Thursday, May 31, 2007


Maddie threw up for the first time EVER during our Memorial Day weekend trip. EVER in her whole life. Two and a half years of not throwing up is a pretty big accomplishment, and I think I may buy her a trophy for it.

We (Zak and I plus Jason and Caroline) were eating pizza for dinner (remember, they didn't catch any fish) out on the deck of the vacation house. Maddie was being really quiet and didn't want any pizza. She asked to sit in my lap and we just all were chatting and eating. She told me that she wanted to sit with "her daddy" and walked over to him. She asked for a kiss, then walked away.

She was standing next to me when she opened her mouth and all hell broke loose. It was in slow motion--STOP READING NOW IF YOU ARE GETTING QUEASY--and all of a sudden food just started coming up. There was no gagging, coughing or heaving...just moving food, but backwards.

I was just staring at her in total shock. I looked at Caroline while still chewing my pizza and said, "Ohmigod, I don't know what to do." Maddie kept puking without bending over (like a normal hungover adult would) and it got all over her dress and Crocs. I grabbed my plate in an attempt to catch the puke, and she promptly moved away and kept it up. THANK GOD we were outside on the deck.

Everyone just stood up and started to scramble to do something. Jason went for the hose, Zak ran inside for a towel, and Caroline aimed the hose at Maddie. Maddie still didn't really say or do anything. I think she was in shock like the rest of us. I quickly took off her dress and brought her inside where she immediately stopped to watch TV where there was a continuous loop of Dora videos playing. Her first words were, "I spit" then she asked to watch more Dora.

After we hosed down the deck, the dress, the Crocs, and The Girl no one was really that interested in eating any more pizza. She hung out for a little longer, then asked to go to bed. She was fine after that. I assume she must have eaten something that didn't sit right. Zak also complained of a stomach ache and the only thing that ate that the rest of us didn't was a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone.

In case you are still reading and want to be further disgusted: In the morning, when I was putting on her Crocs, I found a chunk of vomit that didn't get hosed out the night before.

Okay, that's all. Thanks for reading, folks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day in Rockport, TX

We just got home from our long weekend adventure to Rockport, TX where we rented a house with our friends, Jason and Caroline (and their dog, Belle). Renting a house is THE way to go when you have kids. It's just so much easier than a hotel in every way you can imagine, and it costs about the same amount (thanks, Jason!).

The house was awesome, right on the canal, and we went fishing and tried to trap some crabs right off our dock.

It is a three hour drive from San Antonio to the Gulf of Mexico, and we expected Brooke to sleep the entire way (which she did), and we expected Maddie to sleep most of the way since we left during her nap time. BOY OH BOY was I wrong! On the way to Rockport, she was fine for the first 15 minutes, then....the whining began and didn't EVER END because she never fell asleep! She was quiet for, I swear to God I am not exaggerating, SIX MINUTES of the three hour drive down. I timed it. She said, one million times, "I wanna go to the beach" in the most annoying voice you can imagine. No matter how many times (one million) that we reassured her that we were in fact, going to the damn beach, she continued and I wanted to poke my ears with a hot stick. Incidentally, on the way home, she was a doll. Maybe it was because I drugged her with a little bit of Benadryl?

Once we arrived she was a perfectly normal and cheery 2 1/2 year old who was VERY excited about her Dora the Explorer (of course!) fishing pole.

We spent the majority of our time on the deck and dock just hanging out and watching the water. We caught six fish, none of which were acceptable to eat (either too small or not tasty), much to the chagrin of Jason and Zak who claimed they were going to catch our dinner. I'm pretty sure this fish isn't big enough for Maddie to eat:

Brooke was terrific the entire time...such a trooper that girl is. Here we are fishing together with her in the Baby Bjorn:

There is also a swimming beach in Rockport that is protected by a small island, so the "beach" is actually the bay, and is ideal for little kids because there are no waves.

