Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Someone else's thoughts

Saw this today and loved it:

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be-
I had a Mother who read to me.

-from “The Reading Mother” by Stickland Gillilian

In case you were wondering...

...yes, a tutu does double as fashionable headwear. Lord help our little girl when we have one, right?
See? She loves it?

Milo thinks all pictures should be about him...

Mo' to explo' when you open the do'

Yesterday Milo walked around holding Curious George while watching a 20-minute episode of the show. We then went to Target and he saw a Curious George display, and got so excited, giggling and yelling something that sounds like, "Todd!" but actually means George. So I bought him a George book that he spent the rest of the day examining, and then he carried around George in a reusable Target bag on his back. It was a Georgetastic day, that's for sure.
Can you tell it was DEFINITELY bedtime at this point?

The cutest little duo I've ever seen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stay-at-home Mom

Just in case you were wondering, here's a stay-at-home mom's calculated salary. I just realized it's time to ask for a raise!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A good hard fall

I was sitting at the computer this morning checking my email while Milo played the piano so sweetly in the other room. If you have a toddler, you know that there's about a two minute window you can do something on your own, and then you need to check and see what he's gotten into. Well, I must have pushed it to three minutes when I heard a crash followed by a split-second of silence. Then sobs, tears, crying, more crying, Lily crying, dogs barking, possibly sirents, bells and whistles (but I might have imagined that part). All in that one moment. I rushed into the living room to pick up Milo, who was lying right beside the piano bench, which he knows he's not allowed to climb. He must have been up on it and toppled backward, which is why we've been spanking him for getting up there. But did I mention that right then? Absolutely not. I scooped that sweet baby into my arms and held him extra close, whispering, "It's okay, baby. Mama's got you." We just rocked as he cried and I felt for bumps (none, thank goodness), and when he settled a bit I asked, "What hurts?" Well, the new wave of sobs and tears assured me what I had expected, and I read it in his eyes. Everything hurts, Mama. I know how he feels. Because in that moment when you fall, when you should have known better... When you realize your own actions caused the mishap, you can't put your finger on the one thing that hurts. Everything does. And the best thing you can do is lean into the one holding you and cry it all out of your system. After a few more minutes, the sobs subsided and he heaved a deep sigh. He snuggled in closer for one sweet moment, and then popped his head up, climbed down, and went busily on his way. Crisis averted. Lesson learned. I didn't find him on the piano bench again, and I didn't have to say a word. Sometimes a good hard fall can teach us more than a thousand words ever could.

Long weekends

I never could figure out whether I liked having a Friday or a Monday off better. Either way, it means a long weekend.... Mondays off mean that you start the week on a Tuesday, which is much less daunting. But Fridays off mean that you have something to look forward to all week long. Mondays off mean that you have a weekday to recover from the weekend. But Fridays off mean that you have a weekday to prepare for the weekend. Mondays off mean a great start to the week. But Fridays off mean that on Thursday you are officially done with the workweek early. I don't know. Any way you put it, an extra day off is an extra day off. And this is Memorial Day weekend, which means we all get the extra day (or I hope you do). So enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Remember when?

Well, it's been a little while since I laughed so hard that tears streamed down my face and missed teaching a little at the same time. In fact, I don't think these two things have ever happened simultaneously. But I had a huge flashback to some of the fun times I had laughing over student responses on tests, essays, whatever... This reminded me, and I don't know if I got a bigger laugh out of the student's answer or the teacher's response.

More like this at

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Secret Hide-outs

I think one of the best things about being a kid was being able to hide just about anywhere, a luxury one loses as one ages (unless one is some sort of creepy serial criminal, and I have neither the time nor the patience to discuss this today). Grown-ups should be allowed a few secret forts and clubhouses, just for well-being. Days like today, when I'm fighting off a nasty cold and just plain weary, I wish I could hide away for a bit. Unfortunately, it's not as feasible once you reach a certain age and have a certain number of responsibilities, even if all you want to do is get away and take a nap.

