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Thursday, May 28, 2015

In memory of Memorial Day

Not that my friend, Doug, was in the military, but when I sat down to write a Memorial Day recap, I reflected on the fact that it was somewhat appropriate that he passed away on a day that was set aside to remember those that have fallen before us. Military or not- an important reminder to hold your loved ones tightly!

We enjoyed our long weekend together, despite its stormy ending, and "thanks" to the Houston flooding (and consequential closing of the twins' daycare on Tuesday), we actually got our wish to make the long weekend one day longer.

In addition to not setting alarm clocks and generally being unproductive, we made a day trip to La Grange to visit Brian's extended family, briefly hit up the Houston Zoo, played with family/friends, and lounged around the house. And I took pictures of all of these activities because, well, that's what I do.

This has nothing to do with the weekend, BUT we finally finished our miniature gallery wall on our stairway landing last week and I wanted to share the finished product. Tada!

We busted out the twins' sunglasses and someone spent the majority of the weekend wearing them- sunlight or not.

That same someone also copped a major attitude on our mini-road trip (and then insisted on "calling" her Pop Pop to tell him all about it) 

And because we have to keep things even, Colby also made sure to participate in Operation: Make Mommy & Daddy Insane - 2015

Both of us recovering from her meltdown

But of course, fresh air and HORSIES worked their magic and all was once again right with the world.

Well, mostly right.

Colby, being his independent self

And Clara, being her mess of a self

More fruitless (but necessary!) attempts at family photos - here's the best one we got of Clara smiling...

And the best one we got of Colby smiling

We hit up Jason's Deli after church on Sunday and these wiggly worms were in such good moods that I had to document the occasion

When I turned the camera around so Colby could see himself on the screen, the poses started

Few things rival their enthusiasm for fake napping

Sporting her hat en route to the zoo

Appropriately, wearing the shades they received on our last zoo visit

What better way to commemorate Memorial Day than drinking dirty hose water that you (and your cousins and friends) have been stepping/playing/most likely peeing in?

Seriously, that water looks so gross, and I can't tell you how tickled they both were about drinking it!

Davis and the toddlers having a wild and crazy pool party (I can't stop thinking about how dirty the water is) 

Best buddies 4 life

So now you can all rest easy knowing how last weekend was spent. And after a whirlwind short work week, we're facing another exciting weekend ahead wherein Allison and I celebrate 32 years of being alive (well, outside the womb, that is). 

Hope your weekends are wonderful and for those of you also living in the great lake currently known as Texas, be safe out there!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doug

As many of you read on Allison's blog, we lost our dear friend from childhood, Doug, tragically and unexpectedly this week. As was the case with her, some of my earliest memories from our move to Austin in 8th grade have Doug in them. In fact, he was the first boy in our new town that I ever had a crush on, and so blatant was my obsession with him, that pretty much every time we've gotten together in our adult lives, the topic has still come up.


It all started at the first high school football game that year. He had met my sister at school and as was the case with most people, he confused us for each other at first and struck up a conversation with me. I remember that I bought a pack of Starbursts at the game and when he told me the red ones were his favorite, I gave all of my red ones to him even though they were my favorite, too. And for years to follow, we always referred to red Starbursts as being a symbol of true love.

His initials were DW, and so as any sneaky middle school girl would do, I nicknamed him "Darkwing Duck" and scribbled, "I [heart] Darkwing Duck" all over my 8th grade notebooks. His school picture hung on the wall in my closet so I could greet his face on a daily basis. 

We spent hours talking to each other (and falling asleep) on the phone, and I had my mom drive me by his house so many times that I still to this day have his parents' address memorized. During one phone call, I remember him saying to me, "Guess what... my mom had you and Allison mixed up and thought that Allison was the twin that was obsessed with me!" And don't worry, yes, I did give him a hard time about that not-so-subtle blow to my ego once the awkwardness subsided.


Doug was my first crush in Austin, but he was also my first lesson in unrequited affection because my infatuation was sadly one-sided. I eventually found another love interest and moved on, but I am so thankful to say that we remained close friends for the remainder of our high school years and beyond.

He introduced me to "Lucky" by Seven Mary Three and "Kinda High Kinda Drunk" by Coolio, because he was versatile like that. 

He let me borrow his green sweatshirt and I liked it so much that he let me keep it, because he was generous like that. 


He and our friend, John, kept me company during Friday night football games since all of my girl friends were on drill team, because he was loyal like that. 

He dated two of my best friends and I had the pleasure of serving as his therapist on many occasions, but I never minded because he always returned the favor, because he was caring like that.


