Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yearly Recap 2013

I found these questions on Rage Against the Minivan and thought I'd play along too.  I'm really sad that my baby's birth year is almost over!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Cleaned someone else's poop off my clothes.  Talk about someone else's poop.  Several things involving poop.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My 2013 resolutions were survival in nature: 1. Stay alive 2. Stay married and 3. Stay employed.  Barely made it, but yes.  I did it.

My 2014 resolution is to not make any resolutions and just live life.  That's actually a resolution.  And now look.  I've already failed. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I'm gonna go with yes.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no. 

5. What countries did you visit?

None, but bringing home a newborn felt pretty foreign.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

A car with all four hubcaps. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 28 (obviously - Jonah's birthday) and December 31st - because that's the first day my little baby came back inside from the park smelling like a little boy.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Carrying and pushing out a human baby.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Getting stressed about poop spraying through the nursery instead of laughing it off.  I did laugh the first time.  It wasn't nearly as funny on subsequent occasions .

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Just 9 months of throwing up.  That's it.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

 An epidural.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Blue bell ice cream company.

13. What did you get really excited about?

 Seeing our baby do a backflip on his ultrasound.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

"Wake Him Up and Call Him JoJo."  If you haven't heard it, it sounds like "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go."

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Immensely happier 
– thinner or fatter? Immensely fatter 
– richer or poorer? Immensely poorer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Colored.  I need more coloring in my life.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

 Throw up.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

First round was in Boerne.  We opened presents at our house then ate at Rosario's in San Antonio.  That is my new comfort food!  Yum!  Then we trekked to Tulsa for round two!

19. What was your favorite TV program?

We don't have cable, but I enjoyed watching Madmen with Howard on Netflix.  We poured two fingers of cream soda for every episode and swirled it around like scotch.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Sparkly Green Earrings.  Rookie Dad.  A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

The Album Leaf.  It got me through labor.

22. What was your favorite film of the year?

The one they gave me of my 3D ultrasound with Jo.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Howard and I went to Welfare Cafe for my 29th.  We were serenaded by lightning bugs and little kids, I was stable enough to eat, and we just had the best time.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

7.3 million dollars.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Large and elastic 

26. What kept you sane?

Disposable crock pot liners.  

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

They make disposable crock pot liners.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

One year ago

One year ago we were surprising our families with the news that there was another little person with us!  

A little bitty person who had just begun her life.

I bought her a book at Pottery Barn Kids: Madeline's Christmas.

We passed out little cards that said "Baby Love" to Howard's family at the end of opening presents.  Inside each card we wished "Grandma" or "Grandpa" or "Uncle" or "Aunt" a Merry Christmas! 

We still laugh at the oddest human reaction I've ever seen when we arrived in Tulsa and responded to how our trip was with, "Well, you know it takes a little longer with a baby in the car."  No one moved.  Like NO facial expressions whatsoever.  You would think at least bewildered looks or puzzled faces.  Nothing.  It's like the processing of that comment shut down all mental resources for four people simultaneously.  It was an awesome true surprise!!

It was also a year ago that joy meddled with severe anxiety when I was in the ER on Christmas night being told our pregnancy was ectopic.  But then they weren't sure.  


It wasn't ectopic.

And it wasn't a girl.

And we couldn't be more thrilled. :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So excited!!

Jonah keeps waking up tonight (he's been sleeping 11 hours straight the last week).  He must know tomorrow's Christmas!!  Here are some pics ... but forgive the quality...they're iphone pics of the display screen on my camera!

He is such a good baby.  He was so good in church tonight and also in Target for our traditional stocking sweep!  (Don't worry.  We paid in cash.)

Now go to bed or Santa won't come!

So excited!!

Jonah keeps waking up tonight (he's been sleeping 11 hours straight the last week).  He must know tomorrow's Christmas!!  Here are some pics ... but forgive the quality...they're iphone pics of the display screen on my camera!

He is such a good baby.  He was so good in church tonight and also in Target for our traditional socking sweep!  (Don't worry.  We paid in cash.)

