Sunday, November 6, 2011


This has been a crazy fall. Over and over again, I have an idea for a blog, then time passes and I can't seem to find time to stop and write. So here is an update on all the random things that have happened in the last two months or that I wanted to post about recently.

1. Goodbye, Paci.
S turned three at the end of August, so I knew the time had come that we absolutely had to take away the paci. We considered doing it last year, but thought we would wait until she was potty trained (ha ha). Since that is an ongoing process, we decided to do it in late September when we had a week off from work and could afford a few sleepless nights. We had already limited her use of it to her room at night only several months ago.
In the last few weeks S had with the paci, I was really emotional. S took to the paci from day one and it always soothed her so well and calmed her down immediately no matter what. I was sad to see this last vestige of her babyhood going away, but I was also really sad that I knew it was coming and she didn't. The last two days she had with the paci I got teary watching her sleep with it.

We got rid of it in an interesting way. The last month we hid all the pacis except one that had a sea turtle on it. The week we were off, we went down to Corpus Christi to the beach and then spent the night.

On the beach, no idea this is her last day with the paci :(

The next day we visited the Texas State Aquarium and saw the sea turtles. All of them are injured in some way and cannot be released back in to the wild. S was fascinated by the guide's explanation of which ones were missing flippers and such. "He's missing his arm!" she said, over and over. J and I, sensing an opportunity, told S that she should give them her paci, because it would make them feel so much better. "Because they're missing their arms!" she replied. Before we left, she picked out a stuffed sea turtle to take home.

Hemingway is missing a few arms, poor thing

The sea turtles are so sweet!

That night, when she asked for her paci at bedtime, we told her we had left it with the sea turtles to make them feel better and that she had her stuffed turtle to make her feel better. She cried, but adjusted well. She's only asked for it twice in the last six weeks. She's definitely not sleeping as well without it and there have been days J and I wished we could give it to her to help, but we've stayed strong even though we're sad.

2. Potty Training Continues.
S has gotten really good about going pee on the potty, but still has the occasional accident at home and at school. She still mostly refuses to poop on the potty, but did go unprompted recently. We were at a friend's house for a dinner playdate with my two mom friends and their kids. All of a sudden, the kids got quiet, so we went to check on them. They had left my friend's son's room and went into the bathroom together! When we found them, my friend pulled her four-year-old son out of the bathroom, just as S hopped off the potty totally bare butt, having just pooped on the potty, and my other friend's daughter was jumping on without flushing LOL. S doesn't want to poop on the potty, but it's cool to do it with friends? Peer pressure at work? I don't know, but it was really funny!

S with Spiderman, her bathroom buddy!

3. Disney!
We are leaving for Disney World in 10 days and I feel really unprepared. I have no idea what to pack. I feel like I have nothing to wear. And I've been working so hard and planning the trip for so long that it doesn't seem real it's 10 days away. I feel like I should be more excited? But I can't quite muster up the enthusiasm yet? What is wrong with me? DISNEY, PEOPLE! I haven't been since 1994! Come on!

4. Giving Hope.
Last year, I wrote about one of my sorority sisters who reached out to me after I posted something on Facebook about going through infertility. She thanked me for speaking out about my infertility battle and wrote "now when I see your posts it also reminds me that even people who struggle with infertility can end up with a fantastic family." I was incredibly touched to hear that, since I've made a point about speaking out about my infertility in hopes of helping to end the stigma infertile women and men feel. We wrote back and forth, sharing information and experiences for several months.

This week, she announced on Facebook that she is pregnant! I literally cried tears of joy for her and her husband. It's so wonderful to see someone else getting their miracle. She wrote me a personal note after she announced it, thanking me again for my support. I couldn't be happier for her!

5. Extracurriculars.
S has started two new extracurricular activities this fall. She is taking ballet and tap at her day school every Wednesday and Soccer Tots on Saturday mornings.

She took to dance right away and is very excited every Wednesday to get to wear her tutu! She loves her teacher and seems to really love dancing! And this just warms my heart, since I took 11 years of ballet, two on pointe, 11 years of tap, several years of jazz, and danced on my high school and college dance teams. Nothing would make me happier than if dance is something she loves and continues to love doing as she grows up! Don't get me wrong...I don't want to be one of those crazy Dance Moms, but I would love to share that interest with her and get to relive some of my dance years through her!

S doing her best Flashdance impression

Soccer had a bit of a rocky start because the skills class requires the parents to be involved at first until the kids get comfortable. We finally figured out that if we just sit out and cheer her on, but let her do everything by herself, she follows the coach's instructions and behaves MUCH better LOL. She's doing great though and it's terrific exercise, so we are signing her up for the next session and will probably keep with it for awhile!