Some of my favorite memories with him include our escapades with friends when our respective parents were out of town, and even though we were causing mischief, he always made sure we were safe and taken care of, because he was protective like that.

During a game of sardines at a retreat, I grabbed his arm because something startled me, and he instantly flexed his muscles. I gave him a hard time about it but he had no shame, because he was always looking to impress like that.

He always gave the best hugs. He always remembered our birthday and called (not texted, not e-mailed, not facebook posted) to give us his best wishes. He also remembered every inside joke we ever had. And despite his passionate love for the Texas Longhorns, he never made me feel (too) inferior about deciding to go to A&M.


I know I'm not alone in saying that Doug made an impact on my life and I'm a better person for having known him. And though my heart breaks to think that I'll never get to see my friend again, I'm thankful for the wonderful memories we had together and all that he taught me in the years I knew him. 


Rest in peace, Doug... and know that I'll be eating red Starbursts in your honor.

More parenting woes

I fully intend to flood you with pictures from our long weekend, but for today's post, I just need to go ahead and clarify (as if the whole world isn't already aware) that I am not coping well with this whole parenting-two-toddlers thing. It's no secret that I've always had a short fuse, but these two have the ability to take a tiny little match that's lit in me and turn it into a nuclear explosion in a matter of seconds.

Their secret weapons include: whining, disobeying, and fighting over toys everything. But this past weekend, they discovered the most effective formula ever for pushing Mommy over the edge: doing any and all of the above in the car. Basically take any normal annoying behavior and add in the following elements:
- enclosed space
- a Daddy that's driving, leaving Mommy alone to battle their toddler powers
- safety/legal boundaries (I'm looking at you, seat belts and car seats) that prevent Mommy from easily mitigating any undesirable behavior

My "favorite" behavior demonstrated by Clara: taking off her shoes, throwing them on the ground, whining repeatedly "my shoooooes!," and then as soon as I pick them up and hand them back to her, she does it all over again- lather, rinse, repeat until my brain explodes

My "favorite" behavior demonstrated by Colby: taking each toy out of the toy bucket one by one and throwing it across the car... and then yelling because he doesn't have anything else to throw until my brain explodes

Also, while I'm being a totally ungrateful parent venting, I need to tell you that Clara threw so many monumental tantrums last week (primarily immediately before bedtime and after waking up in the morning), that I insisted we take her to the doctor, despite any actual medical concerns. I can't even tell you how relieved I was when the pediatrician said she had an ear infection. I actually exclaimed "yay!," which I'm sure made the doctor regret endorsing me for Mom of the Year, but oh well.

The good news is that, even though she hates taking medicine with a fiery passion and spews it out every time, the antibiotic seems to be making a difference, and we are all much happier as a result... you know, minus the car behavior.

And now, because I want everyone to know that I'm not totally exaggerating and because I want to give Clara ample ammunition when she visits a therapist one day, allow me to share with you the fit that resulted in the visit to the doctor:


Impressive, right? Call her strong-willed, call her dramatic, call her spirited.. at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what makes her tick this way, all I know is that God gave her to us for a reason (if you ask my parents, that reason is called revenge ;) and so I ask Him for the strength and patience daily to parent her and her brother in the most loving way possible (even though some days that just means ensuring basic survival for all of us!). 

And forgive me for all of the Negative Nelly posts lately about parenting... I mean it when I say that this stage has thrown me for a loop and so most days, it's the only thing on my mind! But don't you worry, I'll be back soon with pictures that prove that we do, in fact, have enjoyable moments as a family :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Non-highlights and links

I do not have any fun pictures to share from this past weekend because, well, nothing fun and exciting really took place. I will summarize the highlights for you as proof:

- Clara spiked a fever on a few different occasions. She was otherwise acting fine, but as a result, our only plans for the weekend (dinner with friends on Saturday and church on Sunday) were cancelled. This means we spent a loooot of time at home and inventing additional errands to run. And on that note, thank you, Lord Jesus, for the free dessert samples at Target.

- Colby literally ate himself sick yesterday at Chipotle. He walked up to me once we got home and said, "Mama?" and before I even turned around, he just barfed right onto the kitchen cabinet and my foot. Thankfully he seemed a-ok and promptly ran over to grab his snack cup and start stuffing his face with Cheerios. Meanwhile, the dogs proceeded to lick up all of the vomit. So if you ever start to think your standards are low, just think about that and you'll feel better about yourself.

- In the span of 48 hours, we ate food from Dairy Queen, Smashburger, Kolache Factory, and Chipotle. So basically, we should be commended for modeling such healthy delicious eating habits for our children.

- It rained. JK, that's not a highlight, because for the past 5-6 months, that's all it EVER does here anymore.

