Monday, September 27, 2010

It's always darkest before the dawn.

The past few months have been rough, and part of why I started running is I am not very good at it so it hurts.  There is something profoundly purifying about the discomfort. I like to run at night so I can crank the music up and just pound the day away one step at a time. Tonight was especially hard.  I could just feel the negative thoughts creeping in until this song came up.  I've had a thing for Alpha Rev's lead singer since high school.  To say he is talented is an understatement, more like he was put on earth to sing. This video is a Rorschach inkblot, and for many reasons this song has been my soundtrack this past summer.  It's just a reminder to me that life should not be measured or defined by the material and inconsequential, and that a beautiful new beginning can be embraced at any moment you choose.

9 months!

Jack is 9 months old!  He is army crawling, sitting up, babbling, taking 2 naps/day, and he's eating three meals of baby food with lot's of little bites of table food thrown in. We are trying desperately to get on a solid schedule of 4 x 8oz bottles/day, but coming from nursing on demand, we are not there yet and if Jack had his way, he would get 8 x 4oz bottles/day.

3/4 of a year old!
Carter wanted to help with the photo shoot :)
Seems like yesterday it was Carter's 9 month birthday!
We've had some big developments this month. Jack is seeing and occupational therapist from Texas' Early Childhood Intervention program for weakness and delayed development on his right side, and the other big development is Jack's pressure helmet. He has a combination of plagiocephaly and bracheocephaly.  He was in the gray area as to whether to helmet, and after a couple months of debating we decided to bite the perverbial bullet and put him in a starband helmet. He wears the helmet for 23 hours a day, and only gets to take it off for bath time when we douse it with rubbing alcohol to keep the sweaty gym-sock smell at bay. He goes in every three weeks for follow-up scans and they shave portions of the helmet off as his head grows to direct the shape of his expanding skull. We started the process a bit late, so there's a chance he could be in the helmet for up to 9 months, but because his case is very mild, we are extremely hopeful it won't take that long. He adjusted really well and doesn't seem to mind it too much, but it is so hard not to be able to snuggle his little head under my chin and in the south texas heat, it's definitely not the most comfortable thing to wear all day long!

Another shot of our happy boy - what a blessing you are!

Tuft Luv

I'm currently, and for while now have been, in love and obsessed with all things tufted.  When shopping for a couch for our living room, I had to restrain myself from getting a red leather chesterfield I found on craigslist (which lasted for about a second before some other lucky dog snached it up).  Anyway, I think the practical side of me and the not-so practical side of me have been in an uneven battle on this front because as much as I am smitten with tufted furniture, I currently own zilch - something about cat hair and kid dirt and those beautiful wells created by those beautiful covered buttons just don't seem to go together.  But lo and behold, while aimlessly surfing the web I stubbled across the perfect marriage of form and function at my new favorite online destination ZGallerie, their willow couch.
The three reversible cushions are ideal for max amount of seating and hiding dirt, the tufting is only on the back of the sofa, not the arms or the seat, so it's less likely to collect dirt and the icing on the cake....  polyester microfiber! A super kid-friendly fabric I love as evidence by the fact that my dining chairs, breakfast chairs and glider are all covered in it.  I can just picture two of these lovelies facing each other decked out with some beautiful cushions on either side of a fireplace.  Throw the cow-hide rug that I have been craving for over a year down in the middle under a big square glass top coffee table, and you are looking at my dream living room.  Now, just gotta sell our house, buy a new one and win the lottery :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ask me for my work number and you'll get my home number and a dirty look.

I hate it when people ask me, 'do you work?'  Yes.  I work very hard. This week for example, Carter has pneumonia, Jack has an ear infection, they both have pink eye, Jack is teething, and neither of them are self-sufficient or potty trained or sleeping for that matter. Just to get kids up and dressed and medicated takes an act of congress, then the real fun begins. Jack takes bottles, Carter uses sippy cups, which means loading and unloading the dishwasher takes the better part of a day.  Entertaining two kids who are under house arrest and on conflicting nap schedules is a goat rodeo.  Meals are a nightmare. Carter is at that picky eater, everything has to be cut up and most ends up in his lap or on the floor stage; Jack is between baby food and finger food which means everything has to be cut up or pureed and most end up on the ceiling, walls, floor, in his hair, on his clothes or mine. Laundry, for the afore mentioned reasons, is staggering and I haven't seem my husband since August thanks to his hectic work schedule. The icing on the cake? The house is still on the market which means at the drop of a hat we could have a showing.  Sheesh. Do I work??  Heck yea I work! In fact, I'm thinking of getting a job in order to take a break from this madness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

August 2010.

