Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wheel of Fortune is teaching my son his alphabet

Ryder has taken to pointing to letters and calling out their name, although mainly he says "E" and "D" for everything.  I thought at first that maybe Elmo isn't such a squeaky voiced tool of a monster and he was to thank for helping Ryder learn his letters, but I was mistaken.  The Wheel of Fortune is teaching my son his alphabet.

At dinnertime each night that Ryder is with his Welito y Welita, they push his highchair up to the table and eat while watching quick witted contestants solve the puzzle.  It makes complete sense when you think that you hear a contestant ask for a particular letter, then see it on the screen, hear it again as Pat repeats the letter, and see it light up when Vanna turns it (or not), well, you get the repetition.  And repetition means retention, therefore enabling Wheel of Fortune to be a viable education source for toddlers.  At least for mine, that is.

December rolled me like an ocean wave

December has been a great surge of activity for me, where you fight to keep your head above water and you end up exhausted and slightly disoriented.  I didn't take any time off after the excitement of our wedding ceremony, which was lovelier than anything I'd imagined, and the cold yet fun reception.  No honeymoon, as we are still on one income and I didn't really want to think of leaving Ryder behind.  His first solo overnight stay with Welita y Welito was on our wedding night.  He was fine.  I was so tired that it didn't really register, until I woke up the next morning.  I missed him almost immediately, but was grateful to have been able to sleep in for a change.  None of us knew that a little more than a week later I'd spend many nights away from my sweet son.  We were thrilled to have had our big day and ready to relax into the holidays.

We'd been burning the candle at both ends during the wedding week, getting ready for our celebration.  Ryder had been having some trouble sleeping, too, so none of us were well-rested.  We've had a few strange things going on in our house, too.  I joked that we need to call the TAPS team.  I'd been waking up, swearing that someone was tugging on the sheet or comforter, a few of Ryder's toys had been turning themselves on, random weirdness of all kinds...up until the morning of our wedding.  I was the first up and was pulling clothes together for Ryder's diaper bag, standing at his dresser.  Right behind me, in his room, a little girl's voice called out "maaaahhhmeeee", slowly and plaintively.  I don't get scared often by paranormal things, but this frightened me.  I rushed back to our room, where the boys were still sleeping.  I knew it wasn't Ryder's voice that I heard, but I woke Jaime up to ask if Ryder had been calling for me.  No, of course not.  This brush with the other side kept me uneasy for a week.  I still get creeped out, if I think about it too much.

The first Sunday of December was intended to be my rest and recovery day, a day in which I would do nothing but prepare meals and watch mindless T.V. or a movie.  And I was doing just that, up until shortly before lunch.  The phone rings and your life changes, isn't that always how it works?  One of the attorneys I work for called from Puerto Rico, where we had a trial starting the next day.  Our trial team paralegal had a death in the family, could I make the 3:30pm flight from Austin to San Juan? Amazingly, I did.  The next 8 days were a blur of travel, intensive trial work, my first courtroom experience outside of being a juror and a teeny, tiny taste of Puerto Rico.

Mid-month, back in Austin, it took about 5 days to feel normal again.  I arrived home sleep deprived and jittery from the full on adrenaline rush of total immersion into trial work.  I'd wallowed blissfully in a super comfy hotel bed, with a down featherbed, all by my lonesome in San Juan...but in Austin I was back to fighting for covers with Jaime and, more often than not, Ryder, who demonstrated his new ability to sleep sideways in bed.  I felt so disconnected from home that if someone had suggested I'd actually been gone a month, I'd have readily agreed.  It was odd to turn on the television and not have it auto-programmed to the WAPA channel. (And I'd really love to be able to walk to a breakfast buffet every morning, prepared by trained chefs who do not get called "MomMom" or "Kay").

I learned a lot in Puerto Rico, at trial.  I also tried my best to get a little down time in where I could, but that proved next to impossible.  The morning I left I managed to put my feet in the ocean and also to lay in a hammock for a while.  I'd love to go back when I can enjoy the delights of the island.  I missed my boys badly, though, and was grateful to return home to them.  I flew back on a Monday and was in my office on Tuesday, no time off.  I was brain dead and drained by the weekend.

Ryder suffered not only the temporary loss of his MomMom but also of his grandmother.  My Mom was in Mexico for a week, having dental work done while I was gone.  As a result, Ryder's been a clingy little spidermonkey right around the time I need to leave for work in the morning.  It's the residual effects of my "solo honeymoon" in Puerto Rico and not having his Welita to comfort him, I'm sure.

