Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Arboretum adventures

I have always heard great things about taking kids to the Dallas Arboretum, but the only time I had ever been was for a friend's wedding several years ago sans kids. So I was all for it when my mom suggested we go on Tuesday morning! We bundled the kids up (perhaps a little more excessively than necessary - we are Texans, after all!), met up with my sister and niece, and spent the whole morning there. 

This little lady didn't get her morning nap and she spent more than 2 hours trapped in her stroller, often facing the sun, but she was a total trooper. I think I'll keep her.

It was fun to watch these two goofs interact with each other while we were there. They are only 9 months apart in age, but they don't get to see each other often, so it always takes a little time for them (mostly Davis, who is majorly socially awkward with his cousins for some reason?!) to warm up.

Though it started to get more crowded as we left, we were pleasantly surprised to find the place pretty empty for most of the morning. No competition on the celery slide or giant ant for this guy!

And no competition for my sister, who was busy hatching out of her egg.

It was a great way to spend the morning and an even greater way to expend some of Davis's endless energy. Looking forward to going there again on future visits to the Big D!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Done over

After the shenanigans that took place on Friday morning, I promptly declared a do-over on the rest of our day. The odds weren't looking to be in our favor after yours truly took several wrong turns getting to Costco, a wasp invited itself into our kitchen for a few rounds of hide-and-seek, and my umbrella broke just before preschool pick-up in the pouring rain, but then! Then the stars aligned and the rest of our Friday was pretty great. It even spilled over into Saturday and Sunday, making for a pretty great weekend, too. 

Davis's Thanksgiving feast at school was a big hit, as evidenced by the rare nap (side note: this is the 3rd Friday in a row he has napped here! I can count on zero hands the number of times he has napped at home in the past several months) and by the face-staining cupcake he brought home.

We also got a visit from our good friends on Friday evening before we all hit up Chick-fil-A to support our friend, Clara. Can't you feel the love between Reid and Davis here? Thankfully they warmed up to each other eventually - this was just a shot to compare the heights of our 3.5-year-olds. Verdict: both are giants.

On Saturday morning, we went to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Davis had major ADD with all the games, and his occasionally competitive parents may have stepped in to "help" him a few times, but we all still had a good time.

Saturday afternoon/evening included lots of hang-out time with our favorite fellow Sugar Landians (is that what they're/we're called now?) and ended with tacos/queso and froyo, which is never a bad combination, in my opinion. 

On Sunday, we tried out a new church in the morning, and later on, we may or may not have gone with the Joiners to see Santa. Yes, before Thanksgiving. The line was short and Santa wasn't disgruntled from taking too many pictures and we wanted to get it out of the way so DON'T JUDGE US. Picture to be revealed at a later, more seasonally appropriate time. Spoiler alert: 3 out of 4 children agreed it was no coincidence that the letters in "Santa" can be rearranged to spell "Satan," and they were none to pleased to see him.

Santa pics were followed by a fun trip to the park to enjoy the perfect weather that arrived just in time to make up for an otherwise rainy weekend.

And now Thanksgiving break is upon us! So, after careful review, I can now officially consider our Friday/weekend officially done over, as requested. Hope yours was a good one, too!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Declaring a do-over

When you wake up with a cold to a house that mysteriously smells like smoke for the 3rd day in a row with no obvious cause, a refrigerator that has gone lukewarm over night, pouring rain during preschool drop-off, and a sad, teething baby who managed to push her way through the window screen (you know, the one that was open to get rid of the aforementioned smoke smell) onto the patio (you weren't watching her because you were busy taking care of the aforementioned broken refrigerator)... it's time to declare a do-over on the day.

(Avery is totally fine, by the way. I just heard her crying and couldn't figure out where she was until Davis ran over to the window to say, "Look, Mommy!" and I saw pitiful, muddy Avery sitting outside.)

This guy, who is currently at school having a Thanksgiving feast, seems to be the only member of our family who is enjoying this Friday so far. 
Maybe he'll share some of his happiness with the rest of us this afternoon to turn the day around!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Road warriors

Hey, you know what's super refreshing and relaxing? Traveling with small children. I mean, talk about a walk in the park!

We headed to Dallas on Saturday to attend a wedding for a good childhood friend of mine with my parents. After being in town for about 20 hours, we hit the road again to head to Austin for about 44 hours so I could attend a baby shower and Wade could get some work done. This morning, we will go back to Sugar Land. So, you know, just a little warm-up for all the holiday travel that's right around the corner.

