Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweet sweet weekend

I'm stuck in bed with the sweetest little baby, so as long as I can't check anything did my list (which is now recorded in my new amazing awesome totally incredible Erin Condren life planner)....

I might as well blog about our wonderful weekend.  

But first, let's admire my planner!!  Oh I love it.  I'm on a huge paper book, paper planner, anti-phone-for-everything kick.  And Howard finally upgraded from his 3G iPhone yesterday.  WHO are we?!

I'm in love with that purse.  WALMART people.  Mom got a couple too:

So affordable and so cute and no guilt if your baby chews on it like a puppy dog.

There is guilt, however, if you spill nail polish remover on your wooden dining room table.  Just thought I'd let you know.  If sharing that saves the life of even just one table out there, it was worth it.

So Mom flew in on Friday for the Matisse exhibit here in San Antonio!  

It was so fun!  We looked at some of his bright, fun work and then headed over to La Frite for a delicious meal and great atmosphere.  What could be better than a French infused night in the town with your mama?!

On Saturday we went to the Botanical Gardens for a Matisse watercolor class.  I'd never been to the Gardens and was shocked by what a neat place it is.  

I got the time wrong on the class and we were late, but we still got to learn so much about watercolor and make a lot of progress on our replica of Purple Robe.

Except we lacked the supplies to make the purple.  (Apparently you can't get that bright purple color from primaries...who knew?!  I've been lied to my entire life!!)

We played with Jonah and grilled delicious HEB premade burgers (which we've decided are better than Longhorn's) and finished the day with a Downton Abbey episode.  Because Howard and I just discovered it's on Netflix and now we can't get anything productive accomplished.  We are DA addicts!

Sunday Howard taught church class and Jonah did great in the nursery!  I'm excited that he's ready to try staying there for big service too!

We ate at Magnolia Pancake Haus where Jonah had his first pancake - a blueberry one.  He wasn't overly impressed.  Probably because it didn't have Nutella.

We always love Mom's visits and I was especially sad this morning when I woke up after being up a lot of the night with Jonah and there was no Nonni to take him and let me go back to sleep.

I keep asking her to move in with us.

I should probably talk to Howard first...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You're Reading Your Nightly Blog

So here's the thing.  When you try to be a productive person and get up early in the morning, you're super tired at night.  I know.  Mind boggling information you came on over for tonight.

Thus I've concluded I only have so many hours of productivity each day.  I can have them early or late but I don't think I can create more.  (This makes me think of my precious austistic 4th grade student in my first year of teaching who stood up during a lesson one day and yelled at the clock, "TIME IS ALWAYS AGAINST US!!!!!"

HA!  That has made me laugh for 7 years now.  I can't believe that first little group of kids I taught will be made up of seniors this year!  I hope they've had better teachers than I since our 4th grade language arts class because during my last closet cleaning session (it's a big project), I found these end-of-year thank you notes from them indicating I grossly failed those precious souls in my role:


Good night friends.  I wish you every effectiveness at the work of your hands.  

Again, sigh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Come Covet With Me

Have you seen this month's issue of Southern Living?  GAHHHHHH.  I die. LOOK at this house:

I mean seriously.  That has Howard and Hillary written all over it.  I cried when I saw the picture.  Not murdering is really easy.  Just don't kill someone.  Easy.  Done.  I don't kill someone every single day.  But coveting thy neighbor's house overlooking the Arkansas River?!  (Which would maybe not make it my neighbor's, right?)  Suffice it to say, I make it pretty easy on Screwtape.

But it's fun to dream.  If I were custom building a house right now (not as I call 'pretend building' like the one we're in), I would totally add my new, Incredibly Awesome Fantastic Idea room.  It was born from this current hallway state of being in my home:

Are you ready for the the IAFI room reveal?!


I'm just gonna let that sink in a moment.

It would be a small room with shelves, recycling canisters, scissors, tape, built in slots for storing broken down boxes, and storage for other mailing supplies, and it would have a special kind of exterior door that features a one-way mail slot that can handle large package drop offs...maybe even just a key pad code or a video surveillance and electronic signature feature.  I'm not sure.  I haven't worked out the details.