In keeping with the ebb and flow of my emotions and energy level this month, this week was the first total lunar eclipse of the winter solstice moon in hundreds of years.  I wished on that gorgeous moon, awed by its vivid whiteness in the dark sky.  I wished for the ill wind to blow away, taking with it our money troubles and for the moon to pull in prosperity for us.  For Jaime, to find not only a job that pays well but also one he will be passionate about, and for myself, to continue to learn and grow in my current job while I tend lovingly to my Twitter amour.  Bless us, luna.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Honeymoon Without My Honey

It's hard to believe that it's only been 9 days since my wedding. The last week was a blur of family returning home post-nuptials, playing catch up at work, a lovely media dinner at Soleil (must visit their raw bar!) and the Bleetup, with the First Annual Austin Blogger Awards. I was honored to be nominated for ATXFoodnews in the Twitter category. Yesterday I ended the week by working at the Austin Sports Expo. In short, it's been hectic.

In a shocking-not-shocking, this is my life move, I got a call on Sunday a little before lunch saying that a co-worker had a family emergency and was flying back to Austin from our trial site in San Juan, Puerta Rico.  Four and a half hours later, I'm on a flight to Puerto Rico.

Ahem. I repeat, I am on a flight to San Juan freakin' Puerto Rico! I don't know what to expect, as I've never been to trial (or Puerto Rico) before. I'd like to think of this as my honeymoon sans Jaime but I know I'll be working my bum off. I hope to have a little time to enjoy the food & city, but I'm not expecting much.

I am having some anxiety leaving my guys. Ryder waved bye bye and blew me a kiss at curbside check in. I resisted the urge to make out with Jaime like a high school girl who's just been grounded from seeing her boyfriend for a week (probably for sneaking out her bedroom window, scraping her legs on the holly bushes and waking up the dog with her squeal of pain...not that I'd know). If I hadn't indulged in half a Xanax, I may well have dissolved into tears. I'm convinced that Ryder will have grown so much while I'm gone that a Norelco shaver embossed with "A sharp gift from Puerto Rico" is in order.

Drama queen theatrics aside, I'm looking forward to the next few days. My company obviously believes I'm capable and dependable and I'll be working my tail off to prove them correct.  Wish me luck.

Matrimonial Bliss...or, "honey, we did it!"

This should say everything.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wedding bells & dieter hell

The wedding is Friday.  Five days to go and I'm so freakin' hungry!  My crazy gorgeous wedding dress fits, mind you, it's not like I can't get into it.  But it fits snugly, like a glove, but not like a sausage skin -- that would be bad.  I want a teensy bit of breathing room in it as I plan to boogie the night away to wonderful wedded bliss tunes like "Baby Got Back" and "White Wedding".  So...I've been low cal, low carb, low everything except a lettuce leaf and a thin slice of avocado.  Okay, maybe not that deprived, but there has been no barbacoa, no steak & fried egg tacos from One Taco, no cheeseburger in paradise, noEgg Nog (with bourbon) ice cream at Amy's Ice Cream and certainly no beer.  Well, save the one glass of Jester King Commercial Suicide I had this week, in one of Beertown Austin's fabulous moustache glasses.  I know I shouldn't have, but it was whisky! barrel! aged!!  And it was supremely delicious.

All my hard work is paying off, though.  I'm about 3lbs under what I was when I first tried on my dress, so I'm calling this a success.  After all, it's Thanksgiving soon and we'll be making our traditional cornbread dressing, oven roasted turkey with a bacon blanket over the breast, pumpkin and pecan pies, broccoli, cheese & rice casserole...yeah, I'll be eating the toddler sized portions on Thursday, so that the very next day I can step into my gown and not pass out if I try to inhale too deeply.  For the record, my seamstress refused to let out the side seams, telling me quite firmly that the dress fits perfectly. 

I'll be picking up my sister and niece on Tuesday morning and guess where they want to head to immediately after arrival?  Yeah, uh huh, Juan in a Million

Friday, October 22, 2010

Everybody's workin' for the weekend..

It doesn't get any easier, as we age, to make it through a rough work week.  Just like Loverboy went from wearing tight red leather pants to this, my life is such that Monday morning starts with me feeling energized and ready and ends Friday afternoon on life support.  TGIF, yeah, yeah, can you get me another cup of coffee?

Saturdays should be for sleeping in, but since we have an active toddler, no one sleeps late anymore.  Instead, you can find me training with Austin Fit for the February half marathon.  If I can't sleep, I might as well work out.  And, oh is so hard to get moving on Saturday morning.  I know I need to exercise.  I know I need to dump some more pounds.  This isn't rocket science.  But maybe rocket fuel would be the perfect assist in getting me out of bed and on the road.  (Note to self: invest in Espresso Love Gu).