It was great to see friends, spend a little time with my parents, and get a break from our normal routine, but you'd better believe I'm looking forward to not sleeping in bed with a 3-year-old tonight. It's only endearing the first time your kid wakes you up in the middle of the night to loudly whisper, "I LIKE YOU, MAMA." After that, it ceases to be sweet and just makes you seriously consider leaving the room to go sleep in the bath tub so you can be alone.

But you know what? Despite all the time I spend awake in the middle of the night fantasizing about never traveling with small children again ever when we are out of town, the sun always comes up the next morning and at the end of the trip, I always feel like it was worth it. So until the day comes when everyone I love lives in one city (so... never, sadly), traveling occasionally is just a necessity. A few crappy nights of sleep is a small price to pay for helping us and our kiddos stay connected to friends and family. Bring it on, holidays!

Friday, November 14, 2014

From the desk of Avery

Oh, hey!

My mama was going to blog today, but then she went to happy hour last night and the margaritas were just a wee bit stronger than anticipated, and then she mentioned something about being too sleepy to form coherent thoughts, and well... here I am!

To tell you the truth, she isn't much fun to listen to these days, anyway. She casually decided to watch one episode of Gilmore Girls a few weeks ago when Daddy was out of town, and next thing you know, the crazy lady is spending every spare minute she has trying to plow through the rest of the series. So unless you want to hear her thoughts on why Lorelai and Luke need to hurry up and get together already, I suggest looking elsewhere for entertaining reading material.

And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go figure out if these cute new boots pictured above were actually made for walking or not. (Note: I don't actually know how to walk yet, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of my findings.) Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Good days

A few days ago, it occurred to me that the good days are actually starting to outweigh the bad 'round these parts. It still stinks to get on facebook and see life go in Austin without me (sounds selfish, but just being honest), but no longer am I waking up and going to bed wanting to cry every day and night. Yes, getting to "do life" with Amanda is definitely helping, but there are a few other things working in my favor as well:

1. Davis is loving his new school. Being the new kid has never seemed to bother him, and while his mama has been busy comparing it to his old school and whining about the differences, he is happy as a clam there. His new teachers even managed to get him to sleep during rest time on Friday afternoon!

2. Thanks to joining MOPS at a local church and thanks to my sister + the one friend I had when I moved here (shout-out to Brittnie!) setting up play dates, I am starting to make new friends - which is disproving my original, very rational theory that there were going to be no normal, friendly stay-at-home moms here. Turns out I don't know everything... who knew?!

3. We (very unintentionally) chose to move at the perfect time of year. The weather has been awesome lately, allowing us to take lots of walks in our new 'hood. This would definitely not have been the case had we moved to the Houston area in June-September!

4. It's hard to beat the location we are in. Because of how spread out Austin is, I felt like it took me 15 minutes to get most places. In Sugar Land, I feel like it only takes me about 7 minutes to get most places. Less time spent in the car is always a win.

5. After a lot of initial effort to get our house set up and fixed up to our liking, I am really happy with our new home. Having never had a fireplace of our own, we were pretty pumped to use it for the first time last night.

6. I wisely purchased Taylor Swift's new c.d. last week. And it's pretty dang hard to have a bad day when you are listening to "Shake it Off" as often as I am. Can I get an Amen?

Monday, November 10, 2014


Moving to a new city with a 3-year-old is not going to go down in the record books as one of my favorite things ever. Our normally pretty easygoing kid has just been wearing me out since we got here. His attitude has been awful, he has been way more defiant, he has been rude to the kids we have had play dates with, and just like he did before/after Avery was born, he is being extra clingy/needy with me while wanting nothing to do with anyone else. 

I really can't explain how frustrating it is; it breaks my heart that he seems to be having such a hard time with the changes, but the bad behavior also makes it difficult to feel sorry for him. I spent a decent portion of the weekend getting myself all worked up about this. When is he going to snap out of this? How are we ever going to make new friends if he acts like a jerk to everyone we meet? What if we made the wrong decision by moving and somehow screwed him up forever?, I wondered. 

But then my sister, ever the voice of reason for me, reminded me of all the times I've felt like this in the past when he has gone through difficult phases, and we have always made it through them eventually. She also reminded me (thanks to her recent experiences with Clara) that I need to be careful to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy here: if I keep dwelling on the negative behavior, talking and thinking about it constantly, I might only be perpetuating it. And I don't want that!