Now go to bed or Santa won't come!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More than OK

Someday I will take a car trip and sit back in my clean beige leather PASSSENGER seat, flip on the butt warmer, and chat with my husband at a volume above whisper-pretty-much-mouthing-so-we-dont-wake-the-baby about how the time has gone.

I'll powder my clean face mid-trip and touch up my washed and styled hair, glance at my manicured nails, and wonder at the spacious floor beneath my feet if I should have worn my cognac boots or these patent leather pumps (a word which once again refers only to that which adorns my feet), knowing my tennis shoes are packed in the back ready for daily workouts at our destination.  

We'll chat about Jonah and how he's getting along as a Disney Imagineer and how that really is the perfect job for him and how his wife due with triplets is doing.  Thank goodness they can afford a live-in nanny in their beautiful home.  That college fund we started for him at Christmas 2013 and never got to contribute to again really did pay off.

If we have to go back for something, it will be for the earrings I forgot, not for our hubcap that fell off on the highway and we have to pull over and walk back and get.  And if we stop, it will be in Dallas to approve that furniture purchase and have it shipped home, and then off to lunch and a little shopping in McKinney.  There I'll use the restroom all by myself.  And thank goodness we ate, I'll think, I've got to put some skin on these bones.


But not today.  And that's more than OK. : )

Thursday, December 19, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things...right now

1. Melanie Shankle's new book.  Cannot even tell you how excited I am to read this.  Watch the amazing trailer here.  Click here to pre-order on Amazon.  (Why do they have pre-order available for Kindle?  I'm really not that worried about them running out of digital copies...)

2. The Barenaked Ladies' and Michael BublĂ©'s song, "Elf's Lament."  I'm pretty sure it's what started the 99 percenter elves thinking about moving from the workshop to shelves.  Watch / listen here.  The album it's from, by the way, is my favorite holiday Pandora station:

3. Have you heard of Scribd?  I put it on my phone and have found some great reads that aren't available through my town's digital library and that I wouldn't have bought to avoid risking paying for a book I wasn't sure about.  The first great book I found there was Rookie Dad by David Jacobsen.  Hilarious.  Endearing.  Side note:  Howard says he's going to write a book about being a new Dad called "It's Downstairs."  The sequel will be, "Oh Nope - It's Upstairs."

And I also found this little gem on Scribd:  The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester.  It's a true story and the description detailing the interconnected trails of dictionary making (yes, dictionary making) and murder was just too intriguing / hilarious-but-probably-not-intended-to-be to pass up.  But then again, if I had to make a dictionary, I can see how murder would play into it.

Happy holiday weekend all!

Game Face

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Glorious Moments

Every night after I get Jonah to sleep I have what I like to call my Moment.  The rules are my phone, good coffee, a sweet, and the downstairs to myself.

It's glorious.  

You know how most regular people take little breaks throughout the day?  You know, like eat or drink or think something?  Or take a deep breath?  

Yeah.  It's like that all at once.  It's glorious.  I think I already said that.

Here's tonight's moment.  The reindeer cookie was made by a sweet new friend.  Right before this pic he face planted on the table and then lost an ear.  That's just the kind of day he had.  (The reindeer, not the friend.)

As I reflect on my day with my now FOUR MONTH OLD I can't help but wax sentimental.

I just savor every moment and love how we go together even when we're not together.

Like today at the dentist when people asked me if I had a baby and I proudly smiled, "Why yes!  Yes I do!" and they proceeded to point out the throw up trailing down the back of my shirt.  And how I was still proud and smiling after that.

Or the other night when I finally had the chance to take a relaxing bath and kept testing the water with the inside of my wrist, only to realize what I'd done when I plunged into a lukewarm tub.  And how that momentary disappointment was so full of joy.

Jonah is just the best gift we've ever gotten to open.  We are so thankful he is healthy and happy.  We celebrated his great checkup this morning (80th percentile for height and weight coming in at 16 pounds 10 ounces / 25.5 inches long) with his first taste of solid food.