Well, this August was about as crazy and emotional as May 2010.

Happy birthday Grandmommy!
Stephen's Grandmommy celebrated her 85th birthday and we were lucky to be there to celebrate with her.  We had a good time in Austin and stayed with Stephen's Papa.  On Sunday we even had the chance to poke around the UT campus.  Definitely brought back memories and made me realize just how badly I hope Carter and Jack will go to Texas someday!

House for sale
After some serious intervention from a cleaning crew, a landscaper and a storage unit, we finally got out house on the market.  But as we found out, when putting a house up for sale with two small children, cleaning up and staging is only half the battle, keeping the house clean and being on-notice for showings at the drop of a hat is draining.  Our solution??  Keep the kids out of the house as much as possible!  We have been eating out a lot these days and trying to stay gone on the weekends.

Last visit to Granddad
My mom's father turned 90 back in June, but because he was undergoing radiation treatment for lung cancer, his birthday celebrations were postponed to August when he would be finished and have some of his strength back.  The actual celebration weekend coincided with Grandmommy's birthday celebrations, so we made a separate trip the next weekend to wish him a happy birthday and let him meet Jack - who is named after him (John).  I knew something was not right when I got a call from Grammy while we were still on the road.  She just said that Granddad wasn't feeling very good and to call once we got there and see if it was a good idea to bring the boys in or not.  I tried not to read to much into the phone call, and when we got there I called like she had asked.  She said to go ahead and bring the boys in for a short visit but that it might not be a good idea for them to stay long because Granddad was in bed and resting.  He was very tired and weak when got there and he was oxygen and having trouble catching his breath, but we brought the boys in one at a time to say hi, and then Stephen took them to the hotel and I stayed behind to visit with Grammy.  I had no idea that would be the last time they would see their great Granddad.

While I was there, I sent a text to mom asking what I could do to help since Grammy seemed like she was pretty much on her own taking care of Granddad.  Mom didn't get the text until later that evening while we were on our way to have dinner with friends, but she immediately called to ask me what was going on.  I told her what I saw, but didn't think it was that big of a deal...I hadn't seen him since December, before he was diagnosed with the cancer and before he had undergone the radiation, but mom's concern was palpable, and it turned out to be very founded.  He was back in the hospital by Monday, and I made plans to come back to see him the second weekend in September, but by the end of the following week my mom and her family were making hospice arrangements.  It all happened to fast, I never guessed that this weekend would be our last visit.

My baby sister the Aggie
Because Mom was in Dallas helping out with Grammy and Granddad, the boys and I headed to College Station to help Becca move into her dorm.  It was so funny to see how tiny the dorm rooms were and reminisce and just be excited for Becca as she starts this new chapter.  I'm not sure how much physical help we were, but hopefully we provided some moral support; Jack was our little move-in mascot, he had a blast playing in the boxes!  

Supper Club
Because our infamous waterbaby group just can't get enough of each other, we started a monthly supper club a while back to give us a chance to socialize as couples.  I absolutely love this group of women and hope our husbands continue to put up with our shenanigans! :)  Great memories are made every time we get together.

Seattle and (almost) Portland
It was a trip two years in the making, and it was well worth the wait.  We have so many pics, I'll put them in a separate post.  Mr. C and I had a fabulous time in Seattle and a fabulous day in Portland.  Our trip was cut short when we got the news that Granddad had passed away.  While we were dissapointed we didn't get to meet sweet Caroline who we had been so excited to visit, we got to have a great dinner with Caroline's mommy and daddy and are definitely planning for a Portland do-over next summer!  :)

I'm 30??
Our last night in Seattle, Stephen and I had dinner at the top of the Seattle Space Needle, and on our way to dinner, we stopped off at the flagship Nordstroms to pick up my birthday present - a new pair of boots!

It was just a perfect night, but the next morning was when I got the call about Granddad, and the following day we were on a plane back to Houston.  As we touched down, Stephen leaned over and whispered "Happy Birthday!" It completely caught me off guard because in all the chaos of changing our travel plans, I had totally forgotten about my birthday.  I had plenty of opportunities to celebrate, including a delicious italian dinner at my in-laws when we arrived to pick up the boys, but the actual day-of was just very emotional and surreal.

I missed the boys SO much...the trip had been the longest I had been away from either of them, and I definitely underestimated how much I would miss my little guys.  At the beginning of our trip, Jack decided he didn't want to take a bottle and that didn't help things, but Grammy C had it under control and worked her magic.  By the time we got home, Jack was taking the bottle beautifully AND he had packed on some weight! And as it turned out, I got to see the boys on my birthday, and truly whatever the circumstances were, there was absolutely no better birthday present imaginable.