So in an attempt to fight back and to help Davis climb out of the pit he seems to be stuck in, I hereby declare that I'm going to make more of an effort to speak and think positively about him moving forward. Overall, he is still such a good kid, and the last thing he needs in this situation is for his mama to "give up" on him. He has done so well transitioning to a new school, he warmed up to our new house quickly, and he never complains about being stuck at home with Avery and me since we don't have many friends to play with yet... so I could really stand to give him more credit.

Besides, it's hard to stay down in the dumps with him for long when the guy is such a goof, right?

Friday, November 07, 2014

A day in my life of leisure

For anyone that missed it on facebook a couple of days ago, my sister mentioned that, upon finding out her sister had moved to the area, a male in her office asked her if I was going to be looking for a job here or "living a life of leisure" at home. Though she couldn't tell if he was saying it tongue-in-cheek or in seriousness, I actually found the comment to be pretty amusing. So amusing, in fact, that I decided to document our day yesterday just to illustrate how leisurely life is at my house!

6:00am: alarm goes off 15 minutes earlier than usual because Wade has to leave early for work and I'll be flying solo getting the kids up and fed, so I need a little extra time to get myself ready first

6:30am: head to the kitchen to begin prepping breakfast for Davis, who has been awake since at least 6:17 when I heard him trying to chat with me through the monitor; spend 5 minutes peeling, cutting, and deseeding an orange since he is apparently so over the bananas we have been giving him for breakfast recently

6:40am: head upstairs to get him up and dressed, then head back downstairs for breakfast; he eats one bite of the orange slices before being offended by the one seed I apparently missed and then refuses the rest; I remind him 57 times to stop chatting and finish his waffle and smoothie 

7:00am: head upstairs to get Avery up and dressed, then bring her back downstairs for her breakfast while Davis watches t.v.

7:20am: it's drizzling outside, so rather than go on a walk like we normally would, I decide to get the grocery shopping over with... so I ask Davis 57 times to put on his socks and shoes, load up the diaper bag with anything we might possibly need while we're out, then load the kids in the car

7:30am: arrive at HEB, thank God for "customer with child" parking spots, unload kids from the car, wipe down the nasty race car cart, then load both into the cart; race to get everything on the list as quickly as possible while also fetching dropped pacifiers and explaining to Davis that we don't have time to weigh everything in our cart on the produce scales

8:15am: unload groceries and kids from the cart and into the car, then head home to unload groceries and kids from the car

8:45am: Davis is whining for a snack and Avery starts flapping her arms when she catches sight of the snack cup, so both kids get some Froot Loops healthy, organic, educational cereal while I put groceries away; Avery decides they are gross and leaves a trail of soggy Froot Loops behind her

9:00am: Avery goes down for an early nap while Davis watches t.v. and I take a shower, where Davis walks in on me unannounced twice

10:00am: Avery has taken a short nap but I'm thankful, for once, because we need to get in the car and head to Davis's dentist appointment

10:15am: we arrive at the new pediatric dentist and despite my fears about how it will go, based on previous experiences, they work their magic and we leave without Davis having screamed and/or cried; we also leave with a bunch of crap toys because apparently pediatric dentists hate parents

11:30am: return home, unload kids from the car, and begin making lunches; I eat mine standing up while making theirs

12:00pm: I realize the irritatingly small zebra that Davis was sent home with from the dentist is missing and worry that Avery might have eaten it, so I spend 11 minutes of my life that I will never get back looking for it; just as I'm about to call the pediatrician to ask about the dangers of consuming small, plastic zebras, I find it outside next to the car, return it to Davis, remind him to take better care of his things, and then make a mental note to throw it away when he isn't looking

12:15pm: load the kids in the car to head to Starbucks to reward myself with a frap and Davis with the cake pop I promised him for an uneventful dentist appointment, then return home to kill time until nap/rest time

1:10pm: I had hoped to wait until 1:30 to put them down for nap/rest time, but Davis has asked me to fetch the balloon (yep, also from the dentist) he accidentally let go of one too many times and I decide 1:10 is an excellent time to put them down; spend my break watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix while perusing Christmas card options