Milo, on the other hand, is allowed to make as many forts as he wants. We made this simple one today out of a sheet and our dining room table, filled it with pillows and books, and it became so irresistible that even Bruiser had to sneak in (check him out in the background). Some of my best memories when I was little were in my secret (but not-so-secret) Kids-Only Clubhouse, and I know Milo is going to love making himself little nooks everywhere he goes, too.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

ZipNac - AHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Happy Anniversary to Nate and I! Nate had the brilliant idea to go ziplining at ZipNac in Nacogdoches, and it was one of the best dates we've ever had.

Here we are, hearts fluttering with anticipation and heinies cinched up in harnesses...

ZipNac has five different zip lines of varying heights and lengths, but once you climb the first tower, your feet never touch the ground again until the end. WOW! I climbed the first tower and my heart started racing - I was actually nervous, after all this wait to zip! As soon as I started down the first line, though, I was hooked. Nate and I are already trying to figure out when we can go back and who we should take.

ALL smiles after the first zipline.

Look at me! Don't I seem like a pro?

One of the coolest things about ZipNac is that it's owned by a family, and the lines are actually on their land. Plus they have a dual trolley system, which makes it extra safe, if you're a little bit chicken. We loved every second of this experience. Care to join us next time?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

This and that

We've been off again, here and there and everywhere. Just a few photos to tide you over until I find the energy for more.
Milo sits like this a lot, which is too cute for words.

At the Dallas World Aquarium

With Nonnie and Daddy on the way in to the Rangers game on Thursday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When in doubt, wear a tutu.

Nathan and I have joked before about the fact that if we ever have a little girl, I'll dress her in tutus and bows all the time. In fact, I'm pretty sure my creative womb will go ahead and knit her one while she's in there, and she'll come out clothed in tulle. A girl can dream, right? (No, I'm not pregnant or even thinking about it at this point, just in case that was the next thought in your head.)

I saw a quote once: "When in doubt, wear a tutu." I completely agree with this logic and feel like every little girl should have more than one fluffy skirt to wear at any given moment. So today, I made Lily a fabric scrap tutu. I've seen pictures of them before, and I'm not sure if there's some sort of technique to it, but I just grabbed a thin elastic headband and got to work double knotting scraps on there. Here's a picture of the work in progress.

I laid the circle out on the table and then got to work, tying similar scraps of fabric (which obviously needed to be twice as long as my desired length on Lily) across from each other, and then adding tulle in to fill the gaps. This is where you have to decide if you're extremely anal and want perfect symmetry, or whether you can be a little bit random as you go (guess which one I am?). I added and added until I got what I thought was the right volume.

In the end, I thought it turned out adorably well, especially for my first experiment with fabric scrap tutus. Lily was pretty pleased for two reasons - I think she knew she looked adorable, and she had a new chew toy attached at the waist.

Project complete, smiles all around, happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little moments (and large amounts of cookie dough)

I've sat down to try to write on my blog no fewer than five times today, pulled up the window for a new post and just stared at the little white box (the new interface makes me want to scream, by the way...). Yes, I'm tired. And yes I've been a little disappointed by things lately - things completely out of my control. Bad decisions I've watched people make, chances of fate that have left me feeling like I'll be stuck in little old Lufkin forever, moments where I completely lack the patience I thought I was made solid of. And so here I sit, devouring cookie dough in the twenty minutes of quiet I get in the day and venting my frustrations to poor you. Thanks for listening, by the way.

But now I need to remind you (and myself) that I'm completely grateful for my beautiful little family. I'm thankful for friends who show up with Chinese food just in the moment you think you might lose your mind (Melissa, you are amazing). I'm blessed to have the luxury (it seems like a luxury most days...) of staying at home while my wonderful husband works his hot heinie off to support us. I am learning to be completely and totally in awe of life in general, especially in the moments when it's the most mundane. May I live a life where I soak up every second and live it to the fullest (whether it wants to be its fullest or not).

Now, of course, you're probably here to see Milo, not to hear me rant and rave (it's cool - I know how you roll). Here's the little man in his new Batman pjs. Every little boy needs to feel like a super hero, right?

Back detail is necessary, since the pjs have a cape.