Zak desperately wants his girls to love the ocean as much as he does, and I'm afraid that isn't gonna happen just yet. While Maddie LOVES to swim in a pool, she wasn't too fond of the sand and kept asking us to wipe it off her. I also hate the sand and the icky feeling you have after an ocean swim. I grew up in San Diego, and am the only one in my family who isn't a beach person. Don't get me wrong, I love to be on the water, looking at the water, smelling the water, but I HATE sand. I'm happy to sit by the ocean (IN A SAND FREE BEACH CHAIR) drink a fruity beverage, take a dip, then go right into a pool or shower!

Other than the fact that Caroline and I were eaten by mosquitoes, we had a great time, beautiful weather (nice and cloudy!)!

I only took one video while we were there, and you can see it here. It is of Zak, and is pretty darn funny. I'm narrating him trying to put together the Pack N Play.

Jason and Zak have been friends since childhood. I couldn't get over how funny this picture was of them doing the dishes in the same outfit! They even have the same posture.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Operation: Eliminate Backyard embarrasment

Oh my goodness, the backyard! We've lived in embarrassment of our backyard for long enough, and we finally decided to take control and throw a little money at the problem. The people who owned the house before us put in a Bocce Ball court. It was basically a very long horseshoe pit that lined the back of the yard. Here is a photo we took the week after we made an offer on the house. Notice that the grass was green, and the trees appeared to be alive...

One of the reasons we bought this house was because it backed to a greenbelt, an environmentally protected area that can never be torn down. In fact, in our previous two homes, we didn't back to another house. This was a major factor in choosing each home we've owned. We've never had a back yard neighbor.

When we moved to San Antonio, we disliked the Bocce Ball court (duh!) and landscaping, but we were overall happy with its potential. The previous owners stopped watering the yard once we were under contract. 2006 was the hottest and driest summer in San Antonio, and they NEVER watered. There are several new trees (two magnolia, one oak, one peach tree, and one pecan tree) that desperately required at least weekly watering to survive. The grass was dead (or dormant) due to the lack of water. When we had our final walk thru, I was furious at the condition of the yard, but Zak insisted that I didn't make a stink. If it's one thing I'm good's making a stink.
After living here for 6 months, we finally hired a professional for help. You can tell by the weeds that we had just given up on it. We lost the Pecan tree, but were able to keep the others alive. Here is the "after" photo from the exact same portion of the yard as pictured above...

Before...looking to the North East from our patio:


This was the little unkempt herb garden off the patio (looking west)...

In the after photo, we kept the rose bush, but took down the lattice, put in a rock boarder and I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to grow some herbs and veggies....

This is the after photo of the north portion of the back yard...

We still have some work to do on the grass, but it is a 100% improvement, and the baby plants still have a way to go. We find ourselves outside way more often, just sitting and enjoying the yard. That will change quickly, I'm sure, when the thermometer reaches 100 degrees.

Then, in October, we'll be back outside again.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

29 months

Dear Maddie,
Today you are 29 months old. Surprisingly, a lot has happened in your development in the last month. Good stuff, to be non-specific.

You've finally learned how to be polite...on purpose without me having to nag you about it. AND you have learned to empathize. I'm not even sure if that is possible for someone your age, but it appears that you can. Amazing! When you accidentally hurt someone, you will genuinely apologize and rub the ouchie. "Oh, I'm sorry I stepped on your foot mama. Are you okay? Lemme kiss it....oh, is it better?" In general, you are far less whiny and way more loving this month. Yipee!

You've also seem to have a handle on your emotions (for the most part) and can express yourself with words. This goes for the "I AM SOOO EXCITED!" squeals when you found out your PaPa came to visit you and was waiting downstairs. And also covers the angry feelings you have at school when someone takes your toy away. You just well up with tears (on the verge of a meltdown) until your teacher can talk you out of it.

In terms of your verbal skills, you are modifying your language with some pretty funny words, like "although" or "though" and "actually" and can communicate some abstract things like what we will do next (thanks to Dora) and behind us, tomorrow (instead of when we wake up), and yesterday. You sound so grown up when you talk like this! Your vocabulary continues to explode, and every time you ask for a new word (or I correct you), you will always repeat the correct word and attempt to use it. One of your PJ shirts says, "Irresistible" (that's a FIVE syllable word) and you love to show off and repeat it when you are wearing those PJ's. You are truly irresistible.