It's ironic that the two days when I have time to relax are the same two days that Jaime is rarin' to go, get out of the house, go somewhere, do something.  I'm thinking about a bottle of wine, the couch and a dvd and he's gazing outdoors with a rapturous look on his face.  Of course, I'm not the adult in the family who's main source of Vitamin D comes from the sunny side of the playground, either. 

We've compromised this weekend.  After my 6.5 miler in the morning (carrying my iPhone in case I need to call a taxi) we will indulge in some R&R before spending the afternoon outside.  Specifically, we'll be helping to celebrate The Draught House's 42nd birthday.  Delicious craft beer is the one thing guaranteed to get me off the sofa.  The fine men of BeerTownAustin have a delicious list of the brews to be had at Draught House's celebration.

I am excited to see my standby favorite (512) Brewing's Double Pecan Porter, but I'm super thrilled to try Jester King's Commercial Suicide and Southern Star's Pro-Am Smoked Porter "primed with agave syrup with chipotles in the cask".  What what?? Oh, those cheeky Conroe brewers!  Four 6.5oz pours are your's, with a glass, for $12 (if only it was BeerTownAustin's moustache glass).  Happy weekend, indeed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A healthy glow

Those of you who know me well are familiar with my milky white skin, a hue so light if I was any paler I might actually go transparent.  Thank you, Dad, for the great genes that make me look younger than I am, but could you have at least let Mom give me her Mexican-American olive tones that instantly brown in the smallest amount of sunlight?  Seriously, I tell people I'm Latina and they probably think I meant to say "I'm studying Latin".  If you'd dust me in ultra-fine glitter I'd sparkle like one of the Twilight vamps. Well, no more, folks!  I've found the answer to the problem, the solution to me blinding Jaime when I pull my shirt off and it is awesome

Yes, the picture above says it all, airbrush is in, tanning beds are out.  Super friendly Laurie, the owner of Healthy Glow Mobile Airbrush Tanning Service stopped by my house one recent Saturday afternoon and worked a small miracle.  Carefully airbrushing me, Laurie turned this anemic-toned chica into a lightly bronzed woman.  The effect was natural and flattering.  In fact, it was so natural looking that when I visited with a friend later that day she remarked that my half marathon training was leaving me looking sun-kissed.  Little did she know, it was a faux tan. 

Laurie's set up is a simple one, fitting into one medium sized case. Handy, because she will come to your home with her equipment.  Even better, you can claim the hostess with the mostest title and throw an airbrush tan party.  You supply the friends and beverages and she'll come in, pop open the airbrush tent and get to work.
Please, no comments about the cardboard in the background. It's hard to indulge in picking out window treatments when you are on a fixed income. Besides, that window overlooks a brick wall, so unless you are a really, really good Peeping Tom, we're not worried about drapes.  Ahem, back to the subject.  Most women will wear their bathing suit, but I wanted more of an all over tan.  Laurie was okay with me going au naturel, but I opted to wear small undies and a strapless bra.  The spray will show up on light fabric, but washes out easily.

Laurie had me stand in the tent while she explained the process, starting off with blowing air on me so I could feel how cool it was (colder than I expected). Then she began airbrushing me, methodically and smoothly.  I leaned this way and that, held my arms up then down, inclined my head to each get the picture.  When she was done, Laurie explained that the bronzer would darken slightly over the next hours but asked me to make sure I was happy with the color.  I could've asked to go darker but the shade she chose for me was perfect.  Laurie blended my farmer's tan from my running shirts so that I was one even shade from the top of my shoulders down to my hands.  The entire process took less than twenty minutes.

I'm so satisfied with my tan that I've already asked Laurie to airbrush me before my wedding next month.  I followed her instructions on body care pre-tan: exfoliate paying close attention to problem areas like elbows, knees and feet, shave the day of or before and moisturize well in the days prior to the airbrush session.  You want as smooth a canvas as possible.  You can't wear deoderant or makeup for your session or have freshly lotioned skin.  After-care is easy, too.  You want to wait about 8 hours before bathing (plan ahead!), moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, take warm, not hot baths and avoid shaving your legs as long as possible.  The tan lasts between 7-10 days, dependant upon how much your skin naturally exfoliates. 

I'm thrilled with my Healthy Glow airbrush tan, and want you to experience it, too.  If you book an airbrush tan party with Laurie and three friends get tanned, your's is free.  Laurie charges only $35 (remember, she's coming to you, that's a steal!) for a full body tan.  If you live outside of Austin, she charges a nominal $10 fee for mileage.  You can contact Laurie through her Facebook site for Healthy Glow or call her at (512) 573-1106.  Now go get your own healthy glow!