Since I don't have any pictures to share, I'll leave you with a few amusing articles I've read instead:

"In Defense of the Clean Mom" - This. Yes. "If I don't have time to clean my house, then I don't have time for a play date." And I'm sorry, but sticky floors gross me out. (Don't worry, I know there's a happy medium between these two camps- I just tend to be more comfortable in this camp than the other!)

"11 Things Every Type 'A' Person Wants You to Know" - #4 is my favorite because those who know me well know that basically everything is urgent to me... even relaxing (at the designated time, of course).

I actually sent this to my non-type-A husband and he responded by sending me this article: "10 Reasons You Should Be Glad You're Type B." If you're type A, like me, then don't bother reading it because it will only make you feel bad about yourself... and who has time for that? ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Out of the mouths of toddlers

I guess this shouldn't surprise me, but now that the twins are talking more, they are making us laugh more. And because this has undeniably turned into a "mommy blog," I feel compelled to share with you some of the more amusing things that have come out of their mouths lately:

- Colby has historically referred to Clara as "Rah-rah" and himself as "me." As of last week, he has started calling himself "Oh-bee." This isn't so much funny as it is cute, but I still secretly hope Clara continues to call him "Rah-rah" forever.

- If Clara points out one of her "boo-boos" to you (whether it's a scratch, bruise, or simply a smudge of dirt) and you respond by asking her what happened, her answer is always, "Rah-rah hit me!," regardless of what actually caused it. I never knew tattling (or lying, for that matter) started at such an early age, but apparently it does!

- One day when we were driving around recently, Colby declared, "Mama, Dada - Nack Head!" and we turned around to find him sitting in his car seat with his snack ("nack") cup on his head. He thought his trick was pretty hysterical and therefore now does it on a regular basis with whatever items he comes across in the car. Here's proof:

I present you with "Truck Truck Water Head"

And wouldn't you know that Clara picked up on the trick, too...

- And speaking of the car, I have apparently done something right as a parent, because thanks to a few dance parties we've had to "Shake It Off" at home, both of the twins have been asking for "more Shake Shake" every time we get in the car lately. I get the impression that Brian isn't as thrilled about this development as I am ;)

- And lastly, my favorite two anecdotes, both of which occured at dinner on Mother's Day:

(1) The waiter walked up to our table at one point and asked, "Is everything ok?" Before any of us could answer, Clara glared at him and yelled, "NO!" Apparently home girl was out of beans and rather than waste time using her parents as the middle men, she decided to go straight to the source. He looked a little startled, but you better believe he brought her more beans.

(2) A few minutes later, when we weren't paying attention, the hostess walked by our table and Colby handed her his empty bowl and said, "Beans?" She, like the waiter, was taken aback but I mean, we have to give them props for being so assertive, right?

Please feel free to share your amusing kid moments in the comments (so I don't feel like as much of a dork for sharing mine...)!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day revisited

I know what you're all wondering after last week's post, so to answer your question, yes, of course my Mother's Day weekend was perfect, peaceful, relaxing, and free of stress and frustration. The kids behaved like angels, cooperated for all pictures, and obviously I never lost my cool.

Ok, so that may not have been the case, but I can use pictures to pretend it was, and one day when I'm old and senile and can't remember anything, I'll come back and believe it. (Except that's not entirely true, because I'm pretty sure the agony of Clara's public temper tantrum on Saturday evening is forever etched in my brain and will overcome even severe dimentia.)

But in all seriousness, imperfections aside, we enjoyed our weekend and Brian did a great job of making me feel loved and appreciated... and perhaps almost as importantly, he handled all of the dirty diapers on Sunday ;)

We had no plans for Saturday morning, so we decided to be productive and tend to some of the windows in the house that had yet to be "treated." Loved this pic of Colby watching Brian in action, especially because he went and grabbed that stool and climbed up there all by himself- he thinks he is such a big boy!

Colby and his Granddaddy after an early Mother's Day dinner with Brian's family on Saturday

A classic picture of our always opinionated (and never afraid to share it) little Clara after dinner... approximately 1.5 hours after The Tantrum That Shall Not Be Named (accompanied by Mommy's Meltdown That Shall Not Be Named)

According to Brian, the flowers are from Colby and the chocolates are from Clara- they've got great taste!

Left: me with the twins in May 2013
Right: me with the twins in May 2015
(I e-mailed Allison this side-by-side and the subject line read, "RIP, Cleavage" - you're welcome for that)

I know I post a lot of pictures in this same pose, but bedtime with these two really is my favorite time of the day, and with smiles like these, how could I not?