BUT it would keep packages that are dropped off when you're not home from sitting exposed on the front porch, it would consolidate boxes to one room until you could get to opening them (nobody likes the look of boxes in a living room), and it would make disposal of the box and packing supplies easy and close.  PLUS it would provide storage for outgoing supplies for returns, online sale of auctioned items, and what have you.  

I'm obsessed and can see the whole thing in my head (if Howard's reading he's thinking, "No, you can see it in your mind.").

Well, the nightly Office episode has geared up so I'll leave you with this little duck and cat caller:

Silly precious boy. :-)

Monday, June 23, 2014


I had every intention (I feel like I've said that a lot lately) of getting up at 4:00 this morning to have two hours of a quiet house, hot coffee, devotional time, and maybe even a shower for 2014, but we were up a lot last night with Jonah, so he was my alarm at 6:00 this morning.

We've been nap training.  We're on day 4 and it's going really well, thanks to our amazing nanny who came over on Friday to show me what to do.  But I guess last night Jonah needed to see if the boundaries still apply when the sun's not up.  Turns out, they do.  And it turns out this may be the explanation of my store list on my phone notes section entitled "HEB" (our grocery store here in south Texas) and why it reads as follows: wine.

So, after a typical day of thinking, "Hey!  I got this!" and subsequently remembering at 11:57 that I have a dentist appointment at noon and realizing I'm in the Wal-Mart parking lot (not near the dentist) where I just shopped for CLOTHES for MYSELF (are you sensing the horror here?) and also realizing that I have my precious son with me who charmed everyone in Wal-Mart with his smile but still doesn't go to the dentist and who needed to be dropped off at home in 1.5 minutes and the man coming to pick up all the clothes from a swap we had over the weekend is at our front door and no one's there...after all that...I'm sitting down to blog.  It was the lip gloss.  Any time I apply lip gloss I think I have it sooooo together.  Gloss cometh before a fall. 

Well.  Let's get to it already.  On Saturday morning I hosted a clothing and home goods swap!  I emailed my MOPS group earlier in the week and told them to clean out their closets and bring everything over.  Anything left I'd load up and donate to our local battered women's shelter (which apparently will be tomorrow.  See above.).

Here's everything of mine laid out.  Is that a ton or what?  It's all stuff that's too small now and even if I were to lose all the weight next week, it's just either been worn too much and I'm sick of it, or it's just too old.  Plus, all of my pants suddenly went out of style!  Like poof!  Pants have to be tapered now or you look like you're from the, well, week before this one!! 

 Starting with the basket next to the brown are some 'shopping bags' for clothing selections.
 The left two chairs against the bar had pajamas, sweats, tees, and exercise clothes.
 The front side of the table was divided into tanks, short sleeve, and long sleeve.  Underneath were shoes.
Two chairs behind the table had bags, purses, accessories, and dresses.

 A card table against the wall showcased the home goods, and two chairs to the right of it held jackets and coats.  (At this point in reading my mom is zooming in on pics to see what I'm getting rid of and beginning to worry about all of it.)
 I decided to keep this little chunk of a find...

I don't have a pic, but I also made the downstairs bath available as a fitting room, and moved our full length mirror down next to it.  It worked great for people to try on and decide what they liked!

All in all it was a lot of fun and much more comfortable than a garage sale.  It was shorter (9am - noon come and go), indoors, I knew who was here, and we had coffee and donut holes.  You just can't beat coffee and good friends!  And the best part is not only do we have cleaner and more efficient closets now, but we got to give to a great cause too.  So get to swapping!  You can swap with anything!  Baby clothes, furniture, recipes, services, meals, you name it!

By the way, if I die in Wal-Mart, please drag my body to Nordstrom.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five on Friday Plus a Bonus Rant

I'm on the computer because I was going to be a responsible citizen and read some news.  Well, after I plowed through a few articles from the Left saying news on the Right is imbalanced, and then some articles from the Right saying news on the Left is imbalanced, I made it to some actual current events.

And then I lost it.

No, not because of the events (though they are harder to stomach than words can communicate)...

but because of the grammar!!

I've had it.  It's one thing when you're texting and autocorrect chimes in the conversation, but it's quite another when a business, a news source, a public sign, or a CHILDREN'S BOOK uses glaringly incorrect grammar.