In keeping with FTC regulations, I am disclosing that Laurie was generous enough to tan me for free, something that was greatly appreciated and resulted in this happy blog post. Satisfied, Big Brother?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010



What I really want to talk about today is beer.  Beer in all its beautiful, beery goodness, like 512 Brewing Pecan Porter pictured above (apologies for the dismal quality photo), Oaktoberfest from Live Oak Brewing, and Oktoberfest from Shiner.  All of these are recently quaffed, greatly enjoyed beers.  I love this time of year because it means a good number of seasonals from local breweries.  I tend to be somewhat ADD in my beverage choices, zinging back and forth between lighter flavors and deeper ones.  October is a beer month that completely plays into my drinking style.  I have a list of more beers to sample, but if you have a "must drink" local brew, please let me know in comments so that I, too, may partake of its deliciousness.

Alas, I am too exhausted to write about beer.  I need sleep.  I need sleep like an armadillo needs to be spray painted glow-in-the-dark neon colors.  What?  Obviously, this will give the armadillo a competitive edge when crossing a dark Texas highway.  I believe it may also reduce drunk driving, since if I left happy hour and saw a neon green armadillo streak across Hwy. 71, I would damn sure pull over and call a sober friend to pick me up.

Sunday night I had action dreams all night long.  I enjoy a rambunctious movie as much as the next woman, but dreaming of running around in the dark with my task force of fellow vampire killers (with ultra cool automatic weapons equipped with UV bullets) meant waking up worn out.  I dragged through my very busy work day and ended up with the caffeine shakes in the late afternoon.  I was determined to go to bed early Monday night.

My hope of getting a solid night's sleep died a little after midnight, when Ryder woke up with a tummy ache.  At least we think it was a tummy ache...can't quite tell when you're dealing with a child who's most advanced word is "door".  He tossed and turned and cried out and grunted and, after a dose of Mylicon, made a few other loud noises, all of which were repeated at 3am and 5am.  At the barest crack of dawn, Ryder decided he was up for the day, smiling and happy.  Of course.  Meanwhile, I'm trying to find out where I can buy a case of 5 Hour Energy and dashing off an e-mail to Uncle Billy's telling them that the breakfast crowd would love their Insomniac Coffee Stout.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tempting Tastings

Over the last week I've managed to taste a fair number of delicious dishes.  Let me stop right here, before I write another sentence and implore you to do one thing, and to do it very, very soon.  Go to Urban, located in the Westin at The Domain, and order anything you want, as long as it includes the sweet corn bisque and finishes (or starts!) with the avocado tres leches cake.  Yes, I said avocado.  Tres leches is always a favorite but the addition of avocado gave it a little special "oomph".  If I'd had to taste this blindfolded and guess the mystery ingredient, there is no way I would've come up with avocado.  It is more of a deepening of flavors, of richness and buttery goodness than "hey, I just ate a mouthful of cakey guacamole".
The sweet corn bisque is equally rich and enticing, served with a roasted corn pico de gallo on top.  The first spoonful is sweet, silky goodness with a surprising rush of heat from the spices.  This is no demure damsel of a bisque!  I could happily eat it until I pass out.

Because I am a low/highbrow foodie (thanks for coining that phrase Tolly!), I have to include my favorite lunch last week.  Behold, I give you the newest creation on Hat Creek's menu, their Turkey Burger, a juicy, peppered patty, grilled to perfection.  It rocked my noontime.  It could rock my eveningtime, if Hat Creek would please open a restaurant in South Austin.  My picture doesn't do justice to this burger, as I didn't get a great angle of a shot, to showcase the patty, but I was just too eager to eat it and didn't stop to snap more photos.
Lift Cafe has a sweet little patio where you can sip a bevie (alcoholic or caffeinated or both) and relax.  The day I stopped in, a friend and I ordered this pretty cheese plate.  Divine. 
And in celebration of stinky cheese (not that we had a stinky one on our cheese plate), I give you a different kind of treat.  A "trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat".  Well, if you're a toddler who thinks feet are good to eat, that is.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

So Not Photogenic

You know, I always tell people I'm not photogenic. I end up looking drunk, each and every time. I can't help my rosacea, folks! It's not that I'm a red nosed drunk (okay, it's not that I'm always a red nosed drunk). After years of pictures that I swear do not look like me, or at least, not a sober me, I'm starting to wonder...maybe the pictures are true to life. Maybe I spend 100% of real life looking like I'm under the influence. I don't know the answer to that burning question (and quite possibly don't want to know, either) but I do know one thing: I made a cute baby.