He had blueberries.  He found that absolutely too exciting to bear.  And I cherished the moment.  I was simply present.  Time stopped and we just discovered blueberries.  And so did our clothes and our chairs and our five towels and our half a roll of paper towels.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Party Man Jo

Did I call it or WHAT.  I knew this kid was going to be a people-person-life-lover-get-up-and-go kinda guy from the womb!  The backwards flip he did on one of our many ultrasounds was only confirmation. And Howard and I are so much alike.  I knew God would want to mix this scene up.

Now we sit in our driveway after visiting the doc and learning Jo doesn't nap well because he's the kind of baby that doesn't want to miss the party.  

(We also learned he's gone from the 40th to the 90th percentile in weight in 4 weeks.)

(So basically we went to the doc to find out that we're all tired and hungry.)

So we have some sleep homework to do.  It basically involves me drinking coffee and listening to music while Jonah cries.

That should be pleasant.

I almost thought about sleeping in the car too, but I guess we should go in lest a dingo break through the ol' corrolla window and eat my baby.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One special ornament

We are so tired.  No.  You're not tired.  WE'RE tired.  

I promise we win.

Thus, the status of our Christmas decor is sorry.

At this point I've decided to stop where we are because by the time I finish, it will be Christmas.  For one day.  And then I'll need to take it down.

If I quit with what we've got up now, then maybe I can have it down by Spring Break.

However it just occurred to me that if I keep going, it will be done in time for next Christmas.  

But for the moment we have my eternal-attempt-to-be-Pinteresty-chalkboard-everything-including-the-chalkboard sign.  Except this pic is from today...#notsopinteresty

A sign that we joked might need some qualifiers like "when we're not so tired," or "when we have more money."  And then we decided it was fine like it is...

One fire-hazard dead tree...

And one ornament that got unpacked and hung when no others did...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Cheeked One

Jonah has a lot of Cherokee in him (whatever fraction is just enough for great skin but not enough for a scholarship) and we decided his Native American name should be The Great Cheeked One.

I love my little tribal baby. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top 2 Tuesday: Worry Reliefs

Yesterday when Jonah freaked out because the toaster went off, I couldn't help but chuckle.  I felt so bad for him being so scared, but at the same time I knew he was FINE, because I had the understanding that toasted bread safe in its place on the countertop didn't threaten his safety like he probably thought it did.

That moment reminded me of God's perspective on us.  We worry about so much.  LEGITIMATE worries we exclaim.  But God knows that our soul is secure if we've accepted Him.  So we're fine.  Anything in the world could happen to us and we're fine - and that's just it.  It's the world.  We're not made of the world.  It's a wonderful place to live and there's really so much good about it, but there is chaos and destruction too, and our souls are protected from that.  It's a temporary location for us.  We're made of spiritual stuff, not material stuff.  I've always liked the saying: 'We don't have souls: we are souls. We have bodies.'  Of course God doesn't like it when we're hurt or afraid, and our souls aren't immune from the experiences of this world - in fact they are shaped by them. But God has that sixth-sense-toaster-understanding that it's still OK.  We won't perish in the face of adversity.  We'll actually do the opposite: grow and thrive.

Our Sunday school teacher mentioned reading a great word from Chuck Swindoll on worry.  I'm not sure if this is the one he referenced, but I found this article to be excellent.  You must read it.  TODAY.

That is thing one.

Thing two is that cookies also seem to be a great form of worry relief, and last year my MIL took me to a cookie class at the Cooking Cottage here in Boerne where I learned the recipe below.   I am telling you:  YUM.  I love making up a bunch of jars of this at the start of Christmas season.  It's great to have ready for gifts, and I even discovered yesterday I love having it for me!  Easy cookies, all measured out and ready to dump in my mixer (which Jonah seems to love...future baker?) with a stick of butter, an egg, and a splash of vanilla.  The jars are fun to give, but the finished product is also worthy of company or cookie exchange parties!  I treasure recipes I know I can count on (read: I know I can make without crying) for serving.

If you don't have enough cookie sheets or oven space, my MIL (Lolli) realized that having the dough ready on parchment paper shaves some time by having the batches ready for the oven.  I like to use a melon baller for fast (and germ-free) scooping.