That's right.  In one of the board books we checked out from the library it says "its" when it should say "it's."  Oh.  I cannot even.  I mean it's a CHILDREN'S BOOK for LEARNING.  How does this even happen?  It has about 4 pages.  And it still has an editor!  Head. Exploding. Need. Duct. Tape.

I won't tell you the name of the book.  I'll just say it features a famous prehistoric creature whose mom might have been red and whose dad might have been blue.  And all I can say to him is ARGH!

Alright.  I'm finished with my grammar rant now.  Just please be safe out there and use YOU'RE and IT's and YOUR and ITS responsibly, folks.  Sigh.  We're not even talking affect vs. effect or the fact that I heard a radio news anchor report repeatedly about a 'valedvictorian,' or how people everywhere are putting "!?!?" at the end of sentences like "I'm heading to the pool."  When it reads as "I'm heading to the pool!?!?" am I supposed to infer that this person is unsure of where he or she is heading?  Is he or she scared about the situation?  Is he or she wondering if I'd like to join?  I just don't know.  I just. don't. know.  Our society is unraveling and I think I'm probably about 93. 

OK, moving on.  Here are some more items on my mind this week. 

1.  Younique.

I read about this on Mix and Match Mama's blog.  This looks like an awesome product if you're wanting longer lashes.  That's YOU'RE as in YOU ARE.  I definitely feel like Ross from Friends right now. We can definitely be friends if you get that reference.  PIVOT!

Click HERE to order. 

2.  I'm watching my day-old Tonight Show episode and Jimmy's in Florida featuring the band FUN.  And to be clear (and grammatically honoring) FUN. is spelled in all caps and always contains a period after the 'N.'  Normally I tune out the music portion of late night shows, because BAD.  But this band has a fantastic sound and kept my attention.  They could be the real deal.  Watch their performance of "Harsh Lights" by clicking HERE.  The lyrics are on the juvenile side unless you read far more into them than was probably intended (or unless you're younger than 93), but again - they have a great sound. 

I wonder if this band knew just because they were on with Jimmy Fallon didn't mean that they had to actually wear tight pants.

3.  In my last post I mentioned the manned mission to Mars and how personality type plays into it.  Here's the article my Dad was referencing:  Why Extroverts Could Cause Problems on a Mission to Mars.

4.  My throat feels sore after I talk a lot on Facebook.  Is that a thing?

5.  Is it just me, or do any other moms out there think of the Dirty Dancing line "Nobody puts baby in a corner" at least once a day?  It's become so annoying I try to avoid corners.  CLEARLY for SEVERAL reasons I have been in the house without a fellow adult for far too much time.

And what would be a blog post without some Jonah?

The kid has informed me that he would like to be 'all finished' with baby food.  He ate half my sandwich at lunch today.  HALF.  It was a raspberry chipotle grilled cheese with ham.  I cut the crust off and the first thing he went for was the crust.  I  was surprised and just loved that I was shown up in that moment.  He's his own person, and apparently, he likes the crust.  

And he doesn't even like torn or chopped up bites.  He just wants the whole experience.

It's a little scarier at dinner time now.

Jonah and I spent the afternoon reading and playing in a tent, respectively...

and then he decided that crust was just the beginning of his desires and aspirations...

and as gracefully as he came to this humble home in Texas, he exited into the sunset, hair blowing in the slight hint of a breeze, pacifier smacking steadily in the humid blanket of air around him, not to return again for a heavily long time.

(Which turned out to be about 10 seconds later, before that first concrete step.)

(Yes, I know that was a hypocritical fragment above that started with 'Which,' but there are exceptions for casual conversational blogging, right!?!?!?!!?? ; )

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


I am completely breaking my self-imposed rule of not typing anything to anyone after 10:00 at night for fear of not thinking clearly and doing things like sending my financial adviser a message that says "Could I bring dessert?" and my mother in law a message that says, "We'd like to access our funds now."

So.  This should be a true treat insight into the startling world that is my mind.

I'm just now winding down from a day of exhaustion that ended with more exhaustion when Jonah had a blowout in the stroller after his first bath tonight.