6. High School Reunion.
My 20-year high school reunion was at the beginning of October. I kind of dreaded it beforehand, but it ended up being SO MUCH FUN. I think the reason I liked it was that it was better than the 10-year. At the 10-year, everyone was focused on what they had and what they were doing. At the 20, people were just genuinely excited to see each other and see everyone's kids and it was awesome!

Me, Salutatorian of my class, 1991

My two girlfriends/dates for the reunion, a guy friend we were all excited to see, and me at the reunion banquet!

Another reason it was fun was because instead of dragging my poor husband who didn't know anyone and would've been miserable to the banquet, I went with two of my girlfriends from high school. One is getting divorced and didn't want to go alone and the other's husband was like mine and wouldn't know anyone, so we went together! And driving around before and after, reminiscing, and dancing at the event really felt like old times, as if 20 years had not passed!

Then, the following day, we had a big reunion picnic, so I brought J and S to that and introduced them to everyone. It was neat to see S playing with the daughter of one of my friends from junior high!

With my friend and her new baby at the reunion picnic

My friend P's daughter with S. P and I were really good friends in junior high!

7. The Best Halloween.
This was S's fourth Halloween, but definitely the best so far. The first year, she was eight weeks old, and I dressed her in a furry pumpkin onesie and worried that she was hot all night since it was 95 degrees.

My little pumpkin, Halloween 2008

The next year, at age one, she was a cute Tinkerbell, but was so cranky she only wore the costume long enough for me to take pictures and did not go to any houses. (Also? Still 95 degrees!)

Tinkerbell, Halloween 2009

Last year, she went as sort of a bee fairy. She was cranky about putting on the costume and only made it to three houses before she had a complete meltdown and the night was over. And it was 95 degrees.

Bee Fairy, Halloween 2010

This year, S decided she wanted to be Cinderella. I got the full Disney costume, since we are going to have dinner with Cinderella at the castle during our Disney visit, so she can wear it again. She tried it on a few days before Halloween and was SO excited! "I'm a princess, Mommy! Like Cinderella! I'm so pretty!" she said. So adorable!

Halloween night, she came home from school and wanted to immediately put on the costume! And when she realized people would give her candy at each house, she was all about trick or treating. We went all the way around the block, hit about 16 houses, and had so much fun! She didn't meltdown or fuss once. Everyone thought she was so sweet! And it was actually only 75 degrees, which was AWESOME.

Cinderella, Halloween 2011

Trick or treat!

Happy Halloween!

So there you have fall, abridged version. How was yours? I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and I will try to post a Disney vacation update after we return! If you have any Disney travel tips for me, please share. I definitely need them!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I thought I would take a moment to do Ten on Tuesday! Thanks to Chelsea over at Roots and Rings for hosting and providing the questions!

1. How do you take your coffee?
I don't. My regular Starbucks order is a Grande Peppermint Hot Chocolate. However, Coke is my real coffee. I drink it every day!

2. Do you prefer soft or crispy chocolate chip cookies?
I prefer chewy and warm chocolate chip cookies. Or better yet, I can be happy just eating the dough straight out of the package before I get around to baking any.

3. Do you wear a belt everyday?
I haven't worn a belt since I graduated from college, not even with jeans. Post-baby especially, I am attempting to camouflage the mommy pooch in my waist-ish area, so I don't need a belt shouting, "LOOK! FAT RIGHT HERE!"

4. What is your favorite color combination?
Pale blue and black. Or turquoise and chocolate brown. Or cherry red and pale pink.

5. Do you like sour candy?
I LOVE Sour Patch Kids. Obsessed.

6. How often do you do laundry?
I do laundry almost every day. S often comes home from school with poopy, wet, or food-stained clothes, so I try to toss those in the wash and take care of them right away. Some weekends I do five loads in a row to catch up (towels, my lights, my darks, darks for S, lights for S).

7. Did you ever wear braces?
In third grade, I wore braces on my front two teeth and my bottom teeth to straighten them up for a year. Then, I wore this awful contraption called a bionator for another year to correct my overbite. I have pretty straight teeth today, so I think it was all worth it.

8. Are you good at Roman Numerals?
I know enough to figure out the year at the end of movies.

9. What is your favorite form of social media?
I love Facebook for connecting with my friends and family across the globe. It's especially great for sharing what is going on with S with her Canadian grandparents who don't get to see her often. I love Twitter as a way to learn from others with common interests (Harry Potter, mommy stuff, infertility issues, Castle love, etc.). I also love that I can ask a question out to the Twitterverse and almost instantaneously get an answer! That totally surprised my husband when I tried it recently.

I think Twitter is really my favorite at this point, because I feel like I've "met" so many interesting people from across the country, even the world! As I go through my day, I find myself checking in on my Twitter friends!

10. How do you feel about chin dimples?
I think dimples in general are awesome. And usually adorable. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3rd Birthday Farm Fiesta!