So, to counteract the effect of having to look at the above picture of me, taken this week, here is another recent picture of my offspring. My very adorable, extremely photogenic offspring. Notice that Ryder is starting to lose the baby look and advance into kid-hood (cue mama tears).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Singin' the Monday blues

You ever have one of those days? The kind of morning when you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed? Those days always make me wish I had the freedom to stay in bed, pull the covers up and not put a toe on the carpet until I damn well feel like it. The kind of day where you want to eat leftover cold fried chicken for breakfast, chocolate ice cream for lunch and quite possibly an entire bag of Funyuns for dinner, but only if they are Wasabi Funyuns (sadly, discontinued).

I'm having one of those days. Yes, singin' the Monday blues. The cause of it is the sad state of our finances. With my sweet partner-in-crime laid off, our checking account is anorexic to the point of Karen Carpenter-hood. Our wedding is in November and we've knocked our budget down to the bare bones. And by bare I mean that if our budget was a dress, Tila Tequila would want to wear it.

I'm okay with a casual reception at an ultra casual location because I'm more of a casual girl than anything else. I'm very much okay with everyone getting to wear comfy, tempurature-friendly clothing to our celebration. I'm okay with the idea that we can't afford a caterer, so we'll spend the day prior to our wedding (Thanksgiving) cooking for the reception. I'm okay with hauling Jaime's sound equipment so that we don't have to hire a DJ, only hook up a laptop & run music. I'm okay with not having loads of fresh flowers everywhere you turn.

I'm so sad at only one thing, a trivial detail considering that I'm bagging a great catch of a husband. I can't afford a wedding cake. A beautiful and unique cake is the only part of a traditional wedding that I truly adore but...gorgeous cakes cost a serious amount of bank. We are rich in many ways but not in terms of ink & paper with pictures of various dead presidents on them.

And that, dear reader, is what is bringing me down today. Usually I can work myself up into a seriously good rant and rave about all kinds of issues but today it's simply a selfish whine about a cake. I feel ridiculously shallow, but at the same time tears sting my eyes. It's a freakin' cake, for cryin' out loud! But giving up this one desire is difficult and sad.

Hah, just when I really get into feeling bad for myself, writing this post, my insurance company calls...they have a "Well Aware" program that I got hooked into when I was in a car accident a few months ago. When I told the nurse my back was feeling fine he ominously said "We'll keep you in the program. You never know, your back could be fine one minute and in the next half hour you're in major pain". Nice. Just what I needed to hear today, to boost my spirits. Can't help but laugh!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


One thing I've learned from the last year of Tweeting is that you just never know what kind of fun thing you can stumble upon, just from reading a quick post. When Ilene Haddad questioned if anyone wanted to get together on a Saturday and exchange blogging ideas, advice and tips, it quickly escalated into a full blown workshopping event. BlogathonATX is underway, with blogging, content & tech experts on hand.

The jokes started flying when I mentioned to friends that I was attending a blogging workshop. "Are you wearing your Star Trek uniform?". No, of course not. I'm rockin' the Princess Leia gold bikini from Star Wars, you dork! I admit that a blogging workshop sounds like a bunch of socially inept people heads down over laptops, ignoring the people sitting around the same large table but trust me, it's far from the truth.

It's probably a good thing that only one room was designated the "Talking Room" because you can hear the laughter all the way to the back of the building. Conjunctured, a co-working space in E. Austin, donated the use of their sweet offices for this event. It's an old house and I'm probably blogging from the master bedroom. How cool is that?

With conversations ranging from all-about-blogging to raw foods diets and every topic in between, it's been a heckuva good time. I even did an interview for Q, telling her in 10 words or less why I blog. Y'all know I couldn't manage it in 10 words...I used 11 and then kept talking.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ryder Learned to Feed Himself

A happy boy with his pureed prunes! Gotta love it that he's eating but man, what a mess. I should've taken pics after he finished off his strawberry applesauce dessert. He had his entire face covered in food, from forehead to chin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mama's New Hair & Cute Baby Pics

Ryder likes my new look, too. The proof is in the pics! Notice how shiny & healthy my hair looks--I owe it all to the Brazilian Blowout at Sirens Salon.

Hair She Goes!

I've always had curly hair. My hair is fine, not very thick and it gets really, really frizzy. It can't help it. That's just the way it is. When I dry my hair with a blowdryer OR let it air dry, with expensive products or with cheap ones, it comes out the same way: curly/wavy going every which way and not so much trying to conform to a style. The pics I'm posting prove it.

When Emma at Sirens Salon said she could give me a hair treatment that would leave my hair as shiny, silky and smooth as a baby's I simply did not believe her. Did.Not.Believe. But after my relaxing visit with the lovely staff at Sirens (and a glass of wine or two) I started to believe. And after Emma and Callie had worked some magic with touching up my color and giving me a Brazilian Blowout, I became a religious zealot believer. I'll never doubt Emma again.