Why were we in the stroller after his bath?  Because he wouldn't sleep.  The kid has things to DO.  There are wheels upon wheels around the house that need fixing, board books that need pages turned, surfaces that need to be tested for durability and strength, and his 'Ol Jo Short' song that needs to be sung to him so he can chime in early with the word "problem" pronounced "plablah."

And I mean seriously.  Who can deny that simple pleasure?!

But this followed a morning where he did nothing but take offense to the sweetest cooing sounds from his younger (female) baby friend who came to play.  I mean the kid  This sweet little baby would make one little coo and Jonah would just break into tears and sob and let his whole body go limp like she had just called his mama fat.

Which I am because I am currently eating chocolate chips out of the bag.  #fulldisclosure

 I think he didn't like that he couldn't climb all over her.  She's only 4 months old.  Sorry, Jo.  You can't climb on her.

Speaking of which, Jonah stood up on my legs as I tried rocking him to sleep tonight.  Stood. Up.  It was sort of awkward.  It made me think of the SNL skit where the businessman has the body of a baby.  I was like, "I'm sorry Mr. J. David.  It's time to retire to your bed, sir."

That reminds me.  We've added JoDa (like Yoda) to his long list of nicknames.  I'm not even a StarWars fan but was proud I came up with that one.  It's always nice when you can dabble in a world other than your own and feel like you are an everyman's man.

Speaking of dabbling in other worlds, my dad was telling me the other day about the ongoing research and planning for the first manned mission to Mars.  He said that NASA, after running several simulations, decided not to send extroverts on the mission.  They completely derailed it.  It takes at least 9 months to get to Mars and during this time the introverts would all shut down at one point because the extroverts sort of sucked the energy from the group.

I thought that was interesting.  My parents are always talking about the different personality types - Driver, Amiable, Analytical, and Expressive.  Of course introvert and extrovert are pretty broad so I'd like to learn more about that study, but it's interesting!  Howard is an introvert and an analytical and they totally don't get enough catering to in our society.  They have so much to offer but a lot of people only pay attention to the loudest. 

I'm a driver.  I like to be in charge and create and envision and lead.  I like big picture but not the details to get there.  I would say I'm a cross between extrovert and introvert.  Driver aspects supercede that, so I'm extrovert when I need to be and introvert when I need to be according to what goal I'm trying to accomplish. 

I love learning about personality styles.  Knowing your own helps you also know your fault tendencies, so you can watch out for your weak areas and learn to grow and improve.

I think there a select number of people who are all the personality styles because they have worked so hard to be balanced.  These are often leaders, and excellent ones, and are often in the public arena.  Pastors, politicians, and principals come to mind as people who are excellent and keeping a foot in all the personality camps. 

And THAT my friends is my brain on chocolate. 

What is your personality type?  What are you reading right now? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Howard's 40th & Father's Day

To celebrate my man turning the big 4-0, AND to celebrate what an incredible father he is, we took off for the weekend and headed for the big town of Comfort, TX!

This was a Howard themed weekend!  That means lots of great reading spots, quiet, no schedules, no people, just...being.  We stayed at the Meyer Bed and Breakfast and LOVED it.  If those are your goals - slow and peaceful - this is the place to be.  It was absolutely gorgeous along the Cypress Creek and the breakfast was incredible.

It was so nice to cater to Howard for a whole weekend.  I can't think of anyone more deserving.  It's also so nice that he was so pleased with it.  I love that he loves the simple things in life.  He really does.  It's so refreshing. 

Howard, I am so proud of all that you do and all that you are.  Thank you for being dedicated daily to furthering your mind through diligent study, being kind and noble and just and peaceful and strong, and filling a little boy's home with so much magic and fun that adulthood will be sure to disappoint him and we may have to dig out a basement. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our weekend

What a lovely weekend!  It's been the perfect combination of friends, family, home time, away time, relaxation, and productivity.  Wow.  

It started with ducks on Friday.  I usually have a learning theme for Jonah each day and decided Friday morning when we were playing with a cute stuffed duck Oma gave him that the day's focus would be on the word duck and the sound it makes! So I just decided hey - let's head to the river and look at the real deal!