Learning shapes are a big focus in school right now, and you have picked those up much easier than you were able to grasp colors. You described a toy to me the other day, asked me what shape it was, then corrected me by saying it was OVAL when I described it as ROUND. Darn if you weren't right! You've got your colors down pretty well now, but still confuse red with green (weird) and you usually call brown, black. I did teach you the all important color of khaki, as in the cute khaki skirt I got on sale!

You are still sleeping in your "little big girl bed" which is your crib sans the front panel with the mattress all the way down to the floor. Your sister is going to need that crib in the next 4-6 weeks, and I'm a little unsure of how you will adjust to going to your real "big girl" twin size bed. Your bedroom appears to be one of your favorite places, and you don't mind being in there alone in the morning and still have zero complaints when it's bedtime. In the morning we can almost always hear you talking to yourself (or stuffed animals) and singing songs.

Speaking of songs, you are quite the little creative genius these days. You make up your own lyrics to the melody of songs that you already know. This is something that your dad and I have always done, usually in the car to distract you from crying. Your songs are usually about something completely random, like driving home from school to the tune of "wheels on the bus." You come up with the funniest songs, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear you sing. You've started to sing some other songs that we've never heard songs that you learn at your school. I thought my dad was going to cry last weekend when you started singing, "Jesus loves me" out of the blue. Then, you told everybody that Jesus loved your sister, Brooke, too. Indeed.

I took this picture with my cell phone, so it's not the best quality, but it shows you doing what you do best....mimicking your mama. Notice the cell phone that is propped between your ear and shoulder while carrying a purse and pushing the baby stroller. You can do it all, baby. Whatever you want to be, you can do it with 100% support from daddy and I.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Got Milk? Will travel!

I took my first overnight trip (two nights!) without my baby for the first time. I went to Florida for training for my new sales job. I learned a lot on the trip, but mostly I learned that breastfeeding with no baby around to drink it is hard work.

Thursday 12:01 MIDNIGHT - I can't sleep because I'm nervous about my trip. "Sleep! Sleep, damnit, if you don't fall asleep right this second you will hate life tomorrow. Sleep!" Brooke stirs at 12:24 just as I am drifting off, and we go thought this terrible pattern until 2:00 when she really wakes up to eat. My alarm sounds at 3:30 so I can get to the airport at 4:45 for my flight that leaves at 5:40...yes, we're still talkin' AM here, people. Can you spell T-I-R-E-D?

As I go through security, I am acutely aware of the fact that I am carrying a mechanical device that will likely cause much scrutiny. Sure enough, my cute little black backpack is stopped mid-screen and the screener calls over his screener friend to take another look at my suspicious back pack. I yell, "It's a BREAST PUMP" loud enough to embarrass them slightly, but not too loud that I get arrested. Interestingly enough, both men immediately look directly at my boobs, as if they were going to vouch for the fact that I am not a terrorist, then back at the X-Ray monitor. "We're going to need to open this please." Fine by me, just don't touch anything inside there with your dirty airport hands. They call over the supervisor because I have some liquid in the bag (also banned if over three ounces and not in a ziploc baggie). The liquid is frozen water, also known as ICE that is used to cool the milk once pumped. The supervisor tells his employee that "this is an individual supervisors decision to allow ice packs" and he believed I was in fact carrying an ice pack with me and would be allowed through. I was also questioned about my lip gloss. Off I go.

I try to find a place at the airport to pump in private, but end up standing up in the women's restroom while strangers give me strange looks wondering what in the world I am doing.

