little victory. 

The first class sucked. It was so hard. I am not a runner. I walk on the treadmill at the gym at a good pace but I almost never run. And when I do run, it is only for a minute or two. (I know, how very fit of me!) So when we starting running (!) on day 1 of boot camp I was a little concerned. I was hoping we would build up to that. Apparently the running was the warm up. It was at this point that I started to get scared. If running was the warm up, I was definitely in trouble. And there is a big hill at the park where the boot camp is held so I kept eyeing that hill and wondering if there was any possible way that the instructor failed to notice it. 

There wasn't. He did.

So with 25 minutes left to go in the first class he had us racing up the hill. Dammit. I had to race Ken, a guy who had already gone through the boot camp once before--in July--so he was pretty fresh on all of this. I heard a girl at the back of the line say, "I can't believe I paid for this bullshit!" which made me think that she was reading my mind.

So far the hardest thing for me to do is sit-ups and anything related to tummy exercises. Our instructor makes us do this form of ancient torture where you put your feet up in the air 6 inches...then 12 inches...then 18 inches...then 2 feet....then 3 feet...and then you die. I can't even really keep my feet straight when I am lifting them up in the air. And this makes me sad because I know that I used to be able to do this. Pre-babies. I think it is possible that just maybe those two abdominal surgeries I had in July of 06 and March of this year may have something to do with the challenges I am facing when it comes to these particular exercises. Oh the things we do for our kids. :-)

Apparently the Presidential Fitness Award that I won in high school is not a lifetime award. 

But after class when I am driving home having not given up (or thrown up!), I feel pretty good that at least I am out there. It's a start. And in 7 months from today when Jack turns 1 I think I will be in much better shape, which is the ultimate gold medal for me. The goal is to be more fit and energetic. Losing weight is key also. So going to this boot camp and suffering through the 100 degree afternoon heat will all be worth it. I'm just not sure all that ice cream I ate to get in this shape was.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

On Rush Limbaugh

(like you didn't think I was going to talk about political stuff eventually)

Let me start by saying how heartbroken I was when I learned of John Edwards' affair. How could he be so insensitive/dumb/reckless? I knew there was a reason that I couldn't get behind his candidacy but I could never pinpoint it. There was always just something about him that seemed disingenuous. 

Well thanks to the gossip magazines that normally have it wrong (yeah, Brad and Angie are definitely on their way to splitsville...oops...I mean pregnant), we know that he is a cheater. And the worst kind of cheater--one who cheats on his wife battling cancer. (oh, right, she was in remission at the time. jerk)

And just when you think things could not get worse for Elizabeth Edwards while she is dealing with the public outing of her husband's betrayal of their marriage, here comes good ol' Rush Limbaugh.

Rush actually said on his radio show yesterday that it is Elizabeth's fault that John had an affair because she didn't...use her mouth for something "other than talking." wow. 

So at this point Rush Limbaugh is now the biggest ass in the whole John Edwards scandal. 

Are you kidding me?!?! So it is the wife's fault that the husband is a cheater? You mean the wife that is dealing with cancer? The one who is concerned that her young children will grow up without a mother? The one who is concerned about her appearance after the torture that her body has gone through during cancer treatments? That wife? You must be kidding. 

Limbaugh has said some pretty ridiculous things in the past. In fact, I would venture to say that he says stupid things almost every day. I don't personally listen to his radio show because it is so far from truth and reality that I can't stand it. But when I hear things like this I wonder who is holding him accountable for his hate speech. And it makes me so sad that there are people in the US who listen to his show and actually take him seriously. They think the way he thinks, which makes me sad for our country.

Now I am not saying that everyone should think the way I think (ahem, Joe!), but I certainly think hate speech, purposeful lies about our candidates (Obama is not muslim), and perpetuating stereotypes is all bad for our country. How does this make us stronger? It doesn't. 