They have a funny name, but I learned in the cookie class that "hootycreek" is the what you call a combination of pecans, white chocolate, and cranberry.

Cranberry Hootycreeks, Cookies in a Jar recipe courtesy of Boerne Cooking Cottage
Only to be made if they help you, not if it will stress you out


1 1/4  cup            all-purpose flour
1/2     teaspoon    baking soda
1/2     teaspoon    salt
1/2     cup            rolled oats, uncooked
1/3     cup            granulated sugar
1/3     cup            brown sugar, packed
1        cup            dried cranberries
1/2     cup            white chocolate baking chips
1/2     cup            pecans or walnuts, chopped


1.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

2.  Layer 1/2 the flour mixture in the bottom of a 1-quart canning jar, then add oats to the jar.  Continue layering the remaining ingredients: flour mixture, granulated sugar, brown sugar, dried cranberries, white chocolate baking chips, and chopped nuts.
3.  Seal the jar, print and attach a printable gift tag...or hand write the recipe tag below:

Cranberry Hootycreeks Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 350* F.  Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy.  Add contents of jar, and mix until well blended.
3.  Drop rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges start to brown.
4.  Cool on wire rack.

(I didn't cool mine on a wire rack - just let them sit on the sheets.  Don't say that five times fast.)  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Our day

Wake up with a smile (and weird shadows) on the face

Clean the bottles, put the dishes in their place

Catch some zzz's in a shrinking crib 

Stretch a little

Be such a cherub 

Petrified when the toaster popped some bread

Made some cookies for Papa

In whose arms rests a sweet head

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't overspend!

Jonah wants to remind you to stay on budget this Christmas shopping season!  Don't spend money you don't have!  Use this awesome tool to stay on track with your spending this month.

Don't have a budget?  YOU NEED ONE!  A budget doesn't have to be restrictive.  It can be whatever you want it to be!  It's simply a PLAN.  John Maxwell says, "A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went."

As Christians, we are called to be excellent stewards of our money.  It's not ours!  It belongs to our Lord.  Make Him proud with your responsibility of it!  He wants you to enjoy it.  He wants you to share it (and by the way the two are the same : ).  He wants you to owe no man anything but to love him, and to flee from debt with gazelle intensity.

How awesome would it be this Christmas season to pay a single mom's light bill for the next year?  Or pay for the repairs on your friend's car?  Build a well in Africa?  Pay for the coffee for the person after you in line at Starbucks?

Wherever you are in your financial journey, find ways to experience giving (and put it in your budget)!  The more financially stable you are, the more giving you can do.  

Do you have debt payments?  Are you living paycheck to paycheck?  Learn more here about living like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Photography Sale!

I just saw this didn't publish from yesterday!


I got little bug down for the night (until about 1:30 or 2:00 probably) 

and wanted to tell you my artwork at Shine Salon is half off this week only!  The Christmas special runs through Saturday!

 I'm going now to finish the meal I started at 2:00 this afternoon.  

He's making his list and checking it twice...

We have had some long hard days lately.  Here's Jonah's 3.5 month checklist:

1.  Puppy dog face gets results - check!
2.  When I splash in my new tub mom and dad get wet and squeal - check!
3.  If I cry when my paci falls out someone puts it back in - check!
4.  If I cry when mom leaves the room she comes back - check!
5.  If I cry when mom sets me down two feet in front of her she picks me back up - check!
6. If I cry when it's nap time I get to sleep on mom - check!

You get the picture.  I don't know if he doesn't feel good or is off from our Tulsa trip or is just older and in a new stage but the kid is working me. Today at 4:00 when I was making my lunch with Jonah strapped to me in the backpack carrier I realized all I'd done all day was put the pacifier back in.  It fell out as I thought that and I looked at Jonah and said, "Sorry buddy.  Mommy needs both her hands to make food or neither one of us gets to eat and we all die.  So you'll have to live without the paci for a few minutes."

(No, I'm not dramatic.  Why do you ask?)

He started fussing and I told him to think about something else.  So we sung the ABCs and then he was fine.  That's right folks.  My child LIVED without his pacifier for a whole 3 minutes.  