Here's Jonah squawking at one duck at a time.  His audience kept taking flight.  I can't imagine why being screeched at by a large human baby would interrupt a pleasant morning swim...

I love that we can go to the river in our small town and see multiple friends without even planning!  So so fun.  I cherish that.

By the way did you know that in French (and all languages) animal sounds are interpreted differently?  So we also learned that ducks are called 'canards' say "coin coin" (pronounced "kwahn kwahn").

Jonah hears far, far more English than French so we'll see how much of that sticks.  

Hm.  Based in my previous logic with the ducks I think it's time for a field trip for learning French!  If only!

Friday afternoon when Papa got home from working at the ranch we logged some great pool time and got to see Jonah's awesome nanny from this past semester.  We miss her this summer!!  Jonah loves her son too, and I can tell he always wants to impress him. 

Saturday Jonah and I went garage sale shopping with friends and I found great deals!  I've never really shopped garage sales before and NEVER thought I'd buy clothes at one, but I scored a bagful of H&M and Gap clothes for this summer and I am still so fascinated by the fact that I spent $10 for it all and I didn't care when Jonah threw up all over my new shirt today!  Awesome!!  I am hereby officially a garage sale person.

Come to think of it, I also watch used TV.  I've been LOVING Jimmy on the Tonight Show lately via my computer (while I teach myself to use a drill in the process of childproofing and inevitably losing an eye or a finger or both so Jonah doesn't get into all those towels under the sink).  Since we don't have cable I watch the previous night's episode.  

I mean seriously.  Just call me Thrifty Hill.  

We spent the rest of Saturday at Oma and Opa's swimming and eating freshly fried fish with homemade tartar sauce and tomato basil pesto and homemade chips and guacamole and salsa from the garden and giving Jonah no attention at all and just plum wore this kiddo out.  

This is when we first got in the car to come back home that evening:

And this is at the bottom of Oma and Opa's drive:

He loved his time there and screamed when Opa wasn't holding him, so guess who held him. : )

Sunday morning was glorious.  

I was very nervous because it was our day to let Jonah cry it out at church class so he learns he can't just cry for 10 minutes and then we come and get him (and by we I mean I, and by get him I mean take him back to our church class and pretend for 10 minutes I can participate and pay attention while simultaneously wrangling a squirmy 9 month old until he's too loud and I have to take him out and wait until class is over).

If you are familiar with this blog at all, you know that Jonah is no stranger to the 30 minute nap intruder.  His morning nap is especially predictable at 30 minutes because I only push him to take a long afternoon nap.


He kept sleeping and sleeping this morning before church and when he was at an hour and we were already late, it finally hit me that he totally knew what he was doing.  I never wake him up from naps or in the morning and he so knew that was the way to get out of church.

I know, call me whatever.  

But I'm right.  I just am.  

I went in and he was fake sleeping and had this look like "oh dang it - you found me."

I mean c'mon.  He knew what he was doing.

So we got to church and he screamed when I handed him off, but the staff there was wonderful with him and got him calm after I left and he did great the rest of the time!!  They even took pictures and a video to show me how he did.  Yay Jonah!!  

This was his prize for staying the whole time, one of my very favorite books and a great prepatory study for some upcoming berry picking!  : )

Howard watched Jo during big church today and it was such a luxury to sit and focus and learn and worship.  Our pastor talked about maturity and I loved his statement: "Maturity is growing from soft skin and a hard heart to thick skin and a soft heart."  My amazing boss said something similar a few years ago.  He said the goal is to be like candy that's hard on the outside with a gooey melty center.  Just love that!

I think it's easy to think I'm tough when I'm not in the middle of a crisis, but when stresses occur - well, I let them stress me.  I internalize things and I hope with more age and more experience I can continue to grow and let things roll off a lot more.

I notice that about (wise) old people.  They don't care.  Not in the way that they're apathetic...but in a way where their happiness trumps all.  My age group is not around enough old people.  We are too caught up in peers, because they are so needed in this stage of life!  But I think in trying to form support networks for raising kids and having a social life, we (or at least I) are missing an important opportunity to grow by not simply being around older people.

Well.  I take that back.  I have Howard.