Thursday 9:10 am- I feel like my day should be halfway over, but no....still 15 more hours to go! My flight arrives in Hotlanta, but my connecting flight leaves in 30 minutes, in ANOTHER terminal. AND, Guess what? I have to PUMP. I see a "Family Restroom" that would allow me some privacy, but it was occupied. I decide to go to my gate first, then find another place to pump. I made it to the gate, but could only find another public restroom and I only had less than ten minutes before my flight left.

Thursday 12:00 NOON- I made it to Ft. Lauderdale full of milk looking for yet another place to pump and was delighted to find a "nursery" that had a rocking the airport! Horray! I locked the door and just started to pump when I got a call from my brand new boss who just so happened to be in the airport (even thought she should have been 2 hours ahead of me). She wanted to know where I was and when I would be in baggage claim...because she was circling the airport in her car, waiting for me. Jeeze!

Thursday 3, 6, 9 pm -- I had to excuse myself from my training to pump. By the way, my new boss never had children. She was nice about it, but only another former nursing mom could understand what this was like for me. Sure is a nice way to make a great first impression on your new boss! And why we were still working at 9pm is a very good question, but we were.

Thursday 10pm to Friday 9am-- I finally check into to my very fancy room at a very fancy beach front hotel fell on the bed into a very deep slumber. I woke up at 5:00 am very full, with no baby to feed. Pump. Sleep. Woke up at 8:30 starving and needing to pump, get ready, and go back to training.

Friday 9am -- arrive at the training site for another full day. Pump every three-four hours until bed time.

Saturday 5:00am--Go through security at Ft. Lauderdale airport with SIXTY ounces of milk (you should be impressed) in my checked luggage. I knew I wouldn't be allowed to carry it on. You may only bring milk on board with you IF you have your baby with you. I'm glad I knew this in advance and brought with me several ice packs that I had stored in my hotel room freezer so I could pack my milk. I suppose I could have just tossed it out, but it pains me to even type that as a possibility. I also knew that the milk may not make it back cold (going thought Florida, Georgia, and Texas?!) enough to save, but I owed it to Brooke to at least try. I was stopped by security again, and did the same, "ITS A BREAST PUMP!" yell. Once again, the security person looked right at my boobs (what's up with that?), and waived me through. I guess I look like a breastfeeding woman.

While I was gone, Zak did just fine with both girls, and Brooke only drank about 40 ounces of my frozen pre-pumped milk.

Oh, and remember that fancy beach front hotel? I never even saw the ocean, let alone step on the sand or put a toe in the water. I should have stayed another night just to have a mini vacation alone, but that would have required more pumping.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

Nothin' says "Cinco de Mayo!" like a broken blender! Oh, you see TWO broken blenders....well, we had a lot of margaritas. More on that later...

Our friends, David and Francie, came to San Antonio for a visit and to see Son Volt in concert. Turns out it was Cinco de Mayo weekend and the day after David found out he passed the Bar. That makes the THIRD good friend of Zak's that became a lawyer! I told Maddie that we were going to have a party for David in honor of him passing the Bar. She immediately turned the story around to a BIRTHDAY party for HER at Chuck E. Cheese. Funny how a 2 1/2 year old will do that!

David and Francie hadn't seen Maddie since September, and this was the first time they met Brooke. Both my Girls were nearly kidnapped because they were sugary sweet and super good all weekend. That includes them both sleeping in until 9am on Saturday and Sunday! I think Francie must think I make the stuff up on this blog when I complain and tell stories about them.

So, back to the blenders....

David has been known to make UBER delicious Mango Margaritas and very good Strawberry Ritas, and the last time they were here, I was big time preggers and could only have a taste. Needless to say, I may have been looking forward to his margaritas more than hanging out with him.

Just kidding, David.

We bought the fancy stainless Cuisinart blender a few years ago, and it is AWESOME but in the middle of our third second batch it just pooped out and doesn't do anything when you press its buttons. Never fail, a good hostess always has a back up blender for these terrible occurrences. I whipped out the white blender, circa 1993, that never sold in our garage sale. It can't chop ice to save its life, but we were desperate, so we gave it a whirl. It didn't even make it though one batch. We were all outside, waiting for David to make us our Ritas, and I opened the door to yell, "Where the hell is my margarita, David?" looked inside through the window to see David laughing while the blender was SMOKING and emitting a terrible mechanical burning odor.