Here are some after shots of my hair when we were done. My friends will think I look just like I'd stepped out of Sirens after having my hair flat ironed but this is a simple rough dry with a blow dryer, something that would normally leave me crimpy curled. I've never had hair that looked this smooth, sleek and ultra-well cared for until now, with the Brazilian Blowout treatment. On the plus side, the treatment doesn't smell funny (or strong) and there's no fear of chemical burns on your scalp, either. With a color touch up, the Brazilian Blowout and a quick cut I was in the shop for almost 3 hours, so plan accordingly. Take it from me, every minute is worth it!

I love it! My hair has never looked better. And when I wash it, I don't have to worry about it reverting to messy tresses...this is going to last for up to 3 months. Absofreakinglutely amazing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Art of Relaxation

I must've managed to learn the art of relaxation. Despite being sick every day of my vacation last week, I'm back to work feeling refreshed. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to be the only parent on vacation -- even with help from my sister and her family, Ryder was a handful. I never fully relaxed from parenting (two words: separation anxiety) but I did some serious R&R from my 9-5 job. I came home even sicker, stayed out of work yesterday but today I hit the ground running. Its nice to feel calm & centered at work again.

Ryder had a blast, being center of attention. He had his first trip to the zoo and freaked out in the penguin & puffin exhibit. To his credit, the penguins were within touching distance and they did splash us a few times, which had Ryder clawing to get away from me and to Maggie, who was standing the farthest away. Poor babes then discovered there was another exhibit directly behind him. The stuff of nightmares, I'm sure. Aggressive, angry, I'm-gonna-get-you flightless birds. LOL He was very much relieved that the rest of the animals were behind fences and sometimes netting. Every animal he saw he'd point to and say "woof woof". Gazelle? "Woof woof". Giraffe? "Woof woof". Snow leopard? You get the idea.

My sweet picky eater also discovered the crack that is McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. Ryder, who won't eat much, devoured three nuggets. Unbelievable! I would've disowned him had he not happily munched down on a pile of Vietnamese charbroiled pork from my com dac biet plate at my favorite St. Louis restaurant later in the week. There's hope for him yet.

I'll post pics soon, probably the ones of Ryder playing the piano. He is his father's son.

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19th, 1995 at 9:02am

Fifteen years ago an American terrorist blew apart the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Government Building. I watched the breaking news stories with shock, disgust and horror. I'd lived in Oklahoma City for a very brief period of time while my father was teaching at the FAA Academy affiliated with OU. I thought about my friends who live there as I watched coverage of the tragedy, and was thankful that no one I knew worked in that building...or so I thought. Later that evening I'd find out that the baby in the image above was Baylee, the niece of a family friend. Baylee had turned one year old the day before she was murdered.

Today, as we remember the victims of the bombing I ask one thing only: strive for kindness. Be nicer to people. Say "please" and "thank you". Treat your fellow citizens with all the respect and nicety that you would be pleasantly surprised to have received. It is my ferverent hope that in being kinder to each other we will find the way to peace both in our nation, which clearly has factions of unrest (plane flown into an an IRS building comes to mind) and in the world.
Please consider a donation to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, built by those who promised not to ever forget the loss of loved ones. The memorial educates those about the events surrounding the bombing and works toward healing the pain caused by it. At the website, you can find stories of triumph over injuries alongside a list of those who perished.
A note about this picture and potential copyright infringement: I have no idea if this is the picture snapped by Lester LaRue or Charles Porter. I'm certain this photo will be used without permission many times today. I hope that whomever owns the copyright, if it is copyrighted, will forgive my use of the photo of Baylee Almon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine

There's some old folk song that goes "bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when ya gonna let me get sober? Let me alone, let me go home, I wanna go back and start over". Well, with the work week I've had I will strive to be singing that song later tonight.

Carry on.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bluebonnet Love

Our photographer friend, Burnett, rocks! She made sure we documented Ryder's first contact with wildflowers. It was a little windy, so his hair is wild but jeez, does it matter when he is this cute?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mama: When Will My Child Say It?

Ryder still hasn't said "mama". His repertoire of words is getting bigger. He can say Dada, hey, cat, clock, yeah, baba (our word for bottle) and bubbles. He has said "Welita" at least once in the past month or so...which pleased my mother terribly. He shortens their nicknames now to "Ita" and "Ito".

Last night he called out "Dada!" to get Jaime's attention before he threw a ball across the living room, chortling to himself in delight. He points at the clocks in our house and others and gleefully says "clock! clock!". He whispers softly through the window to the kitties outside "". But "mama"? Nope.

He might've said it last night when he was overly tired and suffering from teething pains but his face was pressed into my thigh and whatever word he uttered was muffled, hard to hear through his sobbing. Since it sounded quite a bit like "mama" Jaime and I shot a look and a raised eyebrow at each other. For now I'm still waiting to hear him call me Mama. Or Kay. Or anything, really, as long as it's clear he means me. I swear he's holding back on purpose.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If You Feed Him, He Will Grow

My two boys.
La familia.