So serious about these pjs, right?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I thought I'd have a ton to write today, on Mother's Day. And it's not that my heart isn't full of love and appreciation for my own family and everybody else's... It's just that I'm so very tired. It's been a busy weekend, and traveling to Houston didn't help Milo's sleep schedule at all, so we're all running a little low on energy.
But let me tell you this: I've been realizing that nurture is a huge deal. People who don't get it from their mothers when they're little seem to have tons of problems when they get older. Moms shape who we are, and I was blessed to have a loving mom (and grandmas, by the way) who showed me what it was to be unconditionally loved. Now I have a beautiful son that I adore, and it's easy to pass that same love to him because it's part of who I am. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Grandma. You are two wonderful women and I love you so very much.
Nate took Milo out on a little Mother's Day photo shoot to make me a fabulous gift. Thought I'd share a few pictures with you...

It's hard not to feel like a rock star around here. Can you see why?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy U of H Day, Ann!

Happy Graduation Day, Ann!
My baby sister Ann is such a smarty-pants that she graduated with her bachelor's and master's in accounting at the very same time. Since she was graduating from University of Houston and the whole family was going down, we made some very special shirts (in the spirit of being completely and utterly embarrassing, no, supportive)...
Oh yes, we most certainly sported these all over campus and to Ann's apartment after. Family picture to follow. Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I read a quote on a piece of wall art last night at Hobby Lobby, and sadly, it described me pretty well... "I'm not bossy. I just know what you should be doing." Somehow it doesn't sound as endearing spelled out quite that way...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pop Quiz

It's been a while since I told you some things you might not know about me, and I was inspired by my friend E's post here. I guess I'm not really afraid to tell you these things, but they do make me seem a little quirky. However, in the spirit of full disclosure and being the same person in public and private, here you go.

1. Sometimes when I make dinner, I look at a piece of meat and have this deep revelation that, very recently, it used to be a living thing, with a heartbeat and everything. It makes me really nervous, to tell you the truth. Perhaps this somehow factors into my being a vegetarian?

2. I am completely and utterly grossed out by my own hair when it's not attached to my head anymore. And I have a lion's mane of thick, wavy hair, so it tends to get everywhere. There are mornings when I gag getting my hair out of the shower drain, and if it's on the counter, it's all over...

3. Some days I feel really bad for thinking that, every now and then, I'd just like to get out of my house all by myself and not have to be responsible for anyone. In fact, I feel guilty typing it right now.

4. I have this strange need to create. Not just a desire, but a somewhat desperate longing that makes me a little miserable when it goes unfulfilled. When I was teaching, it was lesson plans, curriculum, and handouts. Now that I stay at home, it's headbands and knit goods and crafts and cookies and whatever else I can get my hands on. And when I start something, I have to finish it. As soon as possible.

5. I hate sweeping and mopping my kitchen floor almost more than any other household chore. It could be that the dog beds and bowls are in the kitchen, so any good I do is immediately undone as soon as they go in there, but I don't even need an explanation. I just plain hate it.

6. I'm completely hooked on documentaries and Bollywood films. Nate's not a huge fan of either, but when Ann's home, it is ON.

7. I obviously never knew Maurice Sendak (author of Where the Wild Things Are), but I sat very still when I found out today that he passed away (Yahoo story here). My heart is truly grieved about this, though I can't explain to you exactly why. Perhaps because Where the Wild Things Are was so special to me when I was little, it represents a huge part of my childhood. Anyway, yes, I'm that nerd who cries a little when an author dies. I'm not ashamed of it.

8. I secretly dream about the day I have a successful fashion blog. I see a lot of things wrong with this, including the fact that I rarely dress in anything fashionable anymore since I stay at home, but that's neither here nor there.

I now feel completely guilty for sitting at the computer during the few minutes I could be doing something productive. So I'm off like a flash to be busy busy busy until I finally collapse into bed tonight. Happy reading!

Mommy's little helper

Every Mommy needs a good helper, right? Well, lucky for me, Milo seems to share my love of cleaning supplies. And by that I mean, Milo loves the vacuum. He loves to look at it, he loves to touch it, and as of late, he certainly loves to push it. With help, of course. You'll see what I mean.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hat Day

This picture is for Conner, who loves hats.