We drank beer instead...'OLE!

Friday, May 04, 2007


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

3 months old

Dear Brooke,
You are three months old, and I must say that you are more beautiful than ever. During your first few months, you were, um, not so cute. Oh, I know that's a terrible thing for a mother to say about her baby, but were a little zitty, and a little squished up in your face, and a little too hairy. There, I said it. We think you will be pretty upset about your very pokey ears that show no indication of getting smaller...thank your dad for those puppies.

BUT NOW, now, you are gorgeous. You have the biggest, most piercing brown eyes. Your normal, just hanging out expression is so pleasant with the slightest little grin. You are going to be one of those people that other people just like to be around (just like your dad) and have the face people love to look at.

You're getting very strong, and are able to stand up (stand up!) if we hold you just to balance your bobble head. I swear, if you don't stop growing, I'm gonna ground you immediately.

You have a terrible bald spot in the back of your head that looks as though someone pranked you and ran an electric razor across your scalp. Everywhere else the hair is of equal lenght, except this one spot where you rub it off when you're laying down. Sorry about that...I guess I should carry you around more (but you're heavy!) and do more tummy time with you (but I'm lazy and you don't like it).

Maddie has taken more of an interest in you. She now brings you snacks and milk (of her own) to share with you. When you cry, she tells you it's going to be okay, and that "mommy will be right back with her beeboos to feed you milkies." Maddie is also very bossy and you are her little doll. She tried to have a pillow fight with you last weekend. You being the innocent bystander getting whacked with a pillow while Maddie laughed and your inability to duck and weave. You dad was disciplining her for doing this as it falls under the "no hitting rule," but I was off in the corner trying to hide my smile and laughter. Just for the record, she wasn't hurting you, but playing with you. You would just sit there and blink. Pretty soon you'll be able to get her back.

You've become quite the snorer. Sleeping between you and your dad some nights is very difficult. He snores, then you snore, then he snores....and this goes on and on until I poke him in the ribs. One night you were SO LOUD that I actually poked you in the ribs! If you listen carefully, you can hear your animal snoring noises here. It's pretty cute, when I'm not trying to sleep.

New this month are your arms and hands...or at least they're new to you. Half the day is spent staring at your hands with wonder. You are probably thinking: "What in the world is this thing, and why won't it go away?" Just this week, your arms are in a permeant flying position. You know, like you're superman, but only you don't go anywhere. Your dad things it looks like you're ready to box. I think that if you don't put your arms down soon, you're gonna have delts like Laila Ali.

Last night you slept for EIGHT strait hours! I love you for lots of reasons, but today, I really really love you for that.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Feeling Words

As a former mental health counselor person, "feeling" words are important in our house. I've always attempted to label Maddie's feelings to help her learn how to express herself when communicating. You know, instead of whining and screaming.

Well, my efforts have never been rewarded until now. On Saturday, Maddie was having a particularly difficult day with such things as not liking her shirt (BUTTONS!), not watching the much desired 8th episode of Dora, and the fact that we were out of Chex-Mix. Oh, the hell she was going through! Anyway, I tried to help her tell me the problem in the middle of a random tantrum about one of those (or all of those) three things.

"Use your words, honey. Are you angry, frustrated, sad, hurt...? Help me understand."

"Aaahgghh!" was what I got in return.

Later that day we were in the car on the way to dinner, and Maddie was interrupting my conversation with Zak (something we're trying to teach her not to do). When she's in a good mood, she will say,"Excuse me, mommy" before interrupting usually not to say anything, but just get praised for interrupting appropriately. This time, out of nowhere, she said, "I'm feeling frustrated."

I nearly crashed the car in shock.

Zak laughed at my watering eyes. I was so proud of her for 1.) using words instead of screaming and 2.) labeling her feelings with a word. Holy cow, this parenting thing sometimes works!