Ryder really wanted to climb on the fence but its a bit difficult when you aren't even walking yet.

Cheeky monkey!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No birthday party for Ryder's 1st

Yeah, I said it. I'm not having a birthday party for Ryder. I know this is the first birthday but it's also the last birthday that I can get away with not throwing a shindig...and I can selfishly have my sweet baby all to myself. Jaime isn't up for planning something so I'm exercising my right as mama and decreeing that There Will Be No Party.

There will be a little cake for him, and presents. We will commemorate the fact that his father and I have successfully kept him alive for the entire first year -- a feat that tells us we can now accomplish many more years of the same. His grandparents won't let the day go by without celebrating, too. It's not like he won't have a special day, it simply will be on a smaller scale than most babies have for their first birthday.

February 16th is the special day. Ryder is my late Valentine's gift. He's love, personified. And I intend to hold him as closely to my heart as possible, for ever and ever, amen.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Get Yourself Down to Odd Duck Farm to Trailer!

Can I just say this food trailer that espouses the idea of using locally sourced foods, the whole animal AND has a seasonal menu is tasty? T-A-S-T-Y! As in, I want to eat there every day tasty.

Check Odd Duck's website for the daily menu but expect that it may be slightly different when you arrive, based on sales that week. When something's sold out, it's out. The week I went the trailer was featuring dishes made from a Richardson Farms pastured pig. Delicious.

The pictures at the top of my post spell it out for you. The top pic is a creamy polenta that had a scoop of Shiner braised lamb and veggies on top. So rich, with the deep flavors of the lamb and the cheesy smoothness of the polenta. Mmm! I want some, now. The bottom photo is a grilled romaine salad with goat ricotta cheese and a poached egg. There was also a slice of grilled ciabatta bread topped with some parmesan shavings. The wood grill gave the greens a subtle smokiness that was delightful.
I strongly suggest a soup or salad along with your entree from Odd Duck. Portion-wise, you'll thank me. As it is, if you haven't been yet and this post compels you to visit the trailer, you'll be thanking me anyway. Seriously great food coming out of their tiny kitchen. The chef, Bryce Gilmore, is no stranger to divine dishes. He practically grew up next to the stove. I'm thrilled that his newest venture is already a success.
Odd Duck's open for dinner only Tues-Thurs from 5-10pm and Saturdays 5p-midnight. While you're there, grab a coffee from Austin Brevita (only open nights on Fri/Sat) or dessert from Gourdough's. Hell yeah!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Goodbye, boobies

No, I don't have breast cancer or anything awful. What I do have is a scarcity of oxytocin. While I do have several ways I get my "feel good hormone" the one method that I've depended upon for almost a year has ended. I've weaned Ryder. Those of you reading who are men or who haven't breastfed a child or didn't have a positive nursing experience may not be able to relate to this blog post.

I didn't have much of a choice but to wean my baby. I've had hypertension for more than a decade, from way back when I was a skinnyminny in my early 30's. While pregnant, my blood pressure was well controlled up until the last month when I went from pre-eclamptic to "we're booking an OR for your c-section". Not like a c-sec wasn't planned anyway since I also had placenta previa. Anyway, the only medication known to be safe while pregnant/nursing wasn't working so well for me even after Ryder arrived. I ended up in the ER twice in the last months of 2009. My doctor impressed upon me the seriousness of the situation and we agreed I'd wean my son in order to change to more effective drugs.

It wasn't easy to breastfeed in the beginning. It wasn't comfortable, Ryder had difficulties learning to latch on, I had flat nipples (who knew?) and wore two types of odd thingys for a while to convince my nips to pop was a lot of hard work to nurse my child. It took a few months for it to become easy but once it did, wow, was it nice.

We'd settle down, get comfortable and Ryder would squirm in, snuggle up to eat. I'd watch his sweet face as he nursed, usually with eyes closed but sometimes open and watching me back. As he grew older he'd play games while feeding, reach up and touch my nose, my mouth, poke at my ear. He still hasn't outgrown his love affair with my hair. Sometimes I'd make a funny face and he'd chortle around me, his laugh tickling me as he drank. As I breastfed, the oxytocin flowed and acted both to relax us and to stimulate feelings of comfort, security, nurturing and contentment. I never ceased to be amazed at my body's ability to feed my son, even when I didn't produce enough and had to supplement. And since most evening nursing sessions ended with Ryder sleeping in my arms, breastfeeding allowed me quiet time to contemplate my happiness, even though our financial situation was stressful at the time.