Must have been that classical music I played him in the womb. 


Monday, December 2, 2013

National Lampoon's Thanksgiving Vacation

We are alive.  Know that the story ends that way.

Since Howard (and I when I'm not running around having babies and whatnot) teach, he is afforded a wonderful full week off for Thanksgiving.  

We, in our naive new parent ways, decided this would be the perfect opportunity to drive across half of God's beloved creation and visit my parents in Tulsa, OK.

Oh we.

Friday night kicked off with our first date night since Jonah's birth and of course, guess what we talked about?

Then Saturday we loaded up the car and headed out.  My 'packing light' plan ended up resembling a natural disaster rescue operation.

The gallons of purified water, first aid kit and backup first aid kit, and month's worth of diapers and wipes are one thing.  But I packed toys.  Our 3 month old doesn't play with toys yet.  

Somehow Howard got our refugee camp supplies into our tiny car and we were off!  

And stopped two hours later to breastfeed.

And change some diapers.

And breastfeed.

And then we made it to our first stop!  Abilene!  Jonah got to spend some time with his precious great grandma.  We call her Gape (Gah-pea).

Then Sunday morning we (and by that I mean Howard) loaded up the car again and we were off!

Until we hit what I can only describe as an iceberg.  In west Texas.  

This huge chunk of ice (what I thought was about 5 feet tall but Howard says came up to about our front license plate) fell off a semi and was in the middle of the road.  It wasn't safe to swerve so we hit it head on.  

It's funny how life is so foretelling.  I have been reading about the Titanic.

So here we are in the middle of NOWHERE at 5 something in the freezing morning and we hit this thing and our heat goes out.

Then the car starts overheating.

Now we're on the side of the road with a car that's cold and won't drive a minute without overheating.


We were terrified.  As Howard was trying to figure out what to do I start telling him about this documentary I saw one time about this couple who got lost on foot in a Colorado snowstorm and how they put their baby in a duffle bag to keep him warm.

Howard said his hair stuff was in the duffle bag so we needed to make it to the nearest town by inching along in our car.

It took us 45 minutes to go 9 miles.

And we finally arrived in Haskell!  Yay?

We spent most of the day camped out in the lobby of the AmeriStay motel. Because the gas station was too crowded and the Dairy Queen was closed.

FYI, you can't eat Paleo in Haskell.

But they have a lady there who will be your grandma if you don't have one handy.

It was a Sunday so we stressed about how to get the car fixed and what to do.

One couple at the AmeriStay offered to drive us to Oklahoma City, but we'd need to stop and visit their brother in jail first.

Tempting, but no.

We finally got the car towed back to Abilene where it could be fixed that day, and a saint of a family friend came to get our little trio and take us back to Great Gape's.

This sign hung in the AmeriStay lobby:

I have no doubt about that.

So then on Monday, we tried for Tulsa again.  

This time we made it!  And it only took THREE DAYS!

We had a blast and Jonah loved his first Thanksgiving.  Mom (Nonni) worked so hard and it was so delicious and so special.  And Dad (Poppy) cleaned and tended to our car.  We call Tulsa home The Heritage, and we are always treated to such sweet services and perks as part of our stay. :-)

Yes, Jonah got to watch a few minutes of football.  Sigh.  What can you do.

He even got to watch the Christmas lights come on at Utica Square!

He was more impressed by the football.

He grew up so much in the last week!  Here are all the new things he is doing:

-no more newborn baths
-sleeping unswaddled

And he would tell you he's also talking, because he definitely thinks he is :-)

The trip back home was much smoother.  Traveling with Jonah was a bit more familiar now and I no longer felt the need to email everyone I knew to announce mid-trip things like we're going to try bottle feeding in the car.

This time we stopped in Dallas for the night and Jonah got to meet his Great Aunt and Uncle and second cousin!

Our Thanksgiving Day prayer included thanks to our maker for both Elijah and Jonah.  We love our little boys and would be the worse without them.  Here's to making it back home, and to people who love us along the journey to our final home.