Jack's First Tooth!
As if getting to see my happy and thriving boys ON my birthday and to see how much fun they had been having with Grammy and Grandpa was not amazing enough, Jack cut his first tooth on my 30th birthday.  What a special milestone, and I'm so glad I was there to catch it.

Saying goodbye to Granddad.
Reeling from a whirlwind month, we loaded the car up for one last road trip.  I wish I could say we ended the month on a happier note, but it's never easy say goodbye to a loved one.

So, between our crazy May and our emotional August, I can say we are eager to put summer behind us and move forward into fall and all the comforting routines and holidays that come with it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Second first-day-of MDO (or third?)

Well it's back to school time again which means it's time for MDO!  We're trying a different school this year that is a little closer to home, and we've bumped C up to two days a week.  We missed his first two days of class because we were on vacation, but Thursday was his first day, so we made a big deal out of it.  He was SO cute, handled drop-off like a pro, and it broke my heart walking him to class because seems like yesterday we were doing this for his first first-day-of MDO.  

What a handsome little guy! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Granddad

Granddad started out as 'Granddaddy' if I recall correctly. He wasn't a very feely-fuzzy kind of man, though, and the shorter title he later took on seemed more of a fit. Growing up, I hesitate to say he got stuck with me during summer visits, but because I didn't have any brothers or sisters for the first 7 years of my life, and because Grammy was often busy in the kitchen, Granddad was usually left in charge of entertaining me.

Granddad may not have been in-tune with the girly princess scene, but he sure knew how to make a summer afternoon interesting. He would take me to Lake Meredith to feed the carp (trash fish, he called them, and it was true, they'd eat anything), or to the park to see the birds at the 'bird prison', or if it was near the 4th of July, he'd pick up some black cats and then we'd drive out into the country and set them off. He'd use old shot gun shells as mini-cannons and tell me stories of a cousin that blew off his thumb playing with fireworks irresponsibly, and stress that safety and caution had to be used (as we held shot gut shells loaded with small artillery in our bare hands). Even days spent at their small home where they raised my mom and her four siblings were fun. He'd don his work coveralls and we'd spend the mornings at the breakfast table where he would do crossword puzzles in ink without breaking a sweat, and I would eat cereal and drink orange juice out of the same bowl and cup my mom used when she was a little girl. The afternoon would be spent in his small garage workshop where he would let me sit and visit with him while he worked on all sorts of interesting pet projects, usually making his own bullets or rebuilding some small appliance. I remember he had this old mason jar filled with spare typewriter letters that I loved to play with, and in the evenings we would play cards and he would let me have one hershey kiss for every ten points I scored from the glass candy dish in the living room. When I was a little older he would take me shooting, and always let me stand a little closer to the target in order to get a 'perfect shot'. Always the jokester, we had a running dialogue for years and years of pg rated jokes, many of them directed at aggies, that we would trade back and forth via birthday cards, letters and phone calls.

He was full of spunk and had a unique sense of humor that often came across as sarcasm (which I totally inherited). He wrote countless letters to editors, politicians and civic leaders that were direct and hilarious and could make up a book they were so funny. To this day I call my honey 'bee spit' and call the cool whip 'shaving cream' on my pumpkin pie. Granddad's taste in food definitely reflected his unique personality. Fruitcake, black licorice and all things sour were favorite 'treats' (yuck). I half believe he might have trained his pallet to embrace the unpopular just to spite the majority. He'd always opt for a slice of cherry pie or some other fruit-themed dessert instead of something sweet and chocolatey, but we did share a love for Root Beer!

I loved the stories my mom would tell of him from her childhood. How he worked on all of their cars, which he would buy used and nurse along to save money (he was very good at saving money) and how he was color blind and would put together interesting outfits for church. Or how he would get so mad at the family cat when he would run over some prey left in the yard with the lawn mower and go stomping around like he was going to take away one of her nine lives only to blow a big puff of air in her face when he finally found her, before resuming his chore.

As I grew, I learned to admire him for more than his wit and intelligence. He was a very devout Catholic and his strong faith and dedication to the church were undeniable. He was never one to compromise his moral compass just because a situation or circumstance made doing the right thing difficult. In fact, I imagine that when it was a challenge or when it was unpopular might have been when he most enjoyed standing up for what he believed in.

So while Granddad will never be remembered by me as a feely-fuzzy granddaddy, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I know he loved me, and he will always will be my very special, one-of-a kind Grandad, and I will miss him greatly.

Give 'em hell up there in heaven Granddad, and tell uncle Johnny that I can't wait to meet him.