On August 27th, 2011, we celebrated S's 3rd birthday with a fun birthday party at Fiesta Farm and Petting Zoo!

It was super fun, although it was the hottest day of the year. The Nana and I have decided no more outdoor parties in August, but we think the farm party was a big success! Here are some pictures!

S, the birthday girl

Climbing on tractor tires

Watch out world!

Party decorations

Thank-you gift bags

Greeting her friends

Hugs galore
Tiny goat!

The kids loved this part!

That's my hand holding the goat food LOL

S and her friend play trucks in the sandbox

S and Papa (my Dad) play with toys in the water trough

S and Papa

Pony rides!

S's friend E riding-all the kids got a turn!

S's friends get ready for the hayride!

S at the back of the hayride with her friends

She's having fun so Mommy's happy!

S enjoying the bubble machine!

Um, why are 40 people staring at me and singing?

I don't want to have a birthday! I don't want to grow up!



Wait, birthday girls get cake?!

Maybe being a big girl isn't SO bad.
(Nana and Daddy are in these last two pictures with me)

S's friend G enjoys her cupcake

Nana cut all these cupcake toppers!

Wow...I'm three now!

Mommy's big girl! *

The party was so much fun, but I have no idea how I will top it for S next year! I guess I have a few months to figure it out. :)

*All photos by Orange Crayon Photography.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Still Good in the World

The world changed irrevocably on September 11, 2001. While I didn't lose anyone I personally knew in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania, I lost the belief that living in the United States meant being protected from outside forces of evil, that being an American meant things usually worked out okay. I was incredibly naive, obviously, bad things happen in America and to Americans all the time (e.g., Oklahoma City, Columbine, etc.). But 9/11 just destroyed any sense I had that things would usually work out and be okay.

On September 11, 2001, I was single, 28 years old, working, and had moved in with my parents after my Daddy had retired from the Air Force and they moved back to San Antonio. The first year they lived here I spent three to four nights a week at their house eating dinner, so it made sense to move in with them and save all that rent money for traveling and other adventures. In fact, I had a solo trip to Paris planned for February 2002.

The morning of 9/11, I was driving to work, listening to a CD in my car. When it ended, I switched over to the radio and heard the normally jovial DJs talking in somber tones about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. When I walked into my office, I headed for our conference room to turn on the TV and see what was going on. I found all of my coworkers already assembled, watching the news, some crying. Grasping the main details of the crash, I called my mother, who I knew was still asleep at home, and told her to get up and turn on the TV, something big was happening. Then, I called my Daddy at work to make sure he had heard. When I stepped back into the conference room, the second plane hit. Then, the Pentagon.

Realizing the United States was really under attack sent me into shock. I couldn't and didn't cry, not that day, not the first week, not the second week after. On Friday the 14th, I had plans to drive to Dallas, spend a night with my sorority sister and her family, then drive over to Granbury the next day and spend the night with my aunt before coming home on Sunday. My mom didn't want me to go, which now as a parent myself I totally understand-she didn't want me out of her sight, she wanted to know I was safe-but I didn't want to change my plans and felt bad for my aunt, who was all alone. My uncle, working in Poland as a contractor for the U.S. Treasury department, was stuck abroad and unable to fly home.

I listened to the 9/11 national memorial service on the drive to Dallas. 9/11 was all we talked about all weekend. I still couldn't cry. My sorority sister couldn't either, which made me feel better. When I got home, I slipped into what was definitely depression. I would go to work, then come straight home and immediately change into my pajamas, and watch the news and TV curled up on the couch in the family room with my parents. At the end of the second week after 9/11, I started crying and crying, about every 9/11 story on the news, in the paper, whatever. My mom, who cried the first two weeks and was starting to get over it, couldn't understand why it was all hitting me then, but it was. Then, I talked to my best friend from college and discovered that her first cousin died in the North Tower. He was on the 92nd floor. I had no idea anyone I knew had a direct connection to the attacks. I felt awful I hadn't known about her cousin. I made a contribution to a scholarship set up by his company in his name. I never told my friend. I just wanted to do something.

I don't remember what CD I was listening to in the car the morning of the attacks, but on my drive to Dallas, I heard a version of "Walk On" by U2 with audio of 9/11 interspersed through it. I bought the CD and played "Walk On" obsessively, on repeat, for the next three months, on my way to and from work. The lyrics, to me, spoke directly to the situation, and how I was feeling, and while I was listening obsessively in my depression, the song helped me heal.

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Still, what lingered was this sense that life would never be the same. That life would never be as good as it had been before 9/11.

I went through with my solo trip to Paris in Feburary 2002 (couldn't let the terrorists win), but I didn't enjoy it as much as my first visit in 2000. Instead of wanting to lose myself in Parisian life and culture as I did before, I felt my American-ness more keenly. Instead of enjoying my own company and the thrill of adventure, I just felt isolated and homesick. I was suspicious of people in airports, in the streets, on boat rides. I think I was still pretty depressed, and being alone, in a country questioning America's decision to go to war, did not help the situation. I was happy and relieved to get home safely.