To wean him meant that I had to give up these precious moments. It was harder on me emotionally than it was on Ryder at all. He'd been eating regular food and getting formula supplements, after all. I like to think that he knows that formula isn't as tasty as mama-milk, though. He won't remember to be able to deny it so I'm holding to that thought. I started off slowly, skipping one nursing session a week until we were down to only the bedtime feeding. Because I wasn't a milk cow like some mothers can be, it wasn't very worrisome up to that point. But oh, how things change.

Did you ever wonder what it would feel like to fill your boobs with concrete? I can tell you. It feels as if they will either burst through the skin or give in and fall off. And falling off would've been preferable. I bound them under skin tight jogging bras. I thought about, but didn't go for the folk remedy of stuffing cabbage leaves in your bra. I did cry in the shower and massage them once, when I couldn't take the pain anymore. Slowly, they deflated naturally. I'm told it takes a month for milk to completely dry up.

As my boobs flattened, so did my spirit. I'll never share that innocent intimacy again with Ryder. Given my age and our current birth control, I most likely will not share that intimacy with any other baby. It is bittersweet in that I'm happy Ryder is content with table foods and formula but sad that I'm not nourishing him from my body anymore. I'm glad I could breastfeed him for 10.5 months.

Ryder's goodbye to the boobies was fairly easy for him. Aside from rubbing his face in my chest when he's upset (nursing is comforting), only once has he dived in when I was shirtless. He gave lefty a quick mouthing and crawled off, heading toward a toy on the bed. I like to think of it as his goodbye kiss. Meanwhile, my boobs continue to shrink, which is a bit alarming since they weren't large to start out. I hope to remain a B cup but we'll see. Goodbye, boobies.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Goodbye 2009, Hello 2010

Dear 2009:

You had one momentus event that I thank you for but all in all, I'm very happy you are finished.


Things I learned in 2009:
  • I had no idea what it felt like to be unequivocally & unconditionally in love with someone until Ryder was born. Romantic love is a partnership with conditions, after all. You expect your life partner to love you back, to respect you, to care for you. My first glance at Ryder carried none of those expectations. Instead, I experienced a fierce & primal urge, a sensation so wild in nature and untamed that it was frightening. I'd made this thing, this skinny, pink creature and it needed me and I, him. He didn't love me yet. Ryder only knew that I was his and he was mine and sustenance came from both me and Daddy. It would be some time before Ryder ever actually gave back any emotion other than the base needs of comfort. Now his smile is like oxygen to me.
  • It is entirely possible to last a week on only 20 hours of sleep but you'll have a hard time remembering much of it.
  • Jaime loves me more than I deserve.
  • I'm still horrible with money but I found a way to stay on budget: when Jaime says "you can't spend money" it means I can't spend money. Not on a coffee at Austin Brevita. Or a sweet muffin at Taste No Evil Muffins. Or even a haircut, mani or pedi, for that matter. Those who've seen me recently know of what I speak.
  • And because Jaime's great with budgeting I learned that you can support a family of three, a mortgage, 2 car notes, credit card bills and utilities on my salary. It wasn't pretty but we made it through with help from my parents.
  • Heart Hospital of Austin, my old employer, still has the fastest & most efficient emergency room in town. I "visited" twice last year and already hit them up once this year. They know their stuff and I get to see old friends. Socializing is always good for the ol' blood pressure, I say.
  • Acupuncture is amazing.
  • Weaning a nursing baby is a huge, emotional big deal. And probably a whole 'nother blog post.
  • I have some of the best friends in the world. You know who you are. A huge thank you to all you've done for me this year, the support in everything has been incredible!
  • Transitioning from being a couple to becoming a family means that you spend more time with just the people who live in your house. Unless you're into communal living this means that once a baby arrives you suddenly do not see your friends again without a lot of planning. And even with planning there are many times when you're just too tired to have fun. (There are still friends that I've been trying to get together with since February).
  • Twitter is the perfect antidote to my need for immediate satisfaction. 140 character updates, Re-Tweeting, @ mentions and Direct Messages are totally up my alley. Find me @ATXfoodnews.
  • I did legally change my name but I'm still planning the wedding, damn it. Yes, we made sure that we all had the same last name when Ryder was born (technically, they're similar last names) but we have yet to have a wedding. I'm hoping & planning for sometime this fall/winter.
  • Could I do a half marathon nine months after giving birth? Done and done. My time wasn't the fastest but I kicked asphault at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Half Marathon with the super cool Stephanie Delk as my partner.
  • And the last tidbit of what I learned in 2009 is that we generate a large amount of recyclable waste, as compared to true garbage. With that, I thank the City of Austin for giving us a ginormous recycle can in a pretty blue color.