And anyone who watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics knows that China could totally kick our butts in any type of conflict so we better start liking each other fast. :-)


In other news:
  • I am surviving boot camp. Barely. I will have more to say about this at another time.
  • Jack has been sick all week (which, yes, you could say should be the headline and not just a bullet at the bottom, but we don't know what is wrong with him yet so I will wait for test results to come back before I say anything.)  (and also, google can be evil when you have a sick child. every symptom can lead to certain death. good grief)
  • I have a photography class tonight that I have been looking forward to. I hope my expectations aren't too high. 
  • I have pink eye. I've never had it before and I caught it very early so it doesn't look that bad, but still. I got it from Jack, who does not have pink eye, but did have some goop in his eye last week that I thought I was careful not to touch. I guess I wasn't careful enough.
  • All this stuff seems to happen whenever one of my parents goes out of town. It is almost a guarantee that one of my kids will get sick when one of them is away. Not sure why but I wish it would stop.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Scream, You Scream

We took Avery, Jack, and our neighbor Emmie (13 months) to the Austin Ice Cream Festival on Saturday. We went early in order to avoid melting in the heat but we failed to realize that we live in Texas. And it's August. The only time of day that you could say it isn't "hot" is around 4am. Since the festival didn't start until 10, we had to suffer through the warmth. Despite the temperature at 10am (already in the mid 90s), there were tons of people and dogs at the park. They had a band, which, of course they did since this is Austin. They also had lots of large blow-up toys for the kids to play on. Not to mention the petting zoo that had your run-of-the mill animals: a few deer, some ponies, a couple of kangaroos, and some goats. KANGAROOS. Seriously? I would have pictures of Avery going down the blow-up slides, which she loves to do, except that it was so hot that parents were running to the top of the slide and grabbing their screaming kids who were burning their legs on the hot slide. So we decided to skip that fun and go straight for the ice cream. 

Here is Matt, clearly having a great time while pushing around Jack and Emmie. I strolled with Avery in the world's worst stroller for the park. It's a champ in the mall but take it out in the elements and it wimps out. Tough lesson to learn when you are already there. sigh.
All this thing did was scare the crap out of the kids.
We went with the cookies and cream. Not sure what we were thinking when we decided that. This is the last time she will ever wear this shirt, which is too bad because who doesn't love a shirt with pink flamingos? 
When asked to smile for the picture she chose instead to stick out her tongue. 

Jack didn't get any ice cream but he was just happy to be there. His eye is a little swollen thanks to allergies, we think, but he hasn't let it bother him one bit. 

All in all it was a great time. We only stayed for about an hour and a half because the ice cream wasn't the only thing melting out there. It was perfect for the kids, though. They were ready for naps by the time we got home. Avery slept for over 3 hours. Ah, the joys of passing out on an ice cream high.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Boy Can Roll!

I was too busy watching Jack roll over to take pictures while he was actually turning from his back to his stomach, but here is what he looked like as soon as he rolled over. He looks pretty confused about how he got here. (and he kinda looks like he has a unibrow because his eyebrows are so light and the wrinkle on his forehead is so prominent. haha!)
The he realized we were clapping and excited about him hitting this milestone so he started to smile for us. He was pretty proud of himself.
Then he started to realize that being on his stomach was a lot of fun! 
But when your big noggin is in the 90th percentile you start to realize that you can't hold it up forever. He was slowly lowering his head back to the bed.
Ah, the sweet, sweet feeling of laying my head down on the bed. It is hard work to roll over, you know!

And there it is--the first time Jack rolled from his back to his stomach. He has done it repeatedly since then. He has shown off his new skill to his Grammie, Poppa, Aunt Debbie, and our neighbors whenever we ask him to. :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Banana Pudding Throw Down Results

We had the big judging on Sunday night. Dad cooked dinner for several of his neighbors. He went all out with steak, ribs, and chicken just trying to suck up to them all. I was pretty confident in my pudding so I wasn't too worried.