Not pictured: thoughtful gifts from Brian, our moms, my SIL, and even a sweet friend that knew I was having a tough week; a tasty breakfast prepared by Brian, a pedicure + shopping with my sis, and a deliciously unhealthy Mexican food dinner with the Olivers

I know Mother's Day isn't the easiest holiday for everyone- whether you've lost a child, lost a mom, are still holding out hope to one day be a mom, or if you're simply a mom that's weary from this exhausting (but wonderful) job- so I hope that if Sunday brought more tears than smiles, you can be comforted in knowing that today is a new day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day musings from an imperfect mom

So as most of you have already heard, I've had kind of an annoying week. Nothing major has gone wrong, but a series of little frustrations have culminated and convinced me that (a) my children are on a mission to send me to the insane asylum and (b) I'm inadequate as a mother.

And fittingly, yesterday, my pity party reached its peak following the Mother's Day Tea at the twins' daycare. I should have expected as much... things never go well when the two of them are both competing for my attention, and especially at the end of the day when they are both extra in need of attention.

Clara was (as usual) extra clingy and flipped her lid any time I tried to put her down or walk away. And having her stuck to me like a koala bear made it pretty difficult to show Colby any affection, which made him mad and resulted in a series of mini-tantrums and aggressive behavior, including hitting Clara in the face twice when I told him he couldn't have a SIXTH cookie.

I finally decided to cut my losses and head home, but when I had to put Clara down so I could corral Colby out of the Director's office (with my arms also full of all of their stuff), she threw herself on the floor and started screaming. Colby then attempted to run into the very busy parking lot while Clara continued screaming, at which point a sweet friend came to my rescue and helped me carry them to the car.

I finally got them both loaded into the car (during which time Clara managed to bite Colby, resulting in more screaming) and once I buckled myself in, the weight of my discouragement came crashing down and all I could do was cry. Because I felt embarrassed. Because I felt incapable. Because I felt overwhelmed. Because I felt like surely all of my children's bad behavior was 100% my fault and surely all of the other moms and teachers thought the same.

Understatement of the century: being a mom is HARD. I generally feel like I'm able to rise to the occasion when given a task, but with this job, some days I feel like I just can't do it. Like I'm not cut out for parenting and that the twins have figured it out and are trying their best to force me into surrendering.

When the twins were babies, a friend shared some advice (that her mom gave her, of course!): she said that if we were perfect parents and could fulfill every need our children ever had, then they would never realize their need for God. And in that same vein, I think that if it weren't for raising children (and how terribly awful I am at it sometimes), I might not realize my own need for His grace.

And so with that, on this Mother's Day, I'm going to try to be thankful for my inadequacy, and remember that even though God didn't make me the perfect mom, he made me the perfect mom for Colby and Clara. And in case you're in the same boat, I pray that you would remember the same!

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9






Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Celebrate good times

To Whom it May Concern:

Please pardon my absence yesterday. My husband and I took a vacation day to recover from our celebration hangovers- and no, I'm not referring to the standard alcohol-induced hangover; but rather, the type of hangover that occurs when one has overindulged in celebratory occasions.

This week, we plan to "recover" by celebrating Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day. Then we'll take a short breather until yours truly catches up to Brian and turns the big 3-2 at the end of the month (along with my other other half, that is).

So let's review this past weekend and try to pretend you didn't read about most of this in Allison's post yesterday. The highlights include:

An impromptu Friday morning photo shoot because 6:45 am is always an ideal time to capture your toddlers sporting coordinated neon striped attire, right?


A members' event at the zoo, wherein we indulged in free ice cream, enjoyed free carousel rides, and managed to see 3-4 actual animals before hightailing it home for bedtime in the name of preserving everyone's sanity.





A birthday party for a sweet friend (also named Clara!), wherein we played with friends, cousins, and most importantly, toys that aren't our own and are therefore a million times more exciting.



Love!

A family birthday dinner for Davis, wherein I took zero pictures because I was too busy eating everything in sight enjoying time with my wonderful family and watching the kids live it up in the bounce house the twins got for their birthday (thanks again, Franny & Pop Pop!).

A birthday for Brian, wherein we enjoyed tasty meals with family, opened lots of thoughtful gifts, and the birthday boy spent a few hours playing Top Golf with the guys. 

What better way to start your big day than Starbucks and kolaches on a "You are special today" plate?

Delirious twins before naptime (shortly after forcing Mommy to make an early exit from birthday lunch to take them home because they were acting like tiny terrorists)


Thankfully a few of them complied with my request for pictures (and how cute that they were coordinating?)


Yes, yes we did.





See why a day off was so necessary??