Ba-dum CHING!  Good night everybody!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This will lift you up

Well it's nothing but pool babes and peanut butter here this week.  We are in full on summer mode.  I'm not even really sure what that means because a day with a 9 month old is really similar to a day with an 8 month old.  But everybody's saying that so it's the mode to be in:  summer!  I will say that I have somehow already read 3 books (all fantastic by the way) and this is certainly a sign of time gained.  

I'm sitting in a messy living room procrastinating because I jogged and played tennis today in addition to hauling around 23 pounds of preciousness and I just don't feel like moving any more muscles.  And even though I'm going to leave the house messy this time (a certain temptation to fate for someone to come over in the morning and see this place), I should get up to get my computer.  I've got to order some baby proofing things.  Because there's a baby here.  And he likes to test things out.  Like the cat. But they don't make baby proofing products for cats.  I think it's just having a sweet temperament like Cotton does to let your ear be tugged or your tail pulled quickly before an adult hand intervenes.  She never runs away from Jonah, so I hope she's ok.  Sweet kitty.  Jonah and that cat.  They love each other.

Alright it's off to do some online shopping but I'll leave you with this:  Jonah apparently needed a different angle while working on the stroller today because I walked back in the living room to find one of the wheels on a lift.

He cracks me up. : )

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

To Jonah: The Bear Necessities

Jonah, little Baby Bear,

It's sometimes not a good idea to follow.  You can end up following someone who makes bad decisions, or doesn't value the things that are important. But there's one person you know that I would be so proud to watch you follow.  That's your dad.  Now you and Papa Bear are different, for sure, and we adore who you are!  But there are some things you would be wise to adopt from him even as you become more of you.

I hope you are as kind as he, as funny as he, and as sincere.  I hope you're as disciplined as he to keep both your mind and body in shape (you're doing great on the mind part so far...).

In whatever you do, I hope you are an artist like he, a teacher like he, and a student like he.  I hope you are an attentive, caring, and polite husband like he.   

I hope you cherish the simple things like he.  They are the best things.  And actually, they're rarely, if ever, things.

Mama Bear

Monday, June 2, 2014

What day is it?

Even though I've had a virtually non-existent school schedule the last two weeks, Howard's home now and it's officially summer.  I knew it was the sign of a great one to come when we both wondered today what day it was.  

Ahhhh.  And it's only the first Monday. :-)

In other news, Jonah is at an awkward age for summer I feel like.  He thinks he's ready for finger painting and slip n' slides and day camps at the nature center...but I'm just not quite sure.  I sort of think he needs to learn to walk first...

In any case, he sure is a sweet, sweet baby.  Even though he's looking less and less like a baby and more and more like a little boy.


Sunday, June 1, 2014


Summer means reading to me.  The kind of reading where you truly get lost in a story because you're traveling to a faraway place of beauty that seems like it should be familiar, but it only is because the author has captivated your imagination so well.  The kind of reading that comes to you, and you don't have to work for it.  The kind of reading that is so entertaining it makes you feel guilty for wasting time until you realize you've learned something new about yourself or someone else or everyone.  This is the kind of reading that makes a summer spectacular.  

It helps to know your genre.  This has taken me a long time to discover, and I thank Alexander McCall Smith for helping me do so.  While I do appreciate biographical history, philosophy, apologetics, or personal finance books, what I actually most purely delight in is an easy read with a fantastic setting (usually Scotland or France), fiction (so as not to take it too seriously) with undertones of truth and discovery.

I just finished this little treat and it was delightful:

I also just devoured this and can't say enough about it!  It was so fun, especially for a Francophile!

The author, Peter Mayle, was recommended to me by a friend and when I also learned he wrote A Good Year, the book one of Howard's and my favorite movies is based on, I knew I'd like him.  I can't wait to read more by him!  

Isn't it so great when you find an author you love and he or she has written a ton?!  (Yes, I'm looking at you, Harper Lee.)

I am now onto this little adventure by McCall Smith, who has currently landed me on Grand Cayman.  A great summer reading destination!

And I absolutely can't wait for this purchase to guide my devotionals the next several weeks, Beth Moore's new study on 1 and 2 Thessalonians:

What are you reading this summer?