He talked a little trash, told me there was no room in the fridge for my pudding when we got to his house (I made room!), and tried to sway voters with his lovely meal.

But when it came time for the judging, there was no messing around. We prepared plates for everyone (7 judges total because mom's and Matt's vote didn't count) in the kitchen so they couldn't tell which one of us made which pudding. Dad's was a traditional banana pudding with Vanilla Waffers and mine was a more modern spin on things with Chessmen cookies (I used Paula Dean's recipe if anyone wants to know).

Everyone started eating and they oohs and ahhs began. There was so much smack talking going on that I didn't think we could come to a fair conclusion. We made the poor neighbors say their votes out loud even though several asked for secret ballot. :-)

In the end it came down to 3 votes for Dad and 3 votes for me. The last person came in to taste the pudding (it just happened to be Josh) and he had no idea which pudding was mine and which one was Dad's so it was totally fair. We asked him which one was best and he picked....MINE! I won!

And in all honesty, I think 2 of the neighbors were just being nice by voting for Dad and the only reason Aunt Debbie picked his is because he makes her dinner every night. :-)

He is going to pick another dish to challenge me to next time and I will be ready and willing, especially since I am the defending champion!

Let the comparisons begin

Our big man, Jack, rolled over for us tonight. Finally. I'm not sure if it is his big size or if boys are just different from girls but we can already tell that Jack does things at his own pace. Avery had rolled over very early (5 weeks) one time and then didn't do it again until 4 months. But by 5 months she was sitting up pretty regularly. I just don't see that happening with Jack. He is pretty happy to just lay wherever we put him. He'll talk and coo and smile at you and just be in an all around good mood but he never tries to move out of that spot. We didn't think he would ever roll over because he is just so content wherever he is. It took a little coaxing on our part--Matt had to keep moving behind Jack while he was talking to get Jack to turn over and see him--but he finally made the big move. And of course, once he was on his stomach he was happy to stay right where he was. I will post some pictures tomorrow.

I start boot camp at the gym next week and I can't wait to see what a 31 year old body feels like after that kind of abuse. I remember being in high school volleyball camp when I moved to Texas and working muscles I had never been forced to work out before and it just about killed me. We didn't have very tough training in Mascoutah when we started our volleyball camps in the summer so I was shocked when I showed up for practice the first day in Texas and had to do drills that seemed more like torture than anything else. I remember not being able to get into my car the next morning because every muscle hurt. But I was a lot younger then and way more in shape so I shook it off pretty easily. I don't think I will have such luck next week. Matt has already asked me which kind of muscle-soothing lotion I prefer. :-)  I am sure their will be plenty to blog about during that experience!

Finally I would love for anyone reading to lift up Jordan and Marlo W. in their prayers. Jordan is an associate at work. I don't know him all that well but I do know him well enough to know that his family is incredibly important to him. Two weekends ago his wife and 19 month old daughter were visiting her parents in Las Vegas when their daughter, Maddie, died in an accidental drowning. It is just so sad. She is their only child. I know they have a strong faith in the Lord and they will make it through this terrible time, but I just feel so much for them. It has brought me to tears more times than I care to admit since I learned of the accident. Please think of them when you are saying your prayers this week, especially Friday morning because that is when they are going to have to bury their baby.

now to end things on a happier of the kids!

Avery just loves Jack! She always wants to kiss and hug him. She calls him Jack, Jackson, Bubba and Big Guy just to name a few. And she always uses a really high-pitched voice whenever she talks to him.
My favorite shirt of Avery's. This is also the first time I put her hair in just one ponytail instead of two. I got this shot just a little too slow because she is just about to close her eyes but I thought I would post it anyway. I guess that is what the photography lessons I am taking are going to help me with, but that is another post for another time.
Jack found his toes about 2 weeks ago and they are his new best friends. That boy loves to grab on and play. He just laughs (which is also relatively new and so freakin' cute!) and coos at them. It is entertainment for him and his sister.