Slowly, after that trip, my depression began to subside and the tide began to turn back to the good. In fact, amazingly, all the best moments of my life have happened in the last 10 years. In November 2002, I met my now-husband. We got engaged in 2003 and married in 2004. (We honeymooned in Lyon, France, and Geneva, Switzerland. It was a much better trip.) In 2008, we became the parents of our beautiful daughter, the light of my life.

In our wedding ceremony, the reverend, who was the chaplain at my university and who was and is a very dear man with a gift for uplifting messages, said something completely unexpected and perfect, that just hit me right in the heart and brought tears to my eyes at the time. He said that despite all that had happened in the last few years (obviously referring to 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), that there was still good in the world and we should always look for the good. I love that, and love that he included it in his message during our wedding.

9/11 and the person I was at that time seems like a lifetime ago, not just 10 years. I can still see how our world has changed forever as a result of it. I am still changed because of it, although I no longer think about it every day, as I did for a long time. Every year around the anniversary, I have to force myself not to watch remembrance specials, because I see the footage and hear the recollections and the memories flood back. My chest tightens; I can't breathe. I have to stop watching. But I'll never forget.

I am actually going to be in Granbury this weekend, the weekend of the 9/11 anniversary. I am going up there for work and am staying with my aunt and uncle while there. When I made the plans to go, I didn't even connect the dates and the fact it was the 10-year anniversary to my trip. It seems like, as Oprah would say, a "full-circle moment."

Most likely, I will play "Walk On" on my iPod in the car on the drive up and remember. I will pray for those we lost that day and for those we've lost in war since. I will pray for those who loved all of them. I will pray for our country and for peace. And I will remember there's still good in the world. And I will thank God for all the blessings in my life these last 10 years.

"Walk On" by U2

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage that you can bring...
And love is not the easy thing...
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can't leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can't steal it
No they can't even feel it
Walk on, walk on...
Stay safe tonight

You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you've got they can't deny it
Can't sell it, or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home... hard to know what it is if you've never had one
Home... I can't say where it is but I know I'm going home
That's where the heart is

And I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you feel
All this you can leave behind...

From America: A Tribute to Heroes, U2, "Walk On," Live from London, September 2001

Sunday, August 28, 2011


On August 28th, 2008, at 8:48 in the morning, my little girl S was born. Her birth was the happiest, most exhilarating moment of my life.

S literally at birth. My doctor pulled her out, gave her a quick wipe, 
lifted her up so J could take this picture, and then placed her on my chest.

Today, she turns three! It's been amazing to watch her grow and change from minute to minute, day to day, year to year. She came out with her own little personality, and continues to show it to us every day!





Motherhood has been amazing and tiring and happy and challenging and lovely and bittersweet and easy and hard. But even in challenging moments, I remember how lucky I am to have her.

S at three is funny and sweet, stubborn and strong. She speaks in complete sentences. She's my little backseat driver, telling me when to stop on the red, go on the green, or turn right on the red. She reminds me to put her seatbelt on ("Mommy, I need my seatbelt!"). She can spell her name, the word "Stop" on signs, and other words randomly. She loves stuffed animals, animal-shaped balloons, and animals on TV. She hugs on them (even if that means pressing against our TV screen LOL) and says they are nice and they are soft. She will hug real people, but without quite the same level of enthusiasm! She has no interest in dolls yet: princess, baby, or other. She loves cars and balls and books and various little kid video games on her eReader. She has recently developed an interest in wearing bracelets (her first glam-yay!). She knows how to slide things on the touchscreen of my smartphone. She will pee on the potty, but refuses to poop on it. She used to love The Backyardigans, now she loves Busytown Mysteries and Super Why. Her favorite sayings are "You can't catch me!" and "Don't DO that!" She likes to sing, but doesn't like you to sing with her. She sings a couple of little songs in French almost perfectly. She loves to swim and play in water. She is three, but is the size of most five-year-olds and already wears size 4 and 5 clothing, with or without the T. She loves tortillas and cheese and rice and beans and bananas and corn and oranges and applesauce and watermelon and cantaloupe and mac and cheese and pizza and milk and cookie stix and ice cream and cake and will pretty much eat anything she is given. She is not a picky eater at all.

In short, she is awesome and I love her very much. :)

S in the fancy outfit the Nana bought her to wear at her birthday party. Note the bracelets!

Happy birthday, S, my little pumpkin. I can't wait to see what this next year has in store for you and me!


P.S. Her party was yesterday, and I am still so exhausted I will have to do a post about it at another time. Note to self: New rule--no more outdoor birthday parties in August. TOO HOT.