And for anyone who loves jazz, as Milo does (well, Nate and I, too). I don't even know how Nate figured it out, but when I woke up on Sunday, there was Milo, running around with Nate's iPhone. And the iPhone was continually playing jazz. Most of the time Milo was dancing, but he managed to carry it around with him pretty much everywhere he went. It reminded me of all the stories I've heard of Nate when he was young, tromping through cow pastures and having all kinds of adventures, usually to some sort of soundtrack on his walkman (oh yes, people, we're that old). Now, of course, as soon as we got the camera out to video him, the dancing was over, but at least he's still pretty cute just being Milo.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Age-appropriate dance parties

Today I remembered how much I love music, and how it can turn a very ordinary day into a dance party. A child-appropriate dance party, unlike the punk rock shows I used to have in my underwear on poor sleeping Sarah's bed. Ahhh, the good old days. And the good new days, too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Further proof of the genius of the ball pit

Are these sweet babies posing?

Even Lily likes it!

Take that, Wednesday

Oh Wednesday, you beast. You make me want to curl up in a tiny little Kateball on the floor and let everything run amuck (Confession - I just had to how to spell amuck because when I typed it out, it just didn't look right. I'm that tired. But when I did, I also learned a new word - zedonk. It means the offspring of a zebra and donkey, in case you need to know.). But back to Wednesday, which I vow is going to be wonderful this week. Do you hear me, cosmos? I declare that my Wednesday is going to be downright delightful!

Side note, let me mention that my friend Teva is a genius. Case and point: she bought a package of 250 play balls and a blow-up kiddie pool, filled said pool with the balls, and voila. Magical play area for toddlers. Adding to her genius, she also sent me one. And when I say me I mean mostly Milo and a little bit me learning how to juggle while he plays happily on his own.
See? Perfect size for juggling!

Ok, I can't lie. Milo's not a huge fan of sharing his ball pit...

...but he'll dive right in on his own.

Not only does Milo love the ball pit, but my nieces Kaylee and Lily (almost 2 and 4) do as well. Not only does Milo like playing in it, but he also likes laying his head on the edge while eating animal crackers and watching Curious George. Not only do I enjoy Milo enjoying it, but have I mentioned that I'm learning to juggle? And that I'm quite impressed with myself? Thank you, Teva! Your genius is much appreciated in this house!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life's a lesson

Let me just clarify something. I love being a mommy. There's nothing more satisfying and gratifying and anything else lovely that rhymes with "-ifying." I mean, just look at this child.
Try not to look too closely at the tiny little runny nose. We've been fighting off a virus this weekend.

Please, Lord, let Milo only wear these non-prescription glasses like his cool Daddy and not be blind as a bat like his Mommy.

That said, have you ever done something that completely caused you to doubt your worth, ability, and at times, sanity? The sense of responsibility when it comes to parenting makes me breathless sometimes. I get these few brief moments to shape an entire human being, and there's no going back. I don't get any do-overs, and I can't get a single second back. Let me just pause for a moment because I'm slightly light-headed and just realized I've been holding my breath.

Milo and I were driving in the car yesterday, singing along to some of my favorite new worship. Milo's seen me sing and lift my hands and dance around the living room quite frequently, and he's recently started participating. He looked at me so sweetly in the car, lifting his hands up and singing along, waiting for me to do the same thing, and I had this little crisis of faith. Was I going to raise my hands like I do at home and look a little bit crazy driving down busy First Street? Or was I going to teach my son that we only honor Yahweh in the secret of our own home?

Let me be honest. I lifted one arm and sang at the top of my lungs, but I immediately flashed back to high school. One of my best friend's moms used to lift both hands off the wheel, singing along to the oldschool Vineyard worship (if you grew up a church kid like I did, you know the horror of that statement) while she was driving us around. We were always mortified, and yesterday I literally thought, "Well, I've become that mom." But Milo wasn't embarrassed. He was, in fact, pretty delighted, and I knew that I might look a little crazy to a whole lot of Lufkinites, but to my son, I was being the example of everything I want him to learn: Be who you are always, the same person in public as you are in private, and never be ashamed of that. So parenting has taught me another lesson as I go.