2:30pm: I can sense Davis's boredom through the monitor, which means he will start loudly requesting to come out of his room, so I have mercy and let him come downstairs for a snack while we watch Curious George and wait for Avery to wake up

3:20pm: Avery is up and we've got time to kill before Wade comes home, so we go for a walk around the 'hood and then play in the playroom until he shows up

4:50pm: Wade is home, which means my "work day" is over... not! Wade plays with the kids while I get dinner ready, serve dinner, and then clean up dinner

5:30pm: we make a run to Target, stop by the Joiners' house, and then come home to do baths

7:00pm: Wade puts the kids to bed and I am free!! (except for the backpacks I have to prepare and the lunch I have to make and the vitamins I have to set out and such)

So there you have it: a pretty typical day for us. A good day, at that. Was it leisurely? Not quite (minus the nap time part), but still a good day. I was tired at the end of it like I always am, because I'm a mom, and moms work their butts off! Perhaps one day, when I'm old and the kids are out of the house, I'll be living that life of leisure he speaks of... but for now, I'll happily take the life of labor I've got.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The b-day bash

When we found out we were going to be moving to a new city just a few weeks before Avery's first birthday, my heart broke a little bit thinking that her birthday was going to end up being a bust due to too much going on. Thankfully, after a little inspiration from a pair of hand-me-down shoes (more on that in a second) and some help from my sister, we were able to throw her a nice little party on Saturday morning so she could have the kind of celebration she deserved!

Back to the shoes: Avery has been fortunate enough to get hand-me-downs from her playgroup friend, Gracie, over the past year, and the most recent batch included the most adorable pair of gold TOMS shoes. As soon as I saw them, I knew they needed to be incorporated in a birthday outfit for her! From there, the shoes led to an outfit (this onesie, specifically), the outfit led to a golden theme (which turned out to be very appropriate, given it was her golden birthday, as Amanda pointed out to me!), and then a party was born.

We originally planned to have it at Amanda and Brian's house, not knowing if ours would be ready enough, but once we had moved in and were feeling more settled, I decided we could handle it and it worked out perfectly. 

On the menu was fruit salad, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (instead of cupcakes), donut holes, pigs-in-a-blanket, Cheerios for the kiddos, and orange juice, plus goldfish (see what I did there?) for party favors (that I forgot to pass out because I always get busy and forget the party favors... oops).

For Avery's smash cake, I made this Cheerios cake. This was a genius move on my part because I'm not sure she would have willingly touched the cake had it not been covered in her precious Cheerios!

The end result.

I know she had no clue it was her birthday, and I know she is far too young to appreciate the planning and details that went into her party, but I really do think she had a good time! As for her mama, I'm glad we were able to pull off a relatively low-stress celebration for our sweet little lady and glad the move didn't hold us down in the end. Here's to many, many more celebrations of Avery Jane in the years to come!

Monday, November 03, 2014


So even though my baby girl's first birthday is way more important than Halloween, I'm going to stick with chronological order here and recap the holiday first!

Davis got to party it up at school for the first half of the day on Friday, and considering the amount of candy and crap little toys he came home with, I'd say he had a good time. I'm admittedly having a harder time warming up to his new school since I am still so partial to the school we had to leave in Austin, but it made me happy to see him so happy at pick-up that afternoon.

Before we picked him up from school, Avery and I got to meet up with Wade for a little date at Starbucks. Our little punkin enjoyed a little attention from passersby commenting on her outfit, but more than that, she enjoyed stuffing her face with Cheerios like the crazy person that she is. Seriously, she's like Chris Farley in the SNL "Gap Girls" skit with those Cheerios.

After all the kiddos were home from school and all the other adults were home from work, we gathered at the Joiners' house for some pizza in the backyard and to wait for my parents (who came in town for Avery's birthday weekend).

Then it was time for costume changes! Note: trying to get 4 children ages 3 and under into costumes with multiple pieces is about as easy as it sounds. 

And then we were off!

The weather was perfect and the little ones were all surprisingly well-behaved and cooperative (especially once Colby and Clara were strapped to the bikes and didn't have the chance to wander off to inspect a blade of grass, pick up trash, trip over their own 2 feet, etc.), which made for an unexpectedly pleasant night. Davis was happy to show his younger cousins and sibling the ropes on trick-or-treating since he is basically an old pro now, but we are looking forward to next year when they all require a little less direction and corralling!

Coming up on Wednesday: a full recap of celebrating